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  #1  
Old 11-29-2004, 02:57 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Virginia
Posts: 116
felt patch or wad


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Noticed some folks are using a felt wad when loading. What are the advantages/disadvantages of this method. Thanks
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  #2  
Old 11-29-2004, 07:48 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2002
Posts: 254
You don't say whether they're loading a cap and ball revolver, or a rifle, so let's discuss both.
In cap and ball revolvers the felt wad is best lubricated with a natural grease. The dry lubricant used in Ox Yoke's "Wonder Wad" doesn't provide enough lubricant, in my experience.
I soak my revolver wads in a mix of mutton tallow, beeswax and canning paraffin. This is an old recipe and was originally used by the factories for outside lubricated bullets such as the .32, .38 and .41 Colt.
In a revolver, the advantage is the avoidance of messy grease over the ball. If the wad is well soaked in the above lubricant, or melted tallow or lard, no lubricant over the ball is needed as the grease in the felt wad provides ample lubricant.
The lubricated felt wad also seems to produce more accurate loads in revolvers, in my experience.
Petroleum greases and products should be avoided. They tend to cause a hard, tarry fouling when mixed with black powder. An exception is canning paraffin. Don't know why, but it doesn't cause this problem.

Rifles have different demands.
If you use a lead ball in a greased patch, a felt wad between patched ball and powder helps protect the base of the patch from the burning effects of the powder. This can prevent burn-through of the patch.
The felt wad may be used dry, if the patch is lubricated, or lubricated if extra lubricant is desired. It's not a bad idea to lubricate the felt wad, as its additional lubricant will keep fouling soft.
However, its lubricant must be fairly stiff and not watery, to avoid contaminating the powder charge. Water-based lubricants should be avoided for long-term loading, as the water will promote rust in the barrel.
I use the same lubricant recipe for my rifle felt wads as i do my revolvers. The recipe is 1 part mutton tallow, 1 part canning paraffin and 1/2 part beeswax. All measurements are by weight, not volume. I use a kitchen scale to measure 200/200/100 grams of ingredients. This makes nearly a quart of lubricant, which goes far.
Some people also load a lubricated, felt wad in cartridge guns using black powder. This augments the bullet's lubricant and keeps fouling soft.
Without sufficient lubricant, black powder fouling can get hard and clog the grooves of the rifling, affecting accuracy. Keeping the fouling soft discourages this problem.
In all cases --- cap and ball revolver, muzzleloading rifle or cartridge gun --- there must be NO space between the wad, powder or projectile. This can create a dangerous condition and has been known to blow barrels. Make sure everything is seated firmly on top of each other, leaving no space between powder, felt wad and projectile.
In muzzleloading rifles the lubricated felt wad is loaded separately on the powder, before seating the bullet or ball.
A lubricated felt wad should NOT be used with a bullet that has a hollow base, such as the .58-caliber Springfield musket. The hollowbase of the bullet depends upon the force of the burning gunpowder to expand its skirt. This skirt then swells out to engage the rifling.
If a lubricated felt wad is used under a hollow-based bullet, it is usually driven up into the hollowbase, interfering with the skirt's ability to expand. This affects accuracy.
On plain, flat-based bullets the lubricated felt wad can be effective, often improving accuracy.
Felt wads may be purchased or punched out by yourself. However, you must have the right felt. It must be stiff, and at least 1/8-inch thick. A good source for such felt is old hats (found at thrift stores) or the felt weather stripping sold to seal windows.
Make sure that the felt you buy is 100 percent wool. Most felt today is synthetic, made of polyester. This will leave deposits of melted plastic in your barrel. Finding suitable 100 percent wool can be difficult but it's worth the effort.
I have three old cowboy hats I've picked up at thrift stores for less than $2 each. From each, I can get a few hundred .36 and .44-caliber wads. A 3/8" punch is used for the .36 caliber revolver, a .45-caliber punch is used for the .44 revolver and .45-caliber rifle such as the .45-70. A 1/2" punch is used for .50-caliber.
Buffalo Arms sells .45-caliber punches for less than $20. It is well made and, if treated properly, will last for generations.
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  #3  
Old 11-29-2004, 01:55 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Jefferson Parish (via N.O.)
Posts: 9,035
Like the last poster, am assuming you mean for cap-and-ball revolvers. Some use them, others don't. I've tired revolver loads both ways; some revlovers do better with them and others without them. The felt wad takes up some volume and reduces the powder charge a tiny bit...also seems to help keep fouling down a little bit as the wad tends to help clean out some of the vrud brom the previous shot (but it could be that there is a timey bit less powder being burned).

