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Thread: Question About Round Balls

  1. #1
    Boolit Man trapper44shooter's Avatar
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    Question About Round Balls

    Fellas will I need to use any lube on my round balls for my cap & revolver I am a GREENHORN as you can tell buy I really want to learn how to cast my own all I need is the furnace I am going with that LEE 4 20 Production Pot that is really all I can afford I just want to get everything right

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
    Tom W.'s Avatar
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    You will need some "Spit Ball" or Spit Patch or just plain Crisco to cover the balls to prevent any chance of a chain fire. It's been many years since I have fired my BP firearms, so I'm not so up to date on what is out there now.
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  3. #3
    Boolit Master rondog's Avatar
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    You'll want pure, soft lead for casting those, no hard alloys like wheelweights. You'd have a helluva time getting the balls into the chambers.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by rondog View Post
    You'll want pure, soft lead for casting those, no hard alloys like wheelweights. You'd have a helluva time getting the balls into the chambers.
    You can break the loading lever, if the balls are too hard. Ask me how I know.
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  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    yes, use soft lead, and the balls are a bit oversize to the cylinder
    as you load it, you shave off a tiny bit around the equator of the ball, seat it on powder
    then you top it off with crisco or favorite lube.
    my .45 cap&ball uses a .457" ball

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    trapper, no, you don't need to lube the balls themselves. Seat them firmly on the powder then fill the remaining space as others have said, with the lube of your choice. Crisco works good.

    Or, you can use lubed felt wads under the ball. Several outfits sell them or you can make your own.
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  7. #7
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    Lubed wool felt wads are your best choice. I make mine with wool window felt and Emmert's lube, cause I made lots of Emmerts years ago!
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  8. #8
    Boolit Master Maven's Avatar
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    What Wayne said!!!

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    I've tried Crisco over the ball, a Crisco soaked felt wad, and then nothing at all. So far my best accuracy has been with 25 grains FFg, a dry felt wad, and then the ball. No lube at all. I've not found a spec of leading, even with just a bare ball over 35 grains of powder.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master trails4u's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by megasupermagnum View Post
    I've tried Crisco over the ball, a Crisco soaked felt wad, and then nothing at all. So far my best accuracy has been with 25 grains FFg, a dry felt wad, and then the ball. No lube at all. I've not found a spec of leading, even with just a bare ball over 35 grains of powder.
    I'm pretty much in this camp. I'm not gonna say chainfire doesn't happen....it obviously does, but you'll never convince me it happens from the bore end of a cylinder with a properly fitted ball. I use a lubed wad between powder and ball.....but only for ease of cleaning/fouling control. The guys I shoot with INSIST on Crisco over the ball......I just don't have the personal experience to support the need. Someday my mind may be changed....but until then, I just don't think it's necessary.
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  11. #11
    Boolit Grand Master Outpost75's Avatar
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    Best is to get an Osborne punch of correct size and cut your own wads from window felt, cork gasket material or an old felt hat. You don't need to lubricate the wads. What I do is press a dry felt, card or cork wad over the powder and then apply a pea-sized dab of Crisco over the wad using a cake decorator before placing the ball over the chamber and seating it.

    You want a heavy enough powder charge that you can feel the powder compress before the rammer reaches the end of its stroke. If your powder measure doesn't throw quite enough powder to get good compression you can double up on the felt wadding or inject more grease under the ball.

    This is less messy than applying grease over the ball, the gun will be cleaner and will shoot well.
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  12. #12
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    What Outpost 75 said.

    I have seen a chainfire once. Scary as Heck, I was holding the Timer at an "End of Trail"
    Frontiersman sidematch that called for 2 Cap & Ball Revolvers, a single shot cartridge rifle and a SxS shotgun. All loaded with Black Powder.

    The 1st round chain fired the next two in line. The revolver went sailing straight up & back over the shooters head. And right by mine. Landed 12-15 feet behind us.

    Shooter was burned along the top of his hand from 2nd knuckle all along the top of his hand back to the thumb joint. Shooter was firing left handed.
    No one was hit by the flying revolver.

    Very disturbing. I still shot the Sidematch myself, loading my Colt 1860 clones as described by Outpost 75.
    But having been made a bit nervous by what just happened, I smeared some lube to fill in all loaded chambers.
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  13. #13
    Boolit Master Jedman's Avatar
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    I have watched Joesy Wales load his pistol many times and he doesn't use no stinking lube.

    Jedman

  14. #14
    Boolit Master


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    It's Hollywood, what do you expect ?
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  15. #15
    Boolit Mold
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    My question is, using the prelubed felt pads. How long can you leave the gun loaded before the wads would effect the powder?

  16. #16
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    that would depend on your temperature and how lube soaked your felt wad is. If you only have just enough lube on your wads leaching should be minimal at all temperatures but shouldn’t be a problem unless you go way overboard with the lube. Whatever leached onto the powder will prevent a small amount of the powder from burning and it will be ejected when you fire the gun. I wouldn’t leave a loaded cap and ball gun overnight any way though. Would be too worried the powder might start to absorb moisture from the air and cause corrosion in my cylinder.
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  17. #17
    Boolit Buddy
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    Lube under the ball can get squeezed into the powder and kill it. Have seen fizzles with a ball stuck in the barrel as a result so maybe moderation is the key there?

  18. #18
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    there is no need for Crisco or grease crap ON the ball itself. First shot merely blows the goop off the other chambers making the gun rather nasty to clean.

    1. round balls NEED to be round
    2. round balls NEED to shave a ring when seated into chamber
    3. chambers need to be ROUND.
    4. caps need to be seated correctly on nipples.

    From all accounts of REAL shooters shooting percussion, the ONLY time you get a chain fire from the FRONT is if you violate rules 1, 2, 3. Every other chain fire comes from caps not fitting correctly, or from the nipples to long and recoil forcing nipples up against the recoil shield and waking you up.

    IF you study colt patents, after 1850 he DID work with bullet lubricator systems built into the rammer of the revolver and into the ramrod of rifles. All he did was make a little device that would drop about a half aspirin size drop of oil onto the projectile. All in the name of making it easier to clean.

    a drop of jojoba oil will do the same.

  19. #19
    Boolit Mold
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    Having been around cap and ball revolvers a lot, I think correct percussion cap fit is a very important to prevent hangfires.
    I make sure mine fit very snugly, and then give them a little squeeze before pushing them on just to make sure. If one is to fall
    off during recoil, I think a hangfire is quite likely.
    Luckily, I haven't had one......yet.

  20. #20
    Boolit Buddy
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    nikonuser:

    You forgot no. 5:

    round balls NEED to be round.

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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