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Flintlock Pistol


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🗿Sage advice. I was at 7 yards.🗿

 

Watching episodes of TURN I laugh when I see the amazing shots they make with flint pistols 🤓

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I don't know which pistol you have, but I've seen properly tuned and loaded pistols in .45, .50, and .54 make six or seven inch groups at forty yards. Well trained and very practiced shooters in ever case, but it can be done and it is repeatable.

 

Find an expert (of which I ain't one) or two to be your guru, rabbi, or whatever and learn.

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I'm no expert by any stretch of the imagination but I have shot flintlocks for quite a few years. In my case, and I expect many others, the natural reaction is to shut your eyes after the trigger is pulled. This is in anticipation of the flash and the recoil. With most firearms the bullet is gone before your eyes shut. With the flintlock that is not the case. Because of the delay between the fall of the hammer and the ignition of the powder your sights (and therefore the barrel) can move a long way before the ball leaves the barrel. For me, I have to very consciously hold my sight picture throughout the shot. I have to do it every time, I have to be thinking about it and I have to force myself to do it. Perhaps I'm the only one with this problem but it works for me if I really work at it.

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Bugs, if there is a major time gap between hammer fall and the main charge firing you have one or more issues.

 

The pan holds way too much powder.

 

Your powder isn't fine enough.

 

Your powder is corrupted by something.

 

The flash hole isn't the right size.

 

The flash hole is partially blocked by something.

 

The flash hole is misaligned with the pan.

 

The frizzen isn't creating a hot enough spark or too few sparks.

 

Bad flint

 

Bad frizzen.

 

Dirty or oily flint and / or frizzen (or both).

 

Soft spring.

 

It should quite literally fire as quickly as a percussion cap, or with so little difference you can't tell it.

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To expand a bit on what Forty Rod said:

 

Use good quality and sharp flint.

 

Wipe off BP residue from the flint, frizzen, and pan after each shot.

 

Prime the pan with 4F (FFFFg) or finer powder. Prime only 1/3 of the pan.

 

When you have primed the pan and closed the frizzen, roll the gun so that the lock is down, and give it a tap on the stock opposite the pan. This sets all the powder outboard in the pan.

 

The primer charge should burst -towards- the touch hole, not away from it.

 

Just priming the pan properly can make the difference between Chrk! whooOOOOOFFFFFFFffff.. BOOM. and ChrkWhoofBOOM!

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I worked at not flinching. I stared at the bull.

 

The pistol jerks when it's fired. Break in?

 

The mechanics of the flint and frizzen is fine. I haven't been using 4F. I bought a porcelain mortar and pestle to address this.

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Crayfish,

help us a bit on your problem.

is the trigger pull stiff making it hard to hold on point or is it the pistol moves after you trip the trigger?

 

I've handled a couple Pedersoli pistols over the years and the triggers were kind of stiff. That can be fixed. Just be sure whoever fixes it knows what they are doing. Just like with any other firearm, the engagement of the sear to the tumbler / hammer is what control the trigger pull. On flintlocks, there is also the sear spring and sometimes the sear spring is very heavy. Some light stoning of the sear tip angle helps. Many out of the box flintlocks have the sear too deeply engaging in the locks. I had one that actually moved the hammer back a bit as it was being released. It was actually that deeply engaged. Changing the angle of the sear engagement changed it from totally unusable to a rather smooth lock. Also, polishing the parts that come in contact with each other helps but that mainly is a "smoothing" thing and won't do a lot on measurable trigger pull. Warning - don't mess with it if you're not sure what you are doing. Also, be sure you have a source for a spare sear just in case you find out you know less about how to do it than you thought you did. There is a very fine line between a light trigger pull and an unsafe firearm.

 

If trigger pull isn't your problem, how stiff is the frizzen spring? A lot of them are far stiffer than they need to be. Can't recall the Pedersoli's I've messed with. I'm not remembering excessive frizzen spring stiffness. Remember, the only job of the frizzen spring is to keep enough pressure on the frizzen cam to keep it closed over your priming powder and provide a bit of buffer when the frizzen snaps open. Anything more than that is just causing more movement when the rock strikes the frizzen. The lock will spark just fine and function (for a few shots until the frizzen screw breaks off) without a frizzen spring of any kind.

 

Nobody wants to take pistol shooting advice from me so I won't offer any technique comments. I find a way to miss 1 or 2 pistol targets every CAS match.

 

flintlocks are a lot of fun and part of that fun is figuring them out.

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I've been shooting flintlocks a lot longer than I've been shooting cowboy. The BEST thing you can do is buy a book on tuning and polishing your lock. Then find out how to properly fix the touch hole for faster ignition. The ODG would insert a small feather into the touch hole before they dumped the powder into the barrel and seated the patch and ball. Reason for this was after the feather was pulled out it left a small hole going into the powder which would allow the flame coming into the touch hole to ignite the powder better. The touch hole needs to be shaped to maximize and concentrate the flame from the 4f powder which is in the pan. kR

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