Author Topic: A few questions from a new black powder shooter  (Read 1327 times)

Offline AZ_Artilleryman

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A few questions from a new black powder shooter
« on: June 13, 2022, 12:41:44 AM »
I recently assembled a Kibler Colonial in .50 cal and have been trying to get it zeroed. I started at 25 yards and adjusted my powder charge until I was shooting a tight group. I settled on 75 grains of 3F schuetzen with a .490 ball over a .015" pre-cut patch from TOTW, lubed in TOTW mink oil.

My first question is how much does the patch lube and environmental conditions effect fouling in the bore? I can get 2 shots loaded comfortably without swabbing the bore, a third is doable, and a fourth round is very difficult to seat. I am in El Paso TX so the weather is over 100 degrees with sub-10% humidity. The fouling is very dry and crusty. I've been swabbing with a wet then dry patch every third shot, I may need to do that more often.

My second question is how much does that fouling effect accuracy. I've noticed my first two shots are a lot more consistent than the third. There's about a 50% chance my third shot is a flyer compared to the first couple. I can't tell if this is due to the fouling or poor fundamentals on my part. I'm still learning how to shoot consistently with a flintlock; I'm a good shooter with a centerfire but the slower lock time is definitely bringing out any flinch I have.

My third question is about sight height. My groups are landing about 13" low at 100 yards, with the above 75 grain load. By my math that means I need to file about 0.10" off the front sight to get a 100 yard zero. The front sight is only 0.20" tall to start and this sounds like a lot to remove. Is this normal? Either way, I'm going to take it slow and remove a little at a time and shoot another a group.

Online smylee grouch

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Re: A few questions from a new black powder shooter
« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2022, 01:18:43 AM »
Dont take any off the front sight until you find your most accurate best grouping load. I think your patch is too thin. I don't trust the figures posted on those pre cut patches. Also try some different lubes and keep track of all load combinations to compare later.

Offline Prairie dog shooter

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Re: A few questions from a new black powder shooter
« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2022, 01:22:47 AM »
Patch lube, patch thickness, and humidity all effect accuracy and fouling.   
As fouling builds up shots will strike higher on the target.

Wipe the bore once with a slightly damp patch between shots to maintain the same amount of fouling in the bore for each shot.  Your shots won't climb vertically. 

Don't file your sights until you finish your load development.  Then it's file a little and shoot a group until your poi is where you want it. 

Good luck.   

Offline hanshi

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Re: A few questions from a new black powder shooter
« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2022, 02:29:58 AM »
I recently assembled a Kibler Colonial in .50 cal and have been trying to get it zeroed. I started at 25 yards and adjusted my powder charge until I was shooting a tight group. Don't fool with the sight until you get your best groups at at least 50 yardsI settled on 75 grains of 3F schuetzen with a .490 ball over a .015" pre-cut patch from TOTW, lubed in TOTW mink oil.  Polish the muzzle crown and experiment with various thicknesses of patch material.

My first question is how much does the patch lube and environmental conditions effect fouling in the bore?  That I can't answer as I've only shot BP in humid states. I can get 2 shots loaded comfortably without swabbing the bore, a third is doable, and a fourth round is very difficult to seat. Addressing the crown polishing and patch trials may help you find easier loading. I am in El Paso TX so the weather is over 100 degrees with sub-10% humidity. The fouling is very dry and crusty. I've been swabbing with a wet then dry patch every third shot, I may need to do that more often.  Also try a wet lube like Hoppes #9 BP Lube, It may help.

My second question is how much does that fouling effect accuracy. I've noticed my first two shots are a lot more consistent than the third. There's about a 50% chance my third shot is a flyer compared to the first couple. I haven't been having that problem but can see how some will run into that.I can't tell if this is due to the fouling or poor fundamentals on my part. I'm still learning how to shoot consistently with a flintlock; I'm a good shooter with a centerfire but the slower lock time is definitely bringing out any flinch I have.  Practice with and without prime and use a wood "flint".  Never snap without something in the cock jaws.  Fire slowly and take a breath without disturbing the sight picture after the rifle discharges, follow-through is critical when shooting flintlocks.

My third question is about sight height. My groups are landing about 13" low at 100 yards, with the above 75 grain load. By my math that means I need to file about 0.10" off the front sight to get a 100 yard zero.  I'm not that scientific and sight-in by trial and error
 To raise point of impact you can file the front and even install a higher rear sight if necessary.
The front sight is only 0.20" tall to start and this sounds like a lot to remove. Is this normal? Either way, I'm going to take it slow and remove a little at a time and shoot another a group.
!Jozai Senjo! "always present on the battlefield"
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Offline martin9

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Re: A few questions from a new black powder shooter
« Reply #4 on: June 13, 2022, 02:57:05 AM »
Get some thicker patching material...your fowling issues should get much better if not go away entirely. The idea is to push all that fouling down when loading the next shot.  You can also try some different lubes...I do really like mink oil though.  I wouldn't worry much about anything else til I got it loading and shooting without all that fouling/hard loading.

