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Thread: How loose is to loose?

  1. #1

    How loose is to loose?

    I'm trying to find the correct size bullet and patch for my rifle. I talked to BACO and was told a .441 bullet with two wraps of 9# onionskin paper would work. That came out to .4455. I slugged my barrel, it came out to .4575 with a bore of .4485. I just tried the recommended bullet and had better patterns with my shotgun. I would like to shoot bore diameter but I not sure if going over the bore or staying under is the way to go. Any thoughts and advice would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master


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    i patch a JIm443530e slick for my .45-70 sharps, with it's slugged .450 bore and .458 groove, to .4485 and then the rest is up to how i load and aim and push the trigger. sounds like you might need a fatter slick. you have a PM incoming ....

  3. #3
    Boolit Bub
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thunder1964 View Post
    I'm trying to find the correct size bullet and patch for my rifle. I talked to BACO and was told a .441 bullet with two wraps of 9# onionskin paper would work. That came out to .4455. I slugged my barrel, it came out to .4575 with a bore of .4485. I just tried the recommended bullet and had better patterns with my shotgun. I would like to shoot bore diameter but I not sure if going over the bore or staying under is the way to go. Any thoughts and advice would be greatly appreciated.
    I use Pacon tracing paper .0025 with a BACO .443 slick.Makes for a slight interference fit in my .450 bore.Since your bore is .4485 the thicker paper may help.FWIW--Mike.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    Thunder,
    The key here is to have bullets that are snug. Not tight, not loose, not falling through the bore when dropped into the muzzle, not spraining your thumb when chambered from the breech.

    I like paper that will give me two wraps that are about as thick as my rifling is tall, or a titch less. This is not superduper critical but as a good rule of thumb 9# paper will add about 0.007+" of paper to the bullet when wrapped twice around the shank. So I like a .443" bullet or even a .444 and that 9# paper and then, if need be, size it down a thousandth or not.

  5. #5
    Boolit Grand Master

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    I use the Seth Cole 55W 8 lb. and a Bullet from a Brooks adjustable mould that's 442 dia. Wrapped dry with my tension and patch board I end up at .448-.449. This fits my 45 bores very close.

    Wrapping damp or wet and the amount of tension used will cause some stretch and thin paper a little when wrapping. I would imagine grain direction may affect this some too.
    Paper thickness X 4 and bullet dia should get you pretty close. IE .002 pt X 4 = .008 + .442= .450 wrapped dia which in reality may be .448 due to stretch and compression. I have used the pacon paper with good results also some helix 25% and 100% cotton rag paper. Your numbers given indicate a paper thickness of around .0012 measure your paper with a set of micrometers and see where it falls. going to a .0015 paper ( .0015 X 4 =.006 + 441 gives you .447 with no stretch) paper in the .0018 range will get you .448.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    In a dead nuts 0.450" bore, I would consider 0.450- to be too loose. 0.449, definitely too loose. 0.451" is probably too tight and will wear out your thumb in a match.

    The only really good way to measure the thickness of paper with normal measuring tools is to measure a bullet or drill bit shank with calipers or micrometer then wrap it with two wraps of paper and measure it again, just like you did before. Subtract the two diameters and divide by 4.

    Measuring single sheets with calipers or normal micrometers is problematic in my opinion.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master

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    Some more data would help.

    How do you manage the fouling?

    What is the BHN/alloy of your boolits?

    How do you patch your boolits?

    What is your load?

    Ideally, you want to make up as much windage as possible with lead and bring the boolit to an easy push fit in the leade/bore with the thinnest paper possible. That said, I have had at least reasonably satisfactory results (~2Moa + or - out to “Mid-Range”) in my .45-70 with boolits ranging in diameter from 0.441” to 0.444” and paper from 0.0015” to 0.002”, depending.

    Shotgun patterns are not exactly an uncommon phenomenon when starting out. Some people “get it” right away, and then there are “the rest of us,” who have a longer row to hoe.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master Lead pot's Avatar
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    You really can't go with the # weight for thickness. I have 7.5# paper that is as thick as 9# and .0015" thick that has a 8# rating.
    Loose patched bullets are good for a hunting load where the shot might range 100-200 yards and a soft lead bullet is used that will obturate filling the grooves.
    For accuracy you want a bullet like Brent said, snug fit. and an alloy that will obturate filling the grooves. 1/16 to 1/18 is just about right for a .45 caliber, for a .40 caliber I would stick with 1/16 tin/lead.
    I order my bullet diameter according to the paper I can get. The #9 labeled is pretty common and it will range from .0018" to .0021-2". Do a little math with a two layer thickness than order the mould accordingly. I don't like a .446" PP bullet because it is on the tight side with the average (#9) a .443-.444" is the diameter I like. If it's a little to snug for the bore Lee makes a decent custom reducing die and I have a couple that are right on the money with what I ordered. I need it for my .40-65 because it has an undersized bore compared to my other .40's.
    I don't know what your alloy composition is your casting with but if it's hard with the undersized bullet try a 1/30 tin/lead mix but just extend the wrap slightly past the shank up into the ogive maybe a 1/16" and try that to see if you get some accuracy or get some thicker paper.
    I have even used three wraps of .0015" thick paper to get the proper diameter and it shot very good also.

