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Almost Universal Ball Pulling/Cleaning, Take Down Rod System

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Artificer

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Folks, this thread post is in answer to a fair number of recent posts on rods that would be good for pulling balls as well to a lesser extent for cleaning, though there are better rods for that.

Just about the worst thing that can happen to a ML shooter is dry balling a gun or the round doesn’t go off, especially during the middle of a competitive shoot or out in the boondocks while hunting. I know you can often “fire a ball out” by packing some powder through the touch hole of a flinter or under the percussion nipple, but that might cost you the match when considered a round as being fired or you are somewhere hunting where you really don’t want to announce your position to game in the next county.

The following came from planning for my first trip to the UK, as the Team Armorer for the U.S. Muzzle Loading Team in 1996. It didn’t look like I was going to be allowed to take my 54” custom made bronze Armorer’s rod with me on the airplane, so I came up with the following “take down” system that could be packed in luggage or even a good-sized range box. I knew I might have to deal with almost any caliber from .36 to at least .69 caliber round balls and shot loads in shot guns up to and including 10 gauge.

Back in the early 1970’s, some older/more experienced shooters talked about getting a sectionalized cleaning rod set for the .50 cal. M2 Machine Gun and using it for this purpose. I got a set back then, but had never got around to actually using it, because most of the ball pullers and jags available back then did not seem to work or I could not easily find pullers and jags that would work. However, the 1990’s brought fairly easy access to the right sizes and kinds of Jags/Pullers, for this kit to work well for almost every caliber we use.

Special Note: This kit will NOT work for .32 caliber guns, though at the end of this post, I’ll address a take-down kit for that caliber.

The below link shows the basic sectionalized cleaning kit I’m referring to in this post. It has one section with and aluminum “T” handle and four additional rod sections. The outside diameter of the rods is a “nominal” .312”, which makes these rods too big to use in a .32 cal. because sectionalized rods can’t line up perfectly, but still small enough to use in .36 cal. and higher bores. The length of the assembled rod is right at 49” beyond the handle, so it is long enough for most any ML gun. The single rod section with a slot for patches has the end drilled/tapped for 8-32 threads for cleaning brushes or attaching other ball pullers, jags, etc. Cost for “New Old Stock” or excellent kits runs around $25.00.

Vintage 50 Cal. Cleaning Rod Kit Military USA 1005-00-653-5441 NOS | eBay

And

Military Issue M2 .50 Cal Cleaning Rod NSN# 1005-00-653-5441 (afsurplus.com)


OK, before going any further, there are some things one might consider doing with this kit. First for a rod used with a Ball Puller, you DON’T want a rod with a handle that rotates. The Aluminum T handle on my kit doesn’t rotate, but if it did or if it loosens up, then I would drive out the two pins holding the handle on, remove it and weld a piece of steel rod perpendicular to the end of that rod section to form a “T” handle.

The next thing to consider would be whether you keep the 8 -32 threads on the end of the section with the patch loop OR open it up to use 10-32 threads for some larger diameter ball pullers. I admit I don’t care for 8 -32 threads on Brass Ramrod Tips to use with Ball Pullers, BUT this is a steel rod and would probably never be a problem. I solved the question for myself by purchasing a second rod section with the patch loop from either Gun Parts Corporation or SARCO (I don’t remember which.) and opening that one up on a lathe to take 10-32 threads. So I can assemble the rod to take whatever ball pullers and jags I choose or have.

Since the rod sections are steel, I most strongly recommend you purchase a “Ramrod Guide (Muzzle) Bore Protector” to use with this kit. Fortunately, Track of the Wolf has one already made in the correct size for these kits and listed below:

Ramrod guide bore protector, brass, for 5/16" ramrod
$3.99

Ramrod Guides, bore protectors - Track of the Wolf


OK a word before going into Ball Pullers and other Jags for use with this kit. I am not in any way connected with Track of the Wolf. However, I was delighted to find they carry Ball Pullers with Brass Collars and other jags/tips in a wide range of sizes and no matter if you stay with the 8-32 threads in the rod or open it up to 10-32. Either way, I submit the most important use for this kit is to pull stuck balls and only use as a cleaning rod on rifles when something happens to your Wood Ramrod. This kit can be used to clean the larger bore sizes of smooth bores or shotguns though, without worry of damage to the barrel.

So let’s begin with different size Ball Pullers and you choose whatever sizes you need according to what guns you have.

Ball puller, steel screw, .36 - .62 caliber brass collar, 8-32 thread

$ 3.50 to $ 4.50 depending on size

or

Ball puller, steel screw, .36 - .75 caliber brass collar, 10-32 thread

$ 3.50 to $ 4.50 depending on size

Ball Pullers, steel screws with brass collars - Track of the Wolf


Brass button jags are used on small diameter ramrods and cleaning rods where a tapered shank is not necessary for patch clearance. All these have sturdy steel threads, and a cupped end for easy loading. A reminder to ensure you order the correct thread size of 8-32, if you stay with the original threads on the end of the rod section with the patch loop in it.

