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Help...Hawken flinter for a rookie

Duck HeadDuck Head Member Posts: 82 ✭✭
Ok, I know this is old hat to some of you but...How do I make this stupid thing go off every time? I put in a "flint" by the manual (which looks like a piece of man made crap), the hammer only holds on to about 1/8" inch of the thing, and put 4f in the pan and hit the trigger and flinch! No bang. Try more 4f, less 4f,WTH!!!Fill it again...flinch.Again.Again...Pffft Boom! Get the F^&% out!!!!! How did we win any wars? Geeze, don't fight in the rain either!!!!I tried "English" flints, New frizzen from T.C. 2f in the pan,I'm ready to use a Bic lighter!In the daylight I only (see) 2 or 3 sparks. Is this normal? Maybe I should try at night but still it won't go off 7 in 10 times. Is the hammer supposed to hold on to more than 1/8" of the flint? It moves on me and I have to reposition it. I crank it down with a thin screwdriver in the hole of the screw but I know that this can't be right. And yes I use the scrap of leather around the flint.I'm ready to chuck this piece of crap and stay home instead of hunting in Pa.'s flintlock season.It was bought in the 70's so it ain't a newer piece of crap.What's wrong?


  • PA ShootistPA Shootist Member Posts: 686 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Your problems are common. Mostly there are a lot of details about the flint, its mounting, the frizzen, touchhole, etc. that all have to be just right. I wondered the same things as you at times; how did we ever fight off wild Indians with one of these?

    Some suggestions to try:
    -Be sure flint and frizzen and pan are dry, no oils, use alcohol or lacquer thinner to degrease thoroughly.
    -Mount flint firmly in the jaws of lock, aligned square to face of frizzen.
    -Mount flint projecting far enough so that the arc of its strike will scratch across the frizzen a good distance.
    -Keep touch hole clean; no oils in its opening, or far rear of the barrel to damage the powder.
    -Best quality flints make a big difference.
    -If one frizzen doesn't seem to spark mutch, get another one. There is some magic in the hardening process, when it's right there is a long and hot spark trail, when it's not right the metal seems slick and doesn't react much with the flint. I think they can be on either side, too hard or too soft.
    -The frizzens may need careful hand fitting to get them to close snugly, and line up properly.

    There might be others here with additional suggestions, but for me the devil was lying in those details.
  • mbsamsmbsams Member Posts: 1,076 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    convert to caps
  • Duck HeadDuck Head Member Posts: 82 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    LOL mbsams. Flintlock season means FLINTLOCK! Duhhhhhh! Nice try.PaShooter...I was thinking the same thing about another frizzen. I'll call T.C. Thanks
  • firstharmonicfirstharmonic Member Posts: 1,057 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    When you call T.C., ask them about exchanging your lock for their newer-designed flintlock lock. If your rifle is from the 1970s it will have the older style lock. The redesigned T.C. lock has an altogether different cock and frizzen and they work very well. And they are drop-in replacements. I've heard from lots of guys that have had T.C. exchange the older-style locks for the improved later model at no charge.

    Good luck.
  • Duck HeadDuck Head Member Posts: 82 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    Thanks Firstharmonic. Will do.
  • VarmintmistVarmintmist Member Posts: 1,074 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Clean your vent, every time.

    If you are getting spark and it is lighting the pan powder it isnt the flint.

    Here are my ideas;
    Make sure that your flint is in right side up, if it is a cut agate, the bevel side should be down.

    If you are using fat leather, try beating a ball flat and using that instead of leather. A loose flint will chatter. Lead is harder on he lock, but it helped me.

    Make sure that your frizzen is clean, with alcohol.

    I have had luck with the cut agates, try a new one, they are good for about 30ish shots and a bear to knap.

    Put your pan powder to the OUTSIDE of the pan with just enough for a little pile. DO NOT FILL THE PAN. You can also put enough in to leave a line along the bottom of the pan, but fire burns away from the fuel, so if the powder is to the outside, the flare will be towards the vent hole.

    Make sure that the powder area (having a brain fart) in the bbl is CLEAN, put a 30-35 cal brush on a rod and brush the bottom of the bbl where the powder goes.

    Pour your powder into the bbl slowly so that it all goes to the bottom.

    Use your vent hole pick and push it through the vent into the charge powder, that will leave a place for more fire to go.

    If you have a TC mountain rifle, you have a gem. Most flintlock problems are caused by us nuts at the rear of the stock. They are not rocket science, just take a little extra which makes the whole after christmas season that much better.

