patches for black powder rifles


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fishblade2
July 11, 2012, 07:43 PM
The new big issue I'm trying to figure out is what size patch I should get for different caliber rifles. Now I don't know if I should call a smooth bore rifle a musket or a black powder rifle. For smoothbore rifles I know trackofthewolf has several patches for different calibers. Are these good ones to buy? The reason I ask is because say I have a 32 caliber rifle and I want a patch to place the round ball in and still fit down the barrel snugly. If I ordered the patches for a 32 caliber they were be like the ones I just received in the mail, wonderwads to be placed down the barrel and not an actual patch that the ball is placed in. So with that I wanted to initially see if there was a sight that would have the patches for black powder rifles that I could order from.

For actual rifled barreled black powder rifles I know I would use a conical bullet and a wad or patch would go between the powder and the conical bullet. My first question is along the same as above. Can I use normal patches and push those down the barrel or is there a certain kind to get? What is a website that I can acquire these from?

My last question is over the patches for the non rifled barrels. Should the patch be lubricated or dry?

Thanks for all the help and I hope this all makes sense.

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gl1200a
July 11, 2012, 09:19 PM
Go to any fabric store or Wal Mart with fabric dept.
Take calipers or mic with you.
Measure pillow ticking, pocket drill, linen, denim etc.
Get an assortment.
For what you pay for 100 pre-cut patches, that will buy you a square yard,
of ticking.

"My last question is over the patches for the non rifled barrels. Should the patch be lubricated or dry?"
Some musket shooters shoot paper patching.
Find what each individual gun likes. Keep notes

zimmerstutzen
July 11, 2012, 11:16 PM
nearly any supplier will sell you patches.

The thing is.......... Why pay the high price and shipping?

In nearly every case, square patches shoot as well as round one. Generally you need a tight cotton drill. Or linen., Old blue denim will often work satisfactorily. The size you need should be roughly 1.7 times the ball diameter. In two of my guns,heavy cotton flannel seems to work best. Takes a little experimenting.

1911 guy
July 12, 2012, 01:49 AM
Square or round doesn't matter. Just don't have a huge bunch of cloth in front of the ball.

.015" of an inch is the nominal thickness of most commercial patches, some rifles like a small amount tighter or looser (.012"-.018").

mykeal
July 12, 2012, 09:47 AM
There seems to be some confusion regarding patches and wads.

So, first of all: patches are used with round balls in single shot long guns and pistols, either smoothbore or rifled barrel, to take up the space between the ball and the side of the bore. They prevent the hot gasses from venting around the ball, a phenomenon called blow-by. In a rifled barrel they perform the additional function of imparting spin to the ball from the rifling. Patches are significantly larger than the bore diameter so that they wrap around the sides of the ball when in the bore.

Wads are used in revolvers with both conical and round ball projectiles, and occasionally in single shot long guns and pistols with conical projectiles. Wads are sized to match the bore diameter and function to carry lubricant for softening fouling and to wipe fouling from the sides of the bore. They also help insure against blow-by and chain fires. They are positioned immediately between the powder and the projectile and do not wrap around the sides of the projectile. They are usually significantly thicker than patches.

Except at the extremes, almost any size patch will work with any caliber gun. Size, in terms of surface area, is not a significant determinant in most cases. Clearly a patch big enough to use with a .72 caliber ball is too big for a .32 caliber ball, but a .45 caliber patch will often work just fine in a .50 or even a .54 caliber gun. The important dimension in a patch is thickness; you need to match the ball diameter and patch to ensure the patch will seal the bore. The ball diameter plus twice the patch thickness must at a minimum be 0.020" greater than the groove diameter in a rifled barrel and the bore diameter in a smoothbore. The patch thickness will 'crush' when the ball/patch combination is rammed down the barrel; many people feel the tighter the fit, the more accurate the load, although like many black powder aphorisms, the consensus is divided.

Many 'traditional' black powder enthusiasts don't use ready cut patches, preferring instead to cut them on installation. I use a long strip of pillow ticking material about 1 1/4" across. I lay it across the muzzle and insert the ball, pushing it down until it's just below the muzzle crown. I then gather up the material left outside the barrel and cut it off flush with the muzzle using a very sharp patch knife. This works for all calibers, so I don't need to keep an inventory of different patch sizes. As for internet sites selling patches, they are legion, and they'll sell you anything you want and claim it's the best you can get. The best advice I can give is go to a good dry goods outlet, buy your own material and start cutting - you'll get just the sizes and thicknesses you need and pay a lot less.

As far as lubricant is concerned, that's the subject of millions of words written to date. Suffice it to say that some patch lubricant is necessary, and you can wait for others to chime in on their favorite recipe or grab yourself a cigar, a good single malt and your favorite search engine and start reading. You'll be at it a long time, so you might also want to lay in a couple PB&J's also.

I suggest you invest in a copy of the Lyman Black Powder Handbook, available from amazon.com and many other booksellers. It's an excellent general reference on the subject of black powder shooting in many forms.

JN01
July 12, 2012, 10:11 AM
Proper patch thickness depends on your particular rifle bore, and the exact diameter of the ball you are using.

If you have a 50 caliber rifle, for example, it should measure about .5" between the lands. You can use a .490 or .495 round ball, and patching between .010-018" thick. The larger ball/thicker patch combination will generally be more accurate, but will be harder to load. You have to experiment to reach a happy medium.

If you buy your own cloth to make patches, MAKE SURE THE FABRIC IS 100% COTTON. Any synthetic will melt in the bore of your gun. To double check this, put a scrap of it in a flame, it should burn, not melt. Also, the fabric should be washed before you make patches out of it.

I'm not sure what you are thinking of regarding conicals. Perhaps minie balls or T/C Maxi-balls. They have grooves in them that you fill with lube, no patch or wad is required with them. Guns that use them usually have a much faster twist than those that use round balls, however.

mustanger
July 13, 2012, 08:24 PM
I have bought patches specifically for each caliber, to make sure I have the right size, and it turns out the packages all have the same size round patch no matter what they are labled. That would be in .32, .45, .50, & .54 . So no need to be conserned there, just try some different thicknesses to see what yourgun likes

loose noose
July 13, 2012, 08:59 PM
What mykeal said, is the whole truth and nothing but the truth. It takes some experimenting with different patches to see what your particular rifle likes. I went to WalMart about 5 years ago, and still have a lot of material left, but I bought about 3-5 yards of material, and use it in my .32, 45, 50, and .54 calibers, and I cut it just like mykeal stated, but I use a very sharp knife. That my friend is the beauty of shooting BP AKA the holy black.

T Bran
July 13, 2012, 09:08 PM
I wear primarily all 100% cotton clothing so a quick inventory of either the rag bag or my more stained current use will usually yield a generous supply of patches. Take a peek in your closet before spending any money.

tim josey
July 15, 2012, 10:40 AM
My Mom work at a sewing factory that made denim jeans and wood bring me some scraps that I would stuff and cut at the barrel

Ditchtiger
July 15, 2012, 10:50 AM
For actual rifled barreled black powder rifles I know I would use a conical bullet and a wad or patch would go between the powder and the conical bullet.

No wad or patch would go between the powder and the conical bullet in rifles.

fishblade2
July 15, 2012, 01:37 PM
I have to say that even though the method of just cutting the cloth as you go sounds easy enough I tend to be a little of a perfectionist. :) I tend to like things organized so that my patches would all be the same thickness and diameter every time. With less variety there would be less difference in the accuracy. I will test different materials and thickness but I have a few questions about this first.

I know online they sell wad cutters. Now are these for patches for round balls or wads for pistols? I still think from my first time out with a pistol that lubricated patches would definitely be needed though.

So if I go to Wal-mart and buy these assortment of materials what is the thickness I should get normally if I ordered them online? I know it's to be tested but is there anyway to check this with the barrel? I didn't get a complete clear image of how to do it when you guys explained it to me. So If I have a 50 cal smoothbore what would I measure in the barrel?

also depending on the ball size, if I bought patches should the thickness of the patch and the ball be thicker than the diameter of the barrel or the same?

mykeal
July 15, 2012, 02:56 PM
I know online they sell wad cutters. Now are these for patches for round balls or wads for pistols?
Wads for pistols.
So if I go to Wal-mart and buy these assortment of materials what is the thickness I should get normally if I ordered them online?
I don't know what that means. Are you planning to buy online or at Wal-Mart? Shooting patches from the online sutlers usually come in 0.010", 0.015", 0.018" and 0.020" thicknesses, although sometimes you can find 0.005" and 0.025" thick patches. Pillow ticking material usually comes in 0.015" to 0.018" thickness, depending on the brand. Denim is thicker, linen is thinner. Any material you buy at a local dry goods store must be washed before you cut it or use it to remove a starch called 'sizing'. All I can tell you is to buy something in the middle, like 0.015" or 0.018" and start there.
is there anyway to check this with the barrel?
Nope.
If I have a 50 cal smoothbore what would I measure in the barrel?
The diameter of the bore at the muzzle.
should the thickness of the patch and the ball be thicker than the diameter of the barrel or the same?
The diameter of the ball and TWICE the thickness of the patch material should be THICKER than the bore diameter in a smoothbore.

