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I shoot paper patch bullets in smokeless cartridges exclusively.
I lube all of my patches using Lee case sizing lubricant. This is a die maker’s wax and coats the bore with wax in addition to making the patch rather water proof and tough. I feed paper patch bullets through tubular magazines in lever-action rifles chambered for the 307 and 356 Winchester cartridges along with the 45-70.
Personally, I use the thickest paper I have available and purchase 100% bond paper by the sheet from a local stationer. I open up the Lee push through size dies and very lightly size the patched bullet to iron the patch to the bullet. I generally, but not always, use a folded tail which forms a paper gas check under the bullet. This is with four folds starting at the wrapped edge of the paper.
My father also shoots a wide variety of patched bullets using smokeless powder but he uses the thinnest onion skin he can find and uses a twisted patch.
We both use the Lee case sizing lube on our patches. It is hard to say which method gives the best result but we are able to almost equal the accuracy of jacketed bullets using soft, but not pure lead bullets in the medium capacity cases using full power hunting loads.
In the smaller capacity cases the results are not quite as thrilling. The .25 and 6.5 caliber rifles are challenging and we seldom shoot “bragging” groups above 1,500 fps in the fast twist barrels. Light for the caliber bullets will work in fast twist barrels but we don’t say: “watch this…” when we sit down to shoot a group using paper patched bullets in the 25-20 or the 25-35.
I have two paper patch molds from NEI, 1 in .30 caliber and the other in .45 caliber. We obtain good results using grooved bullets by sizing them before patching. We have our best results when patching bullets intended to be lubricated when they have a gas check shank.
I intended to mention I wrap the bullet well up on the nose – jus past the ogive. This allows me to have the patch up into the “ball-seat” or short throat of modern rifles with their short throats. If I chamber a round and then extract it, the front of the patch will have a black ring from powder fouling rubbed off in the throat.
I have posted this picture elsewhere but here is a 350 Remington Magnum with a 200-grain RCBS gas check bullet patched with 50% bond paper to illustrate how far up the bullet I run the patch.
We have our best results when patching bullets intended to be lubricated when they have a gas check shank.I'd like to know more about this. I make my molds with a small chamfer with the idea of eliminating 'feathering'.
On lubricating the patch, I have found that a light lubing of case lube by rolling the patched boolit on my lube pad wich is 'loaded' with STP.
I too have the desire to leave a lube layer in the bore after firing. I shall be testing wax wad sheeting sometime soon, I hope but for now I am experimenting with case filler of the type that cleans the bore. That part seems to work anyway.
Hello, Richard. When I was doing my extensive Paper-Patch experimenting in the .22 Hornet and .222 Rem., I tumbled them for about 15-30 min. in Moly. Then they were lubed by hand with a softer version of my #5A lube.
This use of Lee sizing lube is new to me, but a great idea.
I have recently ordered a PP mould from Huntingtons for my 450-400 2 3/8" and I'm looking forward to doing some PP shooting again.
I had a go at it years ago in my 30-30 and .303, with mixed results, because I couldn't find an equivalent Teflon spray lube here. I was using information from an American book which stated they got best accuracy using this particular Teflon spray.
Do you just apply the Lee lube with your fingers, or roll the patched bullet on a pad ?
I lightly squeeze the tube and a “button” about 1/8” long come out on my finger. Using my thumb I squash the button and there is a thin spot of lube on my finger ending in what’s left of the button. I bring the patched bullet up to the thin spot of lube with the bullet up against what’s left of the button. I roll the patched bullet in the lube and ensure the entire patch is covered in lube.
I stand the bullets in a box. My father has a wood stand and sets them in a row to dry.
When the Lee case lube is dry it forms a tough patch which we feed through the magazine on lever-action rifles. The patch is water resistant. You can feel the coating in the bore when you run a tight patch down the bore. The case lube will clean up with Hoppes or any other bore cleaner or hot water. When shooting patched bullets with smokeless powder I do not clean the rifle between shooting sessions. When lightly sized the patch is ironed smooth and looks like a ceramic insulator.
I have spent quite a bit of time on Google books looking for information on the commercial manufacture of patched bullets. I have not come up with much. I know the information is out there as there is a great deal of information on the manufacture of rifles for military arsenals and of the loading of ammunition. The patents are available for viewing of the plates used in England for the loading of black powder cartridges. This is where we confirmed our thoughts on compressing black powder into solid cakes in the cartridge case. We used three stages of compression and there was no need to seat a bullet or use a wad, no powder was coming out of those cases.
We have loaded many 303 British cases with greased lead, paper patch and copper jacketed bullets ahead of heavily compressed charges of black powder. My father and I still argue the merits of thick verses thin paper patch material, dad advocating the thinnest onion skin paper available and I stumping for the thickest 100% cotton bond. We both agree the Lee case sizing lubricant is one of the best readily available lubricants for paper patch bullets. Someday I would enjoy speaking with Veral Smith on his glue on patches. We have tried glue on patches made from address labels and they give fair accuracy but there are some tricks we never figured out.
