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 Zeroing in my flintlock

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PostSubject: Zeroing in my flintlock   June 20th 2014, 6:06 pm

I slimmed up my new rear peep sight and dimpled the front of it with a center punch then I had to zero it in. I was 9" low at 25 yards and filed a bit off the front sight. That got it p to 6" low but with a bigger charge of powder (77 gr. of 3F instead of 60) it dropped back down to 8" low at 50 yards.  (My sawn amber flint now has over 40 shots on it.)

Question: Is there a way to predetermine how much to remove from the front sight or do I have to shoot it 20+ more times to figure it out as I dress it down little by little?  confused 


I also shot my Ruger Old Army that had been loaded since last October with BH 209 and 200 gr. REALs. All 6 went off without a hitch. Three of the six touched at 25 yards from a rest. Now I know that BH209 doesn't absorb water from the atmosphere. After hunting season it resided in an uninsulated garage until today.

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PostSubject: Re: Zeroing in my flintlock   June 20th 2014, 6:14 pm

lol yeah pretty much play it safe and take .005-.010 at a time.

How do you like that flinter so far? Peep sight help out any?
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PostSubject: Re: Zeroing in my flintlock   June 20th 2014, 6:42 pm

The deep dovetail scared me for awhile but I've moved on. If the touch hole/vent liner can handle the pressure at the chamber, an intact barrel reinforced by a tight-fitting sight 9.5" farther up should be just fine. At least that's my logic.

The new peep is great. I painted the top edge white to see it against a dark background like a deer. I can see it fine. The hole size is perfect.
I like the flinter a lot too. It's accurate and doesn't really recoil even though it's less than 7 lbs.

I need to find a loading technique that it likes so it won't hesitate when firing. It seems to do the hesitation when I use a lot of pressure on seating the ball or forget to put my Cu wire in the touch hole before loading. I'm currently using .433 balls with .014 patches because it has a tight bore. The bore measures .447". A bare .445 ball won't go down the bore unless it's pushed down with the ramrod.
It has to be swabbed after every shot to be consistent.

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PostSubject: Re: Zeroing in my flintlock   June 20th 2014, 11:33 pm

Bob check on Brownells site , they have a front sight calculator on there.
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PostSubject: Re: Zeroing in my flintlock   June 21st 2014, 8:45 am

The calculation is really simple.  You need to know the distance between the front and rear sight and
how far you need to move the point of impact at a given distance.  Make sure all measurements are in inches and decimals of an inch.  This works for changing a front or rear sight for elevation or windage.

Remember that a longer sight radius will require more sight adjustment to get the same POI change at a given distance.  Also the sight change to get 4" of POI movement at 25 yards will be 4X as much as for 100 yards.

I don't want to make this too seem too much like school but this is my explanation:

The distance you want to move the sight is unknown at this time and is called ?. 
The distance between your sights is called S here
The distance to move POI is called M here
The distance to target is called D here

The calculation then is ?  =  S times M
                                             D

So to move POI 4" at 100 yards (3600 inches) when the sights are 28.5 inches apart


?= 28.5 x 4   =   114      =  .031666 or just over 31 thousandths of an inch
      3600           3600

I've actually used this with adjustable open sights and by knowing the screw pitch like a 8-48 screw and the number of clicks in a full turn say 12 and convert the .03167 to so many clicks.

Like FG said, play it safe, in the above case remove about .025" then check and move slowly.

Hope this helps.
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PostSubject: Re: Zeroing in my flintlock   June 21st 2014, 9:33 am

Thanks Spit and Standing Bear. With a 42" barrel the sights are about 30" apart. I'll measure it when I go out to the barn.

I can deal with Algebra fine but Trig and Calculus were my worst subjects in college even though I was a Chemistry major.  :shh

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PostSubject: Re: Zeroing in my flintlock   June 21st 2014, 9:49 am

Don't take my comments as insulting.  I have had plenty of responses like I'm not going back to school or I don't trust math so not knowing the other's background or attitude...well.

