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Thread: Tailed round ball for shotguns

  1. #1
    Boolit Grand Master tazman's Avatar
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    Tailed round ball for shotguns

    A number of years ago, I read a couple of articles on using a tailed round ball for shotgun hunting large game.
    It was claiming accuracy equal to rifled slugs in a smoothbore at 50 yards or so.
    Has anyone done anything with that concept in the last few years?
    Search engine turned up nothing.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    Don't know what kind of tail, but a full bore RB is good to 50 yds by itself. Pretty big punch at both ends though! Longbow will be along I'm sure as RBs are his wheelhouse.
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  3. #3
    Boolit Master

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    AQ Slug ??? Not a round ball, looks like a half ball on a tail wad.
    Scott

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  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    I've thought about gluing a 1/2" felt wad to a round ball, but never did. A .735" round ball already is every bit as accurate as a rifled slug at 50 yards. It's about 75 yards where the rifled slug has the advantage, in a smooth bore anyway.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    I've used a slightly oversized RB in a shot cup in a rifled barrel with surprising accuracy. Jeff Tanner mold @.702. Never messed with a tail.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master Cap'n Morgan's Avatar
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    I seem to recall someone in here trying (or is that tying?) just that - or maybe we just discussed it. It could have been my fellow countryman "Chicken Thief" - Perhaps Longbow can chime in. His memory is way better than mine.
    Cap'n Morgan

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    There was a video on Youtube shooting something like this. It kind of looked like a Buck Rodgers Space Ship or a Ball with 4 fins coming off the back same dia as the ball.

    I doubt it did any better than just a plain ball. Not enough drag to make any difference and not enough fins out in the breeze to do anything either.

    Randy
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  8. #8
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Well... in my youthful ignorance I've tried about every decent to dumb idea out there.

    Yes, I've tried a couple of nitro card wads screwed to a RB, cloth tails (crossed cloth strips screwed to the ball), long ribbon trailing the ball, hot melt glue wad attached to the ball, 1/2" copper tube filled with hot melt glue attached to the ball, string dragging behind the ball, and my crowning glory a string about 8" long with a puff of egg yarn from fly tying.

    The only of those that worked well were the hot melt glue wad and copper tube filled with hot melt glue. Those are more or less AQ like.

    I've done all that with both full bore balls and 0.662" to 0.690" balls.

    As Hal says a plain old round ball of bore size or proper size in shotcup does just fine to 50+ yards (maybe to 60 or 70 yards but falls apart by 100 yards). In fact my good round ball loads beat almost all HB slug loads I've tried excluding factory loaded Foster slugs.

    What might do well is a round ball with hard felt wads attached. I have not tried that but will be playing with hard felt shortly in my Brenneke'ized Lee slug testing and with some other Brenneke like slugs.

    I have also tried 6 finned slugs from a mould I made, commercial Rocket slugs with 4 fins on a sort of RB shaped slug, made a mould to produce a teardrop slug I attached a tail wad too and a few other experiments.

    For me and my guns/loads/balls I have had decent success with:

    - hot melt glue tail wads poured on in forms with screw sticking out of the ball for anchor
    - as above using a piece of 1/2" copper pipe about 5/8" long for consistent edges ~ this did pretty well
    - my 6 finned slug (looks like the Corbin swaged finned slug here http://www.corbins.com/images/finslugs.gif except solid)

    The rest didn't work for me at all. Personally I think the wad column and attached tail wad are the weak points and getting consistent tail wads that don't deform (or that will recover after) is the trick. Hot melt glue works but is hard to get consistency with.

    Been told a guy wrote an article in a gun magazine many years ago about using long ribbon attached to a bore diameter round ball with terrific success. Tried that in several different formats but no go for me.

    Short answer ~ out to 50 or 60 yards it is hard to beat a simple round ball if loaded properly. AQ slugs are great out to at least 100 yards but hard for the home tinkerer to reproduce... in my experience anyway. Now Cap'n Morgan could make injection moulding dies for those tail wads and I bet he could equal AQ accuracy or better.

    Another thought is what BigMrTong is doing with 3D printing tail wads for Lee slugs. Using 3D printing to make a cup front end just a hair over half a ball diameter then a cylindrical or finned tail could be a poor man's way of getting a nice consistent tail wad. A 0.662" or 0.678" RB should be about the right size for snap in fit. If you have access to a 3D printer I'd try that one.

    If you want to play and have limited tools/facilities then drilling the ball for a screw and attaching hard felt or plastic tail wads should work reasonably well. I use my lathe to drill the RB's so they are consistent. A drill press should do though. Again, no real need for use to 50 yards or so.

    Certainly no harm in trying all of the above. Just because I couldn't get it to work doesn't mean it won't work.

    My experience anyway... lots of "That didn't go so well" events! And a few "I'll try that again!" I am revisiting those few now.

    Longbow

  9. #9
    Boolit Master

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    Good response longbow. Might well save many of us some frustration.

  10. #10
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Just looked back at photos of slugs I've tried and recovered slugs.

    I'll post the ball with tail here but I have to figure out a better way to post pics because I've about used up my space here. I have lots of pics!

    Click image for larger version. 

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    This was a shot in the dark (no pun intended) and may as well have been... accuracy was horrible! It is simple to do and after being told about the long ribbon attached to a ball (which I tied and it didn't work for me) I thought this might have a chance, but unfortunately... no!

    It is a ball with a tail as asked about though!

    Longbow

  11. #11
    Boolit Grand Master tazman's Avatar
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    Thank you all for your replies. I was wondering how that had turned out. Now I know.

