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Author Topic: A muzzleloader tale - cap to flint conversion  (Read 2228 times)

Online Rob DiStefano

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A muzzleloader tale - cap to flint conversion
« on: July 04, 2017, 08:47:17 AM »
A feller at ALR posted a Pedersoli Frontier rifle up for sale, .36 caliber, 39" barrel, DST, specifying it was a flintlock and the condition was excellent.  No images.  On a lark, I emailed him and showed him an image of the Frontier flintlock.  He said, yep, that's it.  I bought it sight unseen for $525 shipped.

Three dayze later a large wooden box arrives at my door - gosh darn, excellent packing!  22 screws removed and then the thick bubble wrapped peeled back, there she was, and what a beauty ... 'cept it was a caplock and not a flintlock.  Yikes!!

Now I'm not at all a fan of caplocks, so this beauty had to go back.  But she's so purty ... so I get to thinking, which as some of y'all know gets me in trouble all too sooner than later.  I contact Pedersoli and ask about the Frontier and they confirmed my suspicions that this rifle was built as both flint and cap on the same design spex, so that a cap or flint lock was interchangeable with the ignition system's mortise.  The bolster/snail thread size is also the same as the touch hole screw size, M8x1.25 ... hmmm, things are looking better about this gun.

Anyhoo, the seller was running ragged with personal issues and fully admitted to his mistake and rebated me $75 for my trouble.  For sure I was gonna keep the gun and I did.

First thing is to see if the bolster can be removed (and while I'm at it, the breech, too).  This can be an issue with some offshore guns, including Pedersoli.  No problem for me and my 18" Reed Corp flat jawed wrench and my Rice Barrel Co. breech wrench, both came off easy peasy.  The barrel is held on by three screws - the big and long breech tang bolt and (this is ingenious) each brass thimble is screwed into underlugs inserted into the barrel, thus pinning the barrel to the stock and the thimbles. 

Pedersoli sells the replacement flint lock for $212, touch hole inserts are $5.  However, L&R sells a "drop in" replacement lock for the Frontier rifle - the RPL-06F - for $175, and I think the L&R locks are probably gonna be better than the Pedersoli, so the RPL-06F is now on order along with a few touch hole liners.  This oughta be a fun makeover ... I hope!






Offline doc nock

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Re: A muzzleloader tale - cap to flint conversion
« Reply #1 on: July 04, 2017, 09:12:22 AM »
Excellent! While there are numerous talented individual here on BPG who can scratch build a gun, there are those of us who are limited in talent to a rasp and screw driver!  ::)

I"m glad that the Pedy came apart at the breech so well...I think I read elsewhere that they do NOT always come apart, proper tools or not!

Now to keep fingers crossed the lock lines up properly and it goes boom when wanted... Won't that be a find...Hell, this 'un' might even stay in N. NJ longer then a month if so!  ;D :D ;) :wavey:

Offline Eric Krewson

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Re: A muzzleloader tale - cap to flint conversion
« Reply #2 on: July 04, 2017, 12:57:29 PM »
Hopefully your drop in will drop in, some do some don't as I found out on a L&R drop in for a TC Renegade. It took me about a week's work to get my lock to "drop in".

Look your L&R over closely, mine had to go back the first time for a casting flaw in the lock plate and a second time because the hammer was sticking way too far out on the tumbler shaft and the hammer stop barely contacted the top of the lock plate.

L&R did a lousy job of fixing the second problem so I re-fixed it myself.

Online Rob DiStefano

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Re: A muzzleloader tale - cap to flint conversion
« Reply #3 on: July 04, 2017, 02:44:14 PM »
i've done 3, maybe 4 L&R RPL-05F swap in locks for GPR's and all required lots of inlet work, due to the GPR coil spring as opposed the flat main spring.  this one should/might be easier as it's flat to flat for the main spring.  but, i'll see ... bottom line is i can make it work one way or t'other.

Online goingoldskool

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Re: A muzzleloader tale - cap to flint conversion
« Reply #4 on: July 04, 2017, 05:33:15 PM »
I hope you keep us up to date with lots of pictures!


Offline 30coupe

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Re: A muzzleloader tale - cap to flint conversion
« Reply #5 on: October 21, 2019, 08:38:51 PM »
Okay, Rob, I'm going to dredge up this old thread because I have a Frontier .32 caplock that I would like to do the same thing with. How did this conversion work out for you?

Thanks in advance.

Online Rob DiStefano

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Re: A muzzleloader tale - cap to flint conversion
« Reply #6 on: October 22, 2019, 06:33:46 AM »
if i remember correctly (this project was about a dozen projects ago!) i opted out as although it appears doable, the chief bugaboo was the really dumb way the patent breech was executed.  notice how the entry to the ante-chamber threads through the threads of the breech threads.  this makes it hard to line it all up, and worse yet a bear to administer fouling control and general cleaning.  my disdain of patent breeches finally got to me.  i dunno what happened to that gun, but clearly it got sold.  too bad.   

however, i still believe the makeover is doable with an L&R RPL flint lock.

