Shredded Patches – Suggestions on what to do?

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In the attached photo are some of the most recent patches I have shot with my Kibler Colonial Rifle which has a 50 caliber Green Mountain barrel. Here is a little history and then my question.

These patches where shot using 80 grains of my home-made BP which is in the 2F-3F grain size, patch material is denim .022” measured with digital caliper and cut off at the muzzle, lubed with Ballistol/Water 5 to 1 mixture, balls were Hornady .490. These are the best-looking patches I have shot with this rifle in just over 100 rounds fired.

I started using my cast .490 balls and have used some Hornady .490 and .495 balls and have used several different patches .010”, .015” .018” sizes made of drill, ticking and other 100% cotton material. I have used Wonderlube, Bore Butter, Spit, and Ballistol straight and different water/Ballistol mixtures. All of these ball and patch and lube combinations have given me completely shredded and destroyed patches, so much so the patches were not recognizable as patches but just shred pieces of cloth. I have used Goex 2F as well as my home-made BP. I have scrubbed the barrel a total of about 250 in and out times with Maroon Scotchbrite. I have attached a .490 ball to a ball extraction screw tip and pushed it down the bore with a .015” lubed patch and extracted it to see if there was any damage to the patch by rough rifling and while I can see rifling marks on the patch there is no damage to it.

I have been shooting traditional muzzle loading firearms for over 50 years. One Lyman Great Plains Rifle, flintlock, Two T/C Hawken style rifles (percussion), a Jonathan Browning Mountain Rifle (percussion), Traditions Hawken Woodsman (percussion) and several BP revolvers (all percussion) and various other rifles and pistols (percussion and flintlock) owned by friends. I have never seen patches destroyed like they have been with this rifle. I have seen some undersized patches that have been burned through, but nothing like this.

I am also quite concerned about accuracy, because I can get no consistent grouping like my other rifles. So, my question is - What do I need to do to fix this? I would appreciate any suggestions to remedy this.
 

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nchawkeye

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I'd try an over the powder wad or hornets nesting or even another lubed patch on top of the powder charge, even doubling up two .010 patches and see if this corrects the problem...Sounds like you have tried about everything else...
 

stikshooter

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Easy 1st call Jim ,he made it ! I can tell you a easy fix with instant results in the mean time I use a 54 cal wad
(Dura Felt) over the powder in your 50 RB shooter . It is like insurance in case your patch is not up to the task it will seal better in case your pushing to fast or you picked the wrong thickness /type of material . In fact do that 1st before bothering Jim and see if that takes care of your problem and I know for a fact you will get more speed and less gas cutting /blow by and any Chrono will demonstrate that and better targets for sure ! Some will complain
it's a bother /not PC but (humbug) it works and the squirrel in the pot proves it /Ed
 

HighUintas

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You might need to polish the crown edge. If you do a search you may find some good information on it here. There are a few good threads on how to do it and why over on the American long rifle forum. Sometimes even if the boar is perfectly smooth, you can damage the patch when pushing the ball in on the sharp edge of the crown and that will then cause blowing out patches when you shoot
 
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Easy 1st call Jim ,he made it ! I can tell you a easy fix with instant results in the mean time I use a 54 cal wad
(Dura Felt) over the powder in your 50 RB shooter . It is like insurance in case your patch is not up to the task it will seal better in case your pushing to fast or you picked the wrong thickness /type of material . In fact do that 1st before bothering Jim and see if that takes care of your problem and I know for a fact you will get more speed and less gas cutting /blow by and any Chrono will demonstrate that and better targets for sure ! Some will complain
it's a bother /not PC but (humbug) it works and the squirrel in the pot proves it /Ed
Thank you I will try that and will be talking/emailing Jim next week.
 
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@JGH45, when you see the circular hole in the patch, that is an indication that the crown is too sharp, and the patch is being cut on loading. Time to try the way oversize patch and short start it. Use the excess fabric to pull the ball out of the barrel and look at the patch. If you have the circular hole, then the crown needs to be smoothed out.

I had a rifle that when new shredded all the cotton patches that I used. It wasn't until I went to a linen patch that the patches remained intact. It is hard to find tightly woven linen (100% from flax) fabric of 0.015" thickness. After a few years of shooting the linen patched round balls, I could finally switch back to cotton patching.
 
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You might need to polish the crown edge. If you do a search you may find some good information on it here. There are a few good threads on how to do it and why over on the American long rifle forum. Sometimes even if the boar is perfectly smooth, you can damage the patch when pushing the ball in on the sharp edge of the crown and that will then cause blowing out patches when you shoot
I have thought about doing that but I have run several lubed patched balls down the bore as I explained and have seen no damage to the patch. However I am going to do the crown polishing just in case. Thank you
 
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@JGH45, when you see the circular hole in the patch, that is an indication that the crown is too sharp, and the patch is being cut on loading. Time to try the way oversize patch and short start it. Use the excess fabric to pull the ball out of the barrel and look at the patch. If you have the circular hole, then the crown needs to be smoothed out.

I had a rifle that when new shredded all the cotton patches that I used. It wasn't until I went to a linen patch that the patches remained intact. It is hard to find tightly woven linen (100% from flax) fabric of 0.015" thickness. After a few years of shooting the linen patched round balls, I could finally switch back to cotton patching.
As I said I have run lubed patched balls in and out and have no damage to the patch. However the way you suggested doing it may show something I have not been able to see so far. I would like to use the linen (100% from flax) fabric but haven't been able to find any. Thanks for your suggestions.
 
