The forum tries to be as traditional as it can be but we realize that we aren't living in the time period before 1865.
That is why, outside the Reenacting area, talk about modern oils, modern cloth, plastic fishing tackle boxes for carrying shooting supplies, modern synthetic black powder, ultrasonic cleaners, chronographs, digital cameras, computers and a host of other modern things can be discussed.
The exception to this is talking about modern In-Line firearms and plastic sabots.
Yes, at one time we did allow these things to be discussed but major wars broke out between the people who like them and people who hate them. That's the reason talking about them on the forum is now banned. Most of our members understand this and I suspect if I was to take a pole over 90% of our members would agree with this rule.
Speaking of plastic sabots, that brings up another iffy area about the forum rules when it comes to modern plastic shot cups for smoothbores. So far, we've allowed discussions about these but so far no one has complained. (No, I don't want someone to start gripping about them now.)
As a side note, the person who owns this forum also owns another black powder forum that is primarily focused on In-Line muzzleloading guns. If you are interested in discussing those, follow this link and join their forum. No reason you can't belong to two muzzleloading forums if you want to.
It's called Modern Muzzleloader. Here's a link to it: https://www.modernmuzzleloader.com/
I want to thank everyone for their help and suggestions. I was out at the range again Sunday and the results were greatly improved! First time out I was shooting 70 grs. of ff with a .490 rb and a pre-lubed / pre-cut Thompson patch, and my group sizes were 7-8 inches at 50 yards. Sunday the only changes I made were to use a cut at the muzzle pillow ticking patch lubed with a couple of pumps from a small spray bottle with a roughly 5 to 1 mixture of water to Ballistol. With the changes I was getting consistent 1 hole 3 shot groups. I was really surprised at how well it shot. I think I'm good with current combination for quite a while.
I've also been pleasantly surprised at how enjoyable the relaxed pace of ML shooting has been; very relaxing and rewarding. The most fun I've had at the range in a long time.
Congratulations on getting your rifle shooting as good as it is.
I'm betting a large part of the problem you had at first is due to those TC pre-lubed patches.
Pre-lubed patches tend to break down as time passes with the lube causing the cotton fiber to lose its strength. When old pre-lubed patches are shot they tend to shred, loosing their grip on the rifling and burning thru where they contact the bore. I've personally seen many of them that were litterly blown apart and only shreds of cloth remained. If this happens, any accuracy the gun might have shown is lost and you get patterns like the 7-8 inch ones you mentioned.
Actually, it's a very good idea to collect the patches you've shot right after shooting them. Then you can examine them.
If there are any cuts, rips, tears or burn thru's you know right off that your patches have a problem.
They should look slightly brown or tan on the side that faced the powder charge. They should clearly show marks from where they were pressed into the rifling and sealed the bore and the outer edges usually are badly frayed. That's what happens when a piece of cloth gets blasted with supersonic air as it leaves the muzzle. If your patches look like this, your on the right track.
Fired patches usually end up between 10 to 30 feet down range from the firing line.
It helps if you have a spotter watching you shoot so they can keep an eye on them. If there is any breeze at all they often will drift to the side of the line of fire 5 to 10 feet depending on how strong the wind is blowing.