A Fouling Test

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PathfinderNC

Pilgrim
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Today I did a little test to see how my .45 cal flintlock rifle (A Verner/Pecatonica) would preform using just spit patches and no barrel swabbing between shots. I have a .45 caliber and am shooting swaged .440 round ball with cotton denim patches (from old jeans) and 65 grains fff Goex.
Loading each ball down the barrel was fine and the spit patch did its usual fine job of lubricating the round down. My first five shots were in a 1.5" group, with no cleaning between shots at all.
I was pretty happy with my results and then put up a target at 50 yards, again using only spit patch and no wiping between shots.
The first two shots were pretty close, especially with the challenge I am having with my sight picture (my front blade seems too thin!). However, by the 10th shot, I was completeluy off the paper! I had no idea where the ball was going. I ran a cleaning patch (using spit) down the barrel and fired another round, but still the ball sailed wild. I was completely suprised how badly the rifle was preforming and can't imagine there was enough fouling in the bore to make shots go so wild.
I will start this experiment again tomorrow (weather permitting) but start off at 50 yards and see how I do. I am wondering if my first five or so shots (without cleaning in-between) will be as accurate at 50 yards as they are at 25.
 

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SDSmlf

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Maybe get a bigger piece of backing paper to see if POI shifted or shots are going wild. Not learning much if you have no idea where the ball is going. With most guns off the bench would expect the ‘right’ load and loading process to group in one ragged hole at 25 yards and about an inch or so at 50.
 

PathfinderNC

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Maybe get a bigger piece of backing paper to see if POI shifted or shots are going wild. Not learning much if you have no idea where the ball is going. With most guns off the bench would expect the ‘right’ load and loading process to group in one ragged hole at 25 yards and about an inch or so at 50.
Yup, that will be the plan. This is a relatively new rifle, I just built it last summer and really am still sighting it in and working up a 'right' load still. I just cant imagine at 50 yards it not even hitting notebook paper, no matter how fouled the bore is. But I am still learning, and having sight-picture issues ...
 

necchi

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Why are you using such a huge dot and cross tapes at 50yards for a sight target with open sights?
The idea is to aim at the center of the paper. You shouldn't need anymore than a 1" dot in the center of an 8.5x11" paper at 50,,(honest)
Don't "look" for where the shot landed after you shoot, use follow through,, aka: no "peeking" the shot.
Each shot is "one shot".
If you went off paper at 50yrds,, it's not the gun, ;)
 

PathfinderNC

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Why are you using such a huge dot and cross tapes at 50yards for a sight target with
The idea is to aim at the center of the paper. You shouldn't need anymore than a 1" dot in the center of an 8.5x11" paper at 50,,(honest)
Don't "look" for where the shot landed after you shoot, use follow through,, aka: no "peeking" the shot.
Each shot is "one shot".
If you went off paper at 50yrds,, it's not the gun, ;)
I can’t see a 1” dot at 50 yards
Why are you using such a huge dot and cross tapes at 50yards for a sight target with open sights?
The idea is to aim at the center of the paper. You shouldn't need anymore than a 1" dot in the center of an 8.5x11" paper at 50,,(honest)
Don't "look" for where the shot landed after you shoot, use follow through,, aka: no "peeking" the shot.
Each shot is "one shot".
If you went off paper at 50yrds,, it's not the gun, ;)
I can’t see a 1” dot at 50 yards 🧐 . The large black dot helps provide contrast against my sight. I would benefit from a wider front sight I am sure. My sight picture is not crisp and that’s definitely an issue for me and moving the rear sight forward would help probably. So it’s a combination of fouling and old eyes I am guessing . Starting at 50 yards with a fresh barrel will shed some light on this test for me I think.
 

PathfinderNC

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Try some mink oil or other animal/vegetable type lube. Like Brit said, spit is not a good choice!
Yes, I will use some lube I made a while back of grease and beeswax and see how it goes.
I checked the spent spent patches from my shots and they were were still damp as I fired within a minute of loading the barrel, so I am guessing that moisture had some lubrication properties? But with the abhorrent results after ten rounds of shooting without cleaning the barrel, I suspect that not swabbing the bore after a couple of shots is detrimental to accuracy! First-hand experience is a good teacher. (Nonetheless I will start off at fifty yards next and see how my accuracy is on that distance with a clean bore.) Thanks.
 

Old Hawkeye

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Yes, I will use some lube I made a while back of grease and beeswax and see how it goes.
I checked the spent spent patches from my shots and they were were still damp as I fired within a minute of loading the barrel, so I am guessing that moisture had some lubrication properties? But with the abhorrent results after ten rounds of shooting without cleaning the barrel, I suspect that not swabbing the bore after a couple of shots is detrimental to accuracy! First-hand experience is a good teacher. (Nonetheless I will start off at fifty yards next and see how my accuracy is on that distance with a clean bore.) Thanks.
I just shot 10 rounds last Thursday, without wiping, using a .015" mink oil patch around a .495" ball & all 10 were in a 2" circle at 50 yards. 10th round loaded no harder than the 2nd. You just have to keep experimenting with powder charge, ball size, patch thickness, & lube to find that magic spot. Keep firing away!
 

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I just shot 10 rounds last Thursday, without wiping, using a .015" mink oil patch around a .495" ball & all 10 were in a 2" circle at 50 yards. 10th round loaded no harder than the 2nd. You just have to keep experimenting with powder charge, ball size, patch thickness, & lube to find that magic spot. Keep firing away!
Thanks Hawkeye. I never used Mink Oil, so I just ordered some.
 
