Author Topic: Swaged balls not so round  (Read 2356 times)

Offline Dennis Daigger

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Re: Swaged balls not so round
« Reply #25 on: November 14, 2023, 10:11:16 PM »
I havenít followed this thread closely but was curious about how the Hornady balls that I have would measure up for roundness. Here are the results of the three calibers, five each randomly selected balls, that I have and it seems to me that they are pretty good overall. Using a felttip marker I drew a circumference around each of the balls (the equator if you will) and then measured the diameter across this mark. The ball was then rotated to an opposite circumference (the poles) and measured again. This experiment is simply designed as a relative assessment of roundness as a more complete analysis would take multiple measurements not just two.

50 cal   
        0.4820   0.4825
   0.4805   0.4820
   0.4765   0.4830
   0.4785   0.4815
   0.4810   0.4820
54 cal
   0.5315   0.5300
   0.5320   0.5270
   0.5315   0.5270
   0.5290   0.5315
   0.5300   0.5315
58 cal   
        0.5720   0.5769
   0.5690   0.5705
   0.5710   0.5715
   0.5705   0.5700
   0.5725   0.5700

All of the balls have Ďdimplesí but the .58 caliber were particular evident. A possible explanation for balls with noteworthy measurement spreads
could be that the high number resulted from measuring across an area where a ridge of a dimple occurred on each side thus increasing the diameter in this area.

Nevertheless, soft lead balls are susceptible to deformation from a number of physical effects. For instance, balls placed in a box and rolled about for some time while being carried in a vehicle to remove remnants of casting sprues or being whanged on hard by starters or ramrods, or from collisions with other balls or items when carried in a bag for a long time. I wonder how these balls would measure up.

It would be interesting to take these balls that I measured and shoot them in a rifle that is a proven performer to see what, if any, effects the differences might have on accuracy.

Any takers? Iíd gladly send the balls to anyone that wanted to do a follow up to this.


Offline MuskratMike

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Re: Swaged balls not so round
« Reply #26 on: November 14, 2023, 10:46:05 PM »
Dennis: message sent
"Muskrat" Mike McGuire
Keep your eyes on the skyline, your flint sharp and powder dry.

Offline Daryl

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Re: Swaged balls not so round
« Reply #27 on: November 15, 2023, 12:38:06 AM »
I had an experience with a Lyman DC .400 mould I bought. One cavity cast .400" x .400" while the other cavity cast .392" x .400".
I tested those oblong balls against the round ones from my Lyman .395" mould, that actually cast .398"x.398", in a proven rifle with it's accuracy charge.
I shot them from the bench, using an adjustable Bench Rest and sand bag rear, as well as standing. That Goodoien barrel has a .398" bore.
The results were rather dramatic. Oft times we have seen, in print, the load doesn't matter because I shoot offhand only. Well, if a load isn't accurate from the bench,
that inaccuracy is compounded when shot offhand, as shown below.
Just thinking out loud, I should never have sold that rifle. ::)


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

Offline yulzari

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Re: Swaged balls not so round
« Reply #28 on: November 23, 2023, 07:39:19 PM »
The British government was convinced enough of the superiority of swaged as opposed to cast bullets that they invested, in modern values, about a million pounds at least in each full set of machinery to automatically make swaged service musket and rifle balls with steam powered casting and swaging in order to make the many millions of balls needed for the army and navy small arms each year. The Treasury were notoriously not going to release that sort of money without a convincing case and trials showed an actual improvement in accuracy by freeing the balls from voids. Not only by reducing their incidence but also by mechanically squeezing them closed if they did form. And this was for balls that could expect to spend weeks on a constantly moving ship, land transport by wagon on unmade roads and then bullock cart on the Lord alone knows what surface before spending time being bounced around in the menís pouches. I understand from an old racing car aerodynamic acquaintance that regular minor dimples have no noticeable effect, the ball finish is pretty well immaterial, but the regularity of the ballís sphericity and a constant density are, ceteris paribus, the keys to their accuracy. He also suggested that the balls were unlikely to rotate in flight with a constant shape and density and present the same face. For a given ball the most serious inaccuracy, bar the fallible human at the back end, was the transition between supersonic and subsonic speed when the airflow becomes unstable. But that last digresses from the subject.
Nothing suceeds like a beakless budgie