Questions regarding electric ignition concept


tom e gun
October 17, 2012, 06:26 PM
So I was hit with an idea for an electric ignition home built muzzleloader using a small glowplug affixed to a removeable breechblock, for either rifle or pistol, that could be powered by a 9v or other battery setup. (I am aware of electric/electronic firing systems for muzzle loaders I have seen in the past that can be bought)
I was wondering if anyone had toyed with this sort of idea and actually made a working device, or is this a silly notion?
I have pictured in my mind that it could be reasonably easy to rig up, even adding a safety/disconnect and other such things.
Anyone have constructive thoughts on this? Or just tell me I'm nuttier than a fruitcake for considering such a thing... :D

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October 17, 2012, 06:36 PM
I would be concerned with a potential problem with the delay between when you energize the circuit and the time that the glow plug reaches a temperature that will ignite the powder.

My experience with model airplane glow plugs leads me to guess that this delay might be too long to offer accurate, controlled shooting.

Good luck!


October 17, 2012, 06:50 PM
See the pictures I posted under the mdern muzzle loader pistol thread.
Plans were publshed back around 1980's in one of the gun annuals

tom e gun
October 17, 2012, 07:08 PM
thanks for the input nofishbob and zimmerstutzen :)

October 17, 2012, 09:03 PM
You could always use kerosene heater ignitors. They look like a light bulb without the glass. It only takes 3 volts to get then glowing orange. They probably wouldn't last long, but I've thought about doing it for grins.
I saw a 3 barreled BP pistol design in the Poor Man's James Bond 2 for an all plastic pistol with stacked barrels, a 9 volt battery, an automatically indexing switch, and broken light bulbs ( small automotive style) as ignitors. I thought about building an ML with 2 or more barrels using the same principle, but with kerosene heater ignitors.

The pistol in the book had brass tubing-lined barrels.
I was thinking about making a steel and wood BP gun using the same concept.
Thought about making a double barreled rifle or shotgun with double triggers, using 2 microswitches.

Jim, West PA
October 18, 2012, 01:12 PM
Thomas, me thinks you got too much time on yer hands.
Git out and burn some powder !!!!

tom e gun
October 18, 2012, 03:29 PM
Yeah Jim, too much time and too little of them greenbacks! :neener:
It's gonna be shooting time as soon as I get paid :D

October 18, 2012, 04:53 PM
I had a CVA electra that probably had hundreds of thousands of $$ in R&D and was hardly usable. The problem is you have to clean the plug just about every shot. Even when I got good ignition there was a noticeable delay in firing.

October 18, 2012, 05:21 PM
In the late 1890's a few internal combustion engines were built to run on gun powder. I read third hand accounts that indicated they were ignited by electrical spark, but that may be incorrect. Obviously they didn't require cleaning after each ignition. Perhaps a little time investigating how those gun powder engines worked would prove fruitful.

October 18, 2012, 05:48 PM
A friend of mine Rum Cake Ronnie did it several years ago. The lock time increased as the battery voltage dropped. He had better lock times using AC current but the extension cord became a problem after the first two hundred feet. Compared to a flint or percussion it didn't hold any advantages

October 18, 2012, 08:15 PM
In the late 1890's a few internal combustion engines were built to run on gun powder.

No Huygens engine has ever been successfully produced. In 1807 Cayley constructed two designs in which the powder was ignited by candles. Thomas Paines' designs resembled a water wheel. In the only modern design known to have worked the powder was ignited externally and used to produce high pressure air that was introduced into a chamber to drive a piston. It was never produced.

I'm not aware of any Huygens engines built in the 1890's. I'd like to read more about them if possible.

October 20, 2012, 09:58 PM
Go piezo, or go home (no batteries). In the meantime, I'll stay with my flintlocks.

October 20, 2012, 10:28 PM
Simply discharging a battery into an e-match (thin wire coated in BP) could work but would have a delay.

Using a slapper detonator/exploding bridgewire (basically use a huge capacitor and dump enough energy into a thin wire so the wire itself detonates) would work but they would need to be replaced each time. It would be cool to have a crazy fast locktime and the trigger/switch could be placed anywhere on the rifle (ie a bullpup rifle with an amazing trigger)

Too bad it would need to be replaced each shot and the capacitor with charging circuit would be huge.

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