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Thread: Musket and Powder Question

  1. #21
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Monessen PA



    I'm betting that yours was Hogdon's Triple 7 powder. I tried it when it first came out because it was supposed to be cleaner burning. But it works like crap in a flintlock. After I gave away the remains of that initial can, I've never tried it again, so I can't say how it works in caplocks. It did burn cleaner, I just didn't like to ignite...

    Michael Thomas

    40th PVI, 11th Reserves, Co F

    1st USSS, Co H

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Jul 2011


    I would inquire about the brand of caps as well. When I first started I had a finicky Armi Sport Sharps that even after altering the cone wouldn't fire reliably on the first cap. I was using borrowed caps which happened to be CCI winged caps. My Sharps refused them, it would take 2-3 caps to fire, if it would even fire, and absolutely had to tap the stock with your hand to ensure that the powder was as close as possible against the block. And when they would fire the block would gum up after about 30 rounds and be caked inside from the caps. Before reenacting I had a Ruger old army for target and I always used Vorderladers (RWS) over anything else and never had issues, even with pyrodex, of course it was packed and was firing target rounds. I bought RWS musket caps for the Sharps and my problems ceased to exist. The block remains clear of cap pieces, and the caps are considerably more powerful than CCIs. Just simply busting the two different caps, one can tell the difference in sound. And they are priced very competitively. Experimenting at home with making practice cartridges I got down to as little as 45 grains of Goex triple F and it still fired every time with a fairly nice report. So I mirror Mr. Musgrove's question about what type of caps you are using.
    "Time To reload"

    Lexi Knauss

    9th IND/2nd NC Cavalry

    "Are you gonna pull those pistols or whistle Dixie?" Josey Wales
    "I've simply been brought up being knocked down" Buster Keaton

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Jul 2007


    Percussion cap and loose powder is a fairly simple ignition system. Drilling the cone and changing the brand of percussion cap does not address the underlying problem but will often solve the problem, or at least improve things. Some years ago a fellow in our unit with an Armi Sport US 1861 suffered misfires with RWS caps, which went away when he changed to Navy Arms caps. I don't think Navy Arms caps are available any more.

    I would still say look at that flash channel and breech section for coke build up. There is a reason the flash isn't getting through.
    Craig L Barry

    Author: The Civil War Musket: A Handbook for Historical Accuracy

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Bedford, Virginia


    If the weapon is clean and the nipple and channel is clear and the powder still only goes off if it is rammed and has a wad for back pressure it must be a black powder substitute in the mix.
    Boyd Miles

    "Let's go, boys! We've got the d**n Yankees on the run again!" ---Gen. Joseph Wheeler Battle of Las Guasimas, June 24, 1898

  5. #25


    It's gonna be another week before I fire that powder out of my flintlock. I'll check in again with some more results.
    Rob Weaver
    Pine River Boys, Co I, 7th Wisconsin
    "We're... Christians, what read the Bible and foller what it says about lovin' your enemies and carin' for them what despitefully use you -- that is, after you've downed 'em good and hard."
    -Si Klegg and His Pard Shorty

  6. #26


    Ok, I spent all day yesterday firing that same powder out of one of my flintlocks. I experienced no ignition problems that I can attribute to powder. I think I need to bore out the nipple on my '61.
    Rob Weaver
    Pine River Boys, Co I, 7th Wisconsin
    "We're... Christians, what read the Bible and foller what it says about lovin' your enemies and carin' for them what despitefully use you -- that is, after you've downed 'em good and hard."
    -Si Klegg and His Pard Shorty

  7. #27

    Default Solving Your Musket's Problem....

    First and Foremost, under no circumstances do I recommend that anyone "drill out" the Flash Channel in their nipple.

    Look at it logically: When your nipple "wears" two things happen [1] The top becomes "battered" and this can cause your caps to "Frag" during the firing cycle. [Getting flying shrapnel in your face and/or eye in not fun!]

    [2] The hot gases produced upon the discharge of the cap and then the "Blow-Back" from the discharge of the powder in the breech tends to try to transit the flash channel in the opposite direction. This cycle ERODES & ENLARGES your flash channel over time. So, by drilling out your nipple, you are literally "wearing it out" and disabling the "safety feature" of the nipple, i.e., the small flash channel.

    Then there is the possibility ;with a worn and drilled out nipple that at re-enactment, during volley fire your charge does not go off, but you do not realize it, but load another charge, etc. When your musket finally discharges, with a "drilled out" flash channel in your nipple you are guaranteed to have your hammer blown back, the percussion cap to frag and hot gas in your face.

    What I recommend is to do a series of tests to determine the cause of your musket's reluctance to fire.

    1. Could it be your powder? The easy and simple way to check that is to buy a can on new FFFg black powder or borrow enough from another friend and make up some charges. IF your musket fires every time with the new powder charges, then you know you that your old powder is "bad."

    I am of the opinion that there is a 50% to 60% chance that your current powder is bad for whatever reason.

    2. If a switch of powder doesn't solve your problem, then replace the nipple. Nipples are cheap and the problem could actually be in your nipple.

    3. If a new nipple does not solve the problem, then you are going to have to get with someone (a competent black powder gunsmith] that can pull the breech plug of your musket.

    All muskets are susceptible to the build-up of "Cake." Cake is a hard ring of carbon fouling that tends to build-up in the junction between the edge of the face of the breech plug and the walls of the breech.Cake grows over time and can eventually lead to "Cook-Offs."

    Cake is almost impossible to clean out using cleaning rods or even breech plug "scrapers." Cake can grow enough to partially block the opening for the flash channel inside of the breech.

    When the breech plug is removed, your build-up of Cake can be easily removed by cleaning the barrel from the rear end using a bronze bushel brush. When you replace the breech plug, coat the threads of the plug with an Anti-Seize grease to make it easier to remove the next time.

    The proviso is that some replica's like the Euroarm's Mississippis don't have a removable breech plug as the entire breech (including bolster) is threaded on to the end of the barrel. That is why you need to get with a competent black powder gunsmith to pull your breech plug the first time.

    Keep in mind that sometimes breech plugs are almost impossible to remove because black powder fouling had blown into the threads, rusting them in place. A competent black powder gunsmith will know what to do.

    I recommend that everyone pull their breech plug at least on an annual basis IF you have shot your musket a lot during the year. Cake always builds up with many firing cycles. Pulling your breech plug on a regular basis is just part of "good musket maintenance."


    P.S I started shooting muskets in 1962 and have actually worked in the replica industry-so I have seen and learned a lot over the years.

    Remember always be SAFE!


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