Hello everyone -
Many, many, many years ago my wife bought me a Traditions Pennsylvania .50 cal flintlock as a wedding present. the last time I fired it was about 10 years. I was having issues with the barrel so kind of gave up on it and set it aside. A few weeks ago a friend urged me to dig it out and try using it again so I did.
Let me give you a little bit of back history...
When I was first using the rifle the issue was with the barrel - everything else worked perfectly. At this time I was trying to get involved with a F&IW reenacting group and they made no bones about telling me the rifle was not up to snuff for them. However, they told me how I could modify the rifle so it would be a bit better and could use it till a better one could be had.
what they suggested was removal of the varnish on the stock and the bluing on the barrel. They also suggested the rear sight be switched to a more period site.
So I took the rifle apart to do as they suggested. Once done everything went back together easily.
However, I did not fire it once all of these modifications were done.
Now for the problem. When I went to fire it last week the frizzen would not fully open when the flint would strike. My friend said the frizzen spring was too tight.
I've heard of frizzen springs being too tight but this wasn't an issue in the past. In fact most of the time the hammer and flint barely move the frizzen. The most movement I was able to get out of the frizzen was when a used a really small flint.
So, do you think the issue could be to tight of a frizzen spring or could it be something with the tumbler, sear, sear spring or even the mainspring?
Thanks for your patience and help, it is appreciated.
Could there be rust behind the spring that keeps the frizzen moving? If not rust, maybe some tiny obstruction?
I like to check things that are easy to see and easy to fix first. Loosen the lock plate screw(s) and see if it works. If so the frizzen is dragging on the barrel flat.
Next see if extending the flint in the jaws or installing a new flint will help.
Easy is good and I just thought of something else... maybe the roller is frozen to the bridal. A bit of petetrating oil on the end of the bridal a then turn the rifle or lock so that the edge of the lock is up so the oil will penetrate. Maybe also a drop of oil where the spur of the frizzen works the spring. This is after trying what Rocklock suggests.
Whether you have a roller or toe on the frizzen contacting the frizzen spring, put a drop of oil. Also, you might have to pull the frizzen screw to check for rust residue,then oil it. If the frizzen screw is too tight or has resistance (rust, dirt, oxidized oil residue)the frizzen will not cycle properly.
It would not hurt at all to remove the lock from the gun and completely clean and oil all the parts.
Hope this helps!
The forest is a wilderness only to those that fear it, silent only to those that hear nothing. The forest is a friend to those that dwell within its' nature and it is filled with the sounds of life to those that listen.
With the lock out of the stock, cock and trip the lock with your fingers and see if it functions differently than when in the stock. If it does, that could indicate some binding between the refinished stock and the lock internals or the barrel flat as RockLock suggested. See how much force it takes to push the frizzen forward with your fingers. Shouldn't take much. If it does, try removing the frizzen spring altogether and comparing. The frizzen spring used to be called a 'feather spring' because of the light amount of resistance it had to provide to hold the frizzen shut on the pan.
If you still have the problem with the lock free of the stock, I'd disassemble the lock, polish up the internals and reassemble (trying to be careful to snug up all screws and bolts but not overtighten them to the point of binding).
Good luck with it. SCL
Here's a health to the King and a lasting Peace. May Faction end and Wealth increase....Old Loyalist Ballad
A "too tight" or a "too strong" frizzen spring is a very rare thing, but you hear about it all the time when the trouble is elsewhere, and a misdiagnosis of that as the cause can FUBAR the reliability of a lock.
First, if the flint is the proper length....,
As mentioned above in other replies, check the entire lock by cleaning it, and testing outside of the stock. THEN return it to the stock and see if the problem returns.
Wood changes with the seasons and over time, and rust can creep into a lock..., so you may be getting an unintentional weak strike by the flint because...,
There is wood rubbing on an internal part,
There is rust on the tumbler that is causing friction,
There is rust on the internal surface of the lock plate or the main spring slowing the main spring,
There is rust on the toe of the frizzen where it cams against the top surface of the frizzen spring,
There is rust on the top surface of the frizzen spring,
There is rust on the frizzen screw, the frizzen screw hole, or on the sides of the frizzen where the frizzen contacts the lock plate,
The frizzen is rubbing against the barrel,
The frizzen toe and top of the frizzen spring need some polishing to reduce friction,
In rare cases the frizzen screw is tightened too tight and the bridle is pinching the frizzen,
Note that the vast majority of the above is solved with cleaning and oiling. Some is solved by sanding the lock mortise where it's rubbing the moving lock parts, and some is solved by some hand polishing of surfaces. None requires modifying a part...which should be the last resort.
It's not what you know, it's what you can prove
Thank you all for all of the advice!!
I'll keep you all posted - thanks again!
BTW - before I forget...I did try various sizes of flints. The smallest flint is the only one that seemed to move the frizzen the most.
I agree with LD and will add that a frizzen spring needs only to be strong enough to keep the frizzen closed, that's all. Actually the first thought that came to my mine was the position of the flint in relation to the frizzen face. At half cock the flint should be, say, 1/8" to 1/16" from the face. Traditions rifles can be very good, accurate and reliable rifles but with occasional problems from the factory. Try the options suggested and I'm sure you will have success.
*Young guys should hang out with old guys; old guys know stuff.*
Larry, I have the same rifle only I converted mine from percussion to flint. Now I know you said yours used to work but mine new from the factory did the same thing. I don't have any advice since I sent mine to a gunsmith but I thought I would let you know you aren't the only one who has had trouble with this lock. Rest assured I have never had any problems since.
Hope you get it fixed.
you know, it occurs that you might check TOW's (Track of the Wolf) catalog for a lock that fits this rifle (the lock mortise). I have a friend who bought a second hand Lyman GPR in flintlock flavor and was having ignition problems too. Long story short, it didn't line up with the vent hole, so he talked to the TOW folks on the phone (always ready to help) and got a replacement lock for the rifle.
This as a possible idea for you so that you can shoot it should your efforts to FIX not work to your satisfaction.
Also note, "Bevel Up or Down" on the flint. This can change the position of the flint when it strikes the frizzen. Loyalist Dave and Hanshi are right on with their advice, too.
Larry, do please check back and let us know how this comes out. I'd be interested in hearing what actually is the problem and your fix.
Thats funny, I got a new traditions hawken and had the same issue of the frizzen being tight to the point it would not fully open. I used a small C clip on the frizzen spring and compressed it a little to allow some tension to be taken off the frizzen and now everything's perfect and she sparks even better now.
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