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Thread: Thinking about getting a Muzzleloader

  1. #21
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    Thanks BrownBear for the answer to my questions. Have a couple percussion guns (Lyman deerstalker in 54 and an older Investarms in 58 as well as an inline TC in 50 - and a couple of 36 cal pistols) but as indicated new to flintlock so may have questions after I receive the gun.
    One I keep reading about is mounting the flint in lead instead of leather. Don't know how the flint comes (or even if I get one with the gun) and not sure where I would get a thin wafer of lead if it comes sandwiched in leather - or if I should change it out.

  2. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by abreitzm View Post
    Thanks BrownBear for the answer to my questions. Have a couple percussion guns (Lyman deerstalker in 54 and an older Investarms in 58 as well as an inline TC in 50 - and a couple of 36 cal pistols) but as indicated new to flintlock so may have questions after I receive the gun.
    One I keep reading about is mounting the flint in lead instead of leather. Don't know how the flint comes (or even if I get one with the gun) and not sure where I would get a thin wafer of lead if it comes sandwiched in leather - or if I should change it out.
    Old time flinters debate this one all the time, and hotly! I happen to prefer leather, but maybe that's cuzz I'm a leather worker and lots of scraps to choose from. For lead, just take one of your lead round balls and start pounding on it with a hammer until it's flat and thin enough to suit you. Then cut to size for folding over the base of your flint.

    One "key" for positioning the flint: Put the lock on half cock and close the pan so the frizzen is vertical. Now adjust your flint so it's right at 1/8" off the frizzen. Done.

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrownBear View Post
    I don't own a Trade Rifle, but have shot them and like them. The owners are greatly pleased with the change in handling compared to the Great Plains Rifle, which sounds like it's up your alley.

    I've never had an issue with their locks, but I'd been through the "fiddly" adjustment of flintlocks before owning one. First time out of the chute you might have "problems" and want to blame the lock, but in fact it's a case of needing to adjust flint position and pay attention to how you load them and fill the pan. Just a matter of learning the ropes of a flintlock. L&R makes a replacement lock, but guys I know who have swapped did so because the replacement looks a little more "authnetic" rather than function complaints.

    Thanks BB:

    An L&R lock that is a direct replacement for the one on the Lyman??? Or does it hafta be fitted/inletted?

    SOTN
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  4. #24

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    It's an almost-direct drop-in. The lock plate is slightly thicker, so the mortise has to be deepened accordingly. According to the friends who've done it, not a big deal at all. Here is a write up. Like I said, the owners I know were having fine service from the original but like the looks of the L&R better. Lotta money to pay for looks, but you see the same thing with all types of guns. Dunno about fit to a Trade Rifle, but L&R has always been good about answering questions. Can't imagine that Lyman would use different locks on the GPR and Trade Rifle, but always worth checking with the guys who build them.

  5. #25
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    BrownBear, you were suggesting using a green scouring pad over a cleaning jag to take the edge off rifling on a new lyman barrel. Can you campress the pad enough to fit or do you use a size smaller (50 in a 54) ? Picked up a pad and was wondering how it would fit down the barrel with a jag.

  6. #26

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    Good catch. I'm using a one-size smaller jag.

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrownBear View Post
    It's an almost-direct drop-in. The lock plate is slightly thicker, so the mortise has to be deepened accordingly. According to the friends who've done it, not a big deal at all. Here is a write up. Like I said, the owners I know were having fine service from the original but like the looks of the L&R better. Lotta money to pay for looks, but you see the same thing with all types of guns. Dunno about fit to a Trade Rifle, but L&R has always been good about answering questions. Can't imagine that Lyman would use different locks on the GPR and Trade Rifle, but always worth checking with the guys who build them.
    OK BB:

    So if the Lock WAS unsatisfactory, there is likely a nother option. That sounds good.

    I would like to try another Flintlock sometime. The one I had didn't cut it too well. The lock was too small for the flints I could buy, and I had to chip on them.

    Thanks a bunch.