    BTW, you should have started a bit earlier.
  • gh64gh64 Member Posts: 3 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    I'll be ....... been shooting my t/c white mountain carbine for awhile; killed deer; no problems and I just learned something else.
    Very good directions on firing one.
  • Duck HeadDuck Head Member Posts: 82 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    Thanks Varmintmist. Good sage advice. I just don't seem to get enough spark. How much wear does a good frizzen exhibit? The original one was case hardened by the colors that were on it and this one is plain black. It is all buggered up where the flint scrapes on it.looks like someone beat it with the sharp part of a chisel. I still have to call T.C.
  • VarmintmistVarmintmist Member Posts: 1,074 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    How much frizzen are you using? You should be scraping about a inch. If it is much shorter than that, then something is gooned up. Be it wrong flints or the lock itself.

    If it looks like its been peened, you might want to try beating a ball flat and using that instead of leather. Might be chattering. Is the flint staying tight after you crank it a bit. You should have to retighten (gently) a few times with leather or lead until the stuff forms.

    Try the lead flint holder first, its cheap. Maybe the spring is bad and it isnt striking like it should?

    quote:I'll be ....... been shooting my t/c white mountain carbine for awhile; killed deer; no problems and I just learned something else.
    Very good directions on firing one. I am fairly a newbie yet, 4 years and one deer so far (hope to change that in about 10 days) but I had some problems and found rock knockers are not shy about giving advice. That, and I am hooked, and can get reloader * when something isnt as good as it can be. Even a production lock will go off without a pfffft if it is set up right. I have a Lyman Great Plains and you can hear the flint scrape the frizzen, no pfft, just boom.
    My son will be a jr hunter next year so when I go with him, I think the 06 will be supplanted by the 50 PRB, unless I get a custom LR built (cmon Santa!!)
  • Duck HeadDuck Head Member Posts: 82 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    Sorry I didn't get back sooner Varmintmist. Yes it's scraping about an inch maybe a tad more but I think it has a gouge across it where the scraping starts and the scrape marks look wavy. Maybe it IS chattering.I just messed with it with just powder in the pan and got it to light 10 times in a row. How many firings are usual for an agate flint? I got over 20 hits on it now and the last 10 were in a row. It's pretty ugly, I'll just flip it over and take 'er to the range and see what happens. (When it quits snowing).LOL I'm a rookie but it's been in the family since the early 70's and I never trusted it even though I did hunt a couple times and when it was time to unload it for the day it wouldn't go off right away. Even with a dry pan and fresh powder. That's when we heard about the recall from T.C. and got the replacement frizzen years ago.It's better but I'm sure it's probably just in the setup. I haven't gotten to call T.C. yet. Thanks for the advice.
  • krazy4kragskrazy4krags Member Posts: 39 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    I have been shooting flintlocks of various qualities for decades now and must say that what was said about proper tuning is spot on. Unfortunately you have very little control over this unless you have the tools and fortitude to muck with the geometry of the lock. Most T/C's old or new have a less than excellent frizzen hardness, so your replacement may not be much better.
    As instructed by others be sure that you place the flint properly and that it is sharp. The flint should strike about 2/3 of the frizzen starting about 1/3 of the way down from the top. The bevel of your flint is important as well as the contact surface of your frizzen, if angled to face up, and spaced right it should sharpen itself. This should also lead to much longer flint Brown Bess has fired over 100 times with the same flint and I see no reason to change it yet.
    As far as the hardness of the frizzen, you can attempt to fix this problem with a few simple procedures and some Kasenit. Kasenit is available at Brownells and is a powdered solution that hardens only the surface of the metal, making for good spark with a flint, but not too hard that it would be brittle and break.
    Remove your frizzen and wrap an old wire clothes hanger through the screw hole so that it won't fall off the wire. Heat up the entire frizzen with a propane or mapp gas torch until the frizzen glows a bright red (about 1650 Degrees.) Dip or roll around the heated frizzen into an old clean paint or tin can filled with enough Kasenit to cover the entire frizzen. Reheat to bright red. Dip and vigorously swish around the treated and reheated frizzen in another similar can of clean lightweight motor oil. This will quench (harden the steel) but not so quickly that it would likely need a retempering.
    After that, and, coupled with all the other advise about flints and vent holes you can expect a shower of sparks (not 2 or 3, more like 20 or 30) to ignite a 1/3 to 1/2 full pan of FFFFg powder. Something I like to do before firing is to slightly jostle the firearm to the side so as to get the powder in the pan to shift AWAY from the sounds wierd, but try it and see.

    Best Regards!
  • krazy4kragskrazy4krags Member Posts: 39 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    OH, I forgot to tell you that the surface of your old one needs to be smoothed out...if you have a dremel tool with a grinding stone or, better yet, a small bench grinder you feel comfortable with, you should smooth out the ripples. Do this before treating your frizzen otherwise the results will be less than inspiring.

    Best Regards!
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