Flintlock Timing and Spark Photography at Friendship
Jim Chambers Large Siler

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 to look and the quantity and quality of the sparks and see exactly where the sparks are landing.


I can handle most lock sizes from a Bess on down. Extreme sizes mean some fixture adjustments, but size is generally not a problem. The only requirement is that the lock be drilled and taped for a lock retaining screw. I will have 8-32 and 10-32 screws to hold the lock. If imported guns use metric threads, I may ask the shooter to bring his lock retaining screw with the lock.


I would like the owner to install a sharp flint, installed to best advantage. I will use Swiss Null B for the priming. (I have received special permission to have a small amount of priming powder in the booth. I will ask the head range office to watch the process to make sure he is satisfied.)

When we are finished, I hope to give the shooter a couple of things:

A copy of the lock times and average

A photo I’ll print in the booth

If you have an email address, I’ll email you a high density copy of the spark photo.


There is no fee, but we’ll set out a donation jar, whose contents will go to the NMLRA.

The photos included above show the equipment I use and a couple photos of one of my Silers’ sparks.

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