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HIT N' MISS

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OLDGUNNER
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HIT N' MISS

#1 Post by OLDGUNNER » Tue May 22, 2018 3:40 pm

I have been thinking about this Minnie Ball design every since I bought the muzzle loader with the idea of the wooden plug being forced into the ball and expanding to scrape the fouling from the previous shot. But I find life too short to do everything that I may wish to do. Anyway, first off...if a normal soft lead Minnie Ball is too soft to scrape the precious fouling from the bore. I had thought that maybe it would be possible to make a Minnie Ball that would be a little harder and use a faster burning powder, just to get that wooden plug to be pushed into that Ball hard enough to do the job. I did make a bunch of harder Minnie Balls with the idea of using F-4 powder, but that is as far as I have gotten with the idea. Maybe...maybe, my black powder may be fast burning enough to do this – I just haven’t tried it yet. That barrel of the Thompson Center looks strong enough to me that it could be used as some regular smokeless cartridge barrels.

I can see the major problem with using smokeless powder to maybe get this desired pressure – there are too many doophus shooters out there that would use too much powder. The amount of smokeless powder used of course would have to be very well regulated and this would be for all practical purposes be very, very, hard to regulate. But maybe a special slower burning bulk smokeless powder could be developed that could be used in unregulated amounts safely – I think so. I know how to make smokeless powder. But this has not been done due to lack of enough potential users. And I believe that a new ‘special black powder’ can be developed where the fouling would be soft enough to not cause the problems, but again, would there be enough users to warrant the development.

Now that I think about it this has been done...some what, but not directly. There use to be a shotgun reloading powder called ‘Bulk’ that was designed to be used in equal amounts by volume as black powder. My dad use to reload his 20 gauge shotgun shells with it. I have never used it. But I did shoot some of his with it. By golly, I wonder if this is still available to experiment with? I recall that it was just called ‘DuPont Bulk’.

It is hard enough now to keep guns out of the hands of people that shouldn’t be allowed to play with guns, and the manufactures of firearms do a great job of keeping ahead of goof-ball users and reloaders. I will try not to be one of the goof-balls. But I have been known to do odd-ball wild things....but so far safely though.
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Re: HIT N' MISS

#2 Post by Rapidrob » Tue May 22, 2018 11:16 pm

The best powder to try today would be PB shotgun powder. It is sold in 1/2 pound cans.. It is very fast burning and "may" obdurate the wood plug into the minnie ball base.
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Re: HIT N' MISS

#3 Post by DaleH » Wed May 23, 2018 11:55 am

Excellent historical articles on the Minie (probounced as ‘minYAY’ by the way ...) Ball here: http://www.historynet.com/minie-ball

What you’re considering with the wooden base was tried back in 1836 ... with excellent results ... but it was NEVER adopted by any military, go figure!

1836, a London gunsmith named William Greener found a way to improve Norton’s design for expansion of the bullet base. He inserted into the hollow area a wooden plug that would push forward when the gun was fired and force the bullet’s base outward. The result was that the bullet fit more uniformly inside the barrel, producing more reliable and accurate fire.

Norton’s bullet with Greener’s refinement eventually came before the British army for approval for use in the field, but the army’s old-school officers rejected it. It was an overly conservative decision that squandered the opportunity to develop this innovative design into a truly remarkable weapon.

Several years after Norton had begun developing his hollow-base bullet, French weapons experts began working on a similar design. Eventually, three French army officers would share the credit for what would become the minié bullet: Captain Henri-Gustave Delvigne, Colonel Louis-Etienne de Thouvenin, and Captain Claude-Etienne Minié.

