Author Topic: Is it correct to avoid ramming the ball down too much on a flintlock?  (Read 29842 times)

Offline Daryl

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Re: Is it correct to avoid ramming the ball down too much on a flintlock?
« Reply #50 on: April 18, 2015, 09:03:12 PM »
I pretty much do it the same each time - however, I shoved the ball down differently for each barrel. I could say I did it this way because it helped with the regulation of the barrels, but that's not true - I should have choked up on the rod, each time, ie: for each barrel, the same.

The whole point of this video is to show loading a .0215" (compressed) ticking patch with a .562" ball in a .580" bore with .008" rifling. This combination loads easily, but has 5 1/2 thousandths (.0055") of ball and patch compression in the bottom of EACH groove and THEN you can add .008" for EACH of the lands, therefore this loading has .0135" compression on the lands- into the patch and ball - yet see how easily it loads.

« Last Edit: April 18, 2015, 09:04:21 PM by Daryl »
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 #51 on: April 18, 2015, 09:09:39 PM »
No offence meant. Just one of my moments of attempted humour  ;D

The humor part of it blew right over my head.  I am rebuilding an old wooden door on the front of our house and I was taking a break figuring out my next move on the door.  Age catching up with my mind.  Can no longer run two trains on a one-track mind.

Mad Monk 

Offline Dphariss

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Re: Is it correct to avoid ramming the ball down too much on a flintlock?
« Reply #52 on: April 19, 2015, 04:28:08 AM »
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

I have a plank sawn hard maple stock on my 17 3/4 pound match rifle and 6" to a hard surface will deform the buttplate significantly but not break the wrist. And the wrist in close to Colonial Rifle size.

Dan
He who dares not offend cannot be honest. Thomas Paine

Offline Dphariss

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Re: Is it correct to avoid ramming the ball down too much on a flintlock?
« Reply #53 on: April 19, 2015, 04:30:48 AM »
No offence meant. Just one of my moments of attempted humour  ;D

The humor part of it blew right over my head.  I am rebuilding an old wooden door on the front of our house and I was taking a break figuring out my next move on the door.  Age catching up with my mind.  Can no longer run two trains on a one-track mind.

Mad Monk 

While talking of powder. I ran across another "shoot over sbow" thing on another sight. This time concerning 18th c LRs. I wonder if the non-press cake powder would not get crushed to near dust as the powder at the rear burned and  put pressure on the front of the charge? This would make finding "unburned" grains even more unlikely.

Dan
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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 #54 on: April 19, 2015, 06:09:23 PM »
No offence meant. Just one of my moments of attempted humour  ;D

The humor part of it blew right over my head.  I am rebuilding an old wooden door on the front of our house and I was taking a break figuring out my next move on the door.  Age catching up with my mind.  Can no longer run two trains on a one-track mind.

Mad Monk 

While talking of powder. I ran across another "shoot over sbow" thing on another sight. This time concerning 18th c LRs. I wonder if the non-press cake powder would not get crushed to near dust as the powder at the rear burned and  put pressure on the front of the charge? This would make finding "unburned" grains even more unlikely.

Dan

Back when I was into looking at how the "gunpowder" technology evolved I made several batches of powder the way it had been done before the introduction of the wheel mill and powder press.

The finished grains looked like small stream pebbles.  Well rounded.  It then hit me how the English came to call some of their powder "pebble" powder.
The grains were unique.  The interior portions of the grains were low in density and not "consolidated" all that well.  Meaning the interior of the grains lacked the degree of mechanical strength seen in pressed powder grains.  The exterior of the grains had a thick very hard shell that was very smooth and glossy.  Looking as if each grain had been dipped in molten glass.  I then suspected that this visual appearance is why powders were then described as being glazed.  As in glass.

If you ignited these grains in the open air they would at first burn very slowly because of the hard glaze and the excess of potassium nitrate forming that glaze.  Then once they burned through the glaze they burned almost explosively.  With the press densification of black powder powder the pressing, compacting and consolidation of the mass acts to reduce burn rates and give the powder grains a more controlled uniform burn rate from the surface until they were completely consumed.  This is important in pressure development in the gun.