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do you know what a breech scraper is? If you are goiing to shoot without wiping this should bee done every so often. Ive seeen buildups develop that have covered the touchhole causing ignition problems. A percussion gun magnifies the problem with the long flame channel. Myself I shoot mostly competition paper. We target shooters scrub the bore between shots. Damp patch both sides dry patch both sides. Care must be taken to have a properly fitting jag and patch. Jag and patch must pass easily over the fouling on the way down then the patch bunches up on the jag pulling the fouling out the barrel, not shoving it down to the breech face to collect and cover your touch hole or ignition channel. Not easy to do on a trailwalk or hunting. Don"t know if this helps you but this is how we do it in Ohio where it gets humid in the summer and that causes alot of problems.
 

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With the thin front sight you mentioned - and focus should always be on the front leaving the rear and target blurry - any change in light can easily put shots off the paper at 50 yards. I've always found spit patch to perform very well and not need any between-shot swabbing. I don't lube that way any longer, too dry now. It does work if the shot is taken fairly soon after loading and before the patch dries out.

Mink oil is a superior lube for the woods as well as for the range. But I generally prefer wet lubes, such as Hoppes, Black Solve, etc, at the range.
 

Britsmoothy

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do you know what a breech scraper is? If you are goiing to shoot without wiping this should bee done every so often. Ive seeen buildups develop that have covered the touchhole causing ignition problems. A percussion gun magnifies the problem with the long flame channel. Myself I shoot mostly competition paper. We target shooters scrub the bore between shots. Damp patch both sides dry patch both sides. Care must be taken to have a properly fitting jag and patch. Jag and patch must pass easily over the fouling on the way down then the patch bunches up on the jag pulling the fouling out the barrel, not shoving it down to the breech face to collect and cover your touch hole or ignition channel. Not easy to do on a trailwalk or hunting. Don"t know if this helps you but this is how we do it in Ohio where it gets humid in the summer and that causes alot of problems.
I have shot scores of shots pigeon shooting in the past, continually shooting. Never had an ignition problem. No swabbing.
 

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With the thin front sight you mentioned - and focus should always be on the front leaving the rear and target blurry - any change in light can easily put shots off the paper at 50 yards. I've always found spit patch to perform very well and not need any between-shot swabbing. I don't lube that way any longer, too dry now. It does work if the shot is taken fairly soon after loading and before the patch dries out.

Mink oil is a superior lube for the woods as well as for the range. But I generally prefer wet lubes, such as Hoppes, Black Solve, etc, at the range.
That is great info hanshi. My rear sight is blurry when I aim, but remember when I had much younger eyes it wasn’t as bad.
Because it shoots high (almost 2 inches at 25 yards) I filed down the rear sight. Somehow, with the notch less deep now my focus and sight picture looks way better!
I took a few shots at the 50 yard target before filing the sight, and my shots were wild again.But I decided that I am going to hold off on anymore of this until get some .445 round ball and see how that goes.
Another thing I recall is that I sucked at bench shooting and for some reason did better off hand (though for sighting in Always on the bench but at shorter distances like fifteen yards).
Hopefully I will get my relationship with this gun in order or I wouldn’t feel right using it on any hunt.
 

PathfinderNC

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I have shot scores of shots pigeon shooting in the past, continually shooting. Never had an ignition problem. No swabbing.
I have no doubt 😊
I have to figure out what works for me and this rifle and try some suggestions out. I am glad my little fouling test has turned into a shooting and best load quest too! Everyone is so helpful.
 

drstrangelove

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Try a light spritz of 4:1 moosemilk on the patch. Always keeps me on target and easy loading. I shoot at a 100 yard pie plate size gong. I think Ballistol is every bit as good as mink oil. The water dilution dissolves the fouling on each loading. No problems with powder getting wet. I don't much care for patches in my mouth.
 

Old Hawkeye

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That is great info hanshi. My rear sight is blurry when I aim, but remember when I had much younger eyes it wasn’t as bad.
Because it shoots high (almost 2 inches at 25 yards) I filed down the rear sight. Somehow, with the notch less deep now my focus and sight picture looks way better!
I took a few shots at the 50 yard target before filing the sight, and my shots were wild again.But I decided that I am going to hold off on anymore of this until get some .445 round ball and see how that goes.
Another thing I recall is that I sucked at bench shooting and for some reason did better off hand (though for sighting in Always on the bench but at shorter distances like fifteen yards).
Hopefully I will get my relationship with this gun in order or I wouldn’t feel right using it on any hunt.
Get your load figured out first, then worry about sighting it in. Remember, when you file metal off it's hard to put back on.
 
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That is great info hanshi. My rear sight is blurry when I aim, but remember when I had much younger eyes it wasn’t as bad.
Because it shoots high (almost 2 inches at 25 yards) I filed down the rear sight. Somehow, with the notch less deep now my focus and sight picture looks way better!
I took a few shots at the 50 yard target before filing the sight, and my shots were wild again.But I decided that I am going to hold off on anymore of this until get some .445 round ball and see how that goes.
Another thing I recall is that I sucked at bench shooting and for some reason did better off hand (though for sighting in Always on the bench but at shorter distances like fifteen yards).
Hopefully I will get my relationship with this gun in order or I wouldn’t feel right using it on any hunt.
A neat little device made by merit optical fastens to your glasses with a suction cup gives you a appature to look through . The size is adjustable for the light present. When properly adjusted your sights will be clear again as is the target. Log Cabin had these for $65 last time I looked. Can probably find one on the internet if you look. Sure helps when sighting in open sights. Restores the old eyesight!
 

PathfinderNC

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A neat little device made by merit optical fastens to your glasses with a suction cup gives you a appature to look through . The size is adjustable for the light present. When properly adjusted your sights will be clear again as is the target. Log Cabin had these for $65 last time I looked. Can probably find one on the internet if you look. Sure helps when sighting in open sights. Restores the old eyesight!
Excellent - I am going to look into them, thanks!
 
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