Author Topic: HELP - Dry Ball Disaster  (Read 14052 times)

Offline hatman

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HELP - Dry Ball Disaster
« on: July 16, 2016, 03:08:57 AM »
Well, on my 2nd outing with MikeT's 1803 Harper's Ferry rifle I'm stuck with a dry ball.
I was using a .530 ball with .018 lubed pillow ticking when I ran a ball with no powder.
We tried shooting it out to no avail so we tried a ball puller.
I had to use a brass adapter to fit both the puller and the rod, but alas the adapter broke off when we tried pulling.
We even ran some gun oil down the barrel and let it sit for a few minutes before extraction.
Now, the ball covering up the touch hole so no hope of trying to shoot it out.

Before I take it to a gunsmith to remove the barrel and breech plug does anyone have any ideas?

One guy at the range wondered if some type of corrosive liquid could be used (like for instance battery acid) to dissolve the patch but doesn't hurt the barrel.

Right now I'm just disgusted with myself.  :(

Offline L. Akers

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Re: HELP - Dry Ball Disaster
« Reply #1 on: July 16, 2016, 04:21:12 AM »
Sooner or later dry ballin' will get us all.  I'd try a co2 discharger before unbreaching.

Offline SCLoyalist

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Re: HELP - Dry Ball Disaster
« Reply #2 on: July 16, 2016, 04:31:58 AM »
Does the gun have a removable touchhole liner?    When the brass adapter broke, what did that leave sticking in the ball?   Anything like threads that you could capture with another rod, or maybe if you were supremely lucky get a piece of very strong fishing line looped over?

I've heard of people removing a touchhole liner and replacing it with a grease fitting allowing them to push the ball out by pumping in grease behind it, or using compressed air from a tank if a BB gun CO2 cartridge wouldn't do the job.  Or, maybe removing the touchhole liner would allow more powder to be put in behind the ball for another try shooting it out.   

Whatever you try, I'd precede it with a 24 hour soaking with the slickest stuff I could find.   Good luck with it.  SCL


Offline hatman

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Re: HELP - Dry Ball Disaster
« Reply #3 on: July 16, 2016, 04:40:35 AM »
Sooner or later dry ballin' will get us all.  I'd try a co2 discharger before unbreaching.

Not sure how that would work since the ball is clearly below the touch hole.  With the pick, there's no room.
But I appreciate all feedback.  Thank you.

Offline hatman

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Re: HELP - Dry Ball Disaster
« Reply #4 on: July 16, 2016, 05:18:18 AM »
Does the gun have a removable touchhole liner?    When the brass adapter broke, what did that leave sticking in the ball?   Anything like threads that you could capture with another rod, or maybe if you were supremely lucky get a piece of very strong fishing line looped over?

I've heard of people removing a touchhole liner and replacing it with a grease fitting allowing them to push the ball out by pumping in grease behind it, or using compressed air from a tank if a BB gun CO2 cartridge wouldn't do the job.  Or, maybe removing the touchhole liner would allow more powder to be put in behind the ball for another try shooting it out.   

Whatever you try, I'd precede it with a 24 hour soaking with the slickest stuff I could find.   Good luck with it.  SCL



No touch hole liner.  :(

Neither of us can feel anything sticking out above the ball.  We tried a couple rods to capture any threads to no avail.
For what it's worth I have a bunch of gun oil soaking in.
Thank you for responding.

nosrettap1958

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Re: HELP - Dry Ball Disaster
« Reply #5 on: July 16, 2016, 05:31:01 AM »
Does the gun have a removable touchhole liner?    When the brass adapter broke, what did that leave sticking in the ball?   Anything like threads that you could capture with another rod, or maybe if you were supremely lucky get a piece of very strong fishing line looped over?

I've heard of people removing a touchhole liner and replacing it with a grease fitting allowing them to push the ball out by pumping in grease behind it, or using compressed air from a tank if a BB gun CO2 cartridge wouldn't do the job.  Or, maybe removing the touchhole liner would allow more powder to be put in behind the ball for another try shooting it out.  

Whatever you try, I'd precede it with a 24 hour soaking with the slickest stuff I could find.   Good luck with it.  SCL



No touch hole liner.  :(

Neither of us can feel anything sticking out above the ball.  We tried a couple rods to capture any threads to no avail.
For what it's worth I have a bunch of gun oil soaking in.
Thank you for responding.


Wait a minute, you can't feel anything sticking out above the ball but you're still trying to capture any threads? Threads to what?
« Last Edit: July 16, 2016, 05:33:46 AM by crawdad »

nosrettap1958

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Re: HELP - Dry Ball Disaster
« Reply #6 on: July 16, 2016, 05:34:22 AM »
Shoot a light down the barrel and find out what is down there.

