.32 rifle load

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Starting to become a bit frustrated to say the least. I am not new to flintlock shooting having started around 2000. I have never had such a time sighting in a rifle. I sold a couple fine squirrel rifles to justify a custom built squirrel getter. It's a fine piece but I'm struggling to get it properly zeroed. Also the first .32 caliber er rifle I have owned.

It's .32 caliber so I started with 1grain per caliber as a rule of thumb. Right or wrong it's what I do. Seems to group better with a higher charge. Shot a bit today out in the yard and dropped back to 20 grains fff as folks here recommended. Shot poorly. It appears that it shoots better with upwards of 30 to 35 grains. Does this seem excessive for a .32??


I am hesitant to file in the sights before I get some things worked out.

The caveat I will offer is this is the first for this type of patching. I have always used .020 pillow ticking but came into some cotton muslin about .015 thick and appears to be good.
Shooting a .310 cast ball with fff Goex and mink oil lube on the patch.

May have answered my own question but what are your thoughts on this? I will post some photos.

James
 
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Some targets
 

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Here are a few patches from this afternoon. Ball side and powder side. Powder side is darker.
 

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Bassdog1

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I would adjust the patch and lube first. I also find that slower twist rifles like a heavier charge than my fast twist 32 Senecas and Cherokees. They are 1 in 30 and i can go down to 15 grains. My 1 in 48 CVA likes 30 -35.
 
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I like an easy loading rifle so this is the reason I am using this patching. May be my problem but not sure. I think it would be fine really. I can start and load the patch and ball with the wiping stick. Has enough resistance to make me believe it is patched tight enough.

James
 
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I settled on a .315 ball and .010 patching and 20 grains 2f in my .32 cherokee. It’s a short barrel and 1 in 30 twist though. Bassdog’s finding on difference in twist rate was interesting though.
 
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James i would try one thing at a time, such as powder charge, then lube, ect. my experience is if the patch is not blowen apart and looks good then it is fine. when the explosion occurs, the gas will seal the bore and the ball will spin and that is all that is needed on that end, not a real tight patch. i have a 40 cal. that loves a hot charge of 55gr. anything under and accuracy falls off. also, my 40 is now 3 years old and the more it has been shot the better it has gotten. the lube i use on everything is dawn dish soap and water, i mix about 60% soap and 40% water. also do you cast or by store bought balls? my 40 shoots Hornaday swaged balls way better than my cast.
 
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I have a pair of Pedersoli Frontier .32 rifles, one percussion and the other a flint.
Both are 39" barrels with 48" twist.

The load for both is a Hornady swaged .315" ball, .015" mink oil patch and 30 grs. Goex FFFg. At 50 yards the groups are 1" - 1 1/2". I do get the occasional blown patch.
 
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My Rice barreled .32 caliber Carolina rifle has radius groves and is 1:48. It likes 30 grains of 3f with a .015 mink oil patch that is lubed somewhat thick. As said in previous post, try changing patching, powder charge, and ball diameter (one at a time) until you get the groupings you want. Then adjust the sights for that load combination.
 
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I've heard it said more than once.... by a couple of people whose opinion I trust.... that they can never get square cut patches to shoot well. I'd try cutting at the muzzle with that patch material and see how it does.
 
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James i would try one thing at a time, such as powder charge, then lube, ect. my experience is if the patch is not blowen apart and looks good then it is fine. when the explosion occurs, the gas will seal the bore and the ball will spin and that is all that is needed on that end, not a real tight patch. i have a 40 cal. that loves a hot charge of 55gr. anything under and accuracy falls off. also, my 40 is now 3 years old and the more it has been shot the better it has gotten. the lube i use on everything is dawn dish soap and water, i mix about 60% soap and 40% water. also do you cast or by store bought balls? my 40 shoots Hornaday swaged balls way better than my cast.
I am using cast balls purchased from Dixons Muzzleloading. When I get it dialed in I will prolly cast my own.

Thing is I have always used pillow ticking and cast balls over Goex powder. In the beginning I used cooking oil for lube until I switched to mink oil from Track of the Wolf. Has worked in all the rifles I have owned. I like to keep things easy and consistent. I began using this different patching material with this new rifle so perhaps there is my problem but I'm not seeing the evidence of it. What do you think.of the patches in the photos? They appear ok to me. I will try some ticking one evening this week to rule that out first I suppose. If nothing changes I will try the next options o e at a time.

James
 
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Thanks for all the replies so far. Interesting about the twist verses load.

I have never heard about square patches not shooting well but you never know. Could be possible.

I'm gonna pull the barrel this evening and check the twist. Should be stamped on the bottom.

Thanks for all the help.
James
 
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I'm not a fan of muslin as patches as it can be slick compared to pillow ticking or cotton drill cloth. I have had good results from the 0.017" thick drill cloth from JoAnn's Fabrics.

One of @JamesT's patches shows some shredding at the crown but not the other three. Otherwise, there is little untoward with respect to the patches. Your patch lubricant choice is good, both the Mink Oil or the cooking oil.

If the patch is way oversize, square or round, it may have an adverse effect on accuracy as heavy lubricant will hold the patch to the ball as it leaves the muzzle, or the excess material will get caught in the jag on loading and pulled by the loading jag after the ball is seated. Otherwise, square or round patches as long as the circumference of the ball is covered shouldn't be a cause for poor accuracy. I've seen too many rifles using a square patch shoot quite accurately.

 
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I am using cast balls purchased from Dixons Muzzleloading. When I get it dialed in I will prolly cast my own.

Thing is I have always used pillow ticking and cast balls over Goex powder. In the beginning I used cooking oil for lube until I switched to mink oil from Track of the Wolf. Has worked in all the rifles I have owned. I like to keep things easy and consistent. I began using this different patching material with this new rifle so perhaps there is my problem but I'm not seeing the evidence of it. What do you think.of the patches in the photos? They appear ok to me. I will try some ticking one evening this week to rule that out first I suppose. If nothing changes I will try the next options o e at a time.

James
James the patches looks ok to me. i like ticking, on my 40 it likes Ol Esford or Swiss, my 45 loves plain old goex the best, i have a 54 that will shoot anything i put in it. you just have to keep playing around with combinations till you hit on the right thing. also, for one reason or another i have saw some guns shoot some days and not the next day. your best-looking group is the 30gr. group, it is in a triangle, just what you want, you just need to get it tighter. this reminds me of something i read a while back. somebody was having problems getting a rifle to group well. somebody said support the barrel at the front and rear then shoot it. well i went to my shooting bench and tried it myself, and sure enough my gun imminently shot tighter! it cuts down on barrel whip and vibration. you might also try that. now i shoot mostly off hand anymore unless i am zeroing a gun in,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
 

nchawkeye

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Don't pull the barrel, ever, nothing good can come from pulling the barrel on a fine rifle such as that...It's easy enough to check the twist...Take your loading rod, put a cleaning patch on it, mark the end, push it down the barrel and see how many inches it takes to make a full revolution...

I'm in the group that says, try different patching...Then try changing lube...These guns have their own personality, some are easy and some take a little working with, that's why we give them ladies names, they can be finicky... :)
 
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T
Don't pull the barrel, ever, nothing good can come from pulling the barrel on a fine rifle such as that...It's easy enough to check the twist...Take your loading rod, put a cleaning patch on it, mark the end, push it down the barrel and see how many inches it takes to make a full revolution...

I'm in the group that says, try different patching...Then try changing lube...These guns have their own personality, some are easy and some take a little working with, that's why we give them ladies names, they can be finicky... :)
Thanks for the post. I already pulled it but has never been a problem to me. I don't remove the barrel every time I shoot a rifle just to do an extra good cleaning every so often. Anyway here is the markings. It may like a stiffer charge according to some of the other folks observations. The only name I can think for this finicky woman I won't say here..

James
 
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