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Thread: All you knows about Patch thickness

  1. #1
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    Default All you knows about Patch thickness

    I shoot Traditional MLs, 50 Cal. and with Patch and ball. I don't even like In Lines.

    I'm wondering about Patch Thickness. I've always thought that the thicker the patch, within reason, the more accurate the shots. But recently I heard otherwise.

    Also, when I'm gonna shoot 25 to 30 shots at a session, I find that a tight patch is problematic, as in hard to load, although I can be done.

    I've settled now on using a .015 or therabouts patch with a .490 ball and they seem to be accurate enough, and they are easier to load.

    I found that .010 WASN'T accurate in my gun.

    DO YOU THINK, that I might should go back to using patch thickness, of around .020 ??

    This and anything else, you wanna share regarding patches, would be appreciated.

    Smitty of the North
    Walk Slow, and Drink a Lotta Water.
    Has it ever occurred to you, that Nothing ever occurs to God? Adrien Rodgers.
    You can't out-give God.

  2. #2

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    Depends on your specific gun and model because there is a little variation in bore diameter and groove depth. Factor in choice of lubes, powder, base wads and whether or not you swab the bore now and then, and it's really a moving target.

    Only way I've been able to shoot as many as 25 or 30 shots in a session with any patch thickness is periodic bore swabbing with a damp (spit) patch. Some lubes are lots better about keeping fouling soft (usually wet ones, whether spit, windex or some of the commercial liquids) and easing loading for long range sessions, though not recommended for hunting and long sits with powder in the bore. Guys using thinner patches often get excellent accuracy by folding a patch and pushing that down the bore ahead of the patched ball for kind of a "fire wall." Some also use lubed felt wads the same way. In my experience Pyrodex is bad for building up hard fouling on long range sessions, Triple Seven less so, and Goex black somewhere between. All profit from the periodic wet swab I mentioned.

    My bottom line on picking a patch and lube for my guns is ease/difficulty of ball starting on hunts. I don't want them so tight that I have to use a mallet like a lot of pure range shooters. By the same token I don't want them so loose that I sacrifice accuracy.

    Good question, but the answer is kind of a moving target. More shooting required!

  3. #3
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    Thanks BB:

    That's about where I'm at with the .015 thick patches.

    I use only BP. I tried Triple Seven and gave what was left away.

    Recently, I've been cleaning with one damp patch between shots, and more than one after shooting several, so I got that down too.

    I'll keep on keepin on, the way I'm doin.

    Thanks for your help.

    Smitty of the North
    Walk Slow, and Drink a Lotta Water.
    Has it ever occurred to you, that Nothing ever occurs to God? Adrien Rodgers.
    You can't out-give God.

  4. #4

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    Yeah, it's all fiddly stuff. For some reason I'm more attracted right now to doing it shot-by-shot in the field, rather than a whole bunch at once at my reloading bench. Same process really, with much the same goals. Of course, none of my cartridge buds can get as excited as I am about a 3-inch group at 100 yards!

  5. #5

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    My Browning 54 cal must have weird tastes, I've tried thicker patches but they didn't work as well. My current big game load is 80 grns or Pyrodex-P with a .535 ball and a .010 wonder lubed patch. This shoots into a Ritz cracker @ 80 yds with factory open sights. It'll shoot for about 12 shots then I run a bronze bore brush down the tube and it'll do it for 10-12 more shots and will continue shooting like this for 40 or so rounds. However my TC 50 cal Hawken liked bed ticking and a .490 ball it wasn't as accurate with a RB due to the 48" twist; It much preferred the short Lee REAL 50 cal projectile, lubed with Bore Butter or Crisco.
    " Americans will never need the 2nd Amendment, until the government tries to take it away."

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  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by brav01 View Post
    ...t wasn't as accurate with a RB due to the 48" twist....
    This has been bantied about the web a lot by the slow-twist lovers, but it needs to be put in a true light.

