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Leaving the range even more confused (Load development)

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DillyJamba

32 Cal
Joined
Jun 21, 2023
Messages
44
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Location
Saint Charles Missouri
Went out the range today to try out my new powder, switching from swiss fffg to goex fffg. previously was running 60 of swiss so I tried 60, 70, and 80 grains of goex.

Puzzled by the results, 3 shots touching is as good as I've ever done at 50 yards, and I achieved that with two of these groups but plagued by the flyers. I've been using a band-aid with this rifle previously and was hoping that after shooting approximately 150 rounds prior to this outing I'd be able to drop the overpower wad that was keeping my patches from shredding but it appears that's still an issues (I've tried everything from drill, canvas, mason chino twill, denim, pillow ticking etc)

Equipment/loading is as follows
54 Cal Douglas barrel
.530 cast balls
mason chino twill
dawn dish soap and water as lube
swabbed between each 5 shots with a single alcohol swab

I think I may be compromising the patch material by the harsh start required to get the ball down, I'm considering stepping down to a .526 ball or I'll probably just switch back to overpowder wads before my next match

Just wondering if anyone can relate, it seems like my load development is never ending and somedays the data I collect is nearly useless.
 

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Just wondering if anyone can relate, it seems like my load development is never ending and somedays the data I collect is nearly useless.
Ya, fer sure.
I think the main thing is just deal with one variable at a time.
Have you polished your bore? Your issues with patches and flyers suggest it might be needed, IMO.
Good luck.
 
Ya, fer sure.
I think the main thing is just deal with one variable at a time.
Have you polished your bore? Your issues with patches and flyers suggest it might be needed, IMO.
Good luck.
I'll give it a pass with JB paste, I figure it can't hurt. hesitant to go too aggressive as I'm generally getting groups and clean patches with just the occasional damaged patch. typically, I'm lucky to get a 3-inch group at 50.

What's so frustrating is finding 3 clean patches and two that are damaged, really inconsistent with when its occurring.

One takeaway is I really like the new Goex formula, I didnt crono it but it seems to be a good performer with soft fowling.
 
I'll give it a pass with JB paste, I figure it can't hurt. hesitant to go too aggressive as I'm generally getting groups and clean patches with just the occasional damaged patch. typically, I'm lucky to get a 3-inch group at 50.

What's so frustrating is finding 3 clean patches and two that are damaged, really inconsistent with when its occurring.

One takeaway is I really like the new Goex formula, I didnt crono it but it seems to be a good performer with soft fowling.
I also really like the new Goex. It's way cleaner burning than Schuetzen and I can shoot all day without cleaning as long as I lube my patches and bullets well.

I've had good experiences in the past polishing a bore using grey scotchbrite with some oil on an undersized jag. Just don't polish all day long or you'll round the grooves. As long as you're careful you won't hurt the rifling
 
What's so frustrating is finding 3 clean patches and two that are damaged, really inconsistent with when its occurring
That inconsistency is a likely indication of patches damaged during loading. You want the muzzle entry to be smooth and rounded.
Also, don't let the diameter of the short starter be a close match to the bore size. That can have your patch jamming against the bore and holding the patch while the ball is pushed on down. It can actually force a hole in the patch.
 
.530 ball. You're likely cutting or tearing a few patches while starting the ball with the .535 and I would stay at .530 before dropping to your suggested .526 Unless you need to shoot up a bunch? WEIGH YOUR BALLS as suggested above. And if your patch material is old, grab a new strip, might have somehow deteriorated over a few years? Long shot but I have been where you are and I tried all of the above. Could also just go spit patch or try Hoppes. At the range its hard to beat. Try to see all patches are evenly saturated with slobber or Hoppes. Nice and wet you can stop the 5th shot swab (at least with the Hoppes). Dutchs dry patch an option as well.
 
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.530 ball. You're likely cutting or tearing a few patches while starting the ball with the .535 and I would stay at .530 before dropping to your suggested .526 Unless you need to shoot up a bunch? WEIGH YOUR BALLS as suggested above. And if your patch material is old, grab a new strip, might have somehow deteriorated over a few years? Long shot but I have been where you are and I tried all of the above. Could also just go spit patch or try Hoppes. At the range its hard to beat. Try to see all patches are evenly saturated with slobber or Hoppes. Noce and wet you can stop the 5th shot swab (at least with the Hoppes). Dutchs dry patch an option as well.
I would just try a different lube as mentioned hoppers is good stuff for the range and totw s mink oil or grease is good for hunting and check them patches they well tell you what’s going on .good luck .
 
I have shot a douglas barrel for years with excellent accuracy results. It is .50 caliber. I shoot .495 swaged balls using .18 patching with Hoppes 9+ as the lube. When sighting in, I suggest you swab once with a wet patch between every shot to determine what your barrel will do. Fouling builds up with each successive shot so you are changing the pressure/resistance factor in the barrel compared to a clean barrel. To get your best accuracy, you want all the elements to be the same for each shot. Change only one element at a time or you will drive yourself crazy trying to determine which one is contributing to your issue. Once you have your best load, you can test for the number of shots without cleaning before you begin to expand your group.
 
Recent experience with my .32 Cherokee echos some of the comments above. I started out with .010 patches but felt they loaded too easily so I have been trying thicker. I normally shoot a .315 ball and the .010 and the .015 are a bit too tight.

I tried .018 and they tore on starting, as in so tight an entire ring of patch came off and was actually pinching in with the short starter to the point I had to get locking pliers to pull the starter out. I feel a .012 patch, IF they could be found, would be ideal with the .315 ball.

A .310 ball and the .018 should be about as good as I can get and hopefully getting to try that combo out this week.