    Kurt
    Last edited by Lead pot; 03-25-2019 at 10:08 AM.

  9. #9
    My load is Starline brass wlr primer with wad, 68 grains Swiss 1.5 some with wax paper greese cookie others with .60 veggie wad compressed .60 baco swagged .441 cup base bullet with 2 wraps of 9# onionskin

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    Thunder, ditch the cookie and add another 14 gr of powder. YOu should not need any or at most very little compression. Seat to 0.1" into the case. Not more. Wipe with two damp and one dry patch between each shot. Save shooting dirty for later.

    I am pretty sure your bullet is too loose, but it will do better with the above changes.

  11. #11
    I did remove the old wrap and wrapped with 3 this time. My bore is .4485 and the bullets are .449. I've only got 30 of those bullets then I'll move up.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master

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    I wrap the patch dry, having found that wet wrapping helps stick the patch to the boolit. When I shoot cup base boolits, I use the rim of the cup as the limit for how much patch to fold over the base, leaving the cup uncovered. In any case, the center of the base should be left bare. Twisting the end of the patch around and packing it into the cup will cause flyers at distances. You want the patch to stay on in barrel and whirl or shred off as soon as the boolit clears the muzzle.

    Brent is right—more powder. The original Sharps loading was 75 gr for the .45-2.1”, and mine didn’t start performing until I got to 80 gr. The chambered cartridge should have most of the boolit in the barrel, so you have room for more powder.

    Until you get your load down, your bore should look unfired between shots. Any residue will induce a “random factor” that has an excellent chance of deranging the results of your charge weight variations, wads and compression, boolit size and shape, and other experimental variables. Once you get a load that works, then you can figure out how much you can abbreviate the cleaning process. (Most people, by that time, use bore pigs, being unwilling to give up any percentage of the hard-won accuracy they have sweated to develop.)

  13. #13
    Thank you all for your help

  14. #14
    Interesting reading for sure.

    I've been paper patching for a few years now and have had some very good results and now an again some very bad ones.

    I'm currently shooting a swaged bullet which measures 0.44990" and when patched dry it comes up at 0.45590". These seem to work very well in my Pedersoli in 45-90.

    I've been considering loading some paper patched loads from my Ballard R&PC but with the bullet I have currently there is no way will it chamber patched at 0.45590, I'd need something other than my thumb to get it into the bore.

    I have the same bullet for my muzzle loader, which when patched comes up to O.44900" which is a nice slip fit in the Pedersoli and the Ballard barrel.

    Am I kidding myself that the muzzle loader patched bullet might just work in the Ballard although it's a bit on the loose side or should I just bite the bullet (no pun intended) and order another swage die for use in the Ballard.
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  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    Gellot, I would, for certain, shoot the smaller diameter bullet before doing anything else. The true answer to your question will be on the target. Assuming that fails (which I doubt), you could look for a thinner paper. If you can't find thinner paper then you could buy or make a sizing die that would size your current bullet down the small amount needed for a perfect fit.

    I'm ab it mystified by your dimensions. Measurements to 1/10,000 of an inch are pretty challenging for most people. Heck I can't measure much better than 1/1000. Also, I find Pedersoli barrels to be pretty tight. I cannot imagine starting with a bullet that is only 0.0001" that's 1/10,000" less than the land diameter of most rifles, with Pedersoli's, in my experience, being on the short side of that! Most people would find that your naked bullet would fit pretty well in their rifles with no paper at all.

    What is R&PC?. I know Ballards 1 through 9, and Pacifics, Montanas, and Galleries, but not R&PC.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master


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    Quote Originally Posted by Gellot Wilde View Post
    Interesting reading for sure.

    I've been paper patching for a few years now and have had some very good results and now an again some very bad ones.

    I'm currently shooting a swaged bullet which measures 0.44990" and when patched dry it comes up at 0.45590". These seem to work very well in my Pedersoli in 45-90.

    I've been considering loading some paper patched loads from my Ballard R&PC but with the bullet I have currently there is no way will it chamber patched at 0.45590, I'd need something other than my thumb to get it into the bore.

    I have the same bullet for my muzzle loader, which when patched comes up to O.44900" which is a nice slip fit in the Pedersoli and the Ballard barrel.

    Am I kidding myself that the muzzle loader patched bullet might just work in the Ballard although it's a bit on the loose side or should I just bite the bullet (no pun intended) and order another swage die for use in the Ballard.
    if your bore is .450" at the lands, and you've patched a slick to mic at near .460", that's not a bore rider, it's a near groove rider, and that's not a good thing and not what you want. what brent said about an easy push into the chamber is what you want, just not too under bore. that's the trick with the paper patch way - finding the right combination of slick diameter and paper thickness (not paper weight, which is bogus most of the time). only sane way to get a proper answer is getting a slick that mics at .443" in your target alloy, or very slightly more (which can be controlled with .443" push up sizing die, like a custom ordered lee, and/or different alloy ratios) and then play with a few different paper thicknesses. when you find the right paper, STOCK UP on it!