    As a matter of fact the orginal Hawken rifles, known far and wide for their tremendous accuracy with round balls, all had 1:48" twists. So did a whole lot of other well-known rifles of that era.

    So howcum TC gets an accuracy rap for 1:48 barrels?

    The compromise they made for conical shooting including sabots was to go with SHALLOW rifling along with the 1:48 twist. The originals had really deep rifling for grabbing patches, but deep doesn't work for poot with conicals or sabots.

    There's an easy fix: Just go with a tighter than usual patch in TC's 1:48 barrels, so you once again get a good mate of the patch and the bore. Same applies for other fast twists with round balls. They all have shallow rifling for sabot shooting, but you can get surprising accuracy with a tight patch.

    I have a bunch of muzzleloaders with 1:48 and faster twists, yet I shoot mostly round balls. When I'm first working up loads for them, if the accuracy isn't there I go to a thicker patch. Problem solved, even if I have to exert a lot more effort to start a patched ball than with a deeply rifled barrel.

  7. #7

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    While I did no research other than with my 50 cal 1:48" twist in my 1978 model TC Hawken KIT and it shot flawlessly into under 2" @ 100 yds with short REAL bullets. I tried 20 or so patch and ball combinations without ever acheiveing a 2" group @ 100 yds. It also didn't like the longer REAL bullets either. My current 50 cal TC Hawkin also a 1978 kit does about the same, so the 2 rifles I've shot in 50 caliber didn't like PRBs.
    I currently have an unfired Lyman 54 cal, "Trade Rifle" for sale if anyone is interested. These were discontinued several years back and was a wall hanger in the den for 20 years.
    " Americans will never need the 2nd Amendment, until the government tries to take it away."

    On the road of life..... Pot holes keep things interesting !

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by brav01 View Post
    I currently have an unfired Lyman 54 cal, "Trade Rifle" for sale if anyone is interested. These were discontinued several years back and was a wall hanger in the den for 20 years.
    Far as I know, Lyman never quit making them. They still list them here. Still being sold new in both 50 and 54 caliber and cheaper than Lyman-direct from many sources. Here is just one.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrownBear View Post
    Far as I know, Lyman never quit making them. They still list them here. Still being sold new in both 50 and 54 caliber and cheaper than Lyman-direct from many sources. Here is just one.
    My book doesn't list them as current items, but I stand corrected; Thanks. GEEZ $500 bucks I'ld take 350 for mine .
    " Americans will never need the 2nd Amendment, until the government tries to take it away."

    On the road of life..... Pot holes keep things interesting !

  10. #10
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    Default

    On that twist, I shot a 1-48 twist today with RBs and 3 shots were touching at 25 yards. At 50 yards 3 shots made one ragged hole, although they weren't actually touching. (RBs make a jagged hole in paper.)

    I was using Linen patches, as in FLAX. So tere's a nother question. Has anyone used linen, and what are the advantages or disadvantages, or are there any either way?

    I don't remember why I got the linen, but I'm thinkin I read something to the effect that it was tougher, but compressed better than cotton. But like I said, I disremember.

    Thanks
    Smitty of the North
    Walk Slow, and Drink a Lotta Water.
    Has it ever occurred to you, that Nothing ever occurs to God? Adrien Rodgers.
    You can't out-give God.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Smitty of the North View Post
    On that twist, I shot a 1-48 twist today with RBs and 3 shots were touching at 25 yards. At 50 yards 3 shots made one ragged hole, although they weren't actually touching. (RBs make a jagged hole in paper.)

    I was using Linen patches, as in FLAX. So tere's a nother question. Has anyone used linen, and what are the advantages or disadvantages, or are there any either way?

    I don't remember why I got the linen, but I'm thinkin I read something to the effect that it was tougher, but compressed better than cotton. But like I said, I disremember.

