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 Lubricating your lock

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Male Number of posts : 15450
Age : 34
Location : Boncarbo,Colorado
Registration date : 2008-05-19

PostSubject: Lubricating your lock   April 26th 2017, 4:22 pm

I figured I would put this together after an incident at the range last week!

I took my friend back out with the Traditions Mountain Rifle caplock to practice a few off hand, hunting situation shots and the first shot went perfect. He reloaded the second shot, took his time and as usual, he had it pointed away from us with the muzzle in the air while he capped the rifle. We always cap with the rifle on half cock.

He had just put a #11 cap on, turned towards the target and pulled the hammer back.

BOOM! We both stood there with out eyes bugging out.

My first though was that he had his finger on the trigger or didn't come to full cock and the hammer smacked the cap, setting it off.

He tried a few times to get the hammer to hold and nothing!

I grabbed the gun and inspected the lock, tried the triggers to see if it was an inletting issue. Everything checked out perfect.

Possibly a broken sear spring which caused the hammer to drop due to the sear not being able to properly move into position?


What I found at home when I removed the lock and inspected it, was some RIG grease had moved into the wrong area of the lock and froze the Fly in place and the sear was just skipping over the fly, rather than going into the full cock notch.

After cleaning a rifle, I always test the hammer to ensure everything is working properly.

One thing was different on this day.... It was cold out! Low 40s after a nice rain storm had rolled in. I don't know what happened or how the grease got into where it did, but it did, and it sure in heck made that fly stick in place.

Now I am just putting this out there for the new guys and show them how to avoid what happened.

Starting with your lube, you need to know how it acts in all weather, hot or cold. It's possible the RIG melted down a bit inside the house and turned ran, then set up in the cold when we went outside.

I'm now strictly using my Anti-Rust & Patch Lube as it doesn't fully melt until it hits around 105-110 degrees. I like to get a fair amount into the tumbler where the main spring hooks into place. Forgetting to lube this section of the lock can cause a gritty/binding feel when you cock the hammer.

Moving on to the Sear, I rub just a tiny amount onto the tip and work it in with my finger. Over lubing this area can cause series issues as the sear rubs across the fly. A heavy dose of lube in this area and you are asking for your lock to trip and cause it to fire when you go to full cock.

Another safety area is to always lube the area where the sear spring rubs on top of the sear itself! Not lubing this section can also cause the spring to bind up and cause the sear to stick.

Once more, I do not know how that lube moved into the fly area, but I will be using my lube from now on as I know its melting point and that it will stay where I put it.
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Number of posts : 5862
Age : 75
Location : central Florida
Registration date : 2012-08-22

PostSubject: Re: Lubricating your lock   April 26th 2017, 6:37 pm

I use Rig a lot but never purposely on the lock. Lucky for me, it never gets very cold down here.

Thanks for the head's up.


"My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government." -Thomas Jefferson
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Number of posts : 65
Age : 66
Location : Arizona Territory
Registration date : 2015-05-30

PostSubject: Re: Lubricating your lock   May 13th 2017, 8:10 pm

Be aware that RIG (Rust Inhibiting Grease) is a rust-deterring storage media.  Sure, it will provide some lubricity, but, so will peanutbutter.  Save the RIG for the off season when you store your rifles in a high humidity environment to keep the rust monster at bay. 

Grease has no place in percussion or flint lockworks, and seizing up in cold weather is a prime example of why.  It also attracts and holds dirt, grit & soot.  Consider lubing your lock as you would a watch or clock --- sparingly.  There have been a myriad of articles on lock lubrication, including testing with all the hi-tech CLP's, synthetic anti-friction elixirs, and machine oils.  The consensus (especially from the old-timers who suggested it in the first place) is ... Sewing Machine Oil.  It's a simple mineral oil that has been used for many purposes for several hundred years.  The key is to apply it with a toothpick a drop at a time. 

At another Muzzleloading Forum, one of the members did a study of lock times using various oils.  While results were often measured in 100ths of a second, 3-in-1 and simple mineral oil sewing machine oil proved to be the best.

Just because there is some latest & greatest lube on the market, doesn't automatically make it the best choice for use on 18th century technology.
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