Flintlock shooters: step inside, I have a few questions

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Replies

  • BigslugBigslug Senior Member Posts: 6,944 Senior Member
    Gene L wrote: »
    Bigslug said: "The gun wasn't really a better weapon than the bow until probably the 1830's (when mass produced rifling and percussion caps solved a lot of problems), yet the bow was pretty much gone from the battlefield by the 1600's. Puzzling, that."

    Reason being, it took YEARS to train an archer, weeks (or less) to train a musketeer.

    True - years to train a good archer, but probably no more than weeks to exceed the volley-fire capabilities of muskets, with more range, more accuracy, higher rate of fire, no noise, no smoke, use of nothing but wood and fibers save for the simple arrow point. The arrow is certainly a more expensive projectile than a lead ball, but still cheap set against the skilled labor required to make one gun - let alone guns by the thousands. At any rate, it's an odd historical quirk that there was never a major engagement where trained archers decimated the ranks of musketeers. It would have been interesting had Ben Franklin got his wish and outfitted the Colonial Army with bows - especially since armor was pretty much gone by that point.

    Woodsrunner - thanks for the tip to the Longrifle forum - a chance to lurk and learn!
    WWJMBD?

    "Nothing is safe from stupid." - Zee
  • BigslugBigslug Senior Member Posts: 6,944 Senior Member
    cpj wrote: »
    Dude. Tread carefully in there. There be many things that make a man drool. Not like a little spittle in the corner of your mouth drool, but like needing a towel on your lap drool.

    You have been warned.

    Well, drool in the pan would certainly hamper lock time. . .:drool:
    WWJMBD?

    "Nothing is safe from stupid." - Zee
  • woodsrunnerwoodsrunner Senior Member Posts: 2,725 Senior Member
    I take exception to one thing Jayhawker said. Keeping a good edge on your flint is not important....IT'S ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY! Won't take you very long to learn how to knap a flint, either. I've got a small steel knapping tool that I'd like to get Jerry to duplicate for anyone who wants one. I don't think it would take much to turn one of these on a metal lathe. It's absolutely the best little knapper you'll ever have.

    Now about the extra flint: make darn sure that you have a spare within EASY reach. Something like a shirt or pants pocket where you can get it quickly without having to dig around in a bag. Flints don't break often, but sometimes the tension on the cock screw tightening the flint in place will crush the leather cupping around the flint and on the first shot the flint pops into pieces! Happened to me on the first shot.......237 pound female black bear up a tree :fan: After what seemed like 30-45 minutes my friend and hunting partner looked at me and calmly said: "Hope you can run faster than you can change out a flint" :rotflmao:
  • Six-GunSix-Gun Senior Member Posts: 7,226 Senior Member
    Just got back from the range. Up to this point, I have been using the agate flints that came with the rifle and the various kits I have bought with cleaning doo-dads and such. Well, the last of those agates went, so I tried the lone English flint I had. WOW, what a difference in spark intensity! That thing got the pan ROCKIN'.

