EXPLODING BARRELS

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Dr5x

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BARRELS EXPLODE WHEN THERE IS NO WHERE FOR THE EXPANDING GAS TO EXIT. IT'S AS SIMPLE AS THAT.
Usually. If I understand correctly it is caused by something in the barrel that plugs the bored there is no way out except by shattering the steel of the barrel.
When I saw good folks having to use a hammer or mallet to pound a patched ball down barrel whether the up coming powder explosion gases will still be able to find itshoprfull rifle bore.I felt a need to move away from these folksThat's why I began the practice of a quick wipe in and out of the barrel would remove any obstruction.
Shortly thereafter the other reason for wiping became obvious.You have a fairly perfect fit of a lightly lubricated that you are using in your rifle. Each time you fire it it tends to bake on a hard layer of powder residue. so you are now firing shot after shot of an increasingly smaller bore as far as the patched balls are concerned. No consistency.
If you ball/patch combination is a bit too small. sometimes the third shot has shrunken to the point that will be the most accurate of your 4 or 5 shot string. This.of course means shots 1 and two shots saved mainly to build up that residue for the third shot. A minor waste. It is best to give a quick wipe between all shots and learn how to get that ball patch fit as perfect as possible on all shots.
Yes. there are people. lots of them who can shoot all day without wiping.. but I wonder what kind of groups they are getting.
Dutch Schoultz
 

Col. Batguano

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I think fouling gets to a point of equilibrium, and then pretty much stays there. If you look at competition .22 shooters, lots of time they will take a "fouling / barrel warming shot" or two at the beginning of each string, and the really good ones are also adjusting their sights a click or two after every shot. You also have to remember that water-based lubes (like spit patches) have a tendency to swab the bore a bit on the way down too. (oil patches do it too, though not as much).
 

Dr5x

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I think fouling gets to a point of equilibrium, and then pretty much stays there. If you look at competition .22 shooters, lots of time they will take a "fouling / barrel warming shot" or two at the beginning of each string, and the really good ones are also adjusting their sights a click or two after every shot. You also have to remember that water-based lubes (like spit patches) have a tendency to swab the bore a bit on the way down too. (oil patches do it too, though not as much).
If it doesn't get harder to load as you shoot but don't wipe then perhaps you can achieve an equilibrium..
The acid test of all tests is
What kind of groups can you get bench rest?
Dutch Schoultz
 

Rifleman1776

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Swabbing/not swabbing is almost like arguing about religion. The non-swabbers seem to think like they will get a special place in heaven for not cleaning their barrels between. The swabbers think like you. Better accuracy and a safer practice. The non-swabbers do not want to be confused with logic.
 

Dr5x

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Swabbing/not swabbing is almost like arguing about religion. The non-swabbers seem to think like they will get a special place in heaven for not cleaning their barrels between. The swabbers think like you. Better accuracy and a safer practice. The non-swabbers do not want to be confused with logic.
BEAUTIFULLLY SAID .
LOGIC IS A HARD THING TO SELL. ITS ABSENCE EXPLAINS A LOT OF THE THINKING OF A LARGE GROUP OF PEOPLE.
DUTCH
 

FPrice

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Interesting that I came across this thread while looking for something else.

My son and I just started shooting black powder recently. We've only been out once and just made four shots each due to the weather and the range getting ready to close.

Every two shots we swabbed the barrel with a patch (two actually) and they came out very black. When we cleaned our rifle later that night it seemed like it was very easy to clean. However he has cleaned it several times since and he is getting some very light brownish residue, mainly in patterns that seem to suggest that it is coming from the grooves in the barrel. I am going to take a picture later tonight and post it to see if anyone can tell us what is going on.

The rifle is an older T/C Hawken (ser no. 17,xxx) and appears to have not been fired much lately.
 

Tom A Hawk

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BARRELS EXPLODE WHEN THERE IS NO WHERE FOR THE EXPANDING GAS TO EXIT. IT'S AS SIMPLE AS THAT.
Usually. If I understand correctly it is caused by something in the barrel that plugs the bored there is no way out except by shattering the steel of the barrel.

