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why caps?
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Booshway
Picture of Josh Crain
posted
Maybe tgis is a dumb question, but why was there ever a transition from flints to caps on ML guns? I don't shoot muzzleloaders myself, so perhaps I'm not seeing it, but it seems to me that having to fumble around for a tiny little percusion cap is way more difficult that always having your flint in the lock. Someone please explain? Confused


"Return unto me, and I will return unto you," saith the Lord of hosts.
~Malachi 3:7b
 
Posts: 297 | Location: MI | Registered: 18 August 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Factor
Picture of Hanshi
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For one thing, Josh, percussion is a somewhat more fool proof and reliable system - And before the other flinters on the forum climb all over my back, I own two cap guns but more flinters than cap; and I shoot and hunt with flint just giving the cap guns range fun a couple times a year.

Now that that's out of the way it's a truism that for every fool proof thing devised, a new and improved strain of fool comes along. Percussion is a little more reliable than flint with equal shooters. The percussion system is also more water resistant than flint. Also, reloading is generally faster.

Understand that percussion had a very short life span - 30 to 40 years depending on how it's measured - while flint was in use for at least 300 or more years. The refined flint lock is what I'm referring to; there were other flint mechanisms prior to the lock we're now familiar with. Metallic cartridges came about from before the N/S war and will not be supplanted any time soon.

So the answer is that percussion is a technically superior system but maybe not superior in the hands of a duffer. British soldiers were trained to load and fire some 6 shots a minute. I can't do that with a cap gun.


*Young guys should hang out with old guys; old guys know stuff.*
 
Posts: 3493 | Location: Maine (by way of Georgia then Va.) | Registered: 26 January 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Booshway
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Sometimes the powder available was of poor quality and would not ignite as reliably as what we take for granted today. They didn't have 4f for priming and I think what was referred to as "best rifle powder' was about 3f. Nathaniel Wyeth converted 4 rifles to percussion because of poor quality powder when he and his men were on their way back east. By the same token, percussion caps were not of the same quality as today and would sometime cook of from hot weather. Percussion didn't take over by storm and many continued to prefer flint. I personally prefer flint and I see just as many if not more people at rendezvous having trouble getting their cap guns to go off than flinters. I think the reason for that is most of the flint shooters are more experienced on average so avoid a lot of problems. I have a good percussion rifle but it rarely gets used.
 
Posts: 507 | Registered: 14 August 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Factor
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Then you have the sportsmen, who often drive innovation...the cap was developed because a bird shooter was convinced that the birds were avoiding his shots due to the flash from the flintlock...of course we know today that the flash and bang on a well tuned lock is mere thousandths of a second slower than a caplock...so he was perhaps a mediocre shot with money to burn, or perhaps wasn't loading his barrels well, or both.

Then Colt came along with his revolver, an improvement over the pepperbox... and cap-n-ball revolvers helped spread the cap ignition system while many folks still used flintlock longarms for hunting and war. Five or six shots for self-defense and all you have to do is cock the piece and squeeze the trigger for all of the shots!

LD


It's not what you know, it's what you can prove
 
Posts: 3843 | Location: People's Republic of Maryland | Registered: 10 November 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Booshway
Picture of Josh Crain
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Ok. Makes a little more sense. Thanks guys.


"Return unto me, and I will return unto you," saith the Lord of hosts.
~Malachi 3:7b
 
Posts: 297 | Location: MI | Registered: 18 August 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Booshway
Picture of MountainRanger
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... and then there's the fact that some folks just like usin' them danged new-fangled guns! hehe


Sua Sponte
 
Posts: 460 | Location: SW Virginia (New River Valley) | Registered: 13 August 2014Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Factor
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I split it all up, I guess. Capper for deer. Flinter for all else. I'll admit that in the past 2/3 of my ML deer were with flinters. Reckon I like both kinds too much. Pin me down to only one, though, and it'd be one of my flint fowlers.

Fiddlesticks


As long as there's Limb Bacon a man'll eat! (But mebbe not his wife...)
 
Posts: 4816 | Location: Buffalo River Country | Registered: 23 October 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Booshway
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Last 3 years I've done all my deer, elk, grouse and rabbit hunting with flinters. Hasn't been any handicap at all.
 
