Need advice on difficult loading PRB

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BillKilgore

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Hello all.

I need advice on a recurring problem. When shooting my colonial longrifle, I can get 3-4 shots off, then each subsequent shot gets harder to seat the ball. This weekend. Two shots, then dry swab clean. Two more shots, then dry swab clean. No problems loading and the accuracy off a sandbag was very good.

The fifth ball was distinctly more difficult to seat. Each shot after that became harder to ram down the barrel. While cleaning between shots 8 and 9, my ramrod and jag got stuck in the barrel. I had to return home to use additional tools to get it out of the bore. After the fourth shot, I was swabbing after every shot. The swabs were caked with black fouling that crumbled off the patch. I could not get any fouling out of the barrel by tapping the muzzle on a board.

I am shooting 50 gr Goex FFg with 0.495 Hornady LRB and a 0.010 cotton patch pre-lubed with Wonderlube from TOTW. My rifle has a 50 cal Rice Southern Classic swamped barrel. I emailed the Rice barrel company over the weekend. I hope to hear back from them soon.

Would you recommend a different ball diameter and patch? Perhaps a different swabbing routine? I will try to find a pound of Swiss or Olde Eynsford FFFg. Any other suggestions? Below is a photo of a ball I pulled a couple weeks ago. You can clearly see the imprint on the cotton patch in the lead. Thanks in advance.

PRB w imprint.jpg
 

jdw276

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For me crumbling off the patch, need more lube. Mine is more like a stain on the patch as it imbeds in the patch when i am cleaning. Crumbly is when i need more lube on the patch.
 
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Rice radius grooved barrels like a thickly lubed patch on the ball to get the best results. I'm thinking you are getting a lot of "blow by" causing the deposits of burnt BP. As suggested, go to 3f powder and try a .015 grease lubed patch. I can go 12-15 shots with my rice radius grooved barrels before swabbing, and I really don't have to swab then, but I do it any way.
 

tnlonghunter

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I'd honestly avoid pre-lubed patches or Wonderlube. I can't explain why, but it seems to be worse for fouling than many others.

I've been very happy with TOTW's Mink oil lube. I used Stumpkillers's Moose Snot recipe for years, and it was good too (I only switched out of curiosity). I used spit a good deal as well.
 

fillwa

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For swabbing between shots I use either rubbing alcohol or blue windshield washer fluid.

For patch lube I’ve used Bore Butter, or TOW Mink Oil, or windshield washer fluid. I’ll pre-lube patches and place in a sealed container.

I load 3f BP, followed by corn meal, then PRB. RB is -0.005 of caliber an patch is 0.010 thick.
 
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You need a patch thicker than the grooves are deep to make a seal. IIRC, Rice specs .012" on square bottom and .016" on radius groove, so thicker patches are your first need. You might need to go to a smaller diameter ball to load thicker patches, but you'll have to experiment and see what works for you.
I swore off prelubed patches years ago for good reason, and have since gone to cutting my own patches and applying whatever lube works for me. TOTW mink oil is my "go to" for hunting. I've used Lehigh valley/Shenandoah Valley/Mr Flintlocks and they work for all day shooting without cleaning. Avocado oil is excellent!

If you don't have a "range rod", get one. I prefer one piece stainless rods with a muzzle guide.
 
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In my Rice .50s I use a .480 ball with a wet(not dripping).023 canvas patch and Hoppe's #9 Plus lube(because I have 3 bottles). Using a .010 patch in .016" rifling is like having no patch at all. Your ball shows no evidence of a groove impression. Your are getting a lot of blow by. I'll bet those patches are ripped apart when and if you can find them. I quit using Wonder Lube after 4 shots. The fouling was so hard it was hard to load. The best part of Wonder Lube is the plastic jar it comes in. It can be used to hold your home mixed lube. I blend Track's Mink oil with some natural oil for hunting. I have a bottle of non-hardening coconut oil that works well to soften the mink oil little. Used straight it can be a bit of a pain to wipe on a patch in cooler weather. When it is mixed, what fouling there is stays soft and cleans easy.
 
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Hello all.

I need advice on a recurring problem. When shooting my colonial longrifle, I can get 3-4 shots off, then each subsequent shot gets harder to seat the ball. This weekend. Two shots, then dry swab clean. Two more shots, then dry swab clean. No problems loading and the accuracy off a sandbag was very good.

The fifth ball was distinctly more difficult to seat. Each shot after that became harder to ram down the barrel. While cleaning between shots 8 and 9, my ramrod and jag got stuck in the barrel. I had to return home to use additional tools to get it out of the bore. After the fourth shot, I was swabbing after every shot. The swabs were caked with black fouling that crumbled off the patch. I could not get any fouling out of the barrel by tapping the muzzle on a board.

I am shooting 50 gr Goex FFg with 0.495 Hornady LRB and a 0.010 cotton patch pre-lubed with Wonderlube from TOTW. My rifle has a 50 cal Rice Southern Classic swamped barrel. I emailed the Rice barrel company over the weekend. I hope to hear back from them soon.

Would you recommend a different ball diameter and patch? Perhaps a different swabbing routine? I will try to find a pound of Swiss or Olde Eynsford FFFg. Any other suggestions? Below is a photo of a ball I pulled a couple weeks ago. You can clearly see the imprint on the cotton patch in the lead. Thanks in advance.

View attachment 123509
First it looks as if your patch is nicely engraving on your ball. Maybe a little thicker to get a faint impression between the lands indicating the patch is filling the grooves.

