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Author Topic: Old/New Topic on patches and ball fitting  (Read 4545 times)
Daryl
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« on: September 27, 2010, 01:19:23 PM »

I copied this from another forum I frequent withing the Cast Bullet Association, of which I belong.  This is the second post and of more clarity and precision, I think. I hope it will lay down what works for all of us here in the North.

We deal with humidity from 5% to close to 100% and temperatures that range from 0F below to in excess of 100F.  This pretty much covers the gamut of climate. We see no increased fouling in any of the extremes, BUT - notice that some guns do require thicker then normal patching in etctremely hot, dry climates. We always lube the same - saturated patches & we win matches, attesting to the accuracy we enjoy throughout the temperature and humidity range.  NEVER do we see a burning or smoldering patch from our guns - patches are re-usable if we care to pick them up and simply re-lube them.  I've shot many local trails with old patches, picked up while shooting on the main range, testing loads or when filing in new sights.

The post:

I've used the backs of the legs from old jeans, but prefer to purchase my patch material by the yard or meter.  Worn clothing is not as strong as new material.  Mattress ticking also makes good patches for many rifles (most of mine) in .0215" thickness.  I take either calipers or a mic with me to the store and after acertaining the material is 100% cotton, I measure or mic it.  The mic is given a good swirl with the ratchet brrrrrrrrt and read.  It gives readings from .0015 to .003" smaller than my 3 sets of calipers. The caliper measurements vary due to differences in the width of the jaws on each set.  With calipers, I pinch the jaws togther over the material with my thumb and forefinger and read the dial while pinching the material, just as it would be compressed in a bore. I look for a reading of .020" to .022" with the mic and .0225" to .025" for the calipers.  The material should be washed before shooting to remove the sizing - I run a regular wash with the new material, then run it through the complete cycle without soap.  Washign softens the fabric and shrinks it to a tighter weave, increasing it's strength. Most materials will lose a thou. or 2 when washed., but some cotton weaves that shrink a lot might gain thickness even though losing the sizing. My ticking did just that, increasing from .0205" to .0215".

Ball size - we use balls that are .005" smaller than the bore in rifles for the most accurate shooting. In my .40 target rifle, I use a ball that is .002" larger than the bore, with a .019" patch.  It loads easily with a 3/8" hickory rod.  It's all in the muzzle. No - the muzzles of my rifles are not coned - I do not believe in coning as it opened groups both times I tested it in 2 very accurate rifles, a .45 and the .40 match rifle.  It would be OK for a purely hunting rifle, although I will never do it again - I prefer guilt edge accuracy, on the range and when hunting. Coning more than doubled group sizes. if coning improves accuracy, it must have been pretty dismal before, is all I can say. One of the guys I shoot with often, has a coned .40 and he cannot easily load the larger ball and patch in it, that I use in my rifle, even though the combination is .002" looser in his bore. Mine is undersized by that amount.  The reason might be as simple as a long taper produces more friction, than-does the short 'drawing taper' I put on my muzzles. This is simply a polished machine cut to remove the corners.  This type of crown allows very tight combinations that do not cut the patch.  I have shot normal groups of 5 shots, retrieving the 1st patch, re-lubing it and using it for each of the 5 shots, just to prove the material and thickness is good.  I've come to the conclusion that if the patch is not totally reusable, the material or thickness is wrong. Patches with any burns or cuts are not suitable - or - the crown needs work.  Most people err on using too-thin a patch.

Back to balls - for hunting, I suppose a person could use a ball that is .010" small than the bore for slightly easier loading maybe - we see no real difference in loading with our loading techniques and lubes when using the larger .005"/under ball.  That means a .495" ball in a .50, .445" in a .45 and a .535" in a .54, etc.

Some factory guns have very shallow button'd rlfing that is less suited for shooting patched round balls than are the more deeply machined, cut rifle grooves. We have had good accuracy in button'd barrels with round balls if using a ball .010" smaller, ie: .490", .440" and .530" when using a thick denim patch of .022".

 Some makes of denim list it by weight.  If your store lists it this way, get the 10 oz. weight.  I use this too and it usually runs .022" to .0225" with the mic, and thicker yet with calipers. It is very accurate in all my rifles as well as other's rifles we've tested it in. Linen, if it can be found thick enough, makes a superior patch material.  It is also very expensive. I have heard of people using .010" to .012" patches - we won't even use those for cleaning as they are too thin for that job as well. Flannel is the best material for cleaning paches. Bady diapers used to be the best but are hard to find now a days.  A thin patch does not seal the gasses behind the ball, and a thin patch does not hold enough lube to keep the fouing soft.