Posts: 507 | Registered: 14 August 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Booshway
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If you can hit your target,there is no handicap to only having one shot..... Wink


Beer is proof that God loves us,and wants us to be happy-B. Franklin
 
Posts: 1927 | Location: Oreegun Territory | Registered: 24 March 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Factor
Picture of Hanshi
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I started off with caps and got into flints fairly soon afterward. For a long time I used both cap and flint for deer and mostly cap for squirrels. I liked them both so much I couldn't side with just one or the other.

I parted with a few capguns so as to acquire more flints. I had a nice Pedersoli with both locks and switched back and forth with it on deer. Still have two fine percussions I will not part with. Who knows; I may yet again take one out for deer. But since some years back I have used flints exclusively.

My oldest muzzleloader is a capgun and I still have it although after half a century it's basically a non working wall hanger. The other two are a cute little custom .45 and a very fine factory .54. They're not only built super well but shoot outstandingly.


*Young guys should hang out with old guys; old guys know stuff.*
 
Posts: 3493 | Location: Maine (by way of Georgia then Va.) | Registered: 26 January 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Booshway
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kinda sad that your oldest,and favorite is reduced to a wall-hanger.....Anything physically wrong with it?


Beer is proof that God loves us,and wants us to be happy-B. Franklin
 
Posts: 1927 | Location: Oreegun Territory | Registered: 24 March 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Factor
Picture of Hanshi
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The combo tg/hammer/trigger spring is basically dead. The leaf extension that returns the trigger is now just a piece of metal with no "spring" temper left. This is the old kind and not the ones that use a wire spring. But we had many adventures together and the memories are thick. It won't go into half cock (needs spring tension for that) so it's not safe any longer. The barrel is still pristine, though.


*Young guys should hang out with old guys; old guys know stuff.*
 
Posts: 3493 | Location: Maine (by way of Georgia then Va.) | Registered: 26 January 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Booshway
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I should think that,as thick as those old-timey gunsmiths are back East,it wouldn't take much effort to get the old war horse running again.....


Beer is proof that God loves us,and wants us to be happy-B. Franklin
 
Posts: 1927 | Location: Oreegun Territory | Registered: 24 March 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Greenhorn
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The gun I use every day is a 16 bore Durs Egg percussion made in 1830 it never fails!!
James


A gun without hammers, looks like a spaniel without ears
King George v
 
Posts: 29 | Location: staffordshire england | Registered: 17 January 2015Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Booshway
Picture of Notchy Bob
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Hanshi,

It sounds as if your old "wallhanger" may be one of the Hopkins & Allen underhammers. I checked the Gun Parts Corporation's website, and while they do list hammer and trigger springs for these guns, these springs are shown as "Sold Out."

I have found that Pecatonica River sells remakes of the H & A rifles in kit form. This includes the action or "receiver." They might be able to provide you with new springs that could be fitted.

Notchy Bob


"Should have kept the old ways just as much as I could, and the tradition that guarded us. Should have rode horses. Kept dogs."

from The Antelope Wife
 
Posts: 333 | Location: Florida | Registered: 24 May 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Booshway
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If James' example is any indication,age shouldn't really be a limiter on useability.


Beer is proof that God loves us,and wants us to be happy-B. Franklin
 
Posts: 1927 | Location: Oreegun Territory | Registered: 24 March 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Factor
Picture of Hanshi
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Thanks for the suggestion; I'll start checking them out.


*Young guys should hang out with old guys; old guys know stuff.*
 
Posts: 3493 | Location: Maine (by way of Georgia then Va.) | Registered: 26 January 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Greenhorn
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Any one out there use a matchlock?
James


A gun without hammers, looks like a spaniel without ears
King George v
 
Posts: 29 | Location: staffordshire england | Registered: 17 January 2015Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Factor
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James, hang on a bit, maybe you'll get a reply from Volatpluvia down in Mexico. He doesn't have it now, but he built one some years ago. I shot it. Went off quick as a flash. He can tell you all about a wheel-lock, as well.

Fiddlesticks


As long as there's Limb Bacon a man'll eat! (But mebbe not his wife...)
 
Posts: 4816 | Location: Buffalo River Country | Registered: 23 October 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Greenhorn
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Well, I use a matchlock to shoot clay's and it really is a lot faster then a flint, its real good fun!
James


A gun without hammers, looks like a spaniel without ears
King George v
 
Posts: 29 | Location: staffordshire england | Registered: 17 January 2015Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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