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Flashing the Pan before Loading?

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by Loyalist Dave, Jun 13, 2018 at 9:09 AM.

  1. Loyalist Dave

    Loyalist Dave Member

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    So today I read some loading procedure rules for muzzle loaders from one of the local ranges in Maryland. One of the rules is this:

    Prior to loading, shooters using muzzle loading rifles or pistols shall fire caps on all nipples of percussion firearms, or a pan full of powder in a flintlock, while pointing the firearm downrange. [my emphasis]

    Now I have seen, and done, the firing of a cap on a nipple of a caplock, rifle, shotgun, or revolver, to ensure the flash-channel isn't blocked. But I've never heard of flashing the pan to do the same thing on a flintlock. Does anybody flash the pan on an empty chamber as part of the loading of a first shot?

    I think this would actually detract from safety and promote an ignition problem. I was taught that with a flintlock, the flash of the pan sends fire through the touch hole, and THEN when the main charge ignites, some of the fire and hot gases come back through the touch hole to the pan, which helps to keep the touch hole open..., and that flashing a pan on an empty barrel simply cruds-up the touch hole for no benefit. With a cap, you can hear that the flash channel for the nipple is open when you pop the cap on a nipple that is over an empty chamber, but you don't get that when you flash the pan on a flinter.

    Any other ideas?

    LD
     
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  2. Jackrabbit1957

    Jackrabbit1957 Member

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    I will put a small charge down the barrel, then prime the pan with the same powder as the main charge. I do this to clear any oil from the breech. I don't usually shoot at a formal range so don't know how it would go over. This seems to prevent hang fires for the first few shots.
     
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  3. Rudolph31

    Rudolph31 Member

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    I would guess that the range doesn’t care about crud in your touch hole, they just want to make sure that no gun explodes due to a double load.
     
  4. MEHavey

    MEHavey Member

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    Safety measure against double charge.
    I do it as a matter of course simply to dirty-up the pan to start.
    Never any effect on vent clearance (which I routinely pick/run through w/ a bird feather quill anyway)
     
  5. Risky buisness

    Risky buisness Member

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    I don't do it, as I want that first shot effortless for the rifle, but do concede that it would negate a double load problem.
     
  6. Loyalist Dave

    Loyalist Dave Member

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    So this is the procedure before you load...., and you're supposed to check the barrel with the ramrod before you load, AND your ramrod should be marked to ensure that your load is seated, and would thus indicate if you somehow did load a double charge, thus allowing you to have it removed in a safer manner than firing it..., for it in no way ensures that you haven't screwed up and arrived at the range with it already loaded with an overload of some sort....,

    So it's not to ensure that you don't shoot a double load...,

    I'd say somebody wrote it who doesn't know flintlocks, and assumed it would have the same effect as busting a cap on a nipple, but it doesn't....

    LD
     
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  7. MEHavey

    MEHavey Member

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    Wrong.
    It's that last check for a range officer.

    Same reason I've run a ramrod....
    AND flashed the pan (AND) snapped caps w/ rifle pointed downrange for (let's see...) ...41 years

    It just takes once.
     
  8. Jimster

    Jimster Member

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    I’ve never heard of “flashing the pan” until now.
     
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  9. Ironhand54

    Ironhand54 Member

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    I used to compete pretty heavy and I have never heard of this.

    IronHand
     
  10. paul harm

    paul harm Member

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    The reasons for snapping caps before you load the first shot is to burn any oil out of it and to see if the flash channel is clear and it's normally done with the muzzle down range and pointed at the ground. The cap going off will move the dirt. There is no good reason to flash the pan. I shot on the national range for over 10 years and it was not required to flash a pan or snap a cap. You only snapped a cap if you wanted to and to check to see if the flash channel was clear. I'm with Dave on this - it don't make sense. A ramrod is the check for a load in the barrel. Someone didn't know what he was talking about.
     
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  11. Ironhand54

    Ironhand54 Member

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    X2

    IronHand
     
  12. JeffG

    JeffG Member

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    I wipe out the pan, and the face of the frizzen with denatured alcohol, and vigorously pick the vent. My ramrod is marked for loaded, or not.
     
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  13. Armored farmer

    Armored farmer Member

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    Never heard of the term or the practice.

    Fouling shots, yes. Never flashing a pan.
     
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  14. Mike OTDP

    Mike OTDP Member

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    I do. Mostly because I figure on burning the oil out.
     
  15. Jackrabbit1957

    Jackrabbit1957 Member

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    Yippee! Someone else who thinks the way I do!! I do flash it with a small powder charge for that exact reason. I don't get out much with my rocklocks these days, so they may have a nice little puddle of oil in the breech area and this just helps clear it out. Thanks Mike OTDP.
     
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  16. paul harm

    paul harm Member

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    I suppose you could flash if it made you feel better. I'd rather run a dry patch down the barrel and check it for any oil. I store my guns muzzle down, so I wouldn't have a puddle of oil in the breech area to start with. I do the same as Jeff and the Farmer.
     
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  17. Dave Markowitz

    Dave Markowitz Member

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    Never heard of flashing the pan and I've been around and shot black powder guns since the 70s.

    What range is that, LD?
     
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  18. Patocazador

    Patocazador Member

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    It sounds retarded to me. I'm glad I don't go to any of those ranges.
    I use alcohol to get rid of any oil in the barrel.
     
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  19. david58

    david58 Member

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    I always start with a poop load - a bit of powder and a couple of patches tamped down, just to make sure that everything is clear. Just on the flinter, on the percussion rifle popping the caps will do the job just fine. But have never been required to do it.
     
  20. 4v50 Gary

    4v50 Gary Moderator Staff Member

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    In this thread I learn about flashing the pan before loading. Never did it and probably wont unless told to do so. BTW, I generally walk around with the longrifle muzzle up and a brass range rod poking out of the barrel. Got stopped by a range master who ordrered, "Show me it's safe." Clang! "Thank you."
     
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  21. paul harm

    paul harm Member

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    The ranges I go to if the muzzle was up and a ramrod in it, it would be considered safe. That guy was going the extra mile. But, you don't argue with the range officer.
     
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