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Re: HIT N' MISS

#4 Post by OLDGUNNER » Wed May 23, 2018 2:44 pm

Rapidrob wrote:
Tue May 22, 2018 11:16 pm
The best powder to try today would be PB shotgun powder. It is sold in 1/2 pound cans.. It is very fast burning and "may" obdurate the wood plug into the minnie ball base.
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Well, the problem the way that I see it is...powder fouling and safety. Yes, I believe that I could use PB safety, it is just another moderately burning rate powder, a little on the fast side and ideal for shotguns and handguns. For that matter I believe that I could use Bullseye or Reloader 22 or any smokeless powder in between....in ‘THIS’ Thompson Center, only because that I think that I could measure the charge ‘safely’ but not in just any regular black powder firearm...well I think that ‘I’ could, but I wouldn’t try it...only because this Thompson Center has such a heavy barrel. With these typical black powder revolvers and older shot guns, I could blow them up very easily with smokeless powder.

I mentioned the DuPont Bulk powder because of the unique comparison to the black powder by volume – just for experimental use, not for regular use.

Simply because...if one would use any smokeless powder, there would be ‘no’ regular problem with bore fouling. It’s the normal hard fouling of Black Powder that is the whole problem. I think that is why the way to a real solution is a ‘fast burning’ Black Powder, fast enough to create enough pressure to push that wooden plug into that Minnie ball - think. At least that is the way that I see it.

And my thought is to make the finest quality and the fastest burning black Powder as one can reasonable make. And I assume that one way to make it burn faster in a muzzle loader is to make the powder granules as small as possible...I think. I will try and see if this idea has any merit by just ball-milling some of my powder as small as possible and use it just as it comes out of the Ball-Mill. I will even ball-mill some GOEX also and try it. I think that there ‘may’ be a point of it being ‘too’ small to burn fast, but I don’t know – I’ll just try and see what it does. I visualize that there may be a problem of not having enough space between the powder granules to allow the flame front to advance fast enough. Black Powder is unique in that it requires an out side pressure to burn as it won’t burn in space or a vacuum chamber. This is why it burns so poorly in a muzzle loading firearm. It is awkward to get a good pressure. But our normal atmospheric pressure is enough to allow it to burn. And it burns good in a brass case with a well crimped bullet.
And that is why the patching is so critical in getting it to burn good and consistent in a muzzle loading firearm.

Anyway, that is where I am now.
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Re: HIT N' MISS

#5 Post by OLDGUNNER » Wed May 23, 2018 4:34 pm

DaleH wrote:
Wed May 23, 2018 11:55 am
Excellent historical articles on the Minie (probounced as ‘minYAY’ by the way ...) Ball here: http://www.historynet.com/minie-ball

What you’re considering with the wooden base was tried back in 1836 ... with excellent results ... but it was NEVER adopted by any military, go figure!

***************************************
Well that’s good to read, thanks...but I didn’t see of any concern mentioning bore fouling, other than the design of the flanges on the bullet – just like I visualized. I saw only the mention of ‘soft lead’ Minnie Balls to expand to better fit the bore. And the wooden plug used only to better facilitate this expansion. I want to go beyond this and allow a wooden plug to expand a more hardened Minnie ball so it will scrape the relative hard fouling from the previous shot....if possible.

One way that I might try is to use a ‘special charge’ of smokeless powder and a hardened Minnie Ball with a wooden plug after two or three normal shots of a soft Minnie Ball or any bullet. With the ideal results of being able to set at a bench and fire all afternoon without that darn hassle of having to brush out that hard fouling all of the time. That is the only reason that I wouldn’t consider using 8 or 10 pounds of black powder a year. Heck, I haven’t shot that Thompson Center since I can’t remember when. But I can shoot a bunch of black powder in a .45 revolver but not the kind that I would buy.

Now with normal hunting I would visualize no problems with this bore fouling. If I missed something with my first shot I would probable have no problem with my second shot, which I have never taken. Fact is when I used it for hunting I got the deer with my first shot and the same with the elk, and that was it for that day.

My favorite hunting sport is squirrel hunting with a .22. With any big game hunting it is just, oh, there it is and shoot it. And the last that I have done any of that was about 23 years ago with the above mentioned – I just like to talk to them and take pictures of them. I just ‘CANNOT’ understand any sport of setting in a blind and shooting a deer as it passes by – none at all. I leave that to others – that is okay for them – just not for me.
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