new to the flintlock need powder info

Discussion in 'Black Powder Shooting / Muzzleloaders / Handguns' started by rob the painter, Nov 26, 2007.

  1. rob the painter

    rob the painter New Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2007
    Messages:
    39
    i just picked up a wakens type of flint lock and have never played with these so i will need any basic info you guys can give me, i know i need a 3/4" flint, what knid of wads should i use wool or /? and should i get the lubed ones. it is a .54 cal what type of powder can i use that is cheap and is it a seperate powder for the igniter area. how much of a charge should i use max. thanksZ!
  2. Oneida Steve

    Oneida Steve Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2006
    Messages:
    1,085
    Location:
    Upstate NY
    I've been shooting flintlock for 15 years now. Here is what works for me:

    1) Lubed wads, definitely. They cost more but are well worth the price.

    2) You can shoot your flintlock with original black powder (2F or 3F) and prime it with 4F powder OR use any of the substitute BP products (Pyrodex, Triple Seven, etc) and prime with FFFFg blackpowder. But you must prime with 4F powder. Don't try a substitute.

    3) I have found - by trial and error - that it is best to load a "duplex" load in flintlocks. First pour in 15 gr. of 4F powder, followed by your main charge (60 gr. of Pyrodex Rifle for me), then ram a patched ball. (Total charge is 75 gr.) The small load of FFFFg will make the substitute powder ignite much, much quicker.

    4) Max load for .54 caliber is 120 grs. IMO.

    Good luck with your new gun!
  3. rob the painter

    rob the painter New Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2007
    Messages:
    39
    i wish i would have have seen your info about 2 hours sooner. i just went to range and shot a few, first off i wasnt sure where to set the flint so i chipped alot of the flint off real quick ,the first 2 shots went smooth then it went down hill from there, it was verry difficult to get it to spark then when it did spark it would ignite the pan powder but not the charge in the barrel. i think the little hole got clogged from the pan to the barrel because i used the same powder for the pan as i did with the charge, the powder i got is pyrodex p fffg equivalent? any help with flint placement and if i can just ground don this powder for the pan would be appreciated, thanks! also the guy where i bought supplies from started me with a 50 grain powder charge is this too little?
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2007
  4. rob the painter

    rob the painter New Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2007
    Messages:
    39
    and now that i have a charged rifle with a ball in it is there a way i can remove ball say if i removed the barrel is the some kind of removable block at the end ,thanks! or probably just clean out the vent and try to shoot , and........does filling the pan higher than the vent cause clogging?
    also all the shop had was 5-/8" not 3/4" flint does this matter?
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2007
  5. AngelDeville

    AngelDeville New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2007
    Messages:
    673
    Location:
    ABQ
    First off under no circumstances should you use 4f powder in the barrel, it could lead to huge problems

    50 grains of 3f is a good starting point, but I wouldn't exceed 90 grains because accuracy may suffer, work your loads up in 5 grain increments.

    a flint should shave metal off your frizzen, my last flintlock ot about 20-30 shots before I needed to knapp my flint. a 5/8" flint may be too large for your lock, and it sounds like it's hittng the frizzen too soon. A goodfitting flint should snap the frizen open rather rapidly, and the shot should fire as quickly as if using percussion caps.

    do you have a vent pick, and a ball puller?

    take a thin wire and clean out the touch hole very well, and make sure the ball is firmly seated against the powder charge.... (you did remember the powder didn't you?)


    The take a few grains of your 3f and roll it with a wooden dowel, on a wooden surface, until it is very fine, and use it to charge your pan.
    IF it dosen't fire, then dump some warm soapy water down the barrel, and pull the ball using a ball puller.

    Never remove your breech plug

    If you can post a few pictures of your lock/flint, and your pan with both the frizzen open and closed, with a good view of your touch hole, I can help diagnose things a little better.


