Articles

Lock Timing at the 2017 Spring Shoot

Our lock timing and photography project is finished. My son, Kevin, arrived from Denver on Thursday night. We began Friday morning working the bugs out of our equipment. Our goal was to time the shooters’ locks and take photos showing the spark production and where the sparks landed. Along with the photo, the owner got a paper copy of the lock times we recorded. The software allowed timing to the nearest 10 ... Read More »

THE JOHN FRASER PROJECT (Authors listed below)

CLA Auction Item THE JOHN FRASER PROJECT  by: Gary Tucker, Eddie Rector, Ron Vail, Ken Scott , Heather McClure and J Casey McClure For the upcoming Contemporary Longrifle Foundation Fund Raising Auction to be held at the Annual Meeting in August, CLA members Gary Tucker, Eddie Rector, Ron Vail, Ken Scott , Heather and J Casey McClure have recreated a collection of artifacts based on early frontiersman and trader John Fraser’s life ... Read More »

Flintlock Timing and Spark Photography at Friendship

BlackPowderMag’s next project will be at the NMLRA Spring Shoot in June. I have received permission to time and photograph locks in Booth 112. Some of the details remain to be worked out, but I hope to be set up and working Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. I plan to time a shooter’s lock for 10 trials and find the average. A photograph will be taken of the lock making sparks. We want ... Read More »

Flint Elk Rifle

The history of this rifle began years ago when my friend Rick Shellenberger in Colorado cleaned out an old muzzleloading shop. Among other items, he brought home 2 Sharon .58 caliber rifle barrels. Both were rifled at 1 turn in 72 inches. These barrels have eight lands and grooves. Rick kept one barrel and gave the other one to me. Back in Indiana, years passed until I began collecting parts to complete ... Read More »

Two Hole Vent Test

This test is a long time coming.  A couple years ago at CLA, Steve Chapman and I were looking over a flint gun made by Allan Sandy. The vent Allan used had two smaller holes located horizontally.  Allan said the vent was internally coned but used two .052″ holes.  Allan said he didn’t know whether it was faster or slower than a normal vent. My reply was that I could time it. ... Read More »

Rifling a Barrel – Friendship Fall 2014

During the first weekend of the fall 2014 shoot, Bill Hoover and his friends did a demonstration of rifling a muzzle loading rifle barrel.  While Bill’s rifling machine can cut multiple grooves, today the machine was set up to cut five grooves and a progressive or gain twist.  In this set up the twist varied from 1/68” to 1/34” in a 42” barrel.  As we talked, Bill and Philip Iles worked on ... Read More »

Bucks County Hunting Gear

A Bucks County rifle and accouterments article has been on my mind for a number of years. The motivation for this came from three different people.  First, Samuel Pletcher was my great, great, great grandfather.  He lived in Lancaster County until he was about 40, then took his family by wagon to the Howard area in north central Pennsylvania around 1790.  I’ve been interested in stories, tools, and possessions that would have ... Read More »

Projects to Come

Siler lock igniting Swiss Null B

This is an informal list of future project ideas.  Nothing cast in stone here; just a place to keep notes on ideas. 1. Vent shape experiments — this will include an exterior tool made by Tom Snyder,  a friend who also makes an interior vent coning tool, as well as other tools for the gun maker. 2. A before and after test of Jim Chambers‘ late Ketland lock. We’ll time various combinations ... Read More »

Allen Martin builds a Schimmel

Friendship will be very special this spring.  Allen Martin will be bringing my new Schimmel to the spring shoot.  Allen and I have talked about this project numerous times at CLA.  I remember handling an incredible Martin gun and heard Allen say, It’s all in the architecture.” I was worried about my own shoulder issues and voiced this concern to Allen.  “Don’t worry,” he said.  “I’ll make you a long, slim, light ... Read More »

Blackpowdermag Gets a Facelift

Black Powder Mag relaunched

It’s been a long time coming, but Blackpowdermag has a new look! For some time we have considered revamping Blackpowdermag, and when a group of files were corrupted, we changed  to a WordPress authoring system.  The result is a new, fresh-looking format that reads well on smart phones and tablets, as well as computers. We are especially pleased with this improvement that was made possible by WordPress. We also will connect with ... Read More »

