Patches

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68K20

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I'm trying to fine tune my load and ran into a dilemma. My gun has a green Mountain barrel, 1 in 70 twist .54 it seems to like 80 grains of swiss 2F. The problem is the patches are not having it. A load like 60 grains and the patches are perfectly intact. North of 70 grains and they just are not holding up. Attached are pictures of what I find from an 80 grain load.

Im shooting .530 balls, .015 ox yoke prelubed patches. It seems like a decent fit, I need a starter but then it pushes down without much fuss.

Groups are good for me, about an inch and a half at 50 yards.
 

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buford87

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You should try a wad between your powder and patched ball. Felt would be worth a try about 1/8 of an inch thick. Try both dry and lubed and see if that helps.................watch yer top knot..............
 

Spikebuck

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Is the barrel new or well used? Are the patches new or have you had them for a while?

I have a 44" swamped .54 GM barrel w 1-70 twist and it eats 105 gr of 2F KiK with a .530 ball and .015 oxyoke prelubes and my patches look good after firing. Gun was used so mine has no sharp lands and my oxyokes were all new so no degradation as old ones might do. My load is well above yours with basically the same barrel and other components, so wondering if you have some weak patches. I would think a sharp land or damaged crown would rip a patch at any load, but not sure.
 

longcruise

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There are several possibilities as to why this is happening.

The patches could be getting damaged when you start the ball. There can be sharp edges in the crown or in other words the radius of the bore may be rough.

Could also be sharp edges on the rifling that are damaging patches as you load or upon firing wherein the 80 grains is enough to tear them up but 60 grains is not.

And finally, (I think this is it) you seem to be using prelubed store bought patches. They can be deteriorated over time and may not be the thickness advertised! Secondarily, I have the exact same barrel and am sure that your ball patch combo is not a good fit. A 530 ball in mine needs a patch much thicker than 015 . With a 535 ball it needs about 018 (Joanne's #40 drill).
 

smo

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Try shooting a different patch, and use more lube.

If the problem continues, it likely the sharp lands as mentioned above.
 

Griz44Mag

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The pre-lubed patches are likely the culprit. When pre-lubed patches with certain lubes on them sit for a long time, they rot the cloth. (Hint - that is one of the lubes)
I had the same issue with them.
I cured it by buying dry patches and just lube enough of them at a time to take care of short term shooting needs.
 

bldtrailer

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I have a Green mtn .50 and it ate patches till I followed Mr Dixons advise and steel wooled the barrel smoothing out the cut rifling (or you can shoot alot does the same) Also try thicker patches 10 oz dehum (.20 after washing)
 

Skychief

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The pre-lubed patches are likely the culprit. When pre-lubed patches with certain lubes on them sit for a long time, they rot the cloth. (Hint - that is one of the lubes)
I had the same issue with them.
I cured it by buying dry patches and just lube enough of them at a time to take care of short term shooting needs.
I can't agree more with Griz.

Good luck, Skychief.
 

68K20

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That makes a lot of sense if they rot over time. The patches are about 3 years old.

Maybe my bore is a little tighter, but if I load a .535 ball and a .15 patch it is REALLY tight. I struggle to get it started with my ball starter, and it tears the patch as soon as it starts. Maybe with fresh patches it would work better.

I need to try dry patches and lubing them myself. The ox yokes are convenient and that's t really the only reason I have been shooting them. I have a fresh pack I'll try I've had for about a month and after flintlock season is over I'll experiment with dry patches and lubing as needed.

Thanks for clearing that up!
 

ThumperJones

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Getting away from the prelubed patches will probably be a move you won't regret. If they are "wonder lube" lubed, you'll likely find your gun a lot easier to clean and load.

Look around the house and round up any old cotton clothes you could cut up. I use old cargo shorts, the fabric is about perfect for most of my guns around .018" measured. Cut you off some big strips of whatever you find, and take them to the range with you. Use olive oil, Ballistol, spit or whatever is handy and just cut the patches at the muzzle. Whichever seems to hold up best, take it home and measure it. Now you have a big headstart on what kind of patches to get.

