Thanks so much Renegade. Previously I had been swabbing with a patch soaked in T/C bore cleaner (it did cross my mind that it might get too wet down there), then I dry patched several times. From now on I'll just use a slightly damp patch followed by a dry one. As far as the mink oil goes, I heated it to a liquid on the stove then put my patch in which totally absorbed the oil. I let it dry then scraped off the excess on both sides. But from yours's and Carbons comments that's way too much lube. So now I'll just rub it in from the tin on 1 side only and work it out to the edges. I've attached my recovered patches from 70g FFG. They weren't being destroyed as I thought. Tomorrow, I'll shoot 70 grain with just a little lube to see what the group looks like. Also, I'll see if I can shoot a group of FFFg.I agree with Carbon6 on too much lube. I find TOTW mink oil to be extremely slick and get much better groups if I apply it very lightly. I simply swipe a patch across the tin of lube once with "medium" pressure on the patch and then rub it into the patch clear out to the edges with my thumbs. I will apply a bit more if needed to ensure there is lube clear out to the edges. You almost have to set one of my lubed patches next to an unlubed one to see they are slightly darker. I only lube one side, I always do the side with the stripes to keep track of which way to orient the patch when loading. I'd bet that group will tighten up at least an inch with lighter lube, besides the clogging issues you're seeing.
I've seen suggestions of Hoppes BP solvent as a lube and Mr. Flintlocks. I have no experience with Mr. Flintlocks, but will say since your main purpose is hunting I'd stick with a grease or oil style lube that won't dry out when left loaded for several hours.
You don't need to wash unlubed pre-cut patches, just when you buy and make them yourself from a fabric store. At least in my experience.
Your recovered patches sound fine, the edges will always be frayed some. You just don't want to see any cuts, tears, holes, or shredding inside of the frayed edges.
You said you were swabbing with a "dry patch". This is a great way to get your patch, jag, and rod stuck in the bore. It can also be knocking dry fouling down into your flame channel and causing your clogging issues. Try using a damp spit patch, or water, or denatured alcohol, or blue windex, or Hoppes BP solvent, or any number of other things. Run it down the bore in one smooth stroke, let it sit for a few seconds so the fouling has a chance to soften, and then pull it back out. Make sure the patch is only damp, you don't want a bunch of moisture squeezing out of it and all that running into your flame channel. Follow this with a dry patch and then snap a cap to ensure the flame channel is still clear. Fouling should come out the bore and you should be able to see a leaf or dry patch you placed on the ground move when the cap goes off. If it doesn't, do it again.
2f is just fine if you want to use it, it is just odd that you're seeing worse fouling with 3f rather than 2f. I believe that is what Carbon6 is referring to. I see a very noticeable difference between 2f and 3f, with 3f fouling being much less. Perhaps the finer fouling of 3f combined with your dry patch swabbing is letting the finer fouling get into the flame channel easier?
If you can get a .445 RB down the bore with an .018" thick patch, then you may also see better results with a .440 RB with a .020" thick patch.
I agree Mark and of course I wouldn't shoot something without being sighted in. Never have, never will. Here, a lot of guys dump out bags of corn to bait deer. It's legal, but in my book it sure isn't ethical.If you have another rifle that is sighted in and suitable caliber I would be ready to use it. Without being sighted in you are taking a chance of wounding a living thing. That, to me, is not being an ethical hunter.
Thanks Boomerang. I am going to shoot again today to see if I can tighten the group even more. If so, then I'll move my sights.Your patches look good to me. If you would bump your sights over to center of your target, your 3 shot group is plenty tight enough for deer. Just try to get within 50 yards or less.
Thanks Renegade and everyone else for all the help. I really do appreciate all the input and the great advice. I do have the .445 balls coming in, but for now I'll stick with what I have; especially since deer season opens in several days. The changes I made were barely using as much mink oil as I did before. I rubbed the patch very sparingly on one side only and then worked it out to the edges with my fingers. I only swabbed with a slightly damp patch with water, rather than a dripping wet patch with T/C bore cleaner on it like I did before. Just for the heck of it, I did 3 shots with FFFg @ 70grains and there was about 5" between them. Not a very good group. To be fair, I didn't try out any higher or lower FFFg charges. Thanks for the vote of confidence in filling my freezer. Hopefully I will have some pix to show. Here, there is a 6 day firearm season where you can use a muzzleloader. After that, you can use a ML till the first of Jan.I agree with Boomerang, should be plenty fine for 50 or less deer accuracy.
If you're going to try lighter lube on the patches I wouldn't adjust the sights until you see what that result is first. (I'm hoping one ragged hole).
One change at a time, whether it be lighter lubed patches, 3f powder, or a different charge. Then move sights using the load with the best results.
If none of the other changes help, then just go with that 70 grain group you shot last time and move your sights to center it up.
Best of luck filling your freezer.