    Thanks
    Smitty of the North

    Good news on the grouping. Makes me wonder if you weren't experiencing some patch failure with the cotton patches.

    I started to bring up linen earlier but decided not to complicate the talk. Linen is a dandy patch material, especially when a little larger ball requires you to use a thinner patch. It's tougher than any cotton for sure, therefore it holds together better and results in better accuracy in most cases.

    A cheaper alternative (and easier to find) is Super Muslin from JoAnn's fabric. It's cotton, but evidently longer fibers and lots tougher. I was having trouble getting thin linen and tried it on recommendation of friends for some thin patches. Never got around to tracking down the thin linen for that project, it worked so well for the thin patches I needed. Linen is still tougher, but harder to find and usually more expensive. Only hassle I've had with linen, the cheaper sources tend to have "runout" in terms of thickness. I've seen it go from thick to thin across the width of the same piece of fabric. Kinda makes a guy mutter.

  12. #12
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    Thanks BB:

    Sorry to take so long gittin back to this.

    I got a yard of it at JoAnns fabric. I take my Caliper along with me when I buy patching material.

    This linen is .016, or thereabouts. It does't appear to be a tight weave, but it sure is tuff. I got a yard, so I wanted to use it up, but now, I may even buy more, depending. I dunno how well it'll work with my other two rifles.

    I got tired of beating that pillow tick patching down the barrel, so was lookin for alternatives.

    Thanks again
    Smittyof the North
    Walk Slow, and Drink a Lotta Water.
    Has it ever occurred to you, that Nothing ever occurs to God? Adrien Rodgers.
    You can't out-give God.

  13. #13

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    Smitty,

    My two muzzleloaders seem to each prefer different degrees of "tightness" to the patch. My .32 caliber flintlock likes a tight fit. Not so tight as to have to use a mallet to seat the ball but very snug. I have to be careful because I have .310 and .315 balls and if I try to use the .010 patch with the .315 balls it almost won't go down the barrel. I use .010 with the .310 and .005 with the .315s. My .62 doesn't seem to care as long as the patch is snug enough to hold the ball in place. I use a .020 patch with a 600 ball and it slides down fairly easily but snug enough to where you can feel it. My .62 is a GM smooth bore that I had Ed Rayle rifle for me. It's an absolute tack driver. My .32 is as well but it is more sensitive to patch tightness. Don't know if this helps but good luck.

    Mart

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by brav01 View Post
    My Browning 54 cal must have weird tastes, I've tried thicker patches but they didn't work as well. My current big game load is 80 grns or Pyrodex-P with a .535 ball and a .010 wonder lubed patch. This shoots into a Ritz cracker @ 80 yds with factory open sights. It'll shoot for about 12 shots then I run a bronze bore brush down the tube and it'll do it for 10-12 more shots and will continue shooting like this for 40 or so rounds. However my TC 50 cal Hawken liked bed ticking and a .490 ball it wasn't as accurate with a RB due to the 48" twist; It much preferred the short Lee REAL 50 cal projectile, lubed with Bore Butter or Crisco.
    The recommended patch and ball weight is in the owners manual for your Browning
    my JB likes the Rem golden ball in .530 with a .018 ticking patch with mink lube
    90gr of loose 777 2F and a magnum primer

    less ball weight and thicker patch or more ball weight and thinner patch..........
    Alaska

  15. #15

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    some things that need to be understood about patch thickness.

    a .015 and a .015 is not the same acrossed the board! It has to do with COMPRESSED thickness that you're dealing with not actual thickness. Store bought patches do not compress like say denim.

    With that in mind don't rule out .015 or any number honestly....as one could be very different than the next.

    2nd lube plays a big role in PRB accuracy..too much or too little and you'll get poor groups. inconsistent lube between patches and you'll get a string going in a line 12-6 or 6-12.

    Lube also needs to be thought about in cold....gonna make a snug fit when its -30 vs say 80 depending on the lube you choose and how much you use.

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