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Started the New Year with a bang...and a headache.

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JB67

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Took my Brown Bess out for the first time. I had made up some paper cartridges, turns out between the ball and the paper, they were a bit tight in the barrel. First one was snug going in, but was able to push the ball down. Second loading seemed ok. The third ball got stuck about 15" in, and I couldn't push it further nor could I pull it out with my extractor tip. So now the gun sits in my enclosed porch, sans flint, with WD40 in the touch hole and down the barrel to kill the powder, waiting for me to get an extension for my drill to clear out the ball this weekend...

Slightly smaller balls have already been ordered (0.69, was using 0.715), as well as a delrin ramrod and a new hickory rod, because I also broke THAT yesterday. And cut my finger on the bayonet lug, bleeding all over the barrel...

But that SOUND when the Bess went off was surreal! That long, huge bore was incredible! I'll be back at it soon for sure.
 

Grenadier1758

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What paper were you using? How many wraps did you apply? What lubricant did you use on the paper?

I find that after the first shot, I have to lubricate the paper wrapped ball by spitting on the ball. The paper keeps the moisture from contaminating the powder and the wet paper around the ball keeps the fouling soft. It is also beneficial to wipe the bore with a damp patch after a couple of shots. I too have observed that the first ball loads easily, the second ball not so bad, and the third ball wants to hang up. This is in a Long Land Pattern Kings Musket from Loyalist Arms with a bore diameter of 0.770".

On a Woods Walk with a lot of shooting, several members of the team experienced a loading hang up similar to your experience. To get their ball to the breech, they needed their steel rods to drive the ball to the breech. Most had to spit down the bore to get the ball to move.
 

fleener

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An extension to your drill? How do you plan on using that?

Buy a good stainless steel range rod. Rice Barrels sells some nice ones, I have two or three of theirs. High quality and good price.

Fleener
 

Carbon 6

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So now the gun sits in my enclosed porch, sans flint, with WD40 in the touch hole and down the barrel to kill the powder, waiting for me to get an extension for my drill to clear out the ball this weekend...
Not what I would have done. I never attempt to drill anything out of a barrel, either the bit or the extension will scar the bore unless your middle name is lucky. Also, not sure how putting a hole in the ball will make it easier to remove.
Sullying the charge has now compounded your problem.

What I would have done was poured some alcohol down the barrel to wet the paper and fouling then taken a piece of 1/2" cold rolled steel rod and beat the ball to the bottom then fired it out.

Wrap the rod with tape first.

Best of luck to you.
 

JB67

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An extension to your drill? How do you plan on using that?

Buy a good stainless steel range rod. Rice Barrels sells some nice ones, I have two or three of theirs. High quality and good price.

Fleener
How? Very carefully, with bushings on the extension to keep it centered in the borem
 

JB67

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Not what I would have done. I never attempt to drill anything out of a barrel, either the bit or the extension will scar the bore unless your middle name is lucky. Also, not sure how putting a hole in the ball will make it easier to remove.
Sullying the charge has now compounded your problem.

What I would have done was poured some alcohol down the barrel to wet the paper and fouling then taken a piece of 1/2" cold rolled steel rod and beat the ball to the bottom then fired it out.

Wrap the rod with tape first.

Best of luck to you.
Sullying the charge was my only option at the time. I was not going to leave live powder in there.

I suppose I could pull the barrel, remove the breech plug, and try driving it out that way. Assuming I can remove the plug.
 

JB67

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How do you plan to remove the ball after you have drilled a hole through it?
You have helped me think of another way. I have a tip for scraping the breech wall, it's like a bore-sized screwdriver tip in brass. Put that on a rod, chuck rod in drill, use scraper to eat away at the ball. The brass won't hurt the bore, the rod can be kept centered in the muzzle.
 

Carbon 6

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I suppose I could pull the barrel, remove the breech plug, and try driving it out that way. Assuming I can remove the plug.
How much wd-40 did you spray in there?
I would still try to get it to fire on it's own before removing the breech. Think before you proceed, you don't want to make any more mistakes.