Offline gumboman

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Re: HELP - Dry Ball Disaster
« Reply #7 on: July 16, 2016, 05:40:04 AM »
A friend of mine had this to happen last year. Could not pull the ball under any circumstances. I took the rifle to my shop and used my ramrod hole drill (the one I use to drill ramrod holes in stocks when building rifles) to drill through the ball. Drilling through the ball was fast and simple and the ball easily came out when I removed the drill. Close inspection afterwards revealed no damage to rifling. The rifle shoots the same.

Offline Long Ears

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Re: HELP - Dry Ball Disaster
« Reply #8 on: July 16, 2016, 06:26:59 AM »
For heavens sake debreech it. Don't ruin the bore. Bob

Offline hatman

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Re: HELP - Dry Ball Disaster
« Reply #9 on: July 16, 2016, 06:39:27 AM »
Does the gun have a removable touchhole liner?    When the brass adapter broke, what did that leave sticking in the ball?   Anything like threads that you could capture with another rod, or maybe if you were supremely lucky get a piece of very strong fishing line looped over?

I've heard of people removing a touchhole liner and replacing it with a grease fitting allowing them to push the ball out by pumping in grease behind it, or using compressed air from a tank if a BB gun CO2 cartridge wouldn't do the job.  Or, maybe removing the touchhole liner would allow more powder to be put in behind the ball for another try shooting it out.  

Whatever you try, I'd precede it with a 24 hour soaking with the slickest stuff I could find.   Good luck with it.  SCL



No touch hole liner.  :(

Neither of us can feel anything sticking out above the ball.  We tried a couple rods to capture any threads to no avail.
For what it's worth I have a bunch of gun oil soaking in.
Thank you for responding.


Wait a minute, you can't feel anything sticking out above the ball but you're still trying to capture any threads? Threads to what?

I just meant we were hoping there WAS something to capture.
Again I appreciate all feedback. 

Offline hatman

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Re: HELP - Dry Ball Disaster
« Reply #10 on: July 16, 2016, 06:43:14 AM »
Shoot a light down the barrel and find out what is down there.

All I have is a flashlight.  That didn't work.  Thanks.

Offline hatman

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Re: HELP - Dry Ball Disaster
« Reply #11 on: July 16, 2016, 06:45:01 AM »
A friend of mine had this to happen last year. Could not pull the ball under any circumstances. I took the rifle to my shop and used my ramrod hole drill (the one I use to drill ramrod holes in stocks when building rifles) to drill through the ball. Drilling through the ball was fast and simple and the ball easily came out when I removed the drill. Close inspection afterwards revealed no damage to rifling. The rifle shoots the same.

Would I be better off buying a ramrod hole drill or taking it to a gunsmith?

Offline hatman

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Re: HELP - Dry Ball Disaster
« Reply #12 on: July 16, 2016, 06:46:46 AM »
For heavens sake debreech it. Don't ruin the bore. Bob

OK thanks for that.
Sounds like "negative" on any patch dissolving (and non-bore hurting) liquid.
« Last Edit: July 16, 2016, 07:46:01 AM by hatman »

nosrettap1958

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Re: HELP - Dry Ball Disaster
« Reply #13 on: July 16, 2016, 07:00:22 AM »
Does the gun have a removable touchhole liner?    When the brass adapter broke, what did that leave sticking in the ball?   Anything like threads that you could capture with another rod, or maybe if you were supremely lucky get a piece of very strong fishing line looped over?

I've heard of people removing a touchhole liner and replacing it with a grease fitting allowing them to push the ball out by pumping in grease behind it, or using compressed air from a tank if a BB gun CO2 cartridge wouldn't do the job.  Or, maybe removing the touchhole liner would allow more powder to be put in behind the ball for another try shooting it out.  

Whatever you try, I'd precede it with a 24 hour soaking with the slickest stuff I could find.   Good luck with it.  SCL



No touch hole liner.  :(

Neither of us can feel anything sticking out above the ball.  We tried a couple rods to capture any threads to no avail.
For what it's worth I have a bunch of gun oil soaking in.
Thank you for responding.


Wait a minute, you can't feel anything sticking out above the ball but you're still trying to capture any threads? Threads to what?

I just meant we were hoping there WAS something to capture.
Again I appreciate all feedback.  


OK, I'm still confused here, is the ball puller still in the ball or not?