Ok, Ok rub it in  Sad -chemistry was my worst subject.  Maybe it was the Friday afternoon lab?
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PostSubject: Re: Zeroing in my flintlock   June 21st 2014, 10:02 am

Re flint ignition hesitation.

Sounds like the delay is between flash in the pan and main charge ignition not between frizzen strike and flash in the pan, right?

What size is the touch hole?  I don't like less than 1/16" and have some up to 5/64.  Be aware opening the touchhole will lower chamber pressure and therefore POI.  Really only noticeable at longer range.  Brits used 1/8" on Brown Bess to insure ignition but a lot of soldiers had black dots on the left side from discharge.

I use FFg for main charge, the grains are held apart a little more and that provides more surface area for the flash to contact coming thru the touchhole.  Also, don't over compress the powder when seating the ball.  Make sure the ball IS seated and try to get the same pressure each time.

I prime with FFFFg and have used Null B.  some say priming with FFFg and even FFg works fine but I like the hotter flash.
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PostSubject: Re: Zeroing in my flintlock   June 21st 2014, 10:30 am

Standing Bear wrote:
Don't take my comments as insulting.  I have had plenty of responses like I'm not going back to school or I don't trust math so not knowing the other's background or attitude...well.

I'm sorry you thought I was insulted. I am truly grateful for the help. ........... Besides, I have very thick skin so actual insults just bounce off.  Twisted Evil 


Yes, the delay is between the pan flash and the main ignition. I have already opened up my touch hole to a loose 1/16".  However, I may try the 2F. Your explanation sounds logical. It's definitely worth a try.
I use a full 3 gr. charge of 4F in the pan. Smaller charges don't work as well.

When seating the PRB and powder, I just push the ball down until it stops. Then I raise the ramrod ~ 3"-4" and drop it thrice. The ramrod is 5/16" and lightweight wood.
When I exert force, it results in more hang-fires.

I only have about 40-50 shots through the gun so far so I haven't tried all variables yet.

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PostSubject: Re: Zeroing in my flintlock   June 21st 2014, 10:41 am

Standing Bear wrote:
Re flint ignition hesitation.

Sounds like the delay is between flash in the pan and main charge ignition not between frizzen strike and flash in the pan, right?

What size is the touch hole?  I don't like less than 1/16" and have some up to 5/64.  Be aware opening the touchhole will lower chamber pressure and therefore POI.  Really only noticeable at longer range.  Brits used 1/8" on Brown Bess to insure ignition but a lot of soldiers had black dots on the left side from discharge.

I use FFg for main charge, the grains are held apart a little more and that provides more surface area for the flash to contact coming thru the touchhole.  Also, don't over compress the powder when seating the ball.  Make sure the ball IS seated and try to get the same pressure each time.

I prime with FFFFg and have used Null B.  some say priming with FFFg and even FFg works fine but I like the hotter flash.

I probably compress my main charge more than I should because, in addition to any indicating mark on the ram rod, I like to see the rod bounce to show the ball is firmly seated. When I pick the vent there is enough resistance that it's obvious the charge is compressed. Nonetheless, by making sure the priming charge is up to the touch hole and that the wire of my pick has actually penetrated the charge in the barrel, hang-fires are so rare as to be non-existent.
With four different flintlocks, .36, .50, 20 gauge (.600 ball) and 16 gauge (.648 ball), the only one I feed 2f to is the 16 gauge.
This is contrary to what I was told years ago when I first started. Back then it was "anything over fifty uses 2f". It makes  a difference when shooting shot in a smoothbore where I always used equal by volume of powder and shot. Doing that with 3f will wreck a pattern. When shooting balls though, using 3f instead of 2f allows the use of a little less powder per shot.
I've always used 4f to prime and, if possible, I still do. A little while back I........... Well no need to go into details, but I found myself without any 4f handy. On that occasion I used the main horn (3f) to prime. If there was any difference, it wasn't noticeable.
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