The Crown, The Crown!

We've found over the years that no factory gun has a suitable muzzle crown - as received. Most all of them have a machine cut angle from wider than the groove depth to the tops of the lands.  This leaves 2 sharp angles at the top of the cut to the bottom of the grooves and at the tops of the lands. This sharpness cuts patches and makes the lead ring up when attempting to seat a thich patch with the ball.  Rounding this angle vastly improves loading and helps the patch and ball swage or draw into the bore much more easily and without damage to the ball.  Emery and your thumb will do wonders for the crown and it takes only a few minutes to do well. Rotating your thumb and rotating the barrel periodically keeps the crown perfectly concentric with the bore's axis.

 

Patches - why do we use thick patches - well - thicker than what most use.  Thicker patches hold more lube - more lube softens fouling making loading easier. Soft fouling also maintains an exact, consistant condtition in the bore making for improved accuracy and eliminating the need for frequent wiping.  Fouling does not build up shot to shot. Loading is exactly the same all day long as there is never more than one shot's fouling in the bore & that is easily wiped down by the ball and patch as you load the next one.

 

To load a tight combination, one must use a short starter.  There is no repeated hammering or need of a mallet as some describe their loading attempts.

 

Lubes - for hunting, we use Mink Oil as sold by Trackofthewolf, or Neetsfoot Oil, or Marmont Oil, or Bear's Oil/Grease.  For target work, we simply use a spit patch, or a combination of a few ounces of an oil, mixed into winter windshielf washer fluid. Note that patches must be wet - ie: saturated with lube. No, it will not destroy the powder charge. Licking a patch is not using spit for lube, just as a dab of grease or oil does not constitute a lubed patch.  The patch must be wet- ie: saturated.  In very large bores, I've used a card wad or extra patch between the grease patch and the powder, when hunting.  The .62 and .69 cal rifles do not seem to be negatively effected by the additional patch or wad, however all of my smaller bores are effected by the extra wad or patch - negatively as to accuracy. I do not use a 'wad' in them and the powder seems just fine.

 

Hope this helps - if not, let me know what's up and we'll try to sort out any problems.

 

Edited for clarity and spelling/typos

Daryl

The ball and patch combination along with the rifle particualars follows.

GM .45 barrel 42" long with .450" bore, .010" square rifling at .470" groove diameter. .0215" ticking patch + .445" pure lead ball = .488" diameter minus bore of .470" = .018" divided by 2 = .009" compression of ball and patch per side (all the way around) ensuring a 'sealing' fit of ball to bore.  I used the rifle's 3/8" hickory rod - note the loading technique and how easily the rod pushes the patch and ball down the barrel.  The video starts with seating the patched ball into the barrel using the short, cupped knob on the starter.



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bgf
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« Reply #1 on: September 27, 2010, 03:09:50 PM »

Daryl,
I wish I had read and believed that before I ever took my first shot.  Factory recommendations and local gurus wasted pounds of powder and (undersized) lead for me.  The work that needs to be done on the crown is amazingly simple -- takes all of 15 minutes at most, but it makes a huge difference.  I did it in two steps, just to play it safe, so it may have taken half an hour:).  Only thing I can think to add is that the green scrub pad treatment recommended by Don Getz and others will help a new or rough bore and it seems to be good insurance against cutting patches if the crown is good.  Pick up patches and look -- any hole or scorch at all is suboptimal, in my limited experience.
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Al Lapp
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« Reply #2 on: September 27, 2010, 04:43:37 PM »

Daryl;
  Great article. Thanks   Al
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Daryl
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« Reply #3 on: September 27, 2010, 06:43:22 PM »

TKS RB and guys for the coments. Post repaired. BGF - that's it.  I always look for a scorch where the bottom of the groove would be. It will be a brown line usually. This shows powder gasses are getting by and a thicker patch should be used.  Trouble starts in warmer temps than when the scorch is noticed, where the scorch becomes a burnout - sometimes.  Less than a good fit usually does not produce the accuracy a barrel is capable of. We must maintain a consistant bore for consistant accuracy.