    SOTN
    Walk Slow, and Drink a Lotta Water.
    Has it ever occurred to you, that Nothing ever occurs to God? Adrien Rodgers.
    You can't out-give God.

  8. #28
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    Smitty, Track of the Wolf has flints of about any size you might want and they are relatively cheap. I bought a dozen hand knapped French Amber flints that are working very well. They were about $1.85 each IIRC. I still need to get to the range when The Mckinley Mt folks are there and see if I'm missing something. I'm still not getting the flint lock to fire quite as fast as the cap lock with an occasional exception. Once in a while it will just go boom with no noticeable delay. I want to try it on grouse or hare or some such if I can find some time.

  9. #29
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    Any suggestions for particular flint and source for the Lyman Great Plains Rifle? BrownBear, have you found one that works better than others?

  10. #30

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    A very good question. The very best I've found are English flints by Tom Fuller and French flints. I get them both from the linked source. I honestly can't tell the difference between them, but you'll hear opinions one way or the other from other flinters. I tend to the English because they're a little cheaper, but fall back on the French if the source is out of the size I want in English. Both last a long time when sharpened with the "frizzen" method I describe earlier in this thread.

  11. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by rbuck351 View Post
    Smitty, Track of the Wolf has flints of about any size you might want and they are relatively cheap. I bought a dozen hand knapped French Amber flints that are working very well. They were about $1.85 each IIRC. I still need to get to the range when The Mckinley Mt folks are there and see if I'm missing something. I'm still not getting the flint lock to fire quite as fast as the cap lock with an occasional exception. Once in a while it will just go boom with no noticeable delay. I want to try it on grouse or hare or some such if I can find some time.
    I was getting flints from Dixie, and various sources, and none of them fit very well. I complained to Dixie that they weren't the proper size I ordered, and they told me the measurement was the Width, not the DEPTH.

    MMML doesn't shoot at Birchwood anymore. There was some kind of problem with the management of Birchwood. We shoot at MVS, now. Also, USSA.

    SOTN
    Walk Slow, and Drink a Lotta Water.
    Has it ever occurred to you, that Nothing ever occurs to God? Adrien Rodgers.
    You can't out-give God.

  12. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by Smitty of the North View Post
    ...measurement was the Width, not the DEPTH.
    That's standard to a degree, unless the company specifies both a width and a length (depth). I don't worry much about it. Another reason I like leather rather than lead for holding flints. If longer than usual, I have leathers with a hole punched in the back to allow the flint to move further back. If shorter, I've been known to roll another piece of leather and place it behind the flint before tightening into place. If waaay too long, I just knap off the back of the flint. Hardest to deal with are the tiny little Cochrain locks I have, intended for handguns or double shotguns. Best with them is a flint a little under half an inch wide and 5/8" long. Not your every day flint, so always a little shaping involved. Not a big deal, and they sure make for a svelte little rifle.

  13. #33
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    The ones from track of the wolf have two dimensions shown but because they are hand knapped they are not all the exact size. I have been wrapping mine in the dental lead foils using how ever many thickness it takes to fit like I like. Thanks for the heads up on MMML.

  14. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrownBear View Post
    That's on the long list of wives' tales about muzzleloaders. With adjustments for grain size (Use 10% less 3f than 2f), you can use either. In fact your gun is likely to prefer one over the other, but you won't know until you try both. For simplicity in the field, I'm always hopeful that 3f will be the top pick for a gun, because then I can use it in the pan as well as the bore. One of my flintlocks insists on 2f, but everything else is just fine with 3f. And that includes 30, 32, 50, 54, 58 and 62 caliber flintlocks. Some guys prefer 4f in the pan, but I don't like it for Alaska because it soaks moisture from the air lots quicker than 3f.

    Some things you didn't ask about, but are specific to Lymans. Not criticism (In fact I love Lymans), but just facts of life:

    When it comes, that bore is going to be coated with some kind of miracle coating that's just about impervious to most gun cleaners. But if you don't get it out, accuracy really suffers. Best to remove it is brake pad or carburetor cleaner. Just squirt some on a patch and run it down the bore and back out. Usually doesn't take more than 4 patches to get the bore squeaky clean.

