Author Topic: smoothbore , ball shooting  (Read 718 times)

Offline bob in the woods

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smoothbore , ball shooting
« on: September 07, 2019, 10:10:14 PM »
I just tried this, and thought it worth mentioning since it worked well for me.  I usually shoot paper cartridges when using round balls, but today tried bare balls, dipped in beeswax/oil lube . The lube is relatively hard, but soft enough to allow easy loading and it keeps the ball from rolling/moving off the powder.  100 gr FFg and the lubed ball alone shot as well as the cartridge .  Definitely an alternative for a fast 2nd shot  :)

Offline Jerry

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Re: smoothbore , ball shooting
« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2019, 12:49:30 AM »
Bob, Iíve always shot patched ball out of my smoothbore, but the more I hear about bare ball accuracy out of a smoothbore, the more Iím interested in trying it. Jerry

Offline Daryl

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Re: smoothbore , ball shooting
« Reply #2 on: September 08, 2019, 01:50:55 AM »
I was going to do a long test on smoothbore shooting, varying ball size, 3F 2F and 1F
 with varying amounts of patching as well as no patches. I even bought some 20 bore
wool wads to soak with lube as a holder for the ball in the bore.
Good intentions but did not get around to it & here we are - hunting season.
This sort of test needs to be done at 25 yards, THEN again at 50yards.
I have always patched too, Jerry. The winners of the round ball smoothbore contests at
Hefley Creek Rendezvous ALL use patched balls.
A test of non-patched balls was done by one of our members some time back (this year)
but I cannot remember who did it. Sorry about that. I do recall he was requested to repeat
the test at 50yards to which the answer came back the results were not printable, ie: poor.
We expected this. I am still looking foreward to someone duplicating the suggested method
of .580 to .590" ball and up to 120gr. 1F powder, wad of lubricated wool blanket over the top
of the ball to hold it in the bore.
THAT is the test I want to see one.  I do have 1F and I do have those wads and I do have a .595"
balls for my 20 bore.
I am really looking forward to seeing the rifle-like accuracy, delivered by the fire.flame-centered ball
as suggested would happen.
My patched ball accuracy has not been very good. I seem to get the odd flyer.


Daryl

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Offline wattlebuster

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Re: smoothbore , ball shooting
« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2019, 03:11:47 AM »
Ive been meaning to try some bare ball out of my smoothbore. I shoot patched 690s out of my 12 ga which has a back sight by the way. 100 gns of single F pushing a beargreased thick patch makes it group really good at 25 to 40 an does well enough out to 60 that im not hesitant about a shot at that range, After 60 I will pass the shot. Think I will make it next saturdays project just to see what it will do with bare ball.
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Offline Mike Brooks

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Re: smoothbore , ball shooting
« Reply #4 on: September 08, 2019, 05:18:05 PM »
I had a 20 bore I shot bare balled for many years. I could always keep up with the "patched" guys and often won matches with it. Killed a lot of deer with it too. Shot 60gr 2ff. Although I never did it a lubed ball is probably a good idea. When after many shots the ball started to get hung up I'd spit on it and that usually softened up the fowling enough I could finish the match. On the rare occasion I might have had to dump a bunch of water down the bore and pour it out the patch it out till dry and then finish the match. Some of our matches were 40-50 shots.
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Offline hanshi

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Re: smoothbore , ball shooting
« Reply #5 on: September 08, 2019, 10:23:29 PM »
It would be my guess that considerably fewer than a dozen deer I've taken over the last 50 years could have been taken as easily with a smoothbore as with a rifle.  I shoot a .600" ball with a thin to middling patch and accuracy up to at least 50 yards is quite a bit better than "good enough".  I might load a bare ball if I need to shoot again "right quick", but I always considered deer hunting with a muzzleloader to be a one shot deal.  For this reason I only shoot bare ball for fun and have yet to use one on deer.  My patched ball load has treated deer as it's supposed to.
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Offline bob in the woods

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Re: smoothbore , ball shooting
« Reply #6 on: September 09, 2019, 12:44:29 AM »
In the woods where I hunt, a 35 yard shot is a long one. Most of the deer and bears I've taken have been taken at 25 yards or less. Much less  :)    That's why most of my hunting is now with a smoothbore.  Moose are a different story, but still, many are shot at 100 yards or less.

