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Discussion Starter #1
I just finished the last book in Terry C. Johnston's trilogy on mountaon men and was surprised by the charecters sticking to flintlocks when the percussion system was available. I understand flint could be found in the wild to replace worn or lost flints, but since percussion cap's were much more reliable and more resistant to weather, I would have certainly have switched. Also, it appears it was pretty common to carry at least two rifles for the trapping season in case of loss or damage, why not have one be percussion? I have a .50 Hawken replica and can hit what I shoot at, but I admit I'm pretty harmless with a flintlock. Anybody else's thoughts?
 

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Its probably like Bill Hickock's mindset. He stuck with the 36 Colt Navy model even after the cartridge loading Colt 1873 SA came out. They worked for him and he trusted them so he wasn't about to change.

RIKA
 

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I think Rika hit the nail on the head.

Example........Sleeping bags have been around for what? 70 years? To this day I still camp with a wool blanket. Why do I do it? If you discount masochism (which I'm prone to :dgrin: ) the real answer is that it's simply how I started and how I'll probably finish. A wool blanket has always been "good enough for me". There are also certain advantages to it, but that's off topic.

The mountain man is about 70 years ahead of my specialty, but if memory serves me correctly all the early mountain men carried flintlocks. Then came the percussion conversions and finally the full blown percussion. I also believe that many of the original mountain men carried old muskets. They were cheap and plentiful at the time.

Now, as to the "percussions are more reliable" statement;

:nyah:

I trust my custom built flintlocks more than I ever trusted my percussion Lyman Trade Rifle. The bad wrap that flintlocks get come from cheap locks with poor frizzens that seem to be standard on modern repro guns. Not all of them are bad, but enough are that the myth has been perpetuated. There are quality replacement parts available for all of the common guns and they really make those guns shine. The downside is that the replacement locks often cost half as much as the original rifle did.

A good flintlock will fire upside down. The priming powder will ignite before it can drop out of the pan.

As for the "more weather proof"......well, you got me there. There are ways to make a flintlock more reliable in wet weather but you'll never get them as weather proof as a cap gun. A cows knee helps, a dab of patch lube on the barrel in front of the pan helps.......Rev War soldiers even went so far as to melt candle wax around the pan, but it's still iffy.

All of these tips were well known to our ancestors. My guess is the flinters were "good enough" for them too.

One more thing, when you get to the national competition level the flintlock shooters scores are typically higher than the cap gun guys scores. Why this is has been the subject of many debates.
 

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I can remember very well looking at an old DGW catalog when I was very small and was fascinated by the beautiful silver mounted flintlock long rifles with the engraved patch boxes that they used to sell. One day I'll find a nice one and hunt with it. In the meantime I'll have to make do with a Lyman Hawken.

What total works of art those old rifles were and they're still practical today.

RIKA
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the input. The Mountain Man era has alway's fascinated me. That they could not only survive those fierce Winters but, trap, hunt and survive pretty much all alone. Amazing. One question Flinter. My .50 is pretty much done after six or seven rounds, until I clean the bore. I use "Bore Butter" for patch lubrication. With vegetable lubrication, I only get about three to four rounds until it's too fouled to load. Is this pretty much the usual? Thanks.
 

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I'm not really qualified to answer this, I've never fired a flintlock, but people use what they are used to. If you put me out in the wilds with my chose of either a bolt action rifle or an semi-auto I would take the bolt because I'm more confident with it. I like my precussion rifles very much but don't hunt with them enough to be completely confident in them.
 

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Terry G said:
Thanks for the input. The Mountain Man era has alway's fascinated me. That they could not only survive those fierce Winters but, trap, hunt and survive pretty much all alone. Amazing. One question Flinter. My .50 is pretty much done after six or seven rounds, until I clean the bore. I use "Bore Butter" for patch lubrication. With vegetable lubrication, I only get about three to four rounds until it's too fouled to load. Is this pretty much the usual? Thanks.
Terry, this is very strange because I use Bore Butter on my patches in the 50cal Hawken. I also use Pyrodex because thats all I can get but get at least 10 shots before I need to swab it out. Are you using Black Powder maybe? Flinter, would that make a difference?

