Double Patching Question

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Rokon

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I just acquired an English sporting rifle that has a 56 caliber bore. Not having 56 caliber balls handy and wanting to shoot it, I plan on double patching 54 caliber balls with .020" linen for a few test shots.

Anyone had any experience with double patching?
 

Rokon

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Yes, It's rifled with the fast twist of the English guns in the early 19th century.
 

Grenadier1758

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Measure the land to land diameter of the bore. Often the manufacturer's description of the bore is a guideline, not a specification. If the land to land dimension is 0.560", then the two patch approach is a reasonable starting point for @Rokon to try. The 0.535" ball with one 0.020" patch will be easy to load in a 0.560" bore with slight compression with little of the patch to loosely enter the grooves. Try with one patch and if that is too loose or the recovered patches show signs of gas cutting, then try two patches and look for cutting at the muzzle.
 

rafterob

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Double patching works, you won't get the best accuracy but you can still experience shooting the gun.
 

ohio ramrod

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I was at a trail shoot several years ago and a man shooting in our group had a rip in his ball bag and he lost all of his balls, 50 caliber. The rest of our group were shooting 45 or 36 calibers. He finished the shoot with .445 balls double patched and did not miss a shot using the double patched 45 caliber balls. He had missed two shots before using his .490 balls. So I would say it will work.
 

Rokon

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Here's the range report. Using a 0.520" Hornady 54-caliber ball, I double patched it with 0.020" linen. The powder charge was the recommended formula for the English 1830's-1840's fast twist rifles which is 1/5th the ball weight. I estimated the weight of a 56-caliber ball by weighing a 54-cal ball and a 58-cal ball, splitting it down the middle to give me a 1/5th charge weight of 50-grains of powder.

Loaded 50-grains of Black MZ, double patched the 54-cal ball and the first shot at 50-yards was a bullseye with a 6 o'clock hold on the NMLRA 100-yard rifle target. Subsequent shots were equally as good.

NOW HERE IS WHERE I NEED SOME TECHNICAL HELP! What proper size ball do I need?

Measuring at the muzzle is out since it's slightly coned and I don't want to pour a slug in the barrel.

I have loaded a 0.520" ball double patched with 0.020" linen which means I have 0.040" of patch on each side of the ball and it's accurate.

Can you help me figure out what size ball I really need for patching with normal 0.015" patching material?
 

Grenadier1758

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You can slug the bore without pouring a lead slug and pulling the breech. You need an over sized ball and a brass rod. Insert the brass rod. Push the ball past the cone and by turning the rifle over to use the brass rod to drive the ball out, you have a slug.

One of the topics discussing this procedure follows:
Slugging Rifle Bore? | The Muzzleloading Forum

Once you have the slug with the rifling engraved on the slug, you can measure the bore diameter and depth of grooves. Starting point for a tight fitting ball diameter will be about 0.010" less than bore diameter. Patch thickness would be 0.005" + Groove depth + a little for patch compression to minimize blow by on firing. Then test. Increase ball size by 0.005" for on target accuracy or decrease ball size until the rifle is easy to load and meets your accuracy expectations.
 
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