Null B

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 »

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 »

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 »

Part 3 — Photography through the Muzzle

Null B priming very close to barrel

Comparing the strength of the black powder burn by looking through the barrel muzzle. Here we see that where the black powder is placed in a flintlock pan is crucial. In this phase I used a digital camera to photograph the fire coming through the vent. The barrel is mounted on a fixture and the camera installed on the tripod. Height was adjusted until the camera looked directly into the muzzle. In ... Read More »

Part 4 — Priming Powder Amount by Weight

Barrel raised for loading in the "low" vent test

Determining the amount of black powder to be used in testing. Since flintlock pans are of different size, I felt that this was a necessary step in our process. In this phase of testing I timed different amounts of priming powder. Ten amounts each of .5 grains, .75 grains, and 1.0 grains of Swiss Null B priming powder were weighed to the nearest tenth of a grain. These were timed in the ... Read More »

Part 5 — Timing Powder locations in Pan

Is it better to bank the black powder priming away from the vent? This piece of conventional flintlock wisdom will be tested. Part 5 of our test series will examine the question about where in the pan provides the best ignition. Conventional wisdom has told us that banking the priming powder away from the vent will produce the fastest ignition. Practically avery black powder shooter has heard this. This theory is based on human ... Read More »

Part 6 — High and Low Vent Experiments

high vent position

Low vs High Vent Test Phase . . . . Where should the vent be positioned for best black powder ignition? Again, conventional flintlock wisdom is tested. Up until this phase of the experiments the vent hole has been located level with the top of the pan. In those trials other variables were being examined. In this phase, the location of the ventis the variable. The lock plate has been adjusted to place the ... Read More »