Author Topic: Soaking ramrods in Coal Oil  (Read 10647 times)

Offline Artificer

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Soaking ramrods in Coal Oil
« on: June 17, 2010, 09:42:24 AM »
Folks I've never done this, but I remember reading about soaking ramrods in coal oil.  Not sure if it was in Ned Robert's book or somewhere else.  The thread below about soaking flints brought this to mind.

I thought about trying it back in the mid to late 70's, but never got around to doing it partly because I could never find "coal oil."  I also wasn't sure if it would have done more harm than good to wooden ramrods.

Is this another old wive's tale?

Gus

northmn

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Re: Soaking ramrods in Coal Oil
« Reply #1 on: June 17, 2010, 12:54:56 PM »
Dixie Gunworks used to list this as one of their ideas in the back of their catalog.  Showed a ramrod bent like a horse shoe.  A lot of what makes a ramrod work is how they are made.  Today they are run through doweling machines to be made perfectly round.  Original ramrods were probably split out of a straight stock with a froe and then rounded such that the grain was followed.  Hickory is an extrememly tough wood and an air dried stick made in that fashion would be very tough.  Todays kiln dried doweled products usually split at a cross grain.  Don't know if I would want to handle a fuel oil soaked product.

DP

Offline D. Keith Lisle

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Re: Soaking ramrods in Coal Oil
« Reply #2 on: June 17, 2010, 01:10:16 PM »
I think it is humorous, as every now & then I hear someone say "Well back in the ol days" or  "My great great great grandaddy", them not knowing that coal oil or kerosene was not even around then.......   Turner Kirkland started that baloney back in the 60's I guess.  IMHO, you end up with a RR a mouse won't eat & it stinks & it sweats kerosene when out in the sun & it won't stain.    I soaked some 35 years ago, as I just had to try it, it was the new thing.......  all I succeeded in doing was making 6 RR's smell bad.
That being said, it is a cheap experiment if ya want to do it.  48" piece of 1.5" PVC pipe, glue cap on one end, glue union on other end,   put in RR's, fill with lamp oil or Kerosene, screw in cap & stand in the corner.  Soak them for however long you want, take one out & check it, guaranteed they will always smell like kerosene.   ;)

Keith Lisle
« Last Edit: June 17, 2010, 01:11:14 PM by Birddog6 »

firefoot

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Re: Soaking ramrods in Coal Oil
« Reply #3 on: June 17, 2010, 03:22:04 PM »
Birddog6
 Thats funny! We did the same thing back in the seventies BECAUSE Dixie guns works had it in their catolog. And your absolutely right all it does is make the ramrod stink.
 My dad tried to demonstrate how flexible his ramrod was after soaking in front of a crowd at the gunclub, and it snapped in two and everybody laughed at him. He was humiliated and I really felt bad for him.
 Just because it's in the Dixie catolog doesn't make it true.

jim

Offline D. Keith Lisle

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Re: Soaking ramrods in Coal Oil
« Reply #4 on: June 17, 2010, 03:37:32 PM »
Well........  I can't think of any reason you would want to bend one in a bow anyway, other than to show you could do it.  .   :-\   It is going in a straight bore, in & out. It's not like we are going around a S curve !  ha ha ha !  
The key to a good ramrod is the quality of the wood & the grain structure, not what you soak it in.    IMHO   ;)  

I have had guys tell me they soaked this RR 25 years ago & it has never broken.  Well, I honestly don't think the kerosene or coal oil had anything to do with it, it most likely would not have broken anyway......  But like I said, it is a cheap experiment & if ya want to do it, I say have at it.   :)

Keith Lisle
« Last Edit: June 17, 2010, 03:38:01 PM by Birddog6 »

northmn

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Re: Soaking ramrods in Coal Oil
« Reply #5 on: June 17, 2010, 08:58:23 PM »
Best way to break a ramrod is to grab it too high when trying to load.  If you keep the strokes shorter most stand up.

DP

Harnic

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Re: Soaking ramrods in Coal Oil
« Reply #6 on: June 17, 2010, 10:40:56 PM »
I have never broken a RR because I never use the wood one under the barrel.  I always load using a stainless steel rod with a big knob on the end.  Another benefit is that I've never fired a RR downrange, because the knob on my steel range rod is too big to see past when looking down the sights! ;)

William Worth

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Re: Soaking ramrods in Coal Oil
« Reply #7 on: June 17, 2010, 11:11:58 PM »
For them that don't know, the distinction between "coal oil" and kerosene is...if the container is stoppered with a corn-cob or wooden plug...it's "coal oil".  If it's stoppered with a screw top lid, it's kerosene.   ;D

northmn

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Re: Soaking ramrods in Coal Oil
« Reply #8 on: June 18, 2010, 12:57:40 AM »
Some things stoppered with a cork burn with a blue flame and have a rather interesting taste.

DP

Offline hanshi

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Re: Soaking ramrods in Coal Oil
« Reply #9 on: June 18, 2010, 02:01:24 AM »
...and it'll keep YOU from breaking...sometimes.
!Jozai Senjo! "always present on the battlefield"
Young guys should hang out with old guys; old guys know stuff.

Offline Scott Bumpus

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Re: Soaking ramrods in Coal Oil
« Reply #10 on: June 18, 2010, 02:38:08 AM »
DP  if anybody soaks a ramrod in that stuff....... well thats just wrong
YOU CAN ONLY BE LOST IF YOU GIVE A @!*% WHERE THE $#*! YOU ARE!!