Offline Daryl

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Re: smoothbore , ball shooting
« Reply #7 on: September 09, 2019, 01:20:27 AM »
Taylor shot a big dry cow with a ball from his Bess, back in the 80's I think it was. 100yards and the moose went less than 50 yards before laying down. I think it was less than 30yards iirc.
I used to have that ball in my 'bullet recovery box'. Might still be there. It is expanded out like a 50 cent piece & was under the hide on the off side after penning both lungs. Patched & tightly, not bare.
My own 20 bore gun that made the nice group up above, usually has a hard time keeping 5 consecutive shots on an 8" x 11" piece of paper at 50 yards.  That doesn't happen all the time, just most of the time.  The target I posted above was quite likely a fluke & should not be 'taken' as what smoothbores regularly accomplish. I've yet to see one consistently make 3" groups at 50 yards. We've made 3" groups at that range in the past, but not consistently. Fliers always spoil a group. Sometimes 2 and 3 out of 5 shots. Due to the fliers, I cannot trust a smoothbore for hunting anything that requires a solid large diameter ball.
DPhar also found this, with his .50 smoothbore.  It would start grouping, then a flier or two would destroy the group.
Daryl

"a gun without hammers is like a spaniel without ears" King George V

Offline Maven

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Re: smoothbore , ball shooting
« Reply #8 on: September 09, 2019, 01:45:59 AM »
Much as I like the idea of shooting unpatched RB's in my 20ga. GRF trade gun, it doesn't shoot them as accurately as it does patched RB's @ 25 yd. (50 yd. wouldn't be pretty with many more misses than hits).  I monkeyed around with unpatched RB's earlier today and the results and write-up can be seen here, https://www.muzzleloadingforum.com/threads/shooting-round-balls-without-patches.116422/page-2  It's post #23 & 24 that I'm referring to.
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Offline bob in the woods

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Re: smoothbore , ball shooting
« Reply #9 on: September 09, 2019, 05:04:16 AM »
I'm not trying to advocate for bare ball shooting, just giving the results I happened to get . My gun has never performed well with patched balls, and I tried all sorts of combinations. Nothing worked to my satisfaction until I went to paper cartridges. I consistently shoot a 3 to perhaps 4 in group [ 10 shots ] at 50 yards with the combo I happened on.
At 25- 30 yards all shots are 1 and 1/2 to 2 inches.  The balls themselves are 3/4 in .   So, Daryl, maybe your smoothbore is one which isn't in love with a tight patched ball. Try some other combinations and you may be surprised  :)  One might just work !

Offline Maven

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Re: smoothbore , ball shooting
« Reply #10 on: September 09, 2019, 06:05:23 PM »
"Try some other combinations and you may be surprised  :)  One might just work!"

So true, Bob!
Paul W. Brasky

Offline Daryl

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Re: smoothbore , ball shooting
« Reply #11 on: September 09, 2019, 08:28:11 PM »
I agree Bob. With some guns, most perhaps, experimentation is never actually done.  Loads that shoot well at one time of the year, oft-times do not perform
identically at other times of the year - temperature, humidity, atmospheric conditions can all make changes.
Daryl

"a gun without hammers is like a spaniel without ears" King George V

Offline Maven

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Re: smoothbore , ball shooting
« Reply #12 on: September 09, 2019, 11:25:40 PM »
Here's a photo of a patched RB target @ 25 yd. (fired kneeling with my right arm on bench).  There are different groups because I used different diameter RB's, .598" (Lee Precision mould) and .603" (Lyman mould, nominally .600").  The patch thickness and powder charge was the same though.  That's about the best I can do with that particular gun (GRF FL trade gun):


Here's a photo of yesterday's result with the same gun, but with a "bare" .618" .619" (bore diameter) RB (Tanner mould) + OP wad + greased felt wad + OS wad over 80gr. FFFg.:


Obviously I messed up on the last (7th) shot, which was high at 11:30
Paul W. Brasky

Offline hanshi

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Re: smoothbore , ball shooting
« Reply #13 on: September 10, 2019, 12:53:58 AM »
I just re-read my previous post and realized it didn't make much sense.  What I meant to say is that all the deer I've shot could have just as easily been taken with a smoothbore except for perhaps something under a dozen.  Patched or bare ball work up to around 50 yards with the prb having a good advantage well beyond 40 to 50 yards.
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Offline Daryl

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Re: smoothbore , ball shooting
« Reply #14 on: September 10, 2019, 08:52:25 PM »
Paul- would it be possible to re-test using the smaller ball without patch? Those individual patched RB groups are just fine. I am surprised the groups have such different poi's, being so close in size, only .005" dif.
Taylor's Lee Precision .600" mould casts .607"x.608" with Pb.. ::)
Daryl

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Offline RonT

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Re: smoothbore , ball shooting
« Reply #15 on: September 10, 2019, 09:40:04 PM »
Here's an impromptu target shot with my .375 Smooth Rifle. ~28 yds.,  .360 ball, Olive Oil wetted 'blown in insulation' wad, card over powder.   Have'nt seen any indication of leading.
Cheers,
R


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Offline Maven

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Re: smoothbore , ball shooting
« Reply #16 on: September 10, 2019, 10:55:41 PM »
Nice shooting RonT!


