Blowing out patches?


July 23, 2006, 11:10 PM
Hi folks,
I recently completed a Traditions Trapper pistol kit. It's .50 caliber. I went and test fired it today using .490 balls and .010 Ox-Yoke patches. Every charge clear down to 20 grains was shredding patches. The lower charges didn't do it as bad but it still blew them out. 20 grains is pretty light for a .50. The 30-35 grain loadings was blowing them completely apart. I was using Pyrodex. Ran out of light before I got around to trying Goex.

I tried .015 patches and it didn't seem to help. I don't have any other ball sizes to try just yet. It's already hard to load using the .015 patch, though that might just be from a rough barrel rather than an overly tight fit. I haven't lapped it yet and Traditions isn't known for making the best guns.

I have several other BP guns and have never had any issues blowing patches, so I'm not sure where to start. Any suggestions? Should I go for a .495 on .010 patches? Could it be a rough bore causing it?

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July 23, 2006, 11:19 PM
First of all are the patches "blowing out" from the outside edges or is there a cut ring where the patch touches the barrel? If the former then the gass is blowing by the patch. A larger .495rb with the .015 patch should cure that. If the patch is showing a "cut ring" where it contactes the barrel then a lapping of the barrel to polish it is called for. Also check the crown of the barrel for any sharp edges. It should be smooth and rounded and equal all round.

Livin in Texas

July 24, 2006, 12:00 AM
How are the hits on the target?

July 24, 2006, 01:43 AM
With a 30-35 grain load, they're pretty much just a ring of blown up fuzz. At 20-25 grains, they're blowing out in the center and outer edges, leaving a frayed ring of patch.

The ball, with a .010 or .015 patch is hard to start, requiring quite a whap on the starter, and hard to ram home too. I have it planned to lap the barrel anyway. The patches were ring shaped, but so blown out that I couldn't tell if they were cut or not. Hopefully lapping the barrel will solve it.

Niner, the groups are quite consistant except for frequent wide flyers. I wouldn't worry about it if it weren't for the flyers.

July 24, 2006, 07:17 AM
Are ya buying the store bought lubed patches ? i buy a few yards of pillow ticking and cut my own .. Pillow ticking is thick though .018 .. i`ve never had a problem with the store bought .015 patches ... but the .010 are a little thin .. you may have hit on the problem with the new ..probally spanish made barrel being a little rough on the edges , most of the CvA guns i`ve had were rifled a little rough ..but the patches will do enough lapping soon maybe after 50 shots or so . With you haveing to hit the ball hard to get it started ..i wouldn`t go to the pillow ticking yet . The Spanish made barrels have tall rifleing ...but its pretty soft .

July 24, 2006, 10:26 AM
Try a card wad over tha powder too! The guys in tha old days usta use TOW er WASP NEST PAPER (BE REEEAAAL CAREFUL!) over tha powder ta keep their patches from blow out.

Try that AFTER ya laps tha bore.

July 24, 2006, 06:15 PM
Sundance, I was using Hoppe's patch lube on them while waiting for my 7 to 1 Ballistol patches to dry. I've used Hoppe's for years and never had a problem. The T/C's I took were fired using the same lubed patches and their patches came out normal.

Eh, I guess I won't worry about it for now. I'll give it a good lapping then come back whining again if I have any more problems.

Manyirons, I think I'll pass on the wasp nest paper. We have an abundance of the critters, but harvesting it looks to be less than fun. :)

July 24, 2006, 06:26 PM
Nice over powder card then protect yer patch from flame&pressure an it AINT gonna blow, but ya DOES wanna lap that bore, aint gonna hurt nothin done right an prolly help a lot!

July 24, 2006, 09:35 PM
Plink the lube your useing should be fine .. i`ve used everything from moose milk to spit .. a little lapping will probally straighten it out .. i would bet there are some sharp burs in your rifleing .Those single shot pistols are hard enough to start a ball in .. i understand your trying a thinner patch ..Traditions guns are probally made by CVA and do have the Spanish made barrels .. not a buy for the buck ..and i`m sure it`ll improve with age ..

