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manbat

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As noted in a previous post, there is no way to ram a patched ball or a Minie after a few shots worth of fouling with two fingers.

From the information provided, the potential problem described occurs when compressing the powder while ramming the ball, and an ember that did not ignite the powder when poured in causes ignition when compressed. An additional step could be ramming some Tow or some other material and tamping it down well before ramming the projectile. Tow could be rammed with two fingers and if there is an ignition, a loose-fitting ramrod shooting out between two fingers is better than a bullet, ramrod, and full hand hold.

Not a perfect solution, but one additional step that may reduce the risk highlighted.
 

sturmkatze

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One reason to do the flatlander thing, blow in the barrel. But then that might make the ember hotter.
Oh bs. It does not. When I was young and out shooting in the Salinas River, I had read about embers and noticed the barrel and touch hole smoking after a shot. Way back then, 40+ years ago, I started blowing until all the smoke stopped. I've done it this was since. I've never had a problem. I also wipe the frizzen and flint -- top and bottom along with picking the vent.... Every shot. You do the same thing the same way -- every time.

I don't care what some aunt Mary says. I'm safe with it and am not going to swab between every round either. Gods, people take things to crazy heights.
 
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Forty years of muzzleloading...

Have always blew down the barrel
Have never broken a hickory ramrod (Including the small .32 rod)
Have never wiped between shots
Have never had an ember
Have always used a spit patch (Unless experimenting with lubes but always go back to spit)
Have never had a ball and patch that would not go down with the hickory ramrod

I don't own a percussion rifle or a patent breech gun, maybe I am just lucky, or maybe what I do works.

Thanks for all the advice and you other guys just keep doing what you are doing.
 

Hawk54

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I have participated in dozens of civil war reenactments. Hundreds or thousands of guys standing in lines firing blanks at each other as fast as you can tear the paper cartridge apart, dump the powder down the barrel, put a new cap on the nipple, pull the hammer back as your are raising the rifle, and pull the trigger and repeat the process as fast as you can. Do this over and over for sometimes three dozen rounds in a row. I used 80 to 100 grains of powder for blanks in my Enfield. If you were going to have a cook off from hot embers this would be the perfect time for that to happen. Never saw it happen.
 
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I can't find that story now but here's another:




That's just nuts, isn't it?

Now, to be clear, I think the odds of such a thing are *exceedingly* small when proper technique is used. Still, over the course of thousands of shots spread over decades, it becomes perhaps statistically significant. I'd just rather keep all my body parts.

Grabbing the rod on the sides rather than pushing down seems like a good idea. (I've also heard of guys using a tree or something else stationary for the final push...)
Firearms are extremely dangerous, just ask Alex Baldwin, they go off spontaneously all the time.
 
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Oh no, they were stupid. One had adjusted the trigger weight so low that when he slid it onto the platform of a stand (with his hand over the end of the barrel) the bump on the butt fired it and blew one of his fingers off. The next one shot himself thru the meaty part below the thumb when he grab the end after hoisting it into the stand and pulled. A branch was thru the trigger guard and touched it off when he pulled. The third one wins the prize though. Couldn’t remember if he had left his ML loaded or not. He decided to find out by firing a cap with his hand over the barrel to see if he felt any air come out. Well, he felt lots of stuff come out right thru the center of his palm. I like to give folks the benefit of the doubt like you, but I think we can all agree that these three guys absolutely did something stupid.
Remember the good old days when the thick ones got selected out of the gene
pool BEFORE they reproduced?
 

new2bp

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I am sure some folks are more comfortable with metallic cartridges, definitely safer.

It does take a bit of a mind flip from thinking "less than 21gr could kaboom and more than 24.2 could too oh and this doesnt meter very well so hand weigh each charge" to "oh anywhere from 50 to 120gr equivalent"
 
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Unless I’ve missed it, if all the experience on this forum, has anyone had it happen to them or personally seen it happen. Because in over forty years shooting I haven’t.
Not happened to me or anyone I’ve run across.
Also there’s no club legend and my club started in 1933.
Plenty of stories about ramrods launched downrange tho…

(They DID, however, manage to blow up a trapdoor Springfield. It wasn’t easy, took most of the day and went from BP to slow burn magnum smokeless all the way to a-Lot of the fastest pistol powder before it finally let go)
 
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GBG

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FWIW, I use a rubber arrow puller around the ramrod to push the patch and ball down bore. Then I hold a short starter (with a hole in the ball that fits the end of the ramrod) by the shaft (which is at 90° to the bore) with my fingers and wrap my thumb around the outside of the ball to get the final seating pressure I want.

