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Thread: Stuck ball puller came unthreaded, help

  1. #1
    Boolit Master Cowboy_Dan's Avatar
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    Stuck ball puller came unthreaded, help

    I went to the range a few days ago to try some loads in my caplock. Loaded up a patched round ball over some pyrodex, capped the nipple, pop-no boom. While there, I tried cleaning out the nipple and even adding a little powder through the drum. Still no joy.

    Brought it home and tried the CO2 method but couldn't get a seal between the nipple and device. When my ramrod extender arrived yesterday I decided to try the ball puller. Screwed it into the ball without the guide on it since like everything else it was made for .50 cal and I have a .45. When I pulled it would just tear out little pieces of ball and thread itself deeper into the rod. So, I ground the guide down a bit so that it made a tight fit in my barrel and tried to pull again. This time, the rod came out but the puller did not. And now I can't get the ramrod to thread back on to the puller. I noticed that the ramrod extension female threads do not come all the way to the tip. Is my best bet to grind off the tip of the rod until the threads are at the end and try to catch the puller that way or to rig up a way to use air pressure to pop everything out? I might be able to wrap the nipple with rubber and clamp my dad's compressor onto that since it has an alligator clip-type nozzle on it.
    "It is wrong always, everywhere, and for everyone to believe anything on insufficient evidence."
    -W. K. Clifford "The Ethics of Belief"

    "They hate you if you're clever, and they despise a fool."
    -John Lennon "A Working Class Hero"

  2. #2
    Boolit Master



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    Zerk fitting same thread as nipple. replace nipple with it then usea grease gun and pump the ball out.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master bedbugbilly's Avatar
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    Been there, done that . . . and trust me . . . swearing doesn't help! Geezer has a great idea - might use a little grease and require some cleaning but should get it out with the "hydraulics". Good luck . . you'll get it!

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    You could try shooting some gear oil in to the powder and re-apply some air. A rubber tipped air nozzle works great.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master

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    Is there something blocking the flame front from the nipple to the chamber?
    Might look there for something. A piece of crud will block the flame front from igniting the powder. If you get that cleaned, then try the powder trick.
    I got a ball out in a rifle that had a ball in the barrel for 30yrs and a stuck puller. It had a piece of hardened crud in the flame channel. The powder was hard in the chamber. I used a small rod to break up the powder in the nipple hole, and put in new powder. Several times. The third was the charmer. Oil in the chamber contaminated the powder, and a piece of crud blocked the flame channel.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master Cowboy_Dan's Avatar
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    Not sure if it is blocked fire channel or bad powder. It was humid that day and it had rained earlier while the rifle and powder were in the car. Add to that the fact that the rifle and powder flask are stored in the cool basement and I think we may have wet powder in the bore.

    I may try to get some powder out to test before trying shop air. If the air doesn't work I'll have to look into getting a greese gun.
    "It is wrong always, everywhere, and for everyone to believe anything on insufficient evidence."
    -W. K. Clifford "The Ethics of Belief"

    "They hate you if you're clever, and they despise a fool."
    -John Lennon "A Working Class Hero"

  7. #7
    You could get piece of brass or aluminium tubing that will go down the bore, and if necessary sharpen the edge with the bevel on the inside. When you have got it running over the threads on the detached bullet puller, plug it with tissue about an inch or two down, and put car body repair epoxy in the tube. Let it harden with the bullet puller threads inside, and with luck you will be able to extract the puller, and perhaps even the bullet. Without luck, you would be no worse off than you are now.

    If the bullet stays there minus the puller, I would epoxy a drill bit into the tubing, and drill into the bullet, either large enough to reduce the bullet to a shell or smaller to give an improved grip to the bullet puller. The chances are that you could get a firmer grip on it by filing the threaded end of the rod until you come to complete threads.

    Alternatively if you are in a location where you won't endanger the neighbours or make them crack their dental bridgework, you could hang up the barrel in a safe place over a gas flame, beat a hasty retreat, and leave it until it cooks off the pyrodex. I believe heat would degrade it enough to give considerably less propulsive force (and pressure) than when normally ignited. But if this worries you, leave the nipple out. Just think of the fun you would be having! If the pyrodex burns off without dislodging the bullet, just keep heating till the bullet melts. With care you can do this at a temperature that won't damage bluing.
    Last edited by Ballistics in Scotland; 09-05-2015 at 05:02 AM.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master


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    been there sorta like you as i just had that happen to me with a .58 flintlock musket. dry patched ball jammed tight to the breech plug, forgot to put in the powder. worm puller was a sick joke to use as all it did was expand the ball tighter to the patch to the chamber walls. tried to work in some 4f to shoot it out, no good as the patch was tight to the breech face and no room for any substantial amount of powder, which resulted in a volcano flash out the pan. bought and tried a co2 discharger - another sick joke that totally failed to even budge the ball.

    finally i mustered the courage to pull the breech plug.

    pulled off the pinned barrel, shot some wd40 down the tube and over the breech/tang, let it sit overnight. scribed a witness mark on the breech plug and barrel for lining up when the plug gets screwed back on, padded the barrel with thin aluminum from a soda can in vise, used a large pipe wrench on the tang (also padded with aluminum strips as i didn't have a correct crescent wrench), add in a bit of arm muscle and once the plug moved i used a small open end wrench to unscrew the plug right off, easy peasy. pushed out the patched ball, cleaned out the chamber and breech threads, reassembled with anti-seize lube (for the next time the plug needs pulling). i've since acquired a reed rcorp 18" flat jawed wrench, to better be prepared for the next time, as i'm sure it will happen again.















