01-02-2012, 04:46 PM
Join Date: Apr 2002
An overly dirty bore, when using black powder, often indicates poor ignition.
Poor ignition often stems from not using a projectile tight enough in the bore. The projectile, whether patched lead ball or bullet, goes down the bore quickly, not retarding the powder long enough for it to burn completely.
You may wish to use a .495" ball instead of .490 inch, if you're using a patched ball.
If you're using a conical bullet, and it's sliding down a fouled bore easily, it's too small. If it's lead, has no sabot or plastic base, and has a solid flat base and nose, you may be able to put it in a vice and -- very carefully -- give it a tiny squeeze to shorten it a bit and increase the diameter.
I've known people to do this. It's tricky, and it's easily overdone, but undersized bullets are usually very inaccurate. Beats having them sit there, unused.
Hollowbased bullets, those in sabots, or those with plastic bases, can't be given the vice treatment.
Now, here's something else to try:
Go buy some .50-caliber felt Wonder Wads made by Ox Yoke, or a similar wad made of at least 1/8" felt. Soak it in melted lard, Crisco, SPG, Lyman Black Powder Gold or a 50/50 mix of Crisco and Olive oil. My favorite is the homebrew lubricant named after me: Gatofeo No. 1 Lubricant. Search the net for its recipe.
At the range, load this wad firmly on top of the powder. Follow with your patched lead ball or flat-based projectile. You cannot use such wads with hollowbased bullets; the wad will be pushed up into the bullet's hollow and affect the flight characteristics of the projectile. Accuracy will suffer.
But if your bullet has a flat lead base, like the Thompson Center Maxi Ball or the Lee REAL bullet, the wad can be used.
The lubricated wad will protect the projectile's base, retard the powder's ignittion a bit, and provide a little more lubricant to keep the fouling soft. Soft fouling is more readily removed by each shot.
Before trying the wads, though, I'd scrutinize the diameter of your ball or projectile. After the first shot, if the projectile is going down the bore with nothing more than thumb pressure on the rod, it's definitely undersized. It should go down with slight resistance the entire way, but not so difficult that you almost have to pound it down.
Black powder leaves more fouling compared to smokeless powder, but the bore shouldn't look like a clogged sewer. If it does, you've likely got an ignition problem.
A hit with a .22 is better than a miss with a .44!