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Thread: Excissive Fouling - advice?

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    Default Excissive Fouling - advice?

    Tried searching the forums, because I would bet this has come up before, but found nothing . Here's my deal:

    I have a Savage in-line smokeless capable .50 cal muzzleloader with a bolt action for the primer. I used to hunt with it in NY where I grew up. You can use smokeless powder there, so that's what I did. I want to apply for some of the muzzleloader restricted hunts this winter, so I have started shooting with Triple 7, and I took my certification course yesterday.

    I am getting a LOT of fouling. I thought maybe it was normal, but in the trial shoot yesterday, I was the only one that cleaned his bore even once, and I had to clean mine three times, basically after every two shots. Even after 1 shot, I get so much fouling that it's tough to get the ramrod with a cleaning patch all the way down the barrel, and then it gets stuck all the way in to the point that I have to set the gun between my knees and pull up on the rod with both hands to get it to move. It's a real pain, and that's after just one shot!

    My gun is designed for 209 shotgun primers. Are those too "hot"? I know they pack a hotter punch than the percussion primers others use. Am I using way too much powder? I'm putting down 100 gr vol Triple 7 FFFG to push a saboted 250gr bullet. That's the recommended charge. My father recommended trying two 50gr pyrodex tablets, so I'll check that out and get back to you, but I know there are some fanatics (no offense intended ) on this site for just about everything. Would one of you care to offer some opinions? I'd sure appreciate it. THanks! -Gr
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    I don't get much fouling at all with Triple 7 in sidelock muzzleloaders, so something is definitely going on there. My guess is that with sabots the fouling is just "too dry" and builds up fast, compared to using either lubed all-lead conicals or round balls with lubed patches.

    First thing I'd try is get some lubed felt wads or "bore buttons" and put one between your powder and sabot. The lube will help keep the fouling from getting hard, and in fact it will likely just push back down the bore easily when you seat the sabot for the next shot. I'd get the 54 cal wads for use in 50 cal so you have plenty stretching out to the edges when you fire.

    If you can't get hold of any felt wads locally, I get mine here. Another option would be to buy some lubed patches intended for round balls and fold one to fit the bore.

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    I have that same ML, but have only used smokeless in it so far, as I have not used it for any restricted hunts. Make sure you are using the correct sleeve for your sabots.. I have tried a few different ones to get the right fit, as some were just to hard to load even using smokeless powder.

    Check these links.

    http://www.chuckhawks.com/triple_seven.htm

    http://mmpsabots.com/
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    Hmmm, never considered that the sabots could be the problem, but that makes perfect sense. I'm using Barnes copper hollow-points. I'll try the wad with no sabot to see if that makes a significant difference. If so, I'll try using the sabots again only with a wad to separate. I'll let you know how it all goes... -Gr
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gr is for Greg View Post
    I'll try the wad with no sabot to see if that makes a significant difference. If so, I'll try using the sabots again only with a wad to separate.
    You'll still need the sabot for proper bullet fit. All the wad is doing is adding lube to the bore. Lubes help keep the fouling soft for easy loading or swabbing. Theoretically it would prevent the back of a sabot from burning and fouling the bore with melted plastic, but I've never seen that happen.

    It still doesn't answer the question of why you're fouling with a powder that usually doesn't. Stid2677 may be onto something about sabot fit, but I don't have enough experience with sabots to be useful on that point.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrownBear View Post
    You'll still need the sabot for proper bullet fit. All the wad is doing is adding lube to the bore. Lubes help keep the fouling soft for easy loading or swabbing. Theoretically it would prevent the back of a sabot from burning and fouling the bore with melted plastic, but I've never seen that happen.

    It still doesn't answer the question of why you're fouling with a powder that usually doesn't. Stid2677 may be onto something about sabot fit, but I don't have enough experience with sabots to be useful on that point.
    I guess my thought on using a wad with no sabot is that it would tell me for sure if the fouling is coming from the sabot. I wouldn't care about accuracy at that point, just trying to diagnose the problem. As far as fit - I think I'm good. It's a nice tight fit, and feels the same as the ones I used to use with smokeless powder - only it gets hard to seat them all the way down after two shots due to the fouling. But it feels right fit-wise. Not easy, but not too difficult to ram down the barrel. -Gr
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gr is for Greg View Post
    I guess my thought on using a wad with no sabot is that it would tell me for sure if the fouling is coming from the sabot. I wouldn't care about accuracy at that point, just trying to diagnose the problem. As far as fit - I think I'm good. It's a nice tight fit, and feels the same as the ones I used to use with smokeless powder - only it gets hard to seat them all the way down after two shots due to the fouling. But it feels right fit-wise. Not easy, but not too difficult to ram down the barrel. -Gr
    The Savages have a very tight bore, smokeless powder generates much more pressure than black powder. I WOULD BE VERY CAREFUL, about mixing projectiles and sabots. If your bullet is not seated against the powder or if it moves away from the powder,, IT WOULD BE DANGEROUS and could exploded.

