Question from a black powder newbie

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Good afternoon everyone! I've finally decided to take the plunge and get my first black powder firearm, specifically a reproduction flintlock pistol.

My question today is about getting the pistol into firing condition:

The establishment I intend to purchase the pistol from ships their firearms without vent holes, and so I was wondering - is drilling the vent something I (a complete armature) can do myself or is this something I'll need to have done by a professional? If the latter, will any competent gunsmith be able to drill the vent hole, or do I need to seek out someone who specializes in black powder gunsmithing?

Thanks in advance for any advice or input!
 

Sbarton

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Simple answer: yes.
Not so simple answer: it depends.
What type of vent liner does it have, if it does have a vent liner?
Are you comfortable using small drill bits on metal?

It's not uncommon for flinters to use a larger drill bit to enlarge their own flash hole, so I'd say it's something you aught to get familiar with. That being said, it would behoove you to find a mentor who would be willing to show you things like this.
If you're around portland, I'd be happy to at least take a look at your firearm, and at most put a hole in it for you.
But there are black powder masters (which I am not) around here that may make some recommendations.

Good luck,
and welcome to the black powder addiction!
 

RVTECH

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What i mean is, is it meant for decoration only?
This was my thought as well.

I have seen display muzzleloaders (and small cannons) that for all intents and purposes looked shootable but did not have the flash holes drilled.

I have never seen a muzzleloader from any of the known manufacturers that are NOT completed and ready to fire (unless a kit).

Who is the manufacturer of this gun?
 
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OP
papersoldier
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Simple answer: yes.
Not so simple answer: it depends.
What type of vent liner does it have, if it does have a vent liner?
Are you comfortable using small drill bits on metal?

It's not uncommon for flinters to use a larger drill bit to enlarge their own flash hole, so I'd say it's something you aught to get familiar with. That being said, it would behoove you to find a mentor who would be willing to show you things like this.
If you're around portland, I'd be happy to at least take a look at your firearm, and at most put a hole in it for you.
But there are black powder masters (which I am not) around here that may make some recommendations.

Good luck,
and welcome to the black powder addiction!
Thanks for your input and your offer! I do not know if the pistol has a vent liner, but after reading your and @RVTECH replies I decided to do a little more research on the pistol I intended to purchase (made by Military Heritage), and it appears while they have a good reputation among the reenacting community the firearms they sell are not proofed before they are sold. With that new info in mind I think I may look elsewhere for my first flintlock, which is kind of a bummer since they had exactly what I was looking for (early 19th century sea service pistol).
 

Andy54Hawken

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Vent liners are useful....but not truly needed nowadays in my opinion.
I say this because we tend to clean our guns more frequently and are not shooting them as a everyday shooter
( well...most of us...:D ) to cause the flash erosion that was the issue , back in the day.
Andy
 

Sbarton

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Thanks for your input and your offer! I do not know if the pistol has a vent liner, but after reading your and @RVTECH replies I decided to do a little more research on the pistol I intended to purchase (made by Military Heritage), and it appears while they have a good reputation among the reenacting community the firearms they sell are not proofed before they are sold. With that new info in mind I think I may look elsewhere for my first flintlock, which is kind of a bummer since they had exactly what I was looking for (early 19th century sea service pistol).
I took a look at those, unfortunately I can't really comment on shootability as I have no experience with the brand.
It looks like they imply that their firearms are shootable, but they don't outright say that you can pack it full of black powder and safely fire a projectile.
I'm just a fool on a website, but if it were me, I'd keep looking.
 

Andy54Hawken

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I have shot many a India made replica muzzle loading firearm , even ones that needed to drilled to have a vent.
I have not experienced any of the horror stories that one can find on the internet.

I like the India made replica arms , they actually look like the arm they are replicating*...Unlike many Italian copies.
*Excluding the teak stocks they come with....but , one can strip the stock and hit it with leather dye...this will help with the overall look.
Andy
 

shibbershabber

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(early 19th century sea service pistol).
Sea Service pistol, eh?


This place is pretty good. Been around a long time.
Same deal as the other probably as they are Indian made guns.

He receives the guns without the flash hole drilled... but drills it himself and goes through the gun making sure its in order before it ships... In the end you will receive a gun thats ready to shoot which has been dismantled and reassembled by a competent black powder 'smith.


Lots of people chime in about the dangers of Indian made muzzleloaders........... BUT, the reason I was sold on getting one was because for all the talk, no one has shown me a gun that failed or blew up, etc... plus you almost NEVER see them on the used market.
I figured that if they were so dangerous, there would be tons of actual first hand accounts or that if they quality was so poor that there would be a glut of them for sale used. I have found neither to be the case.

Also, there are many of these guns made and used for film production ('Sharpe' and also the 'Pirates of the Caribbean' movies), shooting blanks anyway, but you get the point.
 
OP
papersoldier
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Sea Service pistol, eh?


This place is pretty good. Been around a long time.
Same deal as the other probably as they are Indian made guns.

He receives the guns without the flash hole drilled... but drills it himself and goes through the gun making sure its in order before it ships... In the end you will receive a gun thats ready to shoot which has been dismantled and reassembled by a competent black powder 'smith.


Lots of people chime in about the dangers of Indian made muzzleloaders........... BUT, the reason I was sold on getting one was because for all the talk, no one has shown me a gun that failed or blew up, etc... plus you almost NEVER see them on the used market.
I figured that if they were so dangerous, there would be tons of actual first hand accounts or that if they quality was so poor that there would be a glut of them for sale used. I have found neither to be the case.

Also, there are many of these guns made and used for film production ('Sharpe' and also the 'Pirates of the Caribbean' movies), shooting blanks anyway, but you get the point.
Thanks a lot for the link! That's exactly what I'm looking for :eek:!
 

shibbershabber

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Thanks a lot for the link! That's exactly what I'm looking for :eek:!
Check out the Terms & Conditions... lays out just what youre getting.

Also, the whole thing about the vent hole..... the vent hole is not made by the manufacturer to avoid the additional regulations of selling firearms (which most of the world still heavily regulates muzzleloaders).. Once the hole is drilled, its a firearm... Without the hole, its sold as a non-firing display piece.

Basically its a loophole rather than a statement about the shootability of the gun
 

XoXSciFiGuy

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With that new info in mind I think I may look elsewhere for my first flintlock, which is kind of a bummer since they had exactly what I was looking for (early 19th century sea service pistol).
If you plan on shooting this pistol, have you considered going with something a little easier and maybe even more fun? Not that flintlocks are bad or anything, but you might be happier with say...a .36 caliber Colt Navy. What the heck...Wild Bill Hickok carried two of them.:) You can get them at Cabela's.

ColtNavy3.jpg
 
OP
papersoldier
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If you plan on shooting this pistol, have you considered going with something a little easier and maybe even more fun? Not that flintlocks are bad or anything, but you might be happier with say...a .36 caliber Colt Navy. What the heck...Wild Bill Hickok carried two of them.:) You can get them at Cabela's.
I have an Uberti 1851 Navy Conversion revolver in .38 special that scratches that itch pretty nicely already :D.

I have been eyeballing some other ball and cap revovlers lately though, and I'll probably end up getting at least one in the future.
 

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