Bought my first kentucky rifle!! Minor problems


March 12, 2013, 08:53 PM
I got my sweet kentucky rifle from the grandad of a friend of mine. A couple months ago I offered to buy it. But he wanted 600 I said no because I thought that was high. He calls me up last Saturday saying he really needed money for bill and wanted know if I still wanted the rifle. I told him I have three hundred cash dollars in my pocket if that was enough for him to part with the rifle. Make a long story short I came home with her. I've never seen another like it. Will post pics later. Next day went and got powder and balls couldn't find flints though. But it had one in it. Loaded it up with 60 grains of 2f blackpowder substitute to start out with( as per the suggestion of the bass pro guy). Added a patch and ball and went outside to shoot it. Primed the pan with 3f black sub and pulled back the hammer. Flashed up but no go. I called my buddy and he said we needed to sharpen the flint. He took it out of the vice and dropped the flint on the ground(concrete) it broke in two peices!! I was furious!! Not only could I not shoot my rifle but I would have to keep it loaded for a week. I ordered new flint from Dixie gun works. But my question is will it hurt the rifle to leave it loaded for a week?

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March 12, 2013, 09:17 PM
Congratulations on the acquisition! We all look forward to seeing the pictures.

Assuming safe handling is followed, I don't think there is any harm in keeping it loaded with the main charge, but without a priming charge.

I have not had much luck priming a flintlock with substitute powders. I can appreciate that the real holy black can be hard to come by, but I think it is the best stuff to feed your sparker. ffff in the pan is the only way I have had avoided fail-to-fire.

When running low on the real stuff, I have had good luck with a hybrid load of a few grains of ffff down the barrel followed by the main charge of substitute powder.

March 12, 2013, 09:32 PM

Acorn Mush
March 12, 2013, 09:37 PM
Loaded it up with 60 grains of 2f blackpowder substitute to start out with( as per the suggestion of the bass pro guy).

Congrants x2 on your purchase but wrong info from the Bass Pro guy! Real black or, as a second choice, a duplex load with real black UNDER the sub is the only reliable way to go.

By the way, be sure to remove all of the fouling produced by you attempt to fire with the sub, especially if you were using Pyrodex. The fouling from Pyrodex is very corrosive and will damage your rifle in pretty short order. Want to know how I know?:cuss:

March 12, 2013, 09:38 PM

March 12, 2013, 10:12 PM
If you wanna shoot off the load, touch off the open pan w/a long stick match. Have someone help ya if need be.

Rule No.1 for flinter's: Black Powder Only!

Coonie's has been my source for GoexBP for many years. Just type in "Coonie's". 25 x 1lb. cans in a case. Can mix f's in the case.

March 12, 2013, 10:18 PM
Make sure you re-seat the ball on the powder charge before firing. Sometimes a dud moves the ball down the barrel a bit causing a potentially dangerous situation. I'd hate to see that beautiful rifle with a split or bulged barrel.

More info on the gun please.

March 12, 2013, 10:19 PM
Is there anyway to identify who made it? He said it was a kit gun but there still should be some kind of indentifying marks

March 12, 2013, 10:20 PM
All I know is it is a 50 cal kentucky flintlock rifle

Steel Horse Rider
March 12, 2013, 10:21 PM
If it is a modern kit gun the manufacturers information should be on the breech end of the barrel on either side of the top flat. It could possibly be marked on the underside but mine are all marked on either side of the rear sight.

March 12, 2013, 10:25 PM
From what I can see of the lock, I'd I.D. it as a Siler lock. Looks like a high quality kit. My guess would be a Jim Chamber's Kit. He's on the Net.

March 12, 2013, 10:40 PM
Dang!! So I didn't do to bad. Is there anyway to identify it as a Jim chambers rifle?

March 12, 2013, 10:41 PM
Also, ya don't need to remove the flint from the jaws to sharpen it. The only time ya loosen the jaws, is to replace an old, worn out flint, w/a new one. Or, in some cases, to move a worn, but still serviceable flint, forward, closer to the frizzen, on 1/2 cock.

I'll post pics, soon, of the coolest, easiest to make, easiest to use, flint sharpening (knapping) tool ever devised.

March 12, 2013, 10:54 PM
Any other way to identify my rifle
March 12, 2013, 11:42 PM

March 12, 2013, 11:47 PM
See that's why I thought I needed a new flint. Mine threw like three sparks. Plus I think my vent hole was clogged. Stuff comes in friday
March 13, 2013, 12:32 AM
This might help you on how to sharpen a Flint while still in the hammer.

