cushion wad

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Mike in FL

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Do you see any advantage to a non lubricated wad over the powder and under a lubricated patched round ball fired from a .50 with a 1:48 twist?
Wow. What a long winded question. I know a 1:48 is not the best for a fifty with roundball, and it is easy to over charge and shred the patch. The rifling is shallow "button rifled.". I'm just wondering if a cushion wad might permit a little heavier charge. A lubricated wad might spoil the powder over time,

so I'm thinking non lubricated.
 
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@Mike in FL, when rifles began to be manufactured using shallow grooved 1 in 48 twist barrels to improve performance with conical bullets, the 1 in 48 twist for round ball became perceived to be undesirable. Barrels with a deep depth of groove with the 1 in 48 twist perform very well. When barrels were rifled on a rifling bench, the depth of the grooves was about 0.010 to 0.014. 1 in 48 was the .ost common twist rate. Do not automatically disparage the 1 in 48 twist. Disparage the manufacturer that went for economy by using shallow buttoned rifled barrels.
 
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Mike, what's the groove depth of your rifling? I had a 1:48 .50 that shot PRB's great. It had .008 grooves.

As for the wad, I don't think it would make much difference.

Question for the load GURUS: Since it's a shallow rifling, would trying a thicker patch be a direction that could be taken? Or larger ball and thinner patch?
 

stikshooter

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Do you see any advantage to a non lubricated wad over the powder and under a lubricated patched round ball fired from a .50 with a 1:48 twist?
Wow. What a long winded question. I know a 1:48 is not the best for a fifty with roundball, and it is easy to over charge and shred the patch. The rifling is shallow "button rifled.". I'm just wondering if a cushion wad might permit a little heavier charge. A lubricated wad might spoil the powder over time,

so I'm thinking non lubricated.
I use an over powder wad in my 1-48 /45/50/54 cal ,it tends to seal better in case your patch is not 100% correct for your charge amount or you plain picked a patch that doesn't like your choice of lube ! Think of it as added insurance (cause we aren't ) always right .Ed
 

hanshi

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An op wad won't hurt and usually helps ballistically. And they definitely do offer patch protection and I use them myself.
 
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I have used over powder leather wads for many years in my rifles to improve gas seals and prevent "burning" the patches. I find they improve accuracy and eliminate the need to swab between shots.
Do you try to stick with a certain thickness as well as hide type (animal) or pretty much any hide will do?
 

Sidney Smith

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Nope, no point to using a wad under a patched ball. That's just an unnecessary extra step. Plain old patched ball and be done with it.
 

Rock Home Isle

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Do you see any advantage to a non lubricated wad over the powder and under a lubricated patched round ball fired from a .50 with a 1:48 twist?
Wow. What a long winded question. I know a 1:48 is not the best for a fifty with roundball, and it is easy to over charge and shred the patch. The rifling is shallow "button rifled.". I'm just wondering if a cushion wad might permit a little heavier charge. A lubricated wad might spoil the powder over time,

so I'm thinking non lubricated.
Great question.

The 1:48 twist is a compromise twist: not really a RB twist, not really a conical bullet twist. It generally worked well and there are countless examples of individual rifles that had tremendous accuracy with RBs or awesome accuracy with conicals.

The addition of the un-lubricated patch adds another un-needed step to the loading process, and the un-lubricated patch could be a fire hazard, if range conditions are very dry.

I’d develop loads using traditional RB as the projectile, and look into Maxi-Balls and other conical bullets and do some load development there as well.

They are great guns.
 
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@Rock Home Isle,

The 1 turn in 48 inches is not a compromised twist. In the 1800's it was the preferred twist rate used by most of the rifle builders. All Hawken rifles built by the Hawken brothers in their rifle shop were made with the 1 in 48 twist. The compromise was created by Thompson Center by compromising the depth of the grooves. Button rifling was used to simplify the manufacturing process. Shallow grooves meant that a conical bullet, their Maxi-Ball, could be used with minimal gas cutting and fitting of the top ban to fill the grooves. Sadly, the groove depth compromise to benefit the conical bullets was not good for patched round ball. Reasonable accuracy can be obtained by a very tight fitting lightly lubricated patched round ball to force patch and ball into the grooves and follow the lands on firing. If the lubrication on the patched round ball is too slick, then high powder charges seem to cause the patched ball to skip over the lands resulting in poor on target accuracy. This led Dutch Schoultz to experiment with dry patch lubricants to improve the grip of the patch on the ball and the lands for the purpose to improve accuracy for T/C shallow groove rifles.
 

