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wads for black powder

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by marvinl, Feb 15, 2012.

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  1. marvinl

    marvinl Member

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    I need to know if I can use cotton instead of felt to make wads out of?
     
  2. Smokin_Gun

    Smokin_Gun Member

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    Wool Wads would be thicker, clean the bore better, could lube them and let m dry ... in Single shot flinters or cap locks they work. Bout don't have a chamber in a cylinder or forcing cone to deal with.
    The only thing it may hurt is cleanin' the barrel more and maybe gettin' a patch caught between the cyl & bbl forcing cone.
    Make em thick enough though.
     
  3. ClemBert

    ClemBert Member

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    You can use what ever material you want. Just don't expect the same results or performance of felt (wool) wads. Wads can be made of wood, cardboard, vegetable fiber, et al.
     
  4. mykeal

    mykeal Member

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    Except nylon, dacron, etc.
     
  5. ClemBert

    ClemBert Member

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    He can...he won't like the results though. :p
     
  6. marvinl

    marvinl Member

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    Thank you very much. It just that i can not find wool felt here.
     
  7. mustanger

    mustanger Member

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    I found a kids felt cowboy hat at a Goodwill store, and baught a 6" brass tube from True Value. Used a file to sharpen, and slipped bolt in the other end to protect the tube. Then used a hammer to punch out a bunch of felt pads, against a piece of 2x6. I used a nearby dowel (in store) to measure the I.D. of the tube. Cheap, works great. Don't let the pads build up in tube. Push out after 4or5. You'll see why. 3/8" works good for .36
     
  8. mustanger

    mustanger Member

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    Check the sticky for a source of felt.
     
  9. ClemBert

    ClemBert Member

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    Do-It-Yourself Felt Wad Making Cllick the Duro-Felt link....
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2012
  10. marvinl

    marvinl Member

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    Thanks for all the help.i found a wool hat at a thrift store and made me some wads for my 50 cal hawkins and my colt 44.thanks again
     
  11. hang fire

    hang fire Member

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    LOL, I too keep an eye out for old wool hats as wad material.
     
  12. J-Bar

    J-Bar Member

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  13. Noz

    Noz Member

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    Yup. J-Bar has the answer. I buy the 11mm size and that works perfectly for the 1860 Army revolvers. Felt from Durofelt.
     
  14. arcticap

    arcticap Member

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    A Google conversion shows that 11 millimeters = 0.433070866 inches which would seem to be less than the size of the chambers, balls and the bore.
    It would make loading them easier, but they may not seal as well as wads that are equal to or greater than chamber size.
    If the over powder cards that my cutter makes were 11mm in size then they would probably be a loose fit in the chambers.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2012
  15. JBlk

    JBlk Member

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    cotton instead of felt wads

    I don't think that the cotton would scrub the barrels like felt wads.In dry weather you would also ignite many fires.I am sure that you can still get felt wads, and a box last forever.I have some that I know were purchased fifty years ago.V M Starr of ML fame cut his wads from poster board that he used in "old Betsy" his Moore DB shotgun.Those wads sure didn't seem to affect his gun any.I think that the real purpose for was to take up the extra space in the shell casing when the new powders came out.You will probably have more problems finding a good wad punch than finding a box of fiber wads.
     
  16. Blue Hill

    Blue Hill Member

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    "Gasket punches are nice for making wads:"
    J-Bar, I have a plan for those in-expensive gasket punches, at least the 7/16" size. If I take the 7/16" gasket punch and drill it out to 29/64" that gives me a punch that will make me a .453" wad for my Ruger Old Army. I figure I may have to anneal the punch so that I can drill it out and then reharden and retemper it, but that's no big deal. I use my drill press to run the punch (learned that on a different thread in this forum). I like that a lot better than using a hammer. Worst case, I'm out 6 bucks if this doesn't work.
    Has anybody else tried this?
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2012
  17. J-Bar

    J-Bar Member

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    That wad is going to be compressed between a lead projectile and several thousand pounds of pressure from expanding gasses. It is really gonna get smushed and deformed!

    I find it hard to believe that changing the diameter of the wad by 1/64 of an inch will result in any perceptible difference in shooting results. Maybe so, but it sounds like a lot of work for nothing to me.

    Try the 7/16 punch as it is and see how the wads perform. I have a hunch the gun will work just fine. If not, post your results before and after reaming out the punch and I will be happy to eat my words. Please recognize that some folks are already using an unmodified punch, and seemed to be pleased as punch with the results. (sorry!)

