Wheel locks?

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cloudy-cola-corp
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Wheel locks?

Postby cloudy-cola-corp » Sun Jul 01, 2012 8:15 pm

Any body got one? knows someone who has one? or has any tales to tell of them?

Are they as horrendous to maintain and get to work as their reputation suggests? or are they all right, just need to be handled a tad gentler with them than a match or flint lock?



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John Waller
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Re: Wheel locks?

Postby John Waller » Mon Jul 02, 2012 10:17 am

cloudy-cola-corp wrote:Any body got one? knows someone who has one? or has any tales to tell of them?

Are they as horrendous to maintain and get to work as their reputation suggests? or are they all right, just need to be handled a tad gentler with them than a match or flint lock?


Me :D I have one. Lock imported from Spain by one of Peter Young's chums over 25 years ago, I believe. Fitted to a Dutch stylee cavalry carbine made by my mate Keith from whom I bought it. The lock has been broken and repaired twice. Middle chain link snapped, which was a common problem with these locks, and the external dog-head spring sheared. That was my fault. :oops: Both repairs expertly done by Bodgerarmour.

So in answer to your questions: they are as reliable as a flintlock if the pyrities is set up correctly but they do require TLC. I wouldn't regard these as soldier-proof weapons. Which is presumably why they were never general issue, or even made, in Britain.

Top tip - never loose the spanner!
Last edited by John Waller on Sun Jul 08, 2012 1:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.


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Re: Wheel locks?

Postby cloudy-cola-corp » Mon Jul 02, 2012 4:54 pm

so in 25 years Two failures and one accidental damage is a fairly good record :)
I'm just pondering finishing off my arsenal with a 17th century wheel lock petronel based on an example from the wallace collection but with a slightly extended barrel (21inches to 24.5) so it will go on the shotgun paperwork, I just though it would be a nice addition for my group to have and will probably only be carried at private group events when the posh kit is allowed out so won't be rough housed too much :thumbup:

Maintaining them can you take the lock out of the stock like with a flint and give it a bit of a clean and oil with a soft brass brush or is it only for the skilled to touch?



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John Waller
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Re: Wheel locks?

Postby John Waller » Mon Jul 02, 2012 6:45 pm

cloudy-cola-corp wrote:Maintaining them can you take the lock out of the stock like with a flint and give it a bit of a clean and oil with a soft brass brush or is it only for the skilled to touch?


Yep strip, clean & oil just like a flinter.
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Re: Wheel locks?

Postby cloudy-cola-corp » Mon Jul 02, 2012 6:57 pm

you know you said earlier they where never general issue there seem to be loads and loads of surviving examples but they are nearly all pistols does that mean that they where common at the time rather than the idea some people have that they where very rare, but they where privately owned by cavalry and the higher officers who could afford to buy their own arms as well as anything issued? so among the common solider they where scarce but not among the higher ups?



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Re: Wheel locks?

Postby John Waller » Mon Jul 02, 2012 10:56 pm

cloudy-cola-corp wrote:you know you said earlier they where never general issue there seem to be loads and loads of surviving examples but they are nearly all pistols does that mean that they where common at the time rather than the idea some people have that they where very rare, but they where privately owned by cavalry and the higher officers who could afford to buy their own arms as well as anything issued? so among the common solider they where scarce but not among the higher ups?


As far as I'm aware they were never made in Britian. I don't think they were particularly rare just that both sides would prefer to use domestically produced matchlocks and snaphanses if they could. The Royalists in particular imported many from the continent as Parliament held most of the centres of production. I'm sure any gentleman of means would have owned weapons of quality. In general pistols do tend to survive better than long arms.I would not read too much in to that fact. Troopers would be issued weapons a gentleman would probably provide his own. How common? Have a read of Dealing in Death - The Arms Trade and the British Civil Wars 1638-52 by Peter Edwards. It will give you some idea but you can only be sure that a record refers to wheel locks if pistols are associated with spanners.

eg The Earl of Warwick captured a Danish ship, The Arken, filled with supplies for the Royalists which included '493 pairs of pistols, with 1 firkin of firestones (pyrities) and 1 firkin of spanners.'


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Re: Wheel locks?

