Fixing The Flint

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Fixing The Flint

Post by pud » Tue Nov 14, 2006 9:47 pm

Source: A Media Plan for Military Animation. William Henry, Toronto. 1977. Pages 81 to 83

"As this is the operation which ultimately determines the efficiency of the ignition system, the greatest care should be taken to ensure that it is done properly. The description contained in a memorandum issued 14 July, 1809, from Horse Guards was ordered to be communicated to the troops. The statements it makes on the subject are as valid now as they were then. It is here quoted in its entirety. (General Rules and Regulations. Page 312)

Horse Guards,
14th July, 1809.

The Commander in Chief considers the following Memorandum of material Importance, and as such has ordered it to be communicated to the Troops.


The cause of a piece missing fire is generally ascribed to the badness of the Flint, the softness of the Hammer, or the weakness of the Main Spring or Feather Spring; but the real cause will very generally be found to be a want of Correctness in fixing the Flint.

This sometimes proceeds from Carelessness, but it is too often owing to the ignorance of the true principles which ought to direct the fixing of the Flint.

It is frequently mentioned that an uniformity should prevail on the subject, as it does and ought to do on many others, respecting the movements and management of Arms; instances are not unfrequent where directions have been given that Flints should be fixed in exact conformity to some approved pattern.

This practice is founded in error, and is productive of more extensive mischief than can well be imagined.

In fixing Flints no uniform mode should be tempted: the flat side must be placed either upwards or downwards, according to the size and shape of the Flint, and also according to the proportion which the Cock bears in height to the Hammer, which varies in different Musquets.

This is ascertained by letting the Cock gently down, and observing when the Flint strikes the Hammer, which ought to be at the distance of about one-third from the top of the Hammer.

Most diligent observation ought at the same time to be made whether every part of the edge of the Flint comes in contact with the Hammer so as to strike out the Fire from the whole surface.

A Flint will often appear to the eye to be carefully and skillfully fixed, and to stand firm and square, yet on trial being made as above directed, it will prove to have been very ill fixed, in as much as the surface of the Hammer in some Musquets does not stand square, but stands a little aslant to the Cock.

Each particular Flint therefore requires its own particular mode of being fixed, so as to accommodate itself to the particular proportions and confirmation of each particular Lock.

It is perhaps unnecessary to mention, that, whatever the position of the Flint should be, it ought to be screwed in firmly; and that the Cock should also be let down, in order to observe whether the Flint passes clear of the Barrel.

Whenever a Piece has been fired, the first opportunity should be embraced of examining whether the Flint remains good, and fixed as it ought to be, and no time should be lost in correcting whatever may be found amiss."

"The best flints were, and still are, produced near the town of Brandon, in England. Local suppliers catering to flintlock users almost always have flints in stock, but it may be best if they're ordered in large quantities directly from one of the producers. Lag Time on delivery is usually excessive, so it is wise to make considerable allowances for this."

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