Author Topic: ball size?  (Read 15527 times)

Leon

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ball size?
« on: March 15, 2009, 03:09:57 AM »
I'm in a bit of a quandry as to which size mold to purchase in .58 cal.. I have a rifle with a Rice barrel in .58 and so far I have shot a half a box of swaged .570 ball through it. I'm using pillow ticking for a patch and they seat very tight. I was thinking about getting a Lee mold but they only offer one in .575 or .562. I'm not sure what the thickness of my patching material is but it works quite well with the .570 and thats the only size roundball that I can find. My next project will be a small game flintlock and that and my plains rifle will be shot the most so I have no problem purchasing pricey molds for them. Would a .575 and a thinner patch still shoot as good as a thicker patch and the .570? I'm pretty new to this and I hope my questions are not too elementary. Leon

chapmans

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Re: ball size?
« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2009, 05:03:05 AM »
Leon,
  It all depends on who you ask some will shoot .575's without effort, my .58 is snug with .570's but I like the way it shoots them, but when hunting I put ,565's in the loading block as they load easier when in the field dirty with the rod in the gun. The best way to find out is buy some different sized balls and wring the gun out then buy that size mold. You may find you want 2 sizes one for target and a smaller one for hunting.
   Regards, Steve C.

Offline hanshi

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Re: ball size?
« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2009, 06:28:49 AM »
I agree.  An easier loading ball would be preferable for hunting.  The ball recommended for my .58 zouave was .562 and I got a mold in that size.  .562 - .565 should work fine for loading in the woods.  The tighter loading balls, while sometimes (but not always) more accurate, are best suited to the range where you can use a range rod and take your time.  I had no problem with accuracy in my rifle using a .562 ball.  Getting two molds of different sizes is a good idea.
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Leon

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Re: ball size?
« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2009, 04:28:50 PM »
Thank you, I'll get the .562 and see what I can work up. Does a smaller ball and thicker patch as a rule call for a lighter powder charge because of gas cutting? Leon

Offline hanshi

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Re: ball size?
« Reply #4 on: March 15, 2009, 06:52:11 PM »
As long as the patch is thick enough to be a relatively snug (should push down easily with moderate pressure) fit, gas CUTTING shouldn't be a problem.  It's a myth that a patch acts to seal the gasses behind the ball; it simply doesn't do it!  There's no practical way to do it with patch & ball.  Gasses blow around the ball even with the tightest patch.  The patch acts to spin the ball, only.  Time lapse photography shows smoke & gasses ahead of the muzzle before the ball even exits.  As long as the patch isn't damaged in loading it will not usually be burned by the powder.   Is there any gas retarding taking place at all with a prb?  Sorta.  A little; but that's all.  Not much more than a naked ball.  Maximum efficiency is gained by putting wadding (wasp nest, fiber wads, a dry patch, toilet paper, etc.)  between powder and ball but it still doesn't seal the gasses behind the ball to any real degree.  I've noticed that placing wadding between powder and ball does increase velocity by a few feet per second.  The main advantage of using wadding is that it protects the powder from the patch lubricant.  It also appears to make velocities a bit more uniform which benefits accuracy.  Others may disagree but this is my story and I'm sticking to it!  Peace.
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Offline George Sutton

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Re: ball size?
« Reply #5 on: March 15, 2009, 08:18:27 PM »
I have an .58 cal., Ed Rayl, round bottom rifled barrel on my rifle. I use a .562 round ball and a .015 pure linen patch with 75 gr. Goex 3F. I can load the gun without a short starter. It is very accurate out to 100 yards. I don't have any problems with excessive fouling. I fooled with a number of different loads before I settled on this one.

All these guns like something different. Don't be afraid to experiment.

Centershot
« Last Edit: March 15, 2009, 08:18:56 PM by Centershot »

frontier gander

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Re: ball size?
« Reply #6 on: March 15, 2009, 09:31:30 PM »
i use a .562" ball in my cva mountain rifle and .018 pillow tick. A very snug fit. 

Good thing TOW was out of the .575" mold i originally ordered  :o

Daryl

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Re: ball size?
« Reply #7 on: March 16, 2009, 05:14:09 PM »
I use a .575" ballin my .574" (undersize .577 cal.) musketoon with a .015" denim patch for a snug fit.  I also use a .562" ball with a .022" denim patch, same .574" bored rifle for an easy loading, but accurate shooting load.  This second load doesn't need a short starter, either. It's all in the crown.

