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Thread: Need advice ref orignal Ballard in 38-55

  1. #1
    Boolit Mold
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    Mar 2011
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    Sammamish, WA
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    Need advice ref orignal Ballard in 38-55

    Hi, its been a while since I have been here but I am looking for some guidance. I am still getting into the single shot rifle shooting and recently got an original Ballard in 38-55. It is safe to shoot and has a nice bore but when I swaged it the bore sized out to .386/.387. I thought "oh boy...its shot out!! But in examining it I see it has nice rifling all the way down the bore and in swaging it, the lands printed nicely and neatly.

    Would this mean that I would have to shoot a paper patched bullet seeing as how I cannot find any cast bullets of this size? And how do I get to size my brass to fit this diameter bullet with the dies I have? does anyone know of an outfit that will make me an expander? I bought a Redding in size .379 but that isn't going to be big enough is it...


    Thanks in advance for your time.

    Ben

  2. #2
    Boolit Master bosterr's Avatar
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    Look at the Accurate Molds site. Tom will make anything and any size you want, that means diameter too.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
    bigted's Avatar
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    Yep Tom would help you rite out with any size needed.

    Have you fired it yet? Just curious as to what your chamber is like. That sure seems like a overly big diameter and bettin you will never be able load a boolit that big in a case AND chamber it. May have a muzzle loading rifle that you load the boolit down the barrel and seated on a powdered case with a wad crimped in the mouth. Muzzle loaded boolits like this have been very accurate having been engraved on the trip down the barrel to seat upon the wad and powdered case.
    WHEN ALL IS SAID AND DONE...MORE WILL BE SAID THEN DONE

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    I may have something that big, I can check over the weekend.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    pm me if interested, I will probably forget where I saw thread

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    Soft bullet cast as big as you can get in a case and pray for a big bump up? I bet you can get it to shoot well but it sounds as if it will take some work.
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  7. #7
    Boolit Master
    Chill Wills's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Berlin1960 View Post
    got an original Ballard in 38-55. It is safe to shoot and has a nice bore but when I swaged it the bore sized out to .386/.387. I thought "oh boy...its shot out!!

    Ben
    No offense meant, zero. But that is a very unlikely bore and groove. Are you sure?
    BTW, I assume you intend to mean 0.387" GROOVE diameter??? ...not bore diameter. Correct?

    My questions would be:

    Are you sure of the measurement?
    How did you measure? with a Micrometer?
    Did you just measure at the muzzle?
    Did you push a soft round ball all the way through from the chamber?
    Maybe did you take an undersized soft slug and somehow Swage or bump it up in the barrel and then push it out?

    It is an internet myth that the state of manufacturing, post civil war was that poor. Especially Ballard, they were very good at getting it right.

    I am not saying you are wrong, but from my own experience, I have had to go back and redo things that don't seem right.
    Like the carpenter; measure twice, cut once.
    Last edited by Chill Wills; 10-24-2018 at 10:14 AM.
    Chill Wills

  8. #8
    Boolit Mold
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    With all the research I have done on the 38-55, I have never heard of or have seen one with such a large groove measurement. It is not uncommon to see a .381. My 336 slugs at .379. I agree with Chill Wills to do another slug the bore thing. SAAMI specs show a .379 groove and that specs was good as of 1926. My C Sharps Hi Wall came with a .375 groove and a .368 bore; however I was told it was made to SAAMI specs.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    If your bore/groove dia. is right, your probably going to have to breech-seat a bullet that is either tapered or a cylindrical sided bullet that is at most .002" over bore dia. in throat & seat primed & charged case behind...as in Schuetzen type shooting. I myself have used a .002" over bore dia..(NOT groove dia!) 30-1 lead-tin alloy bullet in an original Ballard 4 1/2 Mid-range .40-63 and a case full of Swiss 1 1/2 black powder...was getting 1" groups at 100yds.

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