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So... I got to shoot a flintlock.
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Old 07-04-2005, 12:40 PM
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Default So... I got to shoot a flintlock.

I took my family to the range yesterday. My youngest is now old enough and big enough to shoot a small (.17 Rem) centerfire rifle, and I thought it'd be good to get out as a group and poke some paper and 'kill' some milk jugs. I also wanted to have my eldest shoot the .257 AI on the TCR-83. It's a better caribou cartridge than the .17 Rem. and since she is left-eye-dominant, she shoots left-handed and single-shots tend to be more ambidextrous than bolt guns. I also wanted to get my wife to shoot her 7x57 and the .38 Special I bought for her to carry while running, biking and skiing. A good time was had by all.

As we were leaving, a fellow showed up with a flintlock, and after I'd turned our target frames in, I walked over and unabashedly asked if he would let me shoot his rifle. As usual among the muzzle loaders I have met, he was all too happy to let me shoot it. It was a Tennessee Valley flintlock in .54 caliber. Nothing fancy, but well made. I'd be quite willing to be seen with that rifle.

He 'stoked' it up for me (80 grains of FFg behind a 325 grain round ball). I took it, took aim, set the rear trigger, and... click. The hammer didn't drop. We fiddled with it a bit, and I tried again. Same result. Keep in mind that this was a function of the hammer not falling - a mechanical failure if you will, not a falure to ignite. So after several tries, he took the rifle, fiddled with it some more, and tried it from his hip. All the while, I was looking closely (close being the operative word), at the lock. When he fired it, I was about 18" due West (if the muzzle is North) of the flash-hole. As you experienced flintlockers are well aware, this is not the 'best' place to be when a flintlock fires. I took the full blast in the face. You could say it got my attention. The primary blast hit me in the chin and throat, but it was a good thing I had my glasses on as several pieces of burnign FFg. I had to scrub FFg out of little burn holes in my chin and neck when I got home. I've attached a picture for emphasis. You'll also see little burn-holes in my t-shirt.

Anyway, we figured the trigger issue was 'resolved', so he stoked it up again, and I tried again. Same result a couple more times, but finally, it went "whoosh-bang". Very cool! Looks like I'm in for a flintlock.

I thought I wouldn't want to fiddle with a flintlock and all its hassles, but this rifle demonstrated that ignition can be very consistent. (The 'mis-fires' were a mechanical problem with the trigger, not a problem with it being a flintlock.) I'll definitely need to get used to the slow "lock time", but nonetheless it was great to shoot, and seeing the whole operation in action allayed any concerns I had about consistent ignition. I'll just have to remember where to stand when someone else is shooting.

Paul
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File Type: jpg Flintlock Blast small2.JPG (90.1 KB, 124 views)
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Tags
.17 caliber, .257, .257 ai, .38 special, .54 caliber, 7x57, ffg, flintlock, ignition, lock time, round ball, tcr-83


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