Author Topic: Is it correct to avoid ramming the ball down too much on a flintlock?  (Read 29848 times)

Offline Habu

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Re: Is it correct to avoid ramming the ball down too much on a flintlock?
« Reply #25 on: April 10, 2015, 12:16:03 AM »
I wonder if this fouling ring at the breech end of the barrel can be more or less pronounced by what components, powder,patch,lube, powder brand and granulation a person uses.
Definitely every one of those, as well as different loading techniques, environmental conditions, etc--and don't forget that none of us are shooting identical rifles, so the unique barrel conditions make it difficult at times to narrow down what is a "general rule" and what is due to some peculiarity of the individual gun. 

Jim

Offline D. Taylor Sapergia

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Re: Is it correct to avoid ramming the ball down too much on a flintlock?
« Reply #26 on: April 10, 2015, 01:09:39 AM »
Mad Monk brings up a good point.  Swiss black powder produces less fouling than GOEX.  I can't afford it for my m/l rifles and reserve my 1 1/2 Fg Swiss for my Sharps which loves it incidentally.  Using Swiss then, the fouling in the area of the bore occupied by the powder charge, and which doesn't get cleaned out with the no-wipe-between-shots system I like, will be less than when using GOEX.  In my .40 cal rifles, over the course of a day's shooting, my rod climbs up about 1/4" from where it first started.  This rise in the rod is less the larger the bore.
D. Taylor Sapergia
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Offline bones92

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Re: Is it correct to avoid ramming the ball down too much on a flintlock?
« Reply #27 on: April 10, 2015, 01:52:43 AM »
Wouldn't a damp patch run down the bore every few shots keep this fouling minimal?
If it was easy, everyone would do it.

Offline Mad Monk

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Re: Is it correct to avoid ramming the ball down too much on a flintlock?
« Reply #28 on: April 10, 2015, 02:08:42 AM »
Wouldn't a damp patch run down the bore every few shots keep this fouling minimal?

Taking that approach.  What you would most likely find is a wide variation in muzzle velocity as a result.  If you use a god lube that does not bind the fouling together or to the bore surfaces you simply push fouling down onto the top of the powder charge when you run the next patched ball down the bore.  If you wipe with a damp swab after every patch you may still get some velocity variation.

If you have access to a chronograph you can look at this.  I used to do that to judge differences in bore fouling between various brands of powder.  Using the Lehigh Valley lube in the work.  Load and fire.  Note the velocity.  Then watch how many shots it took to get a "steady state" in bore fouling.  Then look at how much the velocity went up from the first shot.  Even small amounts of fouling in the bore will raise the velocity from that with a squeaky clean bore start of shooting session.

Tom DeCare's Lehigh Valley lube, and its clones, allow you to shoot, load and then shoot the fouling from the last shot out of the barrel.  No lube film in the bore that would act to bind the fouling to the bore surfaces.  This is where the whole idea of cleans while you shoot comes from.


The flip side of this is seen in some of the bench gun shooters I dealt with.  They fire a shot.  Then swab the bore squeaky clean with wet swabs.  Then run dry patches down to remove all traces of water in the bore.  Then use teflon patching.  The idea being that to minimize shot to shot variation in muzzle velocities the projectile must have exactly the same resistance to movement in the bore.  If the resistance to movement varies it will translate into variations in muzzle velocity.

Mad Monk

Militant_Hillbilly

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Re: Is it correct to avoid ramming the ball down too much on a flintlock?
« Reply #29 on: April 10, 2015, 03:06:02 AM »
Has anyone here used wasp's nests to prevent gas blowby as was mentioned in the article.

Offline Mad Monk

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Re: Is it correct to avoid ramming the ball down too much on a flintlock?
« Reply #30 on: April 10, 2015, 03:24:35 AM »
Has anyone here used wasp's nests to prevent gas blowby as was mentioned in the article.

Boy does your question bring back memories.

That was a topic of debate back in the days of the Buckskin Report and then the Black Powder Report.  Two main writers were Sam Fadala and C.P. Wood.
C. P. Wood used it all the time.  The ball/wad of paper wasp nest material protected the patch.  At one shoot the crowd was shooting over drought burnt grass.  Regular cotton patches would some time come out of the barrel smoldering.  Then we would all stomp out the little grass fires they would start.  But the 2 or 3 shooters using the wasp nest wad would not have the problem.  When the wasps chew up bits of wood their saliva acts as a fire retardant.  The wasp nest material would not burn.