« Last Edit: July 16, 2016, 07:18:06 AM by crawdad »

Offline hatman

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Re: HELP - Dry Ball Disaster
« Reply #14 on: July 16, 2016, 07:25:35 AM »
Does the gun have a removable touchhole liner?    When the brass adapter broke, what did that leave sticking in the ball?   Anything like threads that you could capture with another rod, or maybe if you were supremely lucky get a piece of very strong fishing line looped over?

I've heard of people removing a touchhole liner and replacing it with a grease fitting allowing them to push the ball out by pumping in grease behind it, or using compressed air from a tank if a BB gun CO2 cartridge wouldn't do the job.  Or, maybe removing the touchhole liner would allow more powder to be put in behind the ball for another try shooting it out.  

Whatever you try, I'd precede it with a 24 hour soaking with the slickest stuff I could find.   Good luck with it.  SCL



No touch hole liner.  :(

Neither of us can feel anything sticking out above the ball.  We tried a couple rods to capture any threads to no avail.
For what it's worth I have a bunch of gun oil soaking in.
Thank you for responding.


Wait a minute, you can't feel anything sticking out above the ball but you're still trying to capture any threads? Threads to what?

I just meant we were hoping there WAS something to capture.
Again I appreciate all feedback.  


OK, I'm still confused here, is the ball puller still in the ball or not?




Yes sir.
A piece of the brass adapter threads are in the ramrod.
Using a thin metal ramrod I can't feel anything sticking out of the ball.
« Last Edit: July 16, 2016, 07:48:40 AM by hatman »

nosrettap1958

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Re: HELP - Dry Ball Disaster
« Reply #15 on: July 16, 2016, 08:00:27 AM »
That's what I was afraid of. Can you work a worm down in to try and work it free?  Some of those worms are pretty stout and can grab it and turn it out of the ball.
« Last Edit: July 16, 2016, 08:02:34 AM by crawdad »

Offline hatman

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Re: HELP - Dry Ball Disaster
« Reply #16 on: July 16, 2016, 09:34:02 AM »
That's what I was afraid of. Can you work a worm down in to try and work it free?  Some of those worms are pretty stout and can grab it and turn it out of the ball.

Thank you.  I'll try that in the morning.
Assuming that doesn't work, what are my options?

Offline Mauser06

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Re: HELP - Dry Ball Disaster
« Reply #17 on: July 16, 2016, 10:23:03 AM »
If you feel anything sticking out of the ball....have you tried another ball screw???



I have 2 different ball screws I use...a longer thinner one and a thicker one with real aggressive threads...




I've pulled the ball screws out of lead when I didn't turn them in deep enough...tried again or switched to the other ball puller and got it in...

Id try working another puller into it...but I'm kinda confused on what is broke off....


Removing a barrel and removing the breech plug isn't a huge deal..if you don't have the right tools you might wanna leave a competent person work on it...find a local BP gun builder or BP gunsmith...i wouldn't trust most modern gun Smith's..they may do the same as you could at home and throw it in a vice and take a wrench to it..but not the proper designed vice jaws or wrench...my thoughts anyways....

hammer

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Re: HELP - Dry Ball Disaster
« Reply #18 on: July 16, 2016, 12:22:52 PM »
Mmmmmm.     May not have the tools to properly remove the breech.  Absolute last resort anyway.

Another way is to buy a length of steel tube from the hardware store.  Diameter just under bore size.   Cut/file series of saw teeth on one end. Smooth the outside so as not to scratch the bore.    Drill a hole through the other end to take a cross bar.    Use it like a hole saw to eat away the circumference of the ball and the patch.     Clean regularly.     As soon as the edge is removed the ball will just fall out.

A useful trick too if a stuck ball rotates with the screw.    Tap the teeth into the ball, hold the tube firmly with cross bar removed and run the screw down the centre.  The tube will stop the ball rotating.

These are old gunsmiths tricks.

Offline grabenkater

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Re: HELP - Dry Ball Disaster
« Reply #19 on: July 16, 2016, 01:35:38 PM »
I had something very similar happen to me with a '63 Springfield. The screww just kept pulling lose and I eventually had to pull the breech and drive out the ball with an oak dowel rod. I spent more time pulling it with no results than removing the breech and driving it out. So told it took about 20 min to pull and drive it out.
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Offline Old Ford2

