muzzle loading question- help

Discussion in 'Long Range Hunting & Shooting' started by pdhunter, Mar 12, 2005.

  1. pdhunter

    pdhunter Well-Known Member

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    I have a Lyman .50 cal. At a shop I was told that for round balls I need .490. Is that correct?
    And secondly I can't seem to get the ball started.
    Can some one walk me thur the steps to load it.
    Thanks in advance.
    PS I have round patches that are .015 thick and I have
    patch lube
     
  2. Ian M

    Ian M Well-Known Member

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    You should get a short starter that has both a long and short stem for starting bullets or round balls - you probably have one already.
    You should also get some special patches for shooting balls, they are made of a ticking and are different than cleaning patches. Can be bought pre-lubed.
    0.490 is the correct size of ball.
    Make sure your rifle is unprimed.
    Let's also start with a clean barrel - no residue in it.
    Dump your powder charge.
    Center the lubed ball patch on the muzzle.
    Center the ball in the patch, push down with your thumb so it stays in place.
    Use the short little stem on the ball starter, center it on top of the round ball and give the top of the ball starter a good slam with the palm of your right hand.
    The ball will go down into the bore to just below flush with the muzzle.
    Switch to the longer stem on the ball starter, center it down the bore onto the round ball and whack the sucker with the palm of your right hand, and continue pushing downward till the ball starter hits the muzzle.
    Switch to your ramrod (or better yet, buy a range-rod - much stronger) and push the ball to the charge.
    When you encounter the charge give the ramrod two or three smart raps to ensure that it is firmly on the charge. Very important to do this every time.
    Remove ramrod (they fly a hell of a long ways...)
    Prime the nipple.
    Let fly.
    That is how we do it and our rifles are reliable and quite accurate. Flinters are another story. They are creations from hell and must be pampered or they will let you down.
    Good luck, I buy the appropriate pre-cut, pre-lubed ball patches from T/C and use Hornady round balls. Also check into the relatively new saboted round balls from Hornady, makes shooting sidehammers much easier. Shoot very well in my rifles.

    Always swab your bore after each shot to minimize buildup of powder residue, makes loading much easier.
     

  3. rost495

    rost495 Well-Known Member

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    From memory you are just about right. That patch is going to make it snug loading but good shooting most likely. Lube the patch well, center it on the muzzle, center the ball on the centered patch. You then have to have a short starter which is a stub of brass-- maybe inch long or less. And you have to just pop that handle real hard and it should sorta snap in. Then use the 6 inch side of the starter and rap that in, then go to the ramrod-- if you have a wood rod, be careful or better still- toss it and get synthetic.

    Jeff
     
  4. pdhunter

    pdhunter Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for your help. I have done some web reading but
    understand it better coming from a rel person who knows.
     
  5. BountyHunter

    BountyHunter Writers Guild

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    .490 is right size ball, but if still hard to start might drop down to a .12 or .10 patch.

    When you shoot it just make sure to go downrange and find the patch and make sure it is thick enough to not get cut by the rifling or burnt through when shot.

    BH
     
  6. rost495

    rost495 Well-Known Member

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    Excellent advice on the patch too. Forgot to mention that. If it were me and I was concerned I might try to find a 485 ball and keep the thicker patch. But as mentioned-- as long as its not cut or burned through either as you have it or if you go to a thinner patch, you are good to go. More powder gives a better chance of burning through also.

    Jeff
     
  7. 1doug

    1doug Well-Known Member

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    Do you know what twist you have? Some of the newer muzzleloaders have a faster twist barrel they shoot well with sabot and powerbelts. They shoot well in a 1-32 twist or faster barrel, and the round balls shoot well out of 1-45 twist barrels
     
  8. pdhunter

    pdhunter Well-Known Member

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    No I do not know the twist rate but I am trying to find out.
    I have never hunted with a muzzle loader but would like to next year (if I stay off the road long enough)
     
  9. 1doug

    1doug Well-Known Member

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    what type muzzle loader do you have? they are a lot of resourceful guys on this forum who dont mind helping each other out.
     
  10. pdhunter

    pdhunter Well-Known Member

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    Well thanks I have a Lyman .50 cal. I belive it is called
    the plains men.
    A funny story (not to me but to some). After learning about loading and shooting the rifle my wife and I headed out today. I fired it twice and thought "this is alright" then came the third time.I put on a cap and the cap pop but no fire
    so I put on a second cap same thing. well after the third
    cap I headed back to the rig where my wife had been watching.She said something like " your smoking more then
    the rifle". As calm as I could I explained that after 2 shots it just quit firing.It was her next comment that
    made me want to walk back to town.She said " I thought you had to put powder down the barrel each time you wanted to shoot it"
    It was a real long ride home with that grin on my wifes face!
     
  11. Bob S.

    Bob S. Well-Known Member

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    You're right that was funny! I LMAO, only because I've been there. I love my wife to death but she also picks the darndest times to be right. I was changing the oil on my truck the other day and drained it and was putting the new oil in. After about 3-4 quarts I heard this sound and when I looked underneath the truck the oil was running out and puddling on the ground. I was stomping around cussing and she said I knew you hadn't put that plug thingy back yet. I asked why she didn't say anything and her grinning reply was I thought you knew what you were doing.
    swabbing the bore often is a good thing and it gets harder to get the ball started as the residue builds. Just takes a good whack to get it going.
     
  12. Ian M

    Ian M Well-Known Member

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    Welcome to the club - now you should go purchase a little doo-dad called a worm, simply a self-tapping screw that will pull out the bullet when you "dry-ball". There is also a bigger spring-like puller for removing patches that pull off down in the bore.
    Your wife is an astute lady! Only time I ever had my wife out "helping" on a muzzleloader shoot I fired the damn ram-rod, never did find it. That also ends your day on a sour note. Embarassing to call the factory and ask for another ram-rod, it was an oddball size and I could not buy one locally. The guy immediately knew what I had done, but he was good about replacing it.
     
  13. pdhunter

    pdhunter Well-Known Member

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    Your 100% right . Boy I have done some bone head things
    both on and off the range and after 31 years of being married she just expects it. Hey whats a guy to do?
     
  14. BountyHunter

    BountyHunter Writers Guild

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    PD

    In all probability what you have is the Lyman Great Plains rifle, which is a very heavy Hawkens style (9lbs). It normally is a round ball gun (60 twist) but if I remember right they came out with a barrel for sabots and minie balls that is somewhere around 32" twist.

    tight patch around the jag on a handle that turns will will quickly tell you what you have.

    Second it is possible to pull the nipple and pour enough powder down the flash hole and then put the nipple back on. Normally just enough to barely blow the ball out the barrel.

    BH