Author Topic: tapping the ramrod - throwing the rod  (Read 7301 times)

Offline AZshot

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tapping the ramrod - throwing the rod
« on: May 03, 2020, 01:00:30 AM »
I haven't been on here long, but I've been shooting muzzle loaders a long time.  40 plus years. 

Reading a different post, a tangent comment about "throwing the rod" was discussed.  Funny thing is, that's how I've always finished ramming, I raise the ramrod (wood) a few inches, and toss it down onto the ball until it bounces.  It's not done with much force, and just a light wooden ramrod. I'm not sure when I started doing this, or why.  I kind of think I glommed onto it myself, realizing that when it bounces it's seated and compressed.   Maybe uncle Jebediah showed me at those early mountain turkey shoots.  Maybe I read it in a 70s buckskinner article.  However, it became a deeply set habit, I've done it for decades. 

Researching this site, I see posts going back in time about this.  I see several people did it in the past.  I also see several people that say you should NOT do it.  (I also blow down the muzzle after a shot, but that's for a different post). 

The reasons to do it that I always felt were:
1. Consistent, standardized compression.  To me, just pushing the rod and feeling the crush of the last few milimeters always makes me wonder if it would be the same each load.  As fouling increases, the pressure needed to move the patched ball down the barrel increases.  Often there are tight spots, and you just get a different feel every few shots.  At least I do.  I felt that when the powder is tight enough to bounce the rod, it's the same.  Yes, I mark my ramrod too.
2. Habit.  I can't think of any other reasons.  But I've always done it.

Reasons I've read here to not do it are:
1. You can wear down your bore rifling.  Really?  With a wood rod?  Hasn't happened to any of my rifles.
2. You compress the powder.  That's a good thing for accuracy, at least in Black Powder Cartridge Rifle shooting. I also compress in my cap and ball Colts.
3. You can "crush the powder".  I don't believe this one.  People have pulled black powder loads from compressed cartridges and there is no breaking of the grains.  What I think happens is the charcoal/wood can be compressed and doesn't break unless you really smash it.  In BPCR it's common to compress a load by several 1/16ths. 
4. You might set off the load.  I don't think so, but I know other people hammer on the end of the rod after it's seated with a block or their hand.  What's the difference, in PSI for how I do it?

Anyone out there still "throw the rod?"  I didn't know this was a named technique, I just did it.  I suppose I could do some accuracy testing doing it, and not doing it.

Offline Mike payne

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Re: tapping the ramrod - throwing the rod
« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2020, 01:37:14 AM »
I do it like you I have been doing it for over 40 years. I have a 36 cal. Rifle with a Douglas barrel I have been throwing the rod in since 1976 an it still shoots great. Oh yea I blow down the barrel to!

Mike

Offline D. Taylor Sapergia

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Re: tapping the ramrod - throwing the rod
« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2020, 03:15:23 AM »
What is vitally important is the consistency with which you load your rifle, shot to shot.  First, if you have any fouling building up your load is not correct, or your cleaning regime, and thus a rough barrel.  Second, pushing the patched ball with the rod down until it is FIRMLY SEATED ON THE POWDER, is all that is required or wanted.
The biggest detriment to 'throwing the rod' is the damage it does to the surface of the ball.  I cannot image how a ball that has been struck several times randomly cannot be deformed, and as a consequence, inaccurate, especially out past 50 yards.
I neither throw the rod or blow down my muzzle.
D. Taylor Sapergia
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Art is not an object.  It is the excitement inspired by the object.

Offline AZshot

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Re: tapping the ramrod - throwing the rod
« Reply #3 on: May 03, 2020, 03:38:21 AM »
Thanks,  that is the other hypothesized detriment I have heard, that the ball will be deformed.  I have a couple thoughts on this:

1. The ball will get deformed with any loading technique.  First by the ramrod pushing it, probably just slightly.  Then as the soft, pure lead obturates or "bumps up" as the pressure and kinetic energy accellerate it down the bore.  The retrieved balls I've found always have a cylindrical band around their center from this.

2. It's not like a round ball, even if it remains completely round, is very aerodynamic. It's ballistic coeffecient would be somewhere between an acorn and a pumpkin.  Would a few marks from the soft ramrod wood change it's flight? 