So when my wife and I would visit "Woody" and his wife we would be out with long poles knocking paper wasp nests out of the trees or out from under barn roof eves. Then sit there tearing the nests apart.  Picking out eggs and dormant wasps.  Then pack the cleaned nest material into jars with a moth ball in each jar.  Best down after a good freeze.

But going back to that period in time there were a number of shooters using the paper wasp nest material for wads behind patched balls.


Mad Monk

Offline Daryl

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Re: Is it correct to avoid ramming the ball down too much on a flintlock?
« Reply #31 on: April 10, 2015, 08:07:03 PM »
I-too remember those writings, Monk.

Hillbilly- there is NO blowby if using a proper ball and patch combination.

When I first started shooting muzzleloaders in 1972, I had burning patches too. I read Ned Robert's most enlightened book "The Muzzle Loading Cap Lock Rifle"  learned from it and corrected my errors in loading - no more burning patches - ever. No need for a wad to prevent it - it just does not happen to us, nor the people we shoot with.

.005" under bore sized ball of pure (dead soft lead) and a .020" to .025" wet patch (water based, Neetsfoot oil or Mink oil) - never catches fire - it cannot.
« Last Edit: April 10, 2015, 08:10:01 PM by Daryl »
Daryl

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Offline Mad Monk

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Re: Is it correct to avoid ramming the ball down too much on a flintlock?
« Reply #32 on: April 10, 2015, 11:22:37 PM »
In some articles back in the Buckskin Report and then the Black Powder Report Sam Fadala wrote that a ball patch is not a gasket.  Meaning that it cannot totally seal the bore and prevent powder combustion gases from escaping around the accelerating projectile in the early stages of acceleration.

In military papers describing artillery loadings they talk about the foam wad between the powder charge and the base of the projectile.  They use the term "frictionless obturator".  The term "obturator" being borrows from medical dictionaries describing the function of certain muscles in the body.

With a patched ball ML the patch has two functions.  It is in effect a "patch lube" applicator.  When you run the patched ball down from the muzzle the patch should apply a thin film of lube over the bore surfaces.  Then when fired the patch takes up any "slack" between an undersize ball and applies more lube.

Military papers on guns of all sizes state that the projectile is never able to completely seal the bore at any point in the projectile's travel up the bore.  The patch, or artillery foam wad, simply acts to limit the amount of gas escaping past the accelerating projectile.

If you are shooting a "normal" size charge of 3Fg powder the charge will be almost totally consumed by the time the ball moves about 3 inches in the bore.  With a charge of 2Fg the distance is closer to 6 inches.  So while the charge is undergoing combustion and generating a large volume of gases is trying to escape around the projectile.  Rifling grooves make any sealing difficult at best.  In trying to twist the projectile with the angled rifling grooves you have one side of the rifling land where the projectile is putting a lot of pressure against the vertical side of the land.  The other vertical side of the land then becomes the slack side with little, if any pressure by the projectile.  This then allows gas to escape around the projectile.

The gases escaping around the projectile in initial acceleration may actually wear away barrel material.  This was most noticeable in the old soft wrought iron barrels.  This gas scouring back in the breech area was the cause of having to "freshen" out the bore.  In some cases the barrel had to be rebored to the next larger caliber and re-rifled.  In extreme cases you will see original barrels that had a few inches cut off the back of the barrel and rebreached and rerifled.

Our "modern" steel barrels are far less prone to this gas scouring wear.

Hot gases with small amounts of solid particulate matter at high velocities can wear away metal rather quickly.  I spent more than a few hours in 500 gallon to 2,000 gallon PVC reaction vessels cleaning out built up polymer.  The thick stainless steel domes of these pressure vessels would show deep rounded grooves around the emergency high pressure relief vents.  If the reaction went wild the relief disk would rupture and the batch being polymerized would go out the relief line at very high velocities.  Did seriously ugly things to very thick stainless steel reactor lids.


I should point out here that old late 19th century writings talked about the gases created during powder combustion and the pressures involved.  These powder combustion gases evolved while the powder is burning have physical properties between a liquid and a gas.  Some writers even described them as low density liquids.

