Author Topic: New Lehigh Valley experience  (Read 6590 times)

Offline Darkhorse

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1657
New Lehigh Valley experience
« on: December 30, 2009, 06:27:19 PM »
Been shooting traditional ML for 36 years and this has never happened. Started out using Crisco, went through the Bore butter stage, Mink oil, then/now LHV and always I could find my patches in a slightly scorched but reusable condition. I buy my patching by the yard and only use proven material of integrity.
Well, I shot a doe over Thanksgiving, thoroughly cleaned then reloaded my .54 using LHV which I know will dry out but it's never been a problem.
So, last Monday I fired my rifle to unload it just outside of camp. A couple of guys were watching who had never seen a flintlock fire. Everything went off quick as a firecracker and I even hit my mark. But when walking to the target there was a half dozen little fires springing up out of the dry pine needles.
Turns out it was fragments of my patch and none were over .250 in size.
This has never happened and all I can figure out is when the LHV evaporated it left flammable traces in the fabric, which caught on fire and "blew up" my patch??
I really like LHV and my .40 Rice really needs it to load well. But the bigger calibers don't and I think I might go back to Mink Oil for my hunting patches.
Just hoping "Mad Monk" can shed some light on this phenomenon and to make others aware of what could happen.

And guys, I'm not really interested in all the homemade lube recipes but thanks anyway.
American horses of Arabian descent.

Offline Roger Fisher

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6805
Re: New Lehigh Valley experience
« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2009, 06:56:24 PM »
Jusr a thought; but are you certain that you did not get those r balls mixed up and loaded with a smaller and loose combination?    All that fire goes with a too loose ball and patch? ???

Offline Mad Monk

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1033
Re: New Lehigh Valley experience
« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2009, 07:29:39 PM »
Been shooting traditional ML for 36 years and this has never happened. Started out using Crisco, went through the Bore butter stage, Mink oil, then/now LHV and always I could find my patches in a slightly scorched but reusable condition. I buy my patching by the yard and only use proven material of integrity.
Well, I shot a doe over Thanksgiving, thoroughly cleaned then reloaded my .54 using LHV which I know will dry out but it's never been a problem.
So, last Monday I fired my rifle to unload it just outside of camp. A couple of guys were watching who had never seen a flintlock fire. Everything went off quick as a firecracker and I even hit my mark. But when walking to the target there was a half dozen little fires springing up out of the dry pine needles.
Turns out it was fragments of my patch and none were over .250 in size.
This has never happened and all I can figure out is when the LHV evaporated it left flammable traces in the fabric, which caught on fire and "blew up" my patch??
I really like LHV and my .40 Rice really needs it to load well. But the bigger calibers don't and I think I might go back to Mink Oil for my hunting patches.
Just hoping "Mad Monk" can shed some light on this phenomenon and to make others aware of what could happen.

And guys, I'm not really interested in all the homemade lube recipes but thanks anyway.


I wish that SAm Fadala would reprint some of his old writings on this subject.
Going back to the early 1980's on this subject.

Cotton patching is inferior to linen patching in several ways.  Linen fabric is more fire resistant than cotton fabric.

When you use cloth patches freshly lubed with a water-based lube it is difficult to ignite when you fire the gun.  The water acting to cool the patch as the hot gases cause the water to evaporate out of the patch.

When I used to test shipments of powder I had to do it year round.  The chronograph data taught me that what is an acceptable patch and ball combination in warm weather may be a bit loose in very cold weather.  One day I was shooting over the chronograph with the temp below freezing.  I was using balls out of a box in my shooting box.  These were at the same temperature as the air.  Then when loading I went to place a ball on the patch before starting it into the muzzle.  But I knocked the patch off the muzzle and it fell to the ground.  So I stuck the lead ball in my mouth until I got the patch back in place.  Once the patch was back on the muzzle I took the ball out of my mouth, started it into the bore and seated it on the powder charge.  That shot gave me 50 fps higher MV.  Later in the day I played with this.  If I warmed the balls up to body temperature I got higher velocities compared to cold balls out of the box.  Now I had folks tell me that the expansion and contraction of the lead with temperature changes was not that great.  But I know what I saw that day with the data jumping around with the change in ball temperature.

