making wads

Discussion in 'Black Powder Shooting / Muzzleloaders / Handguns' started by bp44, Jan 6, 2011.

  1. bp44

    bp44 New Member

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    I recently started shooting bp revolvers and have started casting my own roundballs and now I want to start making my own wads to get away from the mess of grease in the cylinder. I have read alot on using felt but cant really find any info on vegetable fiber. Can you punch and lube this stuff the same as felt and does it work as well as felt in preventing chain fires? Any information on vegetable fiber would be greatly appreciated.
  2. Old Grump

    Old Grump New Member

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    If you are using the right size projectile you will never ever have a chain fire with or without grease and/or wads from fire leaping from one cylinder to another. It cannot happen. If you shave lead when you seat the ball and it is tight all the way round so no powder can leak out you cannot have a chain fire from the front.

    That being said nipples are critical. Use the wrong size or fit it on the nipple poorly and one can come off. You can then have a chain fire. Inconvenient, maybe even uncomfortable but unlikely to be overly destructive. If a nipple falls off stop and correct the problem before you fire another round. If it happens again double check to see if you are using the right caps for those nipples, you may need to change one or the other.
  3. jjmitchell60

    jjmitchell60 Active Member

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    Old Brump nailed it. Many think I am crazy when I tell them to use 457 balls in ALL 44 cal revolvers, even the ones that call for 454. The only thing you are doing using 457 is shaving .003 more lead off and that helps ensure a tight seal of the ball. I have referenced many an article as to loading back in the day when BP revolvers were the gun to have, no cartridge guns, and most aticles say that a good bullet seal is a must. A very few articles mention a paper cartridge load where the paper helps seal also.
  4. armedandsafe

    armedandsafe Guest

    The key to using .457 balls is to make sure you get a ring of lead shaved all the around. If you ring is only partial or breaks, you have left an unsealed place for flame to sneak in.

    The fit of cap to nipple is critical. You must use the right size and replace the nipple when they start getting too loose. Yes, you can pinch the cap a little more when you put it on, but I've never felt comfortable with that.

    Pops
  5. Gatofeo

    Gatofeo New Member

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    Vegetable fiber wads are very thin. Not much thicker than printer paper. They will not retain any useful amount of lubricant.
    Wool felt wads of 1/8 inch are best because they soak up plenty of lubricant. I even punch wads from 1/4 inch wool felt, lubricate them with Gatofeo No. 1 lube, and use them for filler with light loads. Hard, wool felt is the best material I've found, and I've tried many other substances; polyester felt (can leave melted plastic in the bore), cardboard egg cartons (doesn't hold enough lubricant), cardboard backing from writing tablets (not enough lube), etc.
    Hard, wool felt is available by the sheet from Duro Felt. Find the website on line. Shipping is free in the U.S. I met the owner some years ago; she lives in Little Rock, Ark. Her ancestry is Indian, and her family has had a felt manufacturing plant in India for generations. She offers first-rate hard wool felt of 1/8 inch at a good price.
    A large sheet will make thousands of wads. Use a 3/8 inch punch to make .36 caliber wads, or a sharpened .45 Auto or .45 Long Colt case to make .44 wads.
    Myself, I use a .45-caliber wad punch sold by Buffalo Arms.
    Punch the wads before lubricating them, then melt about 2 Tablespoons of lubricant at very low heat in a tuna or pet food can. Once melted, add about 100 wads. Stir until all wads soak up the lube.
    Remove from heat and allow to cool. Snap a plastic pet food cover on the can and you're done. You can bring the can with you to the range, or some of the wads in a Zip-Loc, Altoid sour candy can, or shoe polish can. These cans seal tightly, yet open easily with greasy fingers.
    The hinged Altoid can made for mints is not so good. It has holes in it for the hinges, which over time will allow the lubricant to dry. The round, sour candy can is perfect.

    Vegetable fiber wads are thin, but can be a useful barrier between the grease of the felt wad and the powder charge, if you leave the gun loaded for long or it's a hot summer day.
    Actually, for such a barrier, I cut waxed wads from milk cartons. The wax wad keeps the lubricant from contaminating the powder.
    Keep in mind that lubricated wads are also useful in rifles with patched balls or flat-based projectiles and single shot pistols. I would not use them with hollow-based projectiles, as they might interfere with the bullet's skirt expanding to fit the rifling.

    I never use greased felt wads when I use conical bullets in my revolvers. The Lee conical bullet holds ample lubricant in its grease grooves. The old, original design of conicals usually have no groove to hold grease. Seat them directly on the powder and smear grease over the top of them for lubrication.
    I don't use wads with conical bullets because the conical takes up quite a bit of room in the chamber, and the powder charge must be reduced to accommodate it. If you use a greased wad under it, you have to reduce the charge further and velocity is low, to the point of being inconsistent.

    Vegetable fiber has its place, but not as a lubricating wad.
    Have fun with that revolver.
  6. redwing carson

    redwing carson Former Guest

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    It seems that there are plenty of old cowboy hats in the second hand stores. I like the el cheapo hats as they are made from hard stiff thick felt. I use the MOBILE 1 NON-PETRO LUBE. I put them in a plastic bag with lube and zap them with a micro-wave.

    RC
  7. imray

    imray New Member

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    I mentioned in another thread that I use a secret, I put cornmeal in instead of wads, I can shoot forever on a can of cornmeal, just 15 grain from the powder measure, and push the ball in place, been shooting like this for years, them wads are out of my price range, best wishes, ray
  8. pigbenis

    pigbenis New Member

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    Cut some large pieces from an old natural wool coat. Imerse in beeswax crisco combo until saturated. Remove with tongs to a piece of foil till cool . Punch hundreds of wads for free. Keep in a container with a few pinches of cornmeal flower to keep from sticking. These provide lots of lube to keep any fowling soft.
  9. Little Rooster

    Little Rooster New Member

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    I'd be more concerned of my caps fitting my nipples correctly. I use lube over the balls just to keep fouling soft for what it's worth. As far as cutting wads Buffalo Arms or Track of the Wolf. can probablly set you up. A thousand of them pre lubed are only 12 bucks or so. My time is worth that much to me.

    Have to agree with Ole Grump

    How many sports can we talk about nipples and balls without getting censored
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