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Thread: Nessler Ball & Ribbed Slug

  1. #1
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Nessler Ball & Ribbed Slug

    Well, I finally got around to making a couple of new moulds ~ one for a Nessler Ball and one for a ribbed hollow base slug.

    For those not familiar with the Nessler Ball, it was developed in about the middle of the 1800's by a Belgian fellow and was intended to replace round balls in smoothbore muskets. It was designed similar to a Minie in that it is undersize for the bore so allows for fouling and was reputed to increase both accuracy and range. I can buy the improved accuracy if it behaves like a Foster slug (shuttlecock design) and doesn't tumble ~ round balls pick up random spins after a bit of travel then tend to veer off target like a curve ball. As for increased range, I cannot see how such a stubby little slug would be any more aerodynamic than a round ball.

    I had read about Nessler balls several years ago and had wondered about the claims of improved accuracy and trajectory. They were used by several European countries and played a large part in the Crimean war and were also used in the American Civil War so must had had something going for them. However, they were quickly displaced by the Minie Ball and rifled guns.

    I had found some pictures of Russian Nesslers and so traced and scaled one then 3D modeled it to get drawings and make a mould. However, I recently found a dimensioned drawing:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    So used that to model then scaled up to 0.729" from 0.677". If it works out then the original size would be a good wad slug and weighs about 460 grs. in pure lead.

    I also wanted to try another hollow base design more or less like the turbo design bikerbeans is using so modified my ribbed slug mould (Brenneke like) to a similar proportion. Not quite sure why I went with ribs instead of smooth but that's what I did. It has a good forward balance point and fairly thick nose.

    The ribbed slugs didn't cast as well as hoped due to slightly cool mould then when it warmed up enough the skirts started cracking. It needs a wee bit more release angle to ease out of the mould. I have made a different version of this and finned slugs as well successfully in the past so I will get that sorted out shortly.

    Here's a photo of the two new slugs waiting to be tested:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I cast up 20 of the Nesslers and 12 or 15 ribbed slugs to test before I had ejection problems.

    The Nessler is about as close as I could make it and it came out pretty well. No, I have no idea why the weird little tit is in the middle. It weighs 550 grs.

    The ribbed slug comes in at 520 grs.

    While I wouldn't have expected it the Nessler balances right about where the ogive ends at the little shoulder. I made a push out mould so use a nose form which leaves a very small shoulder. Otherwise it is very close to the Nessler drawing. I hear good reports of the Lee 7/8 oz. slug accuracy and it is short and stubby so maybe this little guy has a chance. We'll see.

    Testing will hopefully happen by next weekend (not this coming weekend). Wish me luck!

    Longbow

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    Hooray! is the finned slug full bore too? Did the rifled choke tube project see any progress this winter? Looking at that stubby nessler I'm thinking a little spin would go a long way.

  3. #3
    Boolit Grand Master

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    The ribbed slug is also full bore. I made a bronze mould a couple of years ago to make a ribbed Brenneke style and while putting it together realized I could make a teardrop nose finned slug using the same core so I did. They looked very cool but fins collapsed until I heat treated . After that they were tough and did not distort but accuracy was less than stellar so I carried on and made the Brenneke style slugs so short fat ribbed lead nose and attached wads. The attached wads are the problem ~ trying to get them all the same and attached all the same... even with jigs.

    So, I decided to give a longer HB slug a go again but decided ribs would cut bore friction some and I always worry about chokes so ribs allow "squish".

    I also have a pending order of the BPI HB12 specialty wads coming:

    http://www.ballisticproducts.com/HB1...tinfo/072HB12/

    The intent is to use these as attached wads. I still like Brenneke style slugs and have had some good successes but that wad issue is a constant problem with consistency. If I could injection mould attached wads then press them into slugs (AQ like) life would be good but that is a bit much for the home tinkerer. Anyway, we'll see how these do.

    I am hoping the Nessler ball works because it is the right weight and there is some interesting history with it. I figure it is pretty short and stubby but so is the Lee 7/8 oz. slug so maybe it has a chance. I am always trying to stretch them out to try to get the heavy nose away from the light skirt. Maybe going too far?

    The Nessler isn't as choke friendly as I would like but if it flies well and gives decent accuracy then the original size on the drawing is perfect fit for a wad slug which should be fine through a choke should it meet one. I have another mould I can bore out to 0.675"/0.680" so I might just do that.

