priming powder

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 »

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 »

Part 2 — Initial Pan Experiments

Fixture ready to record burn marks at the vent

Burn marks on a card help us to determine the intensity of the black powder burn in the flintlock pan. This was a preliminary step to help determine how to prime the pan. The card test was designed to determine the intensity of the flame at the vent. An index card was cut and pinched between the lock plate and the barrel. The pan was primed in three different positions. The first ... 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 »