Offline Daryl

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Re: A few questions from a new black powder shooter
« Reply #5 on: June 13, 2022, 03:43:01 AM »
AZ_Artilleryman - welcome to the forum.  Those are very nice rifles. Advice on re-crowning your muzzle are spot-on, as are the suggestions for thicker patching.
Are you "looking" for a hunting load, loads to do everything or simply target shooting?
For hunting, you need a lube, such as Track's Mink Oil that will not cause oxidation in your barrel is loaded for a long period of time.
For normal target shooting, many find a water-based lube to shoot the best.
A search here at ALR for 'crowning' barrel suggestions will most likely be fruitful, as are 'working up a load' threads.
Varying powder charges and patch thicknesses both help. 10 ounce denim (.021"compressed) works in every one of my guns. Shoot all day, no wiping and no loss of accuracy.
In order to use combinations that NEVER require wiping or swabbing the bore while you are shooting, you need a smoothed muzzle crown. As received, most barrels
have sharp angles made by a machine cutter.
It would be a simply matter for gun makers to deliver pre-crowned barrels with a finish such as this. All this takes is a bit of emery or abrasive paper on the end of your finger or thumb.



This is how I do it. Rotating my wrist, back and forth, back and forth, then turning the barrel 90 degrees or so every 15 seconds or so. Done/finished in a minute or two.
Shove piece of patch material into the muzzle to catch material from the muzzle or paper/abrasive cloth.  320 grit works perfectly.


Daryl

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Offline MuskratMike

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Re: A few questions from a new black powder shooter
« Reply #6 on: June 13, 2022, 04:22:06 AM »
First of all a big welcome from the "Muskrat"
I wouldn't get too worried about the drop at 100 yards unless that is the distance you will make all your shots. I always "zero" mine (regardless of caliber) for 50 yards and learn how much hold over I need for longer distances. It takes time and lots of shots to break in a new barrel. Look up Bob McBride's Muzzleloader You-Tube TV series. He has an excellent short video that tells how to use purple scotch-brite pieces to clean up those pesky micro-burrs all new barrels have. To me it seems like a more than healthy load in 3F for a 50 caliber. If that is the most accurate load then so be it. Try dropping the charge a bit and see if that helps. Patience and time are needed. Have fun and enjoy your adventure in black powder.
"Muskrat" Mike McGuire
Keep your eyes on the skyline, your flint sharp and powder dry.

Offline Dennis Glazener

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Re: A few questions from a new black powder shooter
« Reply #7 on: June 13, 2022, 02:32:03 PM »
Quote
"get 2 shots loaded comfortably without swabbing the bore, a third is doable, and a fourth round is very difficult to seat"

I would try some Lehigh Valley or Mr Flintlock lube and see if that helps.
Dennis
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Offline Mule Brain

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Re: A few questions from a new black powder shooter
« Reply #8 on: June 13, 2022, 03:37:18 PM »
I would also recommend a thicker patch .018-.020. Mix up some dawn dish washing soap and water 40% dawn 60 percent water. Try that for lube, and you can shoot till the cows come home!
No swabbing, just shot after shot!
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Offline Jeff Murray

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Re: A few questions from a new black powder shooter
« Reply #9 on: June 13, 2022, 07:15:31 PM »
The extremely low desert humidity levels will cause the fouling in the barrel to harden faster than it does in more humid climates.  You might consider swabbing between each shot during your sight in period to maintain a consistent barrel surface.  Consistency is critical to accuracy, especially when you are working up a load.  I found that Hoppes #9 Plus lube worked well.  I also used a patch moistened with Windex to swab between shots (it was super easy to use at the range in a small spray bottle).  Seventy-five grains of 2F produced the most accurate group sizes at 50 yards in my 50 caliber flinter.  I boosted it to 85 for 100 yard targets.  For hunting you don't have to worry quite so much about multiple shots.  Hoppes or Mink Oil work well for a second shot.   Welcome and have fun.

Offline AZshot

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Re: A few questions from a new black powder shooter
« Reply #10 on: June 13, 2022, 07:48:30 PM »
I'm also a desert shooter, lived North of El Paso in Las Cruces for a lot of years, now near Tucson.  I was having difficulty loading more than 3-4 rounds in my .45 also.  But I've recently put more lube on the patches, and went to a smaller ball.  To me, the slight difference in accuracy of a looser ball is worth not worrying about getting a ball stuck 2/3rds the way down.  And having to remove a stuck ball. 