Mad Monk

Offline T*O*F

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Re: Is it correct to avoid ramming the ball down too much on a flintlock?
« Reply #33 on: April 11, 2015, 06:47:47 PM »
Bouncing your ramrod or applying heavy pressure to it can result in crushing the powder granulation into a smaller, finer size.  This can result in a variable burn rate from shot to shot and a variable burn rate will lead to variable velocities resulting in inaccuracy.

We chronographed Swiss 1.5fg in a long range rifle and all shots had less than 10fps variation, which is essential when shooting at distances up to 1000 yards.  Other powders exhibit a much greater variation.
Dave Kanger

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Offline Daryl

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Re: Is it correct to avoid ramming the ball down too much on a flintlock?
« Reply #34 on: April 11, 2015, 07:33:26 PM »
I find the smaller bores giving greater shot to shot velocity variations.  The old .58 Large barreled Hakwen I had in Smithers, as well as my current .69 both showed less than 10fps variation in a 10 round test - usually 5 to 8fps when using GOEX 2F powder - OR Curtis and Harvey 3F powder.  Even back then, in 1977, I had my own chronograph and it showed great consistency in shot strings using TIGHT ball and patch loads. Short Starter - you betcha.

I well remember Fadala's articles, claiming the cloth patch was an "ANTI-Gasget" that worked against sealing.  Wit the .010" undersized balls and thin panty material he was using, it's no wonder his velocities increased when he used wads behind his 'combination' to seal it. That was his proof the patch didn't seal.  When he tried his wasp nest with a Primitive Rifleman's decent ball and patch combo, there was no increase in velocity. He chocked that up to an annomoly because HIS tests proved otherwise. I protested these errors to John Baird, John said to me, "Daryl, let him be, we know his combinations are too thin - he's on a long learning streak and needs to feed his family".

Recently, Taylor's own chronograph testing showed something like 4fps difference in his BP ctg. gun using Swiss 1 1/2. Since I have some of that powder, I am wanting to try it in the .69.  It's GOEX consistency is wonderful and probably explains to some part, in that rifle's accuracy - but better accuracy yet is, well, better.
 
"Consistency, though art a jewel!"
Daryl

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Offline Habu

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Re: Is it correct to avoid ramming the ball down too much on a flintlock?
« Reply #35 on: April 11, 2015, 07:42:07 PM »
In my .40 cal rifles, over the course of a day's shooting, my rod climbs up about 1/4" from where it first started.  This rise in the rod is less the larger the bore.
What I saw was a "climb" of approximately 3/16" over the course of about 200 shots, then the rod height stayed the same until the end of the test (over 2,000 shots).  The rifle is .52 caliber.

Offline Mad Monk

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Re: Is it correct to avoid ramming the ball down too much on a flintlock?
« Reply #36 on: April 11, 2015, 07:47:09 PM »
Bouncing your ramrod or applying heavy pressure to it can result in crushing the powder granulation into a smaller, finer size.  This can result in a variable burn rate from shot to shot and a variable burn rate will lead to variable velocities resulting in inaccuracy.

We chronographed Swiss 1.5fg in a long range rifle and all shots had less than 10fps variation, which is essential when shooting at distances up to 1000 yards.  Other powders exhibit a much greater variation.


That low shot to shot variation is due in a large part to how they "polish" their powder.  Grains very rounded and very smooth.  Better "nesting" between the grains in the charge.  The heavy "glaze" also works to give a more uniform ignition of the charge and a more uniform and controlled flame spreading through the charge.  Well polished powders are almost inherently accurate while poorly polished grains are almost inherently inaccurate.

This thing about how well powder grains are polished shows up when the industry standard "loading density" test is run.

Mad Monk

Offline LH

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Re: Is it correct to avoid ramming the ball down too much on a flintlock?
« Reply #37 on: April 14, 2015, 07:09:53 PM »
I wonder if this fouling ring at the breech end of the barrel can be more or less pronounced by what components, powder,patch,lube, powder brand and granulation a person uses.
Definitely every one of those, as well as different loading techniques, environmental conditions, etc--and don't forget that none of us are shooting identical rifles, so the unique barrel conditions make it difficult at times to narrow down what is a "general rule" and what is due to some peculiarity of the individual gun. 

