lead balls in inlines?


January 18, 2007, 05:17 PM
Can u use a lead round ball with a patch in an inline? I just want to do some target shooting and sabots are kind of expensive:uhoh: so i thought this would be alot cheaper.



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January 18, 2007, 05:35 PM
I use a .350 ball and .018 pillow ticking in my target inline-and from a bench,the results are great.Ernie

January 18, 2007, 05:38 PM
so it wont hurt anything to use round balls instead of sabots?

January 18, 2007, 08:18 PM
A patched round ball will not damage your in-line rifle. However, round balls need a slower twist to get optimal accuracy and most in-lines have a fast twist. That being said I've seen in-lines shoot round ball pretty well with a light load of powder. Play with it a little and have fun.


Mark whiz
January 19, 2007, 04:28 PM
Absolutely you can shoot patched round ball out of an inline. In fact, I highly recommend it, both for practice and for smoothing out the bore on a new rifle. Put about 50 patched balls thru a new rifle, clean it well, and see if it doesn't shoot better. Doing this made a significant difference in how my Knight USAK shot.

For decent accuracy, you need to drop your powder load some (as this will compensate for your faster barrel twist). Set up a target at 25yds, and if you have a .50cal rifle, load up some .490" balls with a lubed patch and 70 to 80gr of your choice of 2fg powder and go to town. After a couple hours of this you'll be looking for a powder horn and coon-skin cap. :D

January 19, 2007, 09:12 PM
Thank You very much. Any specific brand of lead balls i should use does it make a difference?

Phillip Allen
January 19, 2007, 09:36 PM
I cast my own but any ball of the right size will work...if cast it will have a sprue...place this either up or down when loading

Mark whiz
January 19, 2007, 10:30 PM
I usually use Hornady balls, but that is is mainly because they have been easier for me to find. CVA, Speer, or even those Remington brass looking balls (if you can still find them) will work fine. Hornady DOES offer a few more choices on ball size than the other manufacturers do.

The key is to get a pretty tight fit. In the case of a .50cal rifle, if using a .490 ball, try to use .015 patches - that equals a .505 load in a .500 bore. Since patch material will compress, that is about as nice of a fit as you can get. But the more common .010" patches will work ok with .490 balls too - I've used both with good results.

January 20, 2007, 10:05 AM
Ok now that I know that I can shoot lead balls through an inline what inline should I get?



Phillip Allen
January 20, 2007, 10:25 AM
Get a nice traditional and get "in line" with the spirit of a primitive rifle and not the city-boy substitute

If you want primitive...do it. If you're afraid to get too far from the car, get one of those ugly in-lines.

January 20, 2007, 10:28 AM
depends on teh twist rate, many inlines have a twist rate that is too fast for round balls....just give them a try and see what your results are...

January 20, 2007, 12:22 PM
yea so your saying buy a gun try it if it dosent work get another?:confused: I dont have that kind of money just laying around:scrutiny:

January 20, 2007, 06:15 PM
If you're interested in shooting round balls, I'd also suggest a traditional gun in a slow twist. They're designed specifically for round balls and shoot them very accurately. Round balls are also the king of taking game cleanly, even though the paper numbers look like they shouldn't be. No need for conicals or those accursed sabots.

Phillip Allen
January 20, 2007, 06:28 PM
thanks for the back-up Plink...sometimes I do dispair

January 20, 2007, 09:14 PM
I've heard that inlines with relatively deeper groove rifling will shoot roundballs better than those without it. The Knight rifles were specifically mentioned as shooting them well enough to make it worthwhile to do so. However, I've never shot a Knight and can't say how it'll shoot from any personal experience. You would still need to shoot at closer ranges with lower powder charges though.
There were some sidelocks made with a 1 in 32 inch twist as well as inlines with either that or a 1 in 38 inch twist that may shoot patched round balls better than the even faster twist inline models (1 in 28 or 1 in 24 inch twists or faster), but those might only be found in a limited number of used or older discontinued models.