Offline Daryl

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Re: tapping the ramrod - throwing the rod
« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2020, 03:43:08 AM »
Taylor is simply saying the ball will become even more damaged. I concur with this, but as well, the powder is crushed and turned into dust under the ball if seated in that manner.
This "mealing" of the powder cannot be a good thing, although I have not tested this myself.  Too, if the barrel is hot and the powder is hot, is there not a possibility of compressing
the powder in this manner causing the powder to detonate? Or is that a myth/old wives tail?
Daryl

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

Offline Bob McBride

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Re: tapping the ramrod - throwing the rod
« Reply #5 on: May 03, 2020, 03:46:58 AM »
I slide the rod down firmly until seated, the same every time. Then holding the end of the rod I tap, tap, tap, firmly but donít throw the rod. I can do this repeatedly the same time after time. Which is what Iím after. Repeatability. Not perfect, as a bench shooter will tell you, but repeatable.

Offline AZshot

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Re: tapping the ramrod - throwing the rod
« Reply #6 on: May 03, 2020, 03:58:40 AM »
I slide the rod down firmly until seated, the same every time. Then holding the end of the rod I tap, tap, tap, firmly but don’t throw the rod. I can do this repeatedly the same time after time. Which is what I’m after. Repeatability. Not perfect, as a bench shooter will tell you, but repeatable.
Yes, that's what I do.  Tap.  Like the title of the post says. 

Taylor is simply saying the ball will become even more damaged. I concur with this, but as well, the powder is crushed and turned into dust under the ball if seated in that manner.
This "mealing" of the powder cannot be a good thing, although I have not tested this myself.  Too, if the barrel is hot and the powder is hot, is there not a possibility of compressing
the powder in this manner causing the powder to detonate? Or is that a myth/old wives tail?

Hi, I think it was your posts over the years talking about powder being "mealed" to "dust", but I've never heard it anywhere else.  Like I said, I've pulled heavily compressed loads and the powder is exactly the same.  And I'm not talking about wailing on the rod.  It is just a few oz of pressure to bounce it, and usually only takes 2 or 3 pings.

Offline Bob McBride

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Re: tapping the ramrod - throwing the rod
« Reply #7 on: May 03, 2020, 04:13:38 AM »
I slide the rod down firmly until seated, the same every time. Then holding the end of the rod I tap, tap, tap, firmly but donít throw the rod. I can do this repeatedly the same time after time. Which is what Iím after. Repeatability. Not perfect, as a bench shooter will tell you, but repeatable.
Yes, that's what I do.  Tap.  Like the title of the post says.

I wasnít arguing with you brother...


Quote
Funny thing is, that's how I've always finished ramming, I raise the ramrod (wood) a few inches, and toss it down onto the ball until it bounces.

I read this and thought Iíd post my way....itís all good.

 


« Last Edit: May 03, 2020, 04:27:14 AM by Bob McBride »

Offline Marcruger

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Re: tapping the ramrod - throwing the rod
« Reply #8 on: May 03, 2020, 03:54:37 PM »
I was taught by a fiercely competitive target shooter who brings back medals regularly from Friendship.  He totes several rifles specifically made to win specific matches. 

He was the one who taught me to avoid the old saw of bouncing a rod off the ball.  He explained that is an old holdover from the military days of muskets with heavy rods, and making sure the ball was all the way down on top of the charge. I agree with Taylor, you gain nothing other than deforming a ball by bouncing a rod today.  I've seen some of the tiny 25, 50, 100 and 100+ group targets shot in competition.  Yes, a deformed ball would widen those groups. 

The question I would ask is what is gained by bouncing a rod?  With a consistent moderate pressure on a rod you get consistent seating, no air gap, and consistent accuracy.  How does bouncing a rod improve any of those things? 

Marc

Offline Percy

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Re: tapping the ramrod - throwing the rod
« Reply #9 on: May 03, 2020, 05:51:21 PM »
Shooting cast balls with a sprue, is the ball not already deformed? I don't think a little bouncing of the rod will hurt anything.
Just my $.02 worth.