RIKA
 

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Discussion Starter #8
RIKA said:
Terry, this is very strange because I use Bore Butter on my patches in the 50cal Hawken. I also use Pyrodex because thats all I can get but get at least 10 shots before I need to swab it out. Are you using Black Powder maybe? Flinter, would that make a difference?

RIKA
Yes, RIKA. FFg Black Powder. I'm going on a muzzle loader only deer hunt starting tommorow.
 

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Terry G said:
My .50 is pretty much done after six or seven rounds, until I clean the bore. I use "Bore Butter" for patch lubrication. With vegetable lubrication, I only get about three to four rounds until it's too fouled to load. Is this pretty much the usual? Thanks.
Yes and no. I have seen this a lot, but there are some "cures" for it.

Number one is look at how much powder you are using. Most people that aren't hardcore blackpowder shooters overcharge their rifle. The man who taught me just about everything I know about muzzies told me once that from 40-60 percent of the powder used becomes fouling. For a 50 caliber (with a roundball) I used to use 70 grains of powder. Out of my gun it was just about perfect. Don't worry about not having enough energy for deer, I never shot one that didn't die within about 40 yards.......never hit one that 70 grains with a .490 ball didn't punch clean through either. How much powder you use though is going to depend on where you find the most accuracy. My suggestion though would be to back off about 10% and see what happens.

Bore butter is good stuff, but no where near as good as they advertise it. They claim that they got 1,000 shots without cleaning. I call bullshit. I've never seen anyone get anywhere near that. A dozen without cleaning is good no matter what you use. Except......

Spit. It's a great patchlube as long as you are going to shoot your rifle off within an hour or so of loading it. It works just like a cleaning solution when you drive the patched ball down the barrel. Softens the fouling instantly and makes the next shot or two a lot easier to load. I typically use a "spit patch" about every 5 rounds or so. Just remember not to put a patch in your mouth that you haven't washed. The manufacturers put a chemical on them that make them lay flat. That same chemical will give you a stomach ache if you ingest too much of it.

Since I mentioned softening the fouling, there is another trick too. The reason that the patch doesn't want to go down is because that fouling is dry. You can add moisture to it and make loading easier by simply blowing a long breath of air into the barrel before you load. Wait a minute or two before you do this......give any sparks in the barrel time to extinguish themselves. Otherwise you could ignite them and burn the hell out of your tongue. Once you've finished blowing into it make sure you load right away, otherwise the moisture will begin to evaporate and you are right back to square one.

Never use any petroleum based solvents/oils on your rifle. NONE. They will gum up with fouling and make it 10 times worse. I use straight tapwater for cleaning. I dont' even heat it. The NMLRA did a study several years ago and found out that nothing cleans better than cold tapwater. Several products clean as well, but nothing cleans any better. When everything is clean and dry I coat the inside of the barrel with the patchlube to keep it from rusting. I've never had a problem.

You can try different patch lubes too. Some are better than others although the TC wonderlube is probably the best commercial lube. Personally, I use a combination of olive oil and bees wax. Bees wax can be a little difficult to obtain in certain areas, and it does require a certain amount of work to make it. There is no better lube on planet Earth though. It's also a wonderful leather conditioner/water proofer......and it cures chapped lips in a hurry.

Another problem is that people simply want to patch too tight. I do that for competition, but for hunting and target shooting I sometimes use a thinner patch. This is the last option I'd use though.

Try some of those suggestions and getting up to about 10 shots is fairly easy.
 

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RIKA said:
In the meantime I'll have to make do with a Lyman Hawken. RIKA
Nothing wrong with a Lyman Rika, I used to love mine too. I consider them the best of the commercial guns.
 

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RIKA said:
Are you using Black Powder maybe? Flinter, would that make a difference? RIKA
The makers of Pyrodex will tell you that there is a difference. In the real world though, I've never seen it.
 
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