Muzzle protection when short starting etc.

Discussion in 'General Muzzleloading' started by Ironoxide, Aug 15, 2019.

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  1. Aug 15, 2019 #1

    Ironoxide

    Ironoxide

    Ironoxide

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    Hi,

    Is there any special method to protect one's muzzle from damage caused by banging a short starter on it? When I start a REAL or a maxi ball it requires a very strong push - then when the bullet finally begins to move the short starter's ball bangs on the muzzle. Or with maxi balls they require to be hit as if with a mallet.

    Thew ideal solution would probably be to cone the muzzle and not use the short starter, but I'm looking for alternatives. Also using smaller sized slugs is not ideal, because those that fit tight are most accurate for me.

    Someone may think it is a non-issue, as the short starter's ball is made of wood, but the barrel and the muzzle are made of fairly soft steel and repeated banging will deform it. After shooting approx. 200 tight fitting patched round balls that required a mallet treatment in my 58 cal it lost its accuracy despite there not being any sign of visible damage. It wouldn't hit a plate at 50 meters. I re-polished the crown by screwing a wood screw into a .715 round ball, chucking the screw attached to the ball in a cordless drill, smearing a 150 micron abrasive paste on it and polishing the crown, then cleaning and repeating it with 9 micron paste. After that treatment the barrel's accuracy was restored. I'm now wondering how to prevent this damage from happening in future. Please don't recommend I use smaller balls - the rifle shoots best with balls 5 thou under bore size and a 13 thou thick patch (groove depth is 8 thou) - the problem is they need a good whack to go into the bore.

    Historic solution is a false muzzle, or perhaps coning. I'm considering making a false muzzle from brass. I would cone the false muzzle, with the small diameter matching the groove diameter of the barrel. Does anyone know about someone doing something like this and documenting it online? Any other ideas?
     
  2. Aug 15, 2019 #2

    BIGBEAR

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    I just cut a round leather disc with a hole in the center , that fits over the starter rod.
    When the ball starter hits the crown , the leather cushions the blow ...

    I started doing this , because I made some ball starters out of stainless ...
     
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  3. Aug 15, 2019 #3

    Ironoxide

    Ironoxide

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    This is a pretty good idea. I have various off cuts of leather. I'll definitely give this a try.
     
  4. Aug 15, 2019 #4

    Britsmoothy

    Britsmoothy

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    If I needed holes in paper so close together that I found myself hammering the most important end of a rifled barrel I would seek therapy! :(
     
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  5. Aug 15, 2019 #5

    Rifleman1776

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    Methinks you are over thinking this non-issue. Muzzles are hard to damage. Our rifles have had countless tens of thousands of rounds loaded and shot through them and are still highly accurate. But, you are right on one point. A slightly coned muzzle is not at risk from a short starter ball or handle touching the rifling. But, that is a tiny-tiny point, indeed.
     
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  6. Aug 15, 2019 #6

    Ironoxide

    Ironoxide

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    Needing ones holes in paper to be close together is a relative thing. Someone may be fully content with so called minute of deer at 50m and there is nothing wrong with that, but if my rifle is capable of much better accuracy it brings me joy to make it perform as well as it can.

    I always thought so too. This is why I was so surprised that polishing the muzzle crown restored lost accuracy on that barrel I mentioned in my post. I only used a short starter with a wooden ball. I did have to whack on the balls to the point of flattening the sprue mark before it would go in and I shot around 200 balls like that. I even looked at the muzzle under a microscope and I couldn't see any damage, but there must have been some, because polishing it restored original accuracy.

    I also have to mention that I never noticed this on any other of my rifles, but all other rifles I have have fairly heavy octagon barrels while this rifle is a double and at the muzzle the wall thickness of the barrel is much thinner.

    It is also possible, but unlikely that polishing the crown restored my trust in the barrel and I started shooting it better ;-)
     
  7. Aug 15, 2019 #7

    Sidney Smith

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    If you're a competition shooter who depends on getting the most accuracy you can, then I'd say yes keeping the muzzle crown from being damaged is a concern. If you're like me and want acceptable accuracy for hunting then it's probably not going to cause you any lost sleep worrying about it
     
  8. Aug 15, 2019 #8

    Britsmoothy

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    Is there any historical evidence that vindicates hammering a muzzleloaders muzzle so hard that after a short period of time it ruins the crown?
    Anyone?
     
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  9. Aug 15, 2019 #9

    Zonie

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    Vindicates is an unusual word IMO to be used with damaging a muzzle.
    Here in the US, it means something thought to be wrong or bad is proven to be right or good.

    I can't see how anything that damages a muzzle could be good.

    I also don't know how someone would damage a steel barrels muzzle by hitting it with a piece of wood like the ball on a short starter.
    I could beat on the end of my steel barrels with a piece of wood all day long and the only damage would be some of the barrels bluing might be rubbed off.
    Well, I'm sure the wood would be damaged but that's not what this topic is about, is it?
     
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  10. Aug 15, 2019 #10

    Sun City

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  11. Aug 15, 2019 #11

    Britsmoothy

    Britsmoothy

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    Advocates then :)
     
  12. Aug 15, 2019 #12

    jdw276

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    Maybe should not have the "v" in the word? typo?
     
