.440 or .445


January 24, 2011, 10:52 PM
I bought a .45 cal Kentucky rifle. I also picked up some .440 rb's. These seem to be quite loose fitting. Has anyone else had this problem? would going to a larger ball like a .445 work. I already use .010 patches. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

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January 24, 2011, 11:04 PM
I recommend using pillow ticking; it's usually either 0.018 or 0.015.

January 24, 2011, 11:10 PM
I recommend pillow ticking and .445 balls!

January 25, 2011, 12:24 AM
When working up a load for a muzzle loader, it's usually recommended to change one item at a time. It's hard to guess just how loose your patched round ball is without a measurement of your bore.

I would try the .445 balls since you already have the .010 patches.
Depending on how those fit then you'll know to at least buy some .015 patches or thicker to use with the .440 balls.
If the .445's are still loose with the .010 patches, then you'll know to buy some .015's and/or .018 pillow ticking next.
If you buy both patch thicknesses and diameter balls then you'll be all set to try out all of your ball and patch combinations to see which shoots the best.
Trial and error is a very [un]scientific process. ;)

January 25, 2011, 01:43 AM
It also depends on what you'll be using the rifle for. When target shooting a tighter ball/patch is no handicap, whereas in the field it may be a handicap. Shoot each combo on paper & see if the accuracy is acceptable for your intended purpose. I only shoot target/competition & prefer to use a snug fitting ball/patch, eg. in my .54 I use a .535" ball & a .018" patch.

January 25, 2011, 04:45 PM
Most OTC rifles have relatively shallow rifling making for a very tight fit with a .445 ball and .015 or larger patch. I tend to go toward a .440 ball and .015-.018" patch. You need to try both and see what does best. And yes, do change only ONE variable at a time.

January 25, 2011, 09:40 PM
OK, I do have some pillow ticking patches, I will try that first. I haven't shot the rifle at a target yet, only a stump(cause I couldn't wait) so I will check the current loading on paper to establish a baseline before I make a change! Thanks Gents!

January 25, 2011, 10:32 PM
If the ball & patch combination are too tight, then use a mallet to gently tap, tap tap the load down as far as your starter will allow, and then ram it home.
But once a tight load has been started then there's really no going back. The PRB will need to seated on top of the powder by hook or by crook! That can sometimes require considerable force to accomplish so be prepared to apply some.
Some folks shoot really tight loads all of the time and must always use a mallet to get them started.
I rountinely use a mallet for starting the PRB past the muzzle a short ways, but mainly only to relieve my palm from needing to whack the ball starter repeatedly.
But if the PRB is really too tight then trying to ram it can snap a wooden ramrod if one is not careful enough.
So selecting a load is often a choice between loading difficulty and accuracy. :)

January 26, 2011, 11:53 PM
Is there a relationship between how tight the PRB is and accuracy/consistency?

January 27, 2011, 03:07 AM
Well the best competition shooters say that there is. That's why many will load up to bore size balls or use special teflon impregnated patches in their high quality barrels.
But for the casual plinkers that don't follow a very strict loading regimen, then sometimes the tighter loads can actually shoot worse.

January 27, 2011, 12:48 PM
In my custom 45 barrel which measures .450 across the lands I have tried
.445, 451, 454, 457 balls. All this with .022 thick "Teflon Coated" Patching.
All loaded well. I could see a difference between the .445 and .454. I shoot
.454. I really could not see any accuracy difference between the .454 and
.457. All shooting was at 50 yds bench rest. My requirements for accuracy
are 5 shots in same hole. True you have to tap the ball in with a little brass
hammer about a inch. But after that you can push it down the barrel with
a 1/4 steel loading rod very easy. The wife's 40 cal Green Mountain barrel
likes the .022 patch and .410 dia. ball. Yes that's right .410. Loads very easy.

January 27, 2011, 03:17 PM
5 shots in one hole! My requirement is 5 shots in one target!;)

January 27, 2011, 03:18 PM
Same state, same day for me.

January 27, 2011, 07:56 PM
kwhi43, that is a little out of my league at the moment. I would love to shoot .454's from this rifle though since I already cast them by the hundreds for my revolvers.

January 27, 2011, 10:00 PM
I can't find a 50 yd rifle target right, but I have this 100 yd. You could imiagine about what the group would be at 50 yds. My old eyes ain't what
they used to be. I'm 68. I think the black bull is about 8 inches dia. or less


January 27, 2011, 10:09 PM
Wow, I can't do that with my centerfires.

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