Flintlock Lube Test

In choosing to do this experiment, I will look only at how the lubes affect lock speeds. Others have examined a lubes resistance to rust formation. Many lubes have been suggested. I will try to choose thse that are widely used or represent a group of lubricants. The text here is in progress. It’s kind of like diary entries showing all the problems associated with a test of this kind. I’ll straighten ... Read More »

A Study in Lock Timing

Flintlock photo from JHAT article

I’d like to thank Gary Brumfield for his encouragement and advice during the data collecting and writing of this article. The Siler below is the lock used in the ’80s for the JHAT article. It has been fired probably thousands of times, but never was mounted on a gun. The article below listed all the modifications that were done when the lock was made. It has served as a test bed for ... Read More »

Martin’s Station Rifle Project

Martin;s Station Rifle Project

Martin’s Station is thought of as a great place to view and become involved in living history. Their calendar is filled with living history activities for the observer as well as the re-enactor. In the midst of these experiences is a great new project. The Martin’s Station Rifle Project is the brainchild of Billy Heck. Billy’s idea was to build a Virginia rifle that would be raffled off as a fundraiser to benefit the ... Read More »

NMLRA 1 of 1000 Endowment

Painting by David Wright

The NMLRA’s “1 of 1000 Endowment Program” was the brain child of former president Merrill Deer. He hoped to find 1000 members who would each contribute $1000, to support the NMLRA. The funds go into a restricted endowment fund. David Wright’s painting, “The Spirit of America” will be used to support the program in a variety of ways. David Wright’s talent is widely known, especially to those of us with a passion ... Read More »

Filled Vent Test – Is it Slower?

Test fixture with pistol ready for trial

Filling a flintlock touch hole with priming powder causes a slower ignition. The pan fire has to burn through instead of flash through the vent. Is this “fuse effect” true? Can the difference be measured? Are the “hang fires” experienced by black powder shooters caused by something else? Reporting the answers to these questions is the purpose in this article. The purpose of this test was to see if there was a ... Read More »

Bedford Co. — John Stoudenour

Bedford County rifle by John Stoudenour

—pretty neat original Bedford County gun— photographs by Larry Pletcher An original Bedford Co. rifle recently surfaced in northern Indiana. The name plate on the barrel identifies it as John Stoudenour. The Stoudenour family included John Sr.and his sons, Jacob and John Jr. This gun is likely to have been made by John Jr. Some of these photos were shown on the American Longrifles forum. When these were posted on ALR, they ... Read More »

Blackpowder Slug Guns – Precision Paper Punching Machinery

George Mitchell fires the 100 lb slug gun

Blackpowdermag editor, Larry Pletcher For years I’ve been fascinated with the slug guns during the Muzzleloading Championships at Friendship. This year I decided to do an article on these remarkable guns. This article is the first in a two part series on slug guns. The second will look at the largest slug gun I have ever seen. Slug gun shooting has a long tradition in the NMLRA. During my 30+ years of ... Read More »

Blackpowder Slug Guns – The Mitchell Gun

Mitchell slug gun

Slug Guns Part 2 allows a unique look into the world of slug guns. Blackpowdermag.com is pleased to bring you this look at the “Mother of all Slug Guns.” Blackpowdermag editor, Larry Pletcher In Part 1 the topic was slug guns in general; Part 2 zeroes in on one of the largest slug guns ever to be fired at Friendship. This gun, built by George Mitchell, is one of four guns in ... Read More »

ITX Non-Lead Field Test for Accuracy

ITX non-lead ball showing the belt

Do you live in a lead-free hunting zone? Are there alternatives for the traditional muzzleloading hunter? BlackPowderMag examines one possibility. Recently I received a quantity of ITX non-lead balls made to be fired in a muzzleloading rifle. The maker is Continuous Metal Technologies Inc located in Ridgeway PA. Brad Clinton is the contact person. The company produces non-lead projectiles for hunting applications. If, for a variety of reasons, hunting with lead becomes ... Read More »

