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rifle balls
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My Son Jofus
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Real Name: Anonymous

PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2008 8:58 am    Post subject: rifle balls Reply with quote

Popular opinion states that you should only use pure lead round balls in a muzzle loading rifle,as opposed to lead/tin/antimony. Wouldn't a proper patch keep the ball from directly touching the rifling? Aren't mordern steel barrels considerbly harder than the hardest lead componds? Bronze and copper jacketed bullets in center fire rifles don't seem to cause excessive wear on rifling at moderate velocities and these are harder than lead. How much of the lead that was shot through historical firearms was pure lead any way? Just looking for thoughts on stories from oldtimers.
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Harrod
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Real Name: Tim Matherly

PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2008 9:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is just a thought but mayhaps the desire for pure,soft lead has somethin' to do with what the ball does when it hits it's target. (i.e. deer, bear,bad guy) It seems to me that soft lead would flatten out better thus creatin' a larger wound channel and expendin' energy quicker which might result in a cleaner kill.
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Rich Pierce
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Real Name: Richard Pierce

PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2008 10:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In cartridge guns or breechloaders of any kind, the bullet can be harder and loaded into an unrifled chamber behind the rifling. Then when the charge explodes, it is forced forward into the rifling and must make a seal somehow without a patch. That is done by using a bullet that is bore diameter (groove depth). A harder alloy bullet of bore diameter could not be loaded from the muzzle with or without a patch because it would be too hard to deform to the rifling and too tight a fit. With a patched round ball the lead must be so soft that it is deformed to the rifling on loading even when a cloth patch is making up some of the difference between ball diameter and bore diameter. If you pull a ball that has been loaded, you will see the weave of the patch on the ball where the lands of the rifling are. With a harder alloy, the ball will be too hard to load and will not be gripped properly. Plus we want the ball to expand on impact for deer-sized game.
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captchee
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Real Name: charles starks

PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2008 10:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The only way a patched RB will contact the rifling is IF the integrity of the patch is lost . This makes no difference if you are using soft lead , glass , low lead alloys , brass or copper
Concerning conical or bore size projectiles and such .
Leading or with copper jackets , copper fouling of the rifling , becomes an issue which must be addressed to ensure accuracy is not compromised over time


Its not so much the hardness of the barrel material as much as it is soft leads ability of the patch to grip the projectile and thus impart the spin of the rifling .

If the patch cannot hold . Grip the projectile , the projectile slips the patch and thus full rotation of the rifling is not imparted to the projectile
That being said harder alloys can be used if a way is provided for the patch to grip the RB .
Because the patch material when used with soft lead compresses into the lead , loading is also easier .
However if your using say a brass RB and have engraved checkering around the circumference of the ball , the patch will also press into that checkering .
But something to remember here is also weights which change with different alloys . Thus when you make a change , you also have to work up a full load for that change which means powder and patch

As to what the projectile does on target or in flight .
Soft lead has its limits . Roughly soft lead starts losing its integrity at just over 2200 fps . Thus harder alloys hold together better if your reaching velocities over that limit .

Concerning effects on target . Harder alloys have better penetration at distances ,but provide a smaller primary wound channel .
Softer alloys and pure lead have less penetration but provide a little larger primary wound channel

So the issue is really what your after at a given distance . IE large wound without complete penetration OR smaller wound but complete penetration. Both situations have their positive and negatives .
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knappinman
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Joined: 17 May 2007
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Real Name: Jason Vilos

PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2008 10:48 am    Post subject: lead ball Reply with quote

I have shot several rounds of tire weight lead cast to .490 with my rifle. I dont use a tight patch combo anyway because I dont use a short starter and when I am after rabbits with a 50 cal. I dont want much expansion. not to mention how many paper punching shots we all fire every year. my gun seems to be just as accurate. In fact a couple of years ago I took the head off a grouse at 25 yds with my tennessee rifle, it was tire weight lead ball that did the job and it was dead on. I would say it doesnt hurt to experiment. you may have slight change in accuracy but I havn't noticed any. I still use pure lead when hunting large game though. If you are using a super tight patch switch to something a little looser and see if it works if you have burn out try using a tighter weave on a thinner cloth sometimes even if the cloth is thin if it has a tight weave you wont have any burn out. good luck. by the way if you do decide to try tire weight lead it is free for the taking many times from your local tire place and they have to pay to dispose of it in many cases so they will fill a bucket up for you in less than a day. It melts easily but has a lot of impurities such as brake dust and road grime so you have to make sure you have good ventilation when you melt it (it stinks) I use a small cast iron skillet to melt the lead so I can scrape all of the junk off the top before cast. the new tire weights have some sort of painted coating that stinks horribly when melted. I guess cause we are so concerned about lead poisoning any way I say experiment and have fun. if nothing else a 50 cal tire weight ball makes great wrist rocket ammo LOL