Leon

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Re: ball size?
« Reply #8 on: March 16, 2009, 07:19:01 PM »
Thank you all for the feed back I'm ordering a .562 mold and if I'm not happy with it I'll buy something else. I'm getting some lead and a furnace this week and we'll see how it goes. Leon

Daryl

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Re: ball size?
« Reply #9 on: March 16, 2009, 07:55:40 PM »
It might work as long as you use an appropriate patch - but that gun has deep rifling.  Stay away from panty-material, ie: 15 thou. (it's cold here-  ;D )  .015" won't cut it in the round bottomed rifling of your .58.  Heavier patches hold more lube and take up the necessary space.  The old rule of thumb of starting with a patch the thickness of depth of rifling one side with a ball only .005" under will work in some guns, but it's a bit thin.

20 bore is .615".  A .58 with .016" depth of rifling measures .612" from groove to groove.  Subtract that .562" ball's diameter = .050". A .015" patch is .030" undersize, or .015" too thin per side.  Might work if you sue a wad of wasp's nest. Leaving dead wasps in the nest might add some lubrication. ;)

On your barrel, I'd use nothing smaller than .570" & would probably use a .575".

Offline hanshi

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Re: ball size?
« Reply #10 on: March 16, 2009, 08:41:15 PM »
I use pillow ticking for patching and it measures .020 - .022.  this works well in most of my guns and is strong and holds lube well.  I do have a couple rifles that work better with something thinner after being fired a few times.  for them I use a tight cotton weave about .018. - .015.  Long ago I used anything I could find; t-shirts, scraps, etc.  They actually worked fine but were often damaged or destroyed upon firing.  Accuracy was good but still improved when I went to a thicker patch.

I experienced too many stuck balls and torn patches when I went to larger balls with no improvement in accuracy.  Can't afford a stuck ball while hunting.
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Leon

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Re: ball size?
« Reply #11 on: March 17, 2009, 03:16:56 AM »
It might work as long as you use an appropriate patch - but that gun has deep rifling.  Stay away from panty-material, ie: 15 thou. (it's cold here-  ;D )  .015" won't cut it in the round bottomed rifling of your .58.  Heavier patches hold more lube and take up the necessary space.  The old rule of thumb of starting with a patch the thickness of depth of rifling one side with a ball only .005" under will work in some guns, but it's a bit thin.

20 bore is .615".  A .58 with .016" depth of rifling measures .612" from groove to groove.  Subtract that .562" ball's diameter = .050". A .015" patch is .030" undersize, or .015" too thin per side.  Might work if you sue a wad of wasp's nest. Leaving dead wasps in the nest might add some lubrication. ;)

On your barrel, I'd use nothing smaller than .570" & would probably use a .575".
I'll have to figure out getting a dial caliper to measure my ticking. I know with the .570 ball I was lucky to have some handy wipes in my truck because after lubing a few patches my hands were to slippery to seat the ball. Like I say I'll just buy another mold if the first one is to small. Leon

Leon

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Re: ball size?
« Reply #12 on: April 15, 2009, 05:22:41 PM »
Well heres an update to my last post on this thread. I've cast some .562 balls and went shooting yesterday. They loaded much easier and at the short range ( 30 yards off hand ) no difference in grouping. I did have burn through at the rifling points on the patches with 110 grs. 2f so I think I need a thicker patch. I wiped the barrel after the first three shots which threw off my rhythm and dry balled the fourth :-[ sure glad that I had a pliers in my kit to grab the end of the range rod. I'm using Goex powder and the powder fouling at the breach is very hard and crusty, when I wipe periodically during the shoot it would plug the vent liner with $#@* resulting in a pan flash. My patch lube is TOW mink which they claim is petroleum free. Towards the end of my shoot I plugged the vent and poured Butches black powder solvent into the bore and let it sit for a couple mins. when I dumped it looked like limeade. Today I'm going to shoot some more with my son inlaw at greater range to see where I'm at with this ball size at normal hunting range. Lifes an adventure. Leon   

Offline hanshi

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Re: ball size?
« Reply #13 on: April 15, 2009, 07:15:40 PM »
Don't know where you live but if you have a dry climate the fouling will tend to be dry and harder than if you live in an area of higher humidity.  It also sounds like you might need to consider a different lube.  I've use several bought prb greases but none worked better than plain Crisco.  Mixing your own formula might be an idea.  Hoppes #9 Plus bp lube is good as is DGW "Black Solve".  Spit patches work well but you run dry at some point.  I'd suggest experimenting with other lubes and see if it helps.

