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Thread: Priming Powder Question

  1. #1
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    Priming Powder Question

    Got flintlock. Had to knap flint to fit--it was way oversize. Got spark.

    Don't got FFFFG for priming.

    Crushed up FFFG with a mortar and pestle.

    Flash in pan only, three times.

    I've heard FFFG will work if crushed fine, but I had no luck.

    Do I need to buy a can of FFFFG? I'm only borrowing this thing for a few days.
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  2. #2
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    Make sure the vent's clear... Also, try straight 3F in the pan, no crushing.
    Rule 37: There is no "overkill". There is only "Open fire", and "I need to reload".
    "7 Habits of Highly Effective Pirates", quoted in Schlock Mercenary

  3. #3
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    I've heard plenty of people say they use unaltered 3F in the pan. You must have some other problem.

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    Omnivore: I hope not. It's brand new. This was the first shot.
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    Get a small dental tool at the drug store that is used for cleaning between crowns. Looks like a miniature pipe cleaner. Run it through the vent hole before loading the first round of the day.

  6. #6
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    Try picking the vent after loading, and before priming. Many times the powder packs too tight, and the vent hole must be clear. Picking the vent leaves a small hole in the powder charge for the heat of the priming to ignite.
    Also importante is the location of the touchhole. Center of the pan horizonally and just at the top of the pan vertically. Do not fill the pan completly as this will tend to produce a "fuse" effect. Better to fill about 1/3 full so that there is a flash of heat to ignite the main charge.

    Hope this helps.

    Oneshooter
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  7. #7
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    Hi Madmike,

    My uncle used to make meal powder with the approp ratio of niter, sulfer and (willow) charcoal then ball milled with lead musket balls to completely mix. Most commercial black powders are coated (usually with graphite) and re-corning introduces a relative inert ingredient into the mixture. The slower speed and decreased energy makes re-corned powder unsuited for priming powder. (Just what I've heard in the workshop of a crazed obsessive machine builder.)

  8. #8
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    madmike,

    I don't know about modern flintlocks.

    The old ones, at least the military ones, would light FFg as priming powder.

    When using paper cartridges and either ball or buck and ball loads, the lock was primed first.

    They were not that worried about safety, but they had to get the powder into the pan BEFORE it was all dumped down the bore, so prime, then load.

    There was NO separate type of powder for the pan, they just dumped some of the cartridge FFg into the pan.

    Buckshot

  9. #9
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    It's brand new. This was the first shot.
    Well that might explain it. Did you thoroughly clean the bore, down to the breech, and get out any oil or grease left by the manufacturer? I've seen a flinter built with a breech chamber too (smaller diameter powder chamber bored into the breech plug). You'd need a smaller jag to get down in there.

    What powder you using as the main charge? Did we talk about that? Real black is often sited as the only thing that will reliably ignite in a flinter.

  10. #10
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    Mfr approved FFFG Pyrodex, up to 150 gr. I loaded 90.
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    FREEHOLD, Jan 04 from Baen Books
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  11. #11
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    There is your problem( or at least one of them). Pyrodex requires a lot hotter fire to ignite. You can either switch to black as your main charge, or drop 10-15grains of black in the barrel first, then the remaining charge of Pyro on top.

    That should do it. Hope this helps.

    Oneshooter
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  12. #12
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    Ditto on the Pyrodex as potential problem. Try some 3F or 4F black first, then the Pyro.
    Rule 37: There is no "overkill". There is only "Open fire", and "I need to reload".
    "7 Habits of Highly Effective Pirates", quoted in Schlock Mercenary

  13. #13
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    I wouldn't even know where to buy blackpowder around here.

    It's got a charge in it, so I either need to get the prime to work, or disassemble and pull the breech.
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    FREEHOLD, Jan 04 from Baen Books
    THE WEAPON, Aug 05 from Baen Books
    CONFIRMED KILL, Sep 05 from HarperCollins
    BETTER TO BEG FORGIVENESS..., Winter 07 from Baen Books

    ~~~

    "The Finest battle implement ever devised." Ung the Caveman on the M1 Pointy Stick.

