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Large amounts of fouling after each shot

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RonC

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I had the pleasure of going muzzle loader shooting on Wednesday with one of the fine members here. I brought a Hawken style, .50 cal rifle. It has an original 1" Sharon Barrel with a length of 32.5".

I used .490 round ball with pre-lubed, 0.015, Eastern Maine patches and patches I lubed with Mr. Flintlock's patch lube; 60 gr of Goex FFF powder.

I ran a patch down the barrel after the first shot and the patch came out thick with black, carbon fouling (I should have taken photos). That caked, black fouling showed up after every shot with each patch. More black fouling came out with a second cleaning patch and started to become less prominent with each patch after the second one. The Mr. Flintlock lubed patches were a little less fouled, but still the fouling was extensive.

What are some of the possible reasons this black, thick fouling would occur?
Thanks,
Ron
 
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Grimord

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Humidity can increase fouling at times, but it could also mean you need a tighter patch/ball combination. Try a thicker patch or a larger ball if you can. Another thing to try is to run a clean dry patch down over the powder, then your patched ball. Sometimes this works well and gives better accuracy in some guns.
 

RonC

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Thank you, Grimord. We don't have much humidity in Colorado. I have some 0.018 patches I can try and that will be the first solution I'll try.
Ron
 

FrontierGander

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Alcohol based lube vs a greased patch. The grease patch will always look nastier simply due to the fact its adding grease to the mixture VS the alcohol which is washing it down.
 

Hanshi

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In low humidity I believe it dries out pretty quickly. high humidity, of course, creates slush. The water content the powder makes a big difference accouding to many, "Swiss Powder" shooters I've heard. The loads used in my guns are fairly tight prb. A .490" ball and a .024" canvas patch seat easily with a wet lube; I believe a wet lube swabs just like cleaning rods. You probably know lots more than I do about about how humidity works. So maybe two or more things going on simultaineously.
 

RonC

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More good ideas! Thank you.
My powder sits in the original containers out in a backyard shed. It's unusual to get high humidity.
The rifle was very accurate at 25 yards and 50 yards, even with sludge.

What alcohol based patch lube do you use?

Ron
 

RonC

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Alcohol based lube vs a greased patch. The grease patch will always look nastier simply due to the fact its adding grease to the mixture VS the alcohol which is washing it down.
BigAl, with his usual experience and wisdom, recommended alcohol as well, particularly for swabbing between shots. That really helped.
 

White Fox

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About a year ago I began experiencing a lot of black, sludgy fouling in my favorite rifle, a lefty 40 caliber flinter built by Jack Patterson in Upstate New York. Great rifle, won quite a few awards with it, most exciting hunting I do each year is for cottontails with this rifle. Tried all sorts of solutions- less powder, more powder, different powder, changing lube and patch material. Still lots of goop.

Consulted with the builder, who asked if perhaps the vent was becoming enlarged. He explained that a large vent can lead to fouling as not enough pressure builds up during firing to achieve a high level of combustion. Got out my set of numbered drills, and indeed the hole was getting pretty large. A #39 (0,0995) would pass through, but not a #38 (0.1015).

Replaced the White Lightning vent and the sludge went away. Replacement meant unpinning the the barrel, drilling the vent to accept an easy-out, and a little heating with heat gun. The new vent was screwed in, wrench lug sawn off with a jewelry saw, and the remains dressed down flat with the barrel. A new problem arose- occasional misfires. This I knew how to address- enlarge the vent opening in stages until firing was reliable. Had to do this on two rifles I built. According to my drill set, the original opening in the new vent was a #60 drill (0.0400). Reliable firing came when the vent was drilled to a #56 (0.0465).

I intend to be gentle with the vent pick from now on.
 

Renegadehunter

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Is it possible that some kind of bore preservative was in the bore and didn't get removed before the first shot, creating some hard to remove tar-like fouling? (I don't put much stock into this theory, what with your BP experience, but thought I'd mention it.)

I shoot often in low humidity, it causes the fouling to be hard and more difficult to remove. I swab between every shot, using either Hoppes BP solvent or Birchwood-Casey #77. I use these simply because I have some on hand from when I first started shooting PRB using a damp type lube for repeated shooting without swabbing, and simply want to use them up. We all know there are many things that work fine. Anyway, swabbing patches are only damp, can't squeeze anything out of them. After shooting I run one down the bore, but then let it sit there for about 10 seconds or so, so the fouling has a chance to soften up a bit, then remove the swab. I do not bother with a drying patch since I will load and shoot again right away. If it were going to stay loaded for a bit, then I'd do one pass with a dry swab. Likely not needed if using alcohol.
I do turn my jag down a bit since I swab every shot, otherwise I push fouling down ahead of the swab and block the flame channel quite often. I turn the jag down so that it and the cleaning swab go down the bore smoothly, but then the swab bunches up when I reverse direction and it pulls the fouling OUT of the bore.
Another thought. Is it possible you got a mis-marked can of 2f? Goex 2f gives me the kind of fouling you are describing much more than Goex 3f does when shooting in low humidity. Perhaps shake out a bit of 2f and a bit of the 3f and see how the granulation size compares.
 

