This was an experiment Ed and I worked and discussed just before I went from Illinois to California, changing careers from agricultural implements to aerospace. We were of differing opinions as to the effects, but agreed there were effects of shooting wads. We continued these discussions over the phone and when I was back in illinois on vacation.
I recall there were several lines of discussion and thought:
- Black powder, my experiments with a Trapdoor
- Gas check replacement, trying to lower cost
- Case filler, less shot-to-shot variation
- Bore cleaner, leaving bore condition unvaried from shot-to-shot.
And our discussions centered on material:
- Toilet paper, not worth the effort
- Plastic, see below
- Fiber, better than plastic
- Flower foam, my later work.
Ed felt a wad's effect was not reproducible from shot to shot. The wad would compress in the bore and then decompress on exit. This action would vary from shot to shot producing inconsistencies. Add to this the weight of the wad being lighter, the wad would accelerate separately and faster than the bullet, striking the base and affecting the flight. Or even falling off the base at an uneven angle and different point for each shot, more variation.
Ed liked plastic wads best,even with their problems. I did not want plastic in my barrel for any reason. With the shot, the effects of temperature and pressure will melt the plastic to a vapor that will cool and deposit itself in the grooves. This deposit is hard carbon and will grow unevenly in the base of the grooves affecting the bore ride of bullets.
Ed felt a gas check was consistent and produced predictable results with each shot. The wad did not and was not a substitute for a gas check.The most elusive research subject was the effect of a wad on bore condition. We retrieved bullets at 200 yards with lead and lube stuck between the gas check and the bullet in the gas check shank. We reasoned the gascheck was scraping the bore and helping give consistent bore conditions from shot to shot. Wads would not do the same.
The Marston Municipal Ballistics Laboratory holds many memories.
Farm boy from Western Illinois, living in the Magical Pacific Northwest