View Full Version : Flintlock flinching

September 13, 2002, 07:07 AM
I have a new Pennsylvania style flintlock that I am having a ball (no pun intended) learning to shoot. I have now learned how to get reliable ignition so I am moving on to improving my accuracy. I seem to be having a bit of trouble with flinching as the pan charge goes off such that when the main charge goes, my aim is off. The delay between primer charge and main charge is as short as I think I can make it but there is still a fraction of a second to deal with. Are there any tricks or exercises to help with this flincing other than just shooting a lot?

Cap n ball
September 13, 2002, 08:38 AM
The delay you are experiencing is probably from using a bit too much flash powder. You may want to get the touch-hole sleeved with an insert. Placement of the touch-hole relative to the pan is very important and can be pretty tricky. When things are right your flash powder flame will flick into the touch-hole and ignite the charge very fast. A few months ago one of our members here that goes by the name of 'salt' posted an excellent link that explains most if not all of what you are concerned about. Here it is http://www.ninety-eight.net/ibha/flint1.htm#top

September 13, 2002, 08:52 AM
I appreciate the link and the words but won't there always be some delay? Will a flintlock ever fire as fast as an inline or smokless gun? As I understand it one of the main reasons percussion guns were developed because a bird hunter in Britain was tired of his pan charge scaring the bird before his main charge ignited.

I am already trying to use as little primer powder as I can get away with and I keep the touch hole fairly free of residue. The thing fires pretty fast but I still flinch. Perhaps shooting it over and over with no powder or ball in the barrel? Just get use to the pan flaming?

September 13, 2002, 10:23 AM
Try more dry firing. Clamp half of a big childrens pencil eraser in the jaws of the cock in lieu of flint and leather. Practice till you're obsessed with the trigger and sight picture. It should help move your mind away from the flinching. As long as you're thinking about it, it will dominate your shooting. I dry fire to control my reaction to percussion guns.

Cap n ball
September 13, 2002, 10:37 AM
Check the position of the touch-hole. High and centered is best for fast ignition. Too low and the flash powder will cover the hole and that is what gives a 'fuse effect' delay that scares birds. Also, if you are shooting buckshot check the pattern that bore gives the shot. Many smoothbores give an irregular pattern and require some bore work.

Jimmy Mac
September 13, 2002, 02:45 PM
Only time will cure the flinter flinch. After a while you will not even be aware of the flash.

Ed Dixon
September 13, 2002, 02:57 PM
If there's enough of a delay that you're flinching, I'm guessing there's too much delay. I shoot my Lyman flintlock as well as anything else I have (we won't go into how "well" that is) and haven't had a problem. I wipe my flint edge between shots, as well as pick the flash hole. Too much pan powder can actually contribute to the problem too, which I learned after a couple hundred shots. While compared to modern arms I'm sure eons go by between flint strike and discharge, it's always seemed "just about" instantaneous to me. If you're using 3F in your pan instead of 4F, the drop to the finer powder might help. Good luck.

Jimmy Mac
September 13, 2002, 08:34 PM
A friend that is an expert flint shooter gave us some advice.

Get on the bench and shoot at a tiny spot as small as you can possibly see. Something the size of a dime at 40 yards or so.

The target has to be tiny so it takes all your shooting skills to hit it.

With all your consertration on the front sight you will begin to ignore the flash.

You will start to notice as you shoot your tiny target that if you noticed the flash you will miss. If you did not see the flash and seen only the front sight you will be center.

This practice will help you.

4V50 Gary
September 14, 2002, 11:29 AM
Two things: lock may need timing to improve ignition. Don't know what the insides of the lock looks like (is it a coil spring job like the T/C or Lymans?). Be sure to wipe down the pan, flint and frizzen between shots. Clean burns better.

Second: Like Jimmy Mac says. Concentrate on that front sight blade. You won't notice the flash. I take it you're wearing safety glasses so don't worry about the flash.

September 16, 2002, 02:13 PM
Did better today. Guess it is just one of those, "Get use to it" things.

September 17, 2002, 02:39 PM
There is always going to be a delay vis a vis a caplock or inline. You need to concentrate on your fundamentals like sight alignment and trigger press and you will not be alarmed by the flash and boom of the ignition.

I wouldn't go altering my gun (i.e., changing flash hole, etc.) until I learned how to shoot it to its potential.