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What is the deal with the fouling ring

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Antelope Pete

40 Cal
Joined
Jan 10, 2024
Messages
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Location
Colorado
So I finally finished my Leman style rifle and it's definitely no show piece but it turned out ok I guess for somebody of my skill level which isn't saying much. Some of you might remember when I posted some questions about installing the drum in the Gun Builder section awhile back.
I started shooting and one issue quickly reared it's ugly head and that is a hard fouling area around the breech area that makes reloading impossible without using a palm saver.
I tried to figure it myself and did some searches but nothing definitive came back. A quick list here to show what I've used so far.

Colerain Barrel

Lube - Wonder Lube and Track's Mink Oil. I put it on thick and thin and had some normal loadings with it thick but not all of them.

Patches - .015 and .020

Balls - .530 and one shot with a .520 ball and .020 patch and the patch was shredded which surprised me. No further shooting with that.

Load - 75 and 80 grains of Swiss 2f. CCI # 11 caps

Accuracy - Not great most of the time it's around 4 1/2" at 50 yards for 4 shots with 3 going into 2 - 3 inches

Being that it's a new barrel some patch cutting is happening with both .015 and .020.

I wonder if a possible reason and it sounds weird is that I had to get a 3/8" inch threaded drum because the gunsmith messed up drilling and tapping the 5/16" hole. The 5/16 drum has a .160 flash channel and the 3/8 has a .188 channel. Could it be too much powder in the channel causing the excess fouling?

I've had 5 muzzleloaders and this is the first time for this.
 
Here's a good reason why!
Start here...try a water based lube. Damp Patch between shots....
Polish the bore to remove some of the tool marks...

Wonder lube , now ya wonder no more.
"Lube - Wonder Lube and Track's Mink Oil. I put it on thick and thin and had some normal loadings with it thick but not all of them."
 
Good suggestions so far.

I have found Colerain barrels seem to require some polishing as mentioned above (at least compared to a Rice barrel for example), or maybe a couple hundred or so shots to smooth out the machining burrs if you are not in a hurry.

The mink oil is good stuff for hunting, load the gun with no worry of fouling a powder charge with the load in the barrel for an extended period of time. At the range, not always that great. The Wonder Lube, different can of worms. Some love it, many hate it. Using a water based patch lube and wet patch is a good idea. When you feel that fouling ring, stop pushing and check your watch, look around for enemy aircraft, check your smartphone or anything to give that water based lube a few seconds to work. Then ease that patched roundball home. The fouling ring will be gone. Could even go old school and give it one or two Mississippis.
 
Good suggestions so far.

I have found Colerain barrels seem to require some polishing as mentioned above (at least compared to a Rice barrel for example), or maybe a couple hundred or so shots to smooth out the machining burrs if you are not in a hurry.

The mink oil is good stuff for hunting, load the gun with no worry of fouling a powder charge with the load in the barrel for an extended period of time. At the range, not always that great. The Wonder Lube, different can of worms. Some love it, many hate it. Using a water based patch lube and wet patch is a good idea. When you feel that fouling ring, stop pushing and check your watch, look around for enemy aircraft, check your smartphone or anything to give that water based lube a few seconds to work. Then ease that patched roundball home. The fouling ring will be gone. Could even go old school and give it one or two Mississippis.
That’s a very good suggestion to let the patch sit for a second or two, I like that idea.
 
I am having the same issue with my Kibler SMR, 40cal. My Woodsrunner does not have this problem and I’m using the same lube (moosemilk and pillow ticking). I do use wonder lube after cleaning.
 
It can be common for the hard fouling ring to form for some barrel and lubricants. The solution is to use a patch lubricant that softens the fouling or wipe the bore with a damp patch lubricated with a fouling softening mix of dish soap and water followed by a dry patch. After all, we are shooting black powder and fouling build up is part of the experience.

A new barrel with some roughness on the lands will be more prone to a fouling build up. A little polishing of the bore and a loading procedure that addresses the fouling (wipe with a damp patch between shots or use a wet patch on the ball) will improve the conditions at the breech.
 
A super smooth bore is not necessarily best for accurate shooting. If accuracy is good, leave the bore alone, and concentrate your efforts on how you clean, and how often you do it.
A cleaning patch/jag combination that fits too tightly will push fouling down the bore rather than pull it out, and could likely be the cause of your fouling ring.
 
Use some 400 grit emery cloth around the crown of the barrel and smooth the edges, that could be whats cutting the patch and try different lubes.
 
