Pennsylvania Game News - January 2012 - 62

rooster with a stone in its beak. If there’s any looseness in the cock, the flint stone will not forcefully strike the steel frizzen and produce sparks. The cock is given rotation by the tumbler on the inside of the lock. An extending bolt-shoulder of iron projects through the lock plate and this must rotate smoothly. Again, check for rust and lubricate. The square hole in the base of the cock slips over the tumbler bolt and is tightened down with a large-headed screw. Be sure that it is tight. If the cock is wiggly where it attaches to the tumbler, a gunsmith will need to add or upset the metal to take up the space and make it tight. Any looseness here will yield poor spark production. Before you check for tightness of the top screw above the flint, turn your attention to the stone itself. The number one reason why flintlocks don’t fire is that the owner is too cheap to change the flint. Yes, flints do get dull. The reason is obvious; friction against the steel erodes the knife edge into more of a rolled edge. The bevel on the agate may still look good to your old eyes, but if the edge doesn’t feel sharp like the edge of broken glass, do something about it. Most agates that come equipped on the rifle have two beveled edges, one on each side. Simply turn the flint around and your back in the game of making sparks. There is a simple test for flintlock sparking ability. Take an empty flintlock (you can check this by measuring the ramrod’s depth in the bore along the outside of the barrel) into a dark room, turn it upside down and dry-fire the lock. Count the number of sparks. If you don’t have at least seven sparks, your flintlock is not ready to go hunting. Usually, a reversed or newly inserted flint will take care of the problem. If you are Fun Game answer: F L I C K E R.

unhappy with the agate flint’s performance, you may want to try a fine-grained, silicarich glossy black English, amber French, or milk-glass looking German flint. In fact, my flintlocks never leave home without one. The reason for these ethnic flints is that they are of a different rock composition that allows them to have sharper edges, and most importantly, they can easily be resharpened while they are still in the jaws of the cock. This is a very important feature when hunting. Known as “knapping,” a rifleman supports the flint under the lower jaw of the cock with his finger and chips away at the old edge. A glancing blow is lightly struck at a 90-degree angle to the edge of the flint with a piece of brass (so as to not make sparks from iron which could accidentally discharge a loaded gun, or deliver too crushing a jolt to the brittle stone causing it to be split and become worthless.) A specialty accessory known as a flint knapping tool (looks like a miniature brass hammer) is a handy item for the leather hunting pouch. The knapping process causes “spawls” or semicircular flakes of flint to detach from the main stone. This produces a very sharp edge similar to that of broken glass. With the ability to be knapped several times, these true flints produce more sparks than agates, and will last two to five times as long in the flintlock. Flints take a lot of abuse as they smack into the steel frizzen, shaving 2000-degree molecules of hardened and tempered iron sparks, and send sizzling igniters into the pan of priming powder. If they are not tightened into the jaws of the cock with good pressure from the top-jaw screw, they will not produce good sparks and will very likely shatter. To help absorb some of the shock of contact with the steel, American flintlocks normally sandwich the piece of flint inside a folded piece of leather. European military muskets and German Jaeger (hunter) flintlocks were normally equipped with
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Pennsylvania Game News - January 2012

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pennsylvania Game News - January 2012

Pennsylvania Game News - January 2012 - Cover1
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2012 - Cover2
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2012 - 1
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2012 - 2
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2012 - 3
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2012 - 4
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2012 - 5
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2012 - 6
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2012 - 7
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2012 - 8
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Pennsylvania Game News - January 2012 - 10
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Pennsylvania Game News - January 2012 - 27
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2012 - 28
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Pennsylvania Game News - January 2012 - 62
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2012 - 63
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2012 - 64
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2012 - BB1
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2012 - BB2
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2012 - Cover3
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2012 - Cover4
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