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spring for a powder flask
I am a French muzzleloader and new here.
I would like to know if somebody could help me: I am looking for a spring to replace a broken one on an old Dixon/Parker Hale powder flask.
Thanks in advance.

Forum Admin
Muzzle Loaders Association of Great Britain -
Thanks for the information.
They ask me 40€ for a spring plus shipping fee.
Found it a little to much for a spring.
That's dear Peter for you !
W. S. (Bill) Curtis

I don't know how complicted that spring's physical configuration is, but, if it's relatively simple, any competent gunsmith should be able to make you one that works in very little time.   Do ask for an estimate to be on the safe side.

The gunsmith that has done most of my work over the years has made springs for me.  The way he tempers a spring is interesting and seems to work great. 

He begins with a piece of spring metal which he heats so that it loses its temper.  He wants it pliable so that he can easily shape it to the needed configuration.  Once shaped  he holds the untempered spring with a magnet so that the spring is mainly not on the magnet. (He doesn't want the magnet to act as a heat sink.)  Then he heats the spring over a can of water with a welding torch (probably at a relatively low temperature).  After a while the spring will lose its ability to be held by the magnet and drops into the can of water.  Once cooled, a well tempered spring is the invariable result.

I assume that heating the spring causes its molecules to become very agitated.  When they become aggitated to the right temperature for a proper temper the metal also loses its magnetic attractability and drops from the magnet holding it.  It's a very neat trick!  How well known - I have no idea.

Pat in Virginia
I have never heard of that one before.  It looks like the reverse of quenching to glass hard and then bringing up to temper followed by slow cooling.  It seems to be softening and then bringing up to temper with rapid quenching.
W. S. (Bill) Curtis

Your response made me wonder if I had missed something when my gunsmith made that spring for me so I contacted him today and went over what I remembered I saw. 

I did leave out a final step.  He probably did it when I was otherwise occupied.  But first, he does use water at times to drop the springs into; however, he prefers to drop them into oil.

The step I left out is: Once quenched in the oil or water bath he does reheat the spring "to draw it down" I believe is the way he phrased it.  He has two methods for doing this.  His prefered method is to drop it into a pot of molten lead at 700 degrees and let it sit there for about half an hour.  Alternatively, he will hit it with a torch and watch the color of the metal change.  When he sees the right color for that metal, he stops heating.

Before doing this step he polishes the spring so it will be easy to see its color when heated and when cool.

I know when he made my spring he didn't use the lead pot method to reheat so he must have hit it with a torch which is relatively quickly done.

When properly done the spring will have a blue'ish color cast.

Thanks for keeping me honest.   I wouldn't want to pass on erroneous or incomplete information

Hi Pat
The spring falls off the magnet when the steel transforms from its ferritic state Which is magnetic, to its austenitic state which is nonmagnetic and which is the exact temperature [give a few degrees] to quench it from. A clever way to get that temperature right. Then temper to a straw or light blue[ dont allow it to go to black] 8-)
I had a friend who was a wonderful gunsmith.  He was a "metal bender" in the US Navy.  If I asked him for a spring, any kind of spring, he'd disappear into his back yard.  There he had a sheet of 3/8 inch steel, all rusty.  He'd cut a chunk with a hack saw, clean it, heat it and hammer and cut it into shape, then he'd heat treat it to the proper color and make the spring. It took him less than an hour.   Charge?  A couple of bucks, but he'd usually just toss it to me and that'd be it.  I have no idea where this genius is today. I wish I did.
Hope this helps.  Here are some pictures of an English horn and it's spout and spring.  I don't know what yours looks like, but it is probably about like this one.  [Image: GunStuff044.jpg]

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