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Discussion in 'Flintlock Rifles' started by PineyCreek, Dec 13, 2019.
I've never felt a need except with my shotgun.
I've experimented with an over powder wad. My reasoning is to get consistent powder compression prior to loading the ball because pushing too hard on the ball could deform it potentially causing accuracy problems. I'm still experimenting so the verdict is yet to be known.
In Ned Robert's book he addresses the need for consistent pressure when seating the ball, pressure on the powder. To much pressure causes high shots and too low pressure causes low shots.
Not sure how you are going to deform a ball when seating it with a wood ram rod or a brass range rod.
I find it interesting that offhand line shooters nor do bench shooters use wads, how come when winning a match may come to an "X" ?
In a rifle no, in a shotgun yes. Behind a ball no, behind shot yes.
I started using over powder wads to keep from contaminating my charge if the rifle is left loaded for more than a few hours. I experimented at the range, with or without wads, could determine no difference in accuracy, just the length of time to reload. As I mentioned in a previous post, I used three pre-loader's for hunting that are set up with patched ball wad and powder for reloading when I need another shot. There, a wad is very important, but I suppose a lot depends upon the patch lubricant or how much is applied. I use a fairly heavy patch and it takes sufficient lube to get it down the barrel. None have ever appeared cut, perhaps part of that is just blind luck.
If you are using a properly sized patch and ball combination, there is no way you will deform a ball from loading pressure. It would already be sized to the bore.
Great. Problem solved. But remember that almost all rifles that saw much use were freshed back in the day and sometime a new breech was installed as well. Back in the day the problem you describe would have required freshing. The problem with pitted bores is that they are hard to clean. If corrosive "replica powder" is used it may nearly be impossible to stop the rusting even in a good bore.
I have never had a powder charge soaked by patch lube. If this it the case you are using WAY too much lube. The other issue in high humidity is a fouled bore and the fouling sucking water from the air like a sponge.
I have a .54 Rice barrel on a rifle that will really tighten the groups up if I use a dry wool wad between the ball and powder. I have a .44 Bill Large barrel on a rifle that will shoot a cloverleaf at 50 years without a wool wad and shoot a 3" group with it, it hates them.
I was at my wits end trying to find something that shot well in my rice barrel, inserting the wool wad was one of my experiments and it worked. Later I smoothed the crown and scrubbed the barrel with a lubed scotch bright pad and made the groups even tighter. The barrel was was shredding patches early on when It was a terrible shooter.
Except for the test in the Bill Large barrel all my other rifles shoot very well with just a patched ball so I never saw the need to test fire them with a wool wad.
At times I'm surprised at the criticism, by some, of things that different shooters do, when it seems to work well for them and they're not forcing others to use it, it should be fine. When is good for the goose, should be good for the gander. Often, those of us that are on here are merely expressing what seems to work well and if others are so inclined, they can try their hand at it. Many of the patch lube's described here didn't always work well for me, but I certainly take no offense if they work well for you. My road to finding a lubricant that did well, for all the assorted reasons that we all give, was long and fun filled, The research being as much fun as just shooting.
It would be wonderful to have a time machine and to be able to see what those that had to use a Flintlock used day-to-day. When they loaded, when they cleaned, just how much care it took to protect themselves. Sometimes our fantasies are wonderful things.
Merry Christmas to all with wishes for a happy new year.
With 66 years of BP and RB shooting you might call me a "patch reader" and fit is best. Yes a ball is hard to start but the starters I make do the job. I found to have the ball engraved at the grooves about .005" is best. Even a .002" difference in patch thickness can improve groups and I was able to hit small steel chickens at 200 meters with a RB.
I also found the compression of the charge important so I made a wood compressor with a heavy spring inside to put over the rod at seating and bottom the spring for even compression. It cut groups by more then half.
I have never used a wad.
I failed to mention a friend that throws his rod hard down the bore many times so I ask if he likes his hand since I believe impact might set the charge off. He likes a thin patch and deforms his balls as a pulled ball shows.
Seat with even pressure ONLY.
My use of a wool wad over the powder was to get the patched ball above the eroded part of the chamber. Doing this prevented the shredded patches and improved groups. It worked for me with this rifle, but I am not saying it is the solution to all problems of shredded patches.
For my .58 caliber deer hunting rifle I use olive oil lubed patches with a over powder card between the patched ball and powder. In this gun there’s no change in accuracy either way. But when I pull a ball with no card I always have some presumably degraded powder stuck fast to the patch. The card simply gives me a bit of peace of mind, when the rifle may be loaded for a week or so during hunting season. BJH
I also found the same Thing, and though I don't often hunt with the muzzleloader anymore, or hunt anything, it seemed like a good way to avoid problems down the road. When people aren't shooting back at you, like in the Civil War or in the Indian days, the time it takes to load isn't quite so important. By the way I one time shot at deer, missed, and had time to reload and get the deer. Seems there's not many dumb deer left.
I use a thick greased felt wad over powder when shooting my Isaac Hollis and Son bore rifle, it is .72, 4 1/4 drams of FFg with a dry lubed thick denim patched ball. The bore is a little rough, but it also means I have no issues loading in the field with its wooden rod. I also shoot an original Baker sporting rifle .62 with a bore that is a little rough with a patched ball and thick greased felt wad over powder for the same reason. If the rifle is going to be left I would put a card wad down before the felt wad to protect the charge.
Only in my hunting loads will I use a felt wad to protect the powder charge from leeching grease from the patch. My hunting loads can stay up to weeks before getting fired.
i have experimented with them in my 36 underhammer, have to noticed a difference
I started using an over powder wad with greased mini's when deer hunting, liked the results so I started using them with round ball and liked the results and kept with them for the least ten years.
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