In the Field Stuck ramrods, a never ending battle

Some dude

Cadet
Joined
Jun 26, 2018
So I just got done blasting some blanks through an m1816 conversion musket in celebration of the Fourth of July, and here I am at 1AM trying to clean it.

I would’ve been done a long time ago but on around the 15th patch I put through the barrel, the rod decides to get stuck. I’ve encountered this several times before and I’m sick of it. I’ve tried different patches, different lubes (oil, water, solvent, all saturated on the patch), different jags, making sure the patch isn’t wadded up before it goes in, and removing the nipple, but the problem still persists even across multiple muskets. All will be going fine and dandy with no sign of stuckage until bam, whatd’ya know I can’t get the sucker out with the force of 12 raging chimpanzees.

Do you guys have any tips on how to avoid this and how to solve it when it happens? This time happens to have been with a wooden rod so brute strength is not gonna work here. would blast it out with powder but I don’t want to go in to clean it again. Are there any other options? Any advice would be much appreciated. Thanks.
 

Rhea Cole

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Are you loading black powder or a modern propellant? What size load are you using? What are you making your cartridge with?

DO NOT ATTEMPT TO BLOW COMPRESSED AIR THROUGH THE NIPPLE!

You will be in danger of knocking a tooth or an eye out. The rod could become a dangerous projectile.

DO NOT ATTEPT TO “blast it out with powder” UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES.

Any unseated obstruction would turn your musket into a pipe bomb.

I have not examined your musket, so can only make generic comments. You should never have your cleaning rod stuck in the barrel. The only safe way to remove an obstruction is to unsc
 

Rhea Cole

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Are you loading black powder or a modern propellant? What size load are you using? What are you making your cartridge with?

DO NOT ATTEMPT TO BLOW COMPRESSED AIR THROUGH THE NIPPLE!

You will be in danger of knocking a tooth or an eye out. The rod could become a dangerous projectile.

DO NOT ATTEPT TO “blast it out with powder” UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES.

Any unseated obstruction would turn your musket into a pipe bomb.

I have not examined your musket, so can only make generic comments. You should never have your cleaning rod stuck in the barrel.

The only safe way to remove an obstruction is to unscrew the breech block & drive it out. As a general rule, that is a job for a gunsmith.

For black powder, cleaning shows lid consist of nothing more than dismounting the barrel & using a cleaning rod with a bit of rag to pump hot water through it. Give it a rinse with clean water & put it in a 200 degree oven to dry. Lightly oil it & you are done.

If you can’t dismount the barrel, use hot water & pump with the rod until it is clean. Run a clean dry patch a few times & let the barrel dry naturally in the sun or over a heating vent. Lightly oil the dry barrel.

For modern propellant, follow manufacturer’s recommendation.

I won’t speculate on why you habitually get your cleaning rod stuck because I have never seen it happen.
 
Are you loading black powder or a modern propellant? What size load are you using? What are you making your cartridge with?

DO NOT ATTEMPT TO BLOW COMPRESSED AIR THROUGH THE NIPPLE!

You will be in danger of knocking a tooth or an eye out. The rod could become a dangerous projectile.

DO NOT ATTEPT TO “blast it out with powder” UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES.

Any unseated obstruction would turn your musket into a pipe bomb.

I have not examined your musket, so can only make generic comments. You should never have your cleaning rod stuck in the barrel.

The only safe way to remove an obstruction is to unscrew the breech block & drive it out. As a general rule, that is a job for a gunsmith.

For black powder, cleaning shows lid consist of nothing more than dismounting the barrel & using a cleaning rod with a bit of rag to pump hot water through it. Give it a rinse with clean water & put it in a 200 degree oven to dry. Lightly oil it & you are done.

If you can’t dismount the barrel, use hot water & pump with the rod until it is clean. Run a clean dry patch a few times & let the barrel dry naturally in the sun or over a heating vent. Lightly oil the dry barrel.

For modern propellant, follow manufacturer’s recommendation.

I won’t speculate on why you habitually get your cleaning rod stuck because I have never seen it happen.

As a gunsmith with over 40 years experience, I can tell you that over the years I've removed many obstructions from muzzle loading barrels with compressed air without mishap. Of course you use common sense when doing so and treat it as a loaded firearm. I use a large bullet trap to "shoot" the obstruction in to. Thompson Center Firearms as well as other companies offer CO2 kits that come with various adapters specifically made to remove barrel obstructions in muzzle loading barrels if one does not have access to an air compressor.
edited - added "with compressed air" to the first sentence.
 
Last edited:

frontrank2

Captain
Forum Host
Joined
Oct 10, 2012
Location
Mt. Jackson, Va
I've shot live rounds in the N-SSA for 30 years. What they do for fouled muskets is to use a blast of compressed air in order to shoot the blockage out. I would purchase this: https://logcabinshop.com/oc30/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=24787, THEN TAKE THE MUSKET OUTDOORS, point it in safe direction ( you'll probably need a good 50 yards of safe space ) and give a couple of blasts of the discharger into the nipple. Then go out and purchase a metal cleaning rod https://www.lodgewood.com/Cleaning-Rods_c_86.html, and a good worm: https://www.dixiegunworks.com/index.../TR1256+TRADITIONS+PATCH+PULLER+WORM+4550+CAL for further cleaning.
 

poorjack

Corporal
Joined
Jul 17, 2015
Location
NC
So we've had several remedies offered. I'd like to examine the original problem. What powder and caps and what charge level? What is your cleaning process? How long did you wait before starting?

When I was a reenactor, the cleaning process would be boiling soapy water poured down the barrel till full, let sit a few moments and then dumped, repeat a couple times. Remove nipple, scrub bore with a bronze brush a few strokes. Repeat and rinse with hot water. Wipe bore with dry patches till clean. Clean nipple. Oil. Bore is done.
 

Rhea Cole

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
As a gunsmith with over 40 years experience, I can tell you that over the years I've removed many obstructions from muzzle loading barrels without mishap. Of course you use common sense when doing so and treat it as a loaded firearm. I use a large bullet trap to "shoot" the obstruction in to. Thompson Center Firearms as well as other companies offer CO2 kits that come with various adapters specifically made to remove barrel obstructions in muzzle loading barrels if one does not have access to an air compressor.
You said the magic word, ‘gunsmith.’ The individual who started this thread does not appear to be knowledgeable. What they need to do is come see you. I am sure that you will agree that compressed air Is very dangerous even when you know what you are doing.
 

DixieRifles

Captain
Member of the Year
Regtl. Staff Shiloh 2020
Joined
Mar 22, 2009
Location
Collierville, TN
A lot of good suggestions. I am completely puzzled why the ramrod has stuck so often. Is the problem he cant get a tight grip on the end of the ramrod??

I’ve owned only 1 CW replica but I am sure I never used the Ramrod to clean it. For my Pennsylvania long rifle with a 44-inch long barrel, I finally broke down and bought a one-piece, 4-foot Steel cleaning rod. It doubles as a ramrod but I use jags and patch tips for cleaning.

I have been considering the purchase of a CO2 kit to remove balls. I just dont trust a bullet puller will work when I need it.

Years ago, I had a misfire of my .36 caliber rifle—only the cap popped. I checked the bore and the ball moved a few inches. I wonder if a cap would be stong enough to move the ramrod an inch ot 2. Then find a way to get a firm grip of the ramrod.

This problem is a little puzzling. Buy a segmented Shot Gun cleaning kit. Or get 2 if you need more length.
 

DixieRifles

Captain
Member of the Year
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Mar 22, 2009
Location
Collierville, TN
I just got done blasting some blanks through an m1816 conversion musket in celebration of the Fourth of July
I plan to fire some rounds off tonight. However, I have always wanted to add more fireworks. I wanted to post a question here but it might open CWTalk up to lawsuits if it goes bad.
When I owned a .58 caliber, I tried making a tracer round by attaching a Roman Candle "star" to the base of my Minie'. I assume it didn't ignite the blast blow the star clear of the barrel before it ignited. This year I will fire commercial .22 caliber tracers in my Remington.

So I'm not asking any such question about how to turn a blackpowder rifle into a fireworks mortar. No, not me.
 

DixieRifles

Captain
Member of the Year
Regtl. Staff Shiloh 2020
Joined
Mar 22, 2009
Location
Collierville, TN
I plan to fire some rounds off tonight. However, I have always wanted to add more fireworks.
For the 2nd time in my career of shooting black powder, I tried to shoot some Roman Candle "stars" out of my rifle.

I sliced open a small Roman Candle and peeled away layers of the paper. I found small, black balls about .30 caliber size that were the "stars". These were suspended in a granular powder mix.
I loaded my .50 caliber long rifle with Black Powder and dropped 3 or 4 balls on top. I covered this with a 1-inch square piece of kitchen towel and very lightly tapped the charge down.
I was expecting to see balls of fire shoot out of the barrel just like out of a Roman Candle. Instead, I think the higher pressure charge just blasted them small balls to pieces. These are screen shots of the video. First you see a big orange ball of flame. This dissipated into many sparkles.

Happy 4th!!!

July4__Fire.jpg

The white light is a light at a house in the distance. I'm wearing a Glo Stick on my cap.
 

CaptSpook

Private
Joined
Apr 13, 2020
So I just got done blasting some blanks through an m1816 conversion musket in celebration of the Fourth of July, and here I am at 1AM trying to clean it.