July 25, 2006, 08:38 PM
1. I would try a lub with a higher viscosity like TC Bore Butter or Wonderlube. I add extra lube to the patches because the excess usually squeezes out when it's started at the muzzle, especially in the hot summer weather.
2. Have you micrometered your lands to check the bore diameter? Your difficulty loading with either size patch indicates a lack of lube or an undersized bore IMO. I wouldn't go to a .495 ball if the .490 ball is tough to start, or you may need a mallet to get it started.
If your bore is undersized, I would send it back to Traditions for a replacement. Those are made by Ardessa (a.k.a. Ardessa Pioneer) and many folks have reported great accuracy with that model.
3. Like Manyirons mentioned, using an overpowder card or Wonderwad Bore Button might help seal the gases if that's the problem. But I would check the bore diameter (and ball diameter) and change lubes before I relied on lapping to cure the problem, and then only if Traditions won't replace it.
4. .010 patches are quite thin to begin with, something doesn't seem right if they are tough to start, a .015 patch is what is normally used with Traditions barrels. What brand of balls are you using? Have you measured those with a micrometer? Maybe the factory mislabeled .490 balls with .495 balls.
If you are using balls caste from impure lead that could also be the problem.
From the T/C handbook "Shooting T/C Black Powder Muzzleloading Firearms." "Muzzleloading projectiles must be cast from pure lead. Alloys containing antimony are harder, and lighter, than pure lead. Consequently projectiles cast from such materials will be overly hard, and somewhat lighter, than the bullet weight listed on the mold. The biggest problem however is that antimony alloys have less a shrinkage factor than pure lead. Antimony alloys produce an extremely hard, oversized projectile, which is very difficult to load properly."

July 25, 2006, 09:10 PM
Thom, what's tow?

July 25, 2006, 09:44 PM
Here's the definition for Tow:
Coarse broken flax or hemp fiber prepared for spinning
(It's stringy and fibrous.)

What to do with it:

Used in fire starting
Gun scrubbing
Smoothbore wadding

There is flax tow and hemp tow and it's difficult to tell them apart.

For cleaning, you ball it up and wrap it around a worm, soak it and scrub the barrel with it.

Or, ball it up and ram some down the barrel to use as an over powder wad. It will compress upon loading and further upon ignition, thereby shielding the patch from hot gases .

July 25, 2006, 10:05 PM
Very neat.

July 26, 2006, 02:03 AM
If balls are hard to start, use a small plastic or wooden hammer to wack the starter. Hammers for this purpose were issued by the British to their green clad riflemen in the Napolianic wars.

July 26, 2006, 07:19 AM
Well, I gave the barrel a light lapping. I'll be test firing it later today. I don't have any .50 overpowder wads to try, but if I'm still having problems, I'll get them next.

Arctic, I had Bore Butter out there. I just didn't get around to trying it as I was running short on daylight. If I have any problems today, I'll give it a try. Thanks for the advice. I haven't measured the bore yet, but the balls (Hornady) measure .490 spot on.

Thanks for all the input everyone. I'll know more today after a good long shoot. I didn't have enough time last time to try many things.

July 26, 2006, 11:08 PM
Went shooting earlier. The bore lapping didn't seem to help the blown patches a whole lot. I tried using Bore Butter as a lube and it didn't blow out so many at lower loads though.

As the barrel broke in some, the groups settled down nicely though, so I'm not going to worry a whole lot about it right now.

I will try some overpowder wads next. I don't think I can go to a larger ball, as it's plenty hard to get a .490 and .015 patch to load now.

It's a good little shooter though and I'm plenty happy with it right now. I'm not shooting it quite as well as the T/C Patriot, but I doubt if it will ever shoot with it.

July 27, 2006, 03:38 PM
Lyman used to make .480 & .485 round ball molds that would allow the use of a thicker patch, but they're not easy to find.
If you're interested in an economical mold in one of these smaller sizes, this outfit is very reasonable and reputable:

Loyalist Dave
August 8, 2006, 10:42 PM
I had a Pedersoli rifle that I had to lap the crap out of to keep it from cutting patches, thus allowing an uneven escape of gas around the ball, and throwing the ball off target.

I had to use 3M brand "green scrubbie" scrub pads. I cut small pieces, and put them on a ramrod with a crown protector, and lapped the barrel probably 200 or more times, until the patches stopped getting cut.

Went from a 6" group at 50 yards to a 1" group.

(.490 ball, .015 pillow ticking, spit patch, 70 gr BP load)


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