Burnt some powder today

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Ben Meyer

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Had some range time today. I'm still working up "the load" for my old. 50 cal flintlock Dixie TN Mtn rifle. Today I shot 2 powders, three patch lubes. I shot 9 three shot groups: 70gr 2f Swiss, 80gr 2f Swiss and 70gr 3f Swiss powder. Pillow ticking patches lubed with mink oil, Mr Flintlocks lube, and drylubed with Ballistol and water. I swabbed between shots. I was shooting at 25fds from a bench. Results....
-70gr 2f did not group as well as 80gr 2f
-70gr 3f and 80gr 2f shot almost identically
- All three patch lubes grouped great and basically hit at the same spot(slightly low, slightly left. Most groups were 3 holes touching.
-....which was frustrating because there was no standout winner!

This is fine, because apparently my gun isnt picky in terms of patch/lubes. The mink oil patches shot fine, but were smokier, smelled slightly different(worse) and were messier and stiff when cold. The Ballistol and water, I know, demands swabbing between shots, while the Mr Flintlocks does not. I'll use both situationally. I did take a 50yd fun shot, at a dip can hanging by duct tape. Hit it 2nd try. I'll take that! Next trip to the range, all shots will be at 50yds to see if the results are the same.

Questions. Is mink oil all the same? The stuff I had was for leather conditioning. It is not TOW brand. Has anyone used Butler Creek patch and bullet lube? I have a small can, never used it. I put some on a patch and it felt sticky compared to mink oil, so didnt load any. Regarding the Mr Flintlocks lube....does it dry out when applied to patches? I lubed 50 or so with it and put them in a ziploc bag. Maybe I'll hand one up to air dry and see.
 

stude 283

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Had some range time today. I'm still working up "the load" for my old. 50 cal flintlock Dixie TN Mtn rifle. Today I shot 2 powders, three patch lubes. I shot 9 three shot groups: 70gr 2f Swiss, 80gr 2f Swiss and 70gr 3f Swiss powder. Pillow ticking patches lubed with mink oil, Mr Flintlocks lube, and drylubed with Ballistol and water. I swabbed between shots. I was shooting at 25fds from a bench. Results....
-70gr 2f did not group as well as 80gr 2f
-70gr 3f and 80gr 2f shot almost identically
- All three patch lubes grouped great and basically hit at the same spot(slightly low, slightly left. Most groups were 3 holes touching.
-....which was frustrating because there was no standout winner!

This is fine, because apparently my gun isnt picky in terms of patch/lubes. The mink oil patches shot fine, but were smokier, smelled slightly different(worse) and were messier and stiff when cold. The Ballistol and water, I know, demands swabbing between shots, while the Mr Flintlocks does not. I'll use both situationally. I did take a 50yd fun shot, at a dip can hanging by duct tape. Hit it 2nd try. I'll take that! Next trip to the range, all shots will be at 50yds to see if the results are the same.

Questions. Is mink oil all the same? The stuff I had was for leather conditioning. It is not TOW brand. Has anyone used Butler Creek patch and bullet lube? I have a small can, never used it. I put some on a patch and it felt sticky compared to mink oil, so didnt load any. Regarding the Mr Flintlocks lube....does it dry out when applied to patches? I lubed 50 or so with it and put them in a ziploc bag. Maybe I'll hand one up to air dry and see.
Too many variables. Just go to wife's cupboard,grab some olive oil and try groups.After you find charge then shoot groups and compare other lubes. WE all tend to look for majic and overthink these simple weapons.
 
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Ben Meyer

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I usually stick with the "change one thing at s time" mantra. I have previously shot it at differing loads of 2f powder, from 50 to 100 grains. 80 gr grouped the best. So that is settled. I still need to further experiment with 3f powder. I will shoot it at 50 to 90 gr in 10 gr increments.

