PPB Intro

The Bullet

The Patch

Loading PPBs

Shooting PPBs

Reading Patches

Hunting & the PPB

Testing Loads



Weather and
Black Powder

Hunting & Range

Making a Pistol Grip


Hunting & the Paper Patched Bullet

To carry cartridges in the field, I put three or four in my vest. It's a surveyor's vest made by Filson, and the left breast pocket has 4 compartments meant to hold pens or whatever it is that surveyors need. They hold bullets, even really really long ones, very well, and very accessible. If I need to carry more, and I usually do, I put them in a case that I made from three pieces of \BD" PVC indoor water pipe cut to 4.5" lengths and then duct taped together to make a cigarette-sized pack. More duct tape, doubled over, forms a flap that can be rubber banded down, and a bottom. These things are all but bombproof, and they bang around in my fanny pack until needed. A little paper toweling or foam rubber shoved into the bottom of each tube will cushion the bullet's tip and prevent it from sticking to the duct tape. With a little imagination, you can probably find even better methods of carrying bullets in the field.

Beyond carrying bullets in the field, there are a few other issues that might be important. One of them is the type of load to use. I tend to use the very same types of loads that I use for most target shooting (but see alternatives described below). This means the bullet is seated very shallowly in the case. Often when I unchamber such a round at the end of the day, I end up with a bullet stuck in the barrel as it is plucked from the case by the friction provided by the rifling. This can be annoying, but not a big deal. I carry a .22 takedown cleaning rod with which I can push the bullet out. Lately, I have been lightly taper crimping loads like this with great success and that is enough to keep the bullet in the brass when unloading.

Another issue is fouling. Bullets seated so deeply into the rifling will give great problems when a subsequent cartridge is loaded into a fouled chamber. Generally, this is not a bit problem. If the shot was good, then a second shot is probably not going to be needed, or if a coup de grace is required, it can be delivered at point blank range where a patch badly torn by the fouling will not matter.

Sometimes, however, things just don\92t work out all that well. When an animal runs off, perhaps wounded critically, the last thing you want is a bullet stuck half way into the chamber and accuracy in a follow up shot may be required. My rule of thumb is that if the animal runs out of sight at the shot, I immediately break out that .22 rod and run a quick patch or two down the barrel. This may sound strange to many of you, but I also like to let an animal settle down before I take up the pursuit. This is common practice for bowhunters, and it will serve the BPCR hunter just as well. It will only take a few moments and give you time to gather your thoughts and come up with a strategy for whatever might be coming.

Another possibility might be carrying a blow tube or a chamber brush. I would probably opt for the latter over the former, but you should experiment with follow up shots to troubleshoot chambering and accuracy issues. In any event, you can\92t possibly need more than 2-3 shots before the animal will be either dead or gone and you will have ample time to return your rifle\92s bore to standard condition.

BTW, that .22 rod will be a lot of help in pushing any mud or snow or other junk that might end up in that big bore.

I know that many people will find the methods described above to be very restrictive and inconvenient. So, is there another way to go? Indeed there are several. You could use smokeless powder, but then why not just carry a model 70 in .30-06 or whatever? Or you could use duplex loads with a small amount of smokeless between the primer and the main charge to burn out the fouling of the black powder. But again, you might just as well use all smokeless. But there is one alternative that will cut the mustard and give you possibly the best solution.

I \93stumbled\94 on this solution through no hard work of my own. Rather, Bill Bagwell, called me up one day and let me in on two secrets for shooting a dirty bore accurately with paper patched bullets. Those secrets are

1. Compression\97a whole lot of it. I have used up to 0.625\94 of compression successfully in my 2.6\94 case. This applies whether you are shooting Swiss powder (often reported to perform best w/o compression) or with Goex or any other powder. Compress it HARD! You can over do this if, after compression, the brass has expanded to the point that it will not fit in the chamber, but otherwise, heavy compression makes a huge difference in the amount of fouling in the barrel.

2. Use a lot of lube\97I have been using between 0.320\94 and 0.450\94. I think about 0.36 or 0.375\94 is about the best for my .45-100. But experiment here with good lubes like SPG or Black Magic or your best homebrew concoction (I am still looking for my own homebrew recipe).

Loading these are a bit tricky but a few suggestions follow. First, between the powder and the lube, I need something to protect the powder from the lube. I use wax paper. I used to use a hard fiber wad but I believe these were counter productive because they squeegee the lube out the barrel before the fouling is laid down. The idea here is that one the shot, the lube behind the bullet is deposited on the bore walls, and the fouling of the powder which is coming right behind the lube wad will stick to the lube, and not the walls of the bore. If I use a hard card or plastic wad between lube and powder, that wad scrapes out most of the lube I am trying to lay down.