I’ll try the wet patches. I have been using patches lubed with Moosemilk which I let dry.
Don't let it dry; it's not milk any more if you do. I pre-punch stacks of patches which I store in prescription containers. I add lube just before heading to the range by squirting a dose of detergent down the inside of the container full of patches, (you could use moose milk for this) then fill the container with water, and squish the stack of patches a few times to squeeze out the air and work the soap/water mixture to completely wet the patches. At the range, I take out a few at a time and squeeze all of the water I can out of them before loading. There is no danger regarding wetting your powder doing this. The barrel is effectively wiped clean with each load, and I have never had to clean my gun between rounds. For any situation when your gun may need to stay loaded for an extended period, (hunting?), a greased/oiled patch is fine because you most likely won't shoot more than a couple of rounds.
 
I got a .36 caliber rifle that does the "crud ring" thing when I use the dry patch method every time. It goes away when I use a wet patch of the same thickness. I was using the "Dutch Scholtz" dry patch method but stopped using it because I was starting fires during woods walks and I did not get any better accuracy from it.
 
Thank you for all the suggestions. This condition is new to me but sounds like a few of you have experienced it.
the ring is a byproduct of not tight enough ball and patch combo and or petroleum in the barrel. petroleum = hard crust period when mixed with black powder
Rebel bull,
The .530 ball and .020 patch is pretty snug. I use alcohol to prep the bore and degrease it before loading. I've done it that way for a long time. Next time I'll use Gun Scrubber since Colrain's rifling is deeper. Thanks.
I am having the same issue with my Kibler SMR, 40cal. My Woodsrunner does not have this problem and I’m using the same lube (moosemilk and pillow ticking). I do use wonder lube after cleaning.
Well at least I'm not alone at this time 😉. It's great encountering a non typical issue isn't it. 🙄 Hopefully we get this fixed soon.

Several of you have suggested polishing the bore but I don't understand why that would affect only the breech area. Seems like it would affect the whole bore. It's not terrible to load most of the way until I get to 1 to 2 inches from seating then it just stops dead.


I would polish the bore, then throw away the wonder lube. Try spit, dawn/water or mink oil. They all work for me. I started with wonderlube and had similar problems.
Are you recommending liquid mink oil? Something like the Fiebing's stuff. I know it's mink oil and Neatsfoot oil. But that's ok.

Maybe try some 3F powder.

I use pre lubed cotton patches lubed with "Wonder Lube" and pillow ticking lubed with Mink Oil and haven't had any issues.
Thanks. I thought about 3f powder too but wasn't sure.

Well as many of you have suggested I'll try the liquid lube and try it some more and see. And if that doesn't help I guess maybe some moose milk on a green Scotch Brite pad down the bore and see.
 
Thank you for all the suggestions. This condition is new to me but sounds like a few of you have experienced it.

Rebel bull,
The .530 ball and .020 patch is pretty snug. I use alcohol to prep the bore and degrease it before loading. I've done it that way for a long time. Next time I'll use Gun Scrubber since Colrain's rifling is deeper. Thanks.

Well at least I'm not alone at this time 😉. It's great encountering a non typical issue isn't it. 🙄 Hopefully we get this fixed soon.

Several of you have suggested polishing the bore but I don't understand why that would affect only the breech area. Seems like it would affect the whole bore. It's not terrible to load most of the way until I get to 1 to 2 inches from seating then it just stops dead.



Are you recommending liquid mink oil? Something like the Fiebing's stuff. I know it's mink oil and Neatsfoot oil. But that's ok.


Thanks. I thought about 3f powder too but wasn't sure.

Well as many of you have suggested I'll try the liquid lube and try it some more and see. And if that doesn't help I guess maybe some moose milk on a green Scotch Brite pad down the bore and see.
The mink oil I use is from Track of the wolf, it’s semi solid. A lot of mink oils for waterproofing have petroleum products in them, I don’t use that.
 
Several of you have suggested polishing the bore but I don't understand why that would affect only the breech area. Seems like it would affect the whole bore. It's not terrible to load most of the way until I get to 1 to 2 inches from seating then it just stops dead.
The heaviest fouling will be at the breech end of the bore.

There are many ways to polish and smooth a bore. Here is a @duelist1954 video showing the process he used on a difficult to load GPR.

I have used a similar method with Scotch-Brite for some time on all my new or new to me barrels, and Mike explains his very well. I started doing it after speaking to Don Getz (Getz Barrel) years ago before he passed, and he recommended using the green (600 grit) Scotch-Brite for smoothing up barrels that were cutting patches. Said it wouldn’t hurt the barrel.
 
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