March 13, 2013, 12:36 AM
You got a hell of a deal there. Like the man said get real black powder. Use 4F for the pan. If you have an air compressor at the house, and have one of those Harbor Freight kits, you may be able to air blast the ball out. Then clean hell out of it and don't forget to dry patch before you shoot it to get the moisture out of the barrel. If you get tired of it I am sure someone on the forum will be happy to take it off your hands.

4v50 Gary
March 13, 2013, 05:54 AM
Will it hurt to leave the rifle loaded for a week? If the bore was clean before loading, no. If the bore had been shot and is dirty, yes.

the Black Spot
March 13, 2013, 09:43 AM
Left mine loaded for over a year, fired off first try.

My firelock is a .50 as well. I load 60 gr of 3f BLACK powder, no sub and i prime the pan with 3f as well. No need for 4f

loose noose
March 13, 2013, 12:20 PM
As has been previously mentioned, the only powder that will consistently work in a flintlock rifle is the real black powder period. In my .50 Flinter, I use 70 grns. of Goex 2F down the bore and just fill the pan even with the flash hole using 4F, I've allways had an instantaneous ignition on a par with percussion ignited rifles.:)

March 13, 2013, 12:23 PM
OK. The knapper is made from a nail. In this case a duplex nail. Can grind the top nail head off and grind the shaft above the 2nd nail head into a tapered tang. Then burn the tang into a hole in a wood dowel. Or just use a nail as is.

Close up of the flint shows the knapper held perpendicular to the top surface leading down to the cutting edge. The nib, on the end of the knapper, acts as a stop, against the edge. And the shoulder, resting on top of the edge, does the knapping, when the top of the tool is struck w/the brass hammer. The size of the spall knapped off is determined by the width of the shoulder, above the nib. You control this when ya make the tool.

The hole in the hammer head is finished w/a taper pin reamer. The hammer handle is a length of bamboo from a chop-stick. It's just a jam fit.

When sharpening the flint, ya work along the edge, from one side to the other. Remove the high spots w/the knapper 'til most of the edge makes contact w/the frizzen.

Never do this on a loaded gun! Sparks have a way of showin' up unannounced.

Top view of the lock shows the gun across my knees, while sitting.

Spalls come off the bottom of the edge, revealing a fresh cutting edge, a bit higher on the flint. This is good. It's contact, w/the frizzen, keeps moving higher on the frizzen, during the life of the flint.

March 13, 2013, 12:26 PM
These are spalls off the bottom of the edge.

March 13, 2013, 02:57 PM
Doe's anyone ever go out and find good quality flint and just make they're own ? I noticed that the flint that I find, some of it sparks really well and some not.I was just wondering about that because,being a natural material I would think some people know what to look for.

March 13, 2013, 03:57 PM
In America we have Obsidian & Chert. Obsidian aka volcanic glass, & Chert aka hornstone: an impure form of flint, will both do, in a pinch, for "gun flints". Learning how to knapp the stuff is where the art comes in. Track o' the Wolf's 'sposed to have at least one book on the subject.

"Flint" is a gray, brown, or black quartz mostly found as nodules in chalk. This means, as I understand it, that most of the good stuff comes from the White Cliffs of Dover, England.

The nodule is the problem. Some of them are larger than footballs, and round, like geodes, aka "thunder eggs", but are not hollow inside. They're solid flint. To make sumpin outa the dern thing ya gotta get it open & into smaller pieces.

One way to do this was to heat the nodule up in a camp-fire, then pitch it into a large container of cold water, whence, upon entering the water, it exploded into many "spalls", which could then be knapped into whatever.

Oh, and one more thing, it's an unproven rumor, yet quite possibly accurate, that gunflints recovered from submerged centuries old shipwrecks, will not spark.
One o' my ol' shootin' buds bought some, one time, and they wouldn't spark, in his otherwise reliable lock. I was there, to see it.

March 13, 2013, 06:40 PM
Doak, I must apologize to you in advance. I plan on stealing your knapper and hammer designs. So simple and easy to make.
What's the diameter of the brass hammer head? It looks like 1/4" or 5/16". I have some 3/8" brass hex and some 1/2" brass bolts I can use.
Thanks for yet another brilliant BP solution. You're a credit to this forum.

March 13, 2013, 06:49 PM
I bought the 4 flint tools on a ring, the brass hammer, vent pick, and screwdriver

March 13, 2013, 07:12 PM
Now that is one beautiful flintlock!
March 13, 2013, 07:19 PM
I prefer the Missouri Chert. They are long lasting and spark well, plus they are cheap.

March 13, 2013, 07:28 PM
Jaymo ~
Nothin' to steal. It's your's fer the takin'. Someone else showed it to me...Ha! But that was a long time ago...:-D Hammer head on that one is 7/16'' OD. It's not critical. 1/2'' mite even be better.

