I completed assembly of the revised inline flintlock igniters, with the ferro-cerium and magnesium alloy "flints" and the beveled valve seats. This should give me a much larger and longer-burning spark shower that's better directed into the powder charge. I also shortened the loading ram of the test bed 1858 Remington revolver to prevent over-seating of the ball. This design relies in part upon a loose powder charge that can be displaced by the valve stem during ignition.
My oldest son is studying for a math test today, so no chance to get out to the range for test firing right now.
Update on the JFK research. I have a load developed now that is essentailly reverse-engineeered from the evidence and testimony related to the very murky first few seconds of the actual assassination -- starting with the presidential limo making its turn from Dallas St onto Elm St. It's a down-loaded .22 Hornet. Accurate. Reliable. Deadly. And so quiet I don't bother wearing hearing protection when I fire it. That little 45 grain bullet, at 855 fps, plunked right through a coconut. Have a look at the pic.s.
I did a bit of horse trading at a local gunshop recently, because I realized that I really should have kept the AK I had. It's just too important a design for a guy like me to be without, and I needed to compare it with the PSL. Shopping for that AK was an interesting experience. I looked over about half a dozen AKs in the gun shop rack. All were used. In fact, many AKs sold in the US as "new" contain so many used parts that they really are, in effect, used guns. And that's not necessarily a bad thing, because a lot of the newly manufactured parts are very crudely made, as the US civilian market is generally not as discriminating or as free with cash as national militaries are.
So there I am pulling though half a dozen used AKs. I wanted to find a good one for a decent price, but all of them had problems, so I would up grading them in my head by defects as I went along. Three were Romanian WASR 10/63s. One was a Romanian SAR-1. One was a Romanian WASR 10. Another was an Egyptian MAADI.
Generally speaking, MAADI's are low-quality, so I was down to five guns immediately. Others had a wide range of problems, including canted sight bases, loose magazine wells, and junk aftermarket parts that would have to be replaced. One was coated with thick paint (and I wasn't in a mood to see what that would turn into after a long string of fire). That one also had a damaged trigger pin hole in the receiver. I decided to take a closer look at the SAR-1, which is nice because it has the correct dimples in the receiver's mag well, like the real AKMs do. I opened the top cover and started to wonder why the recoil spring was at an angle. On closer inspection, I could see that the receiever was twisted. So, back into the rack it went.
Finally, I settled on the lesser of evils -- The WASR10 with standard furniture -- and struck a deal with the shop owner. When I got it home I discovered that someone had replaced the gas piston but hadn't pinned it. I could simply unscrew it with my hands. And the mag latch was a bit too tight. None of this is too difficult to repair. I cut the bolt carrier and gas piston root with a 3mm drill bit, counter-sunk the outside ends of the holes in the carrier, reduced the body of a common roofing nail to the right diameter, cold-forged the mild steel pin into the carrier assembly and cleaned up the job with files, stones, and a bit of cold blue. It's pretty close to the way the guns were originally put together, and should work fine.
So -- Buyer beware. From what I'm seeing, the used market is a bit crowded with problem AKs that owners have grown tired of for one reason or another. Manufacturers defects in the Romanian, Chinese, and Egyptian guns are legion and at times a bit difficult to spot. Owners have modified some of these guns in wierd ways, half-finished various repairs and so on. Inspect carefully and expect to have to repair a used AK before taking it to the range. The Russian Saiga typically does not have mechanical problems as manufactured but they are manufactured so far from standard that most users will modify them. The Bulgarian guns by Arsenal are very good. They will cost you more initially but will likely save you money after you get done repairing one of their lesser brethren. The Chinese pre-1989 ban guns are very good. The post-ban Chinese guns are generally decent mechanically but cosmetically pretty rough and sometimes have notable manufacturing defects that hinder use or perfomance. And there are others, such as the excellent reworks of Saigas offered by outfits like Red Jacket. But for now, I'll leave off.
By the way, the prevailing opinion is that AK gas piston roots should be free to wiggle around a bit in the carriers. I backed the piston out about one quarter of a turn from full insertion before cutting the pin holes in this assembly and this allows for as much wiggle and wobble as anyone would want.
Okay. Onward and uward. I'll post on inline flintlock test results this week -- whatever they are.