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Old January 4, 2006, 02:46 PM   #1
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Getting started in Flintlocks, Questions?

I am interested in buying flintlock. I have been searching the web and visiting stores to find out all I can. I have a few questions about the barrels. I know the ifferences between smooth bore and riffled? Which is used for what? What can each one be used for?

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Old January 4, 2006, 04:11 PM   #2
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Smoothbores are for shot or round balls. They are generally very inaccurate. Rifled barrels deliver better accuracy with round balls (or sometimes conical projectiles). Rifled barrels cannot shoot shot very well.
Rifled barrels with a twist of 1 turn in 50-66" shoot round balls very well. Barrels with twists that are faster-1 turn in 48" down to 1 turn every 21" are better suited for conical or modern projectiles,but will also shoot round lead balls.
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Old January 4, 2006, 06:10 PM   #3
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I hunt with smoothbore flintlock muskets. My smoothbores
are just as accurate as my flintlock rifles out to around 75 ft.
Past that the rifle wins. My smoothbores will hit a gallon jug
at a 100 yards and a 5 gallon bucket at 130 yards offhand.
If you want to shoot shot in a smoothbore, it works.

In my opinion if you want to shoot mostly shot, you need to
have a different type stock/gun.

I like flintlocks but I have not found any black powder substitute
that works in them. If any one knows please tell us.
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Old January 4, 2006, 06:23 PM   #4
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Generally, most of the smoothies have larger bores than the typical rifle- and use more lead and powder. Smoothbore barrels are often thinner than rifle barrels and therefore are lighter weight.

It all depends on what you are looking to use the gun for. If you want to use it primarily for hunting, a smoothbore would be the most versitile. For target shooting, maybe a small bore rifle. Historical reenactments- Either depending on who and when you want to portray.

If you decide on a rifle, spend a little extra for a semi-custom piece with a swamped barrel. This is where the barrel tapers from the breech toward the muzzle, then flares out again at the muzzle end. The balance is totally different (and much better) than a straight octagon barrel.
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Old January 4, 2006, 08:52 PM   #5
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Suggest you find a blackpowder group in your area. Go out and try their guns and then figure out what you want.
Vigilantibus et non dormientibus jura subveniunt. Molon Labe!
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Old January 5, 2006, 09:54 AM   #6
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Thanks for the info. I have been asking around my area but everyone I talk to uses inline. I can't use an inline in PA during the flintlock season which is when I want to hunt. I guess the smooth bore will alow me to get out and hunt for rabbits as well. Thanks again.

JN01: any suggetions( brands, makes) for the swapped barrel. I was looking at the Thompson firestorm.
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Old January 5, 2006, 05:50 PM   #7
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I'm not aware of any mass produced rifle using a swamped barrel. It's more of a custom/semi-custom gun feature.

A custom gunmaker will build a gun specifically to your needs, but it will cost major bucks and you will wait a long time.

A semi-custom maker has certain "patterns" of guns that he makes with a list of available options. Many often have a few guns "on-hand" for sale. A semi-custom gun costs less, but will still be a chunk of money. A fairly plain rifle with a swamped barrel can be had for around $800-900. Another option is that many makers offer a gun "in-the-white" which means it is put together but requires final finishing of the wood and metal (final sanding/staining of the stock, blueing of the barrel) for a couple hundred less. Even cheaper is a kit, but requires some skill to put together.

The extra cost of a swamped barrel is because of the fair amount of extra work inletting it into the stock, but I feel the cost is well worth it.

Most of the semi-custom builders offer guns with straight octagon barrels for a couple hundred less than for a swamped barrel.

If you aren't looking to spend that much, a smoothbore would be cheaper.

The biggest advantage to buying a semi-custom gun is that you will get a QUALITY lock for the gun. I have no experience with the TC flintlocks, but many of the imported production guns have locks with unreliable ignition due to improperly hardened frizzens, bad springs, etc. A caplock of mediocre quality will usually function fairly well, a flintlock will not. If you're new to shooting flintlocks, you don't need to be handicapped with a bad one. Perhaps someone else can speak to how well the TC flintlocks work.

Here are some decent quality, reasonably priced semi-custom builders:

Tennessee Valley Manufacturing:

Early Rustic Arms:

Jim Chambers Flintlocks (kits):

PS: If you buy a mass produced flintlock, you can replace the standard lock with a good quaility lock made by L&R Lock Company. These are made to drop-in fit some production guns: -look under the replacement lock section.
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