I have looked at that shoot over snow or a white sheet in the past.  According to Nobel &Abel the powder charge is totally consumed before the ball has traveled more than a few inches in the barrel.  Before George Rummmel passed away he had sent me some calculations on that.  A charge of 3f would be consumed after the ball has traveled about 3 inches in the bore.  A charge of 2f would be consumed around 5 to 6 inches.
What I did find that a lot of what looked like unburned grains were simply balls of powder combustion debris ejected from the bore with the gasses behind the projectile.
I had also noted that certain patch or bullet lubes will get into some of the powder grains and cause them to burn only slowly.  They will go out the muzzle streaming smoke.  If you don't swab between shots and pour a charge down a dirty bore some grains will hang in the bore fouling.  Then when you run the patched ball down the bore these grains are mixed in with the fouling from the previous shot that gets packed on top of the fresh charge.  They may also end up not burning as rapidly as that in the charge.

When I had looked at the powder that was not press densified and how it burned in two stages I though about the soft wrought iron barrels and how that related to rapid bore wear in the breech section of the gun.  Especially in the big .69 caliber military muskets such as the Brown Bess.

Mad Monk

Offline Daryl

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Re: Is it correct to avoid ramming the ball down too much on a flintlock?
« Reply #55 on: April 19, 2015, 06:46:14 PM »
Interesting speculations and observations guys.  As to the fouling and perhaps powder granuals sticking to the bore then being shoved down with the next patched ball - that certainly seems to make sense, however there is VERY little fouling in the bore after a shot, even a shot of 165gr. 2F in the 14 bore.

 One might think if powder stuck in the bore, enough that is, to slow it's burning rate to the point of effecting ballistics in any way, it might stick at the muzzle, where it's speed of falling down the bore is at it's lowest velocity. As I have looked into the bore of my .69 after loading powder - from the side of course - there is no powder stuck there in the fouling - That, and due to there being barely anything fouling left in the bore from the previous shot, I dare say power granuals stuck to the bore most likely have no effect on the ballistics of the load.  Of course this is all speculation, but nice we can do it.

Now, if one was using loads that did not shoot as cleanly, ie: thin patches that allowed the accumulation of fouling, the sticking of powder granuals might be much more prevalent or possible.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2015, 06:46:37 PM by Daryl »
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 #56 on: April 19, 2015, 07:24:05 PM »
Interesting speculations and observations guys.  As to the fouling and perhaps powder granuals sticking to the bore then being shoved down with the next patched ball - that certainly seems to make sense, however there is VERY little fouling in the bore after a shot, even a shot of 165gr. 2F in the 14 bore.

 One might think if powder stuck in the bore, enough that is, to slow it's burning rate to the point of effecting ballistics in any way, it might stick at the muzzle, where it's speed of falling down the bore is at it's lowest velocity. As I have looked into the bore of my .69 after loading powder - from the side of course - there is no powder stuck there in the fouling - That, and due to there being barely anything fouling left in the bore from the previous shot, I dare say power granuals stuck to the bore most likely have no effect on the ballistics of the load.  Of course this is all speculation, but nice we can do it.

Now, if one was using loads that did not shoot as cleanly, ie: thin patches that allowed the accumulation of fouling, the sticking of powder granuals might be much more prevalent or possible.

Daryl,

How much fouling is left in a bore after shooting will vary.  I covered that in depth in my paper on bore fouling variations.
In 2005 I had some interesting discussion with the late Mick Fahringer, of GOEX, on this topic.  I had handed him a copy of the rough draft on the bore fouling subject. The driving force behind that work came out of my use of "standard" powder lots used when I would look at a new shipment of powder.  I had found that when shooting my .50 Trade Rifle at 35 to 40 degrees F I would be looking at 2 to 3% of the weight of the original powder charge as fouling left in the bore.  Mainly as a fine film of dust.  But then the same can of powder on a day where the temperature was up around 85 or 90 degrees F I would be looking at about 15% of the original charge weight as bore fouling.  Generally looking like a mass of tar.  Again.  All with the same can of powder.  GOEX had been perplexed in dealing with customer complaints about a powder lot the customer claimed was fouling the bore badly while their initial check on the lot showed only a light fouling in the bore.

