Blackpowder misfire/jammed ball?????

kidsgunkidsgun Member Posts: 148 ✭✭✭
edited August 2004 in Ask the Experts
OK......I admit it! I made an error in misjudging my ability. I purchased a Thompson 54 Cal. at a yard sale with all the accessories. I proceeded to load it lightly, ram a ball home, touch off a cap and only a cap explosion was to be heard. I tried another with the same results. I changed the nipple and tried again. Still no "bang!" I used the ball extractor from the ramrod and only got a little lead on the threads. Question: What next?????? You guys have never failed to help me out and I know that this will be no exception. Thanks, Bill


  • James AyersJames Ayers Member Posts: 1,598 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    What if there was already a ball in the BARREL???

    +if you ever feel lost, just talk to a native" JIMBO
  • richbugrichbug Member Posts: 3,650
    edited November -1
    Sounds like time to tear the rifle apart and pull the breech plug...

    My border collie is smarter than your honor student.
  • fourdeesfourdees Member Posts: 67 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    I agree with nunn. The only thing I will add is to ensure you have the proper worm. I tried pulling a .54 ball with a worm for my .45 and had the same results you mentioned. The worn was not getting a good bite in the center of the ball. Get a worm with a collar on it for the .54...this way the worm will be centered in the barrel on the ball. Screw it in several turns, then try it. I used a vice to secure the rod while I pulled on the rifle.

    You can usually tell if it is double loaded by putting your ramrod into the barrel and then mark (use your finger, tape, etc.) the rod where it exits the muzzle. Remove the rod and place it along the side of the barrel and see how close it comes to the breech area. After you get the ball & powder out, try this again. If in doubt, try the worm again...

    Sounds like you may have a blocked passage (rust, crud, etc.) or some oil that has contaminated the area. Did you fire some caps before loading to dry out the breech area? I had a pistol do the same exact thing. A good soaking of the breech area in hot soapy water dislodged whatever was there and it has worked fine ever since.

  • bobskibobski Member Posts: 17,868 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    stick your ramrod in the muzzle. mark it and pull it out. then take the ramrod and put alongside the bbl exterior and see where the ball stopped. you should have done this prior to first shot to see if it wasnt already loaded. what the poster 'james ayers' is saying is, that you may have fired off the old gunpowder that was old and aged that came with the gun, jamming the old ball in the bbl with your fresh load and ball in front of it. when you finally pull the ball out that is closest to the muzzle, if your unburnt patch and unspent powder comes out too, it means you still have another one in there. re-do the procedure above to see where the other ball is in the bore. if there isnt one, the rod should go all the way down the bore to where it should stop normally. good luck. [:0]

    former air operations officer SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team 2. former navy skeet team, former navy rifle/pistol team member. co-owner skeetmaster tubes inc.. owner/operator professional shooting instruction.
    Retired Naval Aviation
    Former Member U.S. Navy Shooting Team
    Former NSSA All American
    Navy Distinguished Pistol Shot
    MO, CT, VA.
  • He DogHe Dog Member Posts: 48,548 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    And be sure to wet that powder before you mess around in there![:0]
  • gruntledgruntled Member Posts: 8,402
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by nunn
    The ball worm should have worked. Screw it in to the ball GOOD. You may have to get a friend to hold the rifle while you pull the ramrod out.

    Another thing to try: Remove the nipple and/or the drum that the nipple screws into. Now you can trickle some powder in behind the ball. Replace the drum/nipple, cap and fire.

    SIG pistol armorer/FFL Dealer/Full time Peace Officer, Moderator of General Discussion Board on Gunbroker. Visit www.gunbroker.com the best gun auction site on the Net! Email [email protected]

    If you try this be sure to reseat the ball after you add the powder.
    It may be jambed partway down the barrel.
  • captkirk3@dslextreme.com[email protected] Member Posts: 3,804
    edited November -1
    Where do You live....? If close to Los Angeles, I could come by and have a look See....maybe help You and could possibly offer a few hands on Pointers.........best.....

    Captain Kirk, Tech Staff
  • eastwood44mageastwood44mag Member Posts: 2,655 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Submerge the entire barrel for at least 24 hours, so ensure your powder is completely dead. Remove your breech, see if you can drive it out through the back. If not, go to your local gunsmith and explain the problem. He can sell you a CO2 discharger that should purge out the barrel.

    Hope that works.
  • sharpshooter039sharpshooter039 Member Posts: 5,910 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    well I know I will get spanked for this but it works most of the time,I shoot a good bit of black powder and have done it a time or two,go to your local garage,find one that has a good air compressor that will run up at least 100-125 lbs of air,point the rifle in a safe direction,place the air chuck over the nipple and blow it out,unless it is jammed behind rust or you have more than one load in there it will come out
  • mazo kidmazo kid Member Posts: 648 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    OK, so you made a mistake.....learn from it and always check out the bore of a rifle/pistol you are unfamiliar with. Check for anything in the barrel; if clear, run a patch or two down to clean and dry the bore. It is possible that the rifle was not cleaned after being shot the last time, or maybe there is a bunch of oil at the breech. I hesitate to offer anything more than has already been said, as I don't know the status of the load- double load, crud, oil, damp powder, etc. The CO2 discharger is probably the safest way to go. I have heard of guys using a grease gun (after installing a grease zirk in place of the nipple or drum) and pumping the load out. Kinda messy, but effective. Good luck! Emery

    "Well done is better than well said"
    Ben Franklin
  • kidsgunkidsgun Member Posts: 148 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Wow! What a great list of ideas. Thank you all for you input. I value each thought. I'll give all this some thought and report the outcome. The old fellow I bought it from did show me how to measure the depth of the barrel and had the ramrod marked, so I never gave any thought to another load. How about some breakfree down the barrel to wet the powder and lubricate the ball? I can weld a stronger shaft with a longer screw shank to pull the ball? My first attempt included holding the rod end in my vise and gently applying pressure. That's when I got a lot of lead in the threads. Thanks for the kind offer Captain, but I'm in SE Washington. If I was still stationed a LTA Santa Ana, I'd take you up on it. I'll report back with my exciting conclusion.
Sign In or Register to comment.