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6 December 1833

Confederate officer John Singleton Mosby was born. Also known by his nickname, the "Gray Ghost", Mosby was a Confederate army cavalry battalion commander in the American Civil War. His command, the 43rd Battalion, Virginia Cavalry, known as Mosby's... Read more ...

6 December 1833

John Singleton Mosby was born
Confederate officer John Singleton Mosby was born. Also known by his nickname, the "Gray Ghost", Mosby was a Confederate army cavalry battalion commander in the American Civil War. His command, the 43rd Battalion, Virginia Cavalry, known as Mosby's Rangers or Mosby's Raiders, was a partisan ranger unit noted for its lightning-quick raids and its ability to elude Union Army pursuers and disappear, blending in with local farmers and townsmen. The area of northern central Virginia in which Mosby operated with impunity was known during the war and ever since as Mosby's Confederacy. After the war, Mosby became a Republican and worked as an attorney and supported his former enemy's commander, U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant. He also served as the American consul to Hong Kong and in the U.S. Department of Justice. He died in 1916, 82 years old.



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      The Longrifle Project

    • The Longrifle Project

      This article describes the making of a genuine American Southern longrifle. It was made for me by Master Steven Bookout of Toad Hall Rifleshop in 2001 with no modern tools or electricity. The rifle is made the same way as rifles were made 200 years ago.

    Test of Lehigh Valley Patch Lubricant

    Category: Muzzle-loading
    Published: 13 October 2008 by Øyvind Flatnes.
    Views: 12699
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    Note that this test done back in 2005 used Ox-Yokes' version of Lehigh Valley Patch Lubricant. Lestom Labs has begun to produce the original formula again after Ox-Yoke misformulated it. The original Lehigh Valley lube is of a completely different quality and you can get it in's webshop.

    From time to time new black powder equipment surfaces which is marketed almost as revolutionary. Most often it turns out that the product does not keep to its promises. One of the products that have received much publicity in later years is called 'Lehigh Valley Patch Lubricant'. The product is a liquid lubricant for muzzleloading patches.


    Lehigh Valley
    Patch Lubricant

    This lubricant is not only prized by its manufacturers. It is also highly regarded by many shooters as the ultimate patch lubricant. I have heard about this lubricant for years from American colleagues and I finally decided to try it. The Lehigh Valley Patch Lubricant was invented by the two Americans Leslie Phelps and Tom DeCare, and they promise that the lubricant isn't petroleum based. I ordered two bottles which contained 6.7 fluid ounces each. According to the marketing of the product a bottle should last for 1000 patches. The bottle is equipped with a screw-on flip-top which makes it easy to portion the liquid on the patches. I must have an older version of the bottle, because now I see that it is equipped with a sprayer. You must unscrew the tip and remove a red stopper to get the lubricant out of the bottle. Remember not to throw this stopper away, but insert it into the bottle after use. I have heard several stories from shooters who have thrown away this plug, placed the bottle in a shooting bag and came back a couple of days later to an empty bottle.

    Find out more!
    You can learn more about patch lubricants in the brand new book From Musket to Metallic Cartridge: A Practical History of Black Powder Firearms.

    The colour of the liquid resembles champagne and smells quite similar to Ballistol. According to the manufacturers pine needle essence is added to the liquid, and it is this that causes the characteristic smell. The liquid is thin and is a bit sticky if you get it on your fingers.

    The first thing I did was to moisten some patches with the lubricant to see how it reacted if it wasn't stored in an air-tight container. As expected with a liquid lubricant, the patches started to dry already after a couple of hours. After 24 hours the patches were completely dry. However, if the patches were stored in an air-tight container immediately after being lubricated the patches kept the lube better.

    The Lehigh Valley Patch lubricant marketing claims that the stuff 'Cleans while you shoot' and that it is unnecessary to wipe between the shots, no independent of powder charge, rifling depth or weather conditions.


    I decided to put the Lehigh Valley lubricant through the toughest test I could find in my gun locker, which is my .50 calibre custom flintlock rifle. I decided to shoot 15 consecutive shots without cleaning between the shots. I used a patched roundball and my standard load of 97 grains of Wano PP. This rifle is a hunting rifle and the long 42" barrel is rifled with a 1 in 72" twist which shoots best with heavier charges. The groove depth is .012".

    I usually lube my patches with a thin layer of T/C Bore Butter for this rifle. The patches feel dry after they are lubricated, but if you squeeze them you see the yellow lubricant in the fibres of the fabric. Between the ball and the powder I use a felt wad also lubricated with Bore Butter. I get best accuracy if I wipe between each shot. I can shoot without wiping, but wiping between shots give me far better accuracy.

    Lehigh Valley Patch Lubricant in practice

    The first shots with Lehigh Valley Patch Lubricant was fired from a bench rest at 50 metres on a standard UIT 50 Metre pistol target. I started with a clean bore and loaded an unlubed felt wad between the powder and ball. In the instructions it says that you should saturate the patches with the lubricant. My patches were not dripping wet, but moister compared to the Bore Butter patches I use. Excess lubricant seems to be squeezed out of the patches when the bullets are started in the muzzle.

    The fist shot hit in the middle of the 10 circle. The point of impact was fairly similar to the point of impact from the Bore Butter load. The two next shots hit in the same hole in the 9 ring, 2 cm above the first shot. The three next shots hit four cm above the first shot. After the five first shots the powder fouling in the barrel made the point of impact higher. The five next shots continued to shoot high, and after the 10th shot three of the shots were low in the 7 ring and two high in the 9 ring. With exception of the first shot which was lower because of the clean barrel, the remaining nine shot group measured 3.9 cm. This is not bad at all, but my normal load with Bore Butter and wiping between shots performs better.

    Lehigh Lehigh

    The target show 15 shots with Lehigh Valley (to the left)
    without cleaning, and 15 shots with
    Bore Butter and cleaning between shots.

    The five last shots were somewhat disappointing. The point of impact was even higher, and the last shot hit between the 6 and 5 rings. During loading I began to notice the famous ring of fouling in the breech area. The group also opened up a bit. The lowest shot hit in the 9 ring. The diameter of the group was 10 cm. All of the shots hit between 11 and 12 o'clock on the target, so the horizontal spread was not bad. The vertical spread was as mentioned probably caused by the increasing amount of fouling in the barrel which caused more friction and thus increased the pressure. The consequence was a higher muzzle velocity, which in turn raises the point of impact.


    When the shooting session ended it was time for the obligatory cleaning. After the first moist patch it felt to my surprise as if there wasn't much fouling in the barrel. After three more moist patches the barrel seemed to be clean, and I finished the cleaning with a couple of dry patches and then oiled the bore. Even though I usually wipe between shots I usually spend more time and patches on the cleaning. This was absolutely a nice surprise.


    The accuracy was better when I cleaned between each shot and lubricated the patches with Bore Butter, but the results with Lehigh Valley Patch Lubricant wasn't all that bad. It was disappointing that the lube seemed to dry relatively fast after it was applied to the patch, but the cleaning after the 15 shot string was a positive experience. Lehigh Valley Patch Lubricant ought to be perfect for shooters that prefer wet patches. I know many muzzleloading pistol shooters that prefer the patches almost dripping wet. I will definitely experiment more with the Lehigh lubricant. It will for example be interesting to see how it performs when cleaning between shots.