one more thing on tire weights, they are a pain to pull if you load without powder make sure you have a range rod for pulling ball, or make sure you can get powder behind the ball through the touch hole or something otherwise you will likely break your ramrod pulling the ball
jason
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captchee
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Joined: 07 Jun 2007
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Real Name: charles starks

PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2008 10:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rich Pierce wrote:
In cartridge guns or breechloaders of any kind, the bullet can be harder and loaded into an unrifled chamber behind the rifling. Then when the charge explodes, it is forced forward into the rifling and must make a seal somehow without a patch. That is done by using a bullet that is bore diameter (groove depth). A harder alloy bullet of bore diameter could not be loaded from the muzzle with or without a patch because it would be too hard to deform to the rifling and too tight a fit. With a patched round ball the lead must be so soft that it is deformed to the rifling on loading even when a cloth patch is making up some of the difference between ball diameter and bore diameter. If you pull a ball that has been loaded, you will see the weave of the patch on the ball where the lands of the rifling are. With a harder alloy, the ball will be too hard to load and will not be gripped properly. Plus we want the ball to expand on impact for deer-sized game.


Rich . what you are speaking of is called engraving
IE a breech loader shooting a conical , engraves the projectile to the rifling at ignition . This is done obviously under very high pressure
Also the rifling for these rifles is much different then the rifling used for the RB .
A true dedicated rifling for conical , be the soft lead or alloy is much finer then the deep rifling used for a patched round ball.

Hard alloy bullets can be loaded from the muzzle . But this causes its on unique problems .
Especially when trying to engrave said projectil to the deeper groves of a RB barrel Also normally they are not as tight to bore diameter as say a modern center fire is .
As such the bullet designs must be little different .
IE they many times have a hollow base OR as part of their design they only have one ring that is maybe 1/1000 under bore while the rest of the 2. 3 and sometime 4 bands being 2-3/1000 under bore .
Bands being the rings which a lube is placed between
With this being the case the projectile is engraved to the rifling though not sealed . The seal happens on ignition when the projectile base expands from orbitration .
Where with say a modern center fire , this orbitration happens while the projectile is starting to engrave .

The harder the alloy the more difficult it is to get started / engraved to the rifling buy hand . Thus normally these harder alloys have a smaller gas ring or primary ring so as to easy the loading .
This is also one of the reasons that many of these type of rounds are well under bore size and use a sabot . IE the softer material of the sabot more easily engraves to the rifling while at the same time gripping the projectile . . They also because of this harder alloy , allow for much higher velocities without losing their integrity or even much higher velocities by going to a completely sub caliber round .
Now im not saying I support the above , im just trying to explain the reasoning behind it
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Rich Pierce
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Real Name: Richard Pierce

PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2008 2:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Capchee, I think we are saying the same things. Preachin to the choir!
;-)
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Lloyd Moler
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Real Name: Lloyd Moler

PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2008 5:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have been shooting wheelweight balls for years. I started out shooting them in smoothbores. If you wad instead of patch, you will get less leading than with pure lead balls.

A few years ago, (after taking a nice Shiras Moose with my .50 caliber flintlock Isaac Hains copy) I went to shooting hard lead balls in my rifle guns about the same amount as pure lead. Can't tell the difference. Of course, I can't hit a gnat in the a** at a hundred yards either. Probably could if I could see the gnat at a hundred yards though.

Anyways, the thing that changed my mind was, before I went moose hunting, I was discussing penetration of roundball with a friend and customer from down in Oregon who goes to northern Alberta every year moose hunting with modern rifles. He told me to make some penetration test before I settled on pure lead round balls for moose hunting.