Leatherbelly

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Re: Soaking ramrods in Coal Oil
« Reply #11 on: June 18, 2010, 04:37:48 AM »
 I think they should soak them in lavender or patchouli! LOL

Candle Snuffer

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Re: Soaking ramrods in Coal Oil
« Reply #12 on: June 18, 2010, 03:42:54 PM »
I have soaked RR before in a 50/50 solution of lamp oil and polyurethane and have found no difference in a soaked RR compared to an un'soaked RR.  Both have lasted as long as the other and I agree with Birddog6, a good RR is in the quality of the wood and grain structure.

Offline smylee grouch

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Re: Soaking ramrods in Coal Oil
« Reply #13 on: June 18, 2010, 05:03:21 PM »
Yes I still have the caped PVC pipe and some coal oil left, soaked some for over a month and flexed them to see if it worked. Couldnt tell any difference from soaked to unsoaked except that it took another month of drying the things out before I could bring the stinking things back into the house.       Gary

Offline Pete G.

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Re: Soaking ramrods in Coal Oil
« Reply #14 on: June 18, 2010, 09:05:54 PM »
I usually keep one in the pvc pipe for whenever the next build occurs. When taken out they are noticibly more flexible than an untreated rod. I must say I've never broken one that was treated. The thing is, I've only broken one in thirty years anyway, and although it wasn't treated, I'm not sure if that really proves anything or not. Once they are scrubbed smooth with steel wool and dry the smell goes away. Only problem that I have found is that of staining the rod. Leather dye seems to work best, but still is not as dark as untreated wood.

Bottom line, if it makes you happy go with it. If not, then don't worry about it. You probably won't be sorry either way.

Offline Randy Hedden

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Re: Soaking ramrods in Coal Oil
« Reply #15 on: June 18, 2010, 10:07:58 PM »
The reason guys bend the soaked ramrods in a near circle is to demonstrate how flexible the kerosene soaking makes the ramrod.  I remember back in the seventies when a fellow would come to rendezvous with hand split ramrods which had been soaked in kerosene and he would bend a 48 inch long ramrod in a full circle until the ends touched.  Kerosene must do something for the flexibility of a ramrod.  I believe any added flexibility imparted to a ramrod could only be a good thing.

I have never used a kerosene soaked ramrod.  I have shot muzzle loaders for several decades and have never broken a ramrod, but the way I see some guys load they could surely use a more flexible ramrod.

Randy Hedden   
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Offline bgf

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Re: Soaking ramrods in Coal Oil
« Reply #16 on: June 18, 2010, 11:28:06 PM »
I don't know about flexibility being an unqualified good.  I had some self-doubt about fiberglass ramrods, inspired by (as usual) too much reading, so I ordered a non-fiberglass "synthetic" ramrod for my rifle's pipes during woods walks and hunting (for fitting a jag and/or screw if needed).  It is far too much like a wet noodle, and I intend to get a fiberglass one instead, or a go to hickory one with tip attached. 

Offline Majorjoel

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Re: Soaking ramrods in Coal Oil
« Reply #17 on: June 19, 2010, 02:51:40 AM »
I have been soaking my ramrods in vegetable oil for several years now. One of my fun experiments was to add dark brown stain (leather dye)  to the oil so the rod would come out stained as well as limber. Works like a charm too!
Joel Hall

Offline omark west cen colo

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Re: Soaking ramrods in Coal Oil
« Reply #18 on: June 19, 2010, 06:37:46 PM »
i have soaked rods in diesel fuel and feel it helped them.  do i have scientific proof??  nope!!  mark
on the 4th of julypeople should fire their guns into the air to show the government who does have the power,,,b franklin!   on these walks make your gun your constant companion,,,t jefferson!   those that will give up freedom for security deserve neither freedom or security,,,b franklin!   west colo

J.D.

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Re: Soaking ramrods in Coal Oil
« Reply #19 on: June 19, 2010, 08:43:16 PM »
Once they are scrubbed smooth with steel wool and dry the smell goes away.

So if the RR dries  out, would it be any different than a  rod that was not subjected to the kerosene, to begin with? IMHO, dry is dry. If the kerosene evaporates, then what's the point?

God bless

Daryl

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Re: Soaking ramrods in Coal Oil
« Reply #20 on: June 19, 2010, 09:13:17 PM »
Once scraped, sanded, stained or whatever, rubbing beeswax into the polished shaft will preserve it quite well. It is also easily replenished if needed.

northmn

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Re: Soaking ramrods in Coal Oil
« Reply #21 on: June 21, 2010, 03:27:11 PM »
Once scraped, sanded, stained or whatever, rubbing beeswax into the polished shaft will preserve it quite well. It is also easily replenished if needed.

Waxing also helps them slide in and out of ferrules due to weather changes.

DP

Offline Waksupi

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Re: Soaking ramrods in Coal Oil
« Reply #22 on: June 22, 2010, 05:01:34 AM »
I use bear oil on ramrods. It penetrates better than any oil I have seen, aside from raccoon and skunk. They are about equal.
Main advantage I see, is they don't soak up water when hunting, and stick in the thimbles. 

Offline Artificer

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Re: Soaking ramrods in Coal Oil
« Reply #23 on: June 23, 2010, 10:15:06 PM »
Thanks to everyone for your replies.

Gus