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Working on my FAQ's for this Forum. Eventually hope to take some of them and compile them into a Sticky at the top of the page.... ;) Comments and Adendums are very Welcome.

Thought we'd all sit back and just have a good general discussion of Percussion Guns. It seems that many folks that are giving a go of the Black Arts, might want to start off a bit easy. Flintlocks are daunting for new shooters, but the Caplocks better known as Percussion Guns seem to be more user friendly. The funny thing is that the Caplocks require a few good fundamental practices to run well, and aren't much different then a Flinter...

Learned the hard way, without a good mentor, a Caplock can give you fits.... So maybe, we can save a new shooter from the lessons learned at the door of the School of Hard Knocks.... ;)

Tools and Accessories ~
Many a new shooter buys a gun without realizing that there are a few things that are needed to keep the gun running smoothly. These are funamental to this type of Black Powder shooting, and are used quite often. Primary among these tools would be the nipple wrench. Used to remove and install your guns nipple. Perhaps the handiest of all tools to clear a misfire or to simply clean a guns drum or bolster. You have to have one to remove the nipple to effectively clean your gun.

The second most important tool for keeping the gun running would be a nipple pick. Used to make sure the orifice of the nipple is clear of fouling.

Why so important. Well many a gun that has been properly cleaned and lubed will be stored vertically in a gun safe, or just leaned up against a wall. As time marches on, the lube may settle to the bottom of the barrel and manage to clog the breech end of the gun. It is common practice to "Pop" a cap to make sure the gun is clear to fire, as a test before truly loading with a charge of powder. Problem is, even if the bolster or drum is blocked, the cap will still go off. When doing this excercise, always treat the gun as if it were fully loaded and have it pointed in a safe direction.

I generally pop a cap, open the lock, clear the spent cap, and then blow down my barrel to make sure the vent hole is clear. I will see a bit of smoke coming through the nipple. If that fails and the passage is not clear, there will be back pressure while blowing in the barrel and I know the vent is not clear. Out comes the nipple wrench. I remove the nipple and visually inspect it. If it is clogged, then I use the pick and I make sure to clear the nipple. With the nipple out of the barrel, I will test the vent by blowing again. If that fails I check the drum or bolster, and use the nipple pick to clear the obstruction. Once the obstruction is cleared...I go back to step one and try another cap out, to make sure the gun is clear before fully loading a charge....

The idea is to make sure the gun able to carry a spark from that cap into the breech and light off the main charge. Simple really. But without a proper path, that spark will never make it's way to the main charge.

No whish/boom equals ~ No fun.... ;)

OK, so know we know we have that perfect pathway for the spark...what next. Always, always clear that last spent cap from the nipple. Did I mention always, yet ;) The reason for this is evident after you have poured your powder charge into the gun.

Now for a helpful hint: To make sure you get a quick ignition. Be it a Caplock or Flintlock, when you pour a charge of powder into the gun and while it is still being held vertically, tilt the barrel a bit so that the nipple is angled slightly down, and take your hand and lightly tap the breech end of the barrel. This settles the powder and helps move some into the vent....

That done, we'll know find out why I had you clear that last spent cap. As you start a patched ball down the barrel, You'll hear the air escaping as the ball is moved down and seated. That air is coming from your empty nipple. And perhaps a few grains of powder are being moved with that air in a position under the nipple and into that pathway for that next snapped cap.


All for now,

giz
 

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Thanks, Giz. In my case you're preachin' to the choir. TAKS testing in Texas this week. An exhausting and totally worthless exercise. I'm so wore out I'm gonna take a Monday off and spend a three day weekend out at the Peach Orchard with my blackpowder toys. I'll be thinking of you in your full regalia as I'm enveloped in dense clouds of blackpowder smoke. Take care, pilgrim.

QC
 
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Discussion Starter #6
This would not apply to the modern in-line style of muzzleloader. Bit of a different system, and one that I am not even remotely familiar with. Basically the information above is for the Traditional style of firearm of our ancesters...the ones we see that typically have a sidehammer or underhammer... :)

giz
 

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onenut58 said:
Does that apply to these new fangled black powder rifles that a lot of states are making illegal to hunt with ?
Yes, the steps outlined apply to in-line rifles. While in-line muzzle loaders have a breach plug, making things a bit easier, I do all the above.
I was not aware some states were making them illegal. Seems odd because of the location of the cap is the only thing that has changed. But a 'pistol grip' on a black rifle makes that evil too
 

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azmick said:
onenut58 said:
Does that apply to these new fangled black powder rifles that a lot of states are making illegal to hunt with ?
Yes, the steps outlined apply to in-line rifles. While in-line muzzle loaders have a breach plug, making things a bit easier, I do all the above.
I was not aware some states were making them illegal. Seems odd because of the location of the cap is the only thing that has changed. But a 'pistol grip' on a black rifle makes that evil too
Azmic I am willing to bet that you will find it's the muzzle loading purists that are pushing for these laws. a lot of the gun community tends to be very Conservative. You should see the reactions I get from some members of the rifle range when I bring my evil black rifle to shoot.
;)
 

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jfa;o;;
You should see the reactions I get from some members of the rifle range when I bring my evil black rifle to shoot
That is sad. A long time ago, I had an older gentleman friend that believed no one except cops had need of a handgun. He was very vocal in pointing out that if handguns were illegal, his rifle would be next.
 

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Gizamo said:
...


Now for a helpful hint: To make sure you get a quick ignition. Be it a Caplock or Flintlock, when you pour a charge of powder into the gun and while it is still being held vertically, tilt the barrel a bit so that the nipple is angled slightly down, and take your hand and lightly tap the breech end of the barrel. This settles the powder and helps move some into the vent....


All for now,

giz


For faster ignition you should make sure there is no powder in the channel from the nipple to the main charge,
or no powder covering the touch hole on a flintlock(powder should be no higher then middle of, or even right below touch hole)
You need the spark from the caplock shooting straight to the main charge without burning through powder to get to the main charge.
In the flintlock you want the powder to flash in the pan and through the touch hole.
If the touch hole is blocked with powder it creates a fuse effect =woosh,,,,boom
Just my exp.

Willy
 
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