    Have fun with your experiment.
     
  18. ClemBert

    ClemBert Member

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    It only takes a few minutes with a Dremel tool. Not only does it make the punch the perfect size it also makes it razor sharp. There isn't any need to harden the steel. It's already hardened.
     
  19. J-Bar

    J-Bar Member

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    OK, but does it really make the gun shoot better?

    I remain skeptical.
     
  20. ClemBert

    ClemBert Member

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    YES.

    Here are a few reasons why someone might want to use lubed felt wads:

    1. Added sealing of the chamber to further reduce risk of chain fire.
    2. Lubrication to aid in softening of powder residue/fouling.
    3. Less messy as compare to grease/Crisco/oil on top of the ball.
    4. Scrubbing/cleansing effect as the hard felt wad travels down the barrel.

    Those advantages could be considered "better" in one's shooting experience.

    At some point an undersized wad will not accomplish some of those desired attributes. I punch my felt wads out at 0.455 however I notice that my wads are still smaller than the Ox-Yoke Wonder Wads I have on hand. Their wads are easily 0.460+. Intuitively, I would assume there is a reason why they would punch them at 0.460 instead of 0.4375. Clearly they would use less felt material if they stamped them smaller (higher profit) and everyone had the same performance. YMMV.
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2012
  21. J-Bar

    J-Bar Member

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    I understand the points you have made in general. I agree that it is logical that at some point a wad can be too small to accomplish what it is supposed to.

    My question about making the gun "shoot better" should be clarified. To me, "shooting better" means giving a smaller group while providing enough lubrication to permit continued shooting without having to stop for cleaning. If accuracy is not improved, then to me it would not worth the trouble to open up the punch.

    So my question restated is, "is there a provable improvement in accuracy (smaller groups) when using a 29/64 punch versus a 7/16 punch?"

    Personally, I am a grease-over-the ball guy. I don't mess with wads at all. My question is not meant to discourage anyone from doing anything. I am asking an honest question out of my ignorance, which could be investigated experimentally by someone who enjoys doing that sort of thing.

    I expect that both 7/16 and 29/64 wads will permit the gun to continue functioning without jamming up from fouling. I will remain skeptical that opening the punch 1/64" will produce smaller groups until someone shows me pictures.
     
  22. ClemBert

    ClemBert Member

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    Hopefully someone can answer your question. Honestly, I don't see myself taking the time to come to a conclusion on this. The five minutes it took to open up my Harbor Freight cheapo punch to 0.455 is less than the time I've taken to ponder and address the question. ;) I'm pretty sure that opening my punch to 0.455 hasn't degraded the overall performance and desired result. It's kind of funny how we'll expend more time and effort to hash out such an issue versus the time it take just to do it. When you boil it down...does a wad or grease make you shoot better when shooting off the first 6 rounds. Probably not. However, your overall shooting experience and pleasure from shooting numerous shots over the day could be impacted by your choice of wads, wad size, or use or non-use of grease.
     
  23. Blue Hill

    Blue Hill Member

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    Quote: "There isn't any need to harden the steel. It's already hardened."

    Clembert, I'm aware that the punch is already hard when purchased. My intent was to anneal the punch to make it soft enough to drill out to .453 and then intended to reharden and temper it after it had been drilled out. What got me started on this was the drill press cutters that Buffalo Arms sells. They are for 45 Colt and the I.D. of the punch is .451. I'm like you in the respect that I wanted to have a wad at least as big as the nominal bore size. Not having a lot of experience with a Dremel, and therefore mistrusting my ability to get an accurate I.D. with a hand held grind stone, I was going with what I know, machine shop and blacksmithing techniques. Check out the link.

    http://www.buffaloarms.com/drill_press_wad_cutters_pr-4113.aspx
     
  24. ClemBert

    ClemBert Member

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    I'm not rich like some of y'all:

    Do-It-Yourself Felt Wad Making

    This ain't rocket science. A dremel tool will do just fine. We ain't sending out wads into outer space.

    5 bucks for a complete set of punches sound better than $25 for one.
     
  25. Blue Hill

    Blue Hill Member

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    5 bucks for the set instead of $25 for the one, is one of the things that led me in this direction. I figured, why can't I make my own. Clembert has his method, why don't I try his idea with a twist. I'm not rich like some of y"all either.
     
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