8-32 steel threads range from .36 to .62 caliber

10-32 steel threads range from .36 to .75 caliber

Jags, jagged tips with button head, for small rods - Track of the Wolf


Many folks find that with larger diameter smoothbores and shotguns, they prefer a jag with a flat end, so I have included them as well.

Shotgun Button Jagged Tip
Brass cleaning jag, with 8-32 or 10-32 steel threads to fit our standard rod tips. Flat end squarely seats cards and wads. Jagged edges grip the damp patch securely while wiping the dirty bore between shots.

$ 3.99 each

Special Note: The below listed sizes are only general sizes for shotguns and the jags from Track of the Wolf MAY or even probably NOT come in these actual dimensions. Best to call or email them to see what the actual size is of any of these jags in the gauges you want:

20 gauge - .628

16 gauge - .682

12 gauge - .748

10 gauge - .790

Jags, jagged tips & tulip tips, for shotguns - Track of the Wolf


I realize that some folks DON’T like to use brass/bronze brushes to clean their bores and if one doesn’t buy brushes made with good twisted loops, I agree. However, if you wish to use modern shotgun brushes in your smoothbores or shotguns, you will need an Adaptor to use them with this kit. For this I much prefer a stainless steel Adaptor as it is easier to screw the Shotgun Brushes in and especially out of the Adaptors after use than with a brass/bronze adaptor. Again, if you stay with the original threads, you need the 8-32 size.

Adaptor for rod tip, stainless steel, knurled center, 10-32 male to 5/16-27 female

Or

Adaptor for rod tip, stainless steel, knurled center, 10-32 male to 5/16-27 female

Either one costs $ 2.99

Adaptors for other thread sizes - Track of the Wolf



OK, I promised earlier I had a suggestion for those who have a .32 Caliber rifle and wish to have a Take Down Ball Pulling Rod. You make this rod out of enough .30 cal. military cleaning rod sections to fit the length of your barrel and are often/usually described as for the M1 Garand or M14. These rods are ¼ inch in diameter and about 6 ¼ long, as shown in the link following this paragraph. You will need to weld a piece of steel rod to the open end of one section to form a “T” handle, because the handles for these kits rotate and you don’t want that for a ball pulling rod.

USGI M1 Garand Cleaning Rod Segments 6 1/4" Long (1390) | eBay


You will need a smaller size Ramrod guide bore protector, brass, for 1/4 “ ramrod for these rods.

Ramrod Guides, bore protectors - Track of the Wolf


Now you will also need an adaptor for these rods that accept the male 8-32 threads of these rods and have female 8-32 threads for the Ball Puller. As far as I know, no one makes an adaptor like that. HOWEVER, you can solve that problem if you have a lathe or have a buddy who has a lathe. You cut the male end off one cleaning rod section, turn the cut end square and then drill and tap it for 8-32 threads. I would advise cutting one section more or less in half to do this, so it will be easy to “find” this homemade adaptor and not mix it up with the other cleaning rod sections. Oh, after drilling and tapping the new hole, I would also suggest at least case hardening that end of the adaptor.


Finally you will need the following Ball Puller and Brass collar:

Ball puller, steel screw, .32 caliber brass collar, 8-32 thread $ 3.50

Ball Pullers, steel screws with brass collars - Track of the Wolf



Gus
 

longcruise

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I bought a stainless steel 8-32 to 10-32 adaptor I think from TOW.

I too prefer 10-32 but there was that one time when I accidently ordered some 8-32. :mad:
 

longcruise

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Also, don't overlook the CO2 ball pushers. They work great on cap guns but might be a problem with a flinter if the ball covers the flash hole.
 

Artificer

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@Artificer, Larry Callahan has an extender or adapter with 8-32 threads or 10-32 threads. Give him a call and get the specific threads that you need.

Callahan Bagmolds - Products Page 1
Grenadier,

That's another good idea. Thank you.

Along that line of thinking, TOW has an adaptor that is the same diameter as the larger rod sections mentioned above.

Adaptor for rod tip, one piece 5/16" stainless steel, knurled center, 8-32 male to 10-32 female $2.99

Adaptors for other thread sizes - Track of the Wolf

Gus
 

Artificer

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I bought a stainless steel 8-32 to 10-32 adaptor I think from TOW.

I too prefer 10-32 but there was that one time when I accidently ordered some 8-32. :mad:
Thank you. Is your's the one I just referred to in my reply post to Grenadier? Seems like you both had a good idea that keeps one from having to drill/tap/re-thread the rod sections. The 10-32 threads gives you the capability for the larger size Ball Pullers.

Gus
 
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Artificer

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Also, don't overlook the CO2 ball pushers. They work great on cap guns but might be a problem with a flinter if the ball covers the flash hole.
That's another good idea and you made a good point on how they might not work on a flinter, but will work on a percussion gun.

My only problem with that system is, well, me. Grin. With my luck, I would forget to change cylinders and when I really needed one, the cylinder would have already leaked out. But maybe that comes from my experience in the "Stone Age" of using CO2 cylinders in Pellet Rifles and Pistols?

