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How tight to patch a ball

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Did you clamp down on it to approximate the compression when loading? My recent purchase from Joanne's was only .008 when compressed.
No! Should I be? The micrometer has a built in torque to the thumb dial, so pressure is always consistent on the item being measured. Otherwise the measurement will vary, depending upon the amount of compression. It is enough pressure that you can hold it by the patch, and it will support the weight of the micrometer rather than easily slipping out. I used this feature, should I not have?
 
No! Should I be? The micrometer has a built in torque to the thumb dial, so pressure is always consistent on the item being measured. Otherwise the measurement will vary, depending upon the amount of compression. It is enough pressure that you can hold it by the patch, and it will support the weight of the micrometer rather than easily slipping out. I used this feature, should I not have?
Well, many do as you do. I don't, as I think fully compressed it tells me more about the relationship between patch, ball, and bore diameter.
 
Was able to compress it down to .005, which left a circular depression in the surface of the cloth. Not sure how to interpret what this tells me about the compressability of the cotton fibers though.
 
Perhaps I'm measuring incorrectly, but broke out the micrometer to measure the thickness of the mattress ticking I just bought from Walmart, and it is measuring 0.026"

WOW! Much thicker than you guys are describing. The Pro-Shot cleaning patches I was using measure 0.015" and the pre-lubed commercial patch another shooter gave me to try measures 0.007"
I have never used a micrometer or calipers on my patch material. My method is one my grandfather taught me so many years ago. I take the correct ball for what ever rifle or pistol I need patches for. Then place the ball on the material and thumb start the ball.
I can tell by feel which material is correct. Oh and before testing I drop a short piece of brass rod down the barrel in case the patch & ball get stuck, I point the muzzle down and shake up & down so the rod drives the ball & patch out.
 
I have never used a micrometer or calipers on my patch material. My method is one my grandfather taught me so many years ago. I take the correct ball for what ever rifle or pistol I need patches for. Then place the ball on the material and thumb start the ball.
I can tell by feel which material is correct. Oh and before testing I drop a short piece of brass rod down the barrel in case the patch & ball get stuck, I point the muzzle down and shake up & down so the rod drives the ball & patch out.
If you can start the ball using just your thumb alone, then most of the material I've been using must be way too thick.
 
I recall, back in the 70's, when I started, tight loads were encouraged as being better. I was buying .495 balls and after so much pounding, I noticed other shooters were not beating the ball down into their barrels. I changed to .490 balls and not only was it easier to load with consistency, I did not see any appreciable difference in accuracy. Now, loading is very consistent. And ever so often, I'll look at another shooter who is pounding the ball down and remember those frustrating days.
 
I recall, back in the 70's, when I started, tight loads were encouraged as being better. I was buying .495 balls and after so much pounding, I noticed other shooters were not beating the ball down into their barrels. I changed to .490 balls and not only was it easier to load with consistency, I did not see any appreciable difference in accuracy. Now, loading is very consistent. And ever so often, I'll look at another shooter who is pounding the ball down and remember those frustrating days.
The only time we see a short starter here, is when we get a newcomer who thinks they need every gadget. They get over that pretty quickly when they see how us old farts load and hit targets.
 
The only time we see a short starter here, is when we get a newcomer who thinks they need every gadget. They get over that pretty quickly when they see how us old farts load and hit targets.
Since matress ticking seems to be too thick, have to ask what are you guys using for patch material?
 
Since matress ticking seems to be too thick, have to ask what are you guys using for patch material?
I just buy the pre-cut, unlubed patches from TOTW or October Country. I have .010", .015" & .018" on hand & one of those has worked for every ML I have shot, past & present. Mink Oil is my lube for everything.
 
Went to a different "Huge!" fabric warehouse today with micrometer in hand, got a few funny looks from the staff while mike-ing the bolts of cloth, but found some thinner red striped pillow ticking that measures 0.014" about half as thick as the 0.026" matress ticking that I have been using. It's in the washing machine now, can't wait to give it a try! OOHHH! The Swiss 3fg powder I ordered came in as well, should be an improvement over the Pyrodex RS I've been using and the Lyman Plainsman I bought should be here in a day or two. Probably won't get to go to the range until after Thanksgiving, but have plenty to be thankful for, and lots of new stuff to experiment with this weekend!
 
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Went to a different "Huge!" fabric warehouse today with micrometer in hand, got a few funny looks from the staff while mike-ing the bolts of cloth, but found some thinner red striped pillow ticking that measures 0.014" about half as thick as the 0.026" matress ticking that I have been using. It's in the washing machine now, can't wait to give it a try! OOHHH! The Swiss 3fg powder I ordered came in as well, should be an improvement over the Pyrodex RS I've been using and the Lyman Plainsman I bought should be here in a day or two. Probably won't get to go to the range until after Thanksgiving, but have plenty to be thankful for, and lots of new stuff to experiment with this weekend!
You are on the path to enlightenment grasshopper.

The 3F Swiss is in and of itself a HUGE leap forward in your path, as others have said if you need a short starter you are loading to tight.

Use a good lube, mink oil, bear grease, natural stuff (spit patches) and you do not need to mix any fancy concoctions, almost anything works and that pillow ticking should work fine.

And some of us will recommend blowing down the barrel (that will stir things up) to keep the fouling soft so you can load and shoot as many times as you want without wiping between shots.

Mostly...Have fun!
 
When you guys say natural mink oil, do you mean the real stuff, or commertial liquid leather conditioner sold as mink oil?

Living in Central Texas, I'm not likely to stumble across any bears or a minks. Plenty of wild pigs though, will melted bacon grease work?
 
Hey brother
When you guys say natural mink oil, do you mean the real stuff, or commertial liquid leather conditioner sold as mink oil?

Living in Central Texas, I'm not likely to stumble across any bears or a minks. Plenty of wild pigs though, will melted bacon grease work?
I feel your pain! Just getting into this stuff and have a whole lot to learn.
 
Thanks for the clarification, and as to application... Do you just rub the patch across it like a damp cotton ball on shoe polish?
 
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