Offline 30coupe

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Re: A muzzleloader tale - cap to flint conversion
« Reply #7 on: October 22, 2019, 09:25:45 AM »
Thanks for the reply. I know of one that was converted using a Chambers' builder's lock, but I was hoping to avoid having to do that much metal work. I'm still confused as to why patent breeches were created in the first place. Both of my sidelocks, a TC Hawken and the Frontier, have them and both are a PITA to keep/get clean in that area, and I believe contribute to the occasional hangfire or missfire. While I have never had or even fired a flintlock, it seems to me this would be even more of a problem in a flintlock.

Anyway, it looks like I'm still in the planning stage for a while. If my lathe were big enough and my machinist skills were better, I think I'd delete the patent breech altogether and install a regular breech plug. On the other hand, the Frontier is sold in flintlock with this breech system and apparently people get along with them just fine. The simplest conversion would be to bite the bullet and cough up the $212 Pedersoli wants for their lock, but I've heard mixed reviews about that lock. My fun money is depleted for this year anyway, so it's all a dream at this point anyway, lol! Such are the joys of a retirement budget.  :(

Online Rob DiStefano

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Re: A muzzleloader tale - cap to flint conversion
« Reply #8 on: October 22, 2019, 11:13:42 AM »
the patent breech was actually designed to offer more consistent ignition, as the cap or pan ignites a small capacity ante-chamber via a flue, which in turn ignites the chamber charge directly from its rear.  theoretically, it do make sense.  practically, it makes no sense, offers no real world ignition improvement, and will forever require added fouling control. 

does the patent breech require swabbing between shots?  for the most part, no.  i can almost always do a string of at least 4 or 5 shots before the ante-chamber crud builds up beyond pushing out with a vent pick, and swabbing is required.

the best way to clear out the ante-chamber is with a patch draped bronze brush of about .30 caliber.  wet/moist first, then always do a dry patch to set the stage for the next load.

a quality powder such as swiss will help with fouling residue, and it Must be 3f granulation.

here's the kicker with the little frontier - small calibers are absolutely the worst to deal with ante-chamber fouling.  they muck up pretty fast.

as to locks, the L&R will be much better than anything pedersoli offers ... not that the peddy locks are bad, they are not, but the L&R overall lock geometry is better.  it helps that the L&R is cheaper, too. :)

patent breech plugs screw into chambers, therefore they can't be drilled out and made into flat faced breech plugs.  the only alternative is to make a new flat faced breech plug, which should be doable for the frontier rifle because the touch hole is in the barrel and not the plug (as they are for GPRs and other such guns) ...

 

Offline 30coupe

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Re: A muzzleloader tale - cap to flint conversion
« Reply #9 on: October 22, 2019, 12:18:31 PM »
Yes, I knew drilling out was not an option. I was talking about shortening the barrel to remove that, threading for a flat plug, and installing it. That would open up an whole other can of worms with something like a GPR with the under rib, etc.  On the Frontier, it would necessitate a change in the barrel attachment to traditional pinned and also revising the ramrod pipes to pinned ones as well.

I guess it would be the domino effect. I don't have the necessary equipment anyway, so it's just a mind game anyway but since the wind is 25-30 mph and it's drizzling rain, I can't hunt anyway. Gives me something to do to stall the boss on my honey-do list. I'm getting "the Look" at this point, so I guess my musing is over for a while anyway, lol. Thanks for taking the time to endulge my fantasy!  :wavey:

Offline doc nock

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Re: A muzzleloader tale - cap to flint conversion
« Reply #10 on: October 22, 2019, 01:30:55 PM »
Yes, I knew drilling out was not an option. I was talking about shortening the barrel to remove that, threading for a flat plug, and installing it. That would open up an whole other can of worms with something like a GPR with the under rib, etc.  On the Frontier, it would necessitate a change in the barrel attachment to traditional pinned and also revising the ramrod pipes to pinned ones as well.

I guess it would be the domino effect. I don't have the necessary equipment anyway, so it's just a mind game anyway but since the wind is 25-30 mph and it's drizzling rain, I can't hunt anyway. Gives me something to do to stall the boss on my honey-do list. I'm getting "the Look" at this point, so I guess my musing is over for a while anyway, lol. Thanks for taking the time to endulge my fantasy!  :wavey:

Sometimes a limited budget is a GOOD thing and save us from many a folly... :thumbs:

Offline 30coupe

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Re: A muzzleloader tale - cap to flint conversion
« Reply #11 on: October 23, 2019, 12:06:55 PM »

Sometimes a limited budget is a GOOD thing and save us from many a folly... :thumbs:

I seem to spend the better part of my life being saved from folly by lack of funds.  :'(

I guess it's the gift that just keeps on giving.  ;)

Offline doc nock

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Re: A muzzleloader tale - cap to flint conversion
« Reply #12 on: October 23, 2019, 04:51:52 PM »

Sometimes a limited budget is a GOOD thing and save us from many a folly... :thumbs:

I seem to spend the better part of my life being saved from folly by lack of funds.  :'(

I guess it's the gift that just keeps on giving.  ;)

I can only attest that it's saved ME from myself much of my life...

And yet, today, I have so much outdoor drivel that I no longer will or can use, it's sad...and nobody to give it to never having had kids or grandkids...