It also explained why BP cartridge I was dealing with in California would carry their loaded rounds to a summer shoot in a cooler with freezer packs in the cooler.  Keeping the rounds cold right up until they were preparing to fire.

A shooters view of this depends on the weather where they live.  Around her in the Spring you can go to the range in the morning and the temperature might be 45 to 50 degrees and by 3 or 4 in the afternoon you are looking at 80 degrees or higher out in the sun.  Then factor in the wild change in relative humidity that goes with that temperature change.  You can be looking at 50 to 60% R.H. in the morning and 15% in the heat of the day.  Some powders can be quite sensitive to this shift in conditions while some don't react in any great degree.

The experiences a shooter sees in our Southern states will be different than experiences in the Great White North.  Her in Southeastern PA we are on something of a battle line between warm moist air out of the Gulf States and cool dry air flowing down out of central Canada.

Mad Monk

Offline D. Taylor Sapergia

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Re: Is it correct to avoid ramming the ball down too much on a flintlock?
« Reply #57 on: April 20, 2015, 02:43:12 AM »
Great Stuff!  Understanding what is happening will go a long way to being able to cope with these issues.

It is my observation, and I am quick to point out, based solely on my experience, and not a scientific approach, that the relative humidity rather than the temperature plays more of a role in affecting fouling and how we must deal with it.  But I believe that it is certainly a combination of these two factors, ie:  temperature and humidity.

In any event, how you handle it in your bore is the key.  That is why I use a patch that has enough thickness to carry enough solvent to leave the bore from muzzle to load, with as little fouling as possible, shot to shot.  This combined with a ball that is tight enough to be engraved by the weave of the cloth, and which forces cloth to the bottoms of the furrows (grooves), gives me optimum consistency throughout the shooting event.  I do not have to change material for patching or ball size to match the climate.  Our circumstances for shooting here are only rarely as wet as those back east.  The usual condition is to have the lock absolutely white with fouling at the end of the day, which indicates to me, very dry.  Hot and dry is the hardest on loading and accuracy.

D. Taylor Sapergia
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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 #58 on: April 20, 2015, 04:28:10 AM »
Great Stuff!  Understanding what is happening will go a long way to being able to cope with these issues.

It is my observation, and I am quick to point out, based solely on my experience, and not a scientific approach, that the relative humidity rather than the temperature plays more of a role in affecting fouling and how we must deal with it.  But I believe that it is certainly a combination of these two factors, ie:  temperature and humidity.

In any event, how you handle it in your bore is the key.  That is why I use a patch that has enough thickness to carry enough solvent to leave the bore from muzzle to load, with as little fouling as possible, shot to shot.  This combined with a ball that is tight enough to be engraved by the weave of the cloth, and which forces cloth to the bottoms of the furrows (grooves), gives me optimum consistency throughout the shooting event.  I do not have to change material for patching or ball size to match the climate.  Our circumstances for shooting here are only rarely as wet as those back east.  The usual condition is to have the lock absolutely white with fouling at the end of the day, which indicates to me, very dry.  Hot and dry is the hardest on loading and accuracy.


The relative humidity during shooting comes into play only after the gun is fired.

When you load a charge the amount of air between the powder grains is not of any volume that would bring any real amount of moisture into the firing, or combustion, of the powder charge.

The Relative Humidity comes into play after the charge is fired.  The projectile leaves the muzzle and the gases behind the projectile are still at a fairly high pressure.  When those gases leave the muzzle it creates something of a pressure collapse in the bore and outside air rushes in.  The powder combustion residue had been deposited on the surface of the bore is something akin to a fine film.  Moisture in the air can be adsorbed into the fouling rather quickly.  If the RH is fairly low, say below 30%, it will have no effect on the fouling because below 30% R.H. the fouling is non-hygroscopic.  As the RH of the air goes up the powder residue will pick up increasing amounts of moisture from the air.

This is the whole reason for the old English and German "moist burning" powders.  The Swiss being the only moist burning powder produced today.  When the powder produces water as a product of combustion you are freed from the reliance of moisture in the air entering the barrel after it has been fired.  Black powders produced with a charcoal free of residual "oil of creosote" produce no water as a product of combustion.  They burn dry.