Now before anybody lectures me on lead balls in the mouth.  The balls were clean and free of lead oxide dust.  I did not make a habit of this.  My industrial exposure to lead pigments was high enough.  And I know about dust on the skin versus injestion.  The amount of lead injested with this day of shooting was nothing compared to my industrial exposure.  But what I saw going on was to much to pass up as far as a few experiments went.

So you shot a dry patch that would easily be ignited by the hot powder gases.  With the temperature of the air I would be willing to bet that the patch and ball combination had become just loose enough to let a little more blow-by shred the patch.

In dealing with the PA flintlock shooters around here I caution them that with their first shot out of a very cold barrel they ought to add a bit more powder in their first round.  Another thing I learned in the powder testing is that the first shot out of a clean, cold barrel will be slower than any subsequent shots.  In cold weather I would have to fire at leasdt 5 rounds to get the bore up to a stable condition of temperature and fouling.  I would use the amount of velocity increase in 5 shots to judge how the powder fouls the bore.  A good powder would take about 5 shots to get the bore in a state of equilibrium.  A poor powder would see it by the third shot.

Adding a bit more powder to  first shot will not cure a patch failure problem but it wioll keep the velocity up to the desired level.

In cold weather with a gun loaded to hunt you ought to consider another lube such as mink oil or bear oil.  You might also want to take a close look at your patch material.  May not be the best for the job.  Commercial pre-cut patching leaves a good bit to be desired.  Cheap fabrics are just that.
I have what amounts to a life time supply of the Joanne Fabrics #40 cotton drill.

Bill K.

Offline Mad Monk

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1033
Re: New Lehigh Valley experience
« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2009, 07:33:13 PM »
Also forgot to mention.

Which Lehigh Valley Lube are you using.  Ox-Yoke produced??

After Ox-Yoke took over the production and marketing they really botched the stuff up.  Real high pH value.  Very caustic.

Now if you treat a cotton fabric with a strong caustic it will cause the fibers to become brittle and weak.

So if you treated cotton patching with the highly caustic Ox-Yoke version and stored the cotton for any length of time the fabric lost a good bit of strength.

Bill K.

Offline Darkhorse

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1657
Re: New Lehigh Valley experience
« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2009, 09:22:24 PM »
Roger,
I have .390 and .530 balls. I may walk unbalanced but I know which is which ::)
Also, I have bags for both.

MM,
This was the good LHV made after Ox Yoke went out of buisness and the inventor (Tom Decare?(SP)) took over production.
The material was .0175 ticking I buy by the yard at a local fabric store. I don't use the precut patches because I found too many with tears and cuts, whereas my regular ticking kept integrity.
Now this particular strip has been carried around in my .54 shooting bag for several years seeing as I only cut a few each season. Maybe I need to throw it away and just cut a fresh strip?
But even then I would have expected a tear or burn through, not total fragmentation and enough fire to burn pine needles and leaves.
But for sure, my hunting lube will be Mink Oil from now on. Never had a problem with that. (yet)
American horses of Arabian descent.

Daryl

  • Guest
Re: New Lehigh Valley experience
« Reply #5 on: December 30, 2009, 09:39:30 PM »
I once shot some neetsfoot oiled patches that were stored for over 8 years in a tin. They were still oily in the tin, and shot just fine. They were  a 12 oz. denim fairly heavy denim - about .025", used with a .684" ball in a .690" bore. They were quite snug loading, were still strong enough not to tear on loading and maintained accuracy just fine to 50 yards (on the short upper range), however the snow out in front was covered with shredded denim, blown there by the muzzle blast, obviously.  They weren't burnt or burning, though, just shredded.

When using most other lubes, I don't allow the patches to sit lubed any longer than about a week or so, before 'changing' them in the containers.  The cloth does lose it's integrity with some lubes.

