View Full Version : Flintlock on the police range

4V50 Gary
May 9, 2001, 09:12 PM
Well, it was open range today at the Police range so I headed out. My Sam Browne belt & Sig were left at home and I took my homebuilt 50 cal. flintlock rifle instead. While it was bright & sunny, there were heavy winds (25-30 mph) from West to East (across the firing line). This made offhand shooting with that long rifle difficult. Luckily, I brought a shooting mat and a big cedar log for myself.

Using a .015 greased patch and .490 ball, started with 50 grains of FF. Fired five shots and swabbed out the barrel with patches soaked in denatured alcohol. Cleaned the pan and regularly wiped down the flint with the same stuff. Powder loads were increased in 5 grain increments until I reached 70 grains. I found my rifle shot best with 65 grains of FF. It also shot centerline and any deviation to left or right was because of the heavy winds.

Moved back to the 25 yard line to see how it would shoot. It shot low (4") from bullseye, suggesting some filing down of the front sight is required. At 35 yards, it shot about 6" low and at 50 yards, a full 8" low. Increased my powder charge to 75 grains and it was shooting dead on at that point.

Overall, about 52 shots fired in the course of 5 hours time. One observor, an old fellow, was from another agency and having a life long interest in blackpowder, we struck up a conversation. A buddy who I know from Advanced Officer shows up and introduces me to the old fellow who is his father. I permit both to shoot and the father goes first, loding a bullet into the head. The son shoots and his ball goes directly above that of his father, overlapping it by 1/8". Genetics at work!

I used up all the powder in my horn and had to refill it on the range. A makeshift funnel was fabricated from a piece of cardboard (9mm pistol ammo box).

What surprised me was that I was able to use the same flint was used during the entire session. Having read accounts of soldiers in battle, I expected that it would only last about 10 shots. Oh, the flint was secured with a piece of lead (instead of leather).

Next step is to take the rifle out to 75 yards and see what it will do. I may adjust the sights so it shoots dead on at that distance (good for the various distances at Rendezvous).

May 10, 2001, 07:00 AM
Better be carefull with those 18th Century Assault Weapons! Meine Frau, daughter & I are Rev. War reenactors. We used to set up encampments at area schools and do presentations. But no more! Our 18th Century assault weapons were deemed to dangerous to expose the kids to! Apparently to many 7-11s were being knocked over with Longrifles, and there were an excessive number of drive-bys being done with those deadly, rapid fire, smoothbore muskets.

Yr. Obt. Svnt.

4V50 Gary
May 10, 2001, 01:06 PM
It doesn't take an evil bayonet or that devil's device for speedloading - the iron ramrod, or even that wicked white leather sling like your Brown Bess. Furthermore, my rifle is smaller bore and because of its rifling, slower to load and therefore has no place in the line of battle. Besides the inlays lack military bearing.

I have the honour, Sir, to be your obedient Servant.


May 10, 2001, 04:14 PM
You are correct, sir. You have one of those evil, long range, sniper rifles! Evil things! Morgan's riflemen used them to shoot OFFICERS at ranges exceeding 200 yards!

I have one also. Mine's a 1770 period Christiansburg Style. .54 Calibre.

Yr. Obt. Svnt.

Bye the Bye, My rapid fire assault weapon is a 1766 Charleville. The Frogs sold them to us, don't you know?

4V50 Gary
May 10, 2001, 04:36 PM
The top riflemen weren't called snipers and the term was not yet coined. Good riflemen were known as rifle-man, marksman, jaegers or at most, sharpshooters.

Further removing my rifle from "military" service is its style, Lancaster, circa 1790. It's too gaudy and thin to be of French-Indian War or American Revolution War era. Those were a bit thicker and heavier (and stronger). So, I maintain that my rifle is a "sporting" gun and not a weapon of war, unlike the death spewing Brown Bess or carnage causing Charleville.

By the way, I hope your cartridge box doesn't hold more than 10 rounds. If you want to stay legal, stay with the 9 round French-Indian War belly box or the King's Men will be visiting you like they did earlier at Concord. If you have one of those "high-capacity" cartridge box, the extra holes must be plugged permanently. A wooden dowel of the same diameter driven into the cartidge box hole and then pinned with a three-penny nail will satisfy the King's Men as to your loyality and obedience to the Crown. Temporary patches with wax, mud or dirt or hornet nest wadding are viewed as feeble attempts to circumvent the law.

Oh, in case you forgot, there's a limit as to the numbers of flints you can have on hand too. Don't toss out the old flints which can't be knapped anymore as you may exchange them for new ones when you visit to the Royal Chartered Gunsmith.

Finally, lest you forget, powder horns are seizable if seditious comments in reference to "liberty" are found on them. If you're making a new horn, the Royal Cipher is the approved mark, but religious symbols are also acceptable.

I have the honour, Sir, to be your obedient servant.


May 10, 2001, 11:19 PM

i have the virginia in 54 cal and a brown bess.

i rather like the bess with a buck and ball load.now thats a real fighting rifle.

George Hill
May 12, 2001, 01:03 AM
Didja wear your Buckskins too?

May 13, 2001, 07:10 PM
Dear Pampers -

Some of you guys look for conspiracies in the most unlikely places! :)

Isn't it obvious that the reason you are not allowed to play on the schoolyard is that the HVAC system gets fouled with your clouds of smelly smoke? We can't have the kiddies eating their lunch with a cafeteria full of smoke can we?

And you make the little kids jealous because their spitballs can't travel as far, or make as much noise, as your lead ball.

May 14, 2001, 07:10 PM
I'm pretty fond of my Bess. All the guys with the sissy Hawkens love to pal up with me on the Team Shoots. :D

Thanx for the tip about plugging the cartridge box, too - I'd sure hate to be in for a public flogging.

4V50 Gary
May 16, 2001, 07:32 AM
Last Saturday, I took the flintlock to the Mother Lode Gun Club Rendezvous near Jamestown, CA. Since load development was the done, and no adjustment have been made to the sights, I shot rather poorly on that day. Simply put, Rendezvous is not the place to experiment. Despite this, it was a lot of fun. Trying to figure out "Kentucky Windage" with all the targets being at various distances is rather difficult. Funny, but all that white smoke tends to obscure your sight so you can't see the impact of the ball.

One useful hint I learned was to pick the vent prior to shooting. That is, you push your vent pick into the vent hole to ensure that it is clear for the flash. The other thing to do is to turn the gun towards the side (if your flintlock is right handed, turn counterclockwise and if left handed, turn clockwise). Tap the rifle to settle the powder towards the vent, then with a quick flip of the wrist, spread the powder out along the length of the pan. I guess this can be called the Vent-Tap-Flip drill.

After shooting, went to Traders' Row and purchased some more cowhorns. I'll be busy at night making powder horns for myself and my brother. Also bought a small horn to make into a priming horn.

BTW George, I didn't wear buckskins but I plan on making a rifleman's frock. It'll look good with the tomahawk & scalping knife.

George Hill
May 16, 2001, 02:30 PM
:D Cool!

4V50 Gary
July 14, 2001, 11:20 PM
Went to United Sportsmen Range near Concord today with a couple of buddies of mine. As it was time to sight in the flintlock, my kit included a file, punch and 2 oz. ball peen. Began filing the front sight down and test firing it. Found it necessary to drift the rear sight to the right as it was hitting to the left. As I got the point of impact into the black at 25 yards, I shifted to 50 yards. Still far too low at 50 and more filing followed. Last shots were in the black at 50 and now I'm ready for 75 yards. My objective is to make it dead on at 75 yards and then learn "Kentucky Windage" for 15, 25, 50, 100, 150 and 200 yards. That will have to wait until the next trip.

My buddy brought out his Lyman Great Plains cap lock rifle in 50 cal. It was his first time shooting it and so he began with load development. Using a .490 ball and .018 patch, he started out with 45 grains and began working his way up. He was attempting to find out what powder charge gave him the best group. At 55 grains he got a two finger (less than 1") group at 25 yards. Funny but at 60 grains the group increased and at 65, it shrunk back down to less than two fingers again. Darn if those Lyman barrels aren't impressive good shooting barrels. He went as far as 75 gr and decided to call it quits. Sight filing started and at 50 yards, he was right outside the "X" ring. Didn't have a vise so it was old fashion file and check against the Mark I eyeball. The danger is filing at any angle and either giving the blade a list (cant to landlubbers) or a slight rise. It was a slow task which was checked frequently.

In the 5 hours we spent at the range, we fired between us less than 100 rounds. Almost 1 pound of powder was burned up and I finally had to change my flint after it had given me over 100 shots. :D Funny but when you're having fun time certainly flies.

July 15, 2001, 01:04 AM
I am glad I don't have evil rifles like you all do :eek:
I just have a .50 Octagon barrel, pecussion Navy Arms something.
Then I have a 2x barrel shot gun kit to build......long shory.


July 17, 2001, 11:57 AM
With your friends Lyman GPR, he has one of the best non-custom guns around. Barrel hamonics can cause groups to open up and close back down, so make sure he trys all the 5 grain increments from about 60 to 90 grains. Mine seems real happy around 80 grains with a ragged hole at 50 yards.

I cheat though, have a peep sight one right now. I am reverting to more primative sights now that I have my load developed.

Sounds like a blast - have you done a woods walk yet??? Look for a friendly club shoot of this type. You can even wear your frock and not look out of place!


July 17, 2001, 12:08 PM
I have the wicked Brown Bess assault OCIW. What kinda sling goes with that? I woulda guessed web, but Gary said white leather??? Cool.

Anyways, where can I get one??:cool:

July 17, 2001, 03:56 PM
On a Bess, it rough out leather rubbed with white pipe clay. Chalk will work.

Besses came pickeled (brown) and were pollished bright by troopers who, obviously, didn't have anything better to do. Kinda like spit-shining rough out WWII boots.

Yr. Obt. Svnt.

July 17, 2001, 04:43 PM
Thanks, Pampers!

I suspected they came brown even tho my Pedersoli came in the white. Hmm spit shined bbl. Soljers ain't changed much in 200 years, have they?;)

July 18, 2001, 07:32 AM
Soldiers HAVE changed.


Yr. Obt. Svnt.

Mike Irwin
July 23, 2001, 11:16 AM
The right kind of flint can last a LONG time. I used to use Thompson sawn flints, and I was luck to get 15-20 shots out of one before they crapped out.

Then at a gunshow I got some hand knapped English Chert flints. 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: