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.
     
  15. Paolo Mauritania

    Paolo Mauritania AH Senior Member

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    Tarawa,
    If you are using the Pedersoli Safari Express Kodiak in .72 caliber, it has a rifling with a twist of 1:75" too slow for stabilizing conicals, it is a typical slow twist for RB. My repro of a 1761 long rifle (flint lock) has a 1/60" rifling same story just a RB shooter.
    Here are the Pedersoli recommended settings:
    SAFARI EXPRESS
    Caliber .72 , Powder charge from 90 to 120 grains (max allowed) - .715 round ball with a 0.010" patch.
    Pedersoli uses Swiss Powder for their tables that compared to the same granulation GOEX is roughly 25% more powerful. They also load by volume as customary albeit indicated in grains.
    My two cents.
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2014
  16. Velo Dog

    Velo Dog AH Elite

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    Hello,

    No doubt the wrinkles from 2009 have been worked out for this .72 caliber muzzle loader problem by now but, perhaps someone new to muzzle loading might read some of this and thereby be able to bypass a few of the headaches:

    I'm +1 with Sestoppelman on everything he posted Nov-14-2013 in this thread, including that traditional style muzzle loading rifles were not meant to shoot hardened bullets (use pure lead only), I've also had to trickle powder down the nipple hole, etc.

    Since those carefree days of my sordid youth, I have long since invested in a stuck patch remover (looks sort of like two twisted fish hooks on the end of a jag), as well as a bullet worm / puller (looks like a wood thread screw point on the end of a jag).

    Also, since those years long ago (I began the loose powder & shot affliction in my late teens, now I'm an old pruneface), I have discovered that the typical "pillow ticking" is too thick for any rifled muzzle loader I have owned, making it nearly impossible to load a projectile, even when the bore is unfired/shiny clean.

    Almost all of the rifled ones I've owned were 1 turn in 66" or slower, for patched ball shooting.

    It has been my great success in that regard to use my old T-Shirts as patch material.

    This is way cheaper than having a custom mold made for each rifle to accommodate the industry standard diameters of ball, while patched with ticking.

    Someone recently told me that nowadays various thicknesses of ticking are available - it's about time ! (my worn out T-Shirts are still cheaper).

    Furthermore, I have had the greatest satisfaction in using solid vegetable shortening (Chrisco brand here in The States) as a patch lube.

    And, I use it to cover each bullet after loading the cylinder of my "cap & ball" revolver as well, to reduce the chance of chain firing when a spark squeezes past a bullet or bullets in remaining chambers upon firing the intended chamber.

    Over-powder or over the bullet type fiber wads, slightly larger than the caliber also prevent chain firing of revolvers but the vegetable grease works well in colder climates, such as here in Alaska and is so inexpensive that the fiber wads are not really my thing for the loose powder and ball revolvers.

    Back to ML rifles:
    Another thing that I learned and now cling to is, maintaining a heavy duty "range rod".

    The first one I bought is very stout fiberglass and made for match shooters, so they do not have to wrestle against a flimsy ram rod that wants to bow, every time a bullet gets stubborn against loading.

    My piece de resistance however is a heavy steel rod, wrapped in clear plastic tape to protect the bore.

    My Chrisco lube tends to loosen the tape from time to time but I then just peel it off, de-grease the steel, dry it good and re-tape it as needed.

    I have a piece of elk antler stub that fits over the end to push on with the hand so that I have a wide surface to bear on when loading any stubborn bullet (my starter is also sporting a piece of elk antler as the handle to which to two different lengths of starter rod are set in permanently.

    I have hunted all of my adult life for rabbit, squirrel and game birds with muzzle loaders but, sadly have never gone for larger animals with one.

    Maybe one day I will get to that, not sure though as I am not getting any younger.

    Cheerio,
    Velo Dog.
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2014
  17. sestoppelman

    sestoppelman SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    If I remember correctly, the larger the bore size the less critical the twist per how well it will stabilize conicals. In .54 and under it is more critical and something like a 60 or 72 inch twist is for RB. When Val Forgett took two .58 cal rifles to Africa years ago, one being his big Hawken style rifle, it had a 60 inch twist and shot conicals fine. His "light" rifle, a Navy Arms Buffalo Rifle, also in .58 had a 48 inch twist and also shot conicals well, and RB too (I have one). Per patches I must chastise my friend Velo above just a bit here:D. T-shirt material is considered by most BP gurus as something of a no-no in that it is not pure cotton and is heavily infused with polyester and of course it stretches mightily. There is all manner of proper patch material and ready made cut patches to match caliber AND they come in different thickness's to match individual bore sizes and projectiles, so there is really no need other than perhaps economy to resort to T shirts. I have never had an issue with loading a BP gun unless the bore was fouled to the point it needed cleaning. Patch thickness is easily dealt with. It doesn't have to be pillow ticking but should be pure cotton. There is a formula in the Thompson Center book and elsewhere about determining proper patch thickness and that is a good starting point. I just use what gives me a snug fit but not one that causes my hemorrhoids to burst:mad: while trying to load my rifle at the range!:eek: Most embarrassing! :ROFLMAO: But again I would stress that muzzleloading bullets whether RB or conical should always be pure lead and not mixed lead as we shoot in smokeless guns. Some of the modern tank built BP guns, sure whatever, that's a whole different ball of wax. The best way to find out what a gun will shoot well is to shoot it lots and experiment. Enjoy!
     
  18. Velo Dog

    Velo Dog AH Elite

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    Hi there Sestoppelman,

    Polyester always makes my armpits itch and so for 40 or more years I have worn only 100% cotton T-Shirts.
    (Latex allergy perhaps ?)

    It requires reading the label before buying and sometimes there are those companies who are happy to lie about their products content but, I'm fast to bring 'em back for a refund when I find I've been cheated.
    Carhart sells a T-Shirt that they claim is 100% cotton but it stretches like spandex - total false advertising.

    Lately I've bought some of the best 100% cotton T-Shirts I have ever seen (complete with a pocket) from Duluth Trading Company in Minnesota - extremely well made.

    I totally recommend them both for manly men who work hard / sweat hard, and they shoot accurately in slow twist muzzle loading rifles when mashed around a soft lead ball of appropriate size.

    Thanks for chastising me any way.

    It probably makes up for some other time that I may have stubbed my toe or slipped through the cracks, so to speak, because I am a total creep according to my ex-wife and therefore, I can likely benefit from a bit of chastising now and again.

    Regards,
    Velo Dog.
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2014
  19. sestoppelman

    sestoppelman SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    :D:D:eek::eek::LOL::LOL::ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO:!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
     
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  20. Paolo Mauritania

    Paolo Mauritania AH Senior Member

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    My two cents. 1:48" is the "compromise" rifling it works reasonably well with both RB and Conical. If you are using conical there is no need for patch; however you need a good starter because the conical grooves the rifling as is pushed down the barrel. For the Kodiak in question, Pedersoli sells only RB as manufacturer approved ammunition. As a rule of thumb do not deviate from the manufacturer recommendations. Smoke poles are weapons with different personality, it might be possible to stabilize a short conical with 1:66" rifling but I doubt it will stabilize a Spitzer type, to check a paper test should help, see how the impact hole looks like (perfectly round or elongated due to tumbling).
    Using a conical instead of a patched RB might indeed create an overpressure, I would drop a couple of lines to Pedersoli and ask for advice for both short flat bottom conical, spitzer and minie.
    For determining the correct patch thickness the formula is:
    (Diameter at the grooves - RB diameter)/2
    Pillow ticking nowadays can come in different thicknesses; I use a small micrometer to check samples that suit my requirements. 100% cotton is the right and only way to go.
    If you get a blown patch, due to the hefty charges this rifle uses) a buffer between the patch and the powder would help (Cisco o Semolina; a wad or wasp nest material will all work), if you get a cut patch, just keep shooting eventually the patches will slightly lap the rifling corners and it will be fine.
    Concerning the casting of RB, 100% pure lead is the best, it weighs more than other lead alloys, it obturates better. Wheel weights comes in great variety of alloys and materials (not lead based), if you cannot procure 100% pure lead, my next choice would be wheel weights made by Pb-Sn (tin), they have a 2% of tin which makes the difference with pure lead almost negligible; they weigh a little less but the tin doesn't affect the casting process for a good ultimate result.
    Mold temperature does; a too cold mold will cast a ball that has a lot of imperfections and inclusions, a too hot mold will cast a "frosty look" ball which will be slightly undersized (see pic below: from L to R, cold mold, right temp., hot mold), weighing will cut the chase.
    For range sighting and load optimization I would invest in a pack of swaged balls to cut the chase on quality.
    Photo0667 (500x375).jpg
     
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