Swabbing between shot for safety.

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Siringo

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Reality check for me. How many shots might I take while hunting deer? Two maybe. Then why would I worry about swabbing? My initial load is a tight patch. My subsequent load is a thinner patch.

Now general shooting for fun is another matter. There I want consistent accuracy shot to shot. That means the bore has to be the same level of fouling shot to shot. So, I wipe between shots. Not a big deal other than going thru a lot of patches. Good cotton ones I save and wash them. But not with my wife’s underwear!
 
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To give those who say otherwise a case of the vapors, have them watch a video of the North South Skirmish Association Nationals musket match. Nobody wiping, nobody removing spent caps before loading, nobody blowing down the muzzle, and even better, no cookoffs after thousands of rounds expended.
Well........that is sorta correct. As I understand it, most CW clubs have a 'no thumbing' rule for loading. They want their members to keep their thumbs intact if there is a cook off.
 
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Pure BS. I have shot Black Powder since the the late 70's. I have never had nor have I seen a powder charge ignite from a burning ember from a previous shot. Another Karen rule by someone that knows nothing about Black Powder shooting. I also have never witnessed or had a chain fire in a revolver. I would lobby against the swabbing rule.

Mwal
I have never seen an ember cook off a powder charge. Maybe a erroneous link to when muzzle loading cannons were reloaded. I have had two instances of chain fires though. Exciting but not damaging.
 
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In my 30 plus years of shooting Muzzies, I’ve never heard of, nor witnessed a gun going off while loading.

I was using Dutch Schoultz’s system and really liked the idea of having a semi-clean barrel each time I loaded. However, it took longer. The Range Master would call “time” before I got all my shots off. Although, I could probably do it on the Trail if I wanted. I went back to cleaning my barrel every five shots as that’s the amount we normally shoot at targets before pulling and posting. Occasionally we’ll have one with more than that and there’s where the problem arose.

Caplocks seem more prone to misfires with a wet or damp patch. Never had that problem with my flinters as I usually have a vent pick in the touch hole while cleaning or loading. I’ve also heard of folks using a brush and just dumping the crud on the ground.

Thanks!

Walt
 
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The club seems to have plagiarized the NMLRA rules and made them mandatory instead of suggestions. From the NMLRA rules:

"1110–SWABBING BETWEEN SHOTS–Swabbing between shots with a damp patch to eliminate the possibility of glowing embers igniting the next powder charge is strongly recommended."

I will propose revising to the NMLRA version.
 

beardedhorse

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The phenomenon of "dieseling" comes from fire pistons. Diesel attended an archaeological lecture where Filipino or other Asian style fire pistons were demonstrated. A tight fitting piston rod was pushed forcefully into a closed tube. The friction of the air molecules got so hot under the gasketed rod that it ignited palm or other tinder located at the end of the rod. Compressed diesel fuel in diesel engines came from this principle. An old Smithsonian Institute magazine article talks about this. A fool could try black powder in the fire piston to see if this works but I wouldn't hold it in my hand or operate the plunger with my hand or use much black powder. European inventors made fire pistons of metal such as brass when they say sparks ( from compressed air and maybe oil) coming out of the barrel of air rifles. Fire pistons were used to light cigarettes in World War II when the Japanese outlawed matches from the populace, the heads of which could be used to make explosives. Fire pistons are still made by individuals and commercial manufacturers today. I can see the potential danger in speed shoots such as stake shoots but so far no "cook offs" a shoots other than chili contests.
 

maillemaker

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I have been shooting N-SSA competition for 10 years. In that time, I have had 3 "cook-offs" myself personally. I have a "black powder tattoo" in my right forefinger from the blast permanently embedding black powder residue under the skin on he pad of my finger. In my time on the firing line a our regional skirmishes I have heard probably 3-4 other cook-offs during shooting (they make a very distinctive sound).

Here is one I caught on audio (and very nearly video) at about the :22 mark:

[video]

In my experience, cook-offs almost always happen while reloading after the first shot (as was the case in the above video). My theory is this: Most N-SSA shooters clean their bores in between courses of fire (which are usually 10-15 shots rapid fire over 5 minutes, for musket and carbine). My guess is that a piece of lint or fuzz from a patch is left in the bore, and after the first shot it smolders as an ember. Another possibility is that the breech area is still damp and that perhaps some powder is fouled and does not burn due to being wet. Perhaps it is smoldering.

For a while, I used 100% cotton gauze as a cheap source of cleaning patches. These are good and cheap, but will easily pull "fuzz" if you drag them across any kind of burr on metal. I switched to synthetic fabric medical gauze and have not had a cookoff since. I notice that the fuzz from the synthetic gauze melts, whereas cotton smolders. I suspect this is a contributing factor to my own cookoffs.

