Author Topic: Sheep wool for wadding a smoothbore  (Read 907 times)

Offline Gene Slodysko

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Sheep wool for wadding a smoothbore
« on: September 25, 2020, 11:41:28 PM »
Does anybody have advice? Any experience? Any certain type? Washed vs raw? I believe it’s period correct.

Offline Daryl

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Re: Sheep wool for wadding a smoothbore
« Reply #1 on: September 26, 2020, 12:30:35 AM »
I've never heard of using wool as wadding. THIS is the first time.
Daryl

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

Offline Levy

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Re: Sheep wool for wadding a smoothbore
« Reply #2 on: September 26, 2020, 03:14:02 AM »
Archaeologically, I haven't seen a gun or barrel recovered that used raw wool for wadding.  I did work on a French musket that was found on a plantation north of Tallahassee that was loaded and raw cotton was used.  the musket had a  US surcharge on the tail of the lock.  A Carolina Gun that I worked on used what looked like palmetto or palm fiber for wadding.  Sorry for getting off subject.  James Levy
James Levy

Offline wolf

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Re: Sheep wool for wadding a smoothbore
« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2020, 03:21:49 PM »
would it stink like hair burning when exposed to the red hot fire of BP? :-[ ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
I have never "harvested" a critter but I have killed quite a few,,,,,,,,,,,

Offline WadePatton

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Re: Sheep wool for wadding a smoothbore
« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2020, 04:43:25 PM »
would it stink like hair burning when exposed to the red hot fire of BP? :-[ ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

It is hair. 

What makes it special is the wool wax, the lanolin. I also don't think that'd protect it from the stress of a charge of powder.

And I never ever find anyone familiar with using lanolin in the old days, but that sheep have been around for many ages and I'm sure there was some used. I have found papers saying it was used from the earliest shipping days.  But I find no discussion of Colonists using lanolin, surely they had sheep at some point.

flaming stinky hairballs.  :o
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Online Pukka Bundook

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Re: Sheep wool for wadding a smoothbore
« Reply #5 on: September 26, 2020, 05:46:32 PM »
No gas seal with wool.
From "An Essay on Shooting",  (1797 I think)   and  speaking of wadding;    "Wool is nothing worth".

I use it as a filler in unmentionable BP rifles.

Best,
Richard.

Offline Gene Slodysko

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Re: Sheep wool for wadding a smoothbore
« Reply #6 on: September 27, 2020, 02:07:44 AM »
I’ve heard it’s a safer alternative to tow. I heard it’s like shooting tow but the natural oils in wool doesn’t result in a fire concern. I’ve been told it’s period correct.

Offline Daryl

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Re: Sheep wool for wadding a smoothbore
« Reply #7 on: September 27, 2020, 02:54:43 AM »
Well , someone should try it. As for being PC that is likely wishful thinking on the advisers, or someone's mind.
I would think the oils might make it even more flammable than tow, however, any material that lets the powder flame through it, would likely be considered useless for that job.
Wool, being a needed clothing item, I cannot "see" it as a Fowler wad material for ball or most certainly shot.
For a test, try it for pattern. I suspect insufficient velocity to kill anything at 20 yds.
That of course is merely my opinion.
Daryl

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

Online Pukka Bundook

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Re: Sheep wool for wadding a smoothbore
« Reply #8 on: September 27, 2020, 06:06:46 AM »
I think you're on the money, Daryl.

Offline yulzari

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Re: Sheep wool for wadding a smoothbore
« Reply #9 on: September 27, 2020, 01:19:35 PM »
I used to use it in unmentionable black powder c*rtridges. Does not burn. Only chars and I used many pieces several times after picking them back up. No sealing properties I would imagine so some sort of wad over the powder and below the wool would be in order I think.

Offline Gene Slodysko

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Re: Sheep wool for wadding a smoothbore
« Reply #10 on: September 27, 2020, 03:59:16 PM »
Question? Wouldn’t a ball of wool, round ball, a ball of wool have the same sealing ability as tow, ball, tow? I was just thinking it wouldn’t be as much of a fire hazard due to “wool wax”

Offline WadePatton

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Re: Sheep wool for wadding a smoothbore
« Reply #11 on: September 27, 2020, 05:46:23 PM »
Wool wax is oil/grease (lanolin).  Same as any animal oils, or fats.  All flammable.  Same as wool and cotton.  Both flammable.

I think a woven wool (blanket) would be very much different than a wad of wool (hair).  Wash out the wool wax and you just have hair. 

Tow is plant fiber with most of the other organic matter stripped away. It is not hair, but also it's flammable.

Then we grease up our cotton/linen cloth patches with animal fats/oils all of which is flammable. But we well know it works.

The flame resistance of wool fabric is actually pretty good, far better than cotton according to the mattress maker/seller below.

I wouldn't even try loose wool over a bare-ball load with proper undersized ball.  Nope, that's a furnace in front of that ball, and though the wool might outrun the flame by some miracle of internal ballistics with un-sealed projectiles, I highly doubt it and simply do not want to smell the remnants. 

Test and and see, for any loadings different than a bare-ball load as I described, are now my thoughts. Good luck.