Gus
 
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Grenadier1758

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I just made an adapter the other day to adapt a 6-40 thread to 8-32. Very thin rod to be used for light cleaning.

The CO2 bicycle tire inflators seem to hold the CO2 much better with the threaded cylinders. My original CO2 discharger worked, but the leakage was significant. Basically one use only.
 

Artificer

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I just made an adapter the other day to adapt a 6-40 thread to 8-32. Very thin rod to be used for light cleaning.

The CO2 bicycle tire inflators seem to hold the CO2 much better with the threaded cylinders. My original CO2 discharger worked, but the leakage was significant. Basically one use only.
Good to know info. Thank you.

Gus
 

Artificer

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Something else on adaptors and this is from experience using them in the Marine Corps. Believe it or not, in 1988 the only cleaning rod authorized to clean shotguns was a one piece wooden dowel with a slot in it for a rag to be tied to it. The way we legally got around that was to buy adaptors for modern shotgun brushes and patch jags and use them on cleaning rod sections, to make a cleaning rod.

Well it worked, BUT they kept misplacing the adaptors or messing the threads up when not actually mounted in the rods. Classic case of "Murphy's Law." So I chose brand new cleaning rod sections and epoxied the adaptors to them. That completely solved both problems.

So in case of the Take Down Kit mentioned above, I would suggest buying the adaptor that converts it to 10-32 threads and using Red Loctite or Epoxy to permanently attach it to the one section. Then buy all accessories one desires in that 10-32 thread size.

Gus
 

Grenadier1758

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Indeed, Gus, it seems whether its the private soldier in the F&I War or modern Marines or privates when I was in the modern Army, they really put the challenge to keeping equipment maintained. During the F&I War, only serjeants were allowed to use turn screws. Lock removal by the private soldier was not allowed. Other than replacing a flint, equipment maintenance was directed to the artificers. Cartridge loading was done in the artillery company.

I'd use Blue Loctite on the threads. Although a little heat on the threads will loosen Red Loctite and Epoxy.
 

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Indeed, Gus, it seems whether its the private soldier in the F&I War or modern Marines or privates when I was in the modern Army, they really put the challenge to keeping equipment maintained. During the F&I War, only serjeants were allowed to use turn screws. Lock removal by the private soldier was not allowed. Other than replacing a flint, equipment maintenance was directed to the artificers. Cartridge loading was done in the artillery company.

I'd use Blue Loctite on the threads. Although a little heat on the threads will loosen Red Loctite and Epoxy.
Indeed, though only Serjeants and sometimes Corporals were allowed to use Turnscrews, it was still required every Soldier take his lock off his musket (in garrison) and clean and oil it every day. There is NO doubt in my mind they only allowed the NCO's use of the Turnscrews, as Private Soldiers surely would have dismantled their locks with them and lost parts or damaged them. Grin.

Gus
 

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Good thread. I purchased two sets of these rods at a gun show recently. Actually, it is almost two sets as one is missing the final cross-slotted section. After some deliberation and measuring, I took a standard rod section to my buddy with a lathe and he parted off the skirt, or counter-bored section at the bottom. The rod-section threads are already 10/32. He also turned three rings on the end so I know at a glance which section it is.
 

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I had couple of M2 rods still sealed in the box, made in 1944 that purchased years ago for $5.00 each. When I started muzzle loading I got one out the box and been using it since. Mine was made in by the Dakota Tractor and Equipment Co. Fargo S.D.. They are a blued and beautifully made useful relic from WW2. That history is something I reflect back on when using it.
 

rickystl

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Good Thread. I remember purchasing one of those M2 cleaning rods back in the mid-1960's. Think I paid $1.50 for it (without the canvas pouch). LOL Used it to clean an original 3rd Model Brown Bess after shooting. Wish I knew what I did with that rod.
 

Artificer

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Good Thread. I remember purchasing one of those M2 cleaning rods back in the mid-1960's. Think I paid $1.50 for it (without the canvas pouch). LOL Used it to clean an original 3rd Model Brown Bess after shooting. Wish I knew what I did with that rod.
When I went to look for mine in 1996, I hadn't seen it in over 20 years and quite a few military moves. It finally surfaced, though it might have been less effort just to buy another one. Grin.

Gus
 

eggwelder

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That's another good idea and you made a good point on how they might not work on a flinter, but will work on a percussion gun.

My only problem with that system is, well, me. Grin. With my luck, I would forget to change cylinders and when I really needed one, the cylinder would have already leaked out. But maybe that comes from my experience in the "Stone Age" of using CO2 cylinders in Pellet Rifles and Pistols?

Gus
anyone ever bought the compressor tool kits and they come with a blow gun for dust removal? some are equipped with rubber tips. on my flintlock, I dry balled once (lol)and could not get the ball puller to dig in and grab the ball. I eventually fired up the compressor, pressed the rubber tip against the vent with almost my full weight on it, hit the airgun trigger. ball embedded itself in the garage wall.
 
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