Bigger round balls or thicker patches?

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brewer12345

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I took my new Green Mountain slow twist barrel out for a maiden run today. I was using .490 balls and .015 patches and it seemed like the balls slid down the barrel surprisingly easy. I was fooling around with the sights more than anything else, so I did not change much of anything else. The next outing will be an opportunity to try to tighten up groups and see what charges this barrel likes. I am guessing that a tighter fitting ball/patch combination would help. Would you start with a thicker patch (have .018 on hand, could get thicker), or a bigger ball (can buy or cast .495 if necessary)? For a hunting proposition I like that the 490/015 combination would be a fast reload, but accuracy really matters more.
 

Grenadier1758

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First try a thicker patch. Get some cigarette paper or hair curling paper to wrap the ball in the patch. That's a quick way to get 0.005" of patch thickness without spending a lot of money.
 

EC121

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In a GM barrel I would try .495s. Then a thicker patch.
For hunting a .490 and a thick patch for loading with the rod on the gun.
Because the GM barrels have a wider groove, you can get away with a larger ball. Maybe even a .500 (using a metal rod) for target shooting.
Like everything else you just have to play around with the variables.
 
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Oregononeshot

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I went with a bigger ball and stayed with the same thickness patch. S time people say use the biggest ball you can without having to pound it to get it started. The theory being that the bigger ball will seal the load better than a smaller ball with a thicker patch. It also engages the rifling better with the bigger ball. You might look into reading Dutch Schultz papers (Dr5X on this forum). He mentions this exact issue and what he recommends to fix it.
 

bang

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If grooves are deep I would go with thicker patch.
 

flntlokr

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When I upgraded from a TC barrel to a GM, I was also surprised by the ease of loading. The barrels are much better finished than the TC ones. If it shoots a tight group with the patches you have, stick with them. It is a balance between ease of loading and accuracy. According to some Old Guys, you should be able to load comfortably using a wood rod. Works for me.
 

Ames

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Interesting. Don't forget to factor in the fouling before loading a second shot. You don't tell where you live but up here in the Great White Northeast I can stuff a .495 and a .18 patch with mink oil into a GMB.. No way I can stuff a second load without wiping first.
Spit patches in the summer one shot after another. No way in the cold with mink.
 

brewer12345

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Denver area, so a lot of my shooting is above freezing, but there are plenty of places and times I might be shooting where the temp can be below (often pretty far below). Since I have a pile of 490s already cast, I will start with a thicker patch and see if it makes a difference. I also haven't shot this rifle enough to really dial in the most accurate loads, so the 490 and 015 patch might well end up being very accurate if I play with charges.
 

Maven

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Since you already have .018" and thicker patches on hand, and since accuracy is important to you, why not try them with the .490" RB before spending $$$ on larger RB's or a .495" RB mold.
 

Tom Compton

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I load .535 in my .54 GM w heavy denim before leaving camp for first shot and carry .530 and .018 in my pouch for any follow up shots. None needed yet.
 

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