For the test, I used Red Fir 2 X 6's stacked on top of each other at 50 yards. Using pure lead balls, 110 grains of FFg, the ball only penetrated 3 of the 2 X 6's and dented the 4th. Then I shot again using a 50/50 mixture of pure lead and wheelweights. Penetrated 5 of the 2X6's and kept on going down range.

When you consider making a heart shot at a moose, that ball is penetrating almost 1/2 inch of tough hide, then probably trying to go through at least 3/8 inch of extremely tough rib bones, then almost 2 foot of meat and body cavity, just to get to the heart. I wasn't sure that pure lead could do the job.

In my case, same load, moose at 20 yards, I was shooting uphill, the ball went through the skin, broke a rib as it went through, penetrated the heart, the off side lung, hit a rib on the off side, ricochet upwards went through the spine and lodged under the skin next to the spine.

I was glad that I chose a hard lead ball.

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Lloyd Moler
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knappinman
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Real Name: Jason Vilos

PostPosted: Thu Aug 14, 2008 8:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lloyd, I have only hunted deer with my ml because the regs require a heavier projectile for Elk and Moose here and a 50 roundball is all I am shooting right now so it is only deer for me, you know till I get my smoothbore, that penetration test would be fun with ballistics gel. I have always wanted to do something like that, everytime I see the mythbusters using ballistics gel I think "man I need to get some of that stuff to play with
Jason
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Ben Coogle
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 14, 2008 8:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Search "Ballistics Gel". Plenty of receipes! Ben
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Lloyd Moler
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Real Name: Lloyd Moler

PostPosted: Thu Aug 14, 2008 9:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jason,
I don't know anything about Ballistics Gel. I try to keep everything as simple as I can. I patch with either linen or pillowticking and when just doing general shooting, spit to lube the patch. When I hunt, because the ball sits for such long periods in the same place in the tube, I use bear oil for a patch lube. (Don't want my patch rusted to the bore.)

I generally load my gun at the first of the season and that charge stays in there until I shoot at my game. Several of my hunting buddies fire their charge and clean the gun every night. I don't. Never found the need.

Year before last, I didn't hunt anything but deer and I didn't see one that I wanted, so that load stayed in my gun until about March. When I got ready to unload it, I picked the torchhole, primed and shot dead center into a fencepost out back of the house. No hang, no nothing.

When I went moose hunting, I used the .50 cal. because that was the only rifle I had at the time. (You know the story, gunbuilders never have any guns and cobblers kids run around barefooted, and a carpenters house is never finished. lol) Since that time, because Idaho was talking about raising the caliber standards for elk and moose, I made myself a .58 Flint English Sporting Rifle for my big game gun. My eyes have also got pretty bad so it has a peep sight.

I'm getting to be what they use to say "a little long in the tooth," and have, by the grace of God, been able to hunt a lot of game, all over the world. I don't think I would change much if I could run through this life all over again.

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Lloyd Moler
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Ben Coogle
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2008 8:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was just looking at the May "Muzzle Blasts" magazine and the 'Bevel Brothers' column is devoted to this question.

Thier conclusion is that hard bullets must have thinner patches (or smaller balls) but accuracy doesn't seem to be affected.
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Loyalist Dave
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 21, 2008 8:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

WOW learned somethings new here, thanks folks.

I was taught that the lead alloys when cool are often larger in diameter than all-lead, so that a tight ball-patch combo may not load if you go to wheel weights. I tried it once, used some wheelweight in my mold, and sure enough in my case, the ball just wouldn't load. I was also told that perhaps a very hard alloy would zip through the deer instead of deforming, causing less damage, and a not so quick kill. Tough to measure the second bit, but I use all lead when hunting and no worries so far.

LD

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Beowulf65
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 21, 2008 1:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Can you melt pewter and use that for your round ball, its a soft metal but will it work? I was just wonder'n since my son's got a ton of them old pewter figures (not worth anything and they just sit in box in the garage) and I was wondering if that would work for target practice.
Thanks
Jim
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Lloyd Moler
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Real Name: Lloyd Moler

PostPosted: Thu Aug 21, 2008 5:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes,
You can melt pewter and use them for balls. You may have to use a slightly smaller ball and a thicker patch, but it will work.

However, if those are 18th century style pewter figures, they would be much more valuable sold on the round robin than shot as round balls.

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Lloyd Moler
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