As for Goex vs. Schutzen. I did some chrono work with 20 grains of 3F for each. I found the Schutzen to be a bit faster, especially with the .310 ball. The Schutzen also fouled more and smelled worse. I bought both brands in 2022. I cleaned between each shot, one wet, two dry.

Outcomes with 20 grains 3F:
Goex with .315 + .010
#1 1579
#2 1491
#3 1452

Schutzen with .315 + .010 *best accuracy/group
#1 1495
#2 1525
#3 1531

Schutzen with .310 + .018
#1 1570
#2 1530
#3 1584
 
Have you tried ballistop and water lube? Or a mix of beeswax and olive oil?
I use windex with vinegar to swab and also for final clean up.

I second the thought that you change only one thing at a time. I would start with swabbing- one wet amd one dry between shots. Don’t let the fouling build up.
Check the edge on your muzzle for sharp edges. That can be fixed with some oil on a piece of 220 or 320 sandpaper and your thumb.
Good luck!
Kevin
 
FWIW I've solved the lube conundrum by settling on:
  • Hoppe's Black Powder Cleaner & Patch Lube - for WARM weather shooting (shoot ALL day with zero cleaning between shots)
  • Track of the Wolf's Mink Oil - for COLD weather hunting (temps to and below freezing, can leave the rifle loaded for weeks/months)
  • A 50:50 mix of beeswax and olive oil - for lubing Minies for the Smith, Sharps and '63 Springfield
I've never found a musket or rifle that the Hoppe's hasn't worked on or with yet, groups like this attainable after some load development. Here's a group I shot one weekend, offhand @ ~30-yards, to win the smallest group contest. In the highest score contest, all my shots were in the X-ring in the bullseye. Never missed all day - also went 15 for 15 on the woodswalk with novelty targets out to 80-yards - after having used the Joe Wood tool on my 50-cal LH Haines flint longrifle. Yeah ... besides use of a good lube ... coning doesn't hurt accuracy one iota ...

7F1C0A46-B878-4BBC-88F8-27EDC5F54A92.jpeg
 
Went out the range today to try out my new powder, switching from swiss fffg to goex fffg. previously was running 60 of swiss so I tried 60, 70, and 80 grains of goex.

Puzzled by the results, 3 shots touching is as good as I've ever done at 50 yards, and I achieved that with two of these groups but plagued by the flyers. I've been using a band-aid with this rifle previously and was hoping that after shooting approximately 150 rounds prior to this outing I'd be able to drop the overpower wad that was keeping my patches from shredding but it appears that's still an issues (I've tried everything from drill, canvas, mason chino twill, denim, pillow ticking etc)

Equipment/loading is as follows
54 Cal Douglas barrel
.530 cast balls
mason chino twill
dawn dish soap and water as lube
swabbed between each 5 shots with a single alcohol swab

I think I may be compromising the patch material by the harsh start required to get the ball down, I'm considering stepping down to a .526 ball or I'll probably just switch back to overpowder wads before my next match

Just wondering if anyone can relate, it seems like my load development is never ending and somedays the data I collect is nearly useless.
Go with a .526 ball. Most of the custom barrels work better with these.
 
Went out the range today to try out my new powder, switching from swiss fffg to goex fffg. previously was running 60 of swiss so I tried 60, 70, and 80 grains of goex.

Puzzled by the results, 3 shots touching is as good as I've ever done at 50 yards, and I achieved that with two of these groups but plagued by the flyers. I've been using a band-aid with this rifle previously and was hoping that after shooting approximately 150 rounds prior to this outing I'd be able to drop the overpower wad that was keeping my patches from shredding but it appears that's still an issues (I've tried everything from drill, canvas, mason chino twill, denim, pillow ticking etc)

Equipment/loading is as follows
54 Cal Douglas barrel
.530 cast balls
mason chino twill
dawn dish soap and water as lube
swabbed between each 5 shots with a single alcohol swab

I think I may be compromising the patch material by the harsh start required to get the ball down, I'm considering stepping down to a .526 ball or I'll probably just switch back to overpowder wads before my next match

Just wondering if anyone can relate, it seems like my load development is never ending and somedays the data I collect is nearly useless.

Do you cast your own ball or do you used commercial swaged?
You might want to weigh them, regardless, to perhaps reduce a variable.
Your barrel might benefit from a lapping with some 3M Green Dishwashing scrubbie

LD
 
Me thinks the biggest issue here is the OP's inconsistent burned threw/blown patches ...

1st things 1st ... get your rifle grouping!

Weigh your balls? Sure ... maybe for 100-yard offhand shootin' ... but here are the 1st two groups ever fired from a new-to-me rifle, of unweighed balls @ 25-yards. One ragged hole groups are good enough for me! Next, I'll repeat this out @ 50-yards.

IMG_1366.jpeg
 
Thanks everyone for the feedback, tons of good info on the thread I'm going to be taking the following steps

  • Swapping from dawn/water to Hoppe's Black Powder Cleaner & Patch Lube
    • I'm wondering if my water/dawn maybe isn't slick enough or clearing enough residue
  • I'm going to attempt to lightly cone my muzzle with 320 and my thumb to take the edge off
  • Swab 50 swipes with tight patch and JB Bore polish
  • Attempt to use a small short starter, this was suggested by a friend as well. Currently I'm using a track of the wolf short starter that's nearly bore sized for 54 potentially I'm snagging the patch material and ripping it with the short start?
 
....
  • Attempt to use a small short starter, this was suggested by a friend as well. Currently I'm using a track of the wolf short starter that's nearly bore sized for 54 potentially I'm snagging the patch material and ripping it with the short start?
One thing to beware of though when using an undersized short starter: if your patched ball is really, really too tight and requires heavy pounding to start, the undersized starter tip will deform the ball. I had that problem and solved it by switching to a smaller ball, since I was already using the thinnest patches I could get my hands on.
 

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