Years ago, I went overboard perhaps with patch thickness, but it taught me what a smooth and radiused crown would do. I was using a TC .50, with .495" balls and a .022" denim patch, loaded with the rifle's 3/8" hickory rod.  Most would find that a bit tight in .004" deep rifling - it was tight, but it shot well with right up to 120gr. 2F whatever powder I was using then - probably Curtis and Harvey's.
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Simon
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« Reply #4 on: September 27, 2010, 06:44:30 PM »

I've never put the study time in as Daryl has and I have learned a lot from him about patch material and lube.  I have  used the .005 under bore sized ball vs. the .010 since I was able to get different sized balls and moulds.  I just thought they shot better.  We didn't have paper matches when I started in black powder,  just a live turkey shoot  once in a while(100 yds.  off hand).  A dollar a shot at the turkeys head behind a log.  That's when I decided the larger ball was much better.

I have tried some of the thicker patch material, but so far I  haven,t  had much luck in finding anything not available from Wally World,   but  there should be better accuracy in some of the other material.
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Mel Kidd
YORKTOWNE54
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« Reply #5 on: September 27, 2010, 10:05:27 PM »

Is it safe to say that a larger rb is always a better choice? Seems the patch is more of a variable when sealing off the bore good and tight. Variables are not good in shooting.
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Daryl
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« Reply #6 on: September 28, 2010, 10:30:53 AM »

In my own opinion, a larger round ball will always give better accuracy than  smaller round ball.  The fact that the bench guns and 'buffalo match' guns of the 1970's at Friendship all used and use larger than bore sized balls shows this trend.
In my own guns, a .400" (.002" larger than the bore) is more accurate than a .395" ball.  A .445" ball was more accurate than a .440" ball and the .570" ball is more accurate in the .58 double (both barrels) than a .562" ball.  Now, every one of these ball sizes was used with a patch that produced at least .008" or more compression in the grooves and sealed perfectly - yet in all instances, the larger ball was more accurate.  Taylor's more deeply grooved .50 Virginia with a rounded rifling Rice barrel also showed better accuracy with the larger .495" ball, than a .490" ball.  One of thes days, we'll do a range session with it and the .508" ball.  In testing patches, we found a pocket drill patch of .019" that fits perfectly with that .508" ball - nice fit, no cutting on pulling the ball out of the muzzle.  The only thing left is to bench it and see how it shoots.
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Dpeck
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« Reply #7 on: September 28, 2010, 10:59:37 AM »

While you are discussing rifles, I have gotten very good accuracy in my 20 smoothbore with the 600 ball, where some are swearing by the 595.  I do not have a 595 to test against it, but can see absolutely no reason to order one with the results I am getting.  It has rifle sights.  I have won a few matches myself and can more or less agree to ball size/patch thickness like Daryl recommends.  You really start seeing the difference off of X sticks and that sort of match.
Somewhere some one pushed the virtues of easy loading for hunting rifles. For the one shot you usually take, a target quality load is very doable.  Also, you can carry one or two easy reloads in the field, for a fast reload if the occurrence is needed.  However, I have even started carrying cleaning patches out in the field so that I can give the bore a good swabbing before reloading after shooting.  It does not hurt to let the critter have a little time to lay down after the shot and before you get on the trail.  If a hunting load does not load easily enough to use the rifle rod, you are using the wrong lube.  While short starters may not be PC, a short started load will outshoot a thumb started load.  In the heavy brush, while the ranges are shorter, you sometimes want to thread a needle to take a shot through brush and a little extra accuracy does not hurt.  As in this view from my deer stand.  While you may not need a load that can hit field mice at 100 yards in the field, it does not hurt either.


DP
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Thou shalt not take tyself too seriously!
Daryl
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« Reply #8 on: September 28, 2010, 04:56:59 PM »

While you are discussing rifles, I have gotten very good accuracy in my 20 smoothbore with the 600 ball, where some are swearing by the 595.  I do not have a 595 to test against it, but can see absolutely no reason to order one with the results I am getting.  It has rifle sights.  I have won a few matches myself and can more or less agree to ball size/patch thickness like Daryl recommends.  You really start seeing the difference off of X sticks and that sort of match.
Somewhere some one pushed the virtues of easy loading for hunting rifles. For the one shot you usually take, a target quality load is very doable.  Also, you can carry one or two easy reloads in the field, for a fast reload if the occurrence is needed.  However, I have even started carrying cleaning patches out in the field so that I can give the bore a good swabbing before reloading after shooting.  It does not hurt to let the critter have a little time to lay down after the shot and before you get on the trail.  If a hunting load does not load easily enough to use the rifle rod, you are using the wrong lube.  While short starters may not be PC, a short started load will outshoot a thumb started load.  In the heavy brush, while the ranges are shorter, you sometimes want to thread a needle to take a shot through brush and a little extra accuracy does not hurt.  As in this view from my deer stand.  While you may not need a load that can hit field mice at 100 yards in the field, it does not hurt either.


