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To patch or not to patch?

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mushka

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What little RB shooting in my smoothbores I've used patches. I just like the idea more than a loose ball in the barrel. Still learning here, trying to figure it out, good or bad.
 

Maven

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I've tried it both ways, but my gun has a decided preference for a smaller (.598 - .604"*) patched RB v. a bore diameter (.618") bare ball. Barrel quality makes a difference here.

*slightly out of round Lyman .600" mould
 

Cruzatte

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For your smooth bore, do you patch or bare ball? Cheers, Foxtail
No, not any more. My new gun is Track's fusil de chasse. My load is 2¼ dr. (yes, you read that correctly, that's drams), .610" ball, topped off by a wad either paper or tow. The bore is .615".
 
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Griz44Mag

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The hakenbusche (.75 bore) - .735 ball wadded with hemp fibre over and under. OR #6 shot carded under and hemp wad over.
The Bess (.75 bore) .735 ball and .010 minked patch. OR a loose .735 ball with paper wad over.
 

tenngun

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I THINK a PRB is a little better and I hunt with a PRB. I’ve shot some good targets with wads and had days where a prb did not shoot better then wads.
Should you say fifty yards is the limit of your gun for hunting both turn out deer+ killing accuracy at those ranges.
I’ve nested a ball in a wad of tow so it didn’t need a top wad, almost a tow patch. When I experiments with wad under a prb it didn’t equal just a patch alone. Just at a range plinking I enjoy wads. I’ve hunted with wads and made meat.
 

hanshi

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I usually get good results with both; but prb accuracy is more uniform and gives better accuracy at 50 yds and beyond. The load is a .600" ball with a .012" patch (tight bore) lubed with TOW mink oil. I have yet to try paper cartridges which may shoot well.
 

smo

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My 16 (.653) gauge likes 70 grns ffg Goex , a .642 self poured roundball.
Topped off with a damp 1/2” fiber wad for daily shooting or pre dampened wad with olive oil for hunting.
 

bud in pa

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Right now I use a 575 round ball in a paper cartridge. I lube it with what's left of my Lehigh Valley Lube. Good enough accuracy at 50 yards for deer.
 

Brokennock

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Depends which smoothbore I'm shooting. Both 20 gauge with slight difference in actual bore measurement.
One gun likes 80 grains 3f, a .600 ball with a lubed. 010 patch. The other barely groups with that load. The other likes 80 grains 3f, but only shoots looser ball combos well. Best load at this powder charge is 2 thin "overshot" cards on top of the powder, then a lubed 1/4" felt wad, the ball, topped with 2 more thin cards. At 50 yards I can cover all my shots with my hand.
Recently I did some experiments with lighter loads to try to comply with a local club's rules for their trail walk.
Turns out that with 65 grains 3f the same ball and wad combo shoots just as well out to 50 yards as the 80 grain load. But, also shoots a .595 ball just as well either patched or in a paper cartridge, or using lubed "faux tow" instead of the felt wad.
 
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Many Klatch

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Once a smoothbore is dirty they will shoot a bare ball about as well as they do patched. In a clean gun on a hunt, I would want a patched ball. There is a hazard connected to the ball being jarred loose and not in contact with the ball when the powder is ignited. I only bare ball if I'm in a timed shoot.
 

Grenadier1758

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For your smooth bore, do you patch or bare ball? Cheers, Foxtail
Ultimately that's a question that has to be asked of your smooth bore. Often in events such as a Woods Walk, the first two or three shots are with a patched round ball and as the fouling builds up, a bare ball performs better.

You are simply just going to have to do the load development. I have seen shooters with basically the identical fowling gun or land pattern musket with one getting great performance with a patched ball and the other with bare. It just depends on your smoothbore.
 
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I've tried both ways. Both produced decent results. With a bare ball, I used a ball as close to bore size as possible. I would think slightly over size would produce great results if it wasn't too hard to start. I'm thinking about .002"-.005" over bore size here. It sounds like some guys knurl the bore size balls with rasps or files or other means to do a similar effect. When I loaded, I used a couple nitro cards, then the ball, then a lubed wad over the ball to hold it in. With a PRB, I only used the patch.
 
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