Lee PrecisionInline FabricationRotoMetals2Wideners
Titan ReloadingRepackboxADvertise hereMidSouth Shooters Supply

Results 1 to 13 of 13

Thread: Facts needed on loading a round ball in a rifled gun.

  1. #1
    Boolit Master



    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Posts
    1,480

    Facts needed on loading a round ball in a rifled gun.

    I have a .45cal Hawken that I want to start shooting. I have experience with .69 cal round balls in a smooth bore, but none with a rifled bore. I bought a .445 mould and and cast some balls using range scrap I use fore my .69 cal round balls. The range scrap I recover as a fair amount of hard lead in it from handgun shooters shooting unjacketed Boolits that tend to use hard lead.

    Anyway it has worked fine for smooth bore, but I am starting to wonder if I need pure lead for rifled barrels. I was under the impression that pure lead was only important for mini balls and the wad would take up the space in the rifling otherwise.

    Does the lead of the ball have to deform to the rifling even when using a patch?

    I see lots of videos of people hammering in patched balls. Is that what you really need to do? Iím not crazy about doing it, because I shoot a lot of antique guns donít like the idea of beating on them.

    I have a .445 cal mold and am prepared to buy a .440 if needed.

    All advice appreciated on where to go from here.

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Boolit Master


    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    North central Ohio
    Posts
    1,028
    I usually utilize a .440 in my .45 cal muzzleloaders, pure lead and a .015 patch with 50/50 beeswax/unsalted lard for a patch lube. Balls do not deform to engage the rifling, however there are a few exceptions to this rule. The ball never touches the rifling, spin is imparted by the patch engaging the rifling. A proper fitting patch will exhibit a cross scorched on it after firing, any holes or other damage other than the cross mark will indicate that the ball/patch combination in not correct. You can adjust your ball patch combination so you don't even need a ball starter for the first couple shots, the loading should be a smooth push down to your powder charge. If you have to hammer a ball down the barrel, your not doing something right. As to propellant, I use FFG blackpowder in all my sidelocks, Pyrodex is harder to ignite reliably. Dangerous path your starting down, very addicting.
    Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.Ē

    ― Confucius

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    South Texas
    Posts
    586
    Pure lead is best for a patched round ball or a Minie' ball!

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Posts
    959
    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Michel View Post
    I usually utilize a .440 in my .45 cal muzzleloaders, pure lead and a .015 patch with 50/50 beeswax/unsalted lard for a patch lube. Balls do not deform to engage the rifling, however there are a few exceptions to this rule. The ball never touches the rifling, spin is imparted by the patch engaging the rifling. A proper fitting patch will exhibit a cross scorched on it after firing, any holes or other damage other than the cross mark will indicate that the ball/patch combination in not correct. You can adjust your ball patch combination so you don't even need a ball starter for the first couple shots, the loading should be a smooth push down to your powder charge. If you have to hammer a ball down the barrel, your not doing something right. As to propellant, I use FFG blackpowder in all my sidelocks, Pyrodex is harder to ignite reliably. Dangerous path your starting down, very addicting.
    Pure lead does upon ignition of powder charge does engage rifling in a round ball or minni type projectile ! the patched ball shows engraving because the patch has to go somewhere forced by rifling and the minni gets its based deformed/Flared to engage the rifling (again being deformed) .To fast a speed and it might strip leading to poor accuracy in the minni or blown patch in the round ball . As far as tight loading woods walks hunting are one thing as for target tight loading wins every time its tried with heavier patch /ball combos requiring some competitors to use not only short starters but (even mallets ) to get the ball rollin/Ed

  5. #5
    Boolit Master RU shooter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    SW Pa.
    Posts
    2,515
    Even with pure dead soft lead most will use a ball starter to get it in the barrel , once in the barrel both in my experience load the same with your loading rod the rest of the way . I've never had to beat on the rod once it's started using WW alloy a good smack with the palm of the hand on the starter is usually enough unless its a very tight combo . Imo use a 10 thou patch with the .445 and 15-18 thou with a.440 ball
    If you find yourself in a fair fight, your tactics suck!