Daryl, I've tried several times to use the smaller, i.e., .598" Lee and .598" Tanner, RB's without patching but with fairly miserable results.  My gun just doesn't like 'em I guess.  Btw, I tried those RB's with tow wads fore & aft + hefty powder charges (110gr. & 100gr. FFg) a la Mike Beliveue at 50 yds., but not much joy there either.  If memory serves, a few were within 6", but at least 8" to the right of my point of aim!
Paul W. Brasky

Offline Daryl

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Re: smoothbore , ball shooting
« Reply #17 on: September 11, 2019, 02:57:43 AM »
Yes - good group, Ron, with a tiny smooth bore at that.
Paul- thanks for the note. I will have to steel myself to go out and try it too.

 I have 3F, 2F and 1F for testing along with .602" balls and .595's. I guess patched normally and unpatched with the lubed wool in front both needed to be tested.
I will start with my normal load of 85gr. and go from there. One of the lads here, Norm, is about unbeatable in smoothbore events. He shoots a 20 bore flinter with
about a .020" patch and .595" ball driven by 85gr. 3F GOEX. That 20 bore is the only smokepole he shoots and he shoots it VERY well indeed.
Daryl

"a gun without hammers is like a spaniel without ears" King George V

Offline R.J.Bruce

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Re: smoothbore , ball shooting
« Reply #18 on: September 11, 2019, 04:14:23 AM »
Is there an ideal drop in the diameter of the ball for the bare ball effect to work at its best?

Didn't Hungry Horse mention some time back that a minimum of 0.020" smaller was required so that the ball would center itself in the hot gasses of combustion? With sufficient gasses surrounding the ball to prevent the ball from bouncing/rattling against the barrel's walls on its passage through the bore?

Bare ball on top of powder charge, and some form of wadding on top of the ball/powder to prevent its movement?

Offline Daryl

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Re: smoothbore , ball shooting
« Reply #19 on: September 11, 2019, 04:50:28 AM »
I have my severe doubts, however that is how I understood the 'directions'.
As I do not have a .020" or smaller ball, I will use what I do have.  Now, if I had a 14 bore smoothie, I could use my 16 bore pure lead balls I cast up by accident.
HA!- actually, with 2, .017" (8oz) denim patches, they gave decent accuracy at 50yards in the 14 bore rifle.
I did flinch the 4th or 5th, so had to fire 6 for the group.


Daryl

"a gun without hammers is like a spaniel without ears" King George V

Offline Maven

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Re: smoothbore , ball shooting
« Reply #20 on: September 11, 2019, 05:52:47 PM »
Excellent shooting, Daryl! :)
Paul W. Brasky

Offline Daryl

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Re: smoothbore , ball shooting
« Reply #21 on: September 11, 2019, 08:03:33 PM »
Shucks - it's got rifling and sights. I was just surprised the well undersized ball shot as well as it did & with
only .034" in patching. oh yeah - no wiping needed.
Daryl

"a gun without hammers is like a spaniel without ears" King George V

Offline WadePatton

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Re: smoothbore , ball shooting
« Reply #22 on: September 12, 2019, 12:53:41 AM »
... Norm, is about unbeatable in smoothbore events. He shoots a 20 bore flinter ... That 20 bore is the only smokepole he shoots and he shoots it VERY well indeed.

Someone said:
Beware of the man with only one gun, he likely knows well how to use it.   

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Offline Daryl

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Re: smoothbore , ball shooting
« Reply #23 on: September 12, 2019, 02:12:16 AM »
Norm shoots a snug, spit patch's .595" pure lead ball and no wiping. 85gr. GOEX 3F.
His patches are strung on a thread hanging from his possible's strap. He pulls one off
the bottom, over the small knot and sticks it into his mouth - then when good and wet, sets the
ball on top, uses a short starter to start it, then pushes it home onto the powder with the gun's rod.
Daryl

"a gun without hammers is like a spaniel without ears" King George V

Offline bob in the woods

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Re: smoothbore , ball shooting
« Reply #24 on: September 12, 2019, 04:20:09 AM »
Daryl , I string my patches with a thread through the corner the same way, only they are for my rifle. When shooting shot in the smoothbore, I use squares of brown paper [ bag] also strung on a thread, for wadding . I read about this in one of the Buckskinning books.  They had an article on wing shooting with a flintlock . I recommend it.