How is your favorite range rod handle shaped?

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Notchy Bob

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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.
@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.

I also agree with his comments about putting your palm over the end of the rod. This is just not a good practice. I carry a cheap wooden mallet (from Tandy Leather - Craftool Mallet) in my range bag, and if a load needs extra effort to push down, I tap the end of the straight starter or rod with the mallet, rather than using the palm of my hand. It's easier on your hand, too. However, with that in mind, an elegant rod handle might not be the best choice for me. Something sturdy and functional, if I'm loading that tight.

Best regards,

Notchy Bob
 

hanshi

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I have two primary ss rods that came with wooden ball handles. I also have several miscellaneous rods with handles I made from old file handles, cabinet knobs and other stuff. I even have a BMG T-handle rod I picked up well over 50 years ago. I load tight loads but shoot using the underbarrel wood rod; range type rods are used only for cleaning, ball pulling, etc. With reasonable care the wood rod works very well for the woods AND the shooting range. But I've found that even hickory rods will twist in two trying to pull those tight loads. I don't particularly like the round ball handles but am use to them.
 

Erwan

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Long rod, short rod, short starter, single shot pistol rod (each weapon has its own rod) and all my grips are made with golf balls except one, the one that go on one of my Hawken which is made with a nice wooden handle from an old door (very nice handle ;) ).......
I don't have handles on my weapons and I only use the back of my hand (fingers) to rest my weapons: I find that handles tend to cause tipping when shooting (that's maybe a personal feeling)...
Don't have any handle, but I have a shooting glove for target shooting...
 
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Mine has no handles, because i like what I practice with to be the same as what I hunt with, and like to carry to the range exactly what I hunt on foot with... I'll tell you man though, I would love to have one of those for the house when cleaning! Very nice!
 
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I don't use a metal range rod to seat balls on powder. I feel it's a bit too heavy handed , unnecessary , and might contribute to inconsistency. I use a wood r/r to seat balls similar to the one in the rifle. I use a home made 3/16" metal rod to pull a ball w/no powder under it. I have "never" made that mistake :rolleyes: . My metal rod has a drawer pull knob on it large enough to put between two nails and makes it easy to pull on the gun to remove a stuck ball..............oldwood
 
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I have a heavy solid brass range rod with a brass muzzle guard and an equally heavy antler handle. The handle has just a slight curve to it. My hands are stove up enough that pushing with the palm of my hand causes problems.
 

OhioHawkeye

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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.
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.
 
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Antler look nice and wok well, palm swell wooden ones work well, a T handle is good when you need to pull a dry ball. Some of my pistol rods have just a round brass circle, works good to.
 
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I use the wood rod that came with the rifle. I have a .50BMG cleaning rod for cleaning and stuck balls. But this thread has me thinking........
On 30 December I get shoulder replacement surgery. The wife freaked out when I suggested asking the surgeon for the ball he will cut off my upper arm bone. Told her I wanted to make a gear shift knob but she's having none of it. So, maybe a new range rod handle........
 
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