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Old February 3, 2012, 03:01 PM   #1
Garyson1311
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Ball/patch tightness

Okay guys so while im in the processing of trying to get my hawken going, a buddy of mine invited me to go to the range to try shooting his hawken. (It's some spanish made 50 cal hawken that was has dads) Before we start, I want it known that he went to basspro and they had next to nothing in terms of muzzleloading stuff but he got some TC pre lubricated patches to go along with his old patches that are unlubed. My buddy was never taught that the patches needed to be lubed and his rifle has been fired who knows how many times with unlubed patches. The old, unlubed, linen patches that he has seem very thin (unsure of thickness) and the new ones we got from basspro a that are prelubed seem ALOT thicker (I remember them saying they are pillow tickling but I dont remember the exact thickness). He fired a few shots with his unlubed, thin patches but ater telling him that the patches need to be lubed, and considering that he has no oil because he never was told to lube them, he decided to give the new, thicker patches a try. So he attempted to load them and they were MUCH tighter than what he was used to as his other unlubed patches go in easily (not much force required but they dont just fall in). That being said, he decided against shooting them because he thought it was too tight and kept shooting his unlubed patches. My questions.. Is it okay for it to be a really tight fit? How tight is too tight? Would shooting a smaller ball be advised? Thanks guys
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Old February 3, 2012, 03:57 PM   #2
Hawg
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Generally the tighter the fit the better the accuracy but you have to find a happy medium you can live with. My hunting load is so tight I had to make a longer short starter to get it far enough down the bore to use the ramrod.
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Old February 3, 2012, 04:02 PM   #3
Garyson1311
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Okay so there really is no such thing as "too tight" for safety purposes? As long as I can load it all the way in it'll shoot?
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Old February 3, 2012, 04:05 PM   #4
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You can take a 530 ball and drive it down a .50 bore and it will be safe to shoot. Be a mutha to load but you wouldn't need a patch.
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Old February 3, 2012, 04:08 PM   #5
Garyson1311
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Okay thats pretty much what we wanted to know. Just making sure that we werent crossing some line in terms of too tight of a fit. If it'll pack it'll shoot. Good to know.
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Old February 3, 2012, 04:12 PM   #6
mykeal
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If you have the strength to shove it down the bore, the gun will have more than enough strength to shove it back out the same way. In other words, if you can get it loaded, you can shoot it safely - there's no such thing as 'too tight' (assuming a human being is doing the loading). And yes, the tighter the fit, the more accurate the load.

The unsafe ones are the ones that don't go all the way down to the powder, hence the caution to mark your ramrod so that you know for certain the ball is seated on the powder.
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Old February 3, 2012, 04:15 PM   #7
Garyson1311
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Gotcha. That being said, and assuming you have a clean bore.. It should be hardest to start but get easier on the way down? Just out of curiousity.. What are the consequences of the ball only being pushed halfway down? KB?
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Old February 3, 2012, 04:26 PM   #8
g.willikers
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Bullets, in black powder guns, must be tight against the powder, or the pressures go sky high.
And so will the gun and anyone attached to it.
Or so I've been told.
Never wanted to test that, though.
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Last edited by g.willikers; February 3, 2012 at 04:34 PM.
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Old February 3, 2012, 04:59 PM   #9
Beagle333
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On my gun, the 1st ball goes down nice, tight, and smooth, but about the 8-12th shot, it gets "sticky", about 6 inches short of being seated. It is important to pay attention to the "fully seated" mark on the rod, instead of just "feeling like" it has stopped.
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Old February 3, 2012, 05:07 PM   #10
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Gotcha. That being said, and assuming you have a clean bore.. It should be hardest to start but get easier on the way down? Just out of curiousity.. What are the consequences of the ball only being pushed halfway down? KB?

With a thick barrel like the "Hawken" about all it would do is bulge the barrel. Once you're familiar with it you'll know by how much ramrod is sticking out if the ball is seated or not.
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Old February 3, 2012, 08:16 PM   #11
mykeal
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Quote:
assuming you have a clean bore.. It should be hardest to start but get easier on the way down?
I'd describe it differently: with a perfectly clean bore it will require more force to start the ball than to move it down the bore. Once it's started, the force to move it all the way down will be less than that required to start it, but should be the same all the way down.

I know that's a bit of a nit, but the way you described it, it could be interpreted to mean that the force to move the ball decreases as the ball moves down. Theoretically, it should be constant with a clean bore.

Regarding the partially seated ball: Hawg's right about 'just' bulging the barrel if the ball is halfway down a thick-walled barrel. But I think it gets worse if the ball is near the breech end. It can be catastrophic even in a thick-walled barrel depending on the amount of powder with the ball just an inch or so off the powder. Like g.willikers, I haven't tested that.
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Old February 3, 2012, 09:19 PM   #12
kwhi43@kc.rr.com
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Here is a short video of me loading a .454 dia. round ball in a .450 dia. land
to land bore using .018 thick pillow ticking patch. Once the ball is tapped in
it is very easy to push it down a clean bore.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WV0qlOrMSZ0
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Old February 3, 2012, 09:33 PM   #13
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Years ago, Sam Fadala tried to blow up barrels on purpose with balls and bullets not seated completely on the powder, unsuccessfully.
What did burst barrels was a second bullet or ball somewhere in the bore for the first bullet to collide with..
I think a lot of bulged barrels actually had a short started ball on top of a ball already seated on the powder because the shooter forgot he had already loaded it.

