Got my trusty flintlock rifle right? Flintlocks, despite all the movies that show them firing each and every time, need to be attended to in order to maximize the odds that the rifle will fire the charge in the barrel and send the round ball on its way.
I bought into that trusty stuff. Seeing a beautiful Longrifle can do that.
I have fired perhaps 60 rounds from my Lancaster Flintlock and a number of times the either the priming powder did not go off or when it did, the main charge did not. This was mostly my fault.
Since my rifle is new, it is likely my own newness too that needs adjustment.
Research on the internet has lots of advice. What I have done is located several sites that espouse the same things in the set-up of your lock in the deer woods. You only have one real chance to ensure the rifle fires and send the bullet on its way.
1. Keep your lock clean and lubricated.
2. Ensure your flint is tight in the clamp, clean and sharp and even (parallel) with the frizzen. If not you must knap the flint face with a brass rod to sharpen it and make it parallel with the frizzen face. If your leather wrap on the flint is too thick then the leather will absorb energy. Many, including me now use a lead wrap that you can hammer out of a lead round ball. The lead will conform to the flint and hold it in place just as the leather does but will not absorb the hammer energy. This delivers more energy of the flint to strike the frizzen and more sparks result.
On an empty gun, I observe the sparks from the flint to see that they are sent to the powder pan in quantity.
3. The rifle, most flintlock hunters say, needs to be shot just before the hunt and swabbed once without lubrication, maybe a little spit on a cleaning patch. This is like shooting with a seasoned barrel and the bullet will not encounter lubricant which can change the point of impact.
4. Use a pin to clean the touchhole shaft after you load a round.
5. Don’t over fill the clean pan with powder.
If you shoot to practice it is wise to run a spit cleaning patch after every shot. I have just adopted this clean after each shot method and I like it.
And you can end up shooting like this shot below at a paper deer at 50 yards. I used a large post like tree in the woods to brace the rifle. See the 50 cal Round Ball hole dead center in the lungs just above the heart. The other holes are from different caliber rifles in a previous year. I will try to use a monopod or bi-pod to shoot or find a good tree to brace.
This image of a deer was about 75% of life size. I do recommend buying these paper archery targets of deer and shooting them with no bullseye to focus on. I think that 40 to 50 yards is my limit without a bi-pod. This is the most common shooting distance encountered here in Northern New England and New Hampshire.