I will mention that blowing down the barrel after each shot helps soften the fouling.  I do this as standard procedure.  It also lessens the possibility of lingering sparks in the bore. 
!Jozai Senjo! "always present on the battlefield"
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Offline D. Taylor Sapergia

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Re: ball size?
« Reply #14 on: April 15, 2009, 07:58:42 PM »
Oh oh!!
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Art is not an object.  It is the excitement inspired by the object.

Leon

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Re: ball size?
« Reply #15 on: April 15, 2009, 08:18:44 PM »
I would blow down the barrel ( on another site I watched the subject of blowing down the barrel turn into a two month long bitch session ) and sometimes it would plug up the vent hole ( 1/4 inch white lightning drilled out to 1/16 ). I live in northern Mn and its not exactly dry here and the dry crusties are in the combustion area below the ball and patch. I'll try some crisco. Leon 

Offline hanshi

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Re: ball size?
« Reply #16 on: April 16, 2009, 01:22:36 AM »
Do you have a patent breech?  Might "splain" some of it.

Single shot bp cartridge shooters used "blow tubes" to blow into the bore (from the breech end, in this case) to soften fouling.  This was needed to maintain accuracy.  A number of factors contribute to fouling accumulating and/or drying out; keeping some moisture on it makes a difference.  Definitely controversial but it works for me.
!Jozai Senjo! "always present on the battlefield"
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roundball

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Re: ball size?
« Reply #17 on: April 16, 2009, 03:24:02 AM »
« Last Edit: April 16, 2009, 03:25:13 AM by roundball »

Daryl

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Re: ball size?
« Reply #18 on: April 16, 2009, 03:28:22 AM »
 I experienced too many stuck balls and torn patches when I went to larger balls with no improvement in accuracy.  Can't afford a stuck ball while hunting.

Flintr - I'm sorry, stuck balls don't compute?  If a good ball/patch combination is used, along with a sufficient lube, the 50th loads as easily as the first - how can it get stuck?  20% dry and 122F or 5f and 100%humidity - doesn't matter.

  Mind you, back when we first started shooting muzzleloading rifles in 1972 (earlier for Taylor), I did have a few combinations that would stick(I was using crisco shortening and ticking) and had to run the rod against a tree to seat the ball down - then I read Ned Roberts big book, courtesty of my Taylor, then bought my own, studied it, and thus learned to use more lube, better lube and tighter combinations ie; larger balls, never more than .005" under bore size and 10oz Denim for patches.  No more stuck balls and no fouling buildup for an entire days' shooting, just as O'l Ned said.  I had also learned to crown the muzzle so I could load snug combinations easily. Stuck balls just don't happen & haven't for over 30 years.  I fully realized this was all learned over a period of time - but with use of the internet - this forum in paticular, we're endeavouring to shorten people's learning curves. What took us a year or maybe even more to figure out, is available here at ALR - well, almost instantly - we've gone over this topic many times, yet guys still need to wipe between shots, or wipe between groups, however many or few shots are fired.  We kid around about this on our trail on Sundays, but is definitely seems to be a re-ocurring problem for some guys. We just can't figure why.
Now to choose to wipe and use combinations that can be loaded in to an almost 90 degree muzzle, then have fouling buildup - getting crusties in the breech, stuck balls - well, that's a choice - these problems are a choice. I guess we're just lazy and would rather shoot than clean.  I can't imagine having a good day and shooting less than 40 & somtimes more than 80 rounds, depending on how many are shooting.  A day is about 4 hours on the course. But then, when the snow is gone, if or even when that is, we won't be able to lay our rifles barrel down in it to cool them off.

roundball

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Re: ball size?
« Reply #19 on: April 16, 2009, 04:30:02 AM »
My .58cal GM barrel loves a .570" and .018" pillow ticking...needs a short starter but loads easy...extremely accurate.

A .575" and .018" takes a VERY hard smack on the short starter but is also extremely accurate.  As a result of being so hard to start I would normally not bother using any more .575" except that I bought 25 boxes of Remington .570" at $5/box delivered...turns out they actually mic .575"-.577"...but at that price of course I'll continue to use them.

