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Loading with a Steel Range Rod

Muzzleloading Forum

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Johnny Tremain

Silversmith in training
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After having a ramrod break off and stab through my hand
Nope
First flinter I had was a poor copy of an 1803 Harpers Ferry. It had a steel ramrod.
It would go right thru your hand if you use your palm.
I took a piece of antler that had 3 coming out of it. Used it for a palm saver until my EX took the rifle away.
I now use a steel rod wrapped in wood. Not as heavy, and I ram it home with two fingers, so no need to ever put my hand over the end of the rod.
Still have the antler just in case.
 
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I broke my first ramrod this year after being in the sport since the early 80's. Knocked a fair bit of skin off my thumb and bled like crazy, but avoided impaling my hand out of sheer luck.

Just now this year because I always used a synthetic rod with my TC Hawken prior to getting my first flinter. I've since discontinued use of wooden ramrods and use the steel range rod. Whenever I get the Delrin rod sized down to fit into the SMR stock, I'll start using that.
 

ronaldrothb49

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Most of my shooting is done with a steel range rod with a brass bore protector. The only time I use a wood ramrod is when a shoot won't allow any other rod or like you a plastic one for hunting. Personally I have NEVER seen a spark from rubbing 2 pieces of steel together.
 
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Have been playing this game since the 80s. Out west where we only have trail walks. Used to go to 15/20 rendezvous a year. Have seen one and absolutely know of two others who put a broken rod through their hand and wound up going to a hospital. A few out here still use wood but a very large majority use Teflon rods.
Doc,
 
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As others have pointed out, major military forces used steel ramrods since the age of the Brown Bess at least.

The biggest reason not to use a steel ramrod is wear on the bore and rifling. For this reason, many N-SSA shooters use brass replacements. S&S Firearms sells them. I use them in all my rifled muzzle loaders.
 
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As others have pointed out, major military forces used steel ramrods since the age of the Brown Bess at least.

The biggest reason not to use a steel ramrod is wear on the bore and rifling. For this reason, many N-SSA shooters use brass replacements. S&S Firearms sells them. I use them in all my rifled muzzle loaders.
That's why I put a brass cone on mine to keep the rod centered
 

Dusty Rhodes

Dusty Rhodes.
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After having a ramrod break off and stab through my hand 1.5 miles back hunting in a swamp and having to wrap my hand in a cut up t-shirt and walk out dripping blood and getting 7 stiches from it - I now never load any of my muzzleloaders with a wood rod. If I'm on a range or woods walk I always load with a steel range rod, or if I'm hunting I have a synthetic rod i use. The wood rods are just for show for me at this point in my life as I simply don't trust them.

Anyways I had a fellow muzzleloader guy (self proclaimed) tell me last night while I was practicing for Friendship coming up in a few weeks, that its very dangerous to use a steel rod. He said the steel from the rod rubbing on steel muzzle can create a spark and ignite the powder. I asked him how it would get past the tight fitting patch and round ball to even get to the powder in the first place and was told that I couldn't load with a steel rod on the range, and that's why "Unmentionable ML's" use aluminum rods, and that a steel rod is designed for cleaning the barrel only. I finished ramming the last ball home fired it off and left. I guess I won't be back to that range anymore. Question is am I wrong? It's also not a written rule anywhere to be found for the range either that are posted up everywhere.

PS this was a local state ran range and the guy worked for the state, and came down to make sure I paid my daily fee to shoot.
A spark ?
Geez, there must have been a lot of 'sparks' during the Wars. A brocken Ram rod and you were out of business that's why they were steel.
Any sort of muzzle protector will do. A simple nozzle from a Silicon tube will do if need be. Then there's the lathe turned Brass or Nylon. šŸ‘Œ
 
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I have also broken my ramrod and injured my hand. I replaced with three ramrods, a wooden one for looks, a Delrin one for hunting and a steel range rod with brass guide for bench loading. I could understand being put off by getting the red rear from some guy. That said pipe fitters use brass tools when working on natural gas where Iā€™ve worked, but that could be out of an abundance of caution. I think youā€™d really have to work at it on purpose to set off the black powder and even then I think it would be next to impossible.
 

Blitz

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The wooden ram rod broke off about 4" from the muzzle and my hand was right above it. There was about 18 inches or ram rod left outside the gun. Now this was on a very cold winter day in Michigan too - not sure if the cold led to it. Also the gun was a 54 cal and preferred a .535 ball and .018 pillow ticking, which was a tight load.

The steel rod I use does have a brass muzzle guide on it.
I would contact the range administrator, or whoever is in charge of the range and relate your story , be sure to mention the military muskets using steel rods and your use of a brass bore protector, also ask about the rules and how much discretion the range master has.
I have run into more than one rangemaster that tries to bnully and force arbitrary opinions on folks.
One of the most usefull things I ever learned was to ask to speak to a supervisor, especially when involving any form of staet federal or county employee.

Blitz
 
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For decades I have used a steel range rod with a brass muzzle protector to load and clean in matches. It's convenient: you can change out the loading/cleaning jag, fouling scraper, patch worm and ball puller as needed, and if you have rifles of varying calibers you can change out all those attachments for each caliber and use the same rod on different guns. My Early Virginia has a .54 Colerain barrel. Although I use it in matches a great deal of the time, I acquired it as my "woods gun." Certainly with a .535 ball and a tighter patch it would most probably be a little more accurate, but much more difficult to load. If you hunt, you don't need to hit an x ring at 50 yards, only the lethal area of your game, which is a much larger target. The .530 ball and .018 pillow ticking patch lubed with mink oil loads much easier and even gives good accuracy on the match range. The only thing I can't do with that combo is ram from the muzzle without a short starter. With a .526 ball I could but accuracy suffered. In other rifles I use the tighter patch and ball combination, but in that rifle the .530 ball and .018 patch serves me well on the range or in the woods, and in the woods is easy to load with the wooden ramrod like the oldtimers did.
 

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