I'm using neatsfoot oil, fairly wet.  I'm able to shoot about 5-7 round now, before I swab the bore.  When I used to shoot a smallbore, .36, I never remember this much difficulty with crusty powder residue.  But that was 25 years ago....the powders may have changed too.  I hear some powders are cleaner than others.  I've been doing Schuetzen this time around.  25 years ago it was FFF Goex. 

Offline Scota4570

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Re: A few questions from a new black powder shooter
« Reply #11 on: June 13, 2022, 10:04:49 PM »
If your cleaning jag and patch combination feels tight going down that is not optimal.  I twill push the fouling down to the breech and eventually block the vent.   Adjust the jag with a power drill and file.  A lathe is perfect but most don't have one.  Shoot for a size so  patch goes down easily but bunches up tighter on the way back up.  Pre cut cleaning patches are consistent so it works out better. 

In a very hot and dry climate you need to swab between shots, at least I do.  Use something wet on the patch.  Only dampen the patch.  I wet them then wring them out.  If left exposed to the open air they will dry out during the shooting session.  I put them in a tupperware. 

For load testing use a wet patch.  Grease and oil tend to not shoot quite as accurately. 

Yes, the front sight is tiny.  I can not use them.   I make new ones that suit me.  I am a bit surprise that a taller and wider front sight with an an appropriate rear sight is not a factory option. 


Offline Daryl

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Re: A few questions from a new black powder shooter
« Reply #12 on: June 14, 2022, 01:54:10 AM »
We shoot in humidity down to 7% or 8% & NEVER have to swab or wipe the bore. Mind you, when we shoot in those conditions, we rarely have to shoot
more than 22 to 25 shots over the course of fire that will take a couple hours.
Maybe we're special, or maybe we've just figured this game out, somewhat, in all levels humidity, from 7% to 95%.
For target work, nothing shoots cleaner than a water based lube.  None of us has to wipe at any time while shooting.
The target I just posted was shot offhand/standing at 25 yards, no wiping and it is the 4th target I shot - no wiping.
The rifle barrel cleaned up perfectly, using one patch for pumping water into and out of the barrel (breech submerged in water),
 and 4 patches to dry the bore.  The  sprayed WD40 down the bore, then pumped that out the vent, wiped the barrel down and
installed it and the cleaned lock on the gun. The lock was cleaned in the same bucket of water, shaken off, blew off the water, wiped it
down, then liberally sprayed it all over with WD40, then wiped down again before reinstalling it on the gun. Works for me and can work
for you too.
For hunting you need to use an oil or grease that will combined with black powder fouling, to soften the fouling to allow shooting the next shot.
That is what the water based lubes do when target shooting.
In the small bores, I've found track's mink oil saturated patches never require wiping the bore before loading, after shooting - never.
Our rule of thumb is to use a WET 10 ounce denim patch (.021") with a ball .010" to .005" smaller than the bore.  This has worked identically
in every one of my rifles.
Daryl

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

Offline Mike from OK

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Re: A few questions from a new black powder shooter
« Reply #13 on: June 14, 2022, 05:13:10 AM »
Welcome!

I won't rehash what others have recommended. I didn't read every reply but chances are they're right.

A .015 patch strikes me as a tad thin for a .490 ball... Bores can vary a bit but probably not in any meaningful amount as far as loading goes. It is very likely your crown will make more difference than the bore diameter... The crown is where you start to obturate the ball to fit the bore. Daryl's instructions on the crown radius work. Just be slow, deliberate, and careful and you'll probably see some improvement.

In my .45 I am running a .445 ball and .018 patching... The radius on the crown allows me to start that combo with the butt of my knife (no short starter needed) but is tight enough to squeegee the bore clean as I seat the ball on the powder. I can fire shot after shot with no swabbing. I can also load a .445 ball with a .020 patch but that requires a short starter and doesn't really show any improvement in accuracy.

A good lube... Take your pick... Should provide enough "slickum" to load and keep fouling soft. I am currently using a variation of Muskrat Mike's recipe of 50/50 Track's Mink tallow and PURE neatsfoot oil. Consistency is about that of Vaseline.

Looks like I did rehash what everyone else said after all. Lol

Mike

Offline smallpatch

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Re: A few questions from a new black powder shooter
« Reply #14 on: June 14, 2022, 05:50:09 AM »
Ok, I know Iíve posted this before, but here goes again.
First 7 shots out of a new Rice barrel. .445 ball, .020Ē patch, moose milk lube. Shoot all day without cleaning patch.