Jim
About 25 years ago I encountered this right after I built my first flintlock.  It took me about a year to positively identify that when the fouling built up on the face of the plug, (which didn't happen every shooting session), it would start causing a shift in poi occasionally but not every shot.  Perplexing problem to say the least and most difficult to diagnose!  After reading an article about breaching  by a fine gentleman and imo, one of the most knowledgeable flintlockers around, Peter Alexander,  I re-breached this .40 caliber rifle with an ante-chamber made by drilling the touch hole liner hole into the side of the breach plug and then drilling a mating hole in from the face of the breech plug.  Polished and radiuused all the internal surfaces from the riflings to the actual touch hole so that there are no flat surfaces or angles anywhere in it, coned the hole in the face of the breechplug up to groove diameter, coned the liner with a ball end bit,   and the problem was eliminated. I have shot that gun probably more than 50,000 times and am on the second barrel and have not seen any fouling buildup that would cause any problem.  I have since breached every gun I've built and assisted building the same way and to a man, everybody who shoots one says they wont have a gun breeched the old way.  Cleaning the ante-chamber is necessary in order to prevent oil and fouling from cooking into something like asphalt,  but it takes several shooting sessions over three or four days to cause that.  I remove my liner after each shooting session and either flush the barrel with a flush tube or just reach up inside the ante-chamber with a Qtip and wipe it.  Teflon tape on the liner makes it easy to remove.  A different cleaning technique than what most use,  but it sure beats the heck out of wondering what temperature and humidity conditions are going to stop up your rifle. 

Offline Daryl

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Re: Is it correct to avoid ramming the ball down too much on a flintlock?
« Reply #38 on: April 15, 2015, 03:31:20 AM »
Interesting, FIX, LH. Taylor and I shoot in humidity from 90%, down to about 6%.  The only difference we find, is that when it's raining out at 86% - up to darn humid in the 90% range - downpour, we need to wipe out the pan with an absorbent cloth before re-priming.  When the humidity is only 6%- we're at Hefley Creek rondy and it's darn hot and dry - same deal with no problem loading and shooting, the fouling is PURE WHITE around the pan and frizzen and it's just darn hot and we're champing at the bit for "Miller Time".  I've not noticed any poi shift, but at Rondy, we only shoot about 20 to 25 shots. On our local trail, we could shoot upwards of 80 to 100, depending on the weather and who's there wanting to shoot more- side challenges raise the 'round' count. No one has ever needed to wipe their bores on our course of fire that I can EVER remember. Perhaps we are good teachers, or have simply developed methods that allow us not to have to wipe while shooting - or rifle or smoothbores.
« Last Edit: April 15, 2015, 03:36:07 AM by Daryl »
Daryl

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Offline bob in the woods

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Re: Is it correct to avoid ramming the ball down too much on a flintlock?
« Reply #39 on: April 15, 2015, 06:34:44 AM »
I'm not keen on the notion of removing a touch hole liner after every shooting session.  Fowling built up on the face of my breach plugs just isn't a problem that I have.   My breach faces are flat, and polished. I stopped using touch hole liners some years ago, but still place the hole so that I could install one if desired. I just haven't had the need . My guns fire quickly and reliably. One of the worst breach fowling guns I have seen is a .36 cal rifle a friend has. It has an "anti chamber " which turns into a fowling trap every shooting session I've seen him use it. I can count on him having a few flash in the pans in a target match.  I personally believe that fowling problems are better addressed through use of ball/patch/ lube experimentation.
Just my 2 cents  :)

Offline D. Taylor Sapergia

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Re: Is it correct to avoid ramming the ball down too much on a flintlock?
« Reply #40 on: April 16, 2015, 07:33:53 PM »
What drill size do you use, Bob, to make your vent?  And do you back bore them to create a cone on the inside?
« Last Edit: April 16, 2015, 07:34:38 PM by D. Taylor Sapergia »
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Offline bob in the woods

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Re: Is it correct to avoid ramming the ball down too much on a flintlock?
« Reply #41 on: April 16, 2015, 08:30:50 PM »
Hi Taylor. Yes, I do cone them on the inside. The vent size I've standardized on is 5/64th inch.  If I ever succeed in burning out the vent, I can always install a White Lightning liner later, which I have done on my target rifle.