Now, N-SSA muzzle loading shooting is a different animal than patched round ball shooting. In the N-SSA, loading and firing happens on the firing line, with participants loading and shooting as fast as they accurately can. With PRB shooting generally shooters load at a bench, walk to the firing line, fire their arm, then walk back to their loading bench to repeat. It's a much slower rate of fire. This alone will reduce your likelihood of having a cookoff.

Same with revolvers. Revolvers are also shot in N-SSA competition, but there is no rapid reloading. Shooters load their cylinders, fire them, then the entire team must be cleared off the line, then targets checked/hung, and then the loading for the next relay starts again. There are several minutes in between relays and so again the likelihood of cookoffs are slight. If you are shooting combustible paper cartridges in a revolver (allowed in N-SSA competition), then you owe it to yourself to run a worm down the chamber prior to re-loading not so much for the cookoff possibility but to fish out any unburned paper remnants that might prevent ignition on the next shot.

I took the NRA Muzzleloading Instructor training a couple of years ago. This training was developed in conjunction with the NMLRA. We were trained to teach "wet patch dry patch" as part of the loading process. I don't recall if a specific reasoning was given for it, but my guess is it does two things: First, it helps keep the bore clean so that you don't end up with a ball that gets stuck part-way down the barrel on loading. Second, it will help extinguish anything burning in the bore prior to reloading.

Many N-SSA shooters I know do not clean their bores with patches in between courses of fire. Many just brush.

So, do I think it should be required to wet patch prior to loading? No.
 

Versanaut

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Interesting reads here. I’ve never given this much thought, and I’m not exactly sure how I personally feel about it.

Each of my rifles likes something a little different. One I can’t even drive a ball home unless I swab the barrel between shots. Another completely fowls up if I try swabbing between and becomes unfireable. Another absolutely shoots great staying dirty between shots and so forth. At the end of the day, I do not swab my favorite rifles between shots, but the thought crosses my mind regarding having the powder go off while loading. I try to limit my exposure over the muzzle. I use a range rod with a larger grip should the thing decide to go, hoping the rod and ball would mostly slip pass my hand and end up with abrasions and burns.

We also have a hole in the roof of our firing line from a muzzleloader, but it was from a capped and cocked rifle being brought off the line and the rifle beat on to fix a problem. No accident there, just pure stupidity.

Anyhoo, good conversation here.
 

dave951

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I have been shooting N-SSA competition for 10 years. In that time, I have had 3 "cook-offs" myself personally. I have a "black powder tattoo" in my right forefinger from the blast permanently embedding black powder residue under the skin on he pad of my finger. In my time on the firing line a our regional skirmishes I have heard probably 3-4 other cook-offs during shooting (they make a very distinctive sound).

Here is one I caught on audio (and very nearly video) at about the :22 mark:

[video]

In my experience, cook-offs almost always happen while reloading after the first shot (as was the case in the above video). My theory is this: Most N-SSA shooters clean their bores in between courses of fire (which are usually 10-15 shots rapid fire over 5 minutes, for musket and carbine). My guess is that a piece of lint or fuzz from a patch is left in the bore, and after the first shot it smolders as an ember. Another possibility is that the breech area is still damp and that perhaps some powder is fouled and does not burn due to being wet. Perhaps it is smoldering.

For a while, I used 100% cotton gauze as a cheap source of cleaning patches. These are good and cheap, but will easily pull "fuzz" if you drag them across any kind of burr on metal. I switched to synthetic fabric medical gauze and have not had a cookoff since. I notice that the fuzz from the synthetic gauze melts, whereas cotton smolders. I suspect this is a contributing factor to my own cookoffs.

Now, N-SSA muzzle loading shooting is a different animal than patched round ball shooting. In the N-SSA, loading and firing happens on the firing line, with participants loading and shooting as fast as they accurately can. With PRB shooting generally shooters load at a bench, walk to the firing line, fire their arm, then walk back to their loading bench to repeat. It's a much slower rate of fire. This alone will reduce your likelihood of having a cookoff.

Same with revolvers. Revolvers are also shot in N-SSA competition, but there is no rapid reloading. Shooters load their cylinders, fire them, then the entire team must be cleared off the line, then targets checked/hung, and then the loading for the next relay starts again. There are several minutes in between relays and so again the likelihood of cookoffs are slight. If you are shooting combustible paper cartridges in a revolver (allowed in N-SSA competition), then you owe it to yourself to run a worm down the chamber prior to re-loading not so much for the cookoff possibility but to fish out any unburned paper remnants that might prevent ignition on the next shot.

I took the NRA Muzzleloading Instructor training a couple of years ago. This training was developed in conjunction with the NMLRA. We were trained to teach "wet patch dry patch" as part of the loading process. I don't recall if a specific reasoning was given for it, but my guess is it does two things: First, it helps keep the bore clean so that you don't end up with a ball that gets stuck part-way down the barrel on loading. Second, it will help extinguish anything burning in the bore prior to reloading.