Percy

Offline Daryl

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Re: tapping the ramrod - throwing the rod
« Reply #10 on: May 03, 2020, 06:29:08 PM »
As to where this mealing of the powder came from, it was a re-print of (mid 1800's) old text talking about a contest where the competitors were 'throwing' the rod onto the ball to get it the final distance onto the powder, until the rod bounces> "look there, he throws the rod onto the ball, deforming it and mealing the powder" - might not be exact, but is it close enough.
The throwing of the rod was military - and when the States bought "Tige" & "Delvinge" chambered rifles from France and Austria just before the civil war, the throwing of the rod onto the ball
actually made sense then, as both chamber types required this method to upset the ball, either onto the post in the Tige or the stepped powder chamber of the Delvinge chambers. The military, loading "by the numbers", had the soldier "throw" the rod onto the ball 3 times to ensure it was seated.
If you want to 'throw' or 'bounce' your rod onto the ball - have at it.
If you don't think it hurts anything, that's fine too.
Ever see an accuracy shooter doing this - at friendship, a plank or chunk shoot or elsewhere?
Daryl

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

Offline snapper

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Re: tapping the ramrod - throwing the rod
« Reply #11 on: May 03, 2020, 06:37:25 PM »
you know I was just thinking about this a couple of days ago when I was shooting.   When I shoot a RB rifle I seat the ball, then I smack it with the range rod 3 times.  It is part of my routine and does not feel right if I dont do it.   I also do not think that I am gaining anything by doing it.

When I shoot my long range bullet rifles, I never would do this as I do not want to damage the nose of the bullets.

I dont know that my accuracy is hurt with the round ball and hitting 3 times with the loading rod but I should stop doing it.

Fleener
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Offline T*O*F

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Re: tapping the ramrod - throwing the rod
« Reply #12 on: May 03, 2020, 06:50:12 PM »
Quote
The military, loading "by the numbers", had the soldier "throw" the rod onto the ball 3 times to ensure it was seated.
They also shot bare balls and subsequent shots in a fouled barrel it would have ensured that the ball was seated on the powder.
Dave Kanger

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Offline smallpatch

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Re: tapping the ramrod - throwing the rod
« Reply #13 on: May 03, 2020, 07:30:42 PM »
I've never been a paper punching bullseye shooter.  I prefer trail walks etc.  seems to me, that we probably put more emphasis on these little details than our predecessors.  They shot to feed and protect their families, AND I'm sure to compete with friends for fun. Closest to an "X" on a board, etc.
Can't imagine they weighed balls, mic'd their patch materials, or worried whether the surface of their round balls had a scratch on them.
There are many, many out there that can shoot MUCH better than myself, but I'm sure not many of them have more fun.
In His grip,

Dane

Offline EC121

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Re: tapping the ramrod - throwing the rod
« Reply #14 on: May 03, 2020, 07:38:19 PM »
Dane: I'm with you.  My match shooting days are over.  I just shoot a bit on my range and hunt.   I am happier with a well functioning flintlock than a minute of angle flintlock.  I usually give the ball a just light tap.   Because( more than once :-)) instead of the powder giving a bit, I have felt a solid hit against the breechplug indicating a dry ball.

  As for pounding til you compress the powder I see nothing to be gained by pounding  the ball.  A firm consistent push will work to seat the ball, but smack it 15 times if it makes you happy.  It's your rifle.  That is why they make chocolate and vanilla so every one will have a choice.  ;D
« Last Edit: May 03, 2020, 07:46:05 PM by EC121 »
Brice Stultz

Offline Mike payne

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Re: tapping the ramrod - throwing the rod
« Reply #15 on: May 03, 2020, 07:44:29 PM »
I think we are getting options or facts from two different schools of shooting. I for one consider myself a traditional shooter. I enjoy hunting and for competition shooting I enjoy woods walks. I use what some would consider a loose patch and ball no short starter needed.When I say throwing the rod what I am doing I seat the ball snuggly then back up a few inches give it a little push a let it go. Normally on the first release I don't get a bounce the second go I get a small bounce back that tells me ball is seated. Prime her up and make smoke!

Then we have the competitive paper shooter who I have to admire because of their patience to put in the hours needed to develop the best load for a particular rifle or smoothbore. What traditional shooters and target shooters find as acceptable accuracy are different there for loading methods are different.l am happy with keeping my shots within the kill zone of a deer at 50 to 75 yards and hitting gongs and other things people come up with at unknown distances in the the woods. Just my opinion.

Mike

Offline D. Taylor Sapergia

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Re: tapping the ramrod - throwing the rod
« Reply #16 on: May 03, 2020, 07:47:47 PM »
We have a postal shoot going on right now.  You shooters who throw the rod to seat the ball, pls. post a target to show how well this works for you.
D. Taylor Sapergia
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Art is not an object.  It is the excitement inspired by the object.