I would’ve been done a long time ago but on around the 15th patch I put through the barrel, the rod decides to get stuck. I’ve encountered this several times before and I’m sick of it. I’ve tried different patches, different lubes (oil, water, solvent, all saturated on the patch), different jags, making sure the patch isn’t wadded up before it goes in, and removing the nipple, but the problem still persists even across multiple muskets. All will be going fine and dandy with no sign of stuckage until bam, whatd’ya know I can’t get the sucker out with the force of 12 raging chimpanzees.

Do you guys have any tips on how to avoid this and how to solve it when it happens? This time happens to have been with a wooden rod so brute strength is not gonna work here. would blast it out with powder but I don’t want to go in to clean it again. Are there any other options? Any advice would be much appreciated. Thanks.
Assuming you used real black powder and not modern propellant, whenever I got mine stuck I would dump some warm soapy water down the barrel and work the ram rod up and down until it worked its way loose.
 

Trooper "D"

Private
Joined
May 20, 2018
So I just got done blasting some blanks through an m1816 conversion musket in celebration of the Fourth of July, and here I am at 1AM trying to clean it.

I would’ve been done a long time ago but on around the 15th patch I put through the barrel, the rod decides to get stuck. I’ve encountered this several times before and I’m sick of it. I’ve tried different patches, different lubes (oil, water, solvent, all saturated on the patch), different jags, making sure the patch isn’t wadded up before it goes in, and removing the nipple, but the problem still persists even across multiple muskets. All will be going fine and dandy with no sign of stuckage until bam, whatd’ya know I can’t get the sucker out with the force of 12 raging chimpanzees.

Do you guys have any tips on how to avoid this and how to solve it when it happens? This time happens to have been with a wooden rod so brute strength is not gonna work here. would blast it out with powder but I don’t want to go in to clean it again. Are there any other options? Any advice would be much appreciated. Thanks.
I've never gotten a cleaning rod stuck. I pour hot soapy water through the barrel and remove the nipple. Flushing the barrel 6 times or so until the water runs out clear and then patches of any fabric or even paper towels down the bore until they are coming out clean. Using the Enfield ramrod tip with patches run through it and wrapped in the same direction as the rifling to form a sharp tip works great.
Hope that helps.
 

DixieRifles

Captain
Member of the Year
Regtl. Staff Shiloh 2020
Joined
Mar 22, 2009
Location
Collierville, TN
After all this discussion about how a ramrod will never stick in the barrel, I got mine stuck---almost. After the brief 4th-of-July volley's, I was cleaning my .50 caliber long rifle with a cleaning jag tip and a patch of Ballistol. Once the ramrod bottoms out, there is not much left to pull with. And it is slippery. I used a pair of pliers and wrapped the end of the rod---however, I still managed to scratch the brass tip.
😖

The barrel measures about 0.510 in diameter---trying to pick up the lands. The jag measures 0.469 in Outer diameter. I don't see that is a problem. And I wasn't using an oversized patch in any way.
I don't consider it a problem unless this happened out in the "field" without proper tool.
 

captaindrew

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Forum Host
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Joined
Mar 13, 2017
Location
Whereabouts Unknown
I've never gotten a cleaning rod stuck. I pour hot soapy water through the barrel and remove the nipple. Flushing the barrel 6 times or so until the water runs out clear and then patches of any fabric or even paper towels down the bore until they are coming out clean. Using the Enfield ramrod tip with patches run through it and wrapped in the same direction as the rifling to form a sharp tip works great.
Hope that helps.
That slot was NOT meant for cleaning patches, that WILL get your ramrod stuck. Use a patch jag or worm/wiper attachment on the threaded end of the rod. That slot was meant for the gun tool to be inserted in if you had to screw down the ball extractor or if you wanted a handle while cleaning.
 

Trooper "D"

Private
Joined
May 20, 2018
That slot was NOT meant for cleaning patches, that WILL get your ramrod stuck. Use a patch jag or worm/wiper attachment on the threaded end of the rod. That slot was meant for the gun tool to be inserted in if you had to screw down the ball extractor or if you wanted a handle while cleaning.
Well it works great for drying patches for me and has since 1980 or so.
 

captaindrew

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Mar 13, 2017
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Well it works great for drying patches for me and has since 1980 or so.
I wish I had a dollar for every time I saw a new recruit start doing it and I say don't do th.... and they come to me with a stuck ramrod. I made the same mistake myself many moons ago once..... only once. Consider yourself lucky. The real danger is reproduction ramrods are not one piece and I've also seen them break off trying to unstuck them. The proper attachments are cheap and easily carried in the tool pouch of your cartridge box, there's no reason not to have them. Do as you wish, just giving friendly advice from someone who has also been doing it since the 80s.
 
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