Shredded Patches – Suggestions on what to do?

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TerryK

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I don't know the solution, but I liked reading the suggestions. Since you changed powder, changed patches, ran scotchbrite down the barrel, I would say the crown issue is a strong possibility. I hope you get is solved quickly. Good luck.
 

Dave Fox

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A number of practical suggestions in this thread, but I'll still suggest mine. A dollop of dry Cream of Wheat over the powder. First read about it in a '50s "Muzzle Blasts" article. Works well for me and has the added asset of making clean up easier. Here's the difference the Cream of Wheat made in my Hoyt-lined M.1803 Harper's Ferry rifle, with before and after patches. You'll note how the group tightened....
 

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TarponStalker

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I have the same exact issue with mine. I’ve tried Scotchbrite and removed any sharp edges at the muzzle. Still my patches are destroyed. I’ve tried pre cut .018 ox yoke patches and Pillow ticking 100% cotton. I mainly use pocket drill cut at the muzzle these days.
At the suggestion if one of the members in here I tried a few grains of corn meal or grits on top of the powder. That cured the problem. I don’t know why or how but it did. Patches look dirty but almost reusable. I hate the added step while loading but for now I do it. I’m sure a felt wad should do the same.
 

DixieTexian

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Instead of a wad or some sort of filler on top of the powders, maybe an extra patch shoved down the bore before loading the patched ball would have a similar effect? If using pre cut patches, that could simplify the loading process, especially in hunting or other field situations.
 
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My Kibler Colonial 50cal/Green Mountain barrel using .490 Hornady swaged LRB’s with Ox-Yoke .015” patches. Shoots well and loads easily with this load. My buddies rifle(same) gives similar results with this same load. Might check your
home made powder and 022” denim patches which seem very thick.
23069527-22CD-45B5-842C-DF3366E07D46.jpeg
 

M. De Land

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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.
My Green Mtn barrel on my under-hammer match rifle did this (even after a modest fine grit lap job) for a bit but after about 100 shots it stopped and has never reappeared. I've plug gauged all my GM barrels and have never seen such uniformity in bore diameter in any other brand.
 

hanshi

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Those patches are definitely burned to cinders. Holes in patches can usually be traced back to a sharp crown that is yet to be smoothed. Burned patches indicate the patches aren't thick enough and flame is funneling up the grooves and burning the patches. Filling those grooves with a bit of patch compression is necessary. Once the muzzle crown has been worked to a smooth, rounded entry into the bore heavier patches can be used. You should not have to resort to weeny powder charges or prb buffers just to get decent rifle performance.
 

sportster73hp

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I didn’t see what type of rifling you have. Round bottom use a thicker patch to fill them. Even so , i use .015 or .018 in my 58 caliber with round bottom.
I too think you should back off the powder charge.
 
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Those patches are definitely burned to cinders. Holes in patches can usually be traced back to a sharp crown that is yet to be smoothed. Burned patches indicate the patches aren't thick enough and flame is funneling up the grooves and burning the patches. Filling those grooves with a bit of patch compression is necessary. Once the muzzle crown has been worked to a smooth, rounded entry into the bore heavier patches can be used. You should not have to resort to weeny powder charges or prb buffers just to get decent rifle performance.
Thank you for your comments.
 
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From suggestions from others on this forum I have started and pulled 6 .490 balls with 3 different patches and thicknesses, .015, .022, and .035. I have used two different lubes, Bore Butter and Ballistol/water mix, and twice with no lube. None of them have shown any cuts or abrasions on the patches. So I don't believe the crown is cutting the patches.
 
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I didn’t see what type of rifling you have. Round bottom use a thicker patch to fill them. Even so , i use .015 or .018 in my 58 caliber with round bottom.
I too think you should back off the powder charge.
Sorry but I don't know what type of rifling Green Mountain uses. Likely someone here will know.
 
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From suggestions from others on this forum I have started and pulled 6 .490 balls with 3 different patches and thicknesses, .015, .022, and .035. I have used two different lubes, Bore Butter and Ballistol/water mix, and twice with no lube. None of them have shown any cuts or abrasions on the patches. So I don't believe the crown is cutting the patches.
I too pulled balls and patches and found no holes.
 
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I'm going to show an example of what happens to patches when there is significant gas blow by and when the patches and ball are better matched to the bore. The rifle was my Harper's Ferry with a Colerain barrel. It has the deep radius grooves. It likes the 0.535" ball wrapped in a dampened 1 part Ballistol to 7 parts water cotton drill patch of 0.018" thickness. The test load was a 0.520 ball and 0.010" patch using the same lubricant. The powder was 3fg GOEX poured from a volume measure of 65 grains. You can see the thin patches are shredded due to gas blow by. The patches that fit best to the bore look fine with no holes.

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Now back to @JGH45's problem. We see the shredded patches and the patches with holes in them. JGH45 has tried various loads and patch combinations inserted into the bore and there is no sign of cutting the patches. But we see holes when the rifle is fired. This appears to be an indication of gas cutting. Now how do we address the gas cutting. We do this by matching the ball and patch to the bore. Step one, Measure the land-to-land dimension of the barrel. Measure the groove-to-groove diameter of the barrel. Now we can determine the groove depth. I like to select a ball that is 0.005" smaller in diameter than the land-to-land dimension. The patch needs to be compressed to slightly thicker than the groove depth + 0.0025. This does not have to be a hard compression of the patch. Sure, you will need a short starter to load the ball and patch. But to address the gas cutting, the lubricated patch has to fill the grooves. Maybe @James Kibler has a suggested load for the 50 caliber barrel used in the Colonial Rifle?
 
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