    "Owning a handgun doesn't make you armed any more than owning a guitar makes you a musician." - Jeff Cooper

  9. #9
    Boolit Master

    kungfustyle's Avatar
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    Great Idea. You gotta love this site.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master

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    A little late to the party, I've had the best success remove stuck muzzle loading projectiles by making a small tube, one end threaded to match the threads for the breech where the nipple is screwed. The other, threaded for a grease zerk (usually 1/4x28). Screw your appliance in the barrel and start pumping the grease gun. It works just as well with flintlocks if they have a touch hole liner. If it doesn't have a liner, your probably stuck pulling the breech.
    Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.

    ― Confucius

  11. #11
    Flintlocks close some of the options. But heat is pretty sure to work, by melting the bullet or charring the patch. If you have a soft soldered key lug near the breech, wire it in place.

  12. #12
    Pyrodex has the least resistance to humidity. Plus it has the least resistance to rusting after-the-shot.

    I lost faith in this powder in the 1990s and never looked back. Use real blackpowder or Blackhorn were it fits in your line of ML rifles owned.

  13. #13
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Did you try adding powder and shooting the ball out more than once? Sometimes it takes a few tries.
    Aim small, miss small!

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    Measure the loaded charge with a ramrod to make sure there is powder under the ball. Even though it's a well known fact Pyrodex is hard to ignite and susceptible to such ignition problems it should still ignite with a "primer" added under the nipple. Get some FFF or even FFFF real blackpowder. Remove nipple, clean out flash channel under nipple with a nipple pic or small wire from wire brush, trickle some real blackpowder into flash channel, replace nipple- fire downrange.

    Clean muzzleloader correctly. Use real blackpowder.

  15. #15
    Boolit Grand Master
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    I don't want anybody putting a flame on my barrel, and sure do not want them melting the ball in it.
    If you can't shoot it out by priming it, and compressed air will not get it, the grease zerk method will positively do the trick, and they come in both standard threads and metric, noooooo problem.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    I was surprised to hear your CO2 discharger did not seal as mine works very well. I have two of them, one I bought from Buffalo Arms and appears is no longer available and one I bought from a bicycle shop and it came with two adapters one for Schrader valves and the other for the Presta valves (European style). The Presta one is much smaller and fit tightly over the nipple (#11 as #10 is too small). You might try that route and as a last resort drill the ball with a long drill bit.

    If you try the drill bit, use one like a 1/4 inch and put sleeves around it so the steel does not hit the sides of the bore. I did this many years ago and used my drill press with the table rotated 90 degrees and the vertical barrel clamped in a vise with aluminum jaws. The biggest issue was finding a drill bit long enough and I took the barrel to a supplier that sells all sorts of machine tools and such and they were interested in the whole idea. Once the ball was drilled, I screwed in a broken tap extractor attached to a drill extension, tapped it in slightly and the ball pulled right out.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master Cowboy_Dan's Avatar
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    Finally got the ball out and the rifle cleaned up!!! I tried air, before I realized that the compressor only pushed 75 PSI, not enough even with a good seal. It took a grease gun idea to do the job, but fortunately I found one cheap at an estate sale on the way to buy one along with the fitting. I was surprised that the grease (generic crisco) did not push out the powder. I had to chip it out with a variety of tools, but I can now blow into the muzzle and it comes out the nipple. A patch smeared with bore butter after drying out my breath moisture and a dry patch after that and I think it is ready for short term storage.

    Now that that is over, what is the best way to make sure that doesn't happen again next time? I am thinking clean out the bore butter then make sure the bore is dry. Then, pop a cap before I leave for the range to ensure that it pushes air out the muzzle. Finally, when I get to the range, redry the bore and you're ready to go. Sound good to everyone? I love this site!

    Edit to add:

    The problem was definatly Pyrodex contaminated in the barrel. Powder extracted from barrel before grease was applied merely fizzled. An equal amount from the flask burned with much greater energy. The culprit was either humidity and a cold barrel or my previous cleaning procedure. I had used regular gun oil without thinking and didn't think to remove it before loading.
    Last edited by Cowboy_Dan; 09-11-2015 at 02:21 AM. Reason: More info
    "It is wrong always, everywhere, and for everyone to believe anything on insufficient evidence."
    -W. K. Clifford "The Ethics of Belief"

    "They hate you if you're clever, and they despise a fool."
    -John Lennon "A Working Class Hero"

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    Well I do not know what cleaning method you use. But when I resort to boiling hot water with a bit of dawn dish washing liquid mixed in... drawing it in with a patch and cleaning rod, I will pump this hot water solution in and out as rapidly as I can. the velocity of the water rushing out of the drum with the nipple removed will evacuate any powder fouling toot sweet. Dry the bore with cotton flannel patches and oil the bore with your favorite rust preventative. I know there will be several guys here that will say hot water is taboo, but it works. Glad to hear you got the ball out.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    Also, I use a bronze bore brush to scrub out the breech end of the barrel between shots as well as while I do the end of day cleaning.

  20. #20
    Boolit Master Cowboy_Dan's Avatar
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    My cleaning method so far has been to scrub the bore a few times with a patch saturated with TC solvent. Use the same patch and pump it up and down with a slotted jag. Then run a brush up and down a few times. Dry patch with the sloted jag until they come out clean. Then rust preventer and a dry patch. Before the stuck ball I had used regular gun oil, this time it was bore butter.

    The patch lube I used was Moose Milk, should I put a patch or wad or something between the powder and ball when using this? The formula I found with the search function is 50% water and it was loaded for about 5 minutes while people who arived 5 minutes after me set up targets.
    "It is wrong always, everywhere, and for everyone to believe anything on insufficient evidence."
    -W. K. Clifford "The Ethics of Belief"

    "They hate you if you're clever, and they despise a fool."
    -John Lennon "A Working Class Hero"

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check