  6. #6
    Boolit Master Maven's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Posts
    4,619
    I have a .445 cal mold and am prepared to buy a .440 if needed.


    Greg, A quick & dirty test (with an empty gun!) is to see whether a bare .445" RB will roll all the way down the barrel and out again. If it does, you'll just have to see which patch thickness and powder granulation & charge works best relative to accuracy and ease of starting and ramming home. As for RB's cast of WW's v. Pb, Waksupi has long used the former to good effect. I've tried them as well and saw no difference in offhand 25 yd. rifle shooting, but my smoothbore doesn't especially like them. Btw, I'd do the .445" RB test with a pure Pb ball as WW RB's will cast a tad larger. Hope this helps!

  7. #7
    Moderator Emeritus / Trusted loob groove dealer

    waksupi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Somers, Montana, a quaint little drinking village,with a severe hunting and fishing problem.
    Posts
    17,846
    .440 is more common, and I had one that needed a .426. I then called it a .43!
    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!


  8. #8
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Minnesota
    Posts
    3,476
    The other problem, is that the balls may come out oversized if cast with your alloy. Mine come out around .003" or so bigger when using COWW vs pure lead. It may not sound like much, but that combined with the hardness, can make them hard to load.

    I'm not a competition shooter, but I was able to get the best accuracy from my Thompson Centers with a ball that required a short starter. I never got accuracy by such a loose fit that could start with my thumb. On the other side, some times a load that needed a mallet shot good, but often it tore the patch, and ruined accuracy. Once I got that load, mine shoots exactly the same with both pure lead or COWW alloy. I was impressed with pure lead for hunting, but a hard alloy will allow a small caliber to penetrate more.

  9. #9
    Boolit Grand Master

    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Southern Illinois
    Posts
    5,900
    Mine also come out .003 larger with alloy. I didn't use to know that because I didn't use to have anything to measure them. I just figured at the time they were .440 or whatever other size I was casting. Even after I did have something to measure with I didn't give it a second though because they loaded and shot good. then I got my 54. That gun was tight and I had a hard time loading so I measured and saw I was coming out larger than the mould said. That's when I started to measure all my RBs and found the alloyed ones all came out .002/3 larger. "
    Aim small, miss small!

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by megasupermagnum View Post
    The other problem, is that the balls may come out oversized if cast with your alloy. Mine come out around .003" or so bigger when using COWW vs pure lead. It may not sound like much, but that combined with the hardness, can make them hard to load.

    I'm not a competition shooter, but I was able to get the best accuracy from my Thompson Centers with a ball that required a short starter. I never got accuracy by such a loose fit that could start with my thumb. On the other side, some times a load that needed a mallet shot good, but often it tore the patch, and ruined accuracy. Once I got that load, mine shoots exactly the same with both pure lead or COWW alloy. I was impressed with pure lead for hunting, but a hard alloy will allow a small caliber to penetrate more.
    I haven't heard from Dutch in a while....not sure if he is around anymore or not but he expressly indicated that a tight fit with moose milk was a key component. He has a whole 'system' for drilling accuracy from patched roundballs. Dead soft lead....prewashed and dried patches...hand cast and culled balls (keeping tight tight tolerance for weight and size)...moose milk or something like it pre soaked in the patch material (it's not as slippery as other lubes which his reasoning claims helps increase'dwell' time and allowing full complete and consistent burn of the powder) largest ball you can possibly work with and tons of experimentation with patch material, size of ball, lube and charge combo. Swab between each shot to give the best possible consistency in bore condition from shot to shot.

    Sent from my moto g(7) power using Tapatalk

  11. #11
    Boolit Master Maven's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Posts
    4,619
    John, Dutch is alive and well and often writes as Dr5x on the ML Forum.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Maven View Post
    John, Dutch is alive and well and often writes as Dr5x on the ML Forum.
    Awesome! He is an absolute treasures trove ...and more personality than any one of us can handle alone!

    Sent from my moto g(7) power using Tapatalk

  13. #13
    Boolit Master



    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Posts
    1,480
    Thanks for all the advise. I’ll be keeping it in mind while I’m trying out different combinations.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
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