One word of caution, I have never ordered patch material and it come in as thick as advertised. My .015" strips I bought are only about .010-011". So in my opinion, you are really better off just scrounging up something on your own. A set of Harbor freight digital calipers and a trip to the local fabric store or Goodwill (for more cargo shorts!) should get you fixed up. I paid $1 for a pair of fat man sized cotton duck shorts and have enough patch material for a looong time for my .36 :D
 

Griz44Mag

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That makes a lot of sense if they rot over time. The patches are about 3 years old.

Maybe my bore is a little tighter, but if I load a .535 ball and a .15 patch it is REALLY tight. I struggle to get it started with my ball starter, and it tears the patch as soon as it starts. Maybe with fresh patches it would work better.

I need to try dry patches and lubing them myself. The ox yokes are convenient and that's t really the only reason I have been shooting them. I have a fresh pack I'll try I've had for about a month and after flintlock season is over I'll experiment with dry patches and lubing as needed.

Thanks for clearing that up!
With a GM barrel you are going to be a lot better with a .530 ball and kick your patches up to an .018
Both of my GM barrels (A 50 and a 54) are at their best with them.
 

68K20

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Ok. I have calipers so I'll see what I have that is .018 or so. How do you lube the patches? Put the strip in a baggie with a squirt of ballistol? Just enough to wet it but not be dripping?

Thanks!
 

longcruise

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That makes a lot of sense if they rot over time. The patches are about 3 years old.

Maybe my bore is a little tighter, but if I load a .535 ball and a .15 patch it is REALLY tight. I struggle to get it started with my ball starter, and it tears the patch as soon as it starts. Maybe with fresh patches it would work better.

I need to try dry patches and lubing them myself. The ox yokes are convenient and that's t really the only reason I have been shooting them. I have a fresh pack I'll try I've had for about a month and after flintlock season is over I'll experiment with dry patches and lubing as needed.

Thanks for clearing that up!
If patches are tearing as they are started, you DEFINITELY need to work on the crown.
 

Marinekayak

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I have a question about patches too. I just found an almost full pack of old Thompson center white cloth patches still in the packaging. They are unlubed but probably 20 years old. Them seem ok. Are they worth using up? They thread on the edges seem loose but other than that they look ok. An idea what thickness they might be? It doesnt say anywhere on the package. Also found a full box of hornady .535 balls. They are oxidized. Should the be cleaned up or just shot as is?
 

smo

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I would use the TC patches too shoot the .535 balls if it were me.

Fire a few a and look at the patches , if they were sealed and never lubed I think they will fine, oxidation won't hunt a thing.

Spray them with WD 40, that will remove the oxidation. But really doesn't matter.
 

Col. Batguano

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Try the above, but another solution might be to putting a wad over the powder load too. Is it square-bottom rifling? My one GM barrel has that.

I have a 38 cal FCI barrel that took about 250 rounds before it quit shredding patches, and that was with 20 gr. loads.
 

Zonie

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I have a question about patches too. I just found an almost full pack of old Thompson center white cloth patches still in the packaging. They are unlubed but probably 20 years old. Them seem ok. Are they worth using up? They thread on the edges seem loose but other than that they look ok. An idea what thickness they might be? It doesnt say anywhere on the package. Also found a full box of hornady .535 balls. They are oxidized. Should the be cleaned up or just shot as is?
Because the patches you found are not lubricated, they should be fine for shooting.

If they were the "pre-lubed" kind, IMO they wouldn't be worth carrying out of the store. The lubricant over time, breaks down the cotton fibers leaving them weak and worthless for a patch.
If old pre-lubed patches are used they usually blow apart when the gun fires and any accuracy the gun/load might have had goes to hell.
 

68K20

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Thanks for the help. I filled my buck tag today, 1st deer with a flintlock! So now I'll be concentrating on load development.

He wasn't huge, but my first flintlock deer! Shot him at 50 yards and he dropped on the spot. Bullet entered just at the front of the shoulder blade and it was a bulge under the skin by the last rib. Ball and patch did not fare well.
 

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