Swiss

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 »

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 »

Pan Vent Experiments – Continued

Examining flame entering vent

In my earlier article called “Pan Vent Experiments”, I examined powder placement in the pan and timed vent locations. I found that pan placement was far more forgiving that we thought. I found that a vent covered with prime did NOT slow ignition as we once thought. In fact priming powder located as close as possible to the barrel was the fastest way to prime. In this photo article, I will look ... Read More »

First Try with Slow Motion Flintlock Video

Camera setup

It’s finally ready! Flintlocks with multiple variables at 5000 frames/second. This movie will run at GunMakers’ Hall this spring. Here’s your chance to see it early. See if you can see individual blackpowder grains ignite. The accumulation of my high speed flintlock videos is finally finished. Because of over all size the movie is in two parts. Part A includes experiments with my old faithful large Siler lock using chipped English flints, ... Read More »