I kinda figure neetsfoot oil might be a good oil for hunting, as Dphar has noted on occasion & as I found above.  Mink oil as sold by track also seems to work really well, expecially in my little .32 & .69 with easier loading than about any other lube, ie:  2 finger loading with a .020" patch and .311 ball in the little guy. (initially short started, of course)  Mink oiled patches from it show no scortching at all, whereas the water-based and other thin lubes lubes show a dry browned area where the underside of the ball sat in the flame.

The smaller the calibre, the higher the pressure & I assume, the more intense the flame.  They are typically intact from the rifling marks, to the centre, but shredded around the outside, seemingly from the muzzle blast.  Larger (.58's and over) calibre spent patches, especially those shot with less than 100gr. 2F usually look more like they did when first placed on the muzzle - some scorching maybe, maybe not, depending on calibre and load.

Don't know if this is pertinent or not - just thinking out loud.

 

William Worth

  • Guest
Re: New Lehigh Valley experience
« Reply #6 on: January 02, 2010, 12:28:43 AM »

And guys, I'm not really interested in all the homemade lube recipes but thanks anyway.


Before you fully dismiss "homemade" just remember, paraphrasing from NPR "...all music, was once new..."

All patch lubes, were once homemade.

Offline Darkhorse

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1657
Re: New Lehigh Valley experience
« Reply #7 on: January 04, 2010, 08:28:24 PM »
Not dismissing homemade lubes at all, that was not my intent.
My intent was to attempt to prevent this thread (question) from turning into another one of those mundane, endless discussions about pet homebrew lubes which would contribute nothing to the knowledge I sought.
Homebrew lube discussions have their place and anybody who feels the need to discuss them then by all means start a discussion.
American horses of Arabian descent.

northmn

  • Guest
Re: New Lehigh Valley experience
« Reply #8 on: January 04, 2010, 08:55:54 PM »
Not surprisingly, my chrohograph experiences a while back paralled MM's.  His suggestion to load a little hotter for a cold barrel is a good one.  Either that or sight a hunting rifle in cleaned and cold.  When I chronograph I definitely see a low velocity on the first shot out of a clean barrel, even if you swab between shots.  I am interested in the "borebutter phase" as it seems like a commercial lube like any others and has some rust preventitive in it.  I do not buy their "seasoning" hype but had it recommended as a bore lube.  I do not shoot liquid lubes as I want the same thing for leisure shooting as for hunting.

DP

Offline Darkhorse

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1657
Re: New Lehigh Valley experience
« Reply #9 on: January 04, 2010, 11:20:57 PM »
Northmn,
I had used Bore Butter for several years and was fairly happy with it. The reason I changed was that my .40 Rice simply couldn't be shot over once or twice with Bore Butter. But with LHV I could shoot all day.
Also, Bore Butter turns almost liquid down here in Dixie in the heat. True, not a big problem once recognized. But Bore Butter did leave that thick brownish reddish residue in my barrel and I like to see clean patches when I clean my rifles. So I just decided to change to LHV.
I need to do more testing with the .40, the weather that day could have made my fouling harder than normal.
At least Bore Butter never caused my patches to explode.
American horses of Arabian descent.

Offline Pete G.

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1998
Re: New Lehigh Valley experience
« Reply #10 on: January 05, 2010, 01:12:02 AM »
Not surprisingly, my chrohograph experiences a while back paralled MM's.  His suggestion to load a little hotter for a cold barrel is a good one.  Either that or sight a hunting rifle in cleaned and cold. 
DP
I have noticed this also, but always just sort of thought that it was just a clean vs. fouled barrel. Had not really considered the temperature thing before, but it makes sense when you do think about it. Maybe the temp of the barrel also affects the powder burn rate and also contributes to a higher velocity.