Have a Rice .58cal round bottom on the way so having both size balls to test with will also be a plus.

Leon

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Re: ball size?
« Reply #20 on: April 16, 2009, 06:35:57 AM »
My .58cal GM barrel loves a .570" and .018" pillow ticking...needs a short starter but loads easy...extremely accurate.

A .575" and .018" takes a VERY hard smack on the short starter but is also extremely accurate.  As a result of being so hard to start I would normally not bother using any more .575" except that I bought 25 boxes of Remington .570" at $5/box delivered...turns out they actually mic .575"-.577"...but at that price of course I'll continue to use them.

Have a Rice .58cal round bottom on the way so having both size balls to test with will also be a plus.
My barrel is a Rice c weight .58. with the pillow ticking that I have been using it loads easy and shoots accurately, the only problem is it cuts patches unless I lower the powder charge. the only way I can test the performance is by comparing it to my .44 mag. with its pet load it puts a slight dent in my steel target the size of the bullets meplat. The .58 puts a huge dimple much bigger than the ball and slightly bumps out on the back side. The .44 has put down deer with authority in the past and I can only believe the .58 will do better at much greater range. I just need to find a better patch. Leon

roundball

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Re: ball size?
« Reply #21 on: April 16, 2009, 04:09:50 PM »
The .58cal definitely has "whompability"
 ;D

I use Oxyoke prelubed wads over large powder charges as a firewall to protect the patch...before bothering to buy any, the next time you're at the range just experiment by seating a spare lubed patch down on the powder charge before seating the PRB...will also serve as a firewall

Offline hanshi

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Re: ball size?
« Reply #22 on: April 16, 2009, 06:39:06 PM »
Daryl, what can I say?  I don't have a problem with balls getting stuck in the bore.  My 50th shot also loads as easily as the first; hence my suggestions in my previous post.  My patches don't tear when I seat them, either.  I have a rifle with a nice radius crown and I use a short starter with it same as with all the others.  I've a couple more with 90 degree crowns I will get to eventually but they load easily, right now.  One is the rifle I loaded for years without a short starter and .445 balls using just the rod and my thumb.  It has a tight bore, by the way.  I've learned a lot in the nearly half century I've been shooting muzzleloaders.  I waded through a lot of published misconceptions, balderdash and bad advice to arrive at proper loading procedures.  Too often bp shooters like to think theirs is an esoteric sport with arcane secrets to unlock before success can be achieved.  This is not so.  Common, inexpensive materials and simple procedures can work as well as guarded secret formulas spoken of in hushed voices among those in the know.  My methods work for me and I have few complaints.  This is why I suggest simple solutions to those having problems.  If the simple doesn't cut it, then, they can progress to the more complex.  I believe this is the way to encourage more shooters to enter our fold.  Thank you for your advice, Daryl, and no, I don't dismiss it.

Roundball, your suggestion of a "firewall" over the powder is excellent and is something I use and have recommended many times in my posts.  It is a very good idea and not just because it protects patches.  Almost anything works.  I use a variety of materials depending on what I plan to do and what I have on hand.  Lubed felt wads are excellent and I save them for hunting loads.  Toilet paper is cheap and works great.  Wasp nest is wonderful when you have it.
!Jozai Senjo! "always present on the battlefield"
Young guys should hang out with old guys; old guys know stuff.

Daryl

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Re: ball size?
« Reply #23 on: April 17, 2009, 12:10:32 AM »
There are no secrets in loading a muzzleloader to achieve results - good or otherwise.  What can I say?   There are no secrets here.

-  I assumed you were experiencing torn patches and stuck balls if using 'larger' balls, .005" 'Under' to bore sized.  Since we didn't have this result with the methods of loading we use, I thought maybe your patch or your crown was at fault.  If indeed, you can load without a short starter, & in a 90 degree muzzle of all things, the subsequent fit must be so loose as to certainly not be a gasget of any sort and you would obtain better results with a wad to protect the patch from the flame trying to get by.  If, however, you use 'enough' patch, adding a gasget or wad beneath the patched ball will not improve the seal as it is already sealed just fine - this I have proved to myself and others with the use of a chronograph - as far back as 1973.
This is a quote, copied form your post, previous page on this thread. Too, every rifle I've tested with the hunting load, adding a wad opened groups. This is not acceptable to me as it involves another loading step to seat such a wad, and didn't improve anything about the load- neither accuracy nor velocity.

