View Full Version : Flint power!

February 3, 2001, 12:06 PM
Hey guys! I just get a bug about shooting flintlock once again. I've had a couple Hawkens and wondered if there were any other bugs out there on TFL?

Anyway, the new Cabelas shooter's catalog has several choice muzzle loaders, including several flints. The one that really got me salivating was a replica of the US Rifle Model of 1803 Harpers Ferry. It is in 54 caliber and has a half stock, similar in appearance to a Hawken but a little cooler to me!

My experience in shooting the flint-powered pieces is that it takes a lot of perseverance to get good with them to the extent that they have about a dead certainty of going off. They are much more persnickety than a cap and ball model, as any of you who have shot one much would know. But the satisfaction I got made up for the pains! First, I got the joy of loading it myself with varying charges of powder and patched ball, second the skill of making that one shot count, and third, the luck of having it go off at all!

Also, the recoil with a hooked rifle buttplate will make you sit up and take notice!

Are there any more fans out there? ;)

February 5, 2001, 02:58 AM
ck out the tvm line or flintlocks.they are much cheaper and better made than the pedersoli line and have a touch of the patriot.

February 5, 2001, 10:17 AM
I want to second the comment on the TVM line. They are semi-custom made and use Siler locks and Green Mountain barrels. The 1803 replica is a nice looking rifle but the ones I've seen had very shallow rifling more appropriate to shooting a Minie ball.

February 5, 2001, 12:59 PM
Anyone got a link to the TVM webpage?


Scott Evans
February 5, 2001, 04:55 PM
I am afraid that I am a fan as well. I have one under construction. .45 cal 42” barrel, Chambers lock, brass trim, Curly maple full stock, 1760-80 Virginia style. I plan to hunt with it next season. The most fun in firearms as far as I’m concerned.

By the way, it has been my experience that the flint lock is a more reliable source of ignition then the #11 caps.

February 6, 2001, 09:25 AM
Is the #11 the standard size or the musket size? Ain't got any with me but the standard size Remington or CCI work almost as well as a centerfire rifle for me. The CVA caps are hard brass and often will not seat fully on the nipple so there are more fails to fire. Get either Rem or CCI soft copper caps.

I'm surprised you can get yours to work that reliably. Congratulations and have fun!

Mike Irwin
February 6, 2001, 01:59 PM
I've been shooting flintlock on and off for years.

I built a T/C Renegade back in the 1980s to use for deer hunting in Pennsylvania, where it's flint only, round ball only, open sights only for primitive season.

I REALLY enjoy shooting flintlock, but I never did really enjoy that nasty sour smell that you get after going through a pound of powder. :)

One of the best things I ever did was flatten out two round balls, trim the edges, and use the lead foil to wrap the flint instead of a piece of leather. It held the flint a LOT more firmly and stablely than the leather ever did.

The other best thing I did was to luck into some hand knapped English chert flints at a gunshow. I had been using T/C sawn flints before that, and I'd be lucky to get 10 or 15 shots before one was done.

With the cherts, the least number of shots I got from one was about 45-50, and the most I got from one took me through an ENTIRE 1-lb. can of black powder plus a little from another can. At 60-grains of FFFg powder, that would have been around 120 to 125 shots! :eek:

I never though that kind of life would be possible from a flint.

Scott Evans
February 6, 2001, 04:56 PM
# 11 is smaller then the musket primers I believe. The ones I have are made by CCI. I have never been able to get reliable ignition with them in the field. I am wondering if Pyrodex is part of the problem. With the flint however, I rarely ever fail to fire; the caps on the other hand ... one in 5 fails to ignite the main charge.

February 6, 2001, 05:23 PM
In flint I could get reliable ignition with Pyrodex if I put a 9mm parabellum case worth of FFFg Black powder down the bore first, following it with 80g (or whatever) of Pyrodex and the patched ball. It's a little easier to clean than straight BP. I would assume the booster charge would help your caplock go off easier, too.

You are cleaning out your bolster, of course.


February 6, 2001, 06:32 PM

this is the link to tvm.i am alos a dealer for there products so drop me a email if you need one.

i have a tn rifle in 50 cal 38 inch in stock currently.

Munro Williams
February 7, 2001, 10:59 PM
I've had less than fifty misfires on my .58 "Missippi" rifled musket, and I've had the thing for 27 years. I use German musket caps, and whenever it doesn't detonate I merely cock the hammer and try again, it always shoots. This being the case, and after reading about pyrodex in the flash pan problems with you flintlock guys, I'm convinced that it's the powder. It very well may be a mainspring problem, but it's not big enough a problem to install a new spring.

Here's smoke in your eyes folks, be sure to shoot the eyelash off of a gnat at 20 rods for me.

Mike Irwin
February 7, 2001, 11:21 PM

You say you "cock the hammer and try again, it always shoots..."

Do you mean that you put on another cap, or do you drop the hammer on the same cap?

If the latter, it's most likely a mechanical problem.

If the former, then it's probably a pyrodex problem.

To all who have been having problems igniting pyrodex, try one of the "Hot Shot" nipples. They can make a WORLD of difference.

February 8, 2001, 01:43 AM

Thanks for the link! I'm thinking about getting a pair of 54 caliber Hawkens... that is if I can come up with the dough. ;)


February 8, 2001, 08:23 PM
dont think you will find any hawken rifles at tvm:):):)

just hard core blackpowder folks there.

[Edited by gunmart on 02-08-2001 at 11:25 PM]

Munro Williams
February 13, 2001, 10:50 PM

I drop the hammer on the same cap. I'll get it taken care of when I get home.

Thanks for the tip about the "Hot Shot" nipples.