northmn

  • Guest
Re: New Lehigh Valley experience
« Reply #11 on: January 06, 2010, 05:52:44 AM »
While I have not experienced truly hot weather conditions as in the South, I would wonder if lubes like Bore Butter would get runny, if the more commercial bullet lubes like SPG for BPC could not be used on patches.  My experiences have been that the liquid lubes do permit continuous shooting like at matches but are not good for hunting lubes or if they are cut in some ways.  I may leave my rifle loaded and in the garage, locked away for more than a few days and have had good luck doing so.  But November can be a rather chilly time and is at best in commonly in the 40's.  A  hunting rifle is not shot in such a way that you need the cleaning action of liquid lubes, but bore protection may be helpful.  I wonder if the early use of patch grease was not only to protect the patches but the bore as GG Granddad did leave the rifle loaded for some time.  The Bore Butter was recommended to me as a method of protecting the bore after cleaning more than a patch lube.  I used to use #9 plus but thought it was a little spendy and a poor lube for hunting loads, but it did work well on the shooting range.  We will see on my squirrel rifles like the 25, which may be shot a little more in a day than a deer rifle.  May require swabbing between a couple of shots?

DP

Offline Mad Monk

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1033
Re: New Lehigh Valley experience
« Reply #12 on: January 06, 2010, 06:41:10 PM »
While I have not experienced truly hot weather conditions as in the South, I would wonder if lubes like Bore Butter would get runny, if the more commercial bullet lubes like SPG for BPC could not be used on patches.  My experiences have been that the liquid lubes do permit continuous shooting like at matches but are not good for hunting lubes or if they are cut in some ways.  I may leave my rifle loaded and in the garage, locked away for more than a few days and have had good luck doing so.  But November can be a rather chilly time and is at best in commonly in the 40's.  A  hunting rifle is not shot in such a way that you need the cleaning action of liquid lubes, but bore protection may be helpful.  I wonder if the early use of patch grease was not only to protect the patches but the bore as GG Granddad did leave the rifle loaded for some time.  The Bore Butter was recommended to me as a method of protecting the bore after cleaning more than a patch lube.  I used to use #9 plus but thought it was a little spendy and a poor lube for hunting loads, but it did work well on the shooting range.  We will see on my squirrel rifles like the 25, which may be shot a little more in a day than a deer rifle.  May require swabbing between a couple of shots?

DP

One of the things I noticed with the wax based lubes, such as Bore Butter and Wonder Lube is that when the barrel is cold they tend to get hard.  If you put some Bore Butter or Wonder Lube in the freezer you see that it gets very hard.  In below freezing weather I have had it flake off patches when I started them into the muzzle.
Then when at the range in 80 to 90 degrre weather they turn to a liquid.  When it liquid form I could keep shooting without wiping between shots.  But down near freezing, or below, I would have to swab between each shot.

This change in the lube's form with different temperatures will effect both velocity and accuracy.  Anything that works to hinder free movement of the projectile, in the bore, will change pressures during the firing of the gun.

Bill K.

Offline Dphariss

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 9697
  • Kill a Commie for your Mommy
Re: New Lehigh Valley experience
« Reply #13 on: January 06, 2010, 07:09:28 PM »
While I have not experienced truly hot weather conditions as in the South, I would wonder if lubes like Bore Butter would get runny, if the more commercial bullet lubes like SPG for BPC could not be used on patches.  My experiences have been that the liquid lubes do permit continuous shooting like at matches but are not good for hunting lubes or if they are cut in some ways.  I may leave my rifle loaded and in the garage, locked away for more than a few days and have had good luck doing so.  But November can be a rather chilly time and is at best in commonly in the 40's.  A  hunting rifle is not shot in such a way that you need the cleaning action of liquid lubes, but bore protection may be helpful.  I wonder if the early use of patch grease was not only to protect the patches but the bore as GG Granddad did leave the rifle loaded for some time.  The Bore Butter was recommended to me as a method of protecting the bore after cleaning more than a patch lube.  I used to use #9 plus but thought it was a little spendy and a poor lube for hunting loads, but it did work well on the shooting range.  We will see on my squirrel rifles like the 25, which may be shot a little more in a day than a deer rifle.  May require swabbing between a couple of shots?

DP

One of the things I noticed with the wax based lubes, such as Bore Butter and Wonder Lube is that when the barrel is cold they tend to get hard.  If you put some Bore Butter or Wonder Lube in the freezer you see that it gets very hard.  In below freezing weather I have had it flake off patches when I started them into the muzzle.
Then when at the range in 80 to 90 degrre weather they turn to a liquid.  When it liquid form I could keep shooting without wiping between shots.  But down near freezing, or below, I would have to swab between each shot.

This change in the lube's form with different temperatures will effect both velocity and accuracy.  Anything that works to hinder free movement of the projectile, in the bore, will change pressures during the firing of the gun.

Bill K.

Just a note on bore friction (load inertia if you will).
I have some Sperm Whale oil of unknown purity that loads hard.
I have some Neatsfoot oil that it very slick and loads much easier.
The whale oil is more accurate it limited testing at least in the rifles tested.
A friend has been using water soluble oil. Mixes the stuff, soaks the patches than allows the water to evaporate.
Very good accuracy. While there is some oil present its not really slick.
I *think* the lubes that provide less lubrication, are not as slick, increase load inertia and more consistent velocities.
Greater load inertia does this in BPCRs and should in MLs as well.
I think this might be why some water based stuff shoots better, it is less slick.
Dan
He who dares not offend cannot be honest. Thomas Paine

Daryl

  • Guest
Re: New Lehigh Valley experience
« Reply #14 on: January 07, 2010, 07:06:57 PM »
Although pretty much still in the testing stage, forum member Chuck D. is making his own LHV/type lube & sent me  a sample.  I tried it in the .32 Tenn. rifle in very windy conditions and by holding off, still managed to put 5 out of 7 shots into 1" at 50 yards. I was holding 3" to 5" into the wind to make the group. The 2 shots that didn't drop into 1", were miscalculations on the allowance, and landed a good 1 1/2" out of the group. Flags would have made things easier as guessing obviously causes misses.

I haven't tried drying this lube & testing, but Chuck has and dried patches still feel slippery.  He told me they didn't need wiping and shot 'cleanly'. Sounds like a very good cold weather hunting lube to me - dry patches and no need to wipe.

I am still attempting to get a gallon or 2 of Tall Oil from a friend at the local pulp mill. Maybe LB can round some up?? hint, hint.   

Offline Jerry V Lape

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3019
Re: New Lehigh Valley experience
« Reply #15 on: January 07, 2010, 08:43:55 PM »
To answer Northmn regarding using SPG, I use it just rubbed onto the bore side of the patching.  It works well for hunting loads where I have experience with it down to about 15 degrees Fahenheit.  It load easier than most too.  Since I don't do a lot of target shooting, I can't say what happens with respect to a lot of shots as on a trail walk.  However, the practice sessions I do are mostly in the warmer weather of AZ summers and it seems to be pretty clean in the bore in those circumstances.  Mostly at the range I use ballistol diluted about 2 to 1.  Don't have any grouping differences between the two lubes discernable within my iron sight shooting. 

northmn

  • Guest
Re: New Lehigh Valley experience
« Reply #16 on: January 08, 2010, 10:01:04 PM »
Bore butter gets very hard in freezing weather.  I left it out in the garage and had to bring it in to lube the bores.  One individual recommended saltless tub margerine for cold weather as it stays fairly soft.  Never tried it.  Crisco has not worked half bad for me through the years as a hunting lube.  Its cheap, and works at the temps I go out in.  In the summer it gets very soft, but then I would only target shoot.  Used Crisco for the squirrel rifle and it does foul out a little more than I care for.  I found a source for a 1/4 inch rod tip that will permit field swabbing ( and the use of a patch puller if it falls off). Cutting SPG may work too.

DP

Daryl

  • Guest
Re: New Lehigh Valley experience
« Reply #17 on: January 09, 2010, 03:43:43 AM »
Dave - try straight neetsfoot oil.  The Mink oil works well too and both are superior to crisco, albeit more pricy.