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Bore Swabbing Question
I'm ready for my first foray into BP cartridge at a local range next week. Sharps has new sights, bullets cast, SPG lubed, & loaded with FFg, but can only guess what I need to do after that first round? Anything special for this new bore? I do have a tube of Bore Butter on hand but not everyone online agrees as to its usefulness. I'm thinking a soapy water patch between rounds couldn't hurt? Bore brush also?
Dang, this was a week ago. Sorry folks aint checking this site more often mongo. I'm working offshore right now so the internet is junk and I don't have much time to visit all my regular websites. What did you wind up doing? I can tell you what I observed with other black powder cartridge shooters at our matches.
1. Nearly all of them blow into the barrel between shots. Can't even make a guess about the what that tube is called so you can buy one, but it looks like they can be made easily with some clear plastic tubing. I'm going to guess about a half inch outer diameter so it can be shoved into the gun. Most also have a piece fitted to one end that looks like a mouthpiece but actually goes into the barrel. The purpose of the blowing to to get moisture in there to loosen up the fowling. So there's lots of moisture in the tube itself. I'm also not sure how much they blow, but it looks like that all give it one good long breath. Some might give it 2.
2. Only one shooter I've noticed runs patches down the bore. That's Slick. They look like dry patches to me and I'm not sure if he blows into his bore between shots or not.
Your sharps is modern, right? If I were you I'd shoot a box of jacketed bullets through it first and then don't clean the copper fouling. This doens't mean don't clean it at all, it just means don't use copper solvent. Instead of your patches coming out clean, they will have a bluish tint. From what I've read, the long range shooters have recently figured out that copper fouling is your friend. It used to be that they'd completely clean it all out between matches then need fouling shots just before the match to achieve optimum accuracy. I'm not 100% sure this applies to BPCR (I shoot smokeless), but it's what I'm going to do with my rifle the next time I get a chance to shoot it at paper, and I have stopped cleaning the copper fouling from my hunting rifles and self defense pistols.
I also have studied the copper issue and gotta admit old ways change hard. My 1/4" MOA benchrest buddy speaks that language but he's blessed with a 300yd personal range just outside his barndominium door. I gotta drive a 50mi round trip so focus more on load development for those rare opportunities.
Blow tube is a must I read and included in my kit. I do find it amazing that only one shooter patches 'tho. Maybe BP doesn't really foul as I expected. I'm still anxiously planning my range trip that's been rescheduled 3 times already.....it seems my "Let's be more authentic & buy a Creedmore sight without micrometer adjustments" experiment failed miserably so am now awaiting the Lee Shaver I shoulda bought in the first place.
More to follow, I'm certain
Evenin Mongo, I shoot a 4570 up until recently have shot synthetic APP 2F. With APP it has a lube in it, almost greasy. I am switching to Holy Black, but need to shoot a few matches worth of APP that I have loaded. I don't run a patch between each shot, but I do run a bore snake with Balistol after each series.
Mongo, I also apologize for the slow response. Work and life in general have been busy lately and I have been on the forum.
First, make sure you thoroughly clean all smokeless powder residue from your barrel, or you'll get the fouling from hell when you shoot BP. Once you do that, everything else is easy. The key is using a bullet that carries a lot of lube - notice proper BP bullets have large lube groove capacity. A proper soft cast bullet (typically between 20:1 and 40:1 lead:tin ratio) with a good BP lube (SPG, etc) will leave a lube star on the muzzle of the rifle. That shows there is sufficient lube to totally coat the bore and keep fouling soft. If you have the lube star, you don't really need to do anything between shots, although many folks use the blow tube out of habit and plenty of caution. If you don't have enough lube to get the lube star on the muzzle, then a blow tube is needed. Blowing 2 or 3 breaths through the bore with it will add enough moisture to keep the fouling soft. As long as you keep the fouling soft, the fouling reaches an equilibrium and is basically swept out of the bore by each succeeding shot.
I used to clean the bore (moose milk) between each string of 5 shots, but found that isn't necessary. I dont' know anyone at this point that still does it, other than Slick - but we're still trying to break him of old habits! After a match, I can clean my rifle with 4 or 5 patches and one pull of the bore snake.
I guess it's just the jitters from plowing unfamiliar soil. Reading is supposed to be healthy so I'm rock solid if confusion has anything to do with it. Now at least I'm confident the basics are understood.
I'm gonna try the Lee 500gr 3r bullet (.459-500-3r) cast 20:1 with SPG on top of 60gr Ffg & the recommended 0.030 veg wad loaded via 24" drop tube & compressed by bullet seated to bottom of driving band. I didn't precompress the charge....just let the bullet do the work. A light crimp was added also. That bullet has 3 lube grooves as opposed to the 500gr RN "store bought" I have with 4 grooves. The Lee grooves are much wider & appear to hold more SPG, so we'll see if that star forms.
Ballistol is ordered.
Mongo, that sounds like a reasonable starting point. The only comment I'd make is that with soft cast bullets (like the 20:1 you're using), if you compress the powder charge more than just slightly with the bullet itself, you can deform it. Think of setting a balloon on the table and pressing on the top of it - it shortens and increases in diameter. Check your bullets before and after seating by this method. If there's no difference in diameter, you're fine. If you find the bullet now has a larger diameter, you need to get a powder compression die to do the actual compression. Then you just drop the bullet in on top of the compressed powder charge and take any bell out of the case mouth.
Mongo, Below is a photo showing the results of cleaning my BPCR rifle after firing 32 rounds - a complete match. The first two patches were with Moose Milk (Water & Ballistol @ 10:1). Then I used one pull of the bore snake, then two more patches with straight Ballistol. As you can see, even the first patch isn't particularly dirty. With the proper lube and bullet design, fouling doesn't continue to build up, but reaches an equilibrium and is easy to clean.
Couldn't be easier.
Wow. That is amazing considering all the misinformation floating around re BP. I now have the Ballistol so will mix up the 10:1 as you recommend & start out swabbing between the 1st 10 rounds to "season" this new bore. Don't know if that really helps anything but I need to fine tune a final load also.
Now have a powder compression die. If there is anything I've overlooked please don't tell me. Our UPS guy is threatening to quit.
Yep, that's what's frustrating about trying to get folks started with black powder. There is so much misinformation and so many scare stories you have to get past before they consider it. Once they finally do, it's "Holy Crap, it that all there is to it?!!"
Enjoy your journey and come play with us.
Our UPS guy is here several times a week bringing us everything from cases of BP to lead, various other shooting suppies, animal food, etc. We're now BFF's....