May 2009 Spring Practice

May 2009 Spring Practice This video was produced in 2009 but was never uploaded. In doing site maintenance to www.blackpowdermag.com I found it in a different folder. Besides some shots of excellent locks, it shows some of the trials that one goes through to prepare for a video session. In preparation for the Spring Shoot with Olympus Industrial, Steve Chapman and I met Grant Ferguson on the NMLRA grounds. We set up ... 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 »

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 »

Allen Martin on Gun-Making

It’s Saturday morning , and Allen Martin and I will try a new method for interviews.  Formerly, I used a digital audio recorder, but this year we will use video. On the picnic table where we’re sitting is a wonderfully thin flintlock. That’s where the interview will start. Allen, thank you for a most impressive rifle.  Thanks also for being a part of this first try at a video interview. Larry Pletcher, ... 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 »

Gary Brumfield – Photos from the Archive

Gary Brumfield has been a friend, mentor, encourager, and teacher to me as well as many others.  He was the push behind the lock-timing experiments, helping me to develop methodology we used to time locks. Much of his help came while we were at the Seminar at Bowling Green back in the ’80s. On the first day of the early Seminars, we would meet behind Terry Leeper’s house and have a little ... 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 »

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 »

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 »

Jim Chambers Discusses Gun Making and the Lock Business

Jim and Mike problem solving

Jim Chambers has been a friend of mine for many years. I stopped in his booth and enjoyed a chat with him. Jim told me about his start in muzzleloading and his work with John Bivins. You’ll enjoy Jim’s story of his interview with John. He also tells about acquiring the Siler lock-making business from Bud Siler. Jim tells how the kit business actually began with ideas as far back as the ... Read More »

David Price talks with Black Powder Mag

David Price makes beautiful guns. His speciality is the Swivel Breech. In the years I have known him, I have had the chance to look at many of his guns. His work is on numerous magazine covers, at Dixons, at Friendship, and as the raffle gun for GunMakers’ Hall.   David is man with the desire and ability of teach others what he knows. His web site,  The Flintlock Shop, has tutorials on ... 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 »