Offline smylee grouch

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Re: tapping the ramrod - throwing the rod
« Reply #17 on: May 03, 2020, 08:10:50 PM »
I am a non throwing loader, I shoot a tight combo so my patched ball goes down to the powder on the push down so there is no need to go any farther. If you shoot a lose load maybe you need to hammer the load down past all that fouling.

Offline Bob McBride

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Re: tapping the ramrod - throwing the rod
« Reply #18 on: May 03, 2020, 08:12:05 PM »
I am a non throwing loader, I shoot a tight combo so my patched ball goes down to the powder on the push down so there is no need to go any farther. If you shoot a lose load maybe you need to hammer the load down past all that fouling.

I think thatís the nail on the head.

Offline bob in the woods

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Re: tapping the ramrod - throwing the rod
« Reply #19 on: May 03, 2020, 08:34:46 PM »
We had a shooter /competitor at our matches who brought a bathroom scale with him . Range rod was pushed down and the ball seated with the same pressure every time !    I've also seen a range rod with a "pressure" device which worked something like a torque wrench, clicking when the desired pressure was achieved. " Kadooty" rod seems to ring a bell.   I just use a steady pressure down on the rod and seem to be able to get repeatable results.  What ever works for you  :D

Offline AZshot

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Re: tapping the ramrod - throwing the rod
« Reply #20 on: May 03, 2020, 09:04:37 PM »
When I can get to the range, I'll try some groups both ways.  Like I said, I don't know if there is a real advantage.  I also don't know if there is a disadvantage.  That's what I like about the Scientific Method, you make a hypothesis, then test it.  I imagine there will be little difference seen in group size.  Probably the only thing I gain is my tradition is kept, it's like a superstition perhaps.  I'll try to test and report back if I seen any difference between pushing the round home with hand pressure, and doing that then following it with a few light taps of the rod until it bounces.  Note I have said several times I do not "throw" the rod, or hammer it, or use anything more than about 8 inches of rod lift off the ball.  It's probable just a few ounces of pressure. 

Offline John SMOthermon

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Re: tapping the ramrod - throwing the rod
« Reply #21 on: May 03, 2020, 09:05:56 PM »
I sometimes load in different manners depending on the situation.

If the gun is clean, after starting the ball I choke up on my loading rod and push the load down the barrel, one final push and it seats itself onto the charge.

Then one final push  ďcrunch ď the powder somewhat.
 
Sometimes I bump the rod, sometimes I donít.
Iíve never seen where it affected my accuracy one way or the other.

I drive my ball into the bore with a mallet, sure it deforms the ball.

I canít see that makes any difference in my way of shooting either.

However most of my shooting is at 75 yards of less... others mileage may vary.


Smo

Good Luck & Good Shootin'

Offline Daryl

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Re: tapping the ramrod - throwing the rod
« Reply #22 on: May 04, 2020, 12:30:30 AM »
Quote
The military, loading "by the numbers", had the soldier "throw" the rod onto the ball 3 times to ensure it was seated.
They also shot bare balls and subsequent shots in a fouled barrel it would have ensured that the ball was seated on the powder.

Exactly - that is why they did it. When the US bought those weird chambered guns, the 'exercise' was maintained with even more purpose.

The nose of the ball or bullet is of little consequence, even in modern guns.  It is the base of the bullet where it obtains it's "steerage" from.  It is the change in the diameter
of the ball from premature slugging up and the crushing of powder granuals that I protest which is why I posted concerning the "throwing of the rod" in the first place - prior to this.
A 25 yard contest will likely show nothing in group size difference, not matter how you seat the ball.  25 yards is rather inconclusive for any worthwhile deliberation, aside from perhaps offhand
shooting group ability. That does mean something.
« Last Edit: May 04, 2020, 02:46:39 AM by Daryl »
Daryl

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Offline D. Taylor Sapergia

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Re: tapping the ramrod - throwing the rod
« Reply #23 on: May 04, 2020, 02:28:51 AM »
At our annual Provincial rendezvous, I have seen shooters on the line throwing the rod down the bore until it bounces right out of the rifle and they catch it in their hand.  I just shake my head without comment.
D. Taylor Sapergia
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Offline Daryl

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Re: tapping the ramrod - throwing the rod
« Reply #24 on: May 04, 2020, 02:45:00 AM »
Funny/odd - maybe? I've never seen a rod thrower in the winner's circle & there are a few of them at the Hefley Creek Shoot & ours.
However, if it works for you, keep doing it! :)
Daryl

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