If you shoot smokeless powder loads try the folded patch tail. After patching your bullet put your thumb on the seam of paper and push across the base of the bullet. Push from the opposite side and the fold down the two remaining “ears.” This forms a folded tail which lies rather flat, the Lee case lube helping here, and forms a “paper gas check” which seems to give better accuracy than the twisted patch tails.
Thank you very much for the information William.
I also have heard of the use of self adhesive labels as paper patches and was going to give it a go myself.
I fired some BP loads today, from the 450-400 and the first shot, from a clean barrel at 50yds, just cut the 10x ring. I was chuffed, that is until I fired five more. They were all over the place.
It was a load of 67g FFG and 50:50 beeswax- superfry lube on a plain base bullet. I'm not going to use BP any more, it was just an experiment. Took me ages to clean the fouling and lead out of the barrel and I still haven't got all the lead out.
I had much more success with my, new old, HRBCo Martini .303, giving me a 100yd group of 1.5" using a peep rear and Barleycorn front sights.
I had cut the muzzle back by 5/8" to get rid of some pitting, but looks like the 115 year old barrel is a shooter.
I just started paper patching in 45/70. I lightly rub the front two thirds of the paper patch with 100% neatsfoot oil. This is a Paul Matthews recommendation from one of his books on black powder. I am using smokeless for my paper patch loads, but I lubed anyway. I figured some water proofing advantage.
I've been lubing mine with the same lube for my cast bullet load in the Star. The patches end up with a slight sheen to them and a small amount of lube in the area of the grease grooves. I too am loading smokeless in my Pedersoli Sharps 45/70. Not quite jacketed accuracy, but encouraging enough that I keep on experimenting.
I think that if you final size the patched bullet you need some sort of lubrication to ease the patched bullet through the die. I used Lee Liquid Alox, but am now leaning toward the sizing wax from Lee.. I think that it will do a better job of lubing the patch and "hard finish" it dries to will help prevent the attraction of dirt and help to repel moisture.
when people say thier bullets are shooting very well...What do they mean by that???
I mean some people figure if they can hit an 8 inch paper plate at 100 yards every time it is a good load..I disagree......To me a good shooting load and bullet from my 45-70 sharps is at the very least 3 inch's at 300 yards...
____________________ Keep banging away until you can bang no more...
Good question 2frogs.
3" @ 300 is MOA. Are you using peep sights?
For me it all depends on the sights on the rifle. My eyes are nearly 61 YO.
If I'm using open sights, then 2" @ 100yds would be good.
With peep sights, <1.5" @ 100 would be acceptable, but with a scope I don't like any group larger than 1" @ 100.
Everybody has their own definition of "accuracy" and what kind of accuracy they need. You don't need sub MOA accuracy from your deer or elk rifle (although I prefer to get as good as possible from any rifle) especially if you are wood hunting and shots are well under 100 yds. If I can hold ten shots onto an 8" paper plate at 1oo yds. from off hand I think that I have had a very good day.
The vast majority of people who brag to me about the accuracy of their particular rifle aren't able to produce it upon demand. I'm not calling anybody a Liar. I'm just saying that I have heard a lot of unsubstantiated claims. If you can keep all your shots from a smooth bored slug gun in eight inches at a 100 you are doing just fine.
Exactly, Old Coot.
I should have mentioned that the accuracy is from a solid rest.
When hunting, there are lots of variables and if the animal you just shot at, falls down, then that is acceptable accuracy, eh.
Tony--Yes I am using the appeture sights on my 45-70 and my own 1 and a half eyes are 63 years old,,ha ha
I can shoot like that all the time..Wish I could though.And I am talking useing the black powder cartridge as well..But the main thing is to do my part as well... One has to shoot a lot to be good and stay good at it...
I just pisses me off we people shoot a deer and wound the poor thing..I have seen alot of guys shoot off the bench at a 8 inch plate,hit it twice,ok thats good enough for me..I do not agree..Suppose that deer is 120 yards away..Another gut shot animal going to waste...John
____________________ Keep banging away until you can bang no more...
Accuracy, good or bad? I've shot 1" groups at 100 yds with lever action open iron sights, I've also shot 1 3/8" groups with a couple of muzzleloaders with open iron sights. I've also had military surplus rifles with less than desirable open sigths and terrible trigger pulls print 2 1/2" groups at 100 yds. All are good under the circomstances but some are exceptional. Could I shoot those same groups that I shot 30+ years ago, probably not. My eyes have changed. If using a rifle with magnification, say a good quality scope, the darn thing had better shoot better groups than my muzzleloader's 1 3/8" groups at 100 yds. JR