    Now, here's another thing I learned and it spawned yet another question: initially, it appears that I had that English flint seated too far out, as it collided with the frizzen and couldn't move it out of the way. I eyeballed a bit of retreat in the seating on that flint and the next spark was intense and effective. What is the preferred method for seating the flint "seat depth" when setting the cock screw on a different style of flint? Eyeballing it worked this time, but I could've easily shattered that flint by overstriking it into the frizzen on that first, failed try.
    Accuracy: because white space between bullet holes drives me insane.
  • woodsrunnerwoodsrunner Senior Member Posts: 2,725 Senior Member
    English flints are superior to French flints or the agate flint that you used. These are mined from the Chalk Cliffs of Dover. Use only English flints and you'll be OK. Set the flint to where it strikes the frizzen about 1/3rd of the way down from the very top of the frizzen. If you have a problem with the frizzen not flying open totally, do what you did....adjust the flint back into the cock jaws just a little-not very much. Make sure that the leading edge of the flint is knapped square and have it strike the frizzen square. It's easy to adjust with a little practice, and I'm betting that you have this down pat. You've got to keep the flint knapped to get a hot shower of sparks....got to! Sometimes you'll get 6-8 shots before you need to lightly knap the flint, and at times you'll get 12-15 shots, maybe even 20 or so, but not usually. Make sure that you use the correct size flint, that is 1/2", 5/8", 3/4" etc. Just slightly smaller than the widest part of the frizzen. You can get English flints from Track of the Wolf, I think, or from Jim Chambers Lock Co. Both are on the internet if you don't have their addressess. You've got to have a small knapping tool and small hammer to keep in your hunting bag. The little knapper that I have is the most perfect one I've ever seen, but unfortunately these aren't available and haven't been in 30 or so years. If I could get Teach or someone else with a lathe to turn these out I'd be glad to give one to any flintlock shooters. It just takes a little practice to get the adjustments right, and I'm betting that you probably have it down. Be careful about knapping or adjusting the flint if there is a charge in the piece. Put a tooth pick in the vent to make sure no sparks get to the powder. If your flint is fine tuned and properly knapped and the vent hole properly located, it's at least a 50/50 chance that accidential sparks in the pan will fire the piece even without priming powder in the pan. I can fine-tune my little Hershal House .32cal squirrel rifle and it'll fire 9 times out of 10 with no priming powder!
  • Six-GunSix-Gun Senior Member Posts: 7,226 Senior Member
    Ok, what is the knapping tool(s) I want to get for now? If you could provide the page, that would be great. For now, I'm treating the flints as disposable because I don't have the know-how to knap them back to life.
    Accuracy: because white space between bullet holes drives me insane.
  • woodsrunnerwoodsrunner Senior Member Posts: 2,725 Senior Member
    You can't afford to throw flints away. I've farmed almost all day and I'm beat tonight. I'll look around tomorrow when I take a break. Give me a little time and I'll find what you need, and it won't cost but a few $$.
  • TeachTeach Senior Member Posts: 18,261 Senior Member
    I knap my flint with a short piece of round brass rod. Simply tap the edge of the flint that strikes the frizzen to flake off small pieces and leave a sharp edge. I've seen flint-knapping tools made from a piece of deer antler, but I've never tried that method. It takes a bit of practice, but eventually you'll figure out the angle and the amount of force necessary to cause the edge to flake away without losing big chunks. One word of caution- - - -the Inca indians used flint knives for surgery- - - -a properly-knapped flint wil be sharper than any edge you'll ever be able to put on a knife blade. If you happen to get a finger in front of the hammer as it falls, the flint will cut right down to the bone in an instant!

    Here's one from Dixie Gun Works in Union City, Tennessee. I don't know if the one Woodsrunner uses is like it, but this one would be very simple to duplicate.

    http://www.dixiegunworks.com/product_info.php?products_id=7702

    Jerry
    Hide and wail in terror, Eloi- - - -We Morlocks are on the hunt!
    ASK-HOLE Someone who asks for advice and always does something opposite
  • JayhawkerJayhawker Moderator Posts: 14,835 Senior Member
    Teach wrote: »
    One word of caution- - - -the Inca indians used flint knives for surgery- - - -a properly-knapped flint wil be sharper than any edge you'll ever be able to put on a knife blade. If you happen to get a finger in front of the hammer as it falls, the flint will cut right down to the bone in an instant!

    Jerry

    A few years back, a college history class butchered (completely dismembered) an elephant using only obsidian tools...who says stone age folks were at a disadvantage...
    Sharps Model 1874 - "The rifle that made the west safe for Winchester"
  • Six-GunSix-Gun Senior Member Posts: 7,226 Senior Member
    Teach wrote: »
    I knap my flint with a short piece of round brass rod. Simply tap the edge of the flint that strikes the frizzen to flake off small pieces and leave a sharp edge. I've seen flint-knapping tools made from a piece of deer antler, but I've never tried that method. It takes a bit of practice, but eventually you'll figure out the angle and the amount of force necessary to cause the edge to flake away without losing big chunks. One word of caution- - - -the Inca indians used flint knives for surgery- - - -a properly-knapped flint wil be sharper than any edge you'll ever be able to put on a knife blade. If you happen to get a finger in front of the hammer as it falls, the flint will cut right down to the bone in an instant!

    Here's one from Dixie Gun Works in Union City, Tennessee. I don't know if the one Woodsrunner uses is like it, but this one would be very simple to duplicate.

    http://www.dixiegunworks.com/product_info.php?products_id=7702

    Jerry

    Sweet, that one will work for now. I hope you and woodsrunner can find a way to make that one he is describing. It sounds like the bee's knees.

    As for the flint knives, oh, I hear you. I hae been thoroughly impressed with the sharpness of stone knives. I once saw the edge my college geology teacher put on a piece of obsidian and didn't need anyone to show me how badly that thing could cut you!
    Accuracy: because white space between bullet holes drives me insane.
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