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Thread: Casting Roundball From WW

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy Saint's Avatar
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    Casting Roundball From WW

    I am finding it hard to get the right size roundball for some of my guns and was wondering if anyone here has ever tried casting them from WW and if so what where your results. I have a hard time getting them in 32 caliber so I am thinking of getting a mold and making them. The other thing I could do if need be is buy commercial roundballs in a caliber I can find and melt them down for the lead. Any thoughts?

  2. #2
    Boolit Master


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    I have shot a lot of PRBs made from WWs. My favorite alloy is a 50/50 mix of WW and Pure, I use it for everything including round balls. The only thing I have noticed with ones cast of of WW is that may drop a bit larger than pure lead will. Just use a thinner patch if they drop larger than you would like. My little 32cal Crockett love the 50/50 blend for it's fodder, out of my Lee .311 mold it drops .312. I use a .012 thick ticking for a patch and consistently cut bullet holes at 25 yards with it. I found nothing wrong with WW RBs but liked the bit softer 50/50 it wouldn't splatter on a squirrels head like a pure lead one would, and wouldn't just punch a hole through the ribs. It will actually expand to about a 35 cal.

    Best wishes,

    Joe
    WWG1WGA


    Tyrants use the force of the people to chain and subjugate-that is, enyoke the people. They then plough with them as men do with oxen yoked. Thus the spirit of liberty and innovation is reduced by bayonets, and principles are struck dumb by cannon shot: Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma

  3. #3
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    Blammer's Avatar
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    I use straight WW's for my 50 cal's, they are lighter and fly faster , as a result they shoot a bit flatter. They are the same dia as my pure lead RB's.

  4. #4
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    I've been shooting WW's for about 40 years. I've managed to win a couple world championships and a few other little shoots with them. I think they may work okay.
    The solid soft lead bullet is undoubtably the best and most satisfactory expanding bullet that has ever been designed. It invariably mushrooms perfectly, and never breaks up. With the metal base that is essential for velocities of 2000 f.s. and upwards to protect the naked base, these metal-based soft lead bullets are splendid.
    John Taylor - "African Rifles and Cartridges"

    Forget everything you know about loading jacketed bullets. This is a whole new ball game!


  5. #5
    Boolit Master Maven's Avatar
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    On Waksupi's recommendation, I too tried them and found they were as accurate as the pure Pb ones I used. To be sure, they were a trifle lighter (3 - 4grs. in a .490" RB) and a tiny bit larger (maybe .001") than their lead brethren, but accuracy was unaffected, at least between 25- and 50 yds. With a smaller ball, the weight loss and size increase should be even smaller.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    I cast several hundred this past week as I finally ran out of my store bought ones. The commercial ones were 0.490 and mine turned out at 0.495 even though the mold said 0.490. So I tried them last weekend in preps for a match this coming Sunday the while a tad harder to start, the accuracy was a bit better. The commercial ones are supposed to be pure lead and mine are 20-1, the same as my 500gr 45-70 bullets so it seems that will be okay. I also had some with little wrinkles and such and found they shot just as good at 50 yds (our match distance) as perfect ones? If I was going out to longer ranges that would probably not be the case?

  7. #7
    As stated they cast larger in dia. than pure lead. They load harder in my ML and shoot higher. Think this is beacuse they are tighter in the bore and a little lighter. For me they shoot just as tight of groups as pure lead. Out of my 58 they are about 1 foot flatter shooting at 200 yards. Spind a deer not hit it in the sholder.
    Steve

  8. #8
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    I've used a lot of 50/50 WW/pure with good results. Helps to streach out my stash of pure.
    grit yer teeth an pull the trigger

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    if you are going to shoot them in a rifle and like pounding them down the barrel you will do fine. but if you are going to be loading them in a cap and ball pistol. expect the loading leaver to break in a short time. and if it is a brass frame colt type you will also pull the arbor out of the frame.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    After over 40 years of messing with lead CF projectiles, and shooting ML's too, I realized that not once did I ever try casting RB's out of anything but pure lead. I guess that's something I need to add to the 'bucket list'!

    (My late father was a tool and die grinder at a major automotive factory, and brought home all the old soft lead centers from broken/worn out grinding wheels in his department. Every day for 30 years, a pocketful of the things made it home into the 'lead tub'. Add to that a sister who is a radiologist who scavenged all the soft isotope lead she could manage means that I have never had to buy soft lead, and don't expect to for the rest of my life. I often wished those two had worked in a tire shop instead, for the daily ration of wheel weights!)

