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Old February 24, 2013, 09:52 PM   #1
BuckRub
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why a wad?

I have a 1858- 44 revolver pistol and I have some wads but I don't use them because I feel it shoots accurate without them. Should I be using them for another reason or not really? To me it shoots the same with or without. I'm confused Asking for experienced input- Thanks

Last edited by BuckRub; February 25, 2013 at 12:32 AM.
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Old February 24, 2013, 10:07 PM   #2
deerslayer303
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You're right! Back in the day it was powder, ball, and a cap. I use a lubed wad to lube the barrel as you fire. It keeps the black powder fouling soft. You can also do this buy putting some kind grease over the ball. But thats makes a huge mess. I do it sometimes on the first cylinder, because other wise that first ball is going down the barrel dry.
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Old February 24, 2013, 10:32 PM   #3
BuckRub
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Thanks deerslayer, if I use lubed wads and they're behind my bullets then the first bullets goes out dry. But if I only use powder and balls and put a little lube on top of balls after seating them, then grease goes out barrel in front of balls? I always clean gun same day after playing. Most within 2 hrs time and never experienced powder fowling too hard to clean. If its only for that, would it hurt my gun to keep shooting with just powder and balls and no lube or should lube be recommended?
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Old February 24, 2013, 11:46 PM   #4
deerslayer303
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Well some veterans will chime in directly. I prefer some type of lube. I shoot a Remington mostly and without it, I would have to beat the cylinder pin out with a hammer. I've never shot my pistol without some form of lube. So I couldn't say for sure how they are with only the ball and powder. I believe the wads help wipe the fouling out of the barrel when firing too. Because upon inspection after a few cylinders worth my barrel is the cleanest thing on the gun. And I know that when I clean my gun the fouling will spray right off after its dunked in hot soapy water.
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Old February 25, 2013, 12:55 AM   #5
logeorge
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wads

With my .44 Remington(Uberti), I use a felt wad soaked in melted beef fat. When using Crisco over the balls and 34gr. of GOEX FFFg, most of the lube is blown away after the second shot and the barrel is so fouled after six shots that the rifling is not visible. With the wads, the fouling is mostly in the front half of the barrel and it wipes out with one patch. Might not hurt to use both. I'm no expert at this. It works for my revolver. I cut my wads out of an old felt hat, as Elmer Keith advised in "Sixguns". They're getting hard to find, everyone wears ball caps these days. You have to use wool felt. Synthetics will melt and leave a hard residue. Check out Gatofeo's article in this forum. L. O. G.
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Old February 25, 2013, 01:24 AM   #6
towboat-er
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I mostly use lube pills. Made of paraffin wax, toilet bowl wax and a little olive oil.
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Old February 25, 2013, 05:24 AM   #7
Hawg
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It doesn't matter if the ball goes out dry or not. What you're after is keeping the fouling soft. Also a lubed wad helps keep the bore cleaner. Use no wad or lube and it won't fire many rounds before the cylinder starts to bind. If you load off the pistol that's a non issue. There's also the increased chance of chain fire with neither.
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Old February 25, 2013, 07:57 AM   #8
jolly1
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The reasons I heard for using the wads:
Recommended by maker. Full stop.

So I follow.

As for the background of this, I heard two explanations:

1. Greasing the ball while fired. Cleaner barrel during continuous firing.

2. Safety!
Prevention of chain fire. What I heard, back in old days the chain fire was not uncommon. They were using powder, balls and caps. Casting their own balls in the field (questinable quality and dimensions), and probably the chambers in cylinders were not sealed properly - which resulted in occasional chain fire. The quality of hand made bullets in old days coud be different when compared to modern ones.

So, in modern replicas where modern makers try to avoid injury claims - they recommend two things: wads - to place a layer between ball and powder, and in this way prevent a spark triggering next chamber.

And, two, they recommend some lubricant on top of chambered ball - for same reason - to prevent unwanted spark entering next cylinder chamber.

Apart from safety, cleaner barrel is also the outcome.

Despite the recommendation, I tried both ways. I did not notice any difference in accuracy: when using traditional load (powder, ball, cap) or modern load with both additional ingredients wads and lube.
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Old February 25, 2013, 02:22 PM   #9
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It's simple, I use wads* primarily to avoid the mess of over-ball lubing.
*wool felt with a lamb tallow/beeswax/paraffin lube.
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Old February 25, 2013, 07:48 PM   #10
Newton24b
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wads are better then cornmeal filler when you shoot small charges, you need a way to seat the ball in the chamber, ie, you have something filling the space between powder and bullet because no matter the rammer, it can only push the bullet so far into the chamber.

as far as accuracy, some guns have more preference then others. iveseen competitive cas shooters say "no difference whatsoever" so its what the gun likes.

me, i dont use wads yet. didnt feel like spending 20 bucks on a wad punch set, and i dont feel like paying 14 dollars for a bag of premade wads through the mail. thats a boxof bullets dang it.

colt proved over and over that chainfires come from 2 things, poorly machined chambers and poorly fitting round balls. however, we now know that overly long nipples can make a chain fire because the possibility the caps will hit the recoil shield under recoil and go bang.
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Old February 25, 2013, 11:01 PM   #11
DPris
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On my first firing session with my first C&B revolver, a .36 Navy repro, I had a chainfire.
It was quite impressive.
Wonder Wads weren't available back then, but they certainly are now & I USE 'EM!

