Author Topic: Best Pistol barrel caliber for a .615 ball  (Read 8933 times)

Offline 4ster

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Best Pistol barrel caliber for a .615 ball
« on: July 08, 2011, 07:21:03 PM »
Sorry for the dumb question but I have no experience with patched pistol ball.  I built a replica Ferguson and I am having fun learning how to shoot it.  It shoots a .615 RB.  But it doesn't use patches so I have learned nothing about loading a patched ball in a gun.

Now I want to build a pistol of the same period - that shoots the same ball.  I'm finding that there are a number of .62 caliber pistols available but obviously they are too small for a patched .615 ball. 

So I am going to have to spec a slightly larger barrel caliber and have the barrel custom built.  Should it be .63 or .64 caliber?

Steve
Steve

Offline Micah

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Re: Best Pistol barrel caliber for a .615 ball
« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2011, 07:46:26 PM »
you're kind of putting the wagon in front of the ox here. It would be much simpler and I think you'd be happier building the pistol you want then getting a ball and patch combo that works best. Probably cheaper too, not requireing a custom barrel. That'll give you the option to adjust the patch thickness to what works best for the way you shoot.
Michael Markey

Offline D. Taylor Sapergia

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Re: Best Pistol barrel caliber for a .615 ball
« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2011, 09:15:09 PM »

Good advice Micah.  4Ster, are you contemplating a RIFLED or SMOOTH bored pistol for that .615 ball?  That will make an enormous difference in bore size.
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Daryl

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Re: Best Pistol barrel caliber for a .615 ball
« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2011, 12:22:21 AM »
What's the groove diameter of that Ferguson to take such a small ball? The only modern made Ferguson I've seen, shot a .650" ball.

.615" is the correct size round ball for either a rifled .62 cal. rifle or .62 cal. rifled pistol. Some might use smaller sizes.  .600" and .610" are both easily aquired sizes.

.615" ball is too large for a smoothbore pistol of .62 calibre. A .590" to .595" would be more suitable.
   

Offline Bill of the 45th

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Re: Best Pistol barrel caliber for a .615 ball
« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2011, 12:39:32 AM »
Troy Roope, at Stonewall Creek, has Rayle octagon to round barrels in 20 ga./.62 smooth bore.  They probably work for you.  Give him a call an he can mike one for you to give you the actual bore.

Bill
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Offline 4ster

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Re: Best Pistol barrel caliber for a .615 ball
« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2011, 03:40:15 AM »

Good advice Micah.  4Ster, are you contemplating a RIFLED or SMOOTH bored pistol for that .615 ball?  That will make an enormous difference in bore size.

The pistol I have in mind is smooth bore. 
Steve

Offline 4ster

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Re: Best Pistol barrel caliber for a .615 ball
« Reply #6 on: July 09, 2011, 03:54:12 AM »
What's the groove diameter of that Ferguson to take such a small ball? The only modern made Ferguson I've seen, shot a .650" ball.
   
There has been quite a bit of discussion about the proper size ball to use in a Ferguson.  The research seems to indicate that it was originally fed British carbine round ball - .615.  The reading I've done says the gun gets gummed up in just a few shots using .650.   Leading and powder fouling accumulate really fast since no patch is used in the rifle.
Steve

Offline D. Taylor Sapergia

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Re: Best Pistol barrel caliber for a .615 ball
« Reply #7 on: July 09, 2011, 05:14:59 AM »
When I ordered my parts set from Jesse at TRS, I asked him what ball I should be shooting in it, and he immediately replied that the .650 was the ball.  So, I ordered my mold from Ray Rapine, and what a beauty.  Perfectly round balls exactly .650.  In shooting the rifle, and I only fired about twenty shots, I filled the chamber after forcing the ball to the end of the chamber with a little brass rod tool I made for the purpose, and closed the breech.  My first shot was at a ten inch length of 2 x 2 that was sticking up out of the berm at 100 metres, and I nailed it right in the middle.  That the sights were already filed to shoot centre at 100 impressed me quite a bit.  After about 8 rounds, I had to drop the screw out and brush it off, but was able to fire 8 shots without danger of breaking anything.  I would think that there'd be a considerable amount of gas loss with a ball as small as .615".
« Last Edit: July 09, 2011, 06:04:22 PM by Daryl »
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Offline D. Taylor Sapergia

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Re: Best Pistol barrel caliber for a .615 ball
« Reply #8 on: July 09, 2011, 05:19:28 AM »
A smooth bored pistol to shoot a .615" ball...let's see - .615" + .035" of compressed patch material (.0175 all around the ball) = .650 bore.  That means you could shoot that .615" pure lead ball and a patch about .020" thick, which would carry enough lubricant to allow you to load a second shot without wiping the bore.  Now, find a barrel maker who will make you a .650" bored smooth pistol barrel.

