View Full Version : A Burning Question About Patches

February 25, 2011, 06:17 PM
I have previously been firing my Lyman GPR with 75gr of Triple 7 FFG, Remington #11 caps, .490 balls, and Cabela's .020" pre-lubed patches. The shot grouping was so-so; with the occasional flyer. Recovered patches would often have a semi-circular section torn/burned from the edge of the patch. Sorry, no pictures...just imagine a clock face where one number has been scalloped out.

Went to the range today. Same rifle, same caps, same powder with the charge reduced to 50gr. Still using .490 balls; but patching with .018" thick pillow ticking. Todays patches were dry lubed at home with a 7:1 ratio of water and Ballistol. The rifle groups better than before; and there were no flyers. However, the recovered patches are very interesting. Take a look at the pictures of today's patches and tell me what's happening. Well, I know what's happening; but I don't know why the patches are burning through.


February 25, 2011, 06:28 PM
It may be the rifling is too sharp and cutting them. They don't look burned to me.

February 25, 2011, 06:29 PM
I shoot the same rifle:
.495 RB, 70 gr. 777 and .020 Ticking
They looked burned to me, seeing how they are blown though in the middle where no rifling touches.
Only I have ever had a patch burn though in the middle was lack of Lube, basically my Lubed patches had dried from setting to long.
I'm thinking your patches have to be under lubed.
Try Pam cooking spray for lube, Works great and seasons the bore :)
Super easy cleanup

February 25, 2011, 06:46 PM
I'm fairly certain they are burned since the hole is pretty well centered where the back side of the ball would rest. The pillow ticking does seem much dryer than the pre-lubed patches from Cabela's.

I know that a lot of BP powder shooters use the same method (water & Ballistol) to make dry lubed patches; and they swear by it. I have seen their comments about improved accuracy from this technique; but I have never seen anyone mention the patches turning into donuts. I am pretty sure mykeal uses the same type patches. Perhaps, he can shed some light.

February 25, 2011, 06:50 PM
Maybe is just me but the edges of hole are frayed. They wouldn't be frayed if burned through.

February 25, 2011, 07:18 PM
Believe me, They ARE burned thru. You are using too loose of a load. Go up
to a .495 ball and all will be well. If going to a larger ball, or thicker patch or
both won't cure your problem, I will eat your burned patches right here and now.

February 26, 2011, 06:59 AM
This is a fairly common problem with new GPR's. The crown is cutting the patches on loading and the cut thread ends are burning out, probably after the patch has left the barrel. I had the same problem while breaking in my GPR. I was using commercially lubed patches at the time and have since gone to the pillow ticking dry lubed with Ballistol/water. I'm using 5:1, but that's not a recommendation for anyone else's rifle.

The problem will eventually go away as the edges of the rifling at the crown wear, or you can lap the edges of the rifling with a very mild abrasive. You will find that the rifle will group better after this is done also. If you'd rather not lap the barrel it will take about 100 rounds for it to 'wear in' by itself.

Frankly, if you're grouping better with this combination, I don't see this as a problem. Using a tighter combination would certainly be worth a try, however.

February 26, 2011, 08:51 AM
My TC Patriot .45 pistol does that also if I use .440 or .445 roundballs. Going up to .451 balls solved the problem and results in good accuracy. This is actually slightly over bore size and has to be started with a small mallet.

I can also prevent patch blowing by using a felt Wonder Wad between the powder charge and the patched ball, allowing me to load the easier to load .445 balls.

February 26, 2011, 09:25 AM
I bought my GPR used. Unfortunately, I have no way of knowing how many rounds have been fired thru the gun. Production year was 1999; but the gun was in immaculate condition when I received it. I suppose it could have been a safe queen that was hardly fired. It has only been fired about fifty times since I acquired it last month.

Your thought about the crown makes some sense, though. The patched ball does require a pretty good smack on the starter to seat past the crown. I just cast about two hundred .490 balls so I will give it some more time to see if the problem corrects itself.

Even though the grouping is better, there is still a lingering doubt in my mind about whether it is "bestest". :D

February 26, 2011, 10:06 AM
Napp, I make wads... send me your address and I will give you some to try. All guys that have bought my wads have had great results.

I even had a gentleman test them that was having the same problem as your are. He found that by just adding the wad to his load that his groups improved, his gun was cleaner, and easier to clean, his velocity came up, and his ExtremeSpread went from 40 fps to 6 fps!

February 26, 2011, 11:59 AM
Napp, I make wads... send me your address and I will give you some to try. All guys that have bought my wads have had great results.

On your listed shot-string, you should not need wads. Wads will work and in this case, it's treating the effect and not the cause. I routinely use wads but seldom on a PRB shot-string. You 75grns. is not what I consider to be a hot load. ... ;)
It may be the rifling is too sharp and cutting them. They don't look burned to me.
Yes, this is one possiblilty and there is a Dry ball check that you can perform to verify. These patches definitely look burned to me and besides the look, you should be able to confirm by smell and perhaps taste. :barf:

My SWAG on this that you are cutting patches, go back to the lubed patches then review the results. For the .490 ball, see if the 015 works for you. I'm guessing that you really have to work to get your RB down the bore; Perhaps not. On the .495 RB, I first see how the .015 works and sometimes I drop down to a .010. Again, all lubed with bore butter or good old #13. :)

Might add that this is an excellent post and looking forward to seeing how you made the fix. ... ;)

Be Safe !!!