kwhi43@kc.rr.com
July 15, 2012, 06:50 PM
You say you have a 32. Use a .315 dia round ball, patches use the blue&white strip pillow ticking you can buy at Wal-Mart, wash it first.
Tap a ball in the barrel about 1/16 below the barrel, cut it off with a knife
Push this down onto 30 grs Goex FFF Black Powder and shoot. Go find your
patch and use this for a pattern. It will be somewhat square. Cut your patches square. For target shooting lube with spit, water, or a water soulable
oil mix. Hunting, bore butter, crisco, Patching will be about .017 thick.
Phil

jgh4445
July 15, 2012, 07:19 PM
There is no "silver bullet" here. Instant gratification is extremely rare in the world of BP. Here's a "for instance".

I shoot a .50 so I cast some .490, .495 and some .500 round balls. Started with 65 gr of Swiss FFFg. I had patch material in .010, .015, .018, .020 thicknesses. My lubes were Spit, Lehigh Valley, and 60/40 beeswax olive oil.

First I tried 5 shot groups with:

the .490 ball, spit a .010 patch cut at the muzzle
then the .495 with spit, a .010 patch cut at the muzzle
then the .500 with spit, a .010 patch cut at the muzzle

then I tried the 490, 495 and 500 with the .015 patch all else remained the same
then again with .018 with all else the same and so on and so on...

then change lubes
then powder charges up or down
then try FFg powder and start over...

then another brand powder FFFg, FFg, all over again....


Each time you try something different, pay attention to what your rifle tells you. Groups opening up? Groups getting tighter?

Only change ONE variable at the time. Otherwise you won't know which change resulted in what difference.

Keep at this until you have tried all of the possibilities you want and select the one combination that gives the results you like best.
This way you'll spend a ton of time at the range and learn more than all the forums in the world can teach you. The forums are wonderful sources of information but nothing can replace actual hands on. You might also google "Dutch Shultz" shooting..he has it down to a science.

Cosmoline
July 15, 2012, 07:25 PM
For smooth rifles in particular you just have to figure out the combination that works best. I buy sheets of patches from Track ranging from thin to pillow ticking. Then I lube and cut to the desired shape. From then it's just a question of matching ball, patch and powder. Most frequently for smooth barrels I find a thick patch on an undersized ball seems to work best. The fit should be snug, to the point that a short starter may be needed even for a smooth bore.

and TWICE the thickness

Yup, I've forgotten that myself before.

Pit4Brains
July 18, 2012, 11:32 PM
I use a long strip of pillow ticking material about 1 1/4" across. I lay it across the muzzle and insert the ball, pushing it down until it's just below the muzzle crown. I then gather up the material left outside the barrel and cut it off flush with the muzzle using a very sharp patch knife.

This is what I do in my .50 Hawken with round balls. For consistence I set the ball over the tick then start it with the ball starter on the round end of a pistol ramrod. That gets the ball just below the muzzle and the same depth every time. Cut the tick, run the ball down with the pistol rod as far as it will go then finish off with the either the range rod or the rifle's rod if in the field.
I also have two tick marks on my rods to ensure full seating. One for balls and one for maxi balls. I use one load of powder with a ball and another with the maxi's by changing the spout on my flask. I get good consistent loads shot after shot.

fishblade2
August 1, 2012, 10:51 AM
My last question is about the lubing of the patches. What process do you guys use for lubing the patches? I've also read that even lubing them, if not done properly, will cause problems in consistency, don't know if that's true or not...

mykeal
August 1, 2012, 02:23 PM
I lube my patch material by laying each strip in a sheet cake pan or cookie sheet with raised sides, side by side. I then pour the mixed lube liquid in the pan and allow the strips to soak. Final step is to remove them from the pan and lay them on a dry surface to dry; they must be laid out unrolled so they can dry evenly, never hung up to drip dry.

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