    Yes, you are right, the full bore version may do well in rifled gun. I can ship you some to try if you want. I am still bent on making progress with a smoothbore. Ultimately I want a side by hammer gun with rifle sights on it ~ the poor man's double "rifle".

    No, I didn't not get much more done on the rifled choke tube. I machined the barrel adaptor then archery season hit, then vacation, then the dog got sick and went downhill over about 2 months, then my mother moved into an assisted living facility so several trips to Vancouver (8 hours away). I am just now getting back into things I left last spring.

    Longbow

  4. #4
    Boolit Mold BartSr's Avatar
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    I would like to see the range report, when it comes along. These would work good in my 12ga smoothie.

    Paul
    BartSr

  5. #5
    Boolit Master Cap'n Morgan's Avatar
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    Looking good, Longbow. The Nessler ball might just be the better mouse trap when it comes to"round" balls. If it works as intended it should provide (almost) linear dispersion beyond fifty yards. I'm crossing my fingers...

    Over here I'm still tinkering with the Brenneke slug. I've designed a combined injection mold for a PP wad for the Brenneke and an all-in-one PP wad with an inserted solid slug for loading without any cards or felt wads. Now I just need to find the time to actually machine the mold parts. We run a standard mold system on some our plastic injection machines where you only replace the two mold parts. This is great for fast prototype designs and the mold can be made from aluminium or brass which, although rather soft, will last for several thousand shots.

    This is what the "all-in-one" 1-1/8 ounce slug should end up looking like:
    Cap'n Morgan

  6. #6
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Good to hear from you Cap'n but what's with the teaser!?! no photos or link after the ":"

    That's just plain mean!

    I will be looking forward to your results. Your Brennekes are very nice indeed.

    I prefer the Brenneke style and I think common sense says it shoul dbe a winner but I find that attached wad to be the stumbling block for a home tinkerer anyway. I could machine attached wads from polyehtylene or Delrin or something and I am sure they would work but... they would be time consuming to make... too time consuming.

    Looks like we could have some interesting posts coming up.

    Longbow

  7. #7
    Boolit Grand Master



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    Finally got a day off and this is great stuff. I like the idea of a lighter slug where I could use Red Dot or Unique. I wish I had the ability to create a mold. I appreciate the abilities of the members to innovate and create molds. I am coming around full circle to see if it is possible to get a light-weight slug to get decent accuracy out of a smooth-bore. I have tagged this thread.
    "Had his shooting been as good as his running, he might have given a better account of himself."
    James. C. Henderson

  8. #8
    Boolit Grand Master

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    jmort:

    I am with you on the lighter slug. Heavy slugs have their place but for general plinking and blowing stuff up a 1 oz. slug does just fine and there are a lot more load recipes available.

    I like something between 1 oz. and 525 grs. because there are so many recipes for 1 to 1 1/8 oz. slugs then the Lyman 525 gr. for which there are lots of recipes.

    I am hoping the Nessler or a modification (maybe deeper cavity) works as the original size is 0.677" so would fit into a standard shotcup perfectly. I tend to like the ease of loading using slug in shotcup for smoothbore. Lazy I know but it works well for me and shotcups are convenient.

    I hope to test these out next weekend and may get a wad slug moul dmade this week. We'll see.

    Longbow

  9. #9
    Boolit Master 6pt-sika's Avatar
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    I'd very much like molds of both those . But made in a size for the 10 gauge and to be used with the SP-10 wad .
    Go Manny Pacquiao !!!

    Double's , 6.5mm's , 444 Marlin , Sika Deer and my family in the Philippines

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    Longbow, I have been fervently awaiting a glowing report from your modified Nessler! both the full bore and the wad cup version......

  11. #11
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Hal:

    I haven't managed to get to the range yet. My wife is having some health issues and life in general has not been conducive to getting to the range. However, I do pan to make a concerted effort this weekend. If I do not get to the range I will be blazing away in the bush somewhere.

    I do not have the wad size Nessler mould made yet. I plan to try the full bore Nessler and see if it works. If so then I would prefer the wad size for easier more convenient loading. It is an easy mould to make.

    I really don't hold out too much hope for the Nessler simply because it is so short and fat I can't believe it will fly well. I do hope I am wrong though. It is actually a nice little slug of a convenient weight. Most are too heavy for my liking so if this works I will be happy.

