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Thread: Difference between TIGHT loading and easier loading?

  1. #21
    Boolit Master
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    Lots of good input and for me, I still go back to the individual rifle and what works best. I've never been a fan of tight patching that required a gorilla to get it to the breech - I pretty much have always used what rfd talks about - sometimes going to a smaller ball and thicker patch as I want to load with a ramrod or range rod and not have to "bang" it down. In the end, it's going to depend on what your rifle likes best if you do your job . . . and I'm not being smart when I say that. No load is going to be accurate if you can't hold steady . . . or in the case of many flint shooters . . . if you don't overcome the tendency to "flinch".

    Years ago, when I was going to Friendship on a regular basis, I used to watch a guy n the offhand line. He had a custom built half stock percussion rifle -it was a nice looking rifle too. Anyway, I would watch him load and it always made me shake my head. He was using such a tight combination that he had to hammer the short starter with a wood mallet to get it in the bore .. . and then he switched to a brass rod and whacked it with the mallet all the way to the breech. After a couple of years of watching him, I got in to a conversation with him and asked about his tight loads. He told me that a tight load ws the ONLY WAY to load a muzzleloader. I listened patiently and then asked how his scores were . . . he showed me a 25 yard target he had just shot and I'm sorry, it wasn't that good. I said nothing but thanked him of the information he'd given me. IIRC, it was a .40 or a .45 cal rifle. What I couldn't understand was how he could whack on a soft lead round ball all the way down the barrel and then expect it to be round?

    I had a smoothbore that I started out using a ball .010 smaller than the bore with a greased pillow ticking patch. Now granted, it was a smoothbore so figure that in. I was not having much luck at all at 25 yards - all over the place. I switched to a smaller ball with the same patch, it loaded easily down the bore (I spit patch between shots) and I couldn't believe the difference in how it shot. My hits tightened up and the only thing I had changed was to go to a ball that was .005 smaller - same patch - same powder load.

    The only way you're going to know is to try different patch thicknesses and different ball sizes - and be consistent with the loads each time. There are so many factors that enter in to it . . . humidity and effect on fouling, wiping or not wiping between shots, consistency in getting the ball/patch seated and of course, the individual rifle. I have a flint LGPR in 50 that I bought off or rfd - a nice shooter for me. I can have a LGPR, you can have the identical rifle and another friend can have the same rifle - but just because they are the same rifle does not mean they will shoot the same. One may have a barrel run at the beginning of the production run, one have a barrel from the middle of the production run and the third from the end of the production run. Tool wear can make a big difference in the end product and how it shoots. No different than tool wear on cutting the throats of a revolver cylinder - Ruger is a good example of that as if IIRC, they ream with three different reamers at one time - I have a New Vaquero that proves it.

    Good luck with your project and it will be interesting to hear of what you come up with.

  2. #22
    Boolit Master

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    right on, BBB! Name:  thumbsup.gif
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    experiment ... Experiment ... EXPERIMENT!

  3. #23
    Boolit Master
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    If you're young and have acute vision and target shooting tight loads may be beneficial. If for hunting, there is no real need for them, IMOO.

    With my eyesight and open sights, I keep it "snug" and still get a couple of inches at 50 to 60 yards, entirely accurate enough for my hunting needs. The only reason I shoot targets is for some fun and practice. If you expect more than that at longer range, you may need to tighten it up a bit.
    "What makes you think I care" ........High Plains Drifter

    Rick C.

  4. #24
    Boolit Master Maven's Avatar
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    "What is the difference in the rifle loads inherent accuracy between competition tight and a tuned load that is easier to load? Are there any tricks to accuracy potential and easy loading?" ...Canuck Bob

    There can be quite a difference, but you won't know until you test various combinations (from a rest) at say, 25- and then 50 yd., changing only 1 variable at a time, which I assume would be patch thickness. Btw, several months ago while on a woods walk, I discovered the .492" RB + .021" patch combination was way too tight* as I could barely start and seat the ball and didn't want to hold up everyone else. Having no other patch material except 100% white cotton flannel for cleaning (it was markedly thinner than my normal patching), I had no choice but to use it or go home. I opted for the former and had no problem with accuracy or blown patches + loading was exceptionally easy. Would I recommend this? No, but woods walk targets are not generally tiny and it was good enough for them. As rfd mentioned, you need to experiment to determine which works best for you, recognizing, there's a bit of a compromise between ease of loading and accuracy.


    *Lyman Great Plains, .50cal., 1:60 twist

  5. #25
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maven View Post
    ... there's a bit of a compromise between ease of loading and accuracy.
    paul, as usual, is right on the money. Name:  thumbsup.gif
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  6. #26
    Boolit Master Maven's Avatar
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    Smile

    Thanks for the kind words, Rob!

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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