This is from the perspective of a manufacturing/sales of mattresses outfit, but talks about fire and cotton and wool a good bit:  http://strobel.com/wool_burns.htm

But also wool is hard to light: https://www.learnaboutwool.com/lesson-plans/the-properties-of-wool/does-wool-burn/
« Last Edit: September 27, 2020, 05:53:46 PM by WadePatton »
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Offline Hungry Horse

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Re: Sheep wool for wadding a smoothbore
« Reply #12 on: September 27, 2020, 07:07:06 PM »
 I think some of you are forgetting an important point or two. First off all animal fat or grease is not the same when it comes to its flashpoint. Venison, mutton, and bear grease, have a very high flashpoint, and make great patch lube.
 Now, when it comes to wool waddling, its mentioned in old journals as being used by Native American in trade guns. Remember wool is susceptible to insect attack by moths, which means there is a good likelihood that blankets, and other wool items got eaten up quickly leaving plenty of scraps for wadding.
 I suspect there was no wadding used between powder, and ball, in a native loaded tradegun. Very likely just a wad of greased blanket wool to hold the load in place. Keeping the wadding out of direct contact with the powder charge would make fire that less likely.

  Hungry Horse

Offline Gene Slodysko

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Re: Sheep wool for wadding a smoothbore
« Reply #13 on: September 28, 2020, 03:35:58 AM »
What would you recommend treating tow with to reduce the chance of smoldering?

Offline alacran

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Re: Sheep wool for wadding a smoothbore
« Reply #14 on: September 28, 2020, 03:02:20 PM »
Last fall was quite warm in the Midwest. I went squirrel hunting with a good friend in Indiana. We had been tinkering with wool that he uses for trapping in our smooth bores. Generally I could not tell any difference between it and tow.  Both need more powder, and both will fowl your bore considerably. I killed three squirrels using it. Two shots being about 10 yards, the longest shot about 15 yards.  So it does work.
 Most of the trees we were hunting were 50 to 70 feet tall.  The canopy was still green and lush so you were not going to see any squirrels past 20 yards. You may see their movement in the branches, but you will be hard press to see the buck toothed little varmint themselves.
I found that the wool was a little harder to wad up into consistent uniform wads, than tow. But it was reusable, and did not burn at all.
"From one thing know 10,,000 things" Miyamoto Musashi

Online Pukka Bundook

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Re: Sheep wool for wadding a smoothbore
« Reply #15 on: September 28, 2020, 03:49:03 PM »
You're right wool won't burn, Alacra,
That's why firemen's suits were made of wool, and the first thing to change into in a bush fire.  (out of nylon.)
Using raw wool as a filler in BP cases, it could be used again.

Richard.

Offline Gene Slodysko

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Re: Sheep wool for wadding a smoothbore
« Reply #16 on: October 05, 2020, 05:39:34 PM »
My uncle gave me 2 wasp nest. Any recommendations for using? Will this need treated some how to help improve it being fire retardant. Thoughts & personal experience would be appreciated.

Offline riflee

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Re: Sheep wool for wadding a smoothbore
« Reply #17 on: October 11, 2020, 11:58:48 PM »
I may be remembering correctly when I say the hornet nest stuff doesn't burn and is good to put some on the powder to protect the cloth patch.  I used it at one time just to try it I think.

I would try some with a match and see if it burns before I'd use it again just to be sure.   

I pulled a supposedly empty hornet nest off a fence row once. Figgered the cold sent the hornets elsewhere. I put it in a plastic bag in my shop. I thought I heard some sort of humming coming from somewhere and.....the hornets woke up. I ran the bag into the woods behind the house and slit the bag and ran like $#*!.

Offline Clark Badgett

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Re: Sheep wool for wadding a smoothbore
« Reply #18 on: October 12, 2020, 04:19:33 AM »
Wasper. Now that's a term I've not heard in many a year. I need to start collecting these nests when I find them.
Psalms 144

Offline Daryl

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Re: Sheep wool for wadding a smoothbore
« Reply #19 on: October 13, 2020, 02:58:46 AM »
Interesting. I have a number of different guns, all different calibres including a smoothbore. All get used with patches and round balls and
none of them ever have to be swabbed during a full day's shooting. So, I'd say no, guns are not different in that matter. Many of the guys on
this site do the same - shoot all day, no wiping needed, rifle of any calibre or smoothbore with patched round balls. Maybe there is something
in the way they load?
Daryl

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

Offline alacran

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Re: Sheep wool for wadding a smoothbore
« Reply #20 on: October 13, 2020, 12:39:26 PM »
Interesting. I have a number of different guns, all different calibres including a smoothbore. All get used with patches and round balls and
none of them ever have to be swabbed during a full day's shooting. So, I'd say no, guns are not different in that matter. Many of the guys on
this site do the same - shoot all day, no wiping needed, rifle of any calibre or smoothbore with patched round balls. Maybe there is something
in the way they load?
Daryl, I found that when shooting any combination that used tow, or wool or just a B card over the powder and an A card over the ball,
extreme fowling was the result. Lack of pressure causes the fowling. Very little fowling with tight patch ball combo. Like you say load all day without patching. The only caveat is that in dry conditions you must reload soon  after the shot. If you wait 20 minutes to reload wetting the patch or wiping makes loading easier.
"From one thing know 10,,000 things" Miyamoto Musashi

Offline Daryl

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Re: Sheep wool for wadding a smoothbore
« Reply #21 on: October 13, 2020, 08:05:57 PM »
Absolutely, alacran, I agree. Waiting makes for crunchy loading due to the drying of that shot's fouling, but still quite doable with a wet patch.
Daryl

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