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Flintlocks - lead or leather?

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by 4v50 Gary, Jan 17, 2003.

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  1. 4v50 Gary

    4v50 Gary Moderator Staff Member

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    What do you prefer to clamp your flint in with? I prefer lead (heavy metals are your friends).
     
  2. ed dixon

    ed dixon Member

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    I've only ever used leather. Tend to replace it when it starts looking dirty, which is infrequently and probably way before it's actually worn out.
     
  3. KMKeller

    KMKeller Member

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    Okay, I'm probably stamping "ignorant" across my forehead with this, but I've never seen anyone use lead and have never heard of it either. I've only ever seen or heard leather. Is using lead a common practice?
     
  4. Mike Irwin

    Mike Irwin Member

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    Using lead used to be a fairly common practice. Leather is more common these days.

    About 10 years ago I took my TC Renegade to a friend's, but I couldn't find the stinking leather for the flint, and he couldn't find anything suitable around the house.

    We were just about ready to hang it up in disgust when I remembered that musket flints were often head in with pieces of sheet lead.

    So I took a .50 cal. ball, beat it flat on an anvil, and used it instead.

    I've never gone back to leather. The lead held the flint more securely than any piece of leather I've ever used.

    Additionally, you can simply wash the lead off when you clean the gun. With a piece of leather, you have to remove it from the gun or the powder residue that gets impregnated into the leather can cause the cock jaws to rust like crazy.
     
  5. sixgun_symphony

    sixgun_symphony member

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    I have only used leather myself. But I am going to have to try this out.

    Thanks for the tip.
     
  6. CTgunteacher

    CTgunteacher Member

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    Mike Irwin is right on the money. I work at a company that imports primarily muzzleloaders. We use only lead in our test flintlocks. It's definitely more secure than leather, which helps with spark. Ditto on the absorbing qualities of the leather -- I can't tell you how many warranty returns we get from shooters whose jaw screw has rusted into place when using leather.

    Mike
     
  7. Mike Weber

    Mike Weber Member

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    The lead holds the flint in place more securely with less slippage. The leather works but not as well, to avoid the rusting problem use only vegetable tanned leather, chrome or acid tanned leather promotes rust.
     
  8. 4v50 Gary

    4v50 Gary Moderator Staff Member

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    Hey Mike (CTgunteacher): what company do you work for? Oh, never mind. Saw it in your profile. Welcome aboard.
     
  9. thisaway

    thisaway Member

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    I have used both, but prefer sheet-lead.
     
  10. 1911

    1911 Member

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    I have always been told that "brass" was more comman than lead.?
     
  11. Mike Irwin

    Mike Irwin Member

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    Brass MAY have been used, but I doubt that it would have been used much.

    Part of lead's charm in this role is its ability, under pressure, to mold to both the flint surface and the jaws. Brass is a bit too hard for this, and would likely promote flint slippage.

    Brass, being an alloy of harder metals, was probably also quite a bit more expensive than lead.
     
  12. Jim K

    Jim K Member

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    I have heard of lead being used, but have seen a fair number of flintlocks that had not been used since they were in common use and never saw lead, only leather.

    Jim
     
  13. BigG

    BigG Member

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    I guess lead may be a "high tech" solution to the old gripping problem that was formerly handled by leather?
     
  14. thisaway

    thisaway Member

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    I imagine that lead was only available for use as projectiles in the past. Using lead to hold the flint is probably a relatively recent innovation.
     
  15. Mike Irwin

    Mike Irwin Member

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    "I imagine that lead was only available for use as projectiles in the past."

    Say what?

    Lead is lead. The lead that is used to cast a round ball is the same as lead used to hold a flint in place.

    Note how I obtained "sheet lead" for my rifle -- I flattened a round ball.
     
  16. BigG

    BigG Member

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    Big hammer = Round Ball = Sheet Lead :D

    Actually, Mike, he may have meant that the expense of lead prohibited using it like that when leather would make do. The price of lead was one reason the bores of the PA/KY rifles were small (~ .40) compared to the Jaeger rifles they descended from.
     
  17. Snakedriver

    Snakedriver Member

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    Use whatever makes the flint stable at impact with the frizzen. Personally, I use either a piece of thin braintanned elk hide or red felt. Both hold very well.
    If you want fast lock time, why would you want to add mass and throw weight to the hammer? This is not to say that it wasn't done, but....

    R Walker
    Director, NMLRA
    Flint Shooter
     
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