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Thread: Buck and Ball loads

  1. #1
    Boolit Man
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    Buck and Ball loads

    Can I fill up the chambers of my 1858 Remington clone with Buck and ball load?
    Is this good for self defense?
    Will it harm my barrel if I use all lead shot?
    What size shot is used?
    I just heard of this from my friend who got a .50 cal TC rifle... Can he try this in the Thompson Center?
    Is this a safe or crazy thing to do?

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    ive heard about double ball loads in c&b revolvers, and buck and ball in rifles. never heard of b&b in revolvers.

  3. #3
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    Tried shot capsules once!

    Never attempted what your talking about. Never really thought about it. I tried plastic shot capsules once in my Dragoon. Got some .45 cal shot capsules and filled them with #12 shot. I loaded them in the chamber with a ML ball starter as they are easy to break with the ram!

    Put a modest load of BP in the chamber and gently pressed the capsule into place with the wooded ball starter. I loaded only one chamber as I felt that recoil would mess up another or make it move forward and jamb things up.

    Firing that shot cap with the #12 in it was marginal as best. I did hit a paper plate at about 6 ft., but after that it opened up to where the shot was so scattered I could not hit a flock of barns if they flew in front of me!

    I suppose a wad or card atop the powder, then the shot, then another thin wad then the ball atop that may work, but I'm just speculating here and have no evidence that it would work.

    I hope you can find what you seek. Just be careful and go slowly with this project is all I can say. I sure would not like to hear about an obstructed barrel and a bad outcome from this!!

    Wade

    Wade
    Last edited by 45-70 Ranger; 06-04-2011 at 12:57 AM. Reason: typo

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    PROBABLY no harm in cooking up a shot load in a percussion revolver, if you stick with a similar total weight of shot and powder as a recomended standard load. Doubt it would be much good for SD though, no penetration. I'd just go with a conical for a SD load.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    I have loaded a double ball load in my 1858 piatta 36 cal as the chambers are fairly long. I loaded 20 gr of FFFG and two 375 balls. This leaves enough room for grease over the top ball. At 15 yards the balls average about 3 inches apart and would easily give you multiple hits per shot. Even so there are better self defense weapons than a cap and ball revolver unless that's all you have. In a 44 I do not have enough room for a double ball load unless I use a lot less powder or buy myself a colt dragoon or walker. As for a buck and ball load the buckshot even in a 44 would be small and spread fast and not have much penetration so of dubious defense value. Buck and ball loads were pretty standard in 69 cal muskets and they consisted of a 64 cal ball and three 30 cal balls all held together in a paper cartridge. The army considered them valuable as they increased the chance of a hit. Then and now a wound was good to get you out of the firing line so even a small 30 cal buckshot wound would delete one man from the enemy ranks.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master Baron von Trollwhack's Avatar
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    Hmmm...... What was the buck % ball load used in the US?

    From the earliest days it was a single ball near bore size with several smaller shot (as in something like buckshot) used in a smooth bore, flintlock musket or a similar smoothbore.

    Can you fit similar components in a BP army pistol or a TC 50 of some type? Sure.

    Safe? Maybe?

    It will shoot pretty CRUMMY (despite the availability of a much better word), plus you get to declare yourself a member of the "Poor Self Defense Pistol Shooters Assoc." and you buddy will have potential to join the "World's Dimmest Shooter" video club.

    Do you not realize that clone pistol you have was made for war and is fully capable of bring a man down dead with it's proper loading at fifty yards or better? Sheesh !

    BvT
    Despite the critical and necessary need to destroy our nation's Islamic enemies, I cannot support that course simply because the bozo team, which has screwed up badly since its inception, WOULD ONLY SCREW THAT UP TOO.

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  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    I've read where buck-and-ball cartridges for muskets were standard issue in many instances in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War. Makes sense when you consider the mass volley fire coupled with bayonet charges that was SOP at the time. (Hint: the war was not won by intrepid sharpshooters hiding behind rocks and trees fighting guerilla-style. We beat the British (mostly) at their own game.)

    They were issued as late as the Civil War to troops armed with smoothbores. How frequently, I don't know, but I have seen the issued cartridges in collections. I have experimented with B&B musket cartridges and found accuracy to be about line-of-infantry accurate at 50 yds.

    I would think that trying to do that in a C&B revolver would be the height of folly.

  8. #8
    Boolit Man
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    O.K. Ok - ok,

    So Buck & Ball is a loading for colonial era - smoothbore - probably flintlock.
    I was curious... I had just heard of it for the first time.