Many years ago, there was a photo in the Dixie Gun Works catalog of a barrel section that had been fitted with breach plugs on both ends and a vent hole drilled in the side. When charged and ignited by fuse they claimed all the fire came out through the vent. Would like to have seen a video of this.
 

biliff

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What kind of groups can you get bench rest?
I am a non-swabber, preferring to use a spit patch at the range. I have posted 1/2" 50 yd groups from my Mortimer flintlock. The current picture is 5 shots from my .32 squirrel rifle at 25 yds. 4 shots went into a 1/4" and another opened the group to just under a 1/2". I have my share of local trophies from both bullseye and rendezvous competitions.

Yes, I have a special place in Heaven, not because I don't swab, but because I don't bitch about other people's loading practices. Just give it a rest for Pete's sake.

The non-swabbers do not want to be confused with logic.
The swabbers don't want to be confused with empirical evidence.
 

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Dr5x

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Interesting that I came across this thread while looking for something else.

My son and I just started shooting black powder recently. We've only been out once and just made four shots each due to the weather and the range getting ready to close.

Every two shots we swabbed the barrel with a patch (two actually) and they came out very black. When we cleaned our rifle later that night it seemed like it was very easy to clean. However he has cleaned it several times since and he is getting some very light brownish residue, mainly in patterns that seem to suggest that it is coming from the grooves in the barrel. I am going to take a picture later tonight and post it to see if anyone can tell us what is going on.

The rifle is an older T/C Hawken (ser no. 17,xxx) and appears to have not been fired much lately.
It's very simple. In the cleaning method you used you used water. It gets among the molecules of the steel where you can't get to it and water causes steel to rust. Hence to prevent that you must minimize the water as much as possible and replace it with some sort of penetrating oil that gets into those molecules and won't let water or corrosive powder residue to get in there and attack the steel.
I describe my process in my ebook but many times on this forum.
It's speedy and seemed t work over a long period of time.
There are a lot of people who recommend cleaning with hot soap water which does do a fine job, but then there is those dang rust colored patches.
Dutch Schoultz
 

Stony Broke

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Maybe we all should start swabbing our barrels more, just to keep others happy by following their practices. I have tried both swabbing and not, but have stopped swabbing many years ago...and still haven't blown up a barrel ! It's hard to imagine folks that upset that some of us old timers don't follow their methods of loading.
At the end of our club's last fiscal year, I only managed to take four first place plaques....maybe I could take more if I were to swab some more. This past year I managed to take first place in percussion rifle and pistol, scored the most "X's" and shot the highest aggregate...but maybe some more swabbing might win some more plaques for me next year!
Just to put my two cents worth in...I like to use a pretty damp patch and it will clean some of the residue from the rifling as the ball gets seated. After the match, I do a fair amount of swabbing though.
I guess maybe if I swabbed some more, I wouldn't have pulled one shot a little high on this target....
 

Dr5x

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I am a non-swabber, preferring to use a spit patch at the range. I have posted 1/2" 50 yd groups from my Mortimer flintlock. The current picture is 5 shots from my .32 squirrel rifle at 25 yds. 4 shots went into a 1/4" and another opened the group to just under a 1/2". I have my share of local trophies from both bullseye and rendezvous competitions.

Yes, I have a special place in Heaven, not because I don't swab, but because I don't bitch about other people's loading practices. Just give it a rest for Pete's sake.


The swabbers don't want to be confused with empirical evidence.
That's a good group but at 25 yards the ball hasn't really decided where it wants to go. I would like to see a 500 yard target fired the same way. There is a lot to be said for the spit patch that is really hard to study because no two people spit the same.TYou seem to have solved a problem that stumps others/ We are trying to help the stumped.

