@Don Steele wrote a very good post. I do the same thing, in that I don't like a super-tight ball and patch, and I prefer to load with the ramrod. That's what it's for! I used to be a pretty good shot when I was younger, but between being a little shaky and having deteriorating vision, I'm no threat on the target line, so as Don said, giving up a small amount of accuracy for ease of loading is not an issue for me.This is going to get a little "wordy"...but there's a safety issue to be considered and I beg your kind indulgence.
99% of my loading is done for offhand shooting and a super tight combination isn't much help. In other words...my offhand shooting is so bad...that having a really tight "match grade" combination isn't going to make much difference so I use a plain hickory rod with no handle at all.
On the rare occasion when I'm shooting off a rest (Bench and Chunk competitions for example), I have a couple of rifles dedicated to those events. For those events I use a pretty tight combination ( they are 50 caliber and I use a .500 ball with .020 [compressed measurement] "dry" patch) and need a dedicated Range Rod. The one I use is solid 3/8" brass with a tapered handle that looks very much like the Osage handles Eric is showing on his files. I make it a practice to never put the palm of my hand over the end of the rod. Gripping it "in my hand" rather than pushing down on it from the top will allow it to pass through my hand safely should the rifle go off when I'm seating a load. It's a small thing. It's an incredibly rare occurrence that has been discussed here at great length. My only comment to that is to say that I have seen it happen at my club. This isn't something I was told by a friend of a friend. The individual involved was using a Range Rod with a large round knob on the end. He was seating the ball with his hand on top of that knob. When the load he was pushing down the barrel went off....that big round knob did SEVERE DAMAGE to his hand and fingers. He didn't suffer any other damage ( praise God) but he never returned to the BP range.
I have seen a couple with the white porcelain knobs too. I prefer unfinished wood with a second rod with a brass T handle. I've always wanted to learn how to do checkering and would like to practice on the wood handles, but never seem to find the time....working on 25 years of that thought. LOL Nothing like rushing into these things.I have a range rod with an old antique brass door knob for a handle. Gets lots of looks when at the range. I will try to get a picture to post.