    Pyrodex is a poor performer in flintlocks, I'd get some real black powder in either 2 or 3f, and also get some 4f but only use it for charging the pan, and t only takes a few grains in the pan to set off the main charge.

    be safe
  6. rob the painter

    rob the painter New Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2007
    Messages:
    39
    thanks again for the info this is really turning into a neat little hobby real fast! i know things are not tuned correct because i saw a couple of videos and their flintlocks react much faster almost simotaniously, mine is like maybe a few sparks will maybe light the pan then maybe it will light the pan charge then maybe eventually shoot the ball out,.... thats about how mine reacts.my frizzen measures a hair bigger than 3/4" should i use a 3/4" flint and how/where do you get a flint sharpener, thanks again!
  7. rob the painter

    rob the painter New Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2007
    Messages:
    39
    i took it to the range today and got it to fire the charge finally! it took cleaning the vent hole and 2 pans igniting to finally fire it. the more i read here in the different posts it sounds like the guy i got it from oil the gun to store it then i come along a few years later and loader up! you get the picture i need to clean it and remove any oil that may be in there what is the best/cheapest way to clean ? soap and water ? i even heard alcohol?
  8. Little Rooster

    Little Rooster New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2007
    Messages:
    564
    Location:
    Old Dominion
    You might try serching the fleamarkets and such for some old arrowheads. I would use them and had 3 sides to work with. Again you want to shave metal from the frizzem.
    I don't recall what type of bullet or projectile you are using, I will assume round balls. Remember your patch must be the right thickness to match up with the ball. Be it ticking -wool or pregreased cotton patches.
    You can also by priming horns that will premeasure the right amount of powder for your priming. Mine has a vent pick that sets in the oppose end . BTW I use fffg for load and priming. Follow AngelDeville advise on the load you'll eventually come to a sweet spot and know it.
  9. AngelDeville

    AngelDeville New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2007
    Messages:
    673
    Location:
    ABQ
    just mix up a solution of 1/2 murphy's oil soap, 1/2 peroxide and dump it down the barrel, should clean up just about anything....
  10. rob the painter

    rob the painter New Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2007
    Messages:
    39
    little rooster you use fffg for pan and load? maybe my problem isnt just the ignition powder in the pan, i really need to give it a good cleaning i got it used from a from and it has been sitting and he probably oiled the barrel too much for storage. what is a substitute for murphy soap and peroxide some thing i can find in the cabinet? thanks! also my lock only snaps about half way open and then i have to force it to open fully is this another reason for flint not working properly?
  11. sewerman

    sewerman New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2007
    Messages:
    231
    Location:
    hurricane ally florida
    stuck ball ?
    if you have a vent liner remove and use a Co2 kit that 's made to expel the stuck ball using gas pressure released from the canister.

    or use an air compressor .

    good luck
  12. polishshooter

    polishshooter Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2001
    Messages:
    8,095
    Location:
    Indiana
    If you have a charge that won't go off, use your vent pick (you can make one from a small paper clip in an emergency) to dig around into the main charge, and try another pan of FFFFg...the secret is a clear hole into the powder.

    The CO2 method doesn't work with Flintlocks, either.


    But after each attempt, make sure you ram the ball back down firmly on the charge, sometimes even the flash in the pan will cause the ball to move a little, and if it isn't firmly against the pressures can rise pretty quickly if it does ignite....


    After you get it cleared, I have found I get better ignition if I first put the vent pick through the touch hole, THEN load it with the charge with the pick in place, and remove it only when ready to prime the pan.

    Ignition is NOT a "train" of powder through the hole like many people think, but actually the passage of the flame through the hole to the main charge....the hole should NOT have any powder in it....

    But after a few rounds, the hole can get plugged with Black Powder fouling from either the 4F priming or the main charge in reverse...so putting the pick in place before reloading handles any problem...


    As far as using substitutes, stick to Black powder with a flintlock....it is the only thing guaranteed to work. While I have heard of other people using "duplex" loads with it, why bother? IF you have ANY real blackpowder in the bore, and probably even with just the priming FFFFg, you will have enough corrosive fouling in the bore to negate any advantage of using the substitute in the first place, which is advantageous because it is cleaner burning htan black powder! Since you will have to clean it the same way you would with BP anyway, go ahead and use it.