DP

Excellent annalogy
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D. Taylor Sapergia
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« Reply #9 on: September 28, 2010, 05:20:49 PM »

It boils down to this...if you want to re-enact and make a boom and some smoke anything will suffice.  If you want to hit a pie plate every time shooting offhand, at whatever range you choose, right out to the limits of your vision and iron sights, use a tight fitting patch/ball and the starter.  Think of it as an accuracy tool.
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D. Taylor Sapergia
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hanshi
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« Reply #10 on: September 28, 2010, 07:20:52 PM »

I am shooting .600 soft lead ball with .016 patches though A little work remains to be done.  That can wait until after deer season as it shoots well enough at 50 yards though a few inches high.  I had a .590 mold made because I want to use WW metal and a .607 WW ball has to be pounded down and that is unacceptable (to me) in the field.   A fairly tight first load is fine in my book with somewhat easier loads held in reserve.  In my rifles I get excellent accuracy - or as good as my shooting will allow - with .010 undersized balls.  Fired patches can be reused.  Still, I am going back to the .445 ball in my .45 for a while as an experiment.  If it still loads with reasonable force I suspect it may be even more accurate.  I polished the crown on my Traditions .50 and will be testing it at the range soon.  It is an easy and quick procedure.
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YORKTOWNE54
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« Reply #11 on: September 29, 2010, 08:23:44 PM »

just had the crown polished on my green mtn. what a difference in loading the tight combos I like to shoot. I even tried some old levi jeans that pushed .030, with the 535 rb and it went down ok with the lehigh soaked patch.Why in anyones opinion would you not polish every rifles crown? To what advantage is there not to smooth off the lands?
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California Kid
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« Reply #12 on: September 29, 2010, 09:56:01 PM »

So Daryl what is your guys theory on a patched ball for a fowling piece? .030, .020 undersized ball or what?
I'm specifically speaking of a 14 bore barrel that mics .693. Lyman makes blocks in .662 and .678. Seem to be the only commercial options. I know J. Tanner will make whatever you want. I was thinking the .662 Lyman blocks. Already have handles. What say you?
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Daryl
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« Reply #13 on: September 29, 2010, 11:12:32 PM »

For a smoothbore, I'd go with .020" ball and an 18 to 20 thou patch.   I

The .678" is a bit big for a .693" bore, but trying one would show one way or the other. For that reason, a bag of 25 from track for testing might be the best way to go.  I'd probably go with a 16 bore ball- that's the .662" as I already have that mould.  It would probably load just fine with the heavier denim- the 12oz. that runs .025" with the mic and up to .030' with calipers.  Note that measurements can vary up to .003" to .004" with calipers- depending on technique, how hard the jaws are pinched on the clock before measuring as well as how wide the jaws are.  I read the measurement while pinching the jaws with both forefinger and thumb - it is the only way I can get consistant readings and being pinched and compressed is exactly what the bore is doing.
Generally the math will tell what to use for a patch.
.662 + (2x.025") = .712" - .693" = .019" divided by 2 = .0095" compression per side.
.662 + (2s.020") = .702" - .693" = .009" divided by 2 = .0045" compression per side.

The heavier patch is quite tight, the thinner less so and with .0045" compression, will probably shoot well.

In my 20 bore - .615" muzzle, .620" bore, I use a .595" ball with either a .0215" ticking patch or the .0225" denim. Both load well and seem to shoot about identically.

Due to the choke, I was concerned about patch burnout due to the choke allowing .0025" slop per side after being pushed below the choke, but apparently the 300gr.+ ball does slug up enough at the breech when the 82 to 100gr. 2f goes off and it seems to seal well and cleanly.  Patches are reusable in either this gun, or my .58 rifles.  It never needs wiping and once started, it's a 2 finger load. Starting is easy with the short cupped nub on the starter, or merely smacking the ball with the starter's big knob - pounding motion as in my .58 double rifle loading video.

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California Kid
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« Reply #14 on: September 29, 2010, 11:34:41 PM »

I think I'll go with the .662, that's what I've been thinking if I even do it.Just something I was thinking about. I built the gun to shoot shot and it does it well. Getz barrel. Gun is posted on here somewhere under English Fowler if your interested in seeing it. Thought it fit in with the topic of this thread.
Thanks for the observations. Barrel is cylinder bore by the way.
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