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Good Day With a Flintlock


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#1 cayugad

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Posted 23 June 2006 - 01:38 PM

Today I decided to play with one of the flintlocks and see if I will ever be able to master the art of flint knapping. I picked the Lyman Trade Rifle in .54 caliber. The load I use in that rifle is 90 grains of Goex 2f (this rifle hates 3f powder) and a moosemilk Pillow Tick patch, with a Buffalo Bullet .530 roundball. I used Goex 4f as the prime powder. All shooting was done at 50 yards, as that's about as far a shot as I would get with where I hunt with this rifle.

I never had to swab the barrel the entire day. The moosemilk patches were really doing well. No burns, or shredding, so I just kept shooting. I did wipe out the pan and frizzen from time to time, and I had to finally clean the frizzen spring and hinge because it got so fowled, that the flint could no longer trip it open towards the end to make a good spark.

I took a poster's knapping instructions with me. And after following his directions, I actually think I got the hang of it... I did make a chipping tool out of a nail and used that to flake off the smallest of amounts while the rifle was on half ######. It must of have worked because the rifle ignition was very sure, and F..A..S..T..! Even though I thought the flint looked dull, it still fired perfect. I had two hangfires or lag fires for better words to call them. I would then knapp when that happened.

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I first fired at the center target. It really took a pounding, but it gave me the sight picture I would need to hold which was a true 6 o'clock picture. I finally decided I was ready to adjust the sights. Not too bad, only took me a little over a year to commit to my load. I then shot three shots from a bench rest off a Caldwell bag, (picture C) to check my adjustment. I was more then pleased with this. So I got the shooting sticks out to see how I would do on them (picture D). Again, I was not all that unhappy with those results. The fast ignition really makes the difference with these rifles. Then I needed to knock my self down a little, so I took some free hand shots. As you can see, I kept them on paper, but I do need a lot of work in that department. (although I seldom if ever shoot free hand when hunting.. I almost always have a rest of some sorts.)

So it was a great day. The temperature was in the 70's and it was sunny with minor wind gusts. Maybe tomorrow I will take the Hawkins flintlock out and play with that one...
"Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, a total wreck with a big smile on your face."

#2 PA RIDGE RUNNER

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Posted 23 June 2006 - 03:45 PM

Good shooting. Those flintlocks are a real challange. Offhand is especially challanging. Even at their fastest they are slower than anything else. Holding on target till the rifle goes boom from the offhand position is about the toughest black powder shot there is. I have hunted with a flintlock since 1976 and will take a rest to shoot everytime over a freehand attempt. If I am shooting a flintlock freehand I feel good holding it in the general compass direction of the target. When I started with a flintlock there were no left hand flinters. I shot a right handed flintlock left handed. Yep the fire went off in front of my face.
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#3 cayugad

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Posted 23 June 2006 - 05:15 PM

I can not even think of how hard it would be to avoid the flinch shooting a right handed lock left handed... it would really take some nerves of steel. This Lyman Trade Rifle is sure a sweet rifle to shoot. It really handles nice and is very accurate. Although I need to practice the off hand shooting a little more...
"Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, a total wreck with a big smile on your face."

#4 Eric

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Posted 23 June 2006 - 06:11 PM

I started shooting flinters in 82 (19) that is MAN YOU GUYS MAKE ME FEEL YOUNG :lol: and as PA said he and I started shooting right handed guns left handed BUT when thats all you have to shoot you make due.

Nice shooting there Cayugad. Nobody ever said shooting a flintlock was easy.
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#5 cayugad

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Posted 25 June 2006 - 02:07 PM

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I shot my Thompson Center .50 caliber Hawkins today which is also a flintlock. All the shooting was done at 50 yards. I shot group #1 and was pleased but made a slight sight adjustment and shot group #2 It was then I realized I was out of Goex 3f powder in my horn. So back in the house for another pound and... I was totally OUT!! :blink: My next case is not due until tuesday.

So I got some Goex 2f in my other horn and thought I would try that. While the Goex 2f shot a little different it was not all that bad. So I knew I had some Swiss 2f and decided to try that. The Swiss powder did not shoot as well as I expected, of course Swiss is much stronger a black powder, so perhaps if I took the time I could figure out the right powder charge..

I think I will just wait until my Goex 3f gets here to test some more....
"Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, a total wreck with a big smile on your face."

#6 Spirithawk

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Posted 25 June 2006 - 07:44 PM

Cayugad, we're going to have to start calling you Old Eagle Eye. ;)

Edited by Spirithawk, 25 June 2006 - 07:44 PM.


