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Old November 6, 2012, 09:42 AM   #1
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Can you shoot a ramrod out of a BP rifle barrel

Was watching the old movie "Across the Wide Missouri" At the end Clark Gable shoots an attacking bad guy while loading his BP rifle and he still had the ram rod still in the barrel. Thus stopping the guy with the ramrod

Now if Mr Gable was in the middle of loading and he had a ball rammed down the barrel and still had the ram rod in the barrel would that work...???? Would the barrel bust with all the added pressure of the ramrod???
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Old November 6, 2012, 09:51 AM   #2
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Would the barrel bust with all the added pressure of the ramrod???
At the low pressure involved with teh Holy Black ..... doubtfull.
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Old November 6, 2012, 09:52 AM   #3
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I've seen it in several movies including "The Alamo" and "The Patriot". Quite dramatic in the movies. Would I try it in mine ...NO

I wonder how many grains a ramrod weighs? I never weighed one. It seems that the laws of physics would dictate that an increase of pressure would occur due to the added weight of the ramrod.
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Old November 6, 2012, 11:21 AM   #4
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Let's keep it in the movies !!!

Would I try it in mine ...NO
Would I try it again ...... NO
Just like in the movies listed, there are times, in the field where you have to take unusual measures to correct "stupid" mistakes. Ramrod issues is one and can be done without busting the barrel but can only speak for modest loads. You are talking about an un-patched rod so there is no drag and some venting room. On one occation, we had a patched range-rod that was stuck fast and unable to pull out. This time, we had to use a CO2 pusher, It flew about 50-ft. and made a thunk sound as it came out. ......

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Old November 6, 2012, 11:25 AM   #5
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I've heard of cases of union and confederate soldiers shooting the ramrod by accident and even killing the opposing soldier with it. Not that I would ever think of trying such a thing.
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Old November 6, 2012, 11:49 AM   #6
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In the heat of trying to reload to shoot a second deer, my buddy did shoot his ramrod out of his barrel. No, he did not sishkabob the deer. No, he did not blow anything up and didn't do any damage to the barrel. The gun shot just as well after as it did before. The worst part was the fact that I was with him when he bought the replacement rod and I made darn sure the clerk knew why he needed a new one.
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Old November 6, 2012, 12:04 PM   #7
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Saw a guy do it years ago at the range.

He wasn't paying a lot of attention to what he was doing. Recoil was apparently pretty bad.

He was also loading from an open can of black powder sitting on the bench next to his flintlock.

I mentioned that as being bad practice, he didn't seem to care, so I moved about a dozen benches farther down the line.
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Old November 6, 2012, 03:07 PM   #8
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I have an antique Belgian rifle relined in .50 caliber. Two weeks ago I was shooting it with about 70 grs of FFG and a .495 patched ball. I loaded, fired and the kick really jolted the crap out of me. I went to reload and the wooden dowel that I use as a ramrod was nowhere to be seen. AhhHaa.
The gun is fine, but I cannot find the ramrod. I don't know what would happen if there was just powder and ramrod with no roundball to push it out.
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Old November 6, 2012, 03:25 PM   #9
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I'm pretty sure I've read of reports of ramrods being stuck in the barricades of opposing forces in the Civil War. I've never studied the subject though.
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Old November 6, 2012, 04:05 PM   #10
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I am not sure of shooting some one with a ram rod. I remember reading on here about a guy that had his BP rifle while he was loading it with Pyrodex cube. The rod went through his hand, and if I remember correctly he had to have some surgery done.
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Old November 6, 2012, 04:31 PM   #11
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Seen it twice, first time the man was ramming the ball down and the powder ignited sending the rod straight up in the air. We all froze because we couldn[t see where it was and had no idea which way to go. It came down sticking in the ground about 10' in front of and tpo the right of the shooter, all he got for it was a broken rod and a burn on the palm of his hand.

