Re: Ball size ? .45 cal
There are "tight" 45's and "loose" 45 caliber guns. Even in the same production line there can be a variance of goove to groove diameters.
The patch ball combination also depends a great deal on the shape and depth of the rifling.
Lastly, while there defintely are better powder/patch/ball combinations, I do not belive that changing to a ptach that is .003 thicker or thinner makes much difference so long as the bore is sealed. Because of the shape of some rifling, a flannel can work better than a thick cotton drill like ticking.
In a lot of guns, consistent loading procedures means more to accuraccy than whether a patch is .018 or .012 in thickness. When I say consistent, I mean to the point of being [censored]. The bore should have the same fouling from shot to shot, even if that means swabbing the bore between shots. Powder should be measured the same way every shot, tapped to settle in the measure the same, poured down the barrel and then the gun should be rapped on the side to settle the powder into all the nooks and crannies of the breech, the same every time. The patcch should be turned the same way with the same amount of lube every time, And the ball should be loaded with the same force and seated to the same powder compression every time. (You can actually feel a slight crunch sensation with the ram road as the ball is seated.) Stand the same, breath the same, squeeze the same, fart the same if need be.
Inconsistency is indeed the hobgoblin of accuracy. Far more than the patch. Very deep narrow rifling may require a palm bruising patch ball combination, but for most rifling, especially wide round groove rifling, it shouldn't take much force at all to start the patched ball. Maybe 5 or 10 pounds of force.
I know alot of folks disagree with me about this, but my feeling is that as long as the bore is sealed, patch thickness doesn't make that much difference.
Some guys will swear that they need a .445 ball and a .025 patch and a mallet to start the ball. And that is great for them. But their gun is most definitely NOT your gun, it may not even be from the same country of origin. Unless you know that their rifling, (shape depth, twist and width) is exactly the same as yours, any comparison of patch ball combinations is pretty much irrelevent.
Whether your gun is capable of shooting one ragged hole at 50 yds, depends on much more than a patch ball combo., sights, target, shooter, trigger, lighting, and most importantly, loading consistency. A bad, dented or uneven crown can offset any efforts to test patch ball combos. A lock with roughness in the works that falls at inconsistent speeds, a poorly sparking flint or frizzen. There are so very many variables to try to tame.