Evidence of rifling on fired ball?


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SeanSw
October 28, 2006, 10:57 PM
I recently acquired a Pietta made Colt 1851 Navy in .44 and have put 3 cylinders through it with borrowed equipment. It's my first blackpowder gun and I know that steel frame would be best but I got this in a trade and am quite happy with it as such. If I enjoy shooting blackpowder I'll probably upgrade to a Ruger old army.

The borrowed equipment consisted of FFg powder and .440 sized lead balls. I have used 10,15,and 20gr powder loads using a large 50cal lubricated patch beneath (and around) the bullet, over the powder. The .440 bullet seats unreliably into the cylinder without using a patch and a ring of lead is not shaved when being seated, but the bullet also won't fit through the barrel easily. I fired one shot at heavy piece of laminated wood with a 15gr load and recovered the bullet. Although the bullet flattened somewhat and was marked with woograin, there is no evidence of rifling being cut on the ball.

Do lead balls typically show signs of rifling being cut into them after being fired? Can the spin be imparted on the bullet without actually making contact with the rifling?

I realize .440 is probably too small to be accurate in this pistol and will buy some .451 sized balls soon.

http://www.uploadfile.info/uploads/bfb878d63a.jpg (http://www.uploadfile.info)

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Burt Blade
October 28, 2006, 11:17 PM
Try a .454 ball. Most "44" caliber revolvers I have used take a .454. (The Ruger Old Army takes a .457.) Within reason, an oversize pure lead ball will either shave or swage down to chamber size.

The reason yours did not show rifling, is that you used a patch and an undersized ball. The patch took the rifling, not the ball. It is generally not a good idea to use an undersized ball in a revolver, due to the danger of flashover from the fired shot igniting the adjacent chamber(s). This can be a bit overly exciting, and rather hard on your hand.

SeanSw
October 28, 2006, 11:25 PM
Thanks Burt!

Most of my shots were loaded and fired one at a time to prevent chain fire. When firing a full cylinder I was sure to grease over the bullets and pinch the caps for a tight fit.

Smokin_Gun
October 29, 2006, 05:18 AM
Sean you don't want to patch a C&B Revolver...dangerous. Balls s/b .451 atthe minimum amd up to .454 or .457 diameter. Those .440" balls are for muzzle loaders not revolvers. You a lube pill or wooly wad, or nothing between powder and ball then grease over the op or nothing if when you load te ball you get about a .002" shaved ring of lead off it.
Have fun shootin' not a better pastime out there.

Low Key
October 29, 2006, 07:58 AM
I believe that Pietta sizes their chambers and bore at .449, so as others have suggested you should use at least a .451 ball, .454 is better and you can even go with a .457 ball. You will shave more lead on loading but you will also have more bearing surface against the barrel rifling.

Burt Blade
October 29, 2006, 01:00 PM
Since I shoot Rugers, Colt replicas, and Remington replicas, I generally use .457 projectiles to avoid having to remember to take the "right" ones to the range. Hornandy .457s work quite well in all my .44s.

I much prefer the swaged balls to cast. No sprue or flat spot to worry about. (the flat/sprue should face out of the cylinder when loaded)

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