Saturday, January 23, 2016

Flintlock rifles

There are those who amuse themselves with long obsolete technologies in most areas of scientific inquiry mostly out of curiosity.  The longer you live as a shooter, the greater the likelihood you will get to the basics, the start of firearms. The 17th century matchlock generates a little interest, but the 18th century flintlock firearms seem to have a much larger following these days, due in part to the fact that several states permit an extended deer hunting season for flintlock shooters.  That was the reason I first seriously considered getting a flintlock rifle.

Well considering a flintlock, for most of us, even gun aficionados, means doing some research.  And researching flintlocks leads into how they were made and used.  And researching how they were made leads invariable into building your own.  You quickly realize that the commercial offerings, good though they may be, are faint examples of the originals, and that a much closer approximation of the originals, to the extent our limited knowledge and modern apprehension allows, comes only by making them yourself.

Well I got the disease.  I started researching in 2013 and started buying in 2014 and concluded by starting to build in 2015.  To date I've "built" six flintlock rifles.  Now this is a whole other shooting style and discipline than most modern shooters are involved in.  Note that the length of time and fine motor skills necessary to reload and aim a flintlock makes it pretty much a one shot weapon for fighting purposes.  Crazy Lewis Wetzel's load-on-the-run notwithstanding, as a general rule once you discharged your "fire-lock," the rest of any combat engagement was conducted with clubs, knives or tomahawks.

Hunters today with their .300 Win Mag rifles and 50 power scopes should readily adhere to the one shot one kill motto.  However in the flintlock days, the requirement to meet that standard was even more greater (no kill--no dinner) even if it was more difficult.  It's important to note that celebrated "good shots" were celebrated because they were rare.

As always, questions, comments and general harassment welcome.

No comments: