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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just got my Pa Black Federation of Black Powder Shooters Newsletter today. There is a note from Roger Fisher with pictures concerning a custon flint gun with a swamped barrel. The shooter loaded 70 grains in his 54 cal and only short started the ball, was distracted and forgot to seat the ball. When he fired it the barrel ruptured along the top flat of the barrel for several inches, up at the muzzle.Sent the brass front sight into a rafter over the covered firing line.

investigation led some to believe that the front sight had been inlet a little too deep and as started the ball was about under the sight. However, keep in mind that this was a swamped barrel and it blew up at the muzzle where the barrel starts to get thick again.

So when it comes to loads in your guns, use common sense and remember that more (powder) is not necessarily a good or safe thing to use.
 

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So when it comes to loads in your guns, use common sense and remember that more (powder) is not necessarily a good or safe thing to use.
Zim...are you saying that 70g. was too hot a load for this gun? Because it was swamped? Or was it solely the error of the sight inletting that caused the failure?
 

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I'm thinking it is from short starting the ball. Push the ball the whole way down and don't have a problem then.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Actually I'm a bit surprised that it blew with just 70 grains. As well as the fact that it blew up where the barrel wall starts to thicken again.

Certainly wasn't much of a charge to cause a barrel to split open like thhat.
 

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Alot of pressure gets built up. All that is being pushed down the barrel to then hit a blockage with the ball short started. Has to go somewhere.
 

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Make sure those RB's and Conicals stay seated down on that charge!Check often when hunting.
 

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thats why I'm always real careful when loading and jawing on the line at a BP shoot. it's too easy to forget what you did or didn't do. At the very least you'll end up dry balling a time or two.
 

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As I recall there was some speculation that he might have already loaded with powder patch and ball than short started another patch and ball. The guy that this happened to is an experianced shooter. This should be a wakeup to all of us.
 

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It was a short started ball. Had nothing to do with the load or it being a swamped narrel. His short starter was the exact length of the distace from the muzzle to the front sight. Here's a link to the pictures and story. You may have to join the "forum" to read it, I'm not sure. Be careful out there. One second of distraction could mean a life.

http://americanlongrifles.org/forum/index.php?topic=6386.0
 

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It is suprising how little powder it takes to blow something up. For a safety demo I did about 10 years ago I took less than 1 tsp of powder and left it in an open horn with a fuse.

We then put that on a rigid store dummy and fired it off. The horn exploded and blew about a 10 to 12 inch chunk out of the side of the dummy. Moral, a partially filled horn is just as dangerous, if not more so, than a full horn. Always replace the cap on your powder horn.

Does not surprise me at all that the barrel blew with that much powder.

GBJ
 

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Often heard that there were no record of short starters being used back in the days. My Uncle will not use one. He just uses the short Ball starter to start the ball enough to cut the Patch and then seats the load with the ramrod. His theory is that the Ball will pop out the end of the muzzle if the load is not pushed home, might, might not?? I use a longer than average Ball starter after I read that article. This in the hopes that if I do short start a ball it will be in a strong part of the barrel not a tenon mark. By the way, I did bulge a Great Plains Barrel. They are a pretty beefy chunk of steel. I was only using 60grs. of 2F.
 
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