    I will keep you posted.

    Longbow

  12. #12
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Okay then. I got to the range but there will be no "glowing reports" of Nessler accuracy unless I burn the target and bask in that glow!

    My load for both slugs was:

    - a relatively mild charge 35 grs. of Blue Dot
    - plastic gas seal cut off Claybuster wads
    - 17mm hard card wad (wads full length under Nesslers and cut down to suit the ribbed slugs)
    - nitro card wad
    - slug
    - fold crimp
    - CCI 209 primers
    - Federal hulls with paper basewad

    Accuracy of the Nesslers was poor. Accuracy of the ribbed slugs was very poor.

    I had not expected the Nesslers to perform as legend would have it and have to suspect that Mr. Nessler sold several governments a bill of goods to a certain extent. However, having shot naked 0.690"balls from my shotguns I do have to say the the Nessler accuracy at 50 yards is far better than a naked 0.690" ball. The smoothbore muskets of Nessler's day were loaded with loose fitting round balls so accuracy may have been as bad as my experiences with 0.690" balls in 12 ga. If so then the Nessler is an improvement over that at 50 yards anyway.

    Most of the Nessler holes in the target were round but a few look slightly cocked. I should have had a backer behind the target. Didn't think of taking one.

    The ribbed slugs punched two holes that were total keyholes but the rest were nose on and the holes look like a gear made them. The group is very large though.

    All shots were at 50 yards and the "bullseye" is 4" diameter.

    I had ten of each slug loaded but shot a couple into the berm to try to recover them. I think one Nessler and two ribbed slugs so one ribbed slug missed the paper! I did not manage to find a Nessler slug.

    I will not pursue the Nessler any further except possibly with an attached wad Brenneke style.

    I did learn something I suppose I should know by now with so many failures under my belt. I should have filled the cavities in the ribbed slugs.

    You can see in the photos that the slugs third and forth from the right have wads sticking in the cavities. The slug third from the right has an entire nitro card wad in it and the slug forth from the right has a bunch of hard card wad fiber in it.

    Note the extruded bumps on the recovered hard card wads. They were found on the ground at around 40 yards so must have hung onto the slugs for a bit.

    Also note that several of the slugs have smushed ribs from hitting the forcing cone or because they cocked entering the barrel... likely due to wads getting jammed into the cavities.

    None of the skirts appears to be badly distorted, belled or crushed which is good.

    I will give the ribbed slugs another chance with hot melt glue filled cavities. That should keep the wads out. if that works out then we will see how they shoot. If they shoot reasonably well then I will have to decide whether it is easier to fill cavities or make attached wad slugs.

    The ribbed slugs might make for a decent attached wad slug too.

    So that's it for today. One day I hope to get it right!

    Longbow
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  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    That merits an A for effort though I know its disappointing to harvest no fruit for all your efforts. That brings us to plan, uh, b, c, d.....r? Keep pluggin' er, sluggin Kent. How about I send you some lee 7/8 oz to try for yourself?

  14. #14
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Hogtamer:

    It wasn't all bad at all. First, I got to the range which is always good. Second, the ribbed slugs didn't deform at the skirts which is good since they are just air cooled range scrap. I am sure I have mentioned that skirt deformation is something I have found with most designs. So, I have a beefy enough skirt this time!

    Also, getting confirmation once again just how irritating wads up your butt can be is good. I had planned on filling the cavities but decided that with a nitro card wad under the slug and a hard card wad column under that ... "What could go wrong?" So, even with a thick skirt (read relatively small cavity opening) the wads still sneak in ~ so use a filler!

    I will retry these slugs with filler and if I can do it, an attached wad. A little more difficult with the ribbed slug unless I follow Cap'n Morgan's lead and make separate wads that plug in after... which is doable and maybe a good idea here.

    Another tidbit I gleaned from todays misadventure is that I think the hard card wad collapse/extrusion is likely the reason I had long Brenneke type slugs getting crushed ribs in the past. I had thought they were just cocking as they jumped through the forcing cone. I have never found the hard card wads before like today. To me that means a better wad column is critical, so plastic, felt... or something better than hard card wads.

    So, even after all my failures I am still learning! Whoda thunk an old guy like me could still be taught anything? I may be slow but I'm not dumb!

    This is just pushing me back to Brenneke type slugs though. I need a better attached wad is all.

