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Been trying to make my own 4F priming powder for my flintlock without much success. G rains are still too large despite rolling, crushing, whatever I do to break it down. I live in the Grand Rapids Michigan area and no store has black powder much less 4F. Any one know a store who handles 4F?
 

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Hello,

This might not be what you want to hear, but for the time being I'd convert it to caplock. A side hammer conversion would serve best, and it's period correct. It was also one of the first inline ignition systems. (By inline, I mean the flame doesn't curve, but the nipple does sit 90° to the load column.)

I can call around to places where I get my Holy Black, but man, I just don't know. It's been forever since I bought any. It's lasted me.

If you've not, you might check out the Traditional Muzzleloading forum for other options. I'm a member there but haven't logged on for some time. Those guys know their stuff, including where to find things that usually cannot be found.

Regards,

Josh
 

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How do you know it is "period correct"? Perhaps his gun is of the pre-percussion cap era. To the OP, you can use 3F for priming.
 

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Forget about trying to crush and screen powder to 4F. It's a fools errand. You'll find that 3F works every bit as well as 4F.

I have an Ampco pan primer that will only feed 4F, and the 1# can of 4F will last me a lifetime. When that little pan primer is empty, I use 3F, and can tell no difference in ignition.
 

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Here is another vote for 3F or 2F. I went to the trouble to purchase some brass screening material and sorted out 4F from priming for a while in my flintlock pistol. After reading posts like the ones above, I decided to prime with whatever I was shooting with and it works - and is much simpler.
 

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It can ignite. Not a good idea.
We did things like this many years ago to make 'fire crackers'.
A friend had some flash. No serious injury but he looked like he had a sun burn for a couple days.
 

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Here is an interesting article which might help you to choose the right grain size for your priming powder: http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a150455.pdf

According to their finding (p. 24 & 25), 4 Fg powder ( e.g. Swiss No. 1 or equivalent powder) should yield the fastest burn rate ...
A good article and good advice Daniel, but in almost 50 years of black powder shooting, I have never used 4f powder, I have never seen the need. While it does burn faster, it also absorb damp from the air more readily and my use of the same powder as in the main charge has always been quite acceptable. Most important is the quality of the flint, the geometry of the lock and the hardness of the frizzen and the location of the touch hole. If all of those are good, any granulation will ignite reliably.

Sidney, a large proportion of the powder ground in a mortar and pestle will be far to fine and should be thrown out. Plus, as NY50/70 suggests, it can flash with embarrassing and - depending on the quantity - dangerous results.
 

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TP,

since I presently "only" own replicas, trigger pull, lock-timing and -geometry is the first thing I check and adjust on a new flint lock rifle before I even consider pouring priming powder into the pan. So far, I have always used 4Fg or finer priming powder. However, I have only once used dust fine priming powder and that for sure doesn't work properly. The powder has to be granulated.

With regards to attracting moisture, it depends on the powder. I have never had any problems with Swiss powder. The grains are harder and not as spongy and porous as other powders. However, since I'm not a hunter, I have no experience in stalking game in pouring rain for hours with a primed flinter. While target shooting weather conditions never had a negative impact on the reliability and speed of my priming.

However, aside from a properly timed lock, powder quality is the other major factor for a reliable and fast ignition. I found Swiss powder to be the best, in particular in flinters. I also did try Wano powder and Rottweil powder (unfortunately they stopped black powder production some time ago). Rottweil was very good, almost as good as Swiss, but Wano powder I consider a vastly overpriced fertilizer. Its soft, cakey and very porous grains burn slow, leave a lot of fouling and you need about one third to one halve as much by volume compared to Swiss. Since Goex and Elephant are much more difficult to obtain here in Germany, I haven't tried any of them.

[Edit]: Found an interesting video comparing lock-time for different flints and priming powders: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=i2hm-ndZgm0
 

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Graf and Sons "house powder" is also very good. On par with Shuetzen gunpowder.

As far as priming powder goes, 3 F works just fine.

I have in the past, ground up 3F in a glass bowl, using a wooden spoon handle. 50 gr. or so at a time.

Wendell
 

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How do you know it is "period correct"? Perhaps his gun is of the pre-percussion cap era. To the OP, you can use 3F for priming.
Flintlocks were often converted to cap lock after the advent of the percussion cap. The side hammer was probably the simplest conversion and I don't know why they weren't utilized more often.

Regards,

Josh
 
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