Second was at a clay plate busting match after the days skirmish was over. Missed the plate at 50' and sent the rod about 30 yards down range, only damage was to his pride. He had been answering questions from the audience and just lost track of where his rod was. No harm to the rod or either gun.
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Old November 6, 2012, 05:07 PM   #12
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it is more stress on the barrel, with or without a bullet in it. but if its correctly seated on the powder charge its just a really long bullet.

are we all forgetting the for the first 70 years of european muzzle loading in the 13-1400s arrows and crossbow bolts were standard projectiles?
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Old November 6, 2012, 05:47 PM   #13
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There have been instances of Civil War re-enactors doing just this. In many places they will not ram in a public display battle for just this reason.
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Old November 6, 2012, 05:59 PM   #14
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If any Gentle Readers belong to the North-South Skirmish association for any length of time, they've heard the unmistakable "whoop-whoop-whoop" of a ramrad going downrange on more than one occasion.

Quickly followed by a hundred more "whoop-whoops" from the shooting line.
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Old November 6, 2012, 09:34 PM   #15
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I have gotten ramrods stuck in the barrel while swabbing them and could not get them out so I removed the nipple and put a few grains of powder into the chamber, replaced the nipple and shot it out. Not the best remedy but when you are alone and no one is watching, WTH.
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Old November 6, 2012, 09:35 PM   #16
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Its been done.
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Old November 6, 2012, 10:25 PM   #17
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Yes. It was either Rifleman Benjamin Harris or William Green who was part of the guard at the Bridge at Coa. Attacked at night, the rifleman had no time to withdraw his ramrod. Instead he fired it into the bayonet armed Frenchman, killing him. The rifleman then discarded his rifle as useless and ran. Luckily, he found the sergeant who was wounded and taking his rifle, returned to the fight.
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Old November 6, 2012, 10:35 PM   #18
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If you were to do that Im sure you would not be anywhere near the front of the line for those that have done that..
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Old November 7, 2012, 12:00 AM   #19
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Have seen it done on more than one occasion by an inattentive muzzleloader. No damage done to rifle, and sometimes the retreived ramrod was still intact.
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Old November 7, 2012, 06:41 AM   #20
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I was at a rendezvous in 1982 saw that done by a shooter on the 25 yard line.Ramrod stuck in the target board,no harm to shooter or rifle.I believe I still have the photo
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Old November 7, 2012, 06:51 AM   #21
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Unless you have fletching on your ramrod, I'm pretty sure it will tumble end over end and not fly like an arrow, especially if the end that seats the ball has a heavy brass jag on it destabilizing it in its "backwards arrow" flight.
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Old November 7, 2012, 08:55 AM   #22
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Should you do it . . . no.

Has it been done . . . yes.

I've seen ramrods go downrange at NSSA shoots and I've seen it done several times at small, private shoots. It's like "dry balling" a rifle when you get your attention somewhere else and forget to put a powder charge in . . . or you end up double charging. That's why it's important to keep focused on what you're doing. I've never seen any barrels damaged from it . . . but I've seen some pretty embarrassed fellas with red faces. It's best not to laugh too loudly though and you never know when the same thing could happen to you.

I'm sure that it was done many times in the Civil War during the heat of battle. Just like the muskets being loaded with more than one cartridge and the soldier forgetting to cap his weapon Years ago I read where about 25% of the muskets picked up off of the field at Gettysburg after the battle had more than one cartridge in them and if I remember correctly, one had seventeen. Under stress, anything can happen.
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Old November 7, 2012, 11:23 AM   #23
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Arrows fly pretty good without fletching.
The length and weight make up for it.
Doubt that the jag would make much difference either, for the same reasons.
If the ramrod tumbles, it's maybe due to the same cause as bullets tumbling - hitting something, like maybe the end of the barrel.
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Old November 7, 2012, 01:05 PM   #24
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So have any re-enactors been hit by them? I know they aim off, but it seems the jags are not too accurate.
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Old November 7, 2012, 01:54 PM   #25
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I wouldn't put much stock into movie stunts.

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