Author Topic: Dumb question about pistol ramrods  (Read 3593 times)

4ster

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Dumb question about pistol ramrods
« on: June 04, 2012, 07:46:14 PM »
So my first pistol build is done and now I am having fun learning about loading a .50 cal rifled pistol on trail walk conditions.  I absolutely failed my initial trail walk - but not for loading reasons.  ::)   At the time I bought the kit I was smart enough to figure out that I needed a separate ramrod with a ball and short starter.  Right now I am using a .490 lead ball over a .18 pillow ticking lubed patch.  I find it tight but easily do-able.

My question really is about the ramrod on the gun.  I can't imagine trying to load the above load with it.  The one on my gun is 5/16 diameter, with no flair on the tip.  (The kit came with no tip for the rod, I installed a threaded brass tip, mainly to hold cleaning tools on the end if I don't have a cleaning rod handy)    I've noted a good number of historical examples with just plain rods with no tips.  Of course, most of these are probably not sporting their original ram rods.  

I guess it would serve to reload after an initial shot using a thin(er) patch or no patch.  As an experiment I've rolled a few paper cartridges to use as reloads, but even the paper was too thick to load with the gun's rod.  I've rolled some more with less paper, but have not tried them yet.

I've been telling friends I've shown the gun to that the main purpose of the ramrod in the thimbles on the gun is to determine whether its loaded or not.  Am I far off the mark?
« Last Edit: June 05, 2012, 06:09:49 AM by 4ster »

Offline D. Taylor Sapergia

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Re: Dumb question about pistol ramrods
« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2012, 10:53:37 PM »
I too like a tight patch/ball combination for rifle, smoothbore, or pistol.  And with a pistol, when shooting a trail, or a target line, I use a rod with an antler boss end to service it.  Otherwise, the short starter for my rifle, there being a hole in the antler to receive the end of the ramrod, can be used effectively.
Historically...?  Don't know.  A pistol would have been used to fire only a few shots, likely only one, in a situation where it was required.  After that the hanger or sword, or hunting knife, was the preferred weapon for close work.
But for our use, when many shots are to be fired with optimal accuracy, the long-starter is what you need.
D. Taylor Sapergia
www.sapergia.blogspot.com

Art is not an object.  It is the excitement inspired by the object.

Offline Pete G.

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Re: Dumb question about pistol ramrods
« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2012, 01:47:04 AM »
I think I once read that a common job for a gunsmith was loading pistols, although I cannot find the reference now for the life of me. Seems to indicate most pistol owners did not use the ramrod, but then they didn't use the gun for recreation like we do now.
I made a range rod by using a 3/8" rod with 1-1/2" ball on one end and a threaded ramrod tip on the other. Hobby Lobby carries several diameters of maple balls.

Daryl

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Re: Dumb question about pistol ramrods
« Reply #3 on: June 05, 2012, 02:16:04 AM »
When shooting my pistol, I have a long starter just as Taylor described above. Antler handle, with a long wooden rod that will easily run to the breech of the pistol barrel.  The starter is carried either inside the bag or through a hole in the lid.  The weight of the shaft holds it perfectly.  It's tip, of brass, is threaded for a cleaning jag.

Online Bob Roller

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Re: Dumb question about pistol ramrods
« Reply #4 on: June 05, 2012, 09:46:25 PM »
There was a book written about Texas gunman Ben Thompson and there was a mention in it of taking a percussion revolver to a gunsmith to get it loaded. I think the book was called "Texas Hellion" but the authors name is gone from memory.

Bob Roller

Offline Acer Saccharum

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    • Thomas  A Curran
Re: Dumb question about pistol ramrods
« Reply #5 on: June 06, 2012, 03:13:29 AM »
So.....how does one load a pistol on a walk, when he has only two hands?

C'mon, you Canadians, you're so full of information..... ;D
Tom Curran's web site : http://tcurran.com/

Daryl

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Re: Dumb question about pistol ramrods
« Reply #6 on: June 06, 2012, 03:51:25 AM »
To load a single shot pistol, caplock or flint, I sometimes kneel, pistol between my knees as I pour in powder, set the patch and ball on top of the muzzle, then hold the pistol around the muzzle with my left hand, whilst with one crack of the knob on my starter using the right hand, I seat the ball flush with the muzzle, then set the long shaft of the starter on the ball, holding the rod between forefinger and thumb of the left thumb, and one smack using the right, down she goes onto the powder.

Tap, tap, tapping to get it flush as I've witnessed some do when loading, merely damages the ball, wherein one smack barely flattens it's upper surface, the spure.

If I load while standing, I put the pistol under my arm while loading powder using two hands to measure, then pour it in, then do pretty much the same as above with patch and ball.  Easier done than explained, especially for someone so handicapped in vocabulary as myself.
« Last Edit: June 06, 2012, 03:52:34 AM by Daryl »

4ster

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Re: Dumb question about pistol ramrods
« Reply #7 on: June 06, 2012, 07:51:54 AM »
I seem to be using the formula: Force=Mass x Acceleration.   ;D

For a loading tool I am using one of those pistol rods with a wood ball on one end.  It has 1) a brass button, 2) a short starter about an inch long and 3) a rod that reaches down to the breach plug.  I bought it from Track of the Wolf, but I modified it a few times, cutting most of the original rod off to make a short starter and adding a 3/8 aluminum rod to make the ram rod. ( I couldn't find a brass rod at my local hardware store and I was in a hurry.)

Loading while standing:
In my left hand I hold the muzzle with three fingers.   I center a patch and ball over the muzzle and press it down with my right thumb.  This is basically dimpling the patch so the ball doesn't roll off while I am lining things up.  I then use my thumb and index finger of my left hand I align the button on the ball and give it a smack with the heel of my right hand.  Still holding the muzzle with the same three fingers I line up the short starter like I did with the button and give it another smack with my right hand.  Now that the ball is down the barrel about an inch the patch/ball moves a little easier.  Gripping the muzzle with all my fingers of my left hand I switch to the long rod and give it a few more smacks with my right hand to seat the ball.

The F=MA part is that I am relying on mass of the pistol to basically keep it from moving much as I smack the ball with my right hand.  My pistol barrel is 13" long, I am not sure this would work with a small pistol.  

I'll have to try Daryl's method to see if I can do less smacking.
« Last Edit: June 06, 2012, 03:29:09 PM by 4ster »

Daryl

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Re: Dumb question about pistol ramrods
« Reply #8 on: June 06, 2012, 05:07:56 PM »
My pistol has interchangable barrels.  A slow twist flint of .53 cal barrel in which I use a .526" ball and .020" denim patch & 55gr. 3F, and a .45cal. 18" twist barrel that gets a .023" patch and a .440" ball with 25gr. 3F.  Both load quite easily and from what I can see, 4ster's technique, mine nad Taylor's are just about identical.

I actually have 3 rods for use with the pistol - 2 having stainless shafts with commercial maple balls and the 3rd having the antler handle with hickory shaft. Whichever is handy, gets used.