Dutch
 

Erwan

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BARRELS EXPLODE WHEN THERE IS NO WHERE FOR THE EXPANDING GAS TO EXIT. IT'S AS SIMPLE AS THAT.
Most of the time yes. But one time I was disturbed by two other shooters and I put the powder (only 45grains for target shooting at 50 yards), the patch, the bullet a that pushed dow but only with the quick short starter and............................... I forgot to push with the ramrod. So when I shot the noise was abnormal and the bullet out the target. After shooting I saw that the barrel, at the level of the last third, had a pretty nice balloon. With a big charge or another barrel it could have exploded. :(
Now I have a new barrel on one of my Tryon Match Pedersoli...
 
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Dr5x

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Maybe we all should start swabbing our barrels more, just to keep others happy by following their practices. I have tried both swabbing and not, but have stopped swabbing many years ago...and still haven't blown up a barrel ! It's hard to imagine folks that upset that some of us old timers don't follow their methods of loading.
At the end of our club's last fiscal year, I only managed to take four first place plaques....maybe I could take more if I were to swab some more. This past year I managed to take first place in percussion rifle and pistol, scored the most "X's" and shot the highest aggregate...but maybe some more swabbing might win some more plaques for me next year!
Just to put my two cents worth in...I like to use a pretty damp patch and it will clean some of the residue from the rifling as the ball gets seated. After the match, I do a fair amount of swabbing though.
I guess maybe if I swabbed some more, I wouldn't have pulled one shot a little high on this target....
I repeat. If you don;t have to wipe between shots you have a convenience the wipers don't have. Be glad and tell us your secret.
I don't feel a need for an argument. and never want one.
When you buy a new rifle you usually get the with very limited instructions and the advice you get comes from all directions mostly disagreeing with each other.In time. So all of us have been wandering in the fog of ignorance and in time work out our problems in different ways. Our solution is probably different from your solution and they both might do equally in different ways.
I know of people who break every rule I have come to swear by yet they shoot as well as I do though I am danged if I can figure how. As that's the case I see no reason to put down my method or for me to put down yours.
The people I deal with never found your way so I try to help them by showing the way I have discovered for their particular problem.
My failing vision made me think you and your buddy were holding up packages of wieners but common sense tells me they are awards for excellent shooting and you both should be proud for the only test of any system is what happens on target.
Dutch Schoultz
 

Dr5x

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Most of the time yes. But one time I was disturbed by two other shooters and I put the powder (only 45grains for target shooting at 50 yards), the patch, the bullet a that pushed dow but only with the quick short starter and............................... I forgot to push with the ramrod. So when I shot the noise was abnormal and the bullet out the target. After shooting I saw that the barrel, at the level of the last third, had a pretty nice balloon. With a big charge or another barrel it could have exploded. :(
Now I have a new barrel on one of my Tryon Match Pedersoli...
You have described how to ruin a barrel by not seating the ball on the powder charge. As in your case the bulge or balloon showed up right where the ball ended up after short starting. It ruins any hope of accuracy and is a very frequent reason for putting the rifle up for sale so should be careful when buying a used rifle or any rifle think might have been fired to make sure there is no such bulge in the bore. I all cases I have seen there was no sign of the bilge on the outside of the barrel. I was all contained on the inside.
A local gentleman bought a beautiful rifle here a few years ago with nothing resembling a hope of accuracy.On inspection we found three such balloons or bulges which explained the good deal he got from the seller. If the seller won't let you run a tight patch down the borate see if there are any wide spots don't buy the rifle unless you realize you will have to replace the barrel of have BobbyHoyte of Fairfield, Pennsylvania rebore the rifle in a larger caliber.
Dutch Schoultz
 

Erwan

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If somebody don't let see the bore with with a very tight patch there is no point in trying to buy, that's why I never buy over the Internet or if I buy by Internet I buy only new and never used, so I have for the minimum the warranty on the product: a ordinary person never will give any warranty ...
 

FlinterNick

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I think it depends on what you’re shooting.

I’ve shot 15-20 rounds out of by Brown Bess and Charlevilles straight without swabbing, rounds get harder to seat, naturally but I always make sure that ball is all the way down there.