    Plans... yeah I think I have been around the clock at least twice so this may have been ZZ so next plan is AA... I dunno, "AA" seems optimistic doesn't it? This could be the one!

    Longbow

  15. #15
    Boolit Master Cap'n Morgan's Avatar
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    Longbow.
    If it can be of any comfort your findings matches mine; you can't compromise on the wads. The original Brenneke has a felt wad sandwiched between two hard cards - and it has a center column in the cavity for extra support. Part of the problem, I believe, is the large difference between chamber and bore diameter. I have picked up several wads at the local range where a twisted sealing lip indicated a blow-by and I have seen the same thing happen with some of my own slugs.

    I'm well into the process of making an injection mold for a polypropylene wad for my slug. If it works out as I hope, it will be "semi-solid" and much lighter than the polyester resin/epoxy wads I normally use. At the same time the mold will also produce a wad/sleeve for a slug pretty much like this one:



    Time will tell which design is the most accurate.
    From a hunting view, the sleeve/slug are probably the most efficient as it will not collapse as easily as the hollow Brenneke slug. Also the slug can be made from hard lead alloy or zinc - maybe even turned from steel or brass since it doesn't need to swage down when passing through a choke.
    Cap'n Morgan

  16. #16
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Cap'n Morgan:

    Well, my previous "missing photo" comment was unfounded. I realized that I was not seeing photos in several other posts so figured something was wrong. I normally use Opera as my browser so tried Google Chrome and voila! pictures! And yours is showing up as well. Go figure! I guess a glitch in Opera.

    Yes, I like the sleeve idea. Moderate weight slug in a long bore guiding/tail light sabot/sleeve/whatever. I was thinking along those lines myself after looking at the Hammerhead slugs. Also Greg Sappington had good results using a slug set into BPI CSD wads in a similar fashion.

    The Slug in sleeve idea or plug in wad like your Brenneke both appeal to me but it is difficult for the home tinkerer to produce those sorts of slugs unless components are available. Hot melt glue does pretty well for an attached wad but tends to get bubbles in it and obviously cannot directly contact the bore so has to be in a paper tube or used on a wad slug.

    I will be placing an order shortly to BPI for some of their special HB12 wads to try as attached wads. I will order some felt as well and try felt wads again but this time. I will make a "sizing punch" that just slides over the slug and shears the felt to slug diameter. I am pretty sure that's how Brenneke used to do it looking at the old classic slugs. I have never been able to get all the wads to line up right even using a jig so using an oversize wad then shearing to slug diameter after attachment may solve that. Still looking for easy basement solutions.

    I will certainly be looking forward to your final product and wish I had access to the tools and equipment you do... well and a dose of your skills would help too. Those are nice looking slugs. I am liking those. Excellent work!

    What is the ETA for the new Cap'n Morgan special slug?

    Longbow

  17. #17
    Boolit Master Cap'n Morgan's Avatar
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    What is the ETA for the new Cap'n Morgan special slug?
    Sometime around summer. Not sure about the year though...
    Cap'n Morgan

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    Cap'n , could zink be used for for that wad thingy or is that too heavy?
    Look twice, shoot once.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master Cap'n Morgan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nekshot View Post
    Cap'n , could zink be used for for that wad thingy or is that too heavy?
    Zinc would be fine for the core. It is slightly lighter than steel and brass, but has the advantage of being castable.
    Cap'n Morgan

  20. #20
    Boolit Bub yulzari's Avatar
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    FWIW I made a few Nessler type bullets in 20 bore a few years ago when researching smooth bore accuracy. The clue turned out to be in Nessler's assertions about 400 metre plus accuracy vis a vis round balls. Round balls become unstable when transiting supersonic to subsonic. Thus a well sorted round ball is accurate up to @ 100 metres if thrown down range with a large enough charge. After that is slows and suffers from this instability. The Nessler copes better with the transition. I found a round ball to be better up to 100 metres and the Nessler was really only was a clear improvement beyond 200 metres. Adding a string tail to the round ball brought it back up to exceed Nessler accuracy out to 200 metres.

    I concluded that: 1/. You may as well add a tail to a round ball. 2/. No soldier in battle was ever going to cope with the extreme holdovers necessary beyond 150 metres anyway. If he could see a target further away through the BP smoke. We are talking in multi metres of holdover at 400 metres. Essentially the Nessler is a neat party trick.

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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