Ha! My credit's no good!...:-D

March 13, 2013, 07:43 PM
kwhi43 ~
Do you mine your own chert, & knapp it yourself? I didn't know there's a source fer it?

That back action pistol looks like a hoot t' shoot!
March 13, 2013, 07:51 PM
The chert comes from along the Memmereck River down in the St Louis
Area. You get 13 for 12.00 any size. They are knapped and sold by Rich Pierce.
He will mail you the Flints first. You try them, and only pay for them if you like
Them. I have about 100 so far. Yes, the pistol is fun to shoot.

March 13, 2013, 08:08 PM
Ironhorse522 ~
I'm thrilled to be able to tell you that there's no cure fer what ya got! Ya prolly don't know it yet, but one day you lucky you are to have the sickness!...:-D

The treatment always fails, & it goes on forever!

March 13, 2013, 09:25 PM
I'm may be getting another remy to complement my other remy. But also want a pair of 1860 colts. And Walkers, Dragoons, etc, etc.. I really like it. Will post pics Saturday of the flintlock in action!!

March 14, 2013, 12:02 AM
Flintlocks are big, stupid fun. My favorite kind of fun. I love mine. I can't wait to take a deer with it.

March 14, 2013, 01:06 AM

I assembled this 'cheat sheet' few years back on substitutes.

As for your problem it is likely not the flint being dull, more likely it is the substitute powder you are using. You can use it but it often requires a booster charge in the barrel to ignite it. The pan sets off the booster charge which ignites the substitute. If you are dealing with percussion caps they are hot enough to ignite the substitute powder.

Quick way to test your flint. Put some powder in the pan and trip the hammer. Does it flash, if yes then the flint is adequate, if not then there is a flint problem :)

Loading up the pan is unique to each, not only do you have the width of the lock but the alignment with the touch hole in the barrel, also the breech plug makes a HUGE difference. When working with new rifles, loads, etc.. it is very good to take some type of hat pin or other small object so you can insert into the touch hole and crunch the powder in the barrel, you can quickly tell if there is powder at the bottom of the breech plug.

This is a patent breech on my kentucky rifle.

Now that you see how DEEP it is, lets look inside the barrel and how it is shaped.

So, powder needed must equal volume of the breech cup or exceed. If it is less then you run into dangerous conditions.

There are many styles, shapes and types of breech plugs out there and to really optimize loading you need to figure out what type it uses and how best to incorporate that into your loading, firing and cleaning scheme.

Oh and before I end I would like to say congrats on owning one of the first model 'black rifles' :)


March 14, 2013, 01:10 AM
I'll need plenty of practice and with it. Need to work up a nice load before I try taking a deer. Would be awesome though to strap on my remy, Bowie, possibles bag, blanket roll and flintlock to go hog hunting and camping

March 14, 2013, 01:13 AM
The flint I think was the problem, it only threw a couple of sparks when fired not enough to flash the pan. Also I think my vent hole is clogged

March 14, 2013, 01:21 AM
A pipe cleaner works wonders. Also speaker wire works wonders as well. Multistrand not solid core. I took a hat pin and dulled the end and to be honest the vent hole being clogged is most often a sign of the breech plug not being full, not so much the vent hole being clogged. If the powder in the barrel is to large it wont fit down the cut out tubes in the breech plug. First try with pure 3F down the barrel and get/make a breech plug brush.

Here is the thread I started when I was working with my kentucky rifle.

March 14, 2013, 01:28 AM
Sorry, I just re-read the original post. I failed to notice that black powder substitute was being used in the PAN. Sorry if this comes across as snobbish but that's just flat wrong. Most often substitute will fail to ignite with a flintlock due to the way the substitute powder is designed.

Here read this please.

I would urge you to buy a can of real black powder. If there are no places local then you can contact the local range or even a black powder club and ask them. There are bound to be places local that has it, You can also order it online but often have to deal with shipping $ and min quantities.


March 14, 2013, 03:43 AM
I can get black powder but the pan flashed good, the previous flint only threw only 2 or three sparks.

March 14, 2013, 03:51 AM
Also this gun sat in a Indian blanket gunstock for 5 plus years.

March 14, 2013, 03:54 AM
I'm looking for a blackpowder club near me too join. Also am shoping for a enfield or other civil war rifle to buy. I have looked into reenacting, as I have ancestors in the civil war. I love blackpowder, it's like living history. Anybody can load a shell into a rifle, but not everybody can be accurate with these old smoke wagons

March 14, 2013, 08:53 AM They use to have a club listing on their page but it's not there now, I sent a msg to them asking about it.

As for accuracy it is not that hard. The key lies in the loading sequence, how you load, what you load and being as consistent as possible with every load.

