Communion Of Dreams

July 6, 2008, 7:09 am
Filed under: 2nd Amendment, Ballistics, General Musings, Guns, RKBA

Last weekend, when my shooting buddy Steve and I went out to do some pistol work, we were talking after about this and that.  I mentioned that I thought I would like to get a flintlock rifle, because I had enjoyed shooting one of his flintlocks on another occasion.  Black powder cartridge guns are basically the same as modern smokeless powder guns, though the shock impulse of firing isn’t the same (there is a sharp difference between the quick snap of modern powder and the slower push of BP).  The earlier percussion cap weapons are a little different in terms of loading (typically done muzzle-loading style), but have a similar  ‘instantaneous ignition’.  With a flintlock, there is a notable lag time between the strike of the flint, and the ignition of the powder charge in the gun.  Which presents more challenges for shooting the things well – you have to maintain your control and composure longer, waiting for the full ignition to happen and the bullet to be launched at your target.

I’m by no means a ‘master’ of modern guns, but I can handle most of them fairly well.  I know how to properly sight in, how to control my breath and gently squeeze the trigger, how to deal with the recoil.  I’ve never been particularly interested in the super-accurate competitions, trying to get multiple rounds through a bulls-eye at a 100 or a 1000 yards.  Some folks are, but that’s not for me.  I’m happy to make tin cans jump – the sort of level of shooting skill one needs for hunting or self-defense.

Shooting a flintlock is a different story – there are more skills needed, and greater perfection of some of the skills I already have.  Plus there’s the historical aspect, tied to the founding of this country.  So we talked about it some, and I thought that sometime in the not-too distant future I might order in a kit, and build/finish a flintlock rifle myself – looking to Steve for information and guidance, since this is an area in which he is very knowledgeable.

Anyway, yesterday afternoon he needed to swing by to drop off some other stuff, and when he showed up he gave me this: a Mortimer Flintlock .54 caliber rifle (reproduction).  Mine isn’t the ‘target’ version pictured there, but from what I can tell the only major difference is the additional peep site mounted behind the lock mechanism.  It’s a wonderful, and lovingly used, weapon.  He said he thought it would make a nice birthday gift, and get me started flintlocking (‘rock locking’ some call it, since flint is a hunk of rock) until I got a kit I wanted to build.  He brought it complete with the necessary lead balls, patches, black powder, horn, et cetera.

I was gobsmacked.  A bit bumfuzzled.


I have been the recipient of many wonderful gifts, this among them.  And it always makes me feel humble to have such friends and loved ones.  I don’t like ‘things’ – I’m not an acquisitive sort of person who subscribes to the consumerist philosophy of “he who dies with the most toys, wins”.  But a well-made tool (firearms fall into this category, as far as I am concerned), or a piece of art, or even a good meal – these things given out of love and friendship, are more than just ‘things’, and are worth more than a simple dollar sign would indicate.  I think a lot of people forget that.

I’m glad my friends and loved ones don’t.

Jim Downey

5 Comments so far
Leave a comment


Lovely for you to have a friend like that, and I’ll bet Steve was glad to have a recipient he knows will well appreciate and use the rifle.

Comment by ML

ML, I am blessed (perhaps the only way an atheist like me will use that term) to have several friends like that – as you well know, being one of them (who has gifted me with several such things/experiences over the years).


Jim D.

Comment by Communion of Dreams

[…] I have no illusions that I, with a few pistols and shotguns (or my flintlock), am any kind of a challenge to a modern police force, let alone an actual army.  And that is the […]

Pingback by Gun geekin’. « Communion Of Dreams


Comment by willyboy

[…] the Hand Gonne is my 1815 Mortimer flintlock. .535 ball with 60-80gr of FFg. I’ve written about this gun previously for my personal blog, and really enjoy shooting it. Even with the more powerful […]

Pingback by Much more black powder fun! « Ballistics by the inch

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: