Disappointment at the range....help needed!

Discussion in 'Muzzleloaders & Black Powder' started by tarawa, Jun 6, 2009.

  1. tarawa

    tarawa AH Veteran

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    Took my .72 Pedersoli to the range for the first time today. I had about fifty .715 balls that I cast using one of Jeff Tanners custom moulds and some linen patches that Jeff suppied. I believe that the the patches are .015" I was the only muzzleloader at the crowded range and I was a bit nervous, haven't ever shooting this thing. The range went "hot" and I had all my stuff ready to go. I was going to only load one barrel for starters. I put in a charge of 100 grains and grabbed a patch which I put a small amount of bore butter on. I grabbed a ball and starter and I tried to load the gun. There was nothing I could do to get the ball started down the bore. I tried with the ball starter and still nothing moved. I did get a blood blister on the palm of my hand trying to get it started. I wrapped up my stuff and left the bench a defeated man. Even the range master wanted to know the problem. We went over everything and come to the conclusion that the stiff linen patches are probably too thick or I am being just too timid trying to get the ball started. I am going to the shop to make a special starter for the large bore, since the store bought one was just digging into the ball. Any pointers from you Kodiak experts would be appreciated.
    They did offer to refund my $5.00 range fee which I politely declined.
     
  2. PAoutlaw

    PAoutlaw AH Member

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    Tarawa, I've never shot a Kodiak but I have a lot of trigger time with my T/C Hawken. I have had problems with bore butter and tight patches. I would recomend using thinner patches and an oiled patch, I use .490 Hornady round balls and .010" oiled patched. I have found for hunting if you add up your ball diameter and patch thickness it should come out to your bore size. Also what kind of lead did you use for pouring them, I used wheel weights for some maxi-balls that I made and they wouldn't load into my rifle, the lead was too hard. I tried pure lead from a hospital x-ray room with just a bit of wheel weights probably about 9:1 ratio and it worked fine for loading and shooting. Just some advice from another bp shooter.
     
  3. James.Grage

    James.Grage GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    tarawa

    I was hoping to hear a great story how you knocked the target frame down when you landed a cannon ball.

    If you are looking for lead to make your own ball or slugs try going to your near by trap and skeet range and purchase a bag of lead with 4 to 5 percent antimony or see if they have a bag of reclaimed shot...

    Wheel weight make up were changed about 10 years ago as the price of lead went up...

    something that also helps is to use graphite on your molded balls or slugs to help them along...
     
  4. tarawa

    tarawa AH Veteran

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    A little update on this subject.
    After I left the range, I checked out the balls that I had cast. They were elogated. Jeff Tanner told me that unknown to him at the time his machine was off and went to deep on the molds. This caused them to be the correct diameter around the belly, but oversize in length. I must have been trying to put them in sideways at the time. Jeff kindly sent me a correct mold. End of story #1.
    I decided that I wanted a conical mold to try. After a very long discussion about the mold design, I ordered a mold from a well respected mold maker. The mold was to have three lands, with each one slightly larger than the next. When I received the mold all three lands were the same size (bore diameter). The bullet would slide down the bore with no resistance what so ever.
    The maker said I ordered it that way, which was completely false. he told me to send it back and he would correct it. It came back and the fit, though slightly better, is not correct. Iasked for a bullet that would weigh about 800gr, but mine come out at about 950gr. and is still not a tight enough fit. This cost me another $40.00 on top of the $225.00 that the mold cost in the first place. I have fired the rifle with these slightly loose conicals and the results are less than desirable. End of story #2.
    I eventually had Tom at Accurate Molds, design me a correct conical mold. He came up with a design that with the correct size lands and also weight. I haven't cast any yet, but should do so soon.
    I have almost as much money in molds, that I do the rifle!
    To be continued!
     
  5. enysse

    enysse AH Ambassador

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    Interesting story! Can't wait to hear how your gun shoots!
     
  6. tarawa

    tarawa AH Veteran

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    I sure hope it shoots well enough to work up a load. You have to at least start with a good foundation before tinkering with powder charges and such. I have to admit that the gun is a blast to shoot even with the less than stellar results.
     
  7. eaglesnester

    eaglesnester New Member

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    Oh one more thing. When using bore butter or lard to lube your patches, YOU CAN"T GET TOO MUCH ON. LUBE both sides generously. You will find that you get a much much better gas seal. Good luck and keep at it. After you get your ball and patch size squared away try using different powder loads and shoot off a sandbag. You will find that one load will give execptional accuracy. Always load with the sprune up and always lay the weve of you patch in the same direction.
     
  8. Dirtdart

    Dirtdart New Member

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    I posting this so you don't feel like the lone ranger. I had been shooting muzzleloaders for a number of years when I took my new Kodiak .54 SxS to the range. Had a full assortment of slugs to see if we could get it to regulate. No one was using the 50 yard range so I went there to be by myself. In no time I had a curious onlooker wanting to learn a little about black powder. Loaded one barrel no problem. Sencond barrel slug stopped maybe halfway. I mean STUCK! Mind you I am trying to look like I know what I am doing for my new pupil. I had a serious ramrod to work with and knew that there was NO way I was going to pull that slug out. So I turned the rifle upside down and used it like a slide hammer. What goes down the muzzle will come out but, MUST be seated on the charge! I don't think this display of my skills made another convert to muzzleloading.
    This is by no means a recommendation but just to say stuff happens.
     
  9. adam12

    adam12 AH Member

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    After all is said and done, you will find better accuracy with round balls than conicals.
     
  10. adam12

    adam12 AH Member

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    Dirtdart - When shooting percussion doubles you'll find many times that the recoil and other movement from firing the first (right) barrel will actually dislodge the ball and attendant wads and the load actually spreads out. This means that when fired the left barrel load will not be tight enough to propel the ball.

    Sometimes I've tried using wads another size larger to tighten up the load in the second barrel. Sometimes it actually works. But what you should really do regardless is CHECK the left barrel after firing the right. Just push your ramrod down and pack it up.
     
  11. adam12

    adam12 AH Member

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    eaglesnester - Here's a tip when using bore butter on your patches. Well, you know by now that a patch that's thin enough to allow a clean passage down the barrel when you ram it down. OH, something just hit: I don't know how familiar you are with muzzleloaders. I'll take a chance that you haven't learned the proper way to use the ramrod. NEVER try to ram the ball home with your hand way up or on top of the ramrod. This will ensure breaking it at some point. Instead, put your hand about 8 inches up the rod and work the ball down in short smooth swipes.

    OK, back to bore butter. Take a bit of bore butter and place it on a plate. Put it in the microwave oven and melt it to a liquid. When you take it out place your patches into the liquid until they've soaked it all up. Repeat if you want more patches. Then keep then in an Altoids can (cleaned) or something similar to keep them wet. You'll find the patches will go down like greased lightning.
     
  12. A.Sharpe

    A.Sharpe BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Veteran

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    I'm shooting a .58 . The thing that helped me the most was using a heavy quilt patch . Like Adam 12 said I put a little bore butter on each patch and stack them then heat in the microwave and soak the patch's. Every time you fire a barrel swab the barrels with one of these patch's . Play with your loads , they'll come together. If it was easy everyone would do it.
     
  13. sestoppelman

    sestoppelman SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Saw a couple of mentions of alloys etc. Muzzle loader ball and bullets should ONLY be PURE LEAD. They are not designed to shoot alloy slugs, only pure lead. You will get by far the best results. I assume we all know what a short starter is and that is the way to start a ball down bore, not just with the rod. It should take steady even, force to seat a ball but not excessive force as mentioned above. If the ball gets tight quickly, swab the bore with whatever solvent you are using. I like Bore Butter and OxYoke lube. I have used pre lubed patches and dry which I lube myself with OxYoke. I have done the melting, soaking method and its good. I use empty cap tins to store them in. Its like anything, it takes time to learn all the little tricks. Making sure the ball is firmly seated on the powder charge is one of the most important things. Failure to do so can result in a bulged barrel or worse. Sam Fadala has a number of really good books on BP shooting. If you dont have one its good stuff for the library.
    I once stuck a cleaning jag down bore and had to shoot it out with a small charge of powder trickled into the nipple hole. Aimed it at my garage floor and cut loose! Bounced off the floor and the garage door offered just enough resistance to stop it. I know that feeling of packing all your stuff up and leaving the range without firing a shot, it sucks!:mad:
     
  14. A.Sharpe

    A.Sharpe BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Veteran

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    I would like to add that I have had more fun with this rifle than anything I own. It does take a bit of work to get the right combination ,but when it comes together its a beautiful thing. I am now working up loads for 625 gr. maxi's . I also have had no problem with the ball's or conical bullets backing out. Though I do check the left barrel before firing. In a dangerous game situation I would not hesitate to pull the second trigger. At the range I'll stick with safety first.
     

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