In His grip,

Dane

Offline AZ_Artilleryman

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Re: A few questions from a new black powder shooter
« Reply #15 on: June 14, 2022, 06:03:27 AM »
Thanks for the advice all. I ordered some 0.018" and 0.020" patches to try out as well as some Hoppes black powder lube/solvent for patch lube. I can mix up some windex or dish soap based lubes at home. I'll also try a damp swab between every shot to see if that helps prevent too much fouling build up.

Is it worth trying a larger ball? I wasn't sure whether to buy 0.495" or 0.490" initially so I started with the smaller of the two.

My barrel from Kibler has a chamfer on the crown that seems to help with starting the ball. Is that enough or is it important that its rounded off as seen in some of the pictures in this thread? I'm hesitant to mess with the muzzle unless its really necessary.

Edited to add a pic of the muzzle chamfer:

« Last Edit: June 14, 2022, 06:10:27 AM by AZ_Artilleryman »

Offline EC121

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Re: A few questions from a new black powder shooter
« Reply #16 on: June 14, 2022, 06:17:00 AM »
I believe the chamfer on the muzzle is more for the live center on the lathe than to be a crown.  It still has a sharp edge to be rounded.

Don't file the front sight.  To raise the point of impact I prefer to solder a piece of 1/16" metal on the back sight and cut a notch in it.  Cutting the front sight too low will cause it to be in the heat waves after a few shots.

Online smylee grouch

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Re: A few questions from a new black powder shooter
« Reply #17 on: June 14, 2022, 06:32:20 AM »
If you buy patching advertised as so many thousands thick, check it with a caliper to find out how close it is to the advertised figure. Most that I have checked has been over stated.

Offline Daryl

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Re: A few questions from a new black powder shooter
« Reply #18 on: June 14, 2022, 06:55:49 AM »
AZ_Artilleryman - as EC121 noted, there is still a sharp edge that needs rounding. It wouldn't take much time at all. The end of your thumb.emery or wet/dry paper, but of WD40 or other light oil and done.
Really nice groove/land width ratio & with rounded corners, especially nice.
Here are a couple pictures, first being one of our member's crown as received.
The second is after he used abrasive paper or emery. Same result happens.
With your crown, it is the inner sharp edges that need to be "broken", both at the grooves and the top of the lands.
Using the end of your thumb, both will be addressed at the same time.




Daryl

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Offline Mule Brain

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Re: A few questions from a new black powder shooter
« Reply #19 on: June 14, 2022, 02:43:36 PM »
I have the same rifle as you, and if you follow my advice, you will not be swabbing at all between shots.
That patch can be dripping, just go with it. Loading with the lube I suggest, it is wiping the bore as you load.

There are those who shoot, and those who swab. I will run a five day match never clean or swab, and that is in my .40   
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Offline Nazgul

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Re: A few questions from a new black powder shooter
« Reply #20 on: June 14, 2022, 02:59:17 PM »
All good advice.

Shot a woods walk match Sunday at Friendship, in the rain, high humidity, water dripping off the rifle. No problem being too dry!!

Don

Offline AZ_Artilleryman

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Re: A few questions from a new black powder shooter
« Reply #21 on: June 22, 2022, 03:54:41 AM »
An update to this. I worked the muzzle with some 400 grit sandpaper and went out shooting. I tried .018" and .020" patches with mink oil. I also ran one damp swab between each shot. I found good accuracy with the .018" patches and 60 grains of 3F. I also had no issues with fouling and shot about 20 times with no difficulty ramming.

I don't think I smoothed out the crown sufficiently. I managed to recover some of the patches this time around, thankfully it was less windy than past range trips. They almost all had holes where the lands and grooves meet which I assume is from getting cut by sharp rifling.




Offline recurve

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Re: A few questions from a new black powder shooter
« Reply #22 on: June 22, 2022, 04:53:18 AM »
shoot for a groups(then after getting your load sight in) I'm betting 70-80 grains and a thicker patch #40drill cloth or 10oz denim with what ever lube  (I use tallows)

if it's a green mtn barrel it will shoot(but you may have to smooth out the cut rifling) 






Offline flinchrocket

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Re: A few questions from a new black powder shooter
« Reply #23 on: June 22, 2022, 04:58:55 AM »
Work the muzzle over with some 320 grit. 400 is more for polishing, doesnít cut very fast.

Offline recurve

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Re: A few questions from a new black powder shooter
« Reply #24 on: June 22, 2022, 05:05:40 AM »





your patches are cut by the rifling (burrs) you can shoot it smooth or take very fine steel wool and wrap on a brass bore brush .50 with oil and 25 strokes at a time till you get less cutting
to see if you need the above take a tight double patch on a cleaning jag (wet) all the way down&up
if outter patch is cut smooth the bore