At our turkey shoot last year we had one person bring a rifle in that had the ramrod stuck in the barrel, had been there a good number of years, a very long time. It had became wedged in there and 3 people tried to get it out and no success in doing. Soon after that it was pulled out and used.

March 14, 2013, 02:55 PM
NMLRA Charter Clubs Directory ( - on the home page, click on Programs at the top, then select Charter Clubs. On the Charter Clubs page, at the top, select Charter Clubs Directory.

March 14, 2013, 07:16 PM
Sweet I got in contact with two local clubs that have upcoming events. Now I just practice practice practice

March 15, 2013, 05:59 PM
Well my flints, possibles bag, and all assortments of goodies came in today. But as luck would have it I'm stuck working a 12 hour shift. Tomorrow the rock lock roars!! I have one fear though. That the flint is not hot enough to set off the 3f sub main charge. I'm buying black powder tomorrow but need to shoot the load that's in the barrel off.
March 15, 2013, 06:39 PM
I guess you know that the spark doesn't come from the flint. It comes from the frizzen. The spark is actually small. Steel shavings that the flint scrapes from
The frizzen.

March 15, 2013, 07:19 PM
Sorry I mispoke, but either way I'm worried that sparks from the frizen won't be hot enough to ignite the main charge. I only need to to shoot once as I am buying real blackpowder tomorrow
March 15, 2013, 07:57 PM
Put some powder in the pan.Put a piece of fuse from a old Firework in the pan
Close the frizzen to hold it, Light the fuse keeping the muzzle pointing in a
Safe direction. whoose!! Boom. Problem solved.

March 16, 2013, 01:00 AM
Now that fuse idea is innovative as hell! I will bet that it would work with a caplock too. Just remove the nipple, dribble powder in, and lite up!:D

March 16, 2013, 04:24 AM
Can't get the gun to fire, used differing amounts of powder in the pan, cleaned the vent hole, used a match and everything

March 16, 2013, 07:20 PM
Likely there is something stuck in there. In a dark room put a small light in the vent hole and look down the barrel, you SHOULD see light, it may be very faint but you should see it.

If you do not then there is obstructions. Clean it REALLY good esp the floor and I am not sure if you have one but there is a bronze brush to clean the breech plug, the spiral bronze jag's does not cut it as they do the walls.

You can also put some type of cleaner in the vent hole and barrel down it should run out. You can use things like simple green, plain water, rubbing alcohol etc.. Next put barrel up and pour some down the barrel, a good amount, it should run out the flash hole. In fact it should SQUIRT out.

IF all of this fails and it is still gummed up then go get you some brake cleaner and squirt that down the barrel.

All of this I am guessing the pan does indeed flash.

March 16, 2013, 10:26 PM
I've ordered a tool to unload the gun, and larger flints( ordered the wrong size). The plan is to wet the main charge when the tool comes in and completely disassemble the rifle. Clean and try again with blackpowder

March 16, 2013, 10:34 PM
the co2 dischargers? most often they do not work properly. the methods I described will render any powder in the barrel highly inert very quickly. The longer that stuff sits inside the barrel, or on the firearm for that matter, the more rust and corrosion it will cause.

To give you some idea...

This is about 2-3 inches from the muzzle. Best I can determine there was at some point some nasty stuff on the barrel's inside in this spot, likely a splash that started eating at the metal. The more it sits the more damage it does. Shoot it and clean it very good the very same day and as soon as possible. The stuff we shoot is highly corrosive and needs to be neutralized as soon as possible.

March 17, 2013, 12:00 AM
I've tried to ignite the main charge but haven't been successful. I've ordered a tool to unload the main charge, I haven't put water or anything down the barrel yet, I'm going to when I receive the tool

March 17, 2013, 12:10 AM
Are you positive this is not a dry ball?

March 17, 2013, 12:11 AM
Very, I loaded 60 grains of blackpowder substitute, a patch, and ball. A week ago.

March 17, 2013, 12:15 AM
OK, if you don't have one I highly recommend you get a few attachments for the ramrod, ball puller its nothing more than a screw end, patch puller ranges from a spiral hooks to a spring, breech plug mop to reach the breech plug inside and scrub it out (this is the #1 cause of failure to fire, obstructions in the patent breech plug)

March 17, 2013, 12:18 AM you want the one with the ring, with out the ring it can go thru the side of the barrel and that is very bad. These you can get at home depot, lowes and other hardware stores.

March 17, 2013, 12:19 AM this will ensure a good clean patent breech plug.

March 17, 2013, 12:43 AM
I tried the CO2 discharger and it worked as advertised. During deer season my neighbor got caught in a rain storm and had a dud. I used the CO2 discharger and he was good to go.:D

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