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aluminum foil as a patch material

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by Pancho, Jul 31, 2014.

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  1. Pancho

    Pancho Member

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    I saw somewhere, maybe Youtube, about using aluminum foil as a patch material. Any thoughts?
     
  2. Fingers McGee

    Fingers McGee Member

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    Way back when, in my younger days, my first contact with cap & ball revolvers was via a neighborhood friend. He had a brass framed 1851 navy that we'd take out in the woods of S. Carolina and shoot. Since we didn't have any lead round balls to load, we used balls of aluminium foil. Worked as wad and projectile all in one. I don't think it would work very well as a patch for a muzzleloading rifle or pistol though. The rifling would probably shred the foil.
     
  3. Steel Horse Rider

    Steel Horse Rider Member

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    I agree with Fingers. I don't think the foil could be seated without tearing and the possible problem of aluminum galling the barrel on the way out could create another cleaning problem. I think it would be much harder to remove than lead or copper. Also, aluminum is abrasive, not a quality you really want present in patch material.
     
  4. Jim K

    Jim K Member

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    Patch material has to be thick and compressible enough to fill the grooves, that is why a patch is used. Foil would not do that; it is both too thin and won't fill the grooves.

    Don't confuse the idea of aluminum foil patches with the thin tin foil used to hold the powder on percussion revolver cartridges; that foil would burn up when the powder was ignited.

    Jim
     
  5. BCRider

    BCRider Member

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    Foil as a WAD I could see. But there's simply no way that foil will work as a patch that cups around a round ball. Just handle some foil and try rubbing it between a couple of things. You'll find that it tears super easily. So there's simply no way it will even survive the first short start.

    Hell, wrap some around a ball and even just push it against the muzzle with finger pressure. Then lift it off and you'll find that the foil is already torn right at the crown edges.
     
  6. vagunmonkey

    vagunmonkey Member

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    You probably saw it being used in a smooth bore musket to get an extra .001 or so added to an under sized ball for a better fit. I have tried it, but found the correct mould is a much better option :rolleyes:
     
  7. BCRider

    BCRider Member

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    That would be an option. But I'm still thinking that it would tear so easily that one would be risking tearing and building up as it moves down the bore and creating a wedge that deforms the ball and really starts it spinning the wrong way. Thus throwing a curve ball.... :D
     
  8. 4v50 Gary

    4v50 Gary Moderator Staff Member

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    Foil is too brittle (if that's the characteristic) and will tear. Furthermore, I doubt if it can seal the ball as well as a cloth patch.
     
  9. vagunmonkey

    vagunmonkey Member

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    Agreed cloth patch would be a better way to go. However some organizations don't allow cloth patches to be used...but tin foil is ok :rolleyes:
     
  10. Steel Horse Rider

    Steel Horse Rider Member

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    I think I would avoid those organizations....
     
  11. BHP FAN

    BHP FAN Member

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    http://www.go2gbo.com/forums/cap-and-ball-revolvers-pistols/colonel-colt's-foil-cartridges/

    Gatofeo
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    Re: Colonel Colt's Foil Cartridges
    « Reply #4 on: December 05, 2010, 01:36:02 pm »Been a subscriber to Backwoodsman for years. Just sent in my renewal.
    Got a subscription for my brother last spring and he loves it. We both enjoy fishing and the outdoors, but neither of us hunt. You'll find yourself reading about all kinds of things -- how to build a dory boat, raising chickens, making pickles, etc. -- and never do any of those projects. But it's still interesting and fun reading.
    I highly recommend Backwoodsman for a fun, interesting light read for all who enjoy the outdoors.
    I haven't yet got my copy, so I can't comment on the article.

    Foil cartridges. Yep, Sam Colt started with foil and later went to paper. The 1960 or 1961 issues of Shooting Times had quite an article on Sam Colt's foil cartridges. This was back when Shooting Times was a paper tabloid and not a magazine. I have the bound copies of these early editionst; very few bound volumes exist as far as I can tell.
    Anyway, I looked for this article but couldn't find it (of course).
    Sam Colt tried using American-made tin foil but it was poor quality. It had too many tiny holes, out of which powder leaked. Soon, he began importing the foil for his cartridges from Germany, which was very high quality and didn't leak.
    But the cost of import was too much. Later, he perfected the paper cartridges and went with that.
    Original Colt's foil cartridges for cap and ball revolvers are rare. Few survived.
    Today's modern foil should work fine.
     
  12. BCRider

    BCRider Member

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    Modern industrial stuff perhaps. Especially a foil such as copper or a better alloy that is more tear resistant.

    But kitchen foil is soft and tears super easily. One would need to exercise more care with a foil cartridge than with a paper cartridge by far...

    My the way, if anyone needs a .001 shim for something that won't be sliding around and tearing .001 inch happens to be the thickness of your regular kitchen foil.
     
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