Help with stuck ball


September 30, 2008, 09:54 PM
Okay, I'm a boob. Forgot to put the powder in and rammed home the patch and ball down my old .45 caliber flintlock rifles barrel:uhoh:.
I've done it before but had no trouble retrieving it using a threaded screw type worm (don't have a corkscrew type worm).
Well, this time I've evidently drilled a hole through the ball and now the worm can't grab hold of any lead.
Have even tried to loosen the ball by firing powder in the pan but no luck.

I've never attempted to remove the barrel but I'm tempted to if theres an open breech.

Is the barrel open at the breech?
Should I try to find a corkscrew(?) worm ?
Any other ideas?
Thanks all



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September 30, 2008, 10:00 PM
Flint or percussion? I've saved myself by unscrewing the percussion nipple and trickling in about a half powder load, replacing the nipple, cap and *bang*.


September 30, 2008, 10:13 PM
Once ignited, a few grains of powder behind the ball is all you should need to expell the ball. Unscrew the vent liner if there is one to help get the powder in.
If that fails then you may need to use a TC CO2 discharging device, or force compressed air through the vent using a nozzle. You'll need to rig something up to fit and seal the vent though. Pumping grease into the vent using a grease gun with a grease fitting has worked too.
Removing the breech plug is the last option.

Cabela's sell their own discharger and adaptor kit too.$main-Large$$main-Medium$

September 30, 2008, 10:15 PM
Does your Vent Liner screw out?
if so then unscrew the vent liner & pour about 5 grains of powder into the hole "or as much as you can get into there" rescrew the vent liner back into place, & then fire it like normal.

As long as it isn't a super tight fitting PRB it should clear the barrel quite nicely.

I've had to do that to not only my own Cap Lock rifle but a friends Flint Lock Hawken as well, as embarrassing as it is it turns into an educational experience for all the onlookers as I performed this.

September 30, 2008, 10:53 PM
I would try to figure out how to attach a larger diameter screw (like a big sheet metal screw) to the ramrod, and see it that would pull it out.

September 30, 2008, 11:00 PM
Thanks all for the quick responses.

I see, its got a breech plug.
Theres no vent liner and I've tried to get a few grains of powder in the vent and firing it but no luck.
It looks like I'll be trying a shot of compressed air first and then use your other suggestions arcticap if that doesn't work.

Wish me luck and will keep ya'll posted.



September 30, 2008, 11:03 PM
Edit- FIRST I'll try a larger screw


September 30, 2008, 11:14 PM
Hairspray and lighter fluid works too. you guys forgot that. spray in some hair spray and give it a shot. even lighter fluid. if the ball moves thats all you need to fill it up with more powder then press the ball against it and then fire again.

September 30, 2008, 11:42 PM
I'm guessing the lighter fluid or hairspray in the vent, then ignite with powder????????



September 30, 2008, 11:57 PM
yep it will act like a propellant.

October 1, 2008, 12:02 AM
Like a potato gun, except here the potato is rather less edible.

October 1, 2008, 02:44 AM
Ether starting fluid would do the trick, too, only it mightbe harmful to the finish of your stock.

October 1, 2008, 07:44 PM
ya be carefull with starting fluid

October 1, 2008, 08:08 PM
If you have in fact drilled a hole through the ball, I doubt any of the pyro or compressed air methods are going to work. In that case a larger screw (be SURE the screw can't reach the bore wall) or breach removal are your two options. More likely though, you just stripped out the ball. Take a look a the length of the screw you already used, and see if it's capable of going all the way through a ball.

Hmm; herein I just relized there is another good reason to have a screw-in vent liner. I've dry-balled my caplock twice, but it was a piece of cake to remove the nipple and work in a few grains of powder, blowing out the ball on the first try.

October 2, 2008, 09:25 AM
The wife has done the same thing to her flintlock`s what I had to do to get the ball out ....The ball puller I tried only bored a large hole all the way through the ball as yours ....I took the vent liner out and used an icepick to move the ball forward enough so I could get a few grains of powder behind the ball ..then I put the ball puller on the ramrod and screwed it back into the ball to make a seal ...Replaced the vent liner ...primmed the pan and fired the rifle with the ram rod and ball puller in the ball ....I had the rifle pointed in the air and the ball and rod shot out about 30 ft in the air ..and came to earth with no damage to rifle or rod doesn`t take much powder just a few grains ...probally around 5 grains or so .

October 2, 2008, 10:26 AM
What I have done in the past:

Remove the lock and set it aside. Remove the barrel from the stock; may involve removing multlple pins, keys or screws.

Place the barrel, breech plug end free but closest to jaws, in a padded vise.

Using a lead shimmed padded wrench, remove breech plug.

Drive out/loosen ball with an oak or hickory dowel.

What I might do differently:

1 - Fill up the bore with bore shine or other cleaning solvent over night to get the fouling to let go.

2 - Try a lead solvent overnight soak.

3 - Heat the barrel in an oven to say, 350. Hot enough to make a difference, but not hot enough to anneal it.

4 - Use gasoline from the vent end and try to burn away the patch.

October 5, 2008, 12:06 PM
A Thick Self Tapping Screw Welded On A Steel Rod Is The Way To Go ,no Problem.

October 5, 2008, 12:27 PM
Try to force air through to make sure you have not drill through the ball, if air passes then screw some thing to plug the hole.
Rather than use standard powder take a small amount in a glass or other hard material that can't spark and grind up a small amount of powder. This will pass through a smaller hole and get more powder behind the ball.
For me the trick was pulverizing the powder.

October 7, 2008, 03:43 PM
For a tight rifle the ball pullers are a joke. As are the CO2 things. The only methods I've had luck with on tight rifles is a few grains of 3F or 4F powder (it doesn't take much) carefully added through the hole and packed behind the ball using a pick as a ram rod.

Either that or if your barrel unscrews from the patent breach, you can just do that and the ball will pop right out. That's what I do with my Tryon.

October 7, 2008, 04:34 PM
What's a 'tight rifle'?

October 7, 2008, 05:00 PM
I mean tight fitting. Specifically a rifle loaded with a ball wider than the lands plus ticking requiring enormous muscle force or a large mallet to start. Good luck getting that thing out of there with a screw on the end of a thin pole.

October 7, 2008, 05:00 PM
Whats bad is when you take the vent liner out and see a lead ball looking back at ya ...Thats when the co2 thingie is useless as tits on a boar hog ...

poor man
October 7, 2008, 05:02 PM
Ok i know this is an older post but,,,,, i had a sidelock and somebody had welded the breach closed :( anyway i did the same ball and no powder trick... and striped the ball out with the screw, what i did was took a old drill bit that just barley fit down the barrel and measured up a 1/2 an inch from the tip of the bit and ground the rest of the bit down so it wouldnt touch the sides of the barrel thus not messing up the inside of the barrel, then welded it to a steel rod long enough to reach the bottom to the bit and then welded a T on top to turn it by hand slowly slid it down and turned to slow by hand and "drilled" the lead ball out.... you can tell that you are drilling the lead because its soft and you cant drill into the steel breach by hand, put some solvent down there and the brushes cleaned out the rest of the ball shavings ... thats my tip of the day LOL

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