In shot guns they are a help, not just for sealing and lubing, but for a bit of a cushion. Normally use card wads and a 1/2" fiber wads in percussion shotguns, but have used the pre-lubed felt wads in place of the 1/2 fiber wad...works about as well, but the patterns are a bit wider without the big 1/2 fiber wad (which is OK...sometimes you want a big wide pattern).

Know some poepl use them in rifles...not real sure why, but they can help with some loads. Guess they act like the card wads some people use under the bullet in BP cartridge ammo; kind of a fiber gas check and a bit of extra lube where it would do the most good.

Persoanlly, I try them in various guns, and if the results are better, will use them. Where is doesn't make any differnce, then I'll skip the extra loading step and not use them.

Use a 38/55 that requires a wad under the bullet to do it's best work. Doesn't seem to care if it's a cardboard wad, a cardbard and lube wad, or a .36cap and ball felt wad.

Last edited by ribbonstone; 11-29-2004 at 02:04 PM.
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  #4  
Old 11-29-2004, 03:46 PM
Beartooth Regular
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Virginia
Posts: 116
Thank you

Quote:
Originally Posted by ribbonstone
Like the last poster, am assuming you mean for cap-and-ball revolvers. Some use them, others don't. I've tired revolver loads both ways; some revlovers do better with them and others without them. The felt wad takes up some volume and reduces the powder charge a tiny bit...also seems to help keep fouling down a little bit as the wad tends to help clean out some of the vrud brom the previous shot (but it could be that there is a timey bit less powder being burned).

In shot guns they are a help, not just for sealing and lubing, but for a bit of a cushion. Normally use card wads and a 1/2" fiber wads in percussion shotguns, but have used the pre-lubed felt wads in place of the 1/2 fiber wad...works about as well, but the patterns are a bit wider without the big 1/2 fiber wad (which is OK...sometimes you want a big wide pattern).

Know some poepl use them in rifles...not real sure why, but they can help with some loads. Guess they act like the card wads some people use under the bullet in BP cartridge ammo; kind of a fiber gas check and a bit of extra lube where it would do the most good.

Persoanlly, I try them in various guns, and if the results are better, will use them. Where is doesn't make any differnce, then I'll skip the extra loading step and not use them.

Use a 38/55 that requires a wad under the bullet to do it's best work. Doesn't seem to care if it's a cardboard wad, a cardbard and lube wad, or a .36cap and ball felt wad.
Thank you!
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  #5  
Old 11-29-2004, 03:48 PM
Beartooth Regular
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Virginia
Posts: 116
Thanks

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatofeo
You don't say whether they're loading a cap and ball revolver, or a rifle, so let's discuss both.
In cap and ball revolvers the felt wad is best lubricated with a natural grease. The dry lubricant used in Ox Yoke's "Wonder Wad" doesn't provide enough lubricant, in my experience.
I soak my revolver wads in a mix of mutton tallow, beeswax and canning paraffin. This is an old recipe and was originally used by the factories for outside lubricated bullets such as the .32, .38 and .41 Colt.
In a revolver, the advantage is the avoidance of messy grease over the ball. If the wad is well soaked in the above lubricant, or melted tallow or lard, no lubricant over the ball is needed as the grease in the felt wad provides ample lubricant.
The lubricated felt wad also seems to produce more accurate loads in revolvers, in my experience.
Petroleum greases and products should be avoided. They tend to cause a hard, tarry fouling when mixed with black powder. An exception is canning paraffin. Don't know why, but it doesn't cause this problem.

