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Old January 2, 2011, 01:33 PM   #19
Senior Member
Join Date: April 25, 2010
Location: Arkansas
Posts: 3,309
Good info from Pahu.
Starters come in all forms. Something comfortable on the hand and/or able to withstand whacking from a small hammer is what you need. Most of us started out with those that have a wood ball head and wood shaft. I now make starters to use and give away. They have a head of antler scrap and a hickory shaft fire hardened at the end.
As said, avoid fiberglass rods. I'll add aluminum to that list. As alum. gets older it acquires aluminum oxide on the outside. That is the same stuff as grinding wheels are made of. I'm told it will not damage a barrel but I'm not taking anyone's word on that. Stainless steel is fine, just wipe clean now and then.
I make, and have sold, ramrods made from Delrin. It is strong, unbreakable and soft. Will not damage a barrel. I use one most of the time. Only when authenticity is required do I go back to wood.
The reason I seldom use wood these days is because good quality hickory rods are (as far as I know) gone from the market. Using hardware store dowel rods is dangerous. That's a whole 'nuther lecture why. I wrote an article about it published in Muzzle Blasts. Please, for now, just take my word on this.
Best advice I can give is to find a muzzle loading club and join. You will have good friends and tons of advice from experienced traditional ml shooters.
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