  11. #11
    Boolit Master Hanshi's Avatar
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    I prefer pure WW, or even WW hardened up just a tad, to pure lead in my smoothbore. The slight increase in dia and the slight decrease in weight are so negligible as to be totally irrelevant for loading and shooting. I have yet to try WW in my rifle but do think it would be a fine performer in my .36 and .40. This would be for small game as I want expansion from the .40 if I use it on deer.
    Young guys should hang out with old guys; old guys know stuff.

  12. #12
    Boolit Buddy
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    i am not a expert on muzzleloaders by any means .. but why in the heck would a properly fitting ball and patch need pounded down the barrel .
    i admit i dont shoot my m/l a lot 6-7 times a year is about it . but i have used w w for round ball they go down the tube just the same as pure does .

    a couple taps with the palm on the starter and a smooth steady push on the ram rod till seated .. i never noticed any differance in loading .

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    Worst case, a WW round ball in a muzzle loading rifle might require adjusting the patch thickness to account for a thousandth or two difference in diameter. Loading in a C&B revolver, as noted above, is another story; the combination of harder and larger is a bad one, because both significantly increase the effort required to shave that little ring of lead (or swage down the ball, if your chambers are chamfered). One possible solution for C&B might be to presize the balls to .001 over chamber size; that'll minimize the shaving required, hence the force needed. Whether that's enough to preserve the loading lever and bushing is a question I can't answer...

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    you must fully understand how a patch works. the weave of the patch gites into the soft lead. now if you are using a harder ball it takes more effort to get that fit and get it down the barrel. yes i do not beleive in using ww for round ball.

  15. #15
    Moderator Emeritus / Trusted loob groove dealer


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    The weave of the patch does not need to get into a ball. The ball is surrounded by the patch, and will spin just fine as it goes up the bore. Yes, you do need a tight fit, but this idea just isn't correct. The patch is more of a gas check then anything.
    The solid soft lead bullet is undoubtably the best and most satisfactory expanding bullet that has ever been designed. It invariably mushrooms perfectly, and never breaks up. With the metal base that is essential for velocities of 2000 f.s. and upwards to protect the naked base, these metal-based soft lead bullets are splendid.
    John Taylor - "African Rifles and Cartridges"

    Forget everything you know about loading jacketed bullets. This is a whole new ball game!


  16. #16
    Boolit Mold
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    I have a 32cal Traditions,both F/L and percussion,2- 36 cal T/C seneca's,a 45 cal T/C Hawkin, A 50 cal T/c Hawkin,2 Traditions Hawkins one flint one perc, and have never shot anything but ww lead balls out of any of them, never haveing a problem with any of them since 1970. I have played with patch material to control the tightness.

  17. #17
    Boolit Mold
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    Forgot I picked up a 54 cal T/C hawkin last week , it loves the ww balls too.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master Maven's Avatar
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    All, As has been mentioned above, one reason to use WW's is to conserve your Pb supply. Another is to give a slight increase in RB diameter (very slight in fact) when using what turns out to be an undersized mold (more common than the reverse in my experience). You can compensate for a too tight WW ball by using a slightly thinner patch. Two of my RB rifles loved the WWRB's, but my inline and smoothie don't.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    the patch does more then just a gas check. it is more like a jacket. but i will not argue about it it will not change your mind. so do it the way you want.

  20. #20
    Boolit Master


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    The one thing I discovered years ago, is that a patched round ball does not need to be tight to shoot well. In my 32cal I start the patched ball with my thumb, followed by the ramrod. It shoots well enough to take a squirrel's head off every time out to 35 yards. My 50cals if I want to shoot tooth picks into with them I will use a patch and ball tight enough to require a short starter, but if I want a hunting load that will shoot inside of 3 inches at 100 yards it is one that I start with my thumb and leave the short starter at home. If your load is so tight that you can't easily seat it with out beating on the ball it is too tight. If you think you have to have a tight load for accuracy, and have to deform the ball by pounding it in, the deformation to the ball will cause more accuracy problems than a loose patch and ball combo.

    Best wishes,

    Joe
    WWG1WGA


    Tyrants use the force of the people to chain and subjugate-that is, enyoke the people. They then plough with them as men do with oxen yoked. Thus the spirit of liberty and innovation is reduced by bayonets, and principles are struck dumb by cannon shot: Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

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
GC Gas Check