    I can do the job nicely @ 10 yards with my Pietta and round balls.
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  9. #9
    Boolit Master

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    From your target the only thing I can see that you need to add is another revolver so you can shoot Wild Bill-style if you get attacked by numerous villains. I can always find a way to justify another gun
    Most people would sooner die than think, in fact, they do so. -B. Russell

  10. #10
    Boolit Master JIMinPHX's Avatar
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    Buck & ball loads were generally used in long arms with a bore that was big enough to hold a few buckshot pellets across the muzzle. A C&B revolver really isn't big enough in caliber to do that. You can buy commercially made buck & ball shells for a 12 gage shotgun, but I don't remember seeing them for anything smaller. My historian uncle tells me that buck & ball loads were popular in the Brown Bess muskets during the war between the states.

    I looked into loading up a cap & ball revolver with bird shot a while back when I was looking for a good snake load for use while hiking in the spring. I came to the conclusion that the chamber in a C&B revolver wasn't big enough to hold enough powder & enough shot to make it usable. You can get away with loading up bird shot in a .38 special case in a modern revolver because 3 grains of Bullseye takes up so little room that it leaves enough space for a decent shot load. By the time you get done stuffing enough black powder into the chamber of a C&B revolver to produce 800fps, about all you have room for is a single ball or maybe a conical. A shot charge that small would have a lot of holes in the pattern, even at close range.

    A '58 Rem clone is generally capable of producing groups the size of a quarter at 50' with a .454 round ball & as much black powder as you can stuff under it, amusing that you are careful & load all the chambers exactly the same. The C&B revolvers tend to be pretty sensitive to being loaded properly if you want to get accuracy out of them. I like to use a wonder wad under the ball for both safety & ease of cleaning. If I don't use a Wonder Wad, then I grease over the top of the ball with some Bore Butter or Wonder Lube. I don't use Bore Butter in AZ in the summer time because it melts.
    Last edited by JIMinPHX; 06-05-2011 at 02:12 AM.
    “an armed society is a polite society.”
    Robert A. Heinlein

    "Idque apud imperitos humanitas vocabatur, cum pars servitutis esset."
    Publius Tacitus

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    Nice shootin' Coopie-you're a good sport. Prob'ly wishin' you'd never asked! Hey, you never know 'til you ask, right? I still think a birdshot load might be feasible, like a little tiny muzzleloader shotgun charge. Probably no good for much except fun. Maybe I'll try it in my Ruger Old Army. I've got some #9 shot, wads would be easy enough, maybe a little 4f? My nephew is having a rattlesnakes around the house problem, hmmm. Told him just catch them and relocate, maybe I have a better idea.

  12. #12
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    Well all I can say is that testing different things with the weapons of our chosen sport can be fun. Sometimes these tests prove either a win or a bust. The time I tried shot capsules was just that. A test to see what it would do. I was not impressed with the results and moved on. But if we never tried something new or different, we'd still be using primitive weapons from the stoneage right?

    coopieclan, you're a good sport indeed to have started this thread. I think you'll do just fine with whatever you choose to do. Have fun and be safe in what you do. Test it out and see what the results are. It might work for what you want, and it might not. But the thing is, you never know until you try right?

    Wade

  13. #13
    Boolit Master JIMinPHX's Avatar
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    If you do decide to give it a try, this might help you to select the size of the balls you want to use. Unfortunately, #4 buck is .24" in diameter & the next size down is "BB" at .18". At least, that's what it is according to this chart - http://www.shotgunworld.com/ammo_s082000.html 4 balls @ .18" don't quite touch in a .45" OD.

    Edit: According to Wikipedia, TT shot is .21" - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shotgun_shell
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    Last edited by JIMinPHX; 06-05-2011 at 02:17 PM.
    “an armed society is a polite society.”
    Robert A. Heinlein

    "Idque apud imperitos humanitas vocabatur, cum pars servitutis esset."
    Publius Tacitus

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    I have instructions from a cap and ball wad maker that explain a shot load can be made, loading the shot between two regular soft wads.
    I think I will try it, loading that one for first up, for snakes.
    I see no reason why you could not mix shot sizes.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    what about the shot being compressed by the forcing cone? or is that only centerfire guns?

  16. #16
    Boolit Master JIMinPHX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by troy_mclure View Post
    what about the shot being compressed by the forcing cone? or is that only centerfire guns?
    Cap & ball revolvers have forcing cones just like modern revolvers. That could be an issue here.
    “an armed society is a polite society.”
    Robert A. Heinlein

    "Idque apud imperitos humanitas vocabatur, cum pars servitutis esset."
    Publius Tacitus

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BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
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