Second, the dry patch wipe between shots is a practice that will send you back to the shop for practice in pulling the ball. Fortunately, you solved that, sparing us from another 10 page repetitious thread on how to remove a stuck ball and ramrod. The observation that you have all that dry fouling that is crumbling off the patch indicates that the wiping is not adequately removing the fouling between shots. The removal of fouling to condition the bore to a consistent state will require a damp wiping patch. Not too wet or damp fouling will be pushed into the touch hole. The damp wiping patch can be followed by a dry patch. Use a damp patch to wipe between shots and you will not have to cut short your range time.

As @EC121 observes, the 0.010" patch is too thin. It does engrave on the lands but does not fill the grooves.
 

BillKilgore

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Thank you, everybody. I appreciate the help. Thicker wads, FFFg powder, TOTW mink oil and a new swabbing process are in my future.

Is this a new rifle or one you've been shooting with no issues till this?

It is a new rifle and new barrel. It has had less than 50 rounds downrange.

Your ball shows no evidence of a groove impression. Your are getting a lot of blow by. I'll bet those patches are ripped apart when and if you can find them. I quit using Wonder Lube after 4 shots. The fouling was so hard it was hard to load.
I also quit after only a few shots - but it was not voluntary.
Below is a wad I recovered.
Wad.jpg
 
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Hello all.

I need advice on a recurring problem. When shooting my colonial longrifle, I can get 3-4 shots off, then each subsequent shot gets harder to seat the ball. This weekend. Two shots, then dry swab clean. Two more shots, then dry swab clean. No problems loading and the accuracy off a sandbag was very good.

The fifth ball was distinctly more difficult to seat. Each shot after that became harder to ram down the barrel. While cleaning between shots 8 and 9, my ramrod and jag got stuck in the barrel. I had to return home to use additional tools to get it out of the bore. After the fourth shot, I was swabbing after every shot. The swabs were caked with black fouling that crumbled off the patch. I could not get any fouling out of the barrel by tapping the muzzle on a board.

I am shooting 50 gr Goex FFg with 0.495 Hornady LRB and a 0.010 cotton patch pre-lubed with Wonderlube from TOTW. My rifle has a 50 cal Rice Southern Classic swamped barrel. I emailed the Rice barrel company over the weekend. I hope to hear back from them soon.

Would you recommend a different ball diameter and patch? Perhaps a different swabbing routine? I will try to find a pound of Swiss or Olde Eynsford FFFg. Any other suggestions? Below is a photo of a ball I pulled a couple weeks ago. You can clearly see the imprint on the cotton patch in the lead. Thanks in advance.
I have two Rice 50 cal barrels both square bottom rifling. I use .495 RB like you, but either .018 or .020 patch soaked with lube. You are getting blow by big time. I personally am not a lover of a dry patch swab. Once the barrel is caked with blow by, I would use some liquid cleaner, then the dry patch.
Larry
 

Brokennock

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One gentleman here whom has been around quite some time, used to post more, used to build beautiful guns before vision issues prevented it, turns his rifle muzzle down and uses a bore brush. This prevents any possibility of stuffing crud down onto the breachface and possible fouling the flash hole.
Do use an appropriate size brush and give a partial twist clockwise before trying to reverse direction with the brush.

Myself, I can't tolerate a loaf that I need to swab between shots with. Of that means a 2.5 inch group at 50 or 75 yards instead of a 1.5 or 2 inch group,, I'm okay with that. If that means a slightly looser patch/ball combo with a card/wad between powder and patched ball, that is fine too.

You have many, many, options yet to test. Wet swab (I wouldn't, but that's me), brush the bore to get rid of crud, thicker patch with smaller ball, better lube, 3f instead of 2f (drop load by 10 grains or so to start), any combination of these.
 

johnfrommd

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I'd honestly avoid pre-lubed patches or Wonderlube. I can't explain why, but it seems to be worse for fouling than many others.

I've been very happy with TOTW's Mink oil lube. I used Stumpkillers's Moose Snot recipe for years, and it was good too (I only switched out of curiosity). I used spit a good deal as well.


I agree with this. Wonderlube is not your friend.
 

User_Dan

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Soaking wet patch after loading will ensure no crud gets pushed into the touch hole. Could break up the fouling better .
 
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ou are getting blow by big time. I
Below is a wad I recovered.

The patch is too thin. My advice: Go to a .530 ball and a thicker patch.

1. Rifles with rounded grooves need thicker patches. My .54 caliber barrel with rounded grooves was machined by Mr. Hoyt. That rifle is capable of making five bullet holes touch at 50 yards. My patches are made from drill cloth; don't know the thickness, but it works very well.

2. A patch lube that cleans the grooves without shoving crud into the patent breech and flame channel is needed. When i used black powder the best patch lube i found was the original Go Jo hand cleaner without grit, wiped on the patch at the firing range. It's good for swabbing between shots, if needed.

3. Many years ago i stopped using black powder. Black MZ and JSG leave little residue in the bore, but like a tight fitting ball set hard on the powder. Depending on climatic conditions, there may be an accumulation of residue in about the last five inches of the bore that makes the ball hard to start after our or five rounds. When this happens i swab about six inches of the bore near the muzzle.
 

N.Y. Yankee

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BillKilgore, Those are not wads, they are patches, hence, "patched round ball". Wads are felt or fiber that go between powder and projectile, like tow balls or cut wool-felt button wads like "Bore Buttons" . You could also try a "Bore Button or "Wonder Wad" between the powder charge and the projectile. It might help, might do nothing.
 
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