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Old February 4, 2013, 05:26 PM   #6
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Join Date: August 30, 2010
Posts: 1,531
How many shots can usually be fired using Pyrodex RS and a patched RB before cleaning is necessary?
It depends on what kind of bullet you are shooting. A round ball with a patch may not carry as much lube as an RCBS Hodgdon N-SSA Skrimisher bullet with a large grease groove. I find a noticeable difference in the number of shots I can fire using a "traditional" Minnie ball with small grease grooves vs. the Skirmisher bullet. However, even with traditional Minnies I can shoot at least 12-15 times without cleaning. This is typical in a N-SSA course of team shooting fire.

Is lube necessary on all patches, regardless of charge weight?
Well, no, but your fouling will build up much faster and harder without lube. Lube keeps the fouling soft(er).

Are cast round balls that much worse than swaged?
Lots of people shoot very good competition scores using cast round balls, even out of a smoothbore!

What are your cheapest sources of round balls and other ML components?
I cast my own bullets/balls, but the cheapest place I've found for powder and primers is Back Creek Gun Shop in Winchester, VA.

It's half the price per pound of Goex that I pay here in town. Whenever we have people go to the National competition, I have them pick me up a big supply.

How long can my rifle sit loaded and still be reliable, provided it is kept dry?
Indefinitely. There have been accounts of BP firearms found loaded after long periods of time and still functional.

From what I have read, unburned black powder is not terribly hygroscopic. BP fouling, on the other hand, is said to be.

Is there a way to find black powder cheaply, as nobody around here sells it?
See source above.

Do harder alloys make acceptable round balls, if I'm casting my own?
I've heard of people using harder lead for round balls for smoothbores, but most that I have read has suggested pure lead for BP arms.

I buy my pure lead from I shoot into a "bullet bucket" bullet trap I made using a 5-gallon pail full of chipped rubber mulch with some sheet metal in the bottom, and I salvage most of my target shooting lead.

Do Lee molds provide enough life to be worth the $20?
They are a good value for the money, especially their round ball molds. But the aluminum does tend to gall under wear. I have had galling under the sprue plate and it was suggested to rub the plate with graphite to lubricate it. I've also had galling with the core pin on Minnie ball molds, but I now use a steel RCBS mold for my Minnie balls.

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