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My experience with black powder has been limited to a replica 1851 Navy. I'm mostly a smokeless powder cartridge shooter but the sound, smell, and smoke have grown on me. Lately, I've been thinking about purchasing my first flintlock, a Harper's Ferry Pistol, and am wondering if anyone has had any experience with this model? What tools/accessories would I need to go with it?
 

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The first item you should purchase is a good book on the subject... it will save you much grief later.

Pedersoli's Harpers Ferry is listed as .58 Caliber, so you will need the appropriate round ball and patches... patched can be purchased dry or pre lubed, pre lubed patches will save you from lubing them. Bore butter or wonderlube will keep fouling soft and easy to clean, and can be used as a preservative after you have cleaned the pistol.

You will need a leather or lead jaw pad and the correct size flint (along with spares... once you find decent flints, you might want to lay in a good supply.). You will want a properly sized screwdriver to install the flint. A .58 caliber cleaning kit, a vent pick and brush, a .58 caliber wiper, breech plug scraper and ball puller are mandatory.

You might want to get a CO2 powered ball discharger to dislodge an unfired ball... they do work better on percussion fired firearms, but it is worth a shot.

Just a quick and dirty list for starters.
 

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Though neat looking I have read varying reports on these pistols.
From great to dysfunctional. Also expensive.
They are said to be hard on flints and need lockwork.

I would recommend something more on the order of a Kentucky style, cheaper and more functional.
You can go from kits to production to handmade items.

The Harpers Ferry models look neat but they are a handful and maybe not best for a novice. I always wanted a Walker til I got one. Too big, too clumsy for my use.
Mo .02, anyways.
 

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Seems the angle of the hammer tends to throw the sparks forward of the pan. Mine would only fire about ½ of the time. I really like the feel of the Harper's Ferry. Finally, after about 20 years, I had the hammer cut and rewelded at a sharper angle so the flint was in the proper position to the touch hole. Works great now! My understanding is that the originals had ignition problems. After spending New Year's Day shooting machine guns and semiautos, I brought out my HF flintlock and let the young'uns shoot it. They said a "Captain Jack Sparrow pistol!" (from the movie-Pirates of the Caribbean") It appeared they had more fun shooting this flintlock pistol than the full-auto weapons.
 

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Flintlocks are a lot more touchy than cap locks. The mateing of the flint and frizzen has to be just right to drop the sparks in the pan, and the frizzen has to be hardened just right. My limited experience with comercial flintlocks has not been very good, in the end I made two of my own a rifle and a pistol using preshaped stock blanks and quality parts, the rifle has an L&R lock and the pistol has a Dixie Gun Works, both spark like crazy if I have the flint napped nice and sharp, they are both a blast to shoot but do take some getting used to.
 

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Harper's Ferry Flint Problems

We used quite a few HF (Pedersoli) Guns in "Peter Pan" and had exactly the problems noted above. We cleared up the problems by (a) making the flint a different angle and (b) strengthening the Mainspring.
I did mention these problems to Pedersoli in 2005 on a visit there, and the spring problem seems to be the use of a "common" spring, also used in another lock of slightly different Geometry.
I think the problem has now been resolved.

The solution of changing the Cock angle is also useful...will keep it in mind for the future.

Regards,
Doc AV
AV Ballistics Film Ordnance Services
 
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