It's amazing how easy it is to double load a muzzleloader if you get distracted by someone talking to you. It happened to me once, I loaded my rifle and noticed that the ramrod was sticking out too far, so I got a bullet puller and pulled the load and poured out the powder and then I shot it and it had a load in it already.

I have also missed clay birds because I forgot to put shot in my shotgun. Now when I shoot trap with a muzzleloader, my rule is "if in doubt, blow it out", i.e. shoot it in the bank instead of at a target.
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Old February 3, 2012, 09:34 PM   #14
Hawg
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Quote:
me loading a .454 dia. round ball in a .450 dia. land
to land bore using .018 thick pillow ticking patch. Once the ball is tapped in
it is very easy to push it down a clean bore.
I guess I need to do some serious measuring then. I'm using a supposed .530 ball in a supposed .54 bore with a supposed .010 patch and I'm having to really drive it in that first eight inches to get it to where the ramrod will push it on down. Talk about accurate tho.
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Old February 3, 2012, 09:48 PM   #15
kwhi43@kc.rr.com
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I do wipe between shots, the wife shoots a .410 ball in her .400 measured
bore Green Mountain 40 cal. Same patch. Her's loads just as easy. In my
Zouave Musket, I use a bore size .575 ball and .018 patch. It is a Zoli.
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Old February 3, 2012, 09:57 PM   #16
B.L.E.
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You probably are not going to just push a tight fitting ball down a original equipment TC barrel, especially one that's seen neglect and has a pitted bore. You'll probably have to tap on it with the ram rod to get it past some of the rougher spots.

Even a perfect TC barrel is not going to be as smooth as one of those Green Mountain aftermarket barrels.

I have a GM barrel on my Hawken and it behaves just like kwhi43@kc.rr.com describes.

If that barrel does turn out to be too rough to shoot accurately, I'll bet you can find a used stock barrel for cheap if you hang around some of the bigger shoots. A lot of those people replace their perfectly good TC barrels with GM barrels and never shoot the stock barrels any more.
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Old February 6, 2012, 05:46 PM   #17
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a side benefit of a tightly patched ball is a cleaner gun.
the more pressure you get the more the powder is going to burn, leaving less residue.

i have to smack my short starter several times to get the ball/patch to where i can use my ramrod. i can shoot all day without cleaning or swabbing the gun.


when i get home it only takes a couple patches and bristle brush strokes to clean it.
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Old February 6, 2012, 05:54 PM   #18
rjwolfe691
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In the video someone posted the guy said he was using FFFg powder in a rifle. Isn't that dangerous?
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Old February 6, 2012, 07:32 PM   #19
kwhi43@kc.rr.com
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That guy was me 20 years ago. Of course you can use FFF in a rifle.
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Old February 6, 2012, 07:52 PM   #20
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FFFG is safe for main charge.

Quote:
Isn't that dangerous?
Not at all and perhaps you are thinking of FFFFG. ...
Some labels say that it is safe, up to and including .50 cal. I know a group of Buckskinners that use FFFG, in their .54's

Be Safe !!!
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Old February 6, 2012, 08:15 PM   #21
B.L.E.
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I even use FFFg in a 12 gauge shotgun. I don't need to use as much powder that way which means less fouling and recoil and it patterns great.
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Old February 7, 2012, 12:42 AM   #22
Hawg
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Quote:
Some labels say that it is safe, up to and including .50 cal. I know a group of Buckskinners that use FFFG, in their .54's
I used to be a member of a bp forum that went under but some of those guys were using 3F in .58 rifles and .69 smooth bores.
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Old February 10, 2012, 07:27 PM   #23
Ozzieman
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For my TC Hawken I use pillow ticking and I don’t care the thickness as long as it’s tight.
The only lube I use is anything I have on hand like Windex or some other liquid cleaner. I wet down the rag and put it into a sealed plastic bag. Cheep and works well.
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Old February 10, 2012, 09:09 PM   #24
B.L.E.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ozzieman
The only lube I use is anything I have on hand like Windex or some other liquid cleaner.
You see a lot of Windex on the firing line at a lot of matches, especially the bench rest shooters who use it to clean the bore between shots. Murphy's Oil Soap is also popular amongst muzzleloaders.
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Old February 11, 2012, 03:45 PM   #25
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I haven't tried it yet but I have heard that original formula Go-Jo white hand cleaner makes a good patch lube.
I have tried Go-Jo as a lube for muzzle loading shotgun wads and it works pretty good.
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