Before you proceed, I would soak the ball with pure alcohol and seat the ball proper.
it is at it's most dangerous with the ball part way down the barrel

I would never attempt to drill a ball that has powder in the barrel, even if you think it is sullied. it only take a couple grains.
 
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Carbon 6

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You have helped me think of another way. I have a tip for scraping the breech wall, it's like a bore-sized screwdriver tip in brass. Put that on a rod, chuck rod in drill, use scraper to eat away at the ball. The brass won't hurt the bore, the rod can be kept centered in the muzzle.
What if the ball just starts spinning ?
 

SDSmlf

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How much wd-40 did you spray in there?
I would still try to get it to fire on it's own before removing the breech. Think before you proceed, you don't want to make any more mistakes.

Before you proceed, I would soak the ball with pure alcohol and seat the ball proper.
it is at it's most dangerous with the ball part way down the barrel

I would never attempt to drill a ball that has powder in the barrel, even if you think it is sullied. it only take a couple grains.
JB67, the operative word in Carbon6’s above post is THINK. Seems you are on a path to increase the challenge at every step. Oversized ball. Not wiping between loads. Killing the powder with WD40. Now you want to drill a hole through the ball. Why add to the difficulty level? If you can seat the ball (using either a steel rod as suggested or possibly a 5/8” wooden dowel and a mallet) and get some fresh powder through the flash hole and shoot it out that method is tried and true. If that fails (powder is too wet from the WD40) a CO2 discharger should work.

You don’t mention it, but does this Bess have a removable vent liner? If it does there could be other options to remove a stuck ball.
 

Carbon 6

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JB67, the operative word in Carbon6’s above post is THINK. Seems you are on a path to increase the challenge at every step. Oversized ball. Not wiping between loads. Killing the powder with WD40. Now you want to drill a hole through the ball. Why add to the difficulty level? If you can seat the ball (using either a steel rod as suggested or possibly a 5/8” wooden dowel and a mallet) and get some fresh powder through the flash hole and shoot it out that method is tried and true. If that fails (powder is too wet from the WD40) a CO2 discharger should work.

You don’t mention it, but does this Bess have a removable vent liner? If it does there could be other options to remove a stuck ball.
Exactly!
Pure ethanol or methanol will not sully the powder and may help restore the damage done by the WD-40. if you can get some in there.

The old method of setting off a wet charge was a red hot poker inserted into the vent hole, but the ball needs to be seated.

Abandon the drilling idea.
 

JB67

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I will try seating the ball, then putting fresh powder in the touch hole with my priming flask.

Thanks for all of the input. You've helped me see where I went wrong, and each time I did go wrong.
 

smo

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If you don’t have a co2 discharger you can use an air compressor
Hollow thru the touch hole, I bought a cheap Harbor Freight air gun that had a rubber tip similar tooth’s one o the co2 discharger.

Make sure the muzzle is pointed in a safe direction .
 

Juice Jaws

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Lets us know how you finally get it out. I am for driving the ball on to the powder and then pour some powder through the touch hole shoot her. Doesn't take a lot of powder to push the ball out.
 

fleener

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Good for you to learn from your mistakes and to be willing to take good advice.

Wish you the best in getting this out.

Fleener
 

Bledfor Days

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I got a lead slug stuck in an old unmentionable rifle a few years back. I did what the op was thinking and used a long drill bit with electrical tape wraps for bushings in 3 places. I drilled through the slug and after a few taps with a brass rod, the lead came out in pieces. Worked like a charm. I had exhausted all other options.
Never left a mark on the bore.
 

Carbon 6

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I got a lead slug stuck in an old unmentionable rifle a few years back. I did what the op was thinking and used a long drill bit with electrical tape wraps for bushings in 3 places. I drilled through the slug and after a few taps with a brass rod, the lead came out in pieces. Worked like a charm. I had exhausted all other options.
Never left a mark on the bore.
Unmentionables have removable breech plugs, why didn't you just remove the breech plug ?
 

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