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Re: HELP - Dry Ball Disaster
« Reply #20 on: July 16, 2016, 02:40:49 PM »
Hello Hatman,
Welcome to the sometimes frustrating past time of shooting "powderless" muzzleloaders.
As a "newby" you are most likely ill equipped for the task that awaits you.
You can ruin a perfectly good gun, not knowing what and how to remove a stuck ball in a barrel.
First! NEVER acid like materials in a barrel!
Second! You must protect the barrel at all times. No sharp or hard items that may score the barrel.
A good quality ball puller attached to steel shaft ( not wood or aluminium ) Even brass is not too good as the threads may strip.
A lag bolt of appropriate size works well,( 3/8" lag bolt will handle most calibers .45 to .75)

 but it should have a plastic sleeve to protect the barrel from contact, should be used.
I have cut the head from the bolt, drilled and tapped the bolt to accept a full length threaded steel rod. I have also silver soldered the threaded rod to the lag bolt so that it will not separate in the barrel.
If I could post a picture , I would ??!!
The threaded rod has a large flat washer with a nut screwed in place, then I have another nut threaded on  just at then end and silver soldered in place so it will not turn.
Slide the whole assembly down the barrel, careful not to touch the rifling.
Rest the lag bolt on top of the ball, give the rod with the soldered nut a good hit with a hammer, then turn the shaft with a wrench into the ball. Soak the barrel with oil.
Now just tighten the nut that turns freely on the shaft. It will draw the ball out easily.
Remember! If the ball is .50 cal. you should turn the ball puller in at least 1/2"
It sounds much more complicated than it really is.
Fred
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Offline P.W.Berkuta

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Re: HELP - Dry Ball Disaster
« Reply #21 on: July 16, 2016, 07:50:40 PM »
Well, on my 2nd outing with MikeT's 1803 Harper's Ferry rifle I'm stuck with a dry ball.
I was using a .530 ball with .018 lubed pillow ticking when I ran a ball with no powder.
We tried shooting it out to no avail so we tried a ball puller.
I had to use a brass adapter to fit both the puller and the rod, but alas the adapter broke off when we tried pulling.
We even ran some gun oil down the barrel and let it sit for a few minutes before extraction.
Now, the ball covering up the touch hole so no hope of trying to shoot it out.

Before I take it to a gunsmith to remove the barrel and breech plug does anyone have any ideas?

One guy at the range wondered if some type of corrosive liquid could be used (like for instance battery acid) to dissolve the patch but doesn't hurt the barrel.

Right now I'm just disgusted with myself.  :(

Mr Hammer response is a good one and should do the job ;)- if that does not work I would remove the breach plug and knock out the ball. If you try the other methods mentioned here be careful not to "ding" up the bore ;D.
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Offline D. Taylor Sapergia

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Re: HELP - Dry Ball Disaster
« Reply #22 on: July 16, 2016, 08:33:28 PM »
https://www.trackofthewolf.com/Search.aspx?search=ball%20pullers

I bought a set of these:  32 - 36, 40 - 45, 50 - 54, 58 - 62, and set them in a block of wood in a plastic bullet box.  I attached the box to a spruce tree at the #1 station on our trail, along with a 48" stainless steel rod with a T handle.  There is a second box beneath the ball puller box for a small set of pliers and all of the many balls that have been pulled, under circumstances exactly like yours, on our trail.  These items are handier than a coat hook on the inside of a backhouse door.
D. Taylor Sapergia
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Online Bob Roller

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Re: HELP - Dry Ball Disaster
« Reply #23 on: July 16, 2016, 08:34:31 PM »
Does the gun have a removable touchhole liner?    When the brass adapter broke, what did that leave sticking in the ball?   Anything like threads that you could capture with another rod, or maybe if you were supremely lucky get a piece of very strong fishing line looped over?

I've heard of people removing a touchhole liner and replacing it with a grease fitting allowing them to push the ball out by pumping in grease behind it, or using compressed air from a tank if a BB gun CO2 cartridge wouldn't do the job.  Or, maybe removing the touchhole liner would allow more powder to be put in behind the ball for another try shooting it out.  

Whatever you try, I'd precede it with a 24 hour soaking with the slickest stuff I could find.   Good luck with it.  SCL



No touch hole liner.  :(

Neither of us can feel anything sticking out above the ball.  We tried a couple rods to capture any threads to no avail.
For what it's worth I have a bunch of gun oil soaking in.
Thank you for responding.


Wait a minute, you can't feel anything sticking out above the ball but you're still trying to capture any threads? Threads to what?

I just meant we were hoping there WAS something to capture.
Again I appreciate all feedback. 

Battery acid is sulphuric,a BAD idea. Find someone who knows how to take a barrel out of the wood on a
muzzle loader and unscrew the breech plug and push the ball out.

Bob Roller

Offline hatman

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Re: HELP - Dry Ball Disaster
« Reply #24 on: July 16, 2016, 09:44:01 PM »
Thanks everyone.
Got a buddy coming by tomorrow who's more 'mechanical' than I am to review all these comments and see if there's anything we can try.
If not, I'll take it to my local gunsmith.