Sprue .....up or down?

Discussion in 'Shooting Accessories' started by smo, Dec 31, 2018.

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  1. Dec 31, 2018 #1

    smo

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    I’ve heard all my Muzzleloading life to always load a round ball sprue up.

    “I” have loaded them both up and down and can see no difference in accuracy...at least not at “my” normal hunting distances.(<75 yds)

    In my smooth bore “I” load the sprue down .... “my” way of thinking is when the ball leaves the barrel at least 3/4 of the ball is still round and pointed down range.

    Right or Wrong .... “I” don’t know, just “My” way of thinking.


    As Mr. Dutch pointed out in the other thread , we deform the ball when loading it into the rifle anyway.

    Unless your rifle can be thumb started and you have a fantastic lube that allows you too gently push the ball down the bore and seat it on the powder charge.

    Which is possible, but in most rifles “I” have found that’s not the case, especially after a few shots fired even when swabbing .

    What I mean by swabbing is a “spit patch” up and down the bore using both sides prior too reloading. Not a complete cleaning.

    Loading sprue up using a short starter would help flatten the sprue area bring it back closer too it’s original shape .... maybe this is the reason for sprue up .

    As far as a “void” behind the sprue location, “I” would think if your temp is right on your lead and you make one continuous pour , chances of a “void” is almost eliminated....??? IDK.

    But does it really make a difference in accuracy if there “was” a “void” , if it was loaded towards the front of the bore or the rear???

    I am NOT a world class shooter , but can usually come fairly close too what I’m aiming at. Others mileage may vary.
     
  2. Dec 31, 2018 #2

    Juice Jaws

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    Another thing about shooting muzzle loaders that there is no one right way, some sprue up and some sprue down or sideways. I shoot sprue up but that's just me, plus I doubt if any of us deform a ball that much with a short starter or bouncing the ram rod off the ball. After all once you pull the trigger the gas, heat , pushing the ball down the barrel has more effect of changing the ball than anything else.
     
  3. Dec 31, 2018 #3

    smo

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    I have noticed that when I load a .535 with my normal pillow ticking patch (.0018) I have too start it with a wooden mallet.

    The force from driving the ball into the bore , be it only two or three raps with the mallet it flattens the face of the ball somewhat.

    Still “I” can see no difference in “my” accuracy at Hunting ranges...
     
  4. Dec 31, 2018 #4

    cositrike

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    I believe I remember an article in muzzle blasts, where Bevel up andBevel Down, experimented and came to the conclusion that it doesn’t make any difference.
     
  5. Dec 31, 2018 #5

    Rifleman1776

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    I believe, in theory, it would make no difference. But, our loading techniques introduce variables. Pounding on the ball as we seat/load will distort the top of the ball. But, trying to load sprue down introduces another issue. We cannot see the sprue if it is facing down and really do not know if it is centered or caty-wumpus. If up we can see it and then can load consistently every shot.
     
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  6. Dec 31, 2018 #6

    Black Hand

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    Even though people have mocked my idea before: I suspect that even from a rifled barrel, the roundball rotates/can rotate through 360 degrees (x/y/z axes) while in flight due to differential air pressure acting on the ball surface (in addition to the spin imparted upon it by the rifling). Therefore, regardless of what was pointed forward initially, it may not be what impacts the target first. PLEASE NOTE I AM CONSIDERING A ROUNDBALL ONLY, NOT A CONICAL PROJECTILE.
     
  7. Dec 31, 2018 #7

    Juice Jaws

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    I read the same article, many years ago, and they try sprue up, down, sideways and found no diffence . Are they still around, enjoy reading their articles but have not got Muzzle Blasts for years.
     
  8. Dec 31, 2018 #8

    Eutycus

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    That was my take on it. The sprue is a visual aide when on top. One can center the ball by its top location. If on bottom its a guessing game as to the "center". Other than that it should really make no differance.
     
  9. Dec 31, 2018 #9

    Straekat

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    Seems similar to the "spitball" effect in baseball, which is....banned.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spitball
     
  10. Dec 31, 2018 #10

    S.Kenton

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    I honestly beleive as long as your consistent, Spru up or spru down, it shouldn’t matter. Unless of course you have some unseen defect in your ball. I personally shoot spru up and do so religiously.
     
  11. Dec 31, 2018 #11

    Loyalist Dave

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    " I have heard old riflemen, years ago, say that it mattered not whether the sprue surface of the ball is placed at the bottom or the top when loading the round ball rifle, but this is not reasonable and does not agree with my experience and that of the majority of the experienced riflemen who use the muzzle=loading rifles.