Rifles have different demands.
If you use a lead ball in a greased patch, a felt wad between patched ball and powder helps protect the base of the patch from the burning effects of the powder. This can prevent burn-through of the patch.
The felt wad may be used dry, if the patch is lubricated, or lubricated if extra lubricant is desired. It's not a bad idea to lubricate the felt wad, as its additional lubricant will keep fouling soft.
However, its lubricant must be fairly stiff and not watery, to avoid contaminating the powder charge. Water-based lubricants should be avoided for long-term loading, as the water will promote rust in the barrel.
I use the same lubricant recipe for my rifle felt wads as i do my revolvers. The recipe is 1 part mutton tallow, 1 part canning paraffin and 1/2 part beeswax. All measurements are by weight, not volume. I use a kitchen scale to measure 200/200/100 grams of ingredients. This makes nearly a quart of lubricant, which goes far.
Some people also load a lubricated, felt wad in cartridge guns using black powder. This augments the bullet's lubricant and keeps fouling soft.
Without sufficient lubricant, black powder fouling can get hard and clog the grooves of the rifling, affecting accuracy. Keeping the fouling soft discourages this problem.
In all cases --- cap and ball revolver, muzzleloading rifle or cartridge gun --- there must be NO space between the wad, powder or projectile. This can create a dangerous condition and has been known to blow barrels. Make sure everything is seated firmly on top of each other, leaving no space between powder, felt wad and projectile.
In muzzleloading rifles the lubricated felt wad is loaded separately on the powder, before seating the bullet or ball.
A lubricated felt wad should NOT be used with a bullet that has a hollow base, such as the .58-caliber Springfield musket. The hollowbase of the bullet depends upon the force of the burning gunpowder to expand its skirt. This skirt then swells out to engage the rifling.
If a lubricated felt wad is used under a hollow-based bullet, it is usually driven up into the hollowbase, interfering with the skirt's ability to expand. This affects accuracy.
On plain, flat-based bullets the lubricated felt wad can be effective, often improving accuracy.
Felt wads may be purchased or punched out by yourself. However, you must have the right felt. It must be stiff, and at least 1/8-inch thick. A good source for such felt is old hats (found at thrift stores) or the felt weather stripping sold to seal windows.
Make sure that the felt you buy is 100 percent wool. Most felt today is synthetic, made of polyester. This will leave deposits of melted plastic in your barrel. Finding suitable 100 percent wool can be difficult but it's worth the effort.
I have three old cowboy hats I've picked up at thrift stores for less than $2 each. From each, I can get a few hundred .36 and .44-caliber wads. A 3/8" punch is used for the .36 caliber revolver, a .45-caliber punch is used for the .44 revolver and .45-caliber rifle such as the .45-70. A 1/2" punch is used for .50-caliber.
Buffalo Arms sells .45-caliber punches for less than $20. It is well made and, if treated properly, will last for generations.
Thank you for info
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  #6  
Old 11-30-2004, 05:37 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Newborn, Georgia
Posts: 4
check out this web site for felt http://www.durofelt.com/products.html
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Jim
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  #7  
Old 11-30-2004, 02:57 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2002
Posts: 254
<Gatofeo does the Happy Cat Dance!>
Yahhoooooooo!
I'll be in Little Rock, the hometown of that felt manufacturer, in three weeks! Gonna spend the holidays with my brother.
I'll have to drop by the factory and see what I can buy off the shelf. I like that Durofelt offers sheet felt in 1/4 inch thickness.
All of the felt I've scrounged from old hats, and window insulation, has been 1/8 inch. I think 1/4 inch felt would be great for taking up space in reduced loads. No more messing with corn meal, just add a 1/4 to 1/2 inch of lubricated felt.
I noticed that Durofelt's website lists an actual street address. I'll see if I can drop by and save myself some shipping costs. I'll bring it back home in my airline luggage.
Thanks, jamesrdavis!
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  #8  
Old 11-30-2004, 03:09 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Newborn, Georgia
Posts: 4
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatofeo
<Gatofeo does the Happy Cat Dance!>
Yahhoooooooo!
I'll be in Little Rock, the hometown of that felt manufacturer, in three weeks! Gonna spend the holidays with my brother.
I'll have to drop by the factory and see what I can buy off the shelf. I like that Durofelt offers sheet felt in 1/4 inch thickness.
All of the felt I've scrounged from old hats, and window insulation, has been 1/8 inch. I think 1/4 inch felt would be great for taking up space in reduced loads. No more messing with corn meal, just add a 1/4 to 1/2 inch of lubricated felt.
I noticed that Durofelt's website lists an actual street address. I'll see if I can drop by and save myself some shipping costs. I'll bring it back home in my airline luggage.
Thanks, jamesrdavis!
look at the specials and close outs also check out how wide some of that stuff is! 54"
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