This keeps my palm and digits clear of the bore for 58 caliber and smaller rifles. If I have a "senior moment" while loading, I figure as long as a ball doesn't take off a finger, or go through my hand, I can recover from flash burns. JMHO.
 

docmel

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A butter knife was made to spread condiments. Or yoi can use it to kill or maim, or do somehing stupid, like poke your own eye out.
 

DixieTexian

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I have participated in dozens of civil war reenactments. Hundreds or thousands of guys standing in lines firing blanks at each other as fast as you can tear the paper cartridge apart, dump the powder down the barrel, put a new cap on the nipple, pull the hammer back as your are raising the rifle, and pull the trigger and repeat the process as fast as you can. Do this over and over for sometimes three dozen rounds in a row. I used 80 to 100 grains of powder for blanks in my Enfield. If you were going to have a cook off from hot embers this would be the perfect time for that to happen. Never saw it happen.
I would think an actual live fire rapid fire competition firing real balls or bullets would be much more conducive to an ember developing. If you are just pouring powder down the barrel and then firing it off, there is nothing keeping that heat from flashing out the end of the barrel. However, if you are firing a projectile, the heat generated from the powder stays in the chamber part of the barrel for much longer. Add in the heat from the compression of the gasses as they rapidly expand against the resistance of a projectile, and it would seem that the barrel would absorb a lot more heat. As the barrel heats up more from rapid firing, it's capacity to sustain an ember increases.

But on the other hand, as we all know from the Battle of New Orleans,

"We fired our cannon 'til the barrel melted down
So we grabbed an alligator and we fought another round
We filled his head with cannon balls, and powdered his behind
And when we touched the powder off the gator lost his mind"

So obviously you should be able to continue to load your gun until the barrel melts down, despite the fact that the melting temperature of iron or steel is much higher than the combustion temperature of black powder.
 

PaulF70

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I don't think it was a silly response, if you are fearful of loading you will make mistakes,

I don't want to harp on this in a lame personal tangent but my comments didn't indicate I was so fearful I'd make mistakes out of emotion. Just the opposite: I'm going to think about the thing out of a healthy, intellectual fear.

I have to bring aviation into the discussion again. In flying we have checklists: Printed lists of step-by-step instructions for every action, "normal" or "emergency." Even though I've started a Cessna 152/172 over 1,000 times in the past 25 years I still use the checklist every time I do it. One will find in reading NTSB reports that using a checklist would have saved peoples' lives so often.

We don't use checklists in muzzie shooting but I, like most folks, use every trick in the book to make sure I don't make a mistake. It's the same thing at root: Habit. Memorization. I mark my ramrods. If I leave a charge in the barrel (overnight, hunting) I put tape over the muzzle to remind me. At the range I never cap before being ready to shoot. In the field I never cock until being ready to shoot. Etc. In a sense, all of this is done out of intelligent, respectful fear.

There are people who fly who have no fear of death. I don't understand them. Even men with families, etc. All I was saying was I'm not one of those guys, in flying or shooting.
 

PaulF70

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Firearms are extremely dangerous, just ask Alex Baldwin, they go off spontaneously all the time.

I found out from the latest stories it was a Pietta revolver. I have two. They don't fire unless you pull the trigger, or pull the hammer and let it go, OR (never tried this) drop it while cocked or with the hammer on a cap.

I would like to know what Alex did. He certainly did something, with the muzzle pointed in a killing direction...
 
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The confederates were ordered to load with the thumb and middle finger around the ramrod. Loosing a finger is a possibility. You have to evaluate what’s important to you. With most anything worth having fun with; there is an element of risk.
I was taught the same thing 50 yrs ago as a kid. Knew a boy who was loading his bp pistol while the ram rod was in his hand over the muzzle. Pistol went off and he lost the use of that hand. A lesson learned at another’s expense.
 

PaulF70

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I was taught the same thing 50 yrs ago as a kid. Knew a boy who was loading his bp pistol while the ram rod was in his hand over the muzzle. Pistol went off and he lost the use of that hand. A lesson learned at another’s expense.

What was the suspected cause of the discharge?

(Or did it not happen since it was reported on the Internet?)
 
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I don’t recall the reason or even if anyone did a post mortem on the weapon but yes it did happen and no it wasn’t something I read on the internet. I knew the kid. He had three major surgeries on that hand and never got the use of it back. He gave up shooting all together after the incident. I guess since there isn’t a picture posted it didn’t happen and I must be a liar cause I crave the attention of strangers.
 
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