    …, the base of the bullet which rests against the powder and is first acted upon by the powder gas must be as perfect as possible and each bullet have the same shape of base, in order to give good, uniform accuracy. Of course, these same conditions obtain in rifles using the round ball; therefore, as almost no two cast round balls have exactly the same shape at the point where the sprue was cut off ----one ball having a decidedly flat place at this point, the next one cut obliquely and the third having an inverted V cut sprue end ---- it is beyond all reason to expect these balls to group closely to the target. Experienced experts agree that better accuracy with the round ball rifles will be secured by always loading the sprue surface of the ball at the top, or towards the muzzle. "

    Ned Roberts The Muzzle-Loading Cap Lock Rifle (1947) p. 105

    LD
     
  12. Dec 31, 2018 #12

    Grenadier1758

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    All of my jags have a concave face that will round the sprue as I load with the sprue up. The exception is the ramrod for my brown Bess. That is domed and we all know what abysmal expectation of accuracy is expected in my musket.
     
  13. Dec 31, 2018 #13

    30coupe

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    While I am not sure it makes all that much difference, it is just one aspect of being consistent when loading, which I do believe contributes to accuracy. Once I find the load my rifle likes, if I stay consistent with every aspect of the load, aim, fire sequence, I can only blame my aging eyes for a miss...or perhaps a sudden gust of wind...or the arthritis in my shoulders...or...

    Anyway, I can't blame it on the rifle or the way it was loaded.
     
  14. Dec 31, 2018 #14

    Juice Jaws

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    Once the gun is fire the sprue doesn't stay up anymore, it goes around, around, and around.
     
  15. Jan 1, 2019 #15

    bud in pa

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    I also remember that article. That/s when I quit worrying about it.
     
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  16. Jan 1, 2019 #16

    M. De Land

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    That is most likely true in a smoothy but not so in a rifled bore. A ball at loading and more so at firing is not a sphere any longer but is bumped up as it sets back and develops a belt around it's mid-drift. If any voids are in the ball it almost always will be under the sprue and pretty much centered. Any weight variation will be less able to cause imbalance the closer it is to the center of rotation.
    When using a sprue on top there are several advantages to be had.
    1. You can more easily center the ball sprue in he bore because you can see it.
    2. If your loading rod has had a hemisphere cut in it's face it forges the sprue more round at seating.
    3. It centers any imbalance more consistently.
    4. If you seat a ball sprue down you never know for sure where it actually wound up in relation to the center of rotation , as you start it into the bore.
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2019
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  17. Jan 1, 2019 #17

    Black Hand

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    Think about it - a ball fired from a rifled bore rotates along an axis parallel to the bore. That said, interaction with the air should also cause differential pressure on the face of the ball and cause it to rotate in some way around its center of gravity. It is difficult to think that a sphere is completely immobile other than the spin imparted by rifling. I view it a little like one of those gyroscope toys - yes it is spinning one way but it can go in other directions too while maintaining the primary spin...
     
  18. Jan 1, 2019 #18

    smo

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    I never felt like it was an issue to center the ball with the sprue down.

    When I was experimenting with it, I was cutting at the muzzle, I'd place the ball sprue down in the patching material pinch it between my thumb & index finger holding the ball centered while loading.

    This was only tested at hunting distances <75 yards.
    I couldn't see that sprue up or down mattered, at 120 + yards it might become an issue.... ???

    But if I were shooting at those distances ,I would think wind would be a bigger factor than the sprues location, providing there are no voids in the ball.....and that may not have that much of an effect on the ball as one would think....it is spinning /rotating from the rifling while going downrange. Right?
     
  19. Jan 1, 2019 #19

    Loyalist Dave

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    OF course Mr. Roberts was concerned with what we would call very long target shooting. He often shot out to 40 rods....220 yards. Now the "old riflemen" which he mentions in the quote I sighted, might only have been worrying about target shooting at say 50 yards, for hams and/or slabs of bacon as prizes, or out to 100 yards for venison. So the variation that they experience might not have mattered to them, BUT would certainly matter to a person trying to reach out 220 yards. Roberts was concerned with the pressure of the gasses as the bullet was released from the muzzle..., either paper or linen patched conical, or linen patched round ball. The idea back then was that the natural variation in the sprue when the sprue was loaded toward the powder (and thus the gasses when fired), would [it was thought] cause the gasses following behind the bullet for a fraction of an inch as the bullet exits the muzzle, to push the bullet in an uneven manner. Thus causing accuracy problems, which were negated when the side toward the powder was uniform.

    LD
     
  20. Jan 1, 2019 #20

    Rifleman1776

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    Amen, Bro. Consistency is the name of the game.
     

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