#7 cayugad

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Posted 25 June 2006 - 08:23 PM

With open sights. I've been finding that once past 50 yards, the groups open a LOT so I am going to start to reconsider my open sights range I will take hunting shots at...

Although I do like to shoot targets.. :D
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#8 Whitetiger

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Posted 28 June 2006 - 11:27 PM

Im using up my hodgemans 777 in 2f. when I'm out, do you think the 3f would be better? I have the t/c hawkins .50 cal flintlock. Im not sure if my accuracy is off due to the sights, my flinching (still not entirely used to the flash) or it doesnt like the powder. Im sure its got alot to do with the first two. Im going to the range tomorrow with a rifle rest to make sure the sights are on and to help remove some of my error since I did tinker with the movable rear sight.

#9 cayugad

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Posted 29 June 2006 - 09:09 AM

Im using up my hodgemans 777  in 2f.  when I'm out, do you think the 3f would be better? I have the t/c hawkins .50 cal flintlock. Im not sure if my accuracy is off due to the sights, my flinching (still not entirely used to the flash) or it doesnt like the powder. Im sure its got alot to do with the first two. Im going to the range tomorrow with a rifle rest to make sure the sights are on and to help remove some of my error since I did tinker with the movable rear sight.

First off.. using Hodgdon's Triple Se7en would not be my #1 choice for powder in a flintlock. Triple Se7en powder, whether 2f or 3f while having a lot higher pressure for better bullet speeds, also has a higher ignition point. It's harder to light. Goex is the easiest of all powders to ignite.

I've tried a lot of powders in flintlocks and have came to the conclusion that if you want fast reliable ignition with excellent performance, then Goex, Swiss, or KIK black powder is the only way to go. Since your shooting a .50 caliber then I would go with the 3f grade powder as the finer powder can also be used for a prime powder if you need be. That way when you go hunting, you carry one horn. Actually on wet days I've had much better luck with 3f and moisture then 4f and moisture.

I shoot 90 grains of Goex 3f with a moosemilk patched ball in my Thompson Center .50 caliber Hawkins Flintlock. I do use Goex 4f as the prime because when I first got started into flintlocks I was told I should use 4f as the primer powder. Well I bought two pounds of it. Any idea how many shots that is at about 3 grains a pop... :D So I will be shooting 4f for some time.

When I was testing Pinnacle 3f in my flintlocks, I was duplexing the load by dropping five grains of Goex 4f down the bore first. Then with a 4f primer of Goex, I was getting some excellent ignition because of the duplex was firing off and igniting the Pinnacle real fast.

I would guess the accuracy issues you report are due to a couple factors;

- perhaps the rifles' sweet load has not been found. It does not like the powder.

- using Triple Se7en as a main charge may be giving you some extreme hang time. For this I would go to Goex 3f powder and then sight the rifle in.

- since you moved your rear sight and now are not sure it is close to anything, center the sight to both midway marks. Move your target to 25 yards and work on group size, finding the sweet load and fighting the flinch at this point. Until you get the right load for the rifle and the flinching under control, you can never be sure that the rifle is actually sighted in.

- flinching can be controlled. I mentally tell myself that the flash will go off and it is up to me to look through it. Concentrate on your target. As I fire I try to watch the target actually get hit by the ball through all the smoke. I amazes me how many people shoot and have no idea where or what they hit. This way I know I did not flinch and that the best possible follow through was achieved..
"Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, a total wreck with a big smile on your face."

#10 Spirithawk

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Posted 08 July 2006 - 11:28 AM

Ahhhh, the great Oz has spoken. ;) I'm really impressed with your dedication and always learn something from your posts, Cayugad. :yes:

Edited by mzlloader, 18 July 2006 - 03:00 PM.


#11 cayugad

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Posted 23 July 2006 - 04:46 PM

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I decided to shoot my Thompson Center Hawkins .50 caliber flintlock today. I was shooting 85 grains of Goex 3f and moosemilk patch and Buffalo Bullet roundball. I was at 70 yards as that's where the bench was and I did not feel like moving it.

Over all I was not unhappy but felt it should have shot a tighter group so it looks like I am doomed to practice some more with the rifle at longer distances.

The green dots are hits from the 385 grain Buffalo Bullet Conicals. I really can not figure these conicals out. I have shot them from a number of different rifles now and still I am not pleased with the accuracy. I sure would not hunt with them.
"Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, a total wreck with a big smile on your face."




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