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Old August 8, 2013, 10:13 AM   #1
blindpig
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breaking flints

Hey Y'all,
This is my first time asking questions on this forum.
Many years ago I purchased a Siler lock and stock blank at a state shoot in Lone Jack Mo.Later after getting a barrel and set trigger from Dixie Gun Works,
I built a "poorboy"rifle.It shot well(as well as I could shoot LOL!)for quite some time,but later it started miss firing and breaking off the bottom edge of the flint.I had a shade tree gun smith(it turned out) work it over and he said the frizzen pivot had been drilled at a slight angle so he filled the pivot hole and
re drilled it.This was an improvement which only lasted for several rounds also
seemed to cause the lock to operate slowly compared to the original operation.
About the same time I changed jobs and haven't looked at the rifle for many years. Am now retired and moved to" sunnier climes" in south west Mo.(sunnier till this year I mean)and am starting to think about unlimbering my small black powder arsenal.Being on a fixed income(cheap) and being fairly handy,would like to shoot this rifle and am looking for suggestion about the flint problem.
Will appreciate any and all suggestions......
Don
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Old August 8, 2013, 10:34 AM   #2
4V50 Gary
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Could have been the flint and not the lock too -- until your shade tree gunsmith worked on it.
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Old August 8, 2013, 11:04 AM   #3
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I was there when you bought it I'm sure. Been going there for 40 years. We
Just put a new roof on the firing line.

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Old August 9, 2013, 07:23 AM   #4
45 Dragoon
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Could be a weak friz. spring. Might be rebounding and slapping the flint.
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Old August 9, 2013, 09:36 AM   #5
blindpig
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Thanks for the quick responses...
Could have been the flints I guess when it started,but I agree it's worse after the"fix".

WOW!,the last time I was there it sure didn't look like that! Pretty uptown now
I guess, shooting benches and all....

You know that "slapping back" might just be the cause. Guess I'll check around the"net" and try and locate a new spring. Wonder if the tension on the existing spring could be adjusted somehow?
Thanks again for your input,
Don
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Old August 9, 2013, 05:26 PM   #6
Captchee
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Normally if the frizzen is slapping back , it will shatter the flint in just a few shots . But what can also happen is if your using a shorter flint , the frizzen may just strike the face and then chip it to the point you only get 10 -20 falls per flint
If that’s what you think maybe happening , check it by letting the cock all the way down . Then close the frizzen back onto the flint . The chips or breaks will stem from right at the edge of the frizzen .

Myself I would check your frizzen by removing the frizzen spring . the frizzen then should move back and forth freely with no rubbing. Simply put ,if you tilt the lock , the frizzen should fall open or fall closed .
If it does that , check the fit of the lid to the pan . It should set tight with no gaps while at the same time , matching the pan . If the front or back is gapped , then the hole was not drilled correctly ... if you do have a gap then the gap should be even all the way around .

If all looks good from there then put the frizzen spring back on .
Open the jaws on the flint and slide a piece of card stock on top of the flint. Trim it back so it matchs the profile of the frizzen and is just a hair shor t of the striking edge of the flint .By hair , I mean just that . You want it just short enough so that when the flint scraps down the frizzen , it wont curl the card stock back
. Then tighten it back down .
Next take a black felt tip marker and coat the bottom of the pan lid and very bottom edge of the frizzen face .
Cock your lock , close the frizzen and fire the lock a few times . If you have frizzen slap , , you will see a black mark on the card stock .

Last edited by Captchee; August 9, 2013 at 05:52 PM.
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Old August 9, 2013, 05:31 PM   #7
bedbugbilly
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whatever you do blind pig . . . don't get frustrated with your flinter and "give up" on it. It could be a variety of things - flints, poorly tuned lock, frizzen problems, etc.

I'd look at it this way - the internals of the Siler you have should be fine along with the cock. Worse case scenario, you could utilize your existing internals and cock and get a new plate, frizzen, and if necessary, frizzen screw and spring. You might contact some place like Track of the Wolf, explain your problem and send the lock to them. I'm pretty sure they would have someone who could assemble your parts on whatever was necessary.

Or . . . . you might go over on the longrifle forum, post your problem on the builders forum and possibly find someone who could help you out with it.

I've used a number of Siler locks and they are good locks. I've always purchased them fully assembled for my builds though. Good luck . . . you'll get it figured out and once you do, you'll have a good rifle.
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Old August 9, 2013, 05:36 PM   #8
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Captchee has some excellent suggestions that should help you determine what your problem might be . . .

Here is the link to the long rifle site - you'll have to register before you can post

http://americanlongrifles.org/forum/index.php

Another thing to consider as well is if you a positioning your flint correctly? And, remember, some locks work well with the "bevel up" and others with the "bevel down". All of the Silers I've used worked best with the bevel up but it all depends on your flint as well.
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Old August 9, 2013, 05:50 PM   #9
Captchee
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yes the ALRF is a good web site .
one of the first things that will get ask though is ; who built your lock ?
it should have a makers mark on the inside .
you might get lucky and find its one of Buds . if so you might get Jim Chambers to work it over . or if its one of Jims, he is real good about things .
past that , if it doesnt carry a maker or is an unknown maker , then you may be doing as bed bug sugests and replaceing a few parts .
myself i wouldnt think the lock plate would be one as the pan on the siler is bridled and unscrews from the plate . so even if the frizzen bridle is screwed up , a new pan will fix that issue
i dont think i would send it to ToW .
instead i would ask on the ALRF for a recommended lock smith .
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Old August 9, 2013, 08:29 PM   #10
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I agree with the suggestion of maybe a bevel up or down problem but I would also look at the length of the flints I was using. I've seen them too long that would actually try to stick along the lower part of the frizzen. Normally the geometry is very good with Siler locks and I'd look to your flint first for your solution. Experiment with placement of your flint in the jaws with spacers above or below and length of your flints to try to make a correction for a proper arc in relation to your frizzen. Chances are you won't need any other parts, just experimentation.

Last edited by Old Stony; August 10, 2013 at 05:51 AM.
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Old August 10, 2013, 07:56 AM   #11
bedbugbilly
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Captchee is correct that the pan is separate from the lock plate. It's been a while since I've used a Siler and the ones I have for building are not handy to look at (they're at my home in AZ). If I remember correctly, the frizzen screw threads in to the lock plate though so if it has been bored wrong, the angle of the hole in the lock plate will be off? (Cpatchee - please correct me if I'm wrong on this). If I am wrong on that, then it's even better as the plate would not have to be replaced or repaired.

A lot of these locks were assembled by a variety of good smiths - Jim Chambers, etc. and their locks should be marked. A lot of these kits were also assembled by folks who bought the kits, put 'em together and used them on their builds. That's really a mute point though as your's has been worked on and you are aware of the fact that there may be a problem with the frizzen operation . . . or not.

I've always used deerskin to wrap my flints in before clamping in the cock. Others may use other types of leather - military muskets sometimes used lead to wrap their flint. Anyways . . . the flint can be adjusted as far as location in the cock by using a litter thicker leather, wrapping differently, etc. However you do it, it has to be clamped tightly so there is no movement when firing and the face fo the flint is square witht he face of the frizzen in order to get the best function out of it. It's also important to be using the correct size flint for the lock.

I think the best news in regards to your situation is that the Siler can be fixed as it is a common lock and with the availability of parts, a minimum amount would be needed to repair it as opposed to having to start with a whole new lock. I suggested TOTW off he top of my head, but as pointed out, there a lots of folks out there who are good with locks. As suggested, check to see if there is a maker's mark on the inside of the lock and start from there - if not, then you can look for someone who is good with locks to repair it.

The lock will "make or break" any rifle/fowler. If it is a PIA and doesn't function correctly, you'll soon become frustrated. You've got a good lock, it probably just needs some tuning. Try what has been suggested by others and see if that helps - it may very well be that it's just the flint or the position of it. Once you get it figured out, you'll soon realize how much fun flinters can be as well as how reliable and fast ignition they can offer. Good luck and let us know how it comes out.
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Old August 10, 2013, 09:23 AM   #12
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Lot of good guesses here from some knowledgable people. But, you really won't be able to analyze the problem with words long distance. A knowledgable flint shooter or ml gunsmith needs to see the lock.
Where in southern Missouri are you? We have an ml club in southern Mo. Send me a private message and I'll tell you about it.
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Old August 10, 2013, 12:48 PM   #13
bedbugbilly
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O.K. Rifleman . . . you win the "advice contest"! LOL In fact, probably the best advice I've seen yet. Hopefully the OP is in your vicinity and you can make some connections for him to get his rifle up and going. Life's too short not to be able to enjoy shooting a flinter. I hope he's able to get it all worked out soon so he can enjoy it.
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Old August 10, 2013, 03:47 PM   #14
Captchee
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rifleman is correct , its all speculation without seeing the lock itself an working it so as to see what its doing .
a good flintlock is alittle more complicated then folks realize . The geometry has to be somewhat correct for it to work correctly . The farther away from correct that geometry gets , the worse the lock performs

OH and the frizzen screw on a siler comes from the inside of the lock , out through the frizzen and then taps into the frizzen bridle. Frankly unless the builder didn’t align the parts then drill the frizzen , I cant see how it would be drilled at an angle . Unless it was drilled while off the lock …
I would agree with the point about kit locks . Bud Siler used to sell such kits and if a person didn’t do the heat treating like he recommended , then the geometry could be off as well .
But again I would agree the lock needs to be looked at so as to be fixed correctly . Other wise you may just be chasing your tail
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Old August 10, 2013, 06:51 PM   #15
blindpig
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Thanks Guys,
Really appreciate all the suggestions,am looking forward to getting the "ole
smoke pole"out and trying to tune it up.It will be a couple of weeks before I
can get to it,but y'all have gotten me pretty exited...
I'll let ya know how it turns out.
Don
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Old September 4, 2013, 04:12 PM   #16
blindpig
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Hey Y'all,
Finally got back to the flintlock....
It's been a while since I'd looked at it(probably since the late 80's), so with the info from you guys and hope in my heart LOL! I started to look'er over.
Seems the "shadetree" gunsmith was right about the hole for the frizzen pivot is drilled crooked. Looking from the butt of the rifle forward the hole is closer to the muzzle on the barrel side and closer to the butt on the outside of the frizzen. It's binding the frizzen travel,if it's well lubricated it will function slowly(and break flints). What it appears the STgunsmith did was bend the outside of the fork that the pivot pin attaches too, slightly closed to help align the holes,which causes the frizzen to bind some.Don't know why I didn't check this out sooner but guess somthin' came up and all I remembered was the dang thing wouldn't work so I just stored it till now.
Anyway I gently filed the frizzen pivot holes a little egg shaped(very slightly) and gently filed the outside of the fork to make it parallel to the frizzen and WHAT DO YA KNOW!!! she's throwing sparks like a champ and hasn't broken the flint yet! Can't wait to get out and cranke'er up.
Really want to thank you guys for the help encouragement.
Will let you know how it shoots....
Don
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Old September 6, 2013, 05:21 PM   #17
Noz
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Hey Pig, Where are you?

You might want to come visit some of the cowboy clubs in the area.

The Ozark Posse is shooting tomorrow at Cassville, Mo.
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Old September 7, 2013, 11:13 AM   #18
blindpig
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Noz,
Thanks for the invite, can ya shoot a flint lock with cowboy action folks?
I'm in Nixa,Mo.don't know about any places to shoot closer than the state
ranges. They are OK but a muzzle loader won't allow many shots before
the shut down time for folks to check thier targets.
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Old September 12, 2013, 07:14 PM   #19
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Sorry to hear about the shade tree gunsmith. Years ago I became good friends with a retired military guy who fancied himself as a gunsmith. Now this guy would give you the shirt off his back in a snow storm, a better friend you could not have, but I saw him comit horrible, heinous, unspeakable things to his own, and other peoples guns.
Yesterday i couldn't spel gunsmith,,,,today i are one,,LOL
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Old September 14, 2013, 01:21 AM   #20
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Glad to see you got it working. If you have any further problems I would check on the ALR forums for a Bob Roller. He is a master locksmith and does repairs that he thinks have merit.
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