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Robert J McElwain
October 25, 2001, 06:47 PM
Question. Do smaller bore MLs foul more readily than the larger calibers? I heard this the other day, and it makes sense, but I'd like some expert input.

I have a 36 cal varmint ML which is an original, mid 1800s date. I've recently started shooting it again, but the accuracy is all over the place, and I'm wondering if the fouling is a big part of the problem.

Robert J. McElwain

jpm63
October 26, 2001, 10:31 AM
A smaller bore will be effected by fouling more than a larger bore. Assumption is that the thickness of fouling is the same on a 54 cal as a 36 cal gun, the diameter of the 36 cal gun is reduced by a higher percent. But, this should not effect accuracy! Only the difficulty you are having loading.

Since this is an older gun, I suspect some other factors are coming into play. I assume you have a range rod for loading and cleaning - if not get one (with a bore guide). With the gun clean, put two well oiled cleaning patches on the jag and force it down the bore. It will start real hard, but should go smooth with some pressure after you get past the first few inches. You are going to slowly more this up and down a few times and by feel try to determine if you have any rough spots or loose spots. At some point in the life of this old barrel, it may not have been properly cleaned or stored. If you have a loose spot where the tight rod moves with little effort, then the barrel is excessivley worn or bulged and needs to be replaced. If their are tight spots, I have a remedie. Let us know what you find with this test.

You can do this with a regular ram rod, but I am lot liable if it breaks and you have to visit the emergency room.

JPM

Robert J McElwain
October 26, 2001, 02:02 PM
Quote<<A smaller bore will be effected by fouling more than a larger bore. Assumption is that the thickness of fouling is the same on a 54 cal as a 36 cal gun, the diameter of the 36 cal gun is reduced by a higher percent. But, this should not effect accuracy! Only the difficulty you are having loading.

Since this is an older gun, I suspect some other factors are coming into play. I assume you have a range rod for loading and cleaning - if not get one (with a bore guide). With the gun clean, put two well oiled cleaning patches on the jag and force it down the bore. It will start real hard, but should go smooth with some pressure after you get past the first few inches. You are going to slowly more this up and down a few times and by feel try to determine if you have any rough spots or loose spots. At some point in the life of this old barrel, it may not have been properly cleaned or stored. If you have a loose spot where the tight rod moves with little effort, then the barrel is excessivley worn or bulged and needs to be replaced. If their are tight spots, I have a remedie. Let us know what you find with this test.

You can do this with a regular ram rod, but I am lot liable if it breaks and you have to visit the emergency room. >>
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I think my problem is some poor cleaning in the past. There is some pitting in the barrel about half way down. I’ve done some heavy scouring with steel wool, and I think that’s about as good as I’m going to get it. But when I take it to the range, invariably, the first shot is right on target at 50 yards, which isn't bad for this old smoke tube. But from then on, until I swab the bore pretty good, the shots are all over the place. No consistency whatsoever.

I think, next time I’m out, I’m going to try cleaning the bore pretty thoroughly between each shot and see just how much the fouling is effecting the accuracy.

Loading isn’t that much of a problem, although getting past the heavily pitted area in the bore is a little more difficult than at either end.

By the way, I always use a metal ram rod. I'm not looking for any ER scenes.:eek:

4V50 Gary
October 26, 2001, 07:07 PM
Lube your patch with moose milk (1 part water soluable machine oil to 4 parts distilled water) and don't worry about fouling. Moose milk keeps the fouling down. Water soluable machine oil may be purchased at Napa Auto & other outlets.

Wildwilley
October 27, 2001, 11:00 AM
All ML's foul.
What makes them foul is your powder-patch-ball combination.
For the smaller ML, I use FFFG powder.
Patch it tight.
The moose milk is a good Idea, but a good pre-lubed patch will do just as good.
You might blow down the barrel after you shoot. This keeps the fouling soft and makes loading the next shot easier.
Most shooters say not to blow. It doesn't work with modern powder, but does work with black powder.
If you have to clean between shots and let the barrel cool between shots.
I shoot a 32 cal. Cabella's flinter. I shoot 40gr. of FFFG and prime with FFFFG. Gun shoots straight. It'll hit a squirrel behind the ear at 40 yards every shot.
You might want to try a .355 ball in your gun. This will patch tighter and probably cut down on fowling.
I had this same problem in my 54 cal. Used to shoot a .530 and was all over the place. Switched to a .535 and started shootin' bullseyes.

jpm63
October 29, 2001, 09:51 AM
Robert,

So you already discovered a pitted area in yorur barrel. Steel wool was a good idea. I'll suggest doing the same with scotchbrite cleaning pads. The green things your wife uses to clean pans. Take one and cut a 2 inch square. Then peel it into thinner pieces. Get it wet with oil and use it as a cleaning patch. It will smooth out your barrel. Nothing can fill in the pits, but rust can create a raised area you have to eliminate.

After that, you have to do the normal experimenting with powder, patch and ball. I'll borrow a bit from Wildwilley and 4V50 Gary here and recommend moose milk as lube (Murphy's oil soap mixed 50/50 with rubbing alchohol works too) and a tighter ball patch combo. Try getting some thick pillow ticking, if your not already using some. Also, I would wipe between each shot with a slightly damp patch. You won't make the bore squeaky clean, just consistantly slightly dirty.

JPM with my final $0.02 on the matter.

Robert J McElwain
October 29, 2001, 02:13 PM
Scotchbrite. I hadn't thought of that. I'll give it a try. I'm currently using Bore Butter for lube, both in the barrel and on the parches. I'll give your formula a try and see if that works better. And I think the wiping down between shots with a damp patch is going to help as much as this ole piece of iron can be helped.:)

Thanks,

Bob

Mike Irwin
November 3, 2001, 02:12 PM
One thing needs to be said about the lubes using water and water soluable oils...

If you're going to leave the gun loaded for any length of time while hunting, two things can happen.

The bore can rust (not a big thing really, but could become a problem over time).

With smaller calibers, or reduced loads in larger calibers, ignition and ballistics could be affected due to water migrating into the powder.

I've always greatly preferred a lube combination of beeswax, a small amount of parrafin wax, some olive oil, and a dash of kerosene or marvel mystery oil. Mix well in a double boiler (add the kerosene last, mix it, and get it off the heat).

You want a consistency that is like Crisco when it's cool.

I always dipped my patch material in the solution then laid it out on some newspaper to dry.

That was, however, in the days before Bore Butter. Given some of the success friends have had with BB, I'd probably just go with that and skip the smell and mess of making my own patches.

Robert J McElwain
November 4, 2001, 03:08 PM
Thanks for the good information.

An acquaintance introduced me to Bore Butter a couple of months ago. Until then, I was using a concoction far worse than your recipe. However, I’ve found the Bore Butter to be excellent. I
warm some of it up and soak my patches in it, then I leave a film of it in the barrel as the last thing after cleaning the gun.

I think the thing I need to do is start swabbing the barrel after each shot with a damp patch to reduce the fouling. Maybe I should just hang this thing on the wall, and get a replica that shoots straight.:D