  17. #17
    Thanks for that quick answer rfd, I appreciate it.

    That's why I've been reading this thread with great interest...what I have does shoot rather well but from what I've read here it's not the correct thing to do for good accuracy.

    I bought this swaging set up from a pal who in turn had bought it new from Corbin back in the mists of time and as I understand it with advice on slick size from Mr. C himself.

    I think I need to think about trying a smaller slick by what I've read here.
    Don't follow me, I'm lost too!

  18. #18
    Boolit Master Lead pot's Avatar
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    If you shoot PP and shoot a lot, find the paper that fits your bullet and do as rfd suggests, stock up
    My supply of 7.5#, 8#, 9#, and 11# Southworth cockle finish paper is running out and hard to find at a realistic price. Cant find it at $23. a ream anymore
    I just restocked with a dozen rolls each of 55/W and 55/Y and measured the paper in several different places and found the thickness varied quite a bit at different locations on the paper. So a push through die would be a good piece of equipment to have on hand. It also makes a good tool for folding the wrap under the bullet base

    By the way, you mentioned that you had the cup based bullet. The cup based bullets have a thin skirt rim by average and this gets damaged very easy with a wad that gets pushed into the base that lets the gas pass the wad and gas cuts the bullet shank destroying the accuracy. A thick wad under the bullet base will help preventing this or use the cup base for what it was intended, push a twisted tail into it. This will also protect the skirt.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master

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    As mentioned, your setup looks to be for groove-diameter patched boolits. Martinibelgian and the late Montana Charlie have done more published work on that variant of paper patching than most of the rest of us. Such boolits have to be seated in the case as deeply as grease groove boolits in order to chamber the cartridge. Check out their experiments and results on this forum, and also on the Shiloh and Historic Shooting sites.

    For target accuracy, depending on the nose shape, the hardness of the bore diameter paper-patched boolit needs to walk the wire between soft enough to slug up into the rifling upon firing, and hard enough to keep the nose from slumping off center while it does so. Somewhere in the bhn 8-12 range, about 16/1 lead/tin, is a good place to start. If you can swage lead that hard, make up a batch, and then, as Brent suggests, size the resultant slugs down into the 0.443” + or - range for your bore diameter experiments.

    You may find it easier to just get a mould of the correct diameter. I haven’t done any .45 boolits, but bringing a 0.314” cast boolit down to 0.308” for one of my finicky .30 caliber rifles takes three dies; 0.002” reduction per die, if I don’t want a mangled lead banana for a final boolit shape. You will need some lubricant on the lead for this, which, of course, will have to be removed with solvent before patching.

    I second Lead Pot’s comment that pounds-per-ream weight is useless for our purposes. Take your micrometer into the paper store and look for thicknesses in the 0.0015”-0.002” range. I use the Dutch Schoultz technique that he used to measure cloth for muzzleloader patching; no “feather touch” on the mike thimble; turn it down until it won’t go no more! That’s your paper thickness, as compressed into the rifling lands. I’ve had the best results with Tracing or Vellum paper, and what obsolete Erasible Bond typing paper I’ve been able to scrounge. Whatever it is, it should be translucent, relatively brittle and crackly compared to the usual opaque white printer paper.

    A smooth, “hydraulic” push, neither too easy nor too hard, should be what you notice when shoving the patched boolit through the barrel with your cleaning rod. You should see the mark of the tops of the rifling lands on the paper when the boolit comes out of the barrel.

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by BrentD View Post
    Gellot, I would, for certain, shoot the smaller diameter bullet before doing anything else. The true answer to your question will be on the target. Assuming that fails (which I doubt), you could look for a thinner paper. If you can't find thinner paper then you could buy or make a sizing die that would size your current bullet down the small amount needed for a perfect fit.

    I'm ab it mystified by your dimensions. Measurements to 1/10,000 of an inch are pretty challenging for most people. Heck I can't measure much better than 1/1000. Also, I find Pedersoli barrels to be pretty tight. I cannot imagine starting with a bullet that is only 0.0001" that's 1/10,000" less than the land diameter of most rifles, with Pedersoli's, in my experience, being on the short side of that! Most people would find that your naked bullet would fit pretty well in their rifles with no paper at all.

    What is R&PC?. I know Ballards 1 through 9, and Pacifics, Montanas, and Galleries, but not R&PC.

    I maybe should mention I suffer from dyslexic bouts when typing (or just plain stupidity & lack of attention)...I meant Ballard Rifle & Cartridge, when it was in Cody, it's a No.4 Perfection.

    Those are my measurements with the digital micrometer...unless it's buggered of course lol. The swage is marked .450 and is from from Corbin.
    Don't follow me, I'm lost too!

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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