4V50 Gary
February 15, 2001, 06:37 PM
I've four flintlock rifles to my name. My first is a Lymans Great Plains in left hand and the second, a 50 caliber rifle I built for myself from parts bought from the Log Cabin Shoppe. There is a unique thing about flint as compared to percussion cap guns. The "click-swoosh-boom!" effect has a charm all its own. It also requires a steadier rifleman than does the percussion gun with its faster ignition time.

On the other extreme though, I also have several Civil War rifled muskets. Compared to the old round ball guns, they are quite accurate at long ranges and those Minie Balls do command respect.

February 16, 2001, 09:01 AM
ck out the minute man rifles from narragansett arms.they look really great.i am having one built.

4V50 Gary
February 16, 2001, 11:41 AM
Oh yeah, Narragansett Arms does high quality work. I have one of their rifles and while expensive, it's museum quality.

February 19, 2001, 04:39 PM
gary,can you email me a photo?

4V50 Gary
February 20, 2001, 11:31 AM
Sorry, but I don't even know how to attach photos (and don't have a digital camera).

Mike Irwin
February 20, 2001, 12:15 PM

Have a scanner?

Scan your photos, and post them on photopoint.com or one of the other free photo hosting sites.

If you need more assistance, e-mail me at [email protected] and I'll walk you through the process.

February 20, 2001, 03:13 PM
I have two Thompson Center .50 cal Hawkens - one in cap lock and one flintlock. The caplock has never failed to ignite using Goex black powder and Remington caps. I had trouble with the flintlock at first until I figured out that I needed to run a nipple pick through the vent hole after each shot. It is very reliable doing that. The only other time it failed to ignite was when I forgot to put powder in the pan.:o

This reminds me of a story. When I got the first rifle and all the loading/cleaning goodies in the mail I spread it all out on the living room floor to take inventory. The wife walked in, took one look and said, "You didn't have enough toys when you were a little boy, did you?":)

4V50 Gary
February 21, 2001, 05:22 AM
No scanner either Mike. Sorry guys.

Cap n ball
February 27, 2001, 02:45 PM
I own one flinter. It has been in my family since the Revolution and was a gift to my GGGgrandfather who was a quartermaster under Washington. It's a 'New Land Pattern Horse Pistol'. It's .58 cal and about 19 inches long with a tower lock of Geo.III on it and the name 'Wilot 1761'. When I inherited it it hadn't even been fired in over a hundred years. It cleaned up real nice. Old brass furniture has a beautiful patina. It's a smoothbore. I've fired it with light loads and it's suprizingly accurate. I've loaded it with the buck and ball that it would have been loaded with in combat and what it will do to target at 25 ft is impressive. I don't shoot it much at all any more but it is loaded and ready in the bedroom. I hope I'd never shoot anyone with it but it would make for an interesting story in the newspaper. The powder horns and turnscrew that came with it are very beautiful and are carved with my ancestors name and dates and a map of Virginia. I've never had a misfire or a hanger with it. You just have to mind the flint's edge and the line up with the frizzen over the pan. Moisture in the flash powder will cause a hangfire but I put a little beeswax around the lip of the pan and when it's closed no moisture can get in

Scott Evans
February 27, 2001, 05:50 PM
Great story!

If possible I would love to see a picture of such a valuable piece of history.

If I were you I would have it appraised if you haven’t already. Firearms that are from that period and in good (fireable of all things) condition, verifiably handed down from generation to generation could bring a hefty price in the proper auction. Condition of the piece, documentation and a story with a family connection. WOW!

4V50 Gary
February 27, 2001, 06:09 PM
Please don't use that cherished family heirloom for self defense. Use a modern firearm instead and if you must buy one of those used S&W Model 10s for less than $150, do so. Here's why:

Guns used in shootings are seized in evidence. Typically the cop in the evidence room isn't a gun buff and to him it's just another gun. Toss it goes onto the shelf. While it sits there, since it hasn't been cleaned or oiled, it begins to rust. By the time the DA determines that it's a good shoot and no charges will be filed, your once cherished heirloom will be scratched from rough handling, nicked from being tossed onto the shelf (with possibly some chips of wood being missing), rusted from no hygroscopic action of the black powder residue, lack of preservatives and handling by humans with "acid" hands. So, put the gun aside and let a more modern gun do the work. Please, for your children's children, do it.

Cap n ball
February 28, 2001, 01:25 PM
Gary, Your absolutely correct. I've unloaded it and cleaned it up and put it and the rest of it's gear in my safe. I think I'll only fire it on the 4th of July and then with a plug of tow instead of a load. Thanks for the admonishment. I replaced it with an 1858 replica Remington 44. I'll try to post a photo of it along with the horns. I also have his sword and scabbard. It's in really great shape and as much as it embarrasses me to admit it, when I was a little kid we used to cut watermelons in half with it but we always cleaned it up real good and never nicked the edge. My mother tells me that his uniform went to another relative and she doesn't remember which one it was but that when she was a little girl her older brother wore his tricorner hat once in a while but there again she doesn't remember what happened to it either. I found about twelve of the buttons that were on the coat and waistcoat in my grandmother's sewing basket and still have them. I've got a pretty good idea of what the old pistol is worth but I wouldn't even have mentioned it if you guys hadn't been talking about flintlocks. I wouldn't give it up for anything. That's one gun that they WILL have to pry from my cold dead hand.

4V50 Gary
February 28, 2001, 05:50 PM
Thank you, and congratulations on having the sword (hanger) and the uniform buttons. Drop by the Smithsonian American History Museum right now and you'll see a display showing the evolution of the firearms and swords carried by our Army.