Many N-SSA shooters I know do not clean their bores with patches in between courses of fire. Many just brush.

So, do I think it should be required to wet patch prior to loading? No.


Wow Steve, I've only had one, ever. Between relays I will put a damp patch down the bore and I mean just damp and follow with a couple dry ones. My one cookoff was with my smoothbore. My squad wasn't having a good day. Of the 9 pigeons, I shot 7, then the cookoff as I was loading round 8 and the horn sounded. But like I said earlier, in tens of thousands of rounds, live and blanks, that was the first and so far, only.
 

maillemaker

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Wow Steve, I've only had one, ever. Between relays I will put a damp patch down the bore and I mean just damp and follow with a couple dry ones. My one cookoff was with my smoothbore. My squad wasn't having a good day. Of the 9 pigeons, I shot 7, then the cookoff as I was loading round 8 and the horn sounded. But like I said earlier, in tens of thousands of rounds, live and blanks, that was the first and so far, only.

I believe it was a mistake for me to use 100% cotton medical gauze for cleaning patches. I thought they would be more absorptive. But the synthetic fiber ones work just fine and as I have confirmed by burning them they melt instead of smolder.

Steve
 
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The standard rule is : if you go to a club range , or a public range or shoot with strangers , some time some where some day you will run into a Flaming Fruit Bat (dic* head) who will try to blow himself and every one else into little runny pieces .This is not an everyday occurrence. BUT It can happen ,it has happened and it will happen : Caveat surculus (Let the shooter beware )
The first BP club I went to , every one came and shook my hand , admired my gear , asked about my shooting experience and were generally nice to me , I thought " What a nice group of guys" Years later I found they were making sure I( wasn't about to shoot one of them or worse . 😁
 

flntlokr

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I concur ... NOT needed! I've been shootin' MZLs for 50+ years, as my Father did before him and we've never HEARD of nor have WITNESSED one! And I used to consume 8-pounds or more BP annually ... which I think is pretty good! Assuming a 70-grain or lesser charge, that's at least 800 shots if only in the fowler and almost 2X that if the smallbores were used.

Now I did SEE one once ... but on YouTube where the shooter was doing a live demo with a Brown Bess for SPEED shooting using paper cartridges and he did have a charge ignite after about the 4th or th shot, IIRC. I bet that it was caused by the haste and heavy 'blank' charges he was firing.
I suspect that bits of the cartridge paper left behind could have been the cause also. Like everyone else on this platform, in 40 years fo bp shooting, I have never seen/heard of, a DOCUMENTED instance of it happening. Much of the folklore about the exaggerated dangers of bp is passed on by folks who have never had anything to do with it, who have 'heard' about whatever, and pass it on without question as fact.
 

flntlokr

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The standard rule is : if you go to a club range , or a public range or shoot with strangers , some time some where some day you will run into a Flaming Fruit Bat (dic* head) who will try to blow himself and every one else into little runny pieces .This is not an everyday occurrence. BUT It can happen ,it has happened and it will happen : Caveat surculus (Let the shooter beware )
The first BP club I went to , every one came and shook my hand , admired my gear , asked about my shooting experience and were generally nice to me , I thought " What a nice group of guys" Years later I found they were making sure I( wasn't about to shoot one of them or worse . 😁
With our group, when a 'new' shooter shows up, the rangemaster keeps a pretty close eye on him until he is sure that the newbie knows what he/she is doing, and if they seem to be a bit shaky, he'll match them up with an experienced person who can mentor and help until everyone is comfortable. We also offer a half-day 'Introduction to Black Powder Shooting' course in which we spend about 2 hours going through history, safety, equipment, and basic safe procedures for loading and handling while shooting. Followed by an hour or more of supervised shooting with a mentor. Followed by a session devoted to cleaning up after the fun has been had, so all the guns get put away clean (and the instructor doesn't get stuck doing it all.) It's surprising how many experienced shooters who sit in tell me afterwards " never knew that....".
 
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I suspect that bits of the cartridge paper left behind could have been the cause also. Like everyone else on this platform, in 40 years fo bp shooting, I have never seen/heard of, a DOCUMENTED instance of it happening. Much of the folklore about the exaggerated dangers of bp is passed on by folks who have never had anything to do with it, who have 'heard' about whatever, and pass it on without question as fact.
I was in a speed shoot where we were using Parker Hale Musketoons , the guy next to me was using pre measured charges in a plastic pill bottles , He had an accidental ignition where the bottle exploded and drove pieces of plastic into his hand , severely burnt the web of skin between his thumb and forefinger and permanently tattooed powder grains under the skin .
A range I used to shoot at had a tin roof over the mound , there were 3 holes in the tin where ramrods had gone through the tin , all signed and dated . One hole was about 6" long where the rod had gone through slightly sideways .
 
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