Has nothing to do with accuracy.
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Old February 25, 2013, 11:14 PM   #12
deerslayer303
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^^ I beg to differ. I just found out yesterday, that getting the ball closer to the forcing cone, using 30grains then two wonder wads then seating the ball, my Sheriff shot the tightest groups it ever has. So in essence a wad CAN make a pistol more accurate. But your results may vary.
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Old February 25, 2013, 11:24 PM   #13
BuckRub
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I may go out again soon and experiment again for accuracy. I have about 950 wonder wads left from 6-7 yrs ago. Shoot with out then with then with two and see. Last time I shot on paper for accuracy I shot with one then with none and seen no difference. But that was so long ago. Thanks for all the replies.
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Old February 26, 2013, 12:19 AM   #14
zippy13
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BuckRub, with the price of wonder wads, you may wish to make your own after you shoot up the ones you have.
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Old February 26, 2013, 12:37 AM   #15
BuckRub
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Yes I got some great ideas on felt hats. That's my plan. I can't wait till my mold gets here. Maybe Monday, I have tons of lead. Gonna sit outside by a fire and cast my own. Seen a YouTube video and he was melting lead with coals from a fire.
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Old February 26, 2013, 05:56 AM   #16
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I am ready to recommend...

...You may find, as you progress through the stages of your development, that an electric lead pot is in the not too distant future.

Easier to know how hot your lead is getting. This is not so terribly important in cap and ball revolvers although it is a consideration if you mold throws balls which are not overlarge.

Of course, this lets you cast inside and what that means is that it gets a lot more hazardous from a lead standpoint. Maintain good ventilation.
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Old February 26, 2013, 07:26 AM   #17
ZVP
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i use the Wads to both prevent chain fire and to help clean and lube the gun.
I figgure the megar cost of shooting swaged balls and patches is a very minor expense to prevent accidential chain fires as much as possible.
WHen I run out of wads, I use a generous gob of Crisco over the ball and this seems to help lube things and keep especially my Remingtons running free!
I also use Cornmeal or Cream of Wheat filler in order to bring the balls closest as possible to the forcing cone. I have one Remington (8" bbl) that seems to prefer that I NOT use any filler and shoots good with a deep seated ball.
Shooting is a hobby and hobbys cost money so does safety so why be cheap and try to cast balls and maybe come up with undersized balls and possibly have a chainfire? Nope. I spend the change and try and control everything I can!
Would you shoot your 44 magnum with substandard ammo? Then why shoot your BP revolver with sub-standard loads???
JMHO
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Old February 26, 2013, 09:21 AM   #18
deerslayer303
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I don't really see a home cast ball as substandard. Mine come out of the mold looking pretty good. As Doc says, if you cast at the right temp everything is fine. Which is why a lead thermometer is a great idea. I don't think there were any swagged ball back in the day, . As long as that ring of lead is shaved ALL the way around the ball at loading, then the chamber is sealed no grease over the ball necessary. But each to his own, ya'll keep spending that 15 bucks per hundred, cost me about a dollar worth of lead and about 30 minutes of my time.
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Old February 26, 2013, 10:02 AM   #19
Strafer Gott
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A chainfire or two, and you might reconsider the wad. I don't think a wad lubes that much, but it may keep the back of the ball from evaporating in the fire. I believe it acts more like a gas check in this regard. IMHO
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Old February 26, 2013, 02:04 PM   #20
DPris
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303,
Let's just say the PRIMARY purposes of the wad are not for accuracy, OK?
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Old February 26, 2013, 02:29 PM   #21
Rigmarol
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I use wads over powder with great results.
I have tried reduced loads with horrible accuracy until I used a filler. I've used Cream of Wheat and Corn Meal. I like the COW better.

Now, if I use more wads over the powder my reduced loads worked just as well as with a filler with less hassle reloading. (two measures, one for powder one for filler) I'm not sure it's all about getting the ball closer to the forcing cone or it's about getting rid of void space in the cylinders, but I do know, reduced loads with a void are not accurate or consistent (for this shooter anyway).

My PRIMARY reason for wads (lubed of course) is fouling control and for that it works just fine.

I've tried Crisco and stopped because the smell made me hungry for french fries!
I tried regular old grease and although it worked great, it make a horrible mess of the shooting bench!

If you shoot without a wad, just be sure the face of the cylinder is free of all powder and your caps fit tight.
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Old February 26, 2013, 05:21 PM   #22
BuckRub
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ZVP I also believe if you cast your own they are far from substandard loads. Like anything else, you either do it right and save money or screw up. Thats why I have been reloading for rifle and pistol for the last twenty years. Complete opposite than substandard loads, more like ragged hole. But my mind is made up, Im gonna join the casting gang. Im gonna watch all the Youtube and read all I can and in about two weeks, Im gonna be making my own. Thanks with the answers pertaining to wads and lube guys, I appreciate it!!!

Last edited by BuckRub; February 26, 2013 at 06:54 PM.
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Old February 26, 2013, 06:15 PM   #23
woodnbow
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ZVP and Buckrub

It's metal casting, been done by humans just like you for thousands of years. Really, it's not that hard, YOU can cast round ball and or bullets that are the equal of anything made by Hornady. I'd venture a guess that half of the round ball run thru colts revolvers since the beginning were cast by shooters just like you and me, probably using inferior setups to what we have available today.
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Old February 26, 2013, 07:22 PM   #24
deerslayer303
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Quote:
I'd venture a guess that half of the round ball run thru colts revolvers since the beginning were cast by shooters just like you and me, probably using inferior setups to what we have available today.
I don't know how a new Colt came to the consumer in 1850's but I'm willing to bet the bullet mold was very NEAR the pistol if not in the SAME box.
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Old February 26, 2013, 09:23 PM   #25
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I've never "run ball" with an original style Colt or Remington mold but it looks like the inclination would be to allow the mold to cool slightly so that the handles wouldn't scorch your hands. I rest my blocks on the molten lead so they stay nice and hot, get pretty good results with that method and wooden mold handles.
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