I might add here that one of the properties of the BP subs based on ascorbic acid produce water as a product of combustion.  The old original Golden Powder produced so much water that it would fill the breech of a .36 or .38 caliber percussion rifle in 3 or 4 shots.  to a point where we had to remove the nipple and drain the water out of the breech.  One ascorbic acid based sub has advertised that it is self-cleaning and that is due to the water produced during powder combustion turning the potassium carbonate to a liquid state.  Potassium carbonate being the only solid product of powder combustion.
When I started working with the late skip Kurtz I even mixed a bit of ascorbic acid into my BP samples to make them burn with a bit of moisture for soft fouling.  I was looking to see if it would be worthwhile to make a black powder with commercial charcoal and give the desired moist burning without having to make a rather costly charcoal.

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 #59 on: April 20, 2015, 04:45:29 AM »
Now I have to ask how that experiment worked out..ie the mixing in of a bit of ascorbic acid ?   Giving your gun a dose of Vit. C  ;D ;D  What percentage in the mix ? 

Offline Mad Monk

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Re: Is it correct to avoid ramming the ball down too much on a flintlock?
« Reply #60 on: April 20, 2015, 04:50:03 AM »
To expand upon the humidity thing versus powder loading into the gun bore.

It is common to see writings describing black powder as being hygroscopic.  Rather than a flat statement of fact it is more a point of degree.

To start.

The old C&H (ICI) BP plant in Scotland produced their own potassium nitrate.  Going for a 99.9% purity.  One of their QC tests on the potassium nitrate was to place a weighed amount in a humidification chamber.  As the RH was increased the potassium nitrate would pick up very small amounts of moisture.  At 50% R.H. you would expect to see a moisture content in the potassium nitrate around 0.5%.  Then at 92% R.H. the potassium nitrate suddenly begins to pick up greater amounts of moisture from the air in the chamber.  At about 100% R.H. the maximum allowable moisture pickup was 1.6%.

With black powder.  A moisture content of less than 1% has no effect on the behavior of the powder during powder combustion.  As the moisture content of the powder rises above 1% there will be a decrease in the powder burn rates as the water introduces a cooling effect during powder combustion.

Prior to the year 2000 GOEX had used a fertilizer grade of potassium nitrate.  It contained 0.5% of sodium nitrate.  That 0.5% of sodium nitrate produced a increase in hygroscopic behavior way out of proportion to its actual amount because sodium nitrate is highly deliquescent.  When I extracted the water soluble fractions from pre-2000 GOEX I would be looking at a 16% weight increase at 95 to 99% R.H.

The black powders we have now are all made with high purity potassium nitrate that is of low hygroscopic behavior.  Today's black powders are less effected by R.H. before loading into the gun and once loaded into the gun.

Of course mineral (ash) content of the charcoal enters into this but most of the charcoals used in today's production black powders is not that high that it would add greatly to this hygroscopic thing.


Mad Monk

Offline Mad Monk

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Re: Is it correct to avoid ramming the ball down too much on a flintlock?
« Reply #61 on: April 20, 2015, 05:01:29 AM »
Now I have to ask how that experiment worked out..ie the mixing in of a bit of ascorbic acid ?   Giving your gun a dose of Vit. C  ;D ;D  What percentage in the mix ? 

I tried 5%.  I had also mixed a bit of a commercial ascorbic acid powder in with the black.  10%.  It made a difference.  But I had to keep my mouth tightly closed on that one lest the arm chair experts flog me for mixing powders.  But at the same time I was limited by the fact that the particular ascorbic acid powder was a good deal weaker than the black powder I was using and when added actually lowered muzzle velocities.  So that would require a little increase in the amount of black powder to compensate.
The ascorbic acid is vit. C.  Still not nearly as good as what you get with the Swiss as far as moist fouling but it beat the hard fouling found at low humidity with "common" powders.