You asked for the "best pistol barrel for a .615" ball" - so that's my opinion.
« Last Edit: July 09, 2011, 05:20:43 AM by D. Taylor Sapergia »
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Offline 4ster

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Re: Best Pistol barrel caliber for a .615 ball
« Reply #9 on: July 09, 2011, 09:18:22 AM »
Mmmm, maybe this isn't such a great idea.  Thanks for the replies, they were not what I expected so I learned something.

Steve
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Offline Dphariss

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Re: Best Pistol barrel caliber for a .615 ball
« Reply #10 on: July 09, 2011, 05:22:52 PM »
Sorry for the dumb question but I have no experience with patched pistol ball.  I built a replica Ferguson and I am having fun learning how to shoot it.  It shoots a .615 RB.  But it doesn't use patches so I have learned nothing about loading a patched ball in a gun.

Now I want to build a pistol of the same period - that shoots the same ball.  I'm finding that there are a number of .62 caliber pistols available but obviously they are too small for a patched .615 ball. 

So I am going to have to spec a slightly larger barrel caliber and have the barrel custom built.  Should it be .63 or .64 caliber?

Steve

A 62 RIFLED barrel will use a .615 ball fine.

Dan
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Daryl

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Re: Best Pistol barrel caliber for a .615 ball
« Reply #11 on: July 09, 2011, 06:07:26 PM »
A bit ahead of their time.


Offline davec2

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Re: Best Pistol barrel caliber for a .615 ball
« Reply #12 on: July 11, 2011, 02:29:17 AM »
Taylor,

Part of this thread    (http://americanlongrifles.org/forum/index.php?topic=6184.0)   references Bryan Brown's load work on the Ferguson and the use of a .615 ball.  My targets show .615, .621. and .650 ball results at 25 yards.  They looked nearly the same to me, but the .615 ball loaded much easier.

Dave C

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Daryl

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Re: Best Pistol barrel caliber for a .615 ball
« Reply #13 on: July 11, 2011, 06:18:20 AM »
What do they look like at 50, 75 and 100yards, Dave.  25 yards is not a good test, normally, for a rifle.  Taylor's Fergusson was shooting into around 5" at 100 yards, offhand.

Here's a smoothbore at 28 yards - 5 shots. The group measures 1 3/4". Too bad I pulled one, but with only 1 sight (& me shooting a flintlock), anything's possible.  This target and those of others, such as 3 of us firing 2 shots each, made a 1" on centres hole in a target at 25 yards, with CB's 20 bore.  At 50 yards and further, the rifles seem to take off from most smoothbores as to accuracy. Out to 30 yards or so, a smoothbore, expecially with sights, gives up very little to most rifles, as far as groups are concerned.
 I've found it takes a number of groups to make a decision on loads. Several times, I've shot better than the above, offhand at the same range, same gun and load.  I know Taylor has as well.

« Last Edit: July 11, 2011, 06:26:58 AM by Daryl »

Offline FL-Flintlock

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Re: Best Pistol barrel caliber for a .615 ball
« Reply #14 on: July 11, 2011, 09:39:53 AM »
Mmmm, maybe this isn't such a great idea.  Thanks for the replies, they were not what I expected so I learned something.

Steve

Could paper patch a 0.615" ball to a 0.620" smoothie or use a card wad to hold the ball until the bore is fouled enough to keep it from slipping off the powder.
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Offline 4ster

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Re: Best Pistol barrel caliber for a .615 ball
« Reply #15 on: July 11, 2011, 04:28:37 PM »
This thread has developed a split personality.  Some posts are about bore size for a .615 ball (thank you!), others are comments on the proper caliber ball for a Ferguson.

Since both topics interest me, thats OK.

A question for those that advocate .65 caliber: How do you deal with the leading and fouling issue?  Like D Taylor Sapergia I orderer a .65 caliber RB mold from Ray Rapine when I ordered the parts for the gun.  The Rifle Shoppe recommended him and they still list the rifle as .65 caliber. He made great molds, it threw a beautiful ball.

But most of the comments when I started doing more research about actually firing the Ferguson was that the gun fouled to an un-fireable condition quickly.  So I have only used .615 ball in the gun, I never used the .65 Rapine RB.  I have a few laying around that I will try, but I sold the mold in a moment of weakness.

Again, there is pretty good historical evidence that Patrick Ferguson intended the gun to shoot .615, not conclusive as I read the material but pretty convincing.