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With their wide grooves Green Mountain barrels can take .500 balls. You might also polish the edge of the crown. Just roll the edge of the crown into a radius instead of a sharp corner. I use wet or dry sandpaper on a dowel. You might also try burning a small piece of the patching material. Cotton will burn to a feathery ash. Synthetic will burn with little round balls of plastic left in the ash.
 

Muddly

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I have the exact problem with 2 T/C Pennsylvania Hunters. A .54 caliber over powder wad does wonders, but patches are still roughly treated. I too rammed a lubed patched ball and pulled it. No damage to the patch.
Accuracy is poor and inconsistent. One day it's sort of ok. Next, same load, patches, lube, balls from the same melt ( and weighed) and I could do better with a slingshot.
It isn't me either. I can tear a hole at 50 yards using an unmentionable load in my flintlock Renegade.
I do not like patched ball...
 
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I had a GRRW Hawken that did the same thing. Worked fine if I either put a wad (small piece of felt) under the patched ball, or went to 498 ball with .018 patch (tough to get very many shots without wiping), or final solution was .498 ball with linen patching.
 

Uncle Miltie

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Appears your patch material is not up to the job. Cotton ticking will work better. Or the balls you are using are cast too hard.
 
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With their wide grooves Green Mountain barrels can take .500 balls. You might also polish the edge of the crown. Just roll the edge of the crown into a radius instead of a sharp corner. I use wet or dry sandpaper on a dowel. You might also try burning a small piece of the patching material. Cotton will burn to a feathery ash. Synthetic will burn with little round balls of plastic left in the ash.
Thanks for the suggestions. I did not know that the GM barrel would take a .500 ball, that is good to know and I will try it if I can find some .500 balls. I try the burn test on all of my patch material to make sure it is not synthetic and I just burned a piece of the denim again and the ash is as it should be, a feathery ash so not synthetic and is 100% cotton. I have tried forcing an oversized patch with the ball with a short starter and then pulled it out and there are no cuts or abrasions from the crown rifling so the crown looks to be pretty smooth, but I may still try to do a radius on the crown. Thanks again.
 
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Appears your patch material is not up to the job. Cotton ticking will work better. Or the balls you are using are cast too hard.
I have used mostly Hornady .490 & .495 balls so I'm assuming they use soft lead. The balls I cast are almost but not completely pure lead. It doesn't seem to make any difference which balls I use. I have tried several different kinds of patching material all of them cotton and the denim, 100% cotton, has held up the best.
 

Uncle Miltie

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Green Mountain barrels are of excellent quality. If you are using good patching and soft lead balls of .490 or .495 with the lubes you mentioned then the only variable that remains is your powder.
 
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Green Mountain barrels are of excellent quality. If you are using good patching and soft lead balls of .490 or .495 with the lubes you mentioned then the only variable that remains is your powder.
When you say "the only variable that remains is your powder" - what do you mean? I have used both Goex 2F and my home-made 2F/3F and have used charges from 60 grains up to 100 grains and I have been getting the same patch shredding results with either powder. @EC121 above said that GM Barrels can take .500 balls because of the wide groves. Since you seem to know something about GM Barrels - do you concur with that? This is my first experience with GM Barrels.
 
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Wow! Those are burnt toast!
These are the best-looking patches I have shot with this rifle in just over 100 rounds fired.

These patches where shot using 80 grains of my home-made BP ,, I have used Goex 2F as well as my home-made BP.
Yours and the store bought? Same results? With the same bore condition?
(the only one you need to be honest with is you)
The scotchbrite scrubbing wasn't your best friend, but that doesn't matter much with the heat that's been applied to those patches.
A good barrel isn't quickly brought to it's best with all the rapid lapping and fussing over,
,it takes about 200 rounds, not so much to "break-in" a barrel,, but for the shooter to learn what his barrel wants.
That's truth.
My GM barrels seem to like the larger for gauge ball, .495-.535, with a thick patch like yours, (.020-.022) and a little leaner mix, like 7 water-1 oil w/careful horizontal drying.
80 is a bit hot for the 50cal, I'd back off the charge variable to 65-70 and change the lube variable within the test, while searching for best group. Spent patch condition is a secondary diagnostic result of a failed test, not the determining factor.
What your showing us is that you have too much heat,, reduce the heat.
 
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Wow! Those are burnt toast!

Yours and the store bought? Same results? With the same bore condition?
(the only one you need to be honest with is you)
The scotchbrite scrubbing wasn't your best friend, but that doesn't matter much with the heat that's been applied to those patches.
A good barrel isn't quickly brought to it's best with all the rapid lapping and fussing over,
,it takes about 200 rounds, not so much to "break-in" a barrel,, but for the shooter to learn what his barrel wants.
That's truth.
My GM barrels seem to like the larger for gauge ball, .495-.535, with a thick patch like yours, (.020-.022) and a little leaner mix, like 7 water-1 oil w/careful horizontal drying.
80 is a bit hot for the 50cal, I'd back off the charge variable to 65-70 and change the lube variable within the test, while searching for best group. Spent patch condition is a secondary diagnostic result of a failed test, not the determining factor.
What your showing us is that you have too much heat,, reduce the heat.
Thank you for your comments and suggestions.
 

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