  13. Aug 15, 2019 #13

    Cjensen

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    Ball starters???? Keep it simple...use a piece of 3/8 " wooden ramrod about 4" to 6" long glued into whatever the palm of your hand can stand to bump. No metal tip necessary. Metal rod ball starters aren't necessary , especially those made of metal rod harder than the lead bearing screw stock our modern muzzleloading barrels are made from.
    This comment isn't pertaining to inline rifles made w/ steel like 4140 used for modern high power rifles.
     
  14. Aug 15, 2019 #14

    AlanG

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    Your polishing and recrown of your .58 is just a coincidence. Zero chance only 200 patched round ball loads can hurt any barrel/crown- particularly in a .58 which has all sorts of room for a short starter.

    If you want to continue to load very tight patched round balls the concave crown your method creates really isn't helping at all. A convex crown is what you want for tight patched round balls. Best cut on a lathe, but it can be done lapping by hand as you did if you can find the correct shaped lap.

    Maxi-ball should slide in easy- only the last ring is oversized. Simply holding a thin flat piece of hardwood, say 1/4" x 2" x 4" over the muzzle and hitting it with your fist or a small hammer will start a Maxi or a tight fitting roundball flush to the top of the muzzle, the rest is easy. Once a ball or bullet is flush to the muzzle, it should load as easy as anything. A block of wood hitting the muzzle on the flat side can't do any damage.

    If you are shooting a lot of conicals- getting a sizing die makes things a lot easier, and adds accuracy too.

    If you have any woodworking skills you can make a simple, rudimentary "false muzzle". You can mortice out a block of wood to slip Over the barrel for alignment, then a hole drilled thru to accept an aluminum or brass rod which drives the bullet down. simple
     
  15. Aug 16, 2019 #15

    Zonie

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    I think you've figured it out.

    "Is there any historical evidence that indicates hammering a muzzleloaders muzzle so hard that after a short period of time it ruins the crown?"
    makes a lot more sense than,

    "Is there any historical evidence that vindicates hammering a muzzleloaders muzzle so hard that after a short period of time it ruins the crown?"

    Thanks. :thumb:
     
  16. Aug 16, 2019 #16

    Ironoxide

    Ironoxide

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    Many target rifles back in the day were supplied with false muzzles. It is possible that those were only meant to start a paper patched bullet straight, but it also possible they were also meant as a sort of protection of the muzzle. I may be mistaken, but it seems logical.

    I would agree only if all your barrels have thick walls. The thickness of barrel walls near the muzzle in the .58 double rifle is approximately an eight of an inch. This is rather thin. Have you ever hit a piece of fairly thin non-hardened steel with a lead hammer? Although lead is much softer than steel, if the steel is not hardened it is possible to dent it just by the momentum of the heavy (but soft) hammer hitting it. The steel although much harder than lead still kind of flows away from the place where the hammer lands.I even observed this effect on mild steel square tubing after hitting it with a heavy rubber hammer.

    This barrel at the muzzle is basically a thin walled tube, putting a slightly oversized ball/patch combo on top and beating it with a wooden ball/mallet can't be much different than hitting it with a lead hammer. The fact I couldn't see any damage even under a microscope doesn't indicate there weren't any areas of the crown with slight depressions or bits of it raised slightly if the transition between those areas was very gradual.

    I'm not completely convinced otherwise, but the group size at 50m went from original 2 inches to 8 inches and then back to 2 after repolishing. This is a huge difference to attribute to psychology only.

    I plan to shoot mostly conicals now. I like the idea of using the flat piece of wood or making the muzzle protector from wood. I was planning to make one from brass, but making one from wood is going to be much easier.

    I also made a leather one, but the piece I chose was too thick. I'll be testing one made from thinner leather next.
     
  17. Aug 16, 2019 #17

    jdw276

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    I hope mr. Britsmoothy is not upset with us and our editorial liberties? Don't want to start a conflict or revolution over it!
     
  18. Aug 16, 2019 #18

    AlanG

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    You misunderstood me- I'm sure your recrown worked- I'm saying any damage if any was caused by something else besides the short starter. did the accuracy drop off immediately, or over time?

    Is this the Pedersoli .58 Double Gun? What ball patch thickness are you using? Pedersoli calls for a .575 ball with .015 patch thickness. But I know that .024 denim loads pretty easy too.

    I've owned one of these since the 80's when they were originally made for Trail Guns Armory. Countless shots through it. Maxi's start well with a flat piece of wood as stated. I eventually switched to round balls for max accuracy- .570 w/.015- 120 grains powder.

    Your lead hammer analogy doesn't hold when you are talking about loading a muzzleloader from a materials standpoint- two different things going on, and I would dispute the thin walled barrels- many English muzzleloading double rifles have much thinner walls.

    Fooling around with this stuff should be fun- even when it's frustrating!
     
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  19. Aug 16, 2019 #19

    Mark Herman

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    For the competition rifles we use bore size and over bore size balls with heavy patches and need to drive them into the bore. Use a brass muzzle guard on your short starter with a concave jag. Protects the muzzle and doesn't deform the ball.
     
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  20. Aug 16, 2019 #20

    sawyer04

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    Hey loading a firestick isn't supposed to be like driving 20 pennys into oak 2x6.
     
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