Screw Tip Horn Class repeated at Conner Prairie

Original Lancaster Screw-tips

Art DeCamp’s instruction and horn-making techniques were invaluable to me in making screw-tip horns. Thank you, Art, for the class and the extra help you provided. Art has a new web site at:www.artspowderhorns.com Samuel Pletcher grew up in southern Lancaster County in the 1750s. He apprenticed to a weaver, and by the time of the Revolution he was married with a family. One family source says he fought in the war, but this ... Read More »

Making Lancaster Screw Tip Horns – Intro

Original Lancaster Screw-tips

Art DeCamp’s instruction and horn-making techniques were invaluable to me in making screw-tip horns. Thank you, Art, for the class and the extra help you provided. Art has a new web site at: www.artspowderhorns.com Samuel Pletcher grew up in southern Lancaster County in the 1750s. He apprenticed to a shoe cobbler, and by the time of the Revolution he was married with a family. One family source says he fought in the war, ... Read More »

Making Lancaster Screw Tip Horns – Part 1 (Large Pics)

Art DeCamp’s instruction and horn-making techniques were invaluable to me in making screw-tip horns. Thank you, Art, for the class and the extra help you provided. Art has a new web site at: www.artspowderhorns.com When you select a horn, there are some dimensions that should be considered. For Part 1 we will deal with preparing the tip end of the horn. For the horn used in this Tutorial a 5/8″x11 thread will ... Read More »

Making Lancaster Screw Tip Horns – Part 2 (Large Pics)

Art DeCamp

Art DeCamp’s instruction and horn-making techniques were invaluable to me in making screw-tip horns. Thank you, Art, for the class and the extra help you provided. Art has a new web site at: www.artspowderhorns.com In this part we will discuss the preparation of the butt of the horn. This will involve trimming, shaping, and turning. We will also turn and fit the plug. Let’s first look at the horn. There is probably material ... Read More »

Making Lancaster Screw Tip Horns – Part 3 (Large Pics)

Art DeCamp’s instruction and horn-making techniques were invaluable to me in making screw-tip horns. Thank you, Art, for the class and the extra help you provided. Art has a new web site at: www.artspowderhorns.com Part 3 will deal with the turning of the threaded tip. First let’s choose the tip. Keep in mind the proportions of the horn. We want the diameter and the length to look pleasing when attached to the ... Read More »

Flintlock Timing, MuzzleBlasts January 1990

Durs Egg

During the past two years I have had the opportunity to measure the ignition time on a number of different flintlocks. The locks varied from superb original locks to modern day reproduction locks. Some were in mint condition, while others were somewhat used. The equipment that I use to time locks consists of a computer and interface made to scientifically measure time in a high school or college physics lab. It has ... Read More »

Priming Powder Timing

Siler lock igniting Swiss Null B

As a retired educator and a student of the flintlock, I am fascinated with what we can learn by applying technology to the field of black powder. This is another in a series of articles that uses a computer interface to experiment with our black powder hobby. The first articles (1990-1992) described experiments timing various flintlocks. Another article (2000) described the timing of touch holes. This article explores the timing of different ... Read More »

Flintlock Timing Part 2, MuzzleBlasts September 1992

Flash455

Most of the testing and timing of flintlocks completed at this time has been done with modern reproduction locks. Because of their value, original locks should not be subjected to an extensive number of tests. Lock makers of today can’t help wondering how their work compares with the work done during the flint era. The Journal of Historic Armsmaking Technology Vol. IV has attempted to shed some light on this subject. The ... Read More »

Flintlock Timing Part 3, MuzzleBlasts December 1992

Siler lock stopped about .0140 sec after sear

Most of us, at one time or another, have wondered what factors cause locks to produce good results. Obviously, there are considerations which we have not been able to measure and maybe can never isolate. In this article, I would like to look at some factors Photo 1: The flint is just about to begin contact with the frizzen. Two thirds of the mechanical time is complete. which have not yet been ... Read More »

Pan Vent Experiments – An Introduction

The barrel and lock plate are attached to the fixture

Introduction This series of experiments has evolved into one of greater scope than originally intended. Earlier intentions were to examine the ignition qualities when the position of the vent hole varied up or down in relation to the pan. The methods to investigate included a computer timing procedure used to measure times from a barrel stub and lock plate with a pan attached. An L&R plate was chosen because the pan was ... Read More »