February 26, 2011, 01:07 PM
I never burned a patch but from the pics I've seen of burned ones the edges of the hole itself should be blackened. They look more to me like cut and pressure opened them up but what do I know.:D

February 26, 2011, 04:55 PM
Before we start eating patches and re-crowning barrels, something that might have been overlooked is the patch material itself. Several years ago I made a trip to Kemmerer WY, I realized to late that I forgot my patch material. So I made a trip to the local Alco store looking for ticking. They had three different colors, red, green, and the normal blue. It all Mic-ed .018 so I bought some of each. My groups went to heck. All of it burned through just like your pictures. It was pure cotton ticking but for some reason it wouldn't work in any of my 30 or so muzzle loaders. I have since been buying ticking from Wal-Mart as bad as I hate to shop there. You might try some different ticking before jumping to other conclusions. Just a thought.


February 26, 2011, 08:40 PM
Went back to the range today. Kept everything the same except for the powder charge. I increased the load of Triple Seven FFG from 50gr to 60gr. Found some interesting results. Yesterday all patches were burned/torn thru the center. Today it was a mixed bag. All the patches shown in today's picture were fired under exactly the same conditions.

If consistency is the name of the game, I've got a problem.


February 26, 2011, 11:55 PM
Hmmm. Velly intelesting.

I still believe the patch that's all torn up and burned was initially damaged on loading. Why the other two were not damaged is a puzzle. Was the damaged patch the first one? If so, that would explain it - the others were protected by fouling. Do you swab after every shot?

February 27, 2011, 05:34 AM
Your patches look very dry to me and without enough lube.
I would try lubing them with Bore Butter which has a higher viscosity, or Crisco, olive oil or at least a higher concentration of Ballistol.
One way to make a home made wad is to crunch up some newspaper into a tight ball just a little larger than bore size. Then ram it and tamp it down really well before ramming the ball. That should help protect the patch from getting blown out or burned from ignition.
And the wad should also protect the powder from getting contaminated by putting more of an extra greasy lube on the patch.
Then if your patches are still torn that badly, you'll know that it could be happening during loading.

February 27, 2011, 09:03 AM
I have had success with only one dry lube and that was years ago with something that is not generally available anymore.
BLE came closest to a correct answer.
You need to try larger balls and/or thicker patches and a different lube.
Personally, I'm not a believer in 'magic' lubes. IMHO most will work just fine if you spend time on the bench and work up your proper load. FWIW, I use a beeswax/oil combo.
BTW, those are burned indicating gas by-pass. This means the patch is not doing a proper job of sealing and can explain inconsistent results. A larger ball is harder to seat but will increase accuracy.
I use a .457 ball in a .45 Douglas Premium barrel. Most folks think I'm nuts until they look at the groups.
Dialing in a proper ball/patch/lube/charge combo doesn't happen overnight. You need to spend time at it.
All that said, I believe the .495 ball should be just fine provided it is pure soft lead. I would look for a thicker ticking patch material and a different lube, as long as it is not Crisco. Crisco is the second worstest possible muzzle gun lube possible. Chicken fat is the worstest. I know, have tried more lubes than I care to remember.
Stick with one charge (I suggest 55 gr. FFFg) and same powder until you get consistent groups with your new patch/lube combo. Then start experimenting with charges to tighten up that group. Keep notes. It takes time. Let us know what you come up with.

February 27, 2011, 09:57 AM
It's difficult to reply to all the comments; but here are a few of my thoughts.

1. Thicker patches...The .018" pillow ticking is the thickest available at my fabric supplier. I may go back and measure some denim.

2. Larger ball...I have ordered a .495" Lee Die.

3. Wads...I may resort to them later. I would prefer to try and solve the problem using other methods.

4. Patches too dry...I would like to continue using the Ballistol as a lube if I can make it work. Increasing the amount of Ballistol in my lube mixture will be a logical next step.

5. Burned vs torn...The pictures don't do justice to the condition of the patches...they are definitely burned. In theory, mykeal's idea of the crown cutting the fibers could cause the damaged fibers to burn more easily. However, that doesn't explain the variances I saw yesterday.

Unfortunately, I don't know in what sequence the patches in the last picture were fired. Those patches were just picked up randomly after firing ten rounds. All patches shown in both pictures were fired after swabbing between every shot.

As stated earlier, the only thing changed between the first picture results and the second picture was the powder charge. First picture shows results using 50gr of Triple Seven; while the second picture shows patches fired using 60gr from the same powder flask.

February 27, 2011, 10:25 AM
I've never burned a patch but I always use wet patches. My loads are 90 grs and 120 grs out of a .54. Wet patches wont contaminate enough powder to notice. I have used patches as thin as .010 but have settled on .020 with a 530 round ball.

February 27, 2011, 11:28 AM
I'll stand by my original post.

February 27, 2011, 01:07 PM
I'll stand by my original post.

See comment #2, above. The .495 mold is on the way. :D

February 27, 2011, 04:01 PM
That second set of patches show they are under Lubed.
I just got home from shooting my GPR, Pam cooking spray is Awsome, I could run my patches a second time if need be :)

February 27, 2011, 08:48 PM
I think the guys that mentioned "under-lubed" and "too dry" are onto something. I ran a new batch of Ballistol lube this morning and used a 5:1 ratio of water/Ballistol instead of the previous 7:1 ratio. I went to the range again this afternoon an found a big difference in how the patches reacted.

I inspected about 15 patches; and only found two or three that showed signs of burning thru. Even these, didn't look too bad...just small 1/4 inch holes rather than the entire center being gone.

I'm not sure if the crux of the original problem was lack or lube; or if the additional lube I used today is just a band-aid masking another problem. I do know that some people lube their patches with 7:1 and even 8:1 ratios of water to Ballistol without experiencing any problems.

My .495 ball mold should be here next week. When it arrives I will try different ball and patch combinations to see what happens.

Thanks for the comments. I still don't consider the issue resolved; so if you have additional thoughts, I would like to hear them.