To shoot properly, the round ball must be tightly patched. If the round ball is not tightly patched, it may, by movement of the firearm, work its way off the powder charge and up the bore. Under such a condition the ball will act as a barrel obstruction and firing can cause injury and/or death to the shooter or bystanders and damage to property.

The novice at muzzleloading is often perplexed by the problem of trying to figure out the correct patch and ball combination for his firearm. More often than not, he ends up using a loose fitting combination which loads easily but leaves something to be desired in the way of accuracy and safety.

Accuracy with a muzzleloader is based on a paradox: an undersize ball is spun by rifling that it never touches! It is the job of the patch to hold the ball tightly against the powder charge until firing and to securely grip both the ball and the rifling so as to transfer the spin of the rifling to the projectile itself. If the patch fits too loosely, the ball will not spin and its flight will be unstable. If the patches vary in thickness, or manner of loading, or the amount of lubricant they carry, shot to shot stability and accuracy will be affected.

To perform its task properly, the patch material must be extremely tough and it must be under considerable compression- not only in the area where it bears on the lands but also at the bottom of each groove.

When a perfectly patched round ball Is driven through the barrel, It will show cloth marks around the circumference of the ball. It will be heavily engraved where it bore on the lands and lightly engraved in the groove area. As it is too difficult to load by hand, a combination this tight is seldom used in a hunting rifle.

For target shooting, an extremely tight fitting combination of patch and ball is sometimes used. Often a bullet starter, shaped to the contour of the ball, is employed and a hammer is used to start the projectile. Such a combination is, naturally, too difficult to load under field conditions and, therefore, most hunting rifles use a slightly looser fit.

T/C Patch Material is available (unlubricated or prelubricated) in sizes which relate directly to the proper round ball diameter and barrel dimensions of each specific caliber. (See the current T/C catalog). T/C Patch Material represents an optimum compromise between tight fit and loadability. Bear in mind that the ball must be seated firmly against the powder without excessive battering or flattening of the projectile itself. To obtain accuracy it is essential that the front of the ball remain round. When used with the proper size (lead) round ball, T/C patch material allows the shooter to load under field conditions and obtain fine accuracy.

When targeting a muzzleloading firearm, it is wise to recover a few of the fired patches and to check their condition. Fired patches can usually be found lying on the ground about 10 yards in front of the muzzle. The following illustrations will help you to determine whether your patch and/or lubricant is doing its job.

Lubricant is required to ease loading and prevent the patch material from burning. The "spit" patch (wet with saliva) should be avoided as it will dry out and cease to func

Ball diameter must mal allowances for added thickness of the patch at the lands.

Ball diameter must mal allowances for added thickness of the patch at the lands.

The patch must be thick enough to fill the rifling grooves.

tion as a lubricant. Thompson/Center recommends the use of either our Maxi Lube or our Natural Lube 1000+ . It should be rubbed into the patch material with the fingers. Saturation of the patch material should be complete but not excessive.

Efficient Patch

A patch which is working correctly can be found intact. The area behind the ball which is exposed to burning powder will be blackened .

Burned Out Patch

If the patch material is too thin, frail, or not properly lubricated, it may burn through upon firing. The patch shown here illustrates this condition.

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Hunting Mastery Selected Tips

Hunting Mastery Selected Tips

Deer hunting is an interesting thing that reminds you of those golden old ages of 19th centuries, where a handsome hunk well equipped with all hunting material rides on horse searching for his target animal either for the purpose of displaying his masculine powers or for enticing and wooing his lady love.

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