When I use my paper cartridges I’ve learned that using a good amount of grease is key. I dip all of my paper cartridges in a mixture of hot bees wax with olive oil and walnut oil, this dries into a pasty like substance, when pushed down the barrel this lubricates pretty well. I’ve never had any issues.

For flintlock Rifles, you have to swab between 2-3 shots, the gun just wont work well.

For rifled muskets, I’ve shot them all day with minimal cleaning.

At the end of the day, I clean all my guns to the point of being ‘over cleaned’.
 

Stony Broke

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Many, many years ago a friend got me started on muzzleloading, and taught me to load the way he preferred. I have tried various methods over the years..including all kinds of different patch lubes and such. In the end, I always just came back to the way I was taught, and it's worked well for me. I just simply use a mix of Murphy's oil soap and Windex from a small spray bottle. I give the patch a few light squirts and down the barrel it goes. I never have a problem seating the ball, as the patch being pretty damp going down the bore is pretty similar to swabbing it.
At our matches we are allowed 30 minutes for each stage and a couple of us old guys get our shots off in about 5 minutes and sit down to watch the other guys swabbing and fighting with their smokepoles. I am nearing 75 yrs. old, and the old guy that always shoots next to me is near to 80 yrs. old and uses a similar method...and we finish up our stage of the shoot about the same time. He is a tough competitor !
Maybe I need to take the advice of some of the other shooters and change up my methods of loading....but I think I'll wait until I start loosing more of the matches.
 

zimmerstutzen

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1. those who hammer a PRB into the rifling have little more chance of blowing the gun up than those who use a less tight PRB combination. Reason, once the PRB is swaged into the rifling it fits with the same amount of friction the whole way down. The less tight combination goes through obturation on ignition and the lead swells to make the PRC combination almost as or as tight as the hammer swaged combination.

2. whether the rifle does better by swabbing between shots has more to do with the rifling, the load and the shooter. Some rifling will make no difference, some loads because of the lube used softens and wipes fouling when the pRB is rammed down and seated. Black powder tends to leave more fouling with loose loads than tight loads. finer grades leave less fouling than coarser grades. When there is excess powder burned in the muzzle flash, fouling tends to be worse. Having Pope style rifling almost demands swabbing between shots, having standard round bottom rifling makes swabbing unnecessary, depending on the load used.

3. accuracy depends on removing variables from shooting and loading. some of those variables make a big difference, some make a little difference. How consistent is the powder load from shot to shot, how consistent is the patch lube, how consistent is the weight of the ball, etc. One of those variables is the amount of fouling in the bore. I am going to swab between shots until doomsday simply because I want the fouling to be consistent from shot to shot. 1 wet patch, one dry patch, flip patch over and run it up and down again. Did it make any difference with my offhand shooting, heck no, I am a terrible offhand shot. Did it make a difference with bench shooting or cross sticks, you bet. If out of the total accuracy, swabbing the bore only makes a 2% difference. I want that 2% in my favor.

Many who say it makes no difference really do not know. They have never fired 200 shots one way and then 200 shots the other and tracked the results to even compare and tell statistically what difference
 
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Dr5x

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If somebody don't let see the bore with with a very tight patch there is no point in trying to buy, that's why I never buy over the Internet or if I buy by Internet I buy only new and never used, so I have for the minimum the warranty on the product: a ordinary person never will give any warranty ...
I WOULD BE HESITANT TO GIVE A WARRENTY ON ANY RIFLE I WAS SELLING BECAUSE I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT BUYER WILL DO WITH IT.
SHORT START. DON'T SEAT. FIRE THE RIFLE AND BULGE THE BARREL GEY I WANT MY MONEY BACK!

I WOULD ALWAYS BE A BIT SUSPICIOUS OF THE TOO GOOD A DEAL BEING OFFERED WHEN I'M BUYING. ONLY THE SMOOTH SLIDE OF A SNUG PATCHED RUN DOWN THE BORE WILL MAKE FEEL MORE CONFIDENT. AFTER ALL. THE BARREL IS THE RIFLE.
DUTCH
 
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