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Advice for new black powder shooter?

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Advice for new black powder shooter?

Old 04-23-2023, 05:05 PM
  #1  
Spike
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2023
Location: Lancaster, PA
Posts: 1
Default Advice for new black powder shooter?

Hello, everyone. Posting because, while I have been shooting since childhood, I recently moved to PA which has a lot of additional seasonal options for black powder shooters, so I decided to try it out. Purchased a Traditions Pennsylvania Pellet muzzleloader, flintlock, in .50 caliber. Have been teaching myself to use it, with mixed success (significant improvement on ignition success, but other ammunition issues I will detail below).

The owners’ manual says the gun will take either sabot rounds or patched round balls, so I thought I would start with those. First time out, no luck - couldn’t get them past the muzzle when I tried to ram them. Learned how to use the ball puller (useful, but not very enjoyable), and learned a lot about getting the flint positioned for ignition in blank firing, so not a complete waste of time. The owner’s manual suggested punching the tube with alcohol to degrease it (I had started by cleaning and greasing the bore), and that seemed to do the trick: got a ball started, rammed, and fired with a 90 grain charge. But wasn’t able to replicate it, and so cleaned the gun to remove fouling, and took it back out. Couple of more tries, but I cannot get the ball into the grooves with the starter, so that I can ram it down.

I have confirmed that the balls (swaged lead) are .490 caliber, and I am definitely not using two patches. I am pretty reliable about cleaning, and after each use have cleaned the gun (alternating solvent-impregnated patches and dry patches until they come out white), and I run a couple of seasoning patches through after cleaning to grease and protect the bore. Before firing, I run a couple of patches through - first, patches soaked in alcohol, followed by dry patches until they dry patches come out without grease marks. Between shots (blank or otherwise), I run a solvent-impregnated patch down the barrel and follow it with dry patches until they come up at least an off-white. I don’t have any problems getting ignition - just getting the ball into the point where it engages the rifling.

My question for the forum is, am I missing something simple? I have been able to ram a ball once, so I know it can be done (and fired safely with a 90 grain charge), but I can’t replicate it. Is it possible there is some kind of cotton residue or fouling accumulating in the grooves that I am missing when I clean the gun? Or is there something else involved here?

Thanks in advance for any advice.
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