    The ONLY reason to experiment with the substitutes in a Flintlock is if you have trouble finding Black powder, which is a real concern since the new Federal laws on explosives took effect. But all it really means is when you DO track down a shop that still carries BP, just buy MORE of it at one time so you always have a supply...

    And since you WILL have to find FFFFg priming powder, that means you will ALSO find 2F or 3F, so stock up!

    And most people use WAY too much powder than what is called for....and lesser charges are virtually ALWAYS more accurate than larger ones...for example I use 65 grains of FFFg for my .44 flintlock,. and am probably 5 or ten grains OVER the best load for it....

    For my .50, 85 to 90 grains is plenty, for a .58 100 grains should be a good charge for hunting....


    The easiest way to find out your maximum is to shoot over fresh snow...

    When you can no longer find "black pepper" in the snow in front of your muzzle, you are at the maximum load your gun can handle. It will be a lot LESS than you think....the "black pepper" you find on the snow is simply wasted unburned powder pushed out of the bore.....
  13. Little Rooster

    Little Rooster New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2007
    Messages:
    564
    Location:
    Old Dominion
    Polishshooter giving you sound ADVISE. I buy my powder and split a case with another pard. It's cheaper that way. (We load alot of cartigages.) I buy ffg and fffg no subsitutes, I have tried them and used several but just don't care for them. Just a preference, not for argument or debate. A friend once told me the oldtimers didn't carry separate powder for primer, so I tried fffg it works. Keeping the vent hole clean is very important.

    If you dont get the load shot get a screw on jag and pull the ball the hard way. Once you get the gun SAFE, clean it and dry it. Get a can of Air blaster from staples walmart where ever and dry it throughly, then Lube all the of it lightly. Like a precussion gun you might prime the pan and fire it also to burn excess lube. Then pick the vent hole clean.

    As far as the lock, you might want to remove it and clean it up it might be a problem there, if this was a used gun.

    My prefered method of cleaning was warm soapy water, now I use Balistoll and water just like I use on my Cowboy guns. There's many methods of cleaning you have to pick the one that fits you.
  14. polishshooter

    polishshooter Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2001
    Messages:
    8,095
    Location:
    Indiana
    Yeah, Rooster, I probably should buy a bunch of it, but my LAST can of GOEX FFFg that I finished up last year still had a price tag of $6.95 on it!:p

    I too have heard that guys used 3F for priming, but then I also know guys who mortar and pestle 2f or 3f into finer priming powder too, which is not all that safe to do...;)

    The 4F can that is still about 1/4 full has the same price on it, so evidently I bought it the same time, about 10 or more years ago!:eek:

    I used to shoot my flintlock a lot more, but since I replaced the lock a couple of years ago, I usually only shoot it a few times to verify zero at a range before the season, then if I DON'T shoot at a deer it gets unloaded through the muzzle when I come out of the woods (I hate leaving it charged, and bringing it into and out of the cold and heat, even though many people leave them charged the whole season until they shoot it at a deer...)

    But then I usually don't go out 2 or 3 times the whole season, especially if I have a deer in the freezer from Gun season....so my flintlock is LUCKY to be fired 6-8 shots in a normal year any more....
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2007
  15. Little Rooster

    Little Rooster New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2007
    Messages:
    564
    Location:
    Old Dominion
    LOL it hasn't been $6.95 for alooooooooooong time
Similar Threads
Forum Title Date
Black Powder Shooting / Muzzleloaders / Handguns Need some help for a school speech on flintlocks Jul 19, 2009
Black Powder Shooting / Muzzleloaders / Handguns 45 Cal Flintlock Pistol Sep 25, 2014
Black Powder Shooting / Muzzleloaders / Handguns New flintlock rifle build Jul 4, 2014
Black Powder Shooting / Muzzleloaders / Handguns Harpers Ferry .58 Flintlock pistol May 30, 2014
Black Powder Shooting / Muzzleloaders / Handguns Shooting the completed Track of the Wolf Bucks County flintlock rifle kit Apr 19, 2014

Share This Page