Proper Flint Orientation?


Steel Horse Rider
March 25, 2013, 09:13 PM
The new post concerning flintlocks today made me wonder, which way (or does it even matter?) is correct for mounting flints in the vise, relief up or down? My Pedersoli flinter kit from Dixie Gun Works didn't specify (it actually said very little, I love the kits but the instructions for all my kit guns have sucked) so using my logic I put the relieved edge down and it sparks great, however I have seen a lot of pictures here where the relief is up. Can anyone shed light on this for an excited flint newbie?

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Phantom Captain
March 25, 2013, 09:21 PM
Well, on everything I've ever shot (going back to my childhood in the early 70s mind you) the relief has been up. This is the way I was taught, or more exactly, the way my Pop and his buddy's always did it.

I'm really interested to hear other's opinions too as I've been so one way oriented that I never even considered flipping it.

I learned, was weened and taught on black powder before anything else.

March 25, 2013, 09:30 PM
but it is best to determine which works best in your lock - and with individual flints, which vary somewhat in geometry and dimension.
I like to orient the flint so that, with the cock in the half cock position, the flint is as close to the frizzen face as possible, but not touching, with the rear of the flint in firm contact with the frizzen screw: this allows the shortest possible fall (and shorter locktime), while keeping the flint off the frizzen face for safety and to avoid damaging the flint. The flint should also contact the frizzen with a slight downward angle, to produce good scraping action.
Having said all that, it is also good to arrange that the flint contacts the frizzen about 1/3 of the height of the frizzen from its top, to insure enough of the surface is scraped to produce enough sparks. Then, it is necessary to insure that in seating the flint in the cock, it does not strike the side of the barrel when the cock falls. Ideally, the flint should come to rest over the pan, and that the sparks should land on the priming.
All of these things are important, but you will have to determine the compromises which work for you in your lock and with your flints - and remember that, so long as you are getting good sparks, good ignition and good flint life, it doesn't matter which side of the flint is up.
Keep your powder dry, and good shooting!
PRD1 - mhb - Mike

March 25, 2013, 11:02 PM
Beveled side up.

Also, the flint should not be in direct contact with the cock screw. You need a leather or sheet-lead wrapping between the flint and the cock jaws. There was a purpose-made lead piece for this issued with all the late U.S. flintlocks.
These are available as repros.
March 25, 2013, 11:17 PM
I disagree . The flint should make contact with the jaw screw. You can just barely see it here. You should wrap the flint in leather, then cut out a little
"V" in the back of the leather so the flint will set against the screw. The edge
Of the flint should come to rest in the center of the pan. Bevel up or down
Is decided just how well it works. All locks are different. Try both and which
Ever one puts the sparks in the pan is the way to go.

March 25, 2013, 11:38 PM
Well I have tried both directions :) why? Because I was curious. I figured why not, the WORST case I would have to redo the flint direction. What I found was it really does not matter, what does matter is the flint striking the steel correctly to produce sparks. If it is up or down I was easily able to get enough ignition.

I would also have to throw in here it honestly really depends on the flint section. If you are using some flint that is not shaped like we get them or some natural material you picked up then you have to get creative.

All said and done keep in mind the #1 goal is to keep the flint/etc steady so it wont fall out/break/etc and to strike the steel and produce sparks. Beyond that it's wide open as for options goes.

March 26, 2013, 12:24 AM
I have tried it both ways and did not see much difference. Keeping the touch hole clean seems to help most with reliability followed by wiping the underside of the flint every couple of shots.

Acorn Mush
March 26, 2013, 01:57 AM
The guys here gave you good advice Steel Horse Rider. I am sure you will easily find what works best for your rifle.

Which kit do you have? Several years ago I purchased a used Dixie Pennsylvania flinter made by Pedersoli. Stock number was FR1065. It shoots very well but is pretty tough on flints.

By the way, if you perchance find yourself in the Black Steer Restaurant there in Loveland, sumptiously dining on one of their excellent steaks:D, just think how fortunate you are to be able to eat quality beef and what a sucker I am, being stuck in California having to eat our crappy meat.:barf:

Jim, West PA
March 26, 2013, 07:31 AM
kwhi43,what's backwards , your lock or your rear sight ?
How 'bout a pic of the entire gun ?

March 26, 2013, 09:23 AM
I've shot a LOT of flint. Here's what you do:
Put the flint in one way and try it.
Take it out and put it in the other way and try it.
Whichever way throws the best sparks and throws the striker over like it is supposed to is the way you want to mount it.
One of my guns uses large flints. I actually have to chip a tiny notch in the back of most to clear the cockscrew. Of course there is a cutout in the leather about the flint

March 26, 2013, 11:01 AM
The lock on Phil's gun is oriented such that the hammer falls towards the breech end. Whether or not this is 'backwards', or the more traditional orientation with the hammer falling towards the muzzle end is the one that's backwards is a matter of debate, sort of like 'bevel up or bevel down'. Especially when one considers the results he gets with it.
March 26, 2013, 03:02 PM

If the lock was mounted on the other side the edge of the flint would come to rest in front of your
Trigger finger. This will cause a bobble. In other words the pistol will move. I know of no one who
Can control this. These things are hard enough to shoot a good score. So with the lock mounted as
You see it, the edge of the flint comes to rest in the web of your hand. No bobble.
Also by changing the frizzen, and putting in the "flint" shaped cap striker, I can shoot it as a cap lock

March 26, 2013, 04:28 PM
I can tell you're serious kwhi43...ya gotta false muzzle...very cool! I'm guessin' you did the work. Can't trust that to an uninterested party.
March 26, 2013, 04:53 PM
I did not do the work. Rob Lewis did it. The lock is built for speed. It has no half
Cock. There is nothing on the inside of the lock plate. There is a cam in the
Hammer that rotates when you cock it. A push rod comes up from the grip. This
Thing has one purpose . SPEED! The lock starts out as a "Becky" lock. It is
Gutted and complete rebuilt. Frizzen hardened in a secret way. Thing thing do spark! Barrel is 32 Green Mt. Lots of guys don't know what a false muzzle is.

March 26, 2013, 05:08 PM
Thanks kwhi43! Very interesting. Rocket mean Rocklock Science! :-D

4v50 Gary
March 29, 2013, 12:22 AM
I think the Bevel Bros (Muzzle Blasts) did a test and concluded that it made no difference.

March 29, 2013, 08:41 AM
Frizzen hardened in a secret way.

First off hardening steel is *NOT* a magician's science, it is very well known science that is published all over and well documented.
March 29, 2013, 09:40 AM
Well, yes & no. I worked in a tool shop for 20 yrs and I know there are different
ways to hardened steel. With frizzens you can case it, oil quench it, heat it with
A torch, numerous ways. I know how this was done on my gun, but I really
Can't say because this guy makes his living doing this. I will say, nobody I ever
Heard of uses this method. I would be the first to say that it wouldn't work.
But look at the sparks. My pistol is about 10 yrs old now and I made this video
Clip last year. There are secrets to doing things like color case Hardening,
Rifling barrels, staining stocks. The masters had their ways that everybody did
Not know. Show me another frizzens that sparks like this one.

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