The reason I assumed you were having torn patches and stuck balls came from your post, quoted below:

 "I experienced too many stuck balls and torn patches when I went to larger balls with no improvement in accuracy.  Can't afford a stuck ball while hunting."

I am glad you've overcome that problem, Flintr, as noted in your last post: With a more substantial patch yet, perhaps you can get rid of those redundant wads.

Wads are for ctg. rifles to protect bare lead bases and for use in shotguns to seal and separate powder from shot, and to keep shot in the shell or barrel.  In the muzzleloading rifle, the patch does all jobs - keeps the ball inside the barrel, separates powder from ball and seals the powder gasses behind the ball so the ball can benefit from the full charge of powder, obtaining all the speed it can. Loose combinations allow blow by, thus reducing speed and also allow fouling to build in the barrel's grooves, which requires frequent cleaning.

As I said, using such loads is a choice. There are no secrets here - just trying to help.

Leon -  Increasing powder charges cuts patches in your new Rice barrel?  There is a very simple solution.   Rice barrels have a nice crown as delivered, The Angles they cut on the lathe are about right.  The problem comes at the corners of the tools cut - they are sharp on both angles of the rifling's lands, bottom of the groove and top of the land.  Just a couple minutes with your thumb and 320 emery and they are nicely smoothed - rotating the barrel every now and then to assure even grinding. Finish with 400 wet or dry and it's done, nicely radiused crown - no sharp corners or edges to cut the patch - loading is easy and if a descent patch is used, any load can be used and will not cut nor burn the patch - but - you will need a short starter to load such a load.  This crown was done with 320grit emery and 400 grit paper, with just my thumb's end, shoving the cloth and then paper into the bore. When using the 400grit, I used 'Rapid Tap' as a cutting oil and to add a bit of lubrication. The bore if this rifle is .398", yet I load a .400" x .400" round ball with a .020" denim patch, no tearing, easy, all day loading and no sticking - with spit, LehighValley Lube, Hoppe's 9 Plus or Moose Snot for lube.

Offline hanshi

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Re: ball size?
« Reply #24 on: April 17, 2009, 03:12:48 AM »
Daryl, I do agree with you that there are no secrets in muzzleloading.  There are different recipes, though.  I can no longer load anything without a short starter.  My hands are simply in too bad a shape.  Use to.  That barrel had a bore size around .445.  The first balls I used were from a bag mold and they were TIGHT.  I finally got a .445 mold & did fine with better accuracy.  At that time I used anything for patches, usually old cotton t-shirts.  They tore but only sometimes.  When I started using better patching material it was better all way around.  I should have been clearer in my explanation but I just wanted to get point across and move on.  I've honestly never had much problem with flat crowns.  A good lube, I suppose, made the difference.

As far as wads go, I use them to prevent powder contamination pure and simple.  I get more uniform velocities with them and that can't hurt accuracy.  From what I've read, this was not unknown in long ago times.  They have the effect of also protecting patches which I agree is not necessarily needed.  Doesn't hurt, though. 

Many do not understand that a patch DOES NOT "seal" the gases behind the ball.  The job of the patch is simply to spin the ball and that's all it does.  to seal gases you need ball/bullet tight contact with the bore.  Even then, gases can escape ahead of the projectile.  This even with modern cartridges to a small extent.  No ball/patch combo you would be able to seat by hand will seal the gases behind the ball.  The patch does retard the gases to some extent but only a little.  I will agree with you to the extent that the tightest ball/patch combo that loads easily & without tearing or ball deformation will "probably" be generally more accurate.  Not always and velocity increase may or may not be significant.  Testing individual guns/loads is the only way to know for sure.  Might do it in yours but not in mine and vice versa.  I get better accuracy than I can take advantage of with my guns.  I see nothing wrong with someone considering and trying any of my suggestions.  Is there something that's better than success?  Oh, and my loads are snug when pushed down the bore.  What I have had happen is have patches "score" or cut on sharp rifling going down.  This always seems to stop as the barrel "shoot in".  This may be a problem with new guns as much or more so than the crown.

By the way, I have a longrifle with a crown like the one in the picture, rounded & smooth.  Loads great but not materially easier than my others.  Of course this is more a matter of perception on my part.
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