My first day with the flintlock.


March 25, 2011, 01:41 AM
Some months back I mentioned that I'd gotten an Armi Sport (Chiappa) Kentucky .45 flintlock rifle and asked about how much powder to use with the odd twist rate.

Well two weeks ago I finally got some of the correct size round balls and just today the wet weather broke and I was able to venture out to the hills to play with the new toy.

First off I didn't have any ffffg powder so I tried out some fffg "well shaken" to bring the "dust" up to mix with the bigger grains. It took two tries of the flint to set off a flash pan only charge but that provided enough faith to carry on. My first shot was a short shot at about 20 yards in one of our cowboy action pistol bays. But good enough for a first day out with it. The rifle shot nicely to POA with the shot being well in the center area of the target I shot at. And the big puff in the face was a hoot when I realized that the darn thing had actually fired! ! ! ! ! :D

I went on to fire the rifle another 5 or 6 times by either myself or the two friends that had come along as well as one of my cowboy shooting buddys that was there in the bay next to us. By that time and with all the other guns I'd brought it was getting late. Besides, I can see why it's worth bringing along something wet to swab out the barrel after each two or three shots since the last loading was a real effort to get the patch n' ball past the rough spot of fouling in the first third of the barrel.

Shooting it was hardly a big punch to the shoulder. Although the rifle is heavy on its own we all found that it had a soft but insistent push to it. And this was despite using about 10 grains more than y'all suggested since I was using my .44 pistol flask with the 30 grain measure so I just used two dumps of the spout for 58 to 60 grains behind the .440 PRB.

Out of the 6 or 7 shots taken only one failed to fire on the first pull. And that one did fine when the cock was reset and frizzen put back down with the same priming powder.

I've got pics and a vid in the camera but I need to halt the 'puter and connect the new USB hub I got to give me more ports for such friviolities as cameras. I'll get the pics and the vid up by the weekend sometime since I'm out and about tomorrow for the whole day.

Oh yeah, we also shot my .44 1860 about 5 cylinders worth. Some great fun there. Especially since it came with a really light trigger. Not sure if that was just a factory fluke or if someone worked it before I got it. But it sure is a nice gun for accurate grouping... even if the goups are high due to the usual replica issue of the hammer not rotating far enough to the rear to match the originals.

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March 25, 2011, 06:16 AM
Congratulations. Sounds like you had a great time.

I was using my .44 pistol flask with the 30 grain measure so I just used two dumps of the spout for 58 to 60 grains behind the .440 PRB
Get a powder measure. Loading a long rifle directly from a powder flask is unsafe. The barrel may contain hot embers which can ignite the new charge being poured into the muzzle. The flash can then back up into the flask, at which point you're holding a grenade in your hand. It's unlikely but it has happened (I've personally witnessed it once) and the consequences are very painful. The convenience of eliminating one step in the loading process is not worth the risk. Besides, you're no longer limited to multiples of the spout on the flask.

March 27, 2011, 12:28 AM
I was on that by setting the flintlock aside for a while after each shot. I'd shoot it and then the folks I had out with me and I would shoot some other gun and then come back to the flintlock for another shot some 10 minutes later. I figured that any embers had long since burnt out by that much time.

As you can tell I still need to get a few things for the long gun side of black powder.

March 28, 2011, 12:19 AM
I have a .45 Cal Kentucky rifle Flintlock.
A fellow BP enthusiast told me about this "Secret Formula".

Mix Equal parts:
Murphey's Oil Soap
Isopropyl Alcohol (70% solution)
Hydrogen Peroxide (3% solution, I think) Brown bottle at drug store.

Use a patch wet with this mix to swab your bore between shots.

The Peroxide foams and cuts the BP fouling, the alcohol makes it evaporate fast, the soap also cuts the fouling and leaves a light oil residue.

Also never use petroleum products on your BP firearm, petroleum will make your powder clump and cause more fouling.
Use Bore Butter for patches and Lube or even Vegetable shortning.

I bought a cheap pan (Dollar Store) and melted my bore butter/shortinig in it and soaked my patches in small batches (Rhyme) in the hot bore butter.
It makes for a nice evenly lubed patch, it's cheaper than buying pre-lubed, and you don't have to fumble with patch lube while reloading.
I keep them in a small zip-lock or a used Round ball box.

Flintlocks take more fiddling/finess than a cap and ball but that's half the fun.

March 28, 2011, 04:49 AM
The oil I was using on the patch was Canola cooking oil. I've been using it in my BP revolvers last year and this and find that it really does a nice job of keeping the BP fouling soft and slimey. I used it on the patches as all I'd found so far is dry ones and I had not had time to look at making up any other lube for them.

Thanks for the swabbing mix. I'll see if I can't find some Murphy's and make up some of your mixture.

March 28, 2011, 06:32 AM
Love shooting black powder, especially flintlocks or perc. caps. Hate the in-lines. CONGRATS and enjoy!

March 28, 2011, 07:03 AM
Plain water works for swabbing, and it's cheaper.

March 28, 2011, 03:48 PM
What mykeal said. The lube I use is Hoppes #9 BP lube/solvent. I normally spend an afternoon at the range and don't have to wipe the bore even though I fire several dozen rounds. The last round of the day loads as easily as the second round did. Using Hoppes as your patch lube will wipe the bore each time you load and shoot. There will never be more than a shots worth of fouling in the bore.

March 28, 2011, 04:14 PM
Welcome to the club! There's nothing like a flintlock for a pure shooting experience. It's real alchemy.

The canola oil is probably a bit light for use on the flintlock. In my experience you need more lubrication to get good loading esp. after a few rounds and a tight fitting patch and ball. I'd suggest switching to a mix of extra virgin olive oil and beeswax.

I stay clear of any over the counter stuff both because it seems like cheating and more importantly because BP is such a hands-on process you're bound to be exposed to whatever chemicals you put down the bore. Oil and beeswax or bore butter are food grade products so no worries there.

March 29, 2011, 03:23 PM
I ran into a few folks at my club during the tail end of the black powder group meeting last night. I mentioned that I'd finally got my flintlock out and described how the fouling was building up after a hal dozen shots. One of them said that after trying many other "cures" he now just soaks the dry patch down with some automotive window washing fluid as a "lube". He sais he's getting a full day of shooting with all shots being about the same difficulty to load. Another lady there mentioned that she uses a straight dish wash liquid soap as the only lube with similar results.

So it would appear that there's more to this patch lubing thing than meets the eye.

One thing they both agreed on is that the patches themselves should be laying on the ground a few feet out and not badly torn or burned. I'll have to look at that next time since I was having just WAY too much fun enjoying the flash in the face and the huge cloud of powder and the soft THUMP! sound and recoil it made...:D

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