    Try some powerbelts or use a smaller diameter sabot.

    Do some research, don''t want to turn your ML into a PIPE BOMB.

    Mine got crazy hard to load after a few shots and I changed sabots and that cured the issue using smokeless, I lost some velocity but being able to reload easier was worth the trade off.

    Not to come off as harsh,, but with any reloading including ML, you need to make sure you know what you are doing.
    Last edited by stid2677; 10-15-2012 at 16:49.
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    Last I read the regs, and the reason I did not purchase the Savage ML rifle is that during a weapons restricted ML hunt, a ML that is capable of using smokeless powder is prohibited.

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    Quote Originally Posted by .338WM View Post
    Last I read the regs, and the reason I did not purchase the Savage ML rifle is that during a weapons restricted ML hunt, a ML that is capable of using smokeless powder is prohibited.
    It is LEGAL to use a muzzle loader that can fire smokeless powder... it is NOT LEGAL to use smokeless powder or a scope while hunting during a muzzle loader only hunt.

    From page 19 of the regulations...

    In addition to general hunting restrictions listed on page 18, big game MAY NOT be taken by the following methods:


    • Hunting big game with a muzzleloader equipped with a scope, or using smokeless powder as a charge during any special season for muzzleloading firearms only.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gr is for Greg View Post
    Tried searching the forums, because I would bet this has come up before, but found nothing . Here's my deal:

    I have a Savage in-line smokeless capable .50 cal muzzleloader with a bolt action for the primer. I used to hunt with it in NY where I grew up. You can use smokeless powder there, so that's what I did. I want to apply for some of the muzzleloader restricted hunts this winter, so I have started shooting with Triple 7, and I took my certification course yesterday.

    I am getting a LOT of fouling. I thought maybe it was normal, but in the trial shoot yesterday, I was the only one that cleaned his bore even once, and I had to clean mine three times, basically after every two shots. Even after 1 shot, I get so much fouling that it's tough to get the ramrod with a cleaning patch all the way down the barrel, and then it gets stuck all the way in to the point that I have to set the gun between my knees and pull up on the rod with both hands to get it to move. It's a real pain, and that's after just one shot!

    My gun is designed for 209 shotgun primers. Are those too "hot"? I know they pack a hotter punch than the percussion primers others use. Am I using way too much powder? I'm putting down 100 gr vol Triple 7 FFFG to push a saboted 250gr bullet. That's the recommended charge. My father recommended trying two 50gr pyrodex tablets, so I'll check that out and get back to you, but I know there are some fanatics (no offense intended ) on this site for just about everything. Would one of you care to offer some opinions? I'd sure appreciate it. THanks! -Gr
    Greg, your charge is not excessive for a 50 caliber. The ignition system you are using is plenty hot for complete ignition. Now I'm not going to suggest you do anything that would violate the state regulations where you intend to hunt....but I am going to tell you what has worked for me within the scope of your question regarding excessive fouling. Understand that I am addressing only the fouling issue and how you might correct that issue.

    From my personal perspective and so you can evaluate my suggestion understand that I am a traditional shooter. I shoot mainly 58 caliber, Thompson Center Hawken or Renegade rifles. I've built a few of my barrels. They are percussion side lock shooters that shoot Musket caps, also called Top Hats due to their respective shape. Musket caps fall between the small Number 11 percussion caps and the 209 ignition system that you are using, with regard to the hotness of the priming charge.

    At present I do a lot of experimenting with my own cast lead bullet loads in the 500 to 600 grain range, using the paper patch. My barrels tend to be fast twist barrels 1 to 32 twist and 32 inches long or medium twist 1 to 48 at 28 inches long. My experimentation involves closing the group size for accuracy. Generally I shoot between 110 to 130 grains of Goex 2F or 3F powder. In order to obtain accuracy I need to shoot clean barrels devoid of fouling. And I've had some good results of late.....