Old Hawkeye

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@Rock Home Isle,

The 1 turn in 48 inches is not a compromised twist. In the 1800's it was the preferred twist rate used by most of the rifle builders. All Hawken rifles built by the Hawken brothers in their rifle shop were made with the 1 in 48 twist. The compromise was created by Thompson Center by compromising the depth of the grooves. Button rifling was used to simplify the manufacturing process. Shallow grooves meant that a conical bullet, their Maxi-Ball, could be used with minimal gas cutting and fitting of the top ban to fill the grooves. Sadly, the groove depth compromise to benefit the conical bullets was not good for patched round ball. Reasonable accuracy can be obtained by a very tight fitting lightly lubricated patched round ball to force patch and ball into the grooves and follow the lands on firing. If the lubrication on the patched round ball is too slick, then high powder charges seem to cause the patched ball to skip over the lands resulting in poor on target accuracy. This led Dutch Schoultz to experiment with dry patch lubricants to improve the grip of the patch on the ball and the lands for the purpose to improve accuracy for T/C shallow groove rifles.
Very well explained! It never ceases to amaze me how many people think the 1-48 twist is somehow "not right" or a compromise. Like you said it's the depth of the rifling, more than the twist rate, that determines it's suitability for a patched round ball. I think the Hawken brothers had it right.
 

Rock Home Isle

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@Rock Home Isle,

The 1 turn in 48 inches is not a compromised twist. In the 1800's it was the preferred twist rate used by most of the rifle builders. All Hawken rifles built by the Hawken brothers in their rifle shop were made with the 1 in 48 twist. The compromise was created by Thompson Center by compromising the depth of the grooves. Button rifling was used to simplify the manufacturing process. Shallow grooves meant that a conical bullet, their Maxi-Ball, could be used with minimal gas cutting and fitting of the top ban to fill the grooves. Sadly, the groove depth compromise to benefit the conical bullets was not good for patched round ball. Reasonable accuracy can be obtained by a very tight fitting lightly lubricated patched round ball to force patch and ball into the grooves and follow the lands on firing. If the lubrication on the patched round ball is too slick, then high powder charges seem to cause the patched ball to skip over the lands resulting in poor on target accuracy. This led Dutch Schoultz to experiment with dry patch lubricants to improve the grip of the patch on the ball and the lands for the purpose to improve accuracy for T/C shallow groove rifles.
There are twist rates that are ideal for round balls and there are faster twist rates that are ideal for conical bullets. The 1:48 twist is a middle ground twist. So yeah…it’s a compromise from ideal.

Nice presentation on the historical data, greatly appreciated.
 
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Thousands of deer have been killed and untold numbers matches have been won by folks using TC and other brands rifles with shallow 1 in 48 twist rifles. Is it the best? Probably not but it is more than adequate. If you are buying a new rifle or building one you may want a different twist and rifling depth. Keep in mind faster twist often requires heavier charges for optimal accuracy.
 
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So, uh... cushion wad...

Your twist doesn't really matter with regard to using a wad. It's just one more thing in the barrel between the powder and the ball. Unless it hurts accuracy, no reason not to. But if it doesn't actually improve accuracy, it is pointless. Won't hurt the gun either way. Whatever shoots best is what you should do.
 
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Do you try to stick with a certain thickness as well as hide type (animal) or pretty much any hide will do?
I use leather scraps, I get from a harness shop. I prefer soft leather .025 over bore size about 1/8 inch thick, If I use a stiffer hard leather I soak them over night in a 50/50 mixture of alcohol and olive oil , then spread them out to dry for a day.
 

Rock Home Isle

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I use leather scraps, I get from a harness shop. I prefer soft leather .025 over bore size about 1/8 inch thick, If I use a stiffer hard leather I soak them over night in a 50/50 mixture of alcohol and olive oil , then spread them out to dry for a day.
How do those leather wads work? How do they compare to the thick fibre wads or the nitro card wads? I’ve wondered about those wads…but no one around me uses them. I would like to know more…
 
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Very well explained! It never ceases to amaze me how many people think the 1-48 twist is somehow "not right" or a compromise. Like you said it's the depth of the rifling, more than the twist rate, that determines it's suitability for a patched round ball. I think the Hawken brothers had it right.
Tc said so in their handbook. And Sam Falada, and Turner Kirkland voiced the same opinion. Sharron and Green River both advertised their barrels ‘with slow ball twist’.
 

Old Hawkeye

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There are twist rates that are ideal for round balls and there are faster twist rates that are ideal for conical bullets. The 1:48 twist is a middle ground twist. So yeah…it’s a compromise from ideal.

Nice presentation on the historical data, greatly appreciated.
It's not that simple! What's "ideal"? Perception can trump reality sometimes. Try shooting a conical in a deep groove (.010"-.014") 1 in 48" rifled barrel & let me know if that's "ideal".
 

Rock Home Isle

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It's not that simple! What's "ideal"? Perception can trump reality sometimes. Try shooting a conical in a deep groove (.010"-.014") 1 in 48" rifled barrel & let me know if that's "ideal".
Conicals are horrible in deep rifling…why would you even suggest such a thing as a solution?

Slow twist, deep rifling is ideal for PRB

Fast twist, shallow rifling is ideal for conical projectiles.
 

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