Author Topic: cast round balls  (Read 6911 times)

ken

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cast round balls
« on: March 31, 2013, 09:27:32 PM »
Will the odd shape of a cast round ball affect accurcy if the ball is short. This I mean by short from the bottom to where the spur is cut . New mold that cast 442 across but 387 bottom to top ??

Offline Hungry Horse

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Re: cast round balls
« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2013, 10:33:06 PM »
 I'm sure there is an "expert" out there that can "prove" that round balls have to be perfectly round, and smooth, and the sprue must be completely removed, oh, and they must all weigh the same as well, or they won't fly true. In my experience  any advantage in all this is negligible. I have a bunch of old bullet molds, and none of them throw a true ball. In fact some are so out of round, they won't even roll straight. People fed their families, fought wars, and won target matches with such balls. Shoot 'em and enjoy 'em.

                          Hungry Horse

Offline SCLoyalist

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Re: cast round balls
« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2013, 11:11:29 PM »
.442 vs .387 is a difference of .055" which is unexpectedly large for a difference.   I just measured two balls of nominal .44 caliber, one from a Lyman mold and one from a Lee mold.   The Lee (which cuts the sprue tangential to the ball) measured .439 across the sprue and .443 around the middle away from the sprue.   The Lyman (which cuts and leaves a more pronounced sprue) measured almost identically at .441 both ways.

When powder goes off behind a soft lead ball, the forces exerted in accelerating it are going to deform it a little bit, so it will exit the bore shorter and fatter, but nowhere near the difference you're seeing even before loading.    Like HH suggested, shoot them and see what the results you get.  I'd guess you'd get satisfactory results at 25 and 50 yds, but maybe as the projectile slows down and loses stability and starts to tumble things could get unsat out around 100 yds.  If the results are phenomenally good, keep on casting and shooting.    Otherwise, there are already too many variables to try to get right in shooting a ML well, and there's no need to add oblong roundball to the list .   Any Lee or Lyman mold should let you produce closer to true spheres and remove that as a source of concern.   SCL

pat i.

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Re: cast round balls
« Reply #3 on: April 01, 2013, 02:00:02 AM »
I'm pretty new to muzzleloading but .055 sounds like quite a bit of difference. I just checked a couple of .50 caliber balls I cast yesterday out of Lee moulds and the .490 is .488 side to side and .472 on the sprue cut. The .495 is .494 side to side and .475 on the sprue cut. I don't know much about muzzle loaders but do know a bit about cast bullets and if there's a .055 difference I'd send the mould back and get another.

Old Bob

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Re: cast round balls
« Reply #4 on: April 01, 2013, 05:23:04 AM »
I've got two Lee molds, a .390 and a .395 that throw obviously oval balls. The .390 is more noticeable. I've never measured the difference but it's quite obvious. However, I've shot some good targets and won a few matches with them. No matter how perfectly round they go in, they rarely come out that way. If a charge is heavy enough and that doesn't have to be that much, they upset in the bore in varying degrees which also depends on the softness of the lead. Some guys load so tight or shortstart with a knife handle so hard the ball is deformed on the way in and I've seen some great shots made with them. I think that if the bottom of the ball is evenly round and the nose (or forward part since there's not really a nose on a round ball) not badly deformed, being out of round doesn't really hurt anything. The big problem is if there is/are any voids inside that you can't see. Then you have a problem. I personally like a ball to be round as possible but I'm too tight to pay for a Lyman for my .40's and they're doing alright with what I'm using. My biggest problem is the nut behind the butt.

Offline Topknot

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Re: cast round balls
« Reply #5 on: April 02, 2013, 01:04:40 AM »
Ken, like the other members have said, shoot em and see. If I was a betting man,Id bet just about anything that you will find a satisfactory combo that will do for a hunting load. IF you do get a new mold later, I have found that for a good all around mold, its hard to beat a lyman for the money.
                                                           topknot
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Offline pathfinder

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Re: cast round balls
« Reply #6 on: April 02, 2013, 03:34:20 AM »
Walter Kline found that out of round ball's did shoot truer. Maybe not .055 out,but close
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ken

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Re: cast round balls
« Reply #7 on: April 02, 2013, 02:37:32 PM »
took some to the range. The group seemed to suffer Or I was just rusty. Tried  a diferent ball things got better. Is it the cobwebs in my head frm winter or the ball be the factor?

Offline Bob Roller

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Re: cast round balls
« Reply #8 on: April 02, 2013, 04:14:40 PM »
Ken,
It sounds like a lack of practice. I know I was appalled at my inabilty to get
a decent group with the boys rifle I made.It didn't fit me but I should have done
better. I do well to get to the range two or three times a year due to shop work
(thanks to all of you)and other interests. Practice and load development are
the big thing and many of us don;t have time to devote to it. I made up a fairly
decent representation of an Alex Henry long range muzzleloader,finished in 2003
and shot it and had fun with it.Akso used it to shut down several cynics that thought
a muzzleloader was a joke and wouldn't reach the 500 meter target.They got their
education expanded that day.Practice made it possible but that was 10 years ago.

Bob Roller

Offline hanshi

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Re: cast round balls
« Reply #9 on: April 02, 2013, 09:23:45 PM »
Nice, uniform, consistent ball is wasted on me; they might as well be little cubes of lead. :-[
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Young guys should hang out with old guys; old guys know stuff.

Elmo

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Re: cast round balls
« Reply #10 on: April 03, 2013, 03:39:40 AM »
If you must have almost perfect balls get some Hornady swaged balls. I have shot balls cast from Lee molds for many years and they shoot pretty darn good. Just load with the sprue up. I have shot balls made in antique molds where the sprue is cut with nippers and they did well also. Just my two cents and maybe not worth that much.
  Elmo

Offline volatpluvia

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Re: cast round balls
« Reply #11 on: April 03, 2013, 05:54:00 AM »
It was a while back but I put a piece of 3x5 card into my .60 bag mold and cast a series of half balls.  The sprue at that point was on the side of the half ball.  I just trimmed it off as neatly as I could so the edge appeared round.  Then I loaded them into my rifled wheellock barrel with the round part toward the breach and fired them.  They grouped reasonable well considering the oposition of March wind that day and shooting offhand at twenty five yards. 
Then I loaded them with the flat half toward the breach and fired them.  Everyone of them that hit the cardboard 2' x 3' target went through as a half moon.
This was a fun test that was inspried by several guys on another forum wondering about Daniel Boone cutting balls in half to hunt deer with while he was captive of indians.  He saved the other half to use when he escaped.  So we concluded that he indeed could have done that and succeeded in bagging deer if he got close enough, ie. 25 yeards.
So if a ball is round where it touches the patch which touches the rifling but not round the other way, it should shoot well as long as the side loaded toward the breech is not damaged.
volatpluvia
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gunner69

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Re: cast round balls
« Reply #12 on: April 13, 2013, 09:35:18 AM »
Are you casting with "pure" lead?   If your lead contains alloys in it your ball size will be different (as in wheel weights).

Offline Pete G.

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Re: cast round balls
« Reply #13 on: April 13, 2013, 03:38:16 PM »
A slippery slope here. If you know your bullets are less than perfect, you might not concentrate quite as hard on your shooting, therefore you group size is larger, therefore "proving" that the bullets are less accurate. Quit measuring and just shoot.

Offline dagner

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Re: cast round balls
« Reply #14 on: April 14, 2013, 09:33:03 AM »
 look in muzzle blasts back issue about 8 years back bevels  did a accuracy test  article on your question