Last time at the range, I used the Mr Flintlocks lube and bore cleaner, which I understand is the same thing as the old Lehigh Valley stuff. So i had a "base load" to work with. I like the stuff. Smells good, loads easy, cleans on the way down, no need to swab between every shot. I did notice after 6-7 shots, shots still loaded easy until you got to the last couple inches....the part the patch never wipes on the way down.

I wanted to try the drylubed patches. I use those with my percussion Hawken. Easy to make, easy to use, good to hunt with. You just gotta swab between shots or(that gun, at least) is VERY hard to load. I was pleased that they both shot about equally well. I still got a lot of shooting to do in the future.
 

Phil Coffins

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Good testing. May I suggest you do your testing at 50 yards or more as even a smooth bore will group at 25 and your test will give you better data.
 

ebutch

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Ben, did you take any pictures of the groups at all?
 

Ben Meyer

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I took one pic, but its misleading because MULTIPLE shots with different load components made the same hole bigger and bigger. In this pic, the bottom target was the 3f powder(70gr) with drylubed patches. The two shots in the main target that were NOT in the main group were with 70gr of 2f. That didnt group as well as 80gr.20191215_145031.jpg

Ben, did you take any pictures of the groups at all?
 

Ben Meyer

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Question: when I shoot again(and again) at 50 yards and finally settle on a "forever load," if I'm still a little low and left, is it "sights adjustment time?" Light filing on the front sight will bring the group up, correct? How do you adjust the rear sight? Its dovetailed into the barrel. Do you tap on the base of it with a punch?
 

Grenadier1758

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The little instruction is "Front Opposite, Rear Same".

Filing on the top of the front sight will raise the impact.

Tap the base of the rear sight with a punch in the direction you want the impact to move. A helpful hack is to mark the sight dovetail and the barrel with a sharpie so you can see how much you moved the sight. No permanent marks until you have the sights where you want them.
 

Ben Meyer

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Thanks Grenadier. To be clear, if I'm holding the rifle, say in "shoot from the hip" position, if I want to move the group RIGHT, I'd tap the LEFT side of the sight, thus moving it to the right(from that position, if that makes sense)? The gun was built in 1979, and the rear sight looks almost perfectly centered. I'm other words, I doubt it's ever been moved. Should I spray some penetrating oil on it first?

I have several range trips to do before I even touch the sights. Just asking for future reference, thx.
 

Griz44Mag

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Questions. Is mink oil all the same? The stuff I had was for leather conditioning. It is not TOW brand.
I am not a chemist, but was told by an old time shooter that the mink for leather or shoes had silicone and other ingredients in it. I could cause buildup of crap in the barrel that would be very hard to scrub out. I have shot TOTW mink for a couple of years now, and like it for all weather situations. I melt and prelube tins of patches so it is very convenient to use.
20191207_090501.jpg
 

excess650

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TOTW min oil is mink fat rendered to clean. The stuff sold as leather dressing....who knows?

I've used Lehigh Valley lube and Shenandoah Valley lube, and they work perfectly at the range. It can be used lightly swab when loading gets tight towards the bottom of the barrel, wiping fouling from the outside of the barrel, pan, etc. For hunting I use TOTW mink oil exclusively, and have verified my sights with mink oil 1st shot from clean as well as subsequent shots. I have zero fear of it drying out, freezing, and KNOW it helps prevent corrosion.

.50 Dixie Tn Mtn rifle, mine seems to like 80gr Goex fffg, so corresponds with your 70gr Swiss fffg or 80gr Swiss ffg.
 

Ben Meyer

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Next time I order from TOTW, I'll get some of their mink oil. Using it, how do YOU lube and store lubed patches? I prefer prelubing a bunch and then going to the range as opposed to doing it one at a time.
 

excess650

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My "stored, pre-lubed patches" are in a 3 hole loading block that I use when hunting. When at the range I use strips of ticking or cotton duck, lube and cut at the muzzle. There wouldn't be anything wrong with keeping pre-lubed patches in a "tin" or suitable container. With mink oil you lube the side that contacts the bore, so would store patches with dry sides facing the other.
 

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