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


Determining patch length & width

A good way to get an estimate of what you need for patch length, is to wrap the bullet 3 times in a single strip of wet paper. Let it dry. Then take a razor and cut through all three wraps at one location along the edge of the bullet. Just a 1/8" long cut is fine, don't cut the entire length of the patch. Unwrap the bullet. The distance between two successive slices is twice your bullet's circumference. You will want your cutting pattern to be shorter than distance just a bit to compensate for the stretch you will produce in rolling, but do that by eye, after trying a few wraps with patches made from the initial cutting pattern. If the cutting pattern you buy is like mine, brass and too long, it is pretty easy to trim with a file or even a guillotine paper cutter. However, I don't worry overly much about exactly matching patch length to bullet diameter as I've found that patches cut with the same pattern will wrap equally well a .440, a .443, and even a .450, and .452 by simply learning to stretch the paper just the right amount. Practice helps, and I do a lot of it, but the point is, you don't have to have a different cutting pattern for every bullet diameter you want to try. I've only owned one such pattern so far.

Also, if the cutter is wider than your patch, that's fine. Don't trim it anymore. Patch width is determined by the steel ruler that is used to initially cut the paper into strips.

To estimate the correct width for the patch (and thus, for the steel rule that you will need; discussed below), measure your bullet from the very beginning of the ogive to the base and add maybe 0.15" or so, just enough that your patch will fold over the base but NOT enough that it bunches excessively in thickly folded edges near the bullet's center (refer to the photos above). Although I've heard of folks that do well with long twisted tails tucked into hollow bases (or sometimes clipped after drying), they require more paper and do not always provide a perfect bullet base. Most importantly, if a twist or bunched paper wad occasionally gets hammered into the base by the detonation of the main charge, it may s