    I got a hold of a well written book call "The Paper Jacket" by Paul Matthews. You can find it all day long on Amazon reasonably priced. Anyway, the author introduced me to "Duplex loads", that is a main charge of Black Powder and a minor charge of IRM brand SR4759 smokeless powder. (See page 119 of that aforementioned book) It seems that there is roughly a 3 to 1 ratio that can be used as a general reference. That is, 10 grains of SR4759 has approximately the same pressure as 30 grains of Goex 2F. Thus in my case I have reduced a 130 grain charge of Goex 2F powder down to 100 grains of Goex 2F and added 10 grains of SR 4759. I obtained similar velocity with the Duplex load with a greatly cleaned barrel interior. So clean in fact that fouling is no longer a problem for me. Granted Duplex charges are not recommended by Thompson Center and somewhere in cyberspace the Traditional Black Powder police are probably swearing out an arrest warrant for me since I am no longer a "Traditionalist". But I now shoot a barrel that is not fouled.

    Your mileage may vary, but there is one suggestion you can try.
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    Interesting advice, ex1811. That's a cool fix. I will say that it does not much solve my problem, since the regs are worded that it is illegal to use a muzzleloader with smokeless powder as a charge. Even if it is only part of the charge, I see it as a violation. If I were hunting a non-restricted hunt with my ML, I would just use an all smokeless charge, since I have that quite dialed-in. I do appreciate the advice, and it is an interesting point. I sense a marketing opportunity here - a product approved for use in black-powder-only areas for the purpose of improving barrel cleanout. If you make your millions off it, buy me a beer

    Stid - it's never a bad or harsh idea to encourage safety and know-how when it comes to firearms, but I'm a little confused with your post. You know that I plan to do this experiment with black powder, not smokeless, right? As you pointed out with your post, smokeless powder generates much higher pressures, and I would be less likely to do much experimenting with it at all. Not that I still can't make my firearm into a pipe bomb with black powder - it's just a higher threshold. I guess I don't see how using a patch to seat the bullet instead of a sabot is dangerous. As long as it's snug enough to stay put but not too tight that I can't tam it down, what's the issue? I do have markings on my ramrod to make sure I'm seating the bullet down on the powder charge. Please do correct me if I'm wrong, since I don't want to explode my gun... or my face

    (thanks to all for the advice. Will try to get out and do some shooting this week / weekend to report back)
    -Gr
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    I understand that you are going to be using black powder, what I'm trying to covey is that some projectiles are designed to be used with a sabot, round balls with a patch etc...

    The Savage has tighter tolerances since it can also use smokeless powder. So when you use black power you might need to use a smaller diameter sabot to help with fit when the barrel is fouled.

    I know I had to change sabots on mine even using smokeless, because it was so hard to reload after a few shoots that I was bending the ram rod.

    The savage has a large following and there are forums dedicated to just that muzzle loader.

    I just want too make sure that you have a basic understanding of the safety aspects of muzzle loading, hard to determine someones knowledge level based on a few post.

    I myself tend to stick with proven means and method and don't try untested stuff very often.

    The bullets I use in mine are the same I load for my 45-70, so they are not .50 cal, I'm not sure how they would work with just a patch. I have never used ball and patch, so I can't speak to their use.

    I would try a smaller sabot or a powerbelt bullet myself, but that is just what I would do.

    I'm sure you will get it dialed in, just use your head and be safe.

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    Barnes sabots have that problem with tight bored rifles. They make the Barnes Spitfire T-EZ as a fix (blue sabots). T-EZ stands for Tipped - Easy Loading. I shoot them and they do go down the bore "EZ-ish" in my T/C Omega. I still clean the barrel between shots at the range, but that is because I figgure my first hunting shot is on a clean bore and any shot at the range should be on a cleanish bore.

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    Quote Originally Posted by stid2677 View Post
    It is LEGAL to use a muzzle loader that can fire smokeless powder... it is NOT LEGAL to use smokeless powder or a scope while hunting during a muzzle loader only hunt.

    From page 19 of the regulations...

    In addition to general hunting restrictions listed on page 18, big game MAY NOT be taken by the following methods:


    • Hunting big game with a muzzleloader equipped with a scope, or using smokeless powder as a charge during any special season for muzzleloading firearms only.
    Thanks for correcting me, Stid. Apologies for the mis-information.

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    Try switching your powder to Blackhorn 209. It is designed for use with actual shotgun primers and burns almost as clean as smokeless powder. I switched to Blackhorn 209 this year and I love it. It shoots very consistant, doesnt compress, is far less corrosive than BP or Pyrodex, and doesn't require cleaning after every few shots. It is not a smokeless powder, but acts very similar and is a legal BP substitute. I shoot 120 grains of BH209 behind a 300grain sabot @ approx 1950fps at the muzzle. My rifle consistantly shoots 1-1.5 inch groups at 100 yds.
    Check out the web site for more info: http://www.blackhorn209.com/
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    Quote Originally Posted by stid2677 View Post
    ...I'm sure you will get it dialed in, just use your head and be safe.

    Steve
    Right on man, thanks.

