I hear the advice on sticking to one change at a time. It's all exciting at first, so I definitely feel the temptation to try everything new, not to mention I can only get to the range once or maybe twice a month!Sounds like you are well on the way. 20 shoots. 2” group at 50 yards. On day one. Good job.
You are getting a lot of good advice, but I would suggest you slow down and tackle your issues one at a time, changing one thing at a time. Start changing multiple things at the same time and you won’t know why or how things got better or worse.
The misfiring caps are most likely a cap to nipple fit thing. Follow the suggestions mentioned above to fit one nipple (I would start with the ‘original’ nipple) to the caps you have. You can test if they pop as they should with an EMPTY (NO POWDER) gun just about anywhere, as you tweak the fit.
If you are not using a short starter, make or buy one. That will simplify getting the ball started. Are you using a range rod with a handle and bore protector to load? If not, a palm saver will help until you get one. Something as simple as a shallow hole in your short starter to allow you to put it over your ramrod to protect your hand while you load works. What you are describing doesn’t sound like a sharpe bore crown if you are not tearing patches, and with the accuracy you are getting, unlikely. But a good polishing of the bore crown with 400-600 wet paper under your thumb won’t hurt and may ease the amount of effort to get your ball started.
When you straighten out your two originally stated issues you will be way ahead on the learning curve. Go slow and try one thing at a time with a reason. You want to avoid going backwards. Change patch material, lube and round ball size at the same time, and then find your 50 yard group opens up, hard to figure out why.
Just another opinion.
Good call. Being second hand, I have no idea how it was treated before!Concerning your misfires, I suggest that you inspect/ clean the inner cup of the hammer that strikes the primer. This area is often overlooked when cleaning a side-lock muzzleloader. You wont believe the amount of soot that can build up in this area that can lead to pitting/rust and perhaps a lighter hammer strike. I always remove the hammer and thoroughly clean and oil this area after a range session.
This is what I had to do to a couple of my spare nipples. You don’t need to file much and then, no misfires, for me at least.It's definitely a cap fit issue. Could be the nipple is too large or the win caps are too small. When a nipple has had a lot of use it tends to flare a bit and is too wide to get the cap all the way on.
Here's a solution at least for the use of the Win caps. Chuck the nipple threads into a drill ( not tight enough to damage them) and spin it with light contact with a fine file. Have some of the win caps handy and test fit until the caps slide easily onto the nipple. That will take care of the problem at least for the moment.
If you have only a few of the win caps on hand, get some cci or rem caps. If they don't fit, go ahead and modify the nipple. At that point it's probably a good idea to get a new nipple.
Also check all the other things mentioned in this thread.
No cap opinions from me because it seems to have been well covered already.Hi all,
2) I hesitate to mention this... but is there some way to avoid absoluting mashing up your hand while starting PRBs? I don't want to complain too much, but when I woke dy damned hard to start. I only tried the 0.495 balls twice and it took several minutes of pounding on the ball starter to get it into the muzzle. Thought I was going to break my hand
Absolutely! Not just soot but actual fired caps can stack up in the hammer nose and cause a cushioned blow.Concerning your misfires, I suggest that you inspect/ clean the inner cup of the hammer that strikes the primer. This area is often overlooked when cleaning a side-lock muzzleloader. You wont believe the amount of soot that can build up in this area that can lead to pitting/rust and perhaps a lighter hammer strike. I always remove the hammer and thoroughly clean and oil this area after a range session.