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PaulF70

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Guys, I am just a BP shooter trying to be as safe as possible. I have four kids I have to support for 20+ years and can't afford to lose a hand (or my life).

I agree that these things seem so rare as to almost be irrelevant. You could be struck be lightning also* and can't worry about that.

I already swab after each shot when using BP. As I said I think 209, the only other propellent I use, is so hard to ignite it is never going to go off by accident.

I am going to make one change to my practices: I will make sure that when I ram I grip the rod on the sides and not on top. I will not use my top-ball range rod anymore, or grip it on the sides.

That way, the worst I am going to lose is a bit of finger.

But we should all keep in mind these rare poor fellows who have been crippled without doing anything abjectly stupid. What a cross to bear.

*which would also probably set off your black powder charge
 
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Your chances of getting hit by lightening are better than getting hurt like in the op's example. 30,000 die in car accidents each year and millions hurt. Going to quit driving? Your odds of dying in a car accident on the way to the range are much greater. I shot civil war team and individual matches for years and have lots of friends who have shot black powder weapons for decades and don't know anyone this has happened too. I have served on live fire civil war artillery crews. Ram that round home on top of a big powder charge for a thrill. Not going to worry. Be sensible when you are shooting.
 
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TFoley

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A most unusual event. But, I did witness a similar event once with a single shot pistol. That was using real bp. Pyro is hard to ignite. I have never heard the pellets were bp coated. Dunno. They might be. FWIW, I swab between every shot, always have, always will.

Pyrodex pellets - a VERY rare sight over here in UK - are not 'bp coated'. They DO have a central hollow that is filled with BP to ensure certain ignition when used with in-line firearms. This makes them a lot harder to ignite with a side-ignition firearm like any flintlock or percussion rifle or shotgun. Obviously, as far a a revolver is concerned, the flame from the usually centrally-positioned nipple makes it more certain, but nobody I know uses the RWS pellets that seem to be all that are available here. BTW, as noted earlier this week by one of our experienced posters, Pyrodex 'sets off' in the late 600 degrees, and Triple 7, well, I'm sure you can figure that one out pretty easily.
 
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Here we go again...... How about some non hearsay evidence for the AD story. Bottom line, embers are "urban myth". Please search other threads.

Spreading this kind of misinformation is detrimental the hobby. It causes the uninformed to attribute unnecessary danger to black powder. That causes other uniformed people to make rules and regulations that hurt the hobby.

Second, why would anyone put their hand over the end of the ramrod? Unless you choke up on the rod and make short strokes the ramrod will be broken. That will probably impale you hand.

As for better ramrods, use the largest diameter you can. For the shotgun a large diameter wood rod that just clears the bore is excellent as a range rod. For rifles use polished steel that is the largest practical diameter. The added weight makes tight loads smoother and easier. A T-handle is better than a ball handle. When it comes time to pull a ball with a worm you can hook the T-handle over the shooting bench. That is safer and surer pulling on it yourself or with another person. Use it like a slide hammer. In all cases make the range rods extra long so grabbing the outside of the rod is easy.

Swabbing between shots will not take care of any hypothetical ember in most mass market guns. The chambered breech that is commonly used is not swabbed or wetted. Any possible ember in that area would remain. IF a sloppy wet patch is used then misfires are sure to follow. That invites other safety issues.

If a person demands absolute safety, take up reading or TV watching as a hobby.

There are those who want to attract as many people as possible to the sport, not me.

I drive a lot, (55-60,000 miles per year) and see people every day that I wish would stay home as they are a hazard on the road. Just as some can not hold a cell phone and a steering wheel some should not hold a powder horn and a ML firearm.

If you think BP is dangerous, static electricity or spontaneous combustion is going to set it off I would like to suggest bowling, golf being to dangerous due to lightning and errant balls.
 
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Compression will not set off blackpowder. One of the final stages of its manufacture uses tons of compression. I did know a guy who actually shot part of one of his fingers off while loading his muzzleloader. It was caused by him doing something really stupid though and was not a malfuntion of anything other than his brain.
 
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Where's "Mythbusters" when you need them? A five minute ember and a wet fire piston explosion need investigated. Safety first but some risk is involved in about any activity that includes firearms, motorcycles. cars, airplanes, steps, ladders, and a million other things. One dangerous activity is believing everything you read on the internet.
 

DixieTexian

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Compression will not set off blackpowder. One of the final stages of its manufacture uses tons of compression. I did know a guy who actually shot part of one of his fingers off while loading his muzzleloader. It was caused by him doing something really stupid though and was not a malfuntion of anything other than his brain.
Theoretically, if you had a perfect seal with your patch/ball combination, and the nipple or vent hole were plugged well enough, you could possibly ram the ball home quickly enough (not likely due to the patch/ball combination required to get a perfect seal) to compress the air in the barrel enough to reach the ignition temperature of the powder. It's not the powder being compressed that would set it off, but the temperature of the air being compressed.
 
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try coneing the barrel and lapping in the bore lands , this has helped loading , reduced aggressive raming of the ball and patch
I've done that. It does make for easier starting and eliminates the need for a short starter. The problem is that after the first shot the fouling makes it harder to send the ball down the the barrel. A looser ball and patch combination helps a lot too but the accuracy starts to fall off. Out to 50 yds. or so it still makes for a good enough big game hunting load.
 

Stykbow

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I know of three people in my town that have shot themselves in the hand with a ML. Each incident was due to them doing something stupid. I think most of the accidents we hear about where it “just went off” are most likely from something foolish being done. Let’s face it, lots of people aren’t going to own up to being foolhardy when it lead to an injury.
 
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