Offline D. Taylor Sapergia

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Re: Is it correct to avoid ramming the ball down too much on a flintlock?
« Reply #42 on: April 17, 2015, 02:10:12 AM »
I must give that a try.  I have the three piece set from Tom Snyder, and his instructions.
D. Taylor Sapergia
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Art is not an object.  It is the excitement inspired by the object.

Offline Mad Monk

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Re: Is it correct to avoid ramming the ball down too much on a flintlock?
« Reply #43 on: April 17, 2015, 06:53:45 PM »
I find the smaller bores giving greater shot to shot velocity variations.  The old .58 Large barreled Hakwen I had in Smithers, as well as my current .69 both showed less than 10fps variation in a 10 round test - usually 5 to 8fps when using GOEX 2F powder - OR Curtis and Harvey 3F powder.  Even back then, in 1977, I had my own chronograph and it showed great consistency in shot strings using TIGHT ball and patch loads. Short Starter - you betcha.

"Consistency, though art a jewel!"

Daryl,

The comment about the smaller bores giving a greater shot to shot variation.

With the smaller bores the shot to shot variation variation in the "nesting" of the powder grains is greater.  When I set up to run the industry standard loading density test I had to watch that.  With a larger diameter measuring device the grains nest more easily than in a smaller diameter tube.  Using standard Nalgen graduated cylinders.

Mad Monk

Offline Daryl

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Re: Is it correct to avoid ramming the ball down too much on a flintlock?
« Reply #44 on: April 17, 2015, 07:32:58 PM »
TKS Bill - that makes perfect sense. Perhaps tapping the side of the barrel at the breech with a short starter knob (antler or wood) would help settle the powder gains, just as tapping the side of a brass ctg. case settles the grains of powder when loading 100% in a modern ctg.
Daryl

"a gun without hammers is like a spaniel without ears" King George V

Offline Mad Monk

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Re: Is it correct to avoid ramming the ball down too much on a flintlock?
« Reply #45 on: April 17, 2015, 11:33:07 PM »
TKS Bill - that makes perfect sense. Perhaps tapping the side of the barrel at the breech with a short starter knob (antler or wood) would help settle the powder gains, just as tapping the side of a brass ctg. case settles the grains of powder when loading 100% in a modern ctg.

Daryl,

The standard test for loading density in military specs calls for filling the cylinder and dropping it from a certain height onto a rubber pad.  So.  After pouring the charge down the bore I would lift the butt about 6 inches off the ground at the loading bench and let it drop.  The run the ball down onto the charge with just a light pressure.

Mad Monk

Offline bob in the woods

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Re: Is it correct to avoid ramming the ball down too much on a flintlock?
« Reply #46 on: April 18, 2015, 12:07:05 AM »
Are you in the rifle  stock  " wrist repair " business, Mr Monk  ;D
« Last Edit: April 18, 2015, 04:30:32 AM by bob in the woods »

Offline Natureboy

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Re: Is it correct to avoid ramming the ball down too much on a flintlock?
« Reply #47 on: April 18, 2015, 01:50:10 AM »
  I watched a video demonstration of some F&I reenactors loading by the "pour, spit and slam" method.  It worked (smoothbore muskets), but
I can't imagine slamming my beautiful long rifle on the ground.  I slap the barrel a few times to settle the powder,  lovingly push the PRB down until it hits bottom, and then give the ramrod handle a slight "love tap." 

Offline Mad Monk

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Re: Is it correct to avoid ramming the ball down too much on a flintlock?
« Reply #48 on: April 18, 2015, 07:52:43 PM »
Are you in the rifle  stock  " wrist repair " business, Mr Monk  ;D

A straight down 6 inch drop onto soft ground or a cloth pad should not break a stock wrist.  Sometimes I was shooting a Lyman Trade Rifle and other times I was shooting my .45 caliber curly maple Berks County "schimmel" rifle.

Mad Monk

Offline bob in the woods

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Re: Is it correct to avoid ramming the ball down too much on a flintlock?
« Reply #49 on: April 18, 2015, 09:00:17 PM »
No offence meant. Just one of my moments of attempted humour  ;D