    I've never heard of the Blackhorn209 Powder, so I'll have to check it out, thanks. Off the cuff, you know where they sell it? Don't remember seeing it at Sportsmans, but that for sure does not mean it wasn't there

    Wow - looks like I have a full day at the range trying different stuff. Sweet! -Gr
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    I bought 2 containers at Sportsman's back in August.
    Quote Originally Posted by Gr is for Greg View Post
    Right on man, thanks.

    I've never heard of the Blackhorn209 Powder, so I'll have to check it out, thanks. Off the cuff, you know where they sell it? Don't remember seeing it at Sportsmans, but that for sure does not mean it wasn't there

    Wow - looks like I have a full day at the range trying different stuff. Sweet! -Gr
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    Greg, Stid is right on target. The Thompson line I was told actually opened the bore a bit from the original cuts because the sabots were so darn hard to reload. I have a TC Pro Hunter now and a TC Impact - I have shot many diff powders and bullets and am currently shooting more 777 than anything else. I would say you simply need to xperiment with a few diff brands of bullets. The Powerbelts are and have been the most forgiving for me. The TC Cheap Shots are a pretty forgiving bullet as well and shoot darn good for a simple lead bullet. I use the TC Shock Wave Super Glides a lot and after 2 shots I have to run a patch down my guns as well. I can load several Powerbelts without cleaning. BP guns do have their challenges, I don't think the powder is to blame in your gun...Nothing wrong with Powerbelts, I have dumped several hefty deer with them!
    Oh, don't be embarresed about cleaning it between shots either, your groups will likely end up much more impressive than the chaps that just keep reloading without cleaning! I carry a rod with a 50cal brass brush on it to the range and wrap one of theTC pre-lubed cleaning patchesaround the brush then run it down the tube about 3 - 5 strokes every other shot and am very happy with the results! You can toss the brush and patch in a baggy or tin foil or whatever and carry while hunting as well.
    Best of luck!
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    Another advantage to Blackhorn 209 is that is is more impervious to moisture. That is really important here in AK, where it is more likely than not that you'll be hunting in some type of precipitation. I has been raining or more recently snowing almost every day that I have hunted this year, and I have not had a misfire with Blackhorn 209 yet. I have even left my ML loaded for a week and it still fired without hesitation when I cleared it last time out. I havehunted with BP, Pyrodex and 777, and have had misfires with all of them in wet hunting conditions. I don't think I'll ever go back to any other powder with my inlines. The downside to Blackhorn 209 is it is not recommended for traditional MLs or traditional cap or musket caps and is only recommended to use actual shotgun primers for the hottest flash. It is the most consistantly accurate powder that I've ever used.
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  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gr is for Greg View Post
    Tried searching the forums, because I would bet this has come up before, but found nothing . Here's my deal:

    I have a Savage in-line smokeless capable .50 cal muzzleloader with a bolt action for the primer. I used to hunt with it in NY where I grew up. You can use smokeless powder there, so that's what I did. I want to apply for some of the muzzleloader restricted hunts this winter, so I have started shooting with Triple 7, and I took my certification course yesterday.

    I am getting a LOT of fouling. I thought maybe it was normal, but in the trial shoot yesterday, I was the only one that cleaned his bore even once, and I had to clean mine three times, basically after every two shots. Even after 1 shot, I get so much fouling that it's tough to get the ramrod with a cleaning patch all the way down the barrel, and then it gets stuck all the way in to the point that I have to set the gun between my knees and pull up on the rod with both hands to get it to move. It's a real pain, and that's after just one shot!

    My gun is designed for 209 shotgun primers. Are those too "hot"? I know they pack a hotter punch than the percussion primers others use. Am I using way too much powder? I'm putting down 100 gr vol Triple 7 FFFG to push a saboted 250gr bullet. That's the recommended charge. My father recommended trying two 50gr pyrodex tablets, so I'll check that out and get back to you, but I know there are some fanatics (no offense intended ) on this site for just about everything. Would one of you care to offer some opinions? I'd sure appreciate it. THanks! -Gr
    If it was already asked I missed it so I'll ask the most basic question. What does your cleaning patch have on it? Spit, solvent...?

    Sabots are not a shoot-all-day type of projectile like a patched roundball can be. When I shoot sabots (very, very rarely) I expect to swab between shots every time so I have a consistent bore condition for shot after shot accuracy. The only time I wouldn't swab is for a follow up shot while hunting.

    Fouling is par for the course in shooting muzzleloaders. Setting all the fancy high tech stuff aside actually makes the sport much more enjoyable for me. I can shoot all day long with my roundball rifle and not swab even once.

    Good luck,
    JM

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