Postby cloudy-cola-corp » Fri Jul 06, 2012 4:02 pm

i see :) I didn't know that the royalists had to import many of their weapons

and thank you for the book reference I'll see if I can get hold of it :thumbup:
when you use the spanner to wind the wheel do you have to turn it far or is it just a 1/4 to 1/2 turn?



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Re: Wheel locks?

Postby John Waller » Sat Jul 07, 2012 10:54 am

cloudy-cola-corp wrote:i see :) I didn't know that the royalists had to import many of their weapons

and thank you for the book reference I'll see if I can get hold of it :thumbup:
when you use the spanner to wind the wheel do you have to turn it far or is it just a 1/4 to 1/2 turn?


The Queen went to Holland to pawn the crown jewels to buy arms from the continent, they were that desperate. Both sides imported huge quantities of arms. The 30 years war provided a lot of 'army surplus'.

Mine is about half a turn. Not as demonstrated by Oliver Read in the musketeer's movie where he winds one up like a clockwork toy :crazy: .


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Re: Wheel locks?

Postby Phil the Grips » Sat Jul 07, 2012 11:55 am

John Waller wrote:Not as demonstrated by Oliver Read in the musketeer's movie where he winds one up like a clockwork toy :crazy: .

I had one of those props (I supect it was the pistol used by Spike Milligan! Now in the possession of Mr Griffin) and they were remarkably soft in the spring so took a couple of turns before cocking, presumably for comic effect as you say.

The modern repro I have handled (Jeff Burn's) was half-a-turn if tuned and three-quarter if in need of a service- bit like a car handbrake :-)

One tip: If you have torrential rain then sneak a short length of magnesium rod from a firestarter into the lock instead of pyrites to get a vastly more consistent shower of sparks.


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Re: Wheel locks?

Postby John Waller » Sat Jul 07, 2012 6:16 pm

Phil the Grips wrote:One tip: If you have torrential rain then sneak a short length of magnesium rod from a firestarter into the lock instead of pyrites to get a vastly more consistent shower of sparks.


Might give that a try. It can be tricky getting a bit of pyrites the right size and shape. I have used flint which works OK for a few shots. Dave Rayner, late of YHA, used to mix pyrites 'crumbs' with a cold cast resin in a plastacine mould to make firestones of the correct size. Will get round to trying that one day.

I still curse not buying a pistol from a chap from my gun club. He bulilt it from a kit he got from Germany many years ago. Was very nice.


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Re: Wheel locks?

Postby cloudy-cola-corp » Sat Jul 07, 2012 8:16 pm

that is a point as to where you get pyrites as none of the gunsmiths i know say they supply it. :/

all the stuff i've looked up about them said not to use flints as they wear the wheel down and makes them less reliable :thumbdown:



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Re: Wheel locks?

Postby musket » Sat Jul 07, 2012 10:02 pm

I should think Gary of Derbyshire Arms could supply pyrites. I had the chance to fire a wheel lock a few months ago.It wasn't very reliable!



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Re: Wheel locks?

Postby John Waller » Sun Jul 08, 2012 1:17 pm

cloudy-cola-corp wrote:that is a point as to where you get pyrites as none of the gunsmiths i know say they supply it. :/

all the stuff i've looked up about them said not to use flints as they wear the wheel down and makes them less reliable :thumbdown:


Pyrites is easy to get from any gem stone or crystal licker hippy shop. Often sold as 'fool's gold'. Greenland and Game will probably have some. It is a b**ger to cut to size. Agree with comment about using flints. I prefer not to use them but they do work.


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Re: Wheel locks?

Postby Chris T » Mon Aug 13, 2012 5:07 pm

In effect there are two types of repro wheel-lock.

The first is an accurate copy of the originals, which tend to suffer from the same problems as the originals.

The second is a version with the interior mechanism improved with modern(Or to be more honest 19th Cent) engineering knowledge /techniques: these seem to be much more reliable unless actually missused.

Iron pyrite occurs as natural cubic crystals: you can often find it , as said above, from 'hippy' type outlets. It is not particularly hard, but is brittle: if you do need to change the size it is better to grind it (without heating it up too much) than try to break it, as the fracture is irregular and unpredictable.




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