A felt wad sizing question please.


January 2, 2011, 05:52 PM
Thanks to each of you who have been kind enough to post detailed instructions on making felt wads. You have gone to great lengths to help others. I shoot Ruger Old Armies which you may recall take .457 inch round ball. Could a .500 inch punch be used to produce a wad that's .043 inch larger than the ball instead of opening up a smaller punch to closer approximate the .457 diameter? I'm wondering if the extra .043 inch would help in sealing the chamber better. And then again I may be missing something important to safety or something. I would pre-lube the wad I should add. Thank you in advance for responses. Don

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January 2, 2011, 06:00 PM
Ruger Old Army chambers are actually 0.451 in diameter. Your 0.500 wads would be 0.049 over size. However, I'd think they'd work ok.

January 3, 2011, 12:44 AM
It could be a problem in cold weather and a wad with lots of hard lube. Otherwise it should be fine. I use a 7/16 cutter for my 44s that like .454 balls. I think the wads are a little bigger than 7/16" as there seems to be a good seal. I think the wads squinch down (is "squinch" a word?) as they are cut out because the .437 (7/16") wads seem larger. If you find that your .500 wads tip or are hard to push in with your fingers then go to the next size smaller punch. I have ever so slightly beveled the inner cutting edge of my punch to aid in sharpening it. I am convinced that the wads are larger than the punch diameter but I haven't bothered to actually measure their diameter since they work just fine.

January 3, 2011, 02:06 AM
mykeal,thats what the owners manual says:cool:

January 3, 2011, 07:31 AM
Could be. I've only measured 4, using slugs, but got the same answer every time.

January 3, 2011, 11:08 AM
11mm punch works perfectly for my 1860 Armys. With lube it is an almost exact fit. Will expand under the pressure of the loaded ball for a good pressure fit.

January 4, 2011, 09:57 AM
Thanks everyone. Good food for thought and I'll get some punches from Harbor Freight. Black powder shooting has so many things one can experiment with and nifty accessories one can justify purchasing. I wish everybody had a significant other as supportive and understanding as I do. Don

January 4, 2011, 10:03 AM
I just measured commercially made wads this AM. The .36 measured 7/16" and the 44 measured 1/2". These were Cabelas brand. Hope it helps.

January 4, 2011, 10:24 AM
I made some of the home made felt wads at 1/2" and after lubing with 50/50 bees wax and Crisco, they were too large to use in my .44/.45 guns without a lot of distortion upon insertion. The 7/16" size is a perfect fit. Apparently the lube expands the felt a bit. I suppose the commercial wads (like Wonder Wads) are dry lubed because I measured some that fit well in my .44/.45's and they are in fact 1/2".

January 4, 2011, 01:49 PM
I use a .45 caliber punch from Buffalo Arms.
The 7/16ths punch I tried created a wad a bit too small for the chambers of my .44s. This was with 1/8" wool felt, lubricated with Gatofeo No. 1 Lubricant (a homemade lubricant named after me, comprised of canning paraffin, beeswax and mutton tallow).
I use the 7/16ths punch to make wads for my .44-40 rifle, when I load with black powder and want extra lubrication under my Lyman 427098 bullet. Sure keeps the 24-inch bore of my replica 1873 Winchester clean!
There's probably variation in wad cutters, especially since so many are made in China, Pakistan, Slobovia and who knows where else? And there's surely some spring-back to the felt after cutting.
All I know is that my 7/16ths wad cutter was disappointing, so I bought a .45-caliber punch from Buffalo Arms. I use it for my cap and balls and my reproduction .45-70 "Trapdoor."
If it works for you, go with it.

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