    Lyman bores tend to have really sharp edges on the rifling and the crown. They'll cut patches like crazy, and a cut patch produces poor accuracy. Some guys lap their bores, some just shoot them until they smooth out a little. Takes about 100 shots. I'm kind of a "tweener," in that I like to drape a piece of one of those green Scotch kitchen pads over the jag and work that in and out about 50 times rather than using something more aggressive. Works fine for me. The crown is a bit of a different story. Best I know is to drape a tab of 320 wet/dry over the muzzle, press down on it firmly with the ball of your thumb, and rotate your thumb back and forth have a dozen times. Done.

    Even with that, Lyman's bores tend to be a little rough and don't achieve peak accuracy until after a couple hundred shots. In other words, as you shoot it, it will just get better and better. Starting out with my 54's, I had to use .530 balls and .015 patches, because anything bigger was way too tight for my tastes. After about 100 shots I notice loading getting a little easier, so I moved up to .018 patches. Boy, does accuracy jump! After about 1k shots I noticed things getting loosish again, so I went to a .535 ball and the same .018 patches. Took a pretty good smack on the short starter to get it moving down the bore, but accuracy got better still! Kinda funny to be thinking of guns doing their best after 1k or more shots, but that's Lyman for you.

    Coupla more things specific to operating a Lyman flintlock. Only fill the pan about half full, basically until the priming powder reaches up to the bottom of the touch hole. Some guys enlarge the touch hole very slightly, but I'm up in the air about that.

    Knapping or "sharpening" the flint: Lotta guys go to hammering on the edge with this tool or that. I get the best flint life by locking the flint in place, cocking the hammer to half cock, then holding the pan closed with a couple of fingers of the other hand so the frizzen stays upright. Now slowly lower the hammer until the flint touches the frizzen. Press lightly on the back of the hammer now to force a few flakes of flint off. That removes the least amount of flint while getting a really sharp edge that's 100% true to the frizzen. I usually get somewhere between 50 and 100 shots out of a good flint doing that.

    And one more point. Figure on DNA marking your rifle, and probably pretty good. That sharp flint is nothing more than a knife blade, and sooner or later you're going to drag a finger or thumb across it. Congratulations! You're initiated into the world of flintlocks.
    BrownBear, you amaze me with you knowledge. I haven't shot my 54 cal. Cabelas in 25 years since I have been hunting with my modern inline but you motivated me to get the old smoke pole out again.
    Thanks for the post,
    Dan

  15. #35
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    I second that! It is really great having BrownBear here. I'm a relative newcomer to muzzleloaders and he's shared a huge amount of knowledge and inspiration.

    Lately I've really been itching to get into a flintlock rifle or smoothbore.
    Louis Knapp

  16. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Louis View Post
    I second that! It is really great having BrownBear here. I'm a relative newcomer to muzzleloaders and he's shared a huge amount of knowledge and inspiration.

    Lately I've really been itching to get into a flintlock rifle or smoothbore.
    Don't do it! You will become obsessed with the firelocks...
    “Move that fat ass Henry!”
    “Don’t swing your balls or you’ll swamp the boat!"

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    Quote Originally Posted by hogfamily View Post
    Don't do it! You will become obsessed with the firelocks...
    Thanks for the advice but I think I'm already there. A friend/coworker gave me a flintlock pistol last summer and I believe I'm hooked.
    Louis Knapp

  18. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by Louis View Post
    Lately I've really been itching to get into a flintlock rifle or smoothbore.
    Or?...... OR??????

    Life won't be in balance til you have both.
    "Lay in the weeds and wait, and when you get your chance to say something, say something good."
    Merle Haggard

  19. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrownBear View Post
    Or?...... OR??????

    Life won't be in balance til you have both.
    Good point! I'm still chafing after fumbling and dropping the ball on that deal on the .58 half stock flintlock on the traditional muzzleloader forum.
    Louis Knapp

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