Steve
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Daryl

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Re: Best Pistol barrel caliber for a .615 ball
« Reply #16 on: July 11, 2011, 05:03:07 PM »
The bore on Taylor's rifle actually shot quite cleanly with the .650 ball - no leading buildup in the bore at all.  Each ball went to the bottom of the grooves and cleaned out the previous shot's fouling. Taylor rolled the balls in lube of some sort which must have helped.

On the other hand, if a ball (or bullet) is undersized, it would normally foul more as most cast bullet shooters would find - the blowby due to being undersized will sluff off lead as it blasts past and coat the bore with it. Too, the undersized ball, heated on the surface by the blowby of flame and bouncing down the bore side to side will scrub off lead onto the bore.

Seems to me, .615" is even smaller than the bore size, let alone the groove diameter - at least smaller that the bore size of the barrel Taylor bought.  It could be that Ferguson's barrels were tighter in the bore, which would explain why he used or was able to use a .615" ball.

Offline davec2

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Re: Best Pistol barrel caliber for a .615 ball
« Reply #17 on: July 11, 2011, 07:22:50 PM »
Daryl & 4str,

4str:

I know this thread has drifter a little off the original question, but since the whole premiss of using a .615 ball in a Ferguson is the starting point, I think the correct ball size for the Ferguson is part of the discussion.

Daryl:

You are correct, one group of each ball diameter at 25 yards does not constitute much of a test.  A .615 ball sounded very undersized to me until I read through Bryan Brown's information (i.e. posts on ALR), which is quite extensive.  I believe he and Ricky have more rounds through a Ferguson than anyone else I know of and have written a book about their experience to boot.  (I don't know if it has been published as of yet.)  To cover my bets I have molds for .615, .620, .630, and .650.  When I get a chance to shoot it a lot more, I will sort out which ball size this particular rifle likes best, including not only accuracy but leading, loading ease, fouling, etc.

Thanks
« Last Edit: July 11, 2011, 07:41:59 PM by Daryl »
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Offline D. Taylor Sapergia

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Re: Best Pistol barrel caliber for a .615 ball
« Reply #18 on: July 11, 2011, 07:41:05 PM »
I for one, will really enjoy reading that review, Dave.  When I test fired the rifle I made, it was only to see what would happen, and that everything was working safely.  I was impressed with the accuracy of a naked ball ( actually rolled in liquid SPG), but disappointed that turning out the trigger guard plug got so stiff after about 8 shots.  To press the big ball against the end of the chamber, I made a tool from 1/4" brass rod bent about 115 degrees, with a cupped button on the business end, and a short wooden handle on the other.  With it, I was able to force the ball through the chamber fouling levering against the rear of the vertical breech hole.  As I said, I only had the one sized ball, recommended by TRS, and my experience with the gun is very small.
D. Taylor Sapergia
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Daryl

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Re: Best Pistol barrel caliber for a .615 ball
« Reply #19 on: July 11, 2011, 07:48:32 PM »
Your results will be interesting, as Taylor noted. I-too look forward to seeing a 'well done' report on the shooting of a Ferguson.

 I once read a book that stated that to achieve accuracy in a muzzloading rifle, the bore had to be swabbed between shots as it was impossible to load otherwise. This is not directed at anyone on this site - just to show there is a lot of misinformation available in print.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2011, 07:54:13 PM by Daryl »

Offline 4ster

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Re: Best Pistol barrel caliber for a .615 ball
« Reply #20 on: July 18, 2011, 01:39:35 AM »
I wanted to see what kind of contact the rifling had with the ball.  At least on my Ferguson, very little with .615 ball. 

I was able to get the ball started with just some heavy thumb pressure then as I pushed the ball down with the ramrod it got progressively easier, finally falling under the weight of the ball from about halfway down the barrel.  I could see bright marks on the ball where it contacted the rifling but the contact area was minimal.
 
I think I will be trying larger ball in this gun.  Selecting a pistol based on ball size is at best on hold.
Steve

Daryl

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Re: Best Pistol barrel caliber for a .615 ball
« Reply #21 on: July 18, 2011, 03:50:43 PM »
Further note about the ball being very much smaller than the groove diameter - this was also the thinking in the .442cal. DA RIC revolvers of 1870, and the Model 71 Mauser up until and including 1876. Both guns, a revolver and rifle had extrememly deep rifling to contain and hold fouling.  The RIC revolver shot a .442" bullet in a .436' bore,w ith a .457" groove diameter, while the Model 71 also had a .457" groove diameter with a .438" bore. The case & more importantly, the chamber will not allow a bullet larger than .446".

Thus, if .615" is the proper ball for the Ferg, instead of .650", the same 'thinking' held sway in those much later firearms as well - one Irish/English, the other German.