  12. #12
    Boolit Grand Master

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    I will add that Wilhelm Brenneke had a pretty good idea! Brenneke slugs, Vitt-Boos, Gualandi and others similar with attached tail wad seem to do the best. I've tried enough other types of slugs to think that Brenneke, Vitt-Boos, Gualandi and the like are the way to go for a "better" slug.

    Plain old round balls loaded properly are quite good to 50 yards or better and in my experience meet or more often beat HB slugs home loaded. Some HB slugs may do better at extended range but I suspect attached tail wad slugs are the way to go.

    I have two HB slugs I will be re-testing. One is a wad slug and one is a bore diameter slug and both from home made moulds. Both have shown fairly consistent accuracy to 50 yards and beat Lee slugs as cast... for me and also beat most other slugs to 50 yards. The wad slug gave 3" to 4" groups at 50 yards pretty consistently but I had to oven heat treat the slugs so didn't pursue them at the time (several years ago). Since I am wearing out, I am re-visiting a few of the successes (or apparent successes) I have had to try to reproduce 50 yard groups I had in the past and if I can then extend to 100 yards to see if they hold up.

    My expectations are not high at this point. If I can keep home cast and loaded slugs under 8" at 100 yards I will be happy.

    Factory Foster slugs have done quite well for me and I believe that they can produce groups of 6" or less at 100 yards with the right load in the right gun. Home cast and loaded... well, I'm still trying!

    Others may have done better but in all honesty I have to say that I have not.

    Longbow

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    We use https://imgur.com/ for our pic storage has many options for posting in different formats and sizes.
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    Last edited by NyFirefighter357; 01-06-2019 at 09:10 AM.

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    I store all of my pictures in "My Pictures" in my cornputer. I have never had a need for Photobucket or the like.

    Randy
    "It's not how well you do what you know how to do,,,It's how well you do what you DON'T know how to do!"
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    Boolit Master Shawlerbrook's Avatar
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    Reminds me of fletchettes. I think that’s what they called the slugs with fins.
    https://www.google.com/search?ei=jKY...4yovEHIf3w4hM:

  16. #16
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Randy:

    How do you use them on Cast Boolits?

    My pics are on the computer as well but I have to upload to Cast Boolits then they take up space of which I am about out.

    Here's another anyway. Looks pretty cool but accuracy was not there. Might be better in a tighter bore and my Slugster does have a tighter bore. I wanted a ribbed Brenneke type slug to be choke friendly so decided to make a mould. Before I got to final machining I realized I could make a multi finned slug so decided to give it a try:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I made them 525 gr. so I could use Lyman sabot slug load data. They seemed to be nose heavy with balance point well ahead of center of form and they flew nose on to at least 50 yards punching clean gear shaped holes in targets (no obvious yaw). However, groups were large. Also, I had to oven heat treat to keep fins from collapsing. Yes even with those thick fins!

    That's a little more like a flechette.

    Longbow

  17. #17
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    Yes you upload them to Cast Boolits and when you get too many you go into Private Messages and scroll down to the Miscellaneous/ Attachments and delete ones that aren't pertinent any longer.

    I figure if someone hasn't looked at my pictures in 6 months they probably aren't going to.

    Also once you upload a pic to Cast Boolits you can reuse those pics as many times as you want in other posts with no additional space charged to you. I do this all the time, and you will notice that many of my pics have been posted before. I bet I've placed the pic of the chamber mouth of My Marlin .44 50 times on different threads.

    Fletchettes are little darts which are essentially 4-6d nails with fins smashed on them instead of a head. They were loaded in 12 ga shells in Vietnam and called "Beehive Rounds." They were loaded with half the Fletchettes facing forward and half back which turned around immediately after launch. I think Cheaper Than Dirt was selling them by the pound a while back. Gooks ran when you yelled Beehive! or so I'm told and for good reason.

    But the King of the Beehive Anti Personnel Rounds was the 105 MM Howitzer rounds which had like 25 lbs of them in each round.

    Google "105 MM Howitzer Beehive Round" and hit images and you can see what these things look like and how they were used. They were fired over a battlefield and the shell exploded and sent it's contents strait down on top of the intended target.

    This is NOT playtime, this is some of the most vicious ordinance there ever was. You are talking turning a battlefield into ground meat! literally !!! If you didn't die you surely wished you had. The things go thru meat in a completely unpredictable manner and they don't just stick in you, they penetrate you,,, big time.

    It's like getting stung by 50 or so of those Monster Hornets from Japan except the stingers are made of steel and are 1 1/4" long and don't stop at the surface, and they stay in you.

    I could go on but suffice to say you don't want to get hit with a Beehive round.

    Oh,,, they are fine loaded at Trap Load Velocities..

    Randy
    Last edited by W.R.Buchanan; 01-07-2019 at 10:08 PM.
    "It's not how well you do what you know how to do,,,It's how well you do what you DON'T know how to do!"
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  18. #18
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Yes, true enough. My finned lugs are little large to be called flechettes... and a little short and fat. They do share the vanes though.

    Regardless, they didn't work too well.

    As for the photos, yes, I have deleted old photos then subsequently been asked where they were when someone looked up old posts. Ajay use IMGUR. I used to use Photobucket but then they went all weird and decided to kidnap pics. I haven't bothered with anything else. I suspect Google has a similar free photo hosting but haven't checked.

    For now, I'll just go back and delete old pics so I can post more new ones.

    I do have several more of tailed, finned and other abominable things I have done to balls and slugs.

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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