Black Powder Rifle Accuracy System

Wiping Between Shots

Just to restate my oft expressed belief in the between shot wipe-not cleaning-wiping.

Before the dawning of the new age we old timers were limited, somewhat, in our wiping procedures.

During that now bygone era of trials and tribulations, I noticed that people who didn't wipe between shots would suffer progressive difficulty in loading, usually after the 3rd shot. The 5th shot would be loaded with a heavy hammer and very uncreative unseemly language.

How, I asked, could it be that after each shot the difficulty became worse and worse? It would indicate that the barrel was getting tighter and tighter and therefore harder and harder to load. Something very hard was building up in the bore. Had to be.

Sometime later, after a bunch of experiments, I came to the conclusion that the first shot left a layer of soft crud in the bore. Easily removable soft crud.

If the barrel was unwiped the 2nd shot would leave another layer of soft crud on top of the first layer. However, the 2nd shot baked on the soft from the 1st shot. This baked on layer, In the grooves is not so easily removable. It resembles bakelite if any of you remember bakelite. Still unwiped the 3rd shot bakes on what soft crud was left by the second shot and etc. By the fourth and fifth shot it lies there in your barrel hard as cinders and you have to pound. The ball patch combination you have so carefully selected is now too large for your diminished bore size, So then you clean rather thoroughly again and restart the process all over. By wiping the bore between shots with a reasonably tight wiping patch and jag combination you remove the soft crud and the the bore remains the same size as far as the ball patch is concerned, because you have removed the soft crud so it can't bake on.

If this lamination of hard baked on crap does NOT occur, why do we have the progressive difficulty in loading? Any suggestions for another reason?

There are products that state in their ads that you can fire all day without wiping. My fear of these products is that they may be way too slick for your particular rifle barrel and thus allow the ball and patch to be 30 yards downrange before the powder has done its thing of building up to the right amount of compression for your particular rifle barrel.

I like a patch lubed with the exact amount of slickness that is just right for the barrel in question. I have found it, and a one time wipe, in and out, between shots can give you amazing accuracy. If, of course your patch is the precisely right thickness.

I heard from a subscriber who noticed that his accuracy had all gone to hell when he broke his ramrod and switched to a different jag which was a hair smaller. Because it was smaller, using the same thickness of wiping patch, he was leaving a thin layer of that soft crud which, as described above, was baking on to his bore even though he WAS wiping between shots, although with a smaller, less efficient jag. I believe he will soon be back to using the earlier jag mounted on a repaired ram rod.