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New to me Kentucky rifle with no "marks" question on ball size?

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by DonP, Oct 31, 2014.

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  1. DonP

    DonP Member

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    I'm fairly new to black powder and before I went to the range to test fire my new rifle, I thought I'd check with some of you folks with more experience.

    Last week I picked up a pretty nice tiger stripe Kentucky Rifle at the LGS. It was in a rack with all black rifles and was a rose among thorns visually.

    It has a pinned 42 inch barrel with what seems like a 1 in 60 (plus?) twist rate, 58 inches overall length and a nice full slender stock with plain (iron?) hardware. "Primitive" sights. I'll get some pix when I recharge my camera battery. Don't think it's an older kit gun, but who knows?

    There isn't a mark anywhere on it except a name on the top "Ron Poe". Maker? Owner? Nothing online I could find about that name.

    I'm cleaning up some surface rust and dirt in the stock behind the lock. Looks like it was originally a "flinter" and got changed, somewhere along the line, to percussion. The nipple was solid rust, so I'll add a new one, maybe a musket nipple to match the one on my .50 Cal Hawken style so I don't have to keep 2 different caps organized

    I finally slugged the barrel this AM and found the bore is .454 x .464. I'm thinking a .440 ball with .010 patch? Sound about right? Or is there a better combination of ball and patch for a .45? I'll probably test fire it with 50 grains of FF and work my way up for accuracy.
     
  2. rodwha

    rodwha Member

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    I'd think you'd want either a slightly thicker patch or slightly larger ball with lands of .454".

    Do you make your own patches or buy them?
     
  3. DonP

    DonP Member

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    So far I've been buying my patches for the .50 Hawken. But I reload for all my other guns so making my own patches isn't out of the question.

    Just not sure how I'd know the thickness of the cloth/ticking?
     
  4. DoubleDeuce 1

    DoubleDeuce 1 Member

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    I would try .440 cal balls first. Use pillow ticking for the patching material with a good lube. Pack it all on top of 50 gr of FFFG, and see what the rifle likes. No need to over charge the rifle. If the patch and ball combination work well, the powder charge will probably be anywhere from 45-70 gr FFFG for the best results. Go up or down in the charge 5 grains at a time to find what is best.:cool:
     
  5. rodwha

    rodwha Member

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    I have been buying my pillow ticking from Dixie Gun Works or Track of The Wolf. It generally states the size, though I've never measured it.

    Some people will take a pair or calipers to the cloth store and when they find the size they want will buy large quantities.
     
  6. 4v50 Gary

    4v50 Gary Moderator Staff Member

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    I'd try a combination of ball sizes and patches. Swab out after each group. Find out what works best for it.
     
  7. another pake

    another pake Member

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    Are you saying the bore slugs at .454 with grooves of .464? If so, I'd start with a ball nearer .45.

    In my 40 cal I use .395 ball with .017 patch. It drives tacks.
    In the 54 cal it'll be .535 ball and .017 patch.

    Your patch will tell you a lot.
    As always YMMV
     
  8. StrawHat

    StrawHat Member

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    No easy answer to this one. The barrel will tell you what it wants if you give it a chance. Also, what do you plan to do with the rifle? A 1/60 twist is in the roundball area. Are you looking to use this for target shooting? If so, the tightest combination often gives the best results. If plinking and hunting is your goal, a smaller ball and thicker patch can give good results and let you reload easier. Years ago, I had a load that used two (2) patches. When it got tough to reload, I dropped one patch and was able to keep shooting for another string of maybe 5 shots before needing to swab. Purely for plinking, but it worked.
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2014
  9. EljaySL

    EljaySL Member

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    The patches compress quite a bit so you can't just add up the numbers. I'd just bite the bullet and get .010, .015, .018 (pillow ticking) and .020 and see what it likes best.

    For the ball size .440 is of course a standard size but I know Lee also makes a .445 mold and I assume you can get balls in that size as well so I'd get both ball sizes and again, experiment.

    In a sense it's kind of a pain to vary the ball, patch, powder load, and lube for every gun you buy (shooting groups, one light swab between shots). But on the plus side you're just hanging out shooting a muzzleloader over and over so that's good too, and it's not like you have to do it all in one session.
     
  10. AJumbo

    AJumbo Member

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    I'd try .445 with a thick ticking patch.... if the bore was just a hair bigger, you could run the same balls from the rifle and your Army-caliber revolver...... am I the only one here thinking in terms of Kaidos or Buffalo Ball-ets?
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2014
  11. rodwha

    rodwha Member

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    With a .454" bore I'd think it nearly impossible to drop a patched Army ball down the bore.

    Are you, when you mentioned Kaido's bullets, thinking along the lines of paper patching and resizing?
     
  12. AJumbo

    AJumbo Member

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    I'm thinking of using an unsized .457 revolver-friendly conical, which should perform well in a slow-twist rifle barrel that measures .454 between the lands.
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2014
  13. Loyalist Dave

    Loyalist Dave Member

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    Yeah that's a good idea. You may want to try severl thicknesses. It might be that with a well lubed piece of ticking of .010 might do the trick

    LD
     
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