Mad Monk

Offline Daryl

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Re: Is it correct to avoid ramming the ball down too much on a flintlock?
« Reply #62 on: April 21, 2015, 02:26:40 AM »
Does that mean it would make our rifles even EASIER to load with our tight ball/patch combinations - WOW - it would just about fall down the bore just from the weight of the rod -  :o  I'm only saying this because they are so simple to load now - regardless of the humidity.
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 #63 on: April 21, 2015, 02:51:58 AM »
Does that mean it would make our rifles even EASIER to load with our tight ball/patch combinations - WOW - it would just about fall down the bore just from the weight of the rod -  :o  I'm only saying this because they are so simple to load now - regardless of the humidity.

The low fouling moist burning powder residue does make it easier to load at low humidity.  In both of my .50s I used >490 balls and .018 #40 cotton drill patching.  At low humidity reloading took more pressure than when the humidity was higher to give softer fouling.

I used to love to watch the various BP message boards in May and June.  In this section of the country you can see days at the range where the R.H. is 15%.  Watch the threads start on hard to deal with bore fouling.  Usually asking if there was a problem with a particular brand of powder or questions on possible bad lots of powder.   You may not have fouling problems but a few years ago bore fouling problems occupied a lot of threads on the message boards frequented by the bp shooters.

Mad Monk

Offline Daryl

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Re: Is it correct to avoid ramming the ball down too much on a flintlock?
« Reply #64 on: April 21, 2015, 07:27:13 PM »
I'm sure it did, MMonk - thin loads with quite dry patches would definitely promote fouling dry-out and buildup.  At the Hefley CreeK (Rendezvous B.C.) 10-day Rendezvous that runs August/September just North of Kamloops, B.C. can see the humidity hitting as low as 6% some years, with temps well over 100F.

The boys and girls from PG never have fouling/loading problems. We've got that part figured out, I guess. ;)
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 #65 on: April 21, 2015, 11:11:53 PM »
I'm sure it did, MMonk - thin loads with quite dry patches would definitely promote fouling dry-out and buildup.  At the Hefley CreeK (Rendezvous B.C.) 10-day Rendezvous that runs August/September just North of Kamloops, B.C. can see the humidity hitting as low as 6% some years, with temps well over 100F.

The boys and girls from PG never have fouling/loading problems. We've got that part figured out, I guess. ;)

You are fairly on with that.

Down here in Southeastern PA I was dealing with mainly flintlock deer hunters.  In the year 2012 PA put about 125,000 flintlock hunters out in the field for the post Christmas "primitive weapon season".  Most shoot the BP flintlock a few days before the season starts.  May or may not get a shot out in the field.  The rest of the year the flintlocks just sit in the gun cabinet.  Only a few I knew shot all year round.
Most were prone to believing what they read in the glossy magazine hunting articles dealing with ml rifle hunting.  Most bought the typical shallow groove rifles with pre-lubed patches, etc.  They simply did not get into it in depth as the competitive shooters do.  At the annual Gunmakers Fair  I would deal with the competition shooters on Friday and Saturday.  Then on Sundays the my deer is out there waiting for me flintlock crowd would show up with lists of questions.  If you go back to 2004 and 2005 there were roughly double the number of flintlock hunters out during the flintlock season.  Many turned off by their field problems they could not deal with.  I viewed it as a problem with iffy products sold to them and a lack of knowledge on how to deal with problems and adjust to cover them.  In the end I simply gave up trying.

Mad Monk

Offline Daryl

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Re: Is it correct to avoid ramming the ball down too much on a flintlock?
« Reply #66 on: April 22, 2015, 07:24:27 PM »
  If you go back to 2004 and 2005 there were roughly double the number of flintlock hunters out during the flintlock season.  Many turned off by their field problems they could not deal with.  I viewed it as a problem with iffy products sold to them and a lack of knowledge on how to deal with problems and adjust to cover them.  In the end I simply gave up trying.

Mad Monk

It is difficult at times, to persuade people that what they have read from a Black Powder Digest, is not good information, I agree.  But, we must "Endeavor to Persevere" - a great man once said that. He was a wonderful little man, named Chief Dan George, supposedly quoting Lincoln when speaking to Jose Wales (Clint Eastwood)! ;)
Daryl

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