  14. #14
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    madmike,

    Are you trying to use Pyrodex in the PAN too?

    That will NEVER work. Pyrodex will not burn without containment. That is why we can't use it for blanks in reenacting. That is basically what the priming powder is doing.

    Sparks are also not hot enough to light Pyrodex.

    You GOT TO HAVE black powder for the pan and it works MUCH BETTER in the bore too since the vent always bleeds off some of the pressure that would be used for containment.

    Your "well equipped suburban bunker" for a location gives me NOTHING to try to help you with, so good luck. See if you can find any Civil War Reenactors in your area, they will have black powder and know where to get it.

    Buckshot

  15. #15
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    Mike -- can you hang on to the thing through Pennsic? I can bring you up a can or two of 3F. Also, you can blow it out with canned air, or a CO2 discharger.
    Rule 37: There is no "overkill". There is only "Open fire", and "I need to reload".
    "7 Habits of Highly Effective Pirates", quoted in Schlock Mercenary

  16. #16
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    Pyrodex did light in the pan, from the sparks, and did burn quite hot, all three times in a row, but didn't appear to be fine enough to reach the main charge.

    Dex: Yes. And I only need a little. I'll see what I can turf up this weekend as well, but a small can of priming powder is appreciated.
    http://SharpPointyThings.com
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    FREEHOLD, Jan 04 from Baen Books
    THE WEAPON, Aug 05 from Baen Books
    CONFIRMED KILL, Sep 05 from HarperCollins
    BETTER TO BEG FORGIVENESS..., Winter 07 from Baen Books

    ~~~

    "The Finest battle implement ever devised." Ung the Caveman on the M1 Pointy Stick.

  17. #17
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    If you cannot get it to work properly to clear the Pyrodex charge, and the charge is not totally oil-fouled, the last-ditch way to fire it is to fuse it like a cannon. It works best with real black powder of any granulation, but can work with BP substitutes.

    Use a toothpick to clear the vent.
    Turn the rifle so the vent is up
    Using a very small transfer measure, trickle powder into the vent to fill it, making sure it fills from the charge to the outer edge of the vent.
    Gently turn the rifle upright.
    Prime the pan 1/3 full on the _outside_ of the pan, so it flashes towards the vent.
    Fire the rifle.

    You will very likely get a drawn-out ignition, of several seconds. It is a deliberate hang-fire. Hold aim and count 60 if it fails. Wait several minutes before re-attempting.

    Note: Triple Seven and American Pioneer powders are also not good ideas in traditional rock-locks, and gave me the chance to test my above procedure.

    BP can be ordered where not prohibited. Hazmat fees apply.

    Good sources for various flintlock accessories and supplies:
    http://www.buffaloarms.com
    http://www.trackofthewolf.com
    Burt Blade

  18. #18
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    Use a toothpick to clear the vent.
    Turn the rifle so the vent is up
    Using a very small transfer measure, trickle powder into the vent to fill it, making sure it fills from the charge to the outer edge of the vent.
    Gently turn the rifle upright.
    Prime the pan 1/3 full on the _outside_ of the pan, so it flashes towards the vent.
    Fire the rifle.
    It might also be a good idea to tap the rifle with the heel of your hand while it's vent up so powder will jar into the main charge. I vaguely remember one of my ancestors (grandfather I think) telling me of how sometimes when people were using fine grain powders they would hit the weapon's stock so powder from the charge would travel through the touchhole to the pan and be primed. Such a tap might make a better quality powder to migrate from the pan to the main charge.

  19. #19
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    Well, I can try tomorrow at a friend's berm. We'll see then.

    Thanks for the inputs.
    http://SharpPointyThings.com
    http://www.MichaelZWilliamson.com

    FREEHOLD, Jan 04 from Baen Books
    THE WEAPON, Aug 05 from Baen Books
    CONFIRMED KILL, Sep 05 from HarperCollins
    BETTER TO BEG FORGIVENESS..., Winter 07 from Baen Books

    ~~~

    "The Finest battle implement ever devised." Ung the Caveman on the M1 Pointy Stick.

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