RonC

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Very good ideas, Renegadehunter!
I started black powder shooting in my mid-60s, so I am not nearly as experienced as some fellows on this site. Some of these guys have been shooting traditional muzzle loaders since the late 1700's :D
I dry-swabbed the bores that morning, just before going shooting. Then I shot a cap without powder and ball to blow out anything else.
The humidity generally is low around here.
The can is labelled 3F and is quite old. I'll take a look at it and compare to a recent 2 and 3F powder.
Thank you,
Ron
 

Hanshi

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Three things I've never experienced:

1. NEVER have I ever come across a clean, slightly clean, smidgen less dirty or a more or less fouling black powder.

2. NEVER have I had to swab between shots.

3. NEVER (AHEM!) have I been able to shoot worth a hoot.....well, maybe way back. :thumbs up:
 

falcon

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What Hanshi said.

i'm the only guy on another website who can't make three round balls touch at 50 yards. ☹
 

RonC

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I can get 3 balls to touch, even 5 balls. I line them up on the shooting table, grab them in my hand, and they all are touching.😁

I went shooting yesterday morning my friend from this site. This time, I shot pistols, a flintlock and a single shot percussion. I used the same powder and patches as I did in the rifles that started this thread.
The flintlock: After 3 shots, the patch and ball became a little harder to load, so I swabbed the bore. The first patch brought out some black fouling, but a second wipe wasn't bad. So, the pistols shot more cleanly than the rifle. Also, it likely isn't the powder that was a problem because it was the same powder as used in the rifle. Same for the patch, lube and ball.

The Percussion: the bore is a little larger and the patch and ball easier to load. There was fouling after 3 shots, but only on the first patch. The second was mostly clean.
Maybe there isn't as big a fouling problem as I thought.
Ron
 

Silent Walker

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I also get fouling no matter if I use Goex or Elephant BP.... with FFg more so, with FFFg less so.... but amount will vary depending.
I've never swabbed between shots, as I figure a patch round ball will push the fouling down upon the powder I'm compressing with the PRB,
so after a string of shots, we shall swab to clean.... it just goes with shooting real BP, and getting that smoke aroma therapy.
 

AZshooter

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Take a look at your patch lube. A greasier lube on a saturated patch will leave a heavier coating in the bore upon loading a ball, and once fired, more burned powder residue will stick to it.

For decades I used an old original beeswax + tallow patch recipe and it worked well, yet still needed swabbing after every few shots to remove accumulated excess fouling.

I read of Dutch Schoulz recipe for "dry" patches using ballistol + water, and made my own adaptation, which is amazingly clean: Mix 5 parts denatured alcohol to 1 part castor oil. Soak the patches, then set them out for the alcohol to evaporate. What remains is a dry patch infused with a fine coat of castor oil. It loads easily and fouling is minimal.

It's definitely worth trying, and is all I use anymore.
 

Mofish

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I never have fouling problems, but each of us seems to have their own way of doing things. I only use greasy type patch lubes when hunting, and this will only consist of one or two shots before coming home for cleaning. For all my other shooting, I use a small spray bottle to wet the patches with the mix of Windex and Murphy's oil soap. Using the wetter method works for me at monthly shoots and I never have to clean for at least 25 shots...that finishes the matches and I give it a little swabbing with the same mix and come home to clean things out.
Some day I'd like to see a thread start with guys showing some of their trophies, ribbons, etc...from matches and the methods that got them to that point.
 

gemihur

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this probably needs to bee in modern category...
I've got a variety of muzzleloaders yet insist on using the least of them on field use, perhaps saving the best for last.
My go-to has a bore that looks like 9 miles of bad road but shoots accurately without fail. Using discontinued 270 gr. Powerbelts on 9O gr. 777.
I believe any fouling would assist but I don't ever get a chance to shoot twice, by that point field-dressing is needed.
Rifle season starts Saturday but I honestly don't wanna start the process again soon, having been lucky enough for two bucks this year already... maybe a turkey?
 
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Sasquatch

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Hello Again while waiting for my long rifle to be finished I would like to also start using a black powder pistol. What is a good brand and cal. to use.
 
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