DaveP (UK)
January 21, 2007, 07:17 PM
I have a .50 inline made by Palmetto. It has a plunger action. I can't remember what the twist is - 1 in 32 rings a bell though. It was very cheap. I bought it to learn on, eventually I plan to graduate to a flintlock!
I've been shooting .490 balls with a 15thou patch and 48 grains of medium black powder. It works fine. The only real problem has been running out of vertical adjustment on the sights. Recently someone commented that I might be using too big a charge, so I reduced it to 40 grains. (I have two spouts you see) To my considerable surprise the point of impact was nearly 6" higher at 50yds, thus easing the sighting problem.
If I understood it it wouldn't be so exciting!

January 21, 2007, 08:35 PM
DaveP (UK),
You're the 1st person on that side of the pond that I've seen who's posted that they have an inline. The others have said that they've never even seen one at any of their clubs.
How does it feel being an inline "pioneer", does it attract a lot of attention? Tell us what you can about their availability over there, where did you get yours? :D

January 21, 2007, 09:05 PM
hey articap all i see is inlines in fact i have not seen 1 flintlock or perrcussion(sp) cap muzzleloader at my club Ever

Phillip Allen
January 22, 2007, 12:23 AM
I'm afraid that in lines have taken over the less informed market because that's what Wal Mart sells...too bad...I believe it cheapens the whole experience

(sorry, I'm too old to have any "humble" opinions left)

DaveP (UK)
January 22, 2007, 09:25 AM
There are some about but its a bit low key. I do get people saying "Whats that" from time to time. About a month ago two guys I've never seen before turned up with a .58 Thompson rifle and spent the session shooting at 50 yds using a bipod on the common (and bouncy) wooden bench... I asked all the right questions, but they never offered me a shot! I was impressed by the appearance of the action, I thought it very neat and tidy.
These go for about 400 IIRC, and the question arises "Why buy?" Muzzle loading rifles, however capable they may be, aren't legal for hunting here. There is little likelyhood of finding any competitions to shoot in, the body that coordinates BP shooting in the UK looks down upon them. There are competitions for repro and original rifles pistols and shotguns in percussion, flintlock and matchlock, the most prestigious being original percussion lock! The powers that be seem to be content with their personal collections of valuable originals and disinclined to welcome anything modern. Personally I think its a mistake and they should be extending a welcome to anyone wanting to shoot BP.
I bought mine for 99 from a dealer called Henry Kranks, the biggest supplier of BP equipment in the country. It was a cheap way into muzzle loading and its proving to be quite interesting! I had an email chat with someone who has a Knight rifle, and he encouraged me to try sabots for accuracy. As far as I can tell I will have to import these myself. One day I will, because although I have some concerns about littering the range with chunks of plastic, this is the amunition the gun was designed for. My next experiment however is to cast my own Minie balls and see how they go. I've never cast lead before. I have the mould. I'm waiting for a weather window.
Ive always wanted a flintlock since reading Treasure Island and Robinson Crusoe etc, and thats where I'm planning to go next. I can't afford an original, and if I could I'd probably be reluctant to shoot it! I dont feel drawn to any of the Italian replicas I've seen in catalogues. I'm thinking of making my own, assembling a finished barrel and lock into a piece of wood. Woodwork I'm not afraid of!

Phillip Allen
January 22, 2007, 10:17 AM
Dave, making a proper rifle IS making an original...look for the book "Recreating the American Longrifle" by George Shumway. It is a good place to start and very informative.

PM me and I will try to put you on to some catalogues and such.

January 23, 2007, 12:48 AM
Mr.Caliber, I'm probably the only person seen shooting traditional percussion guns at my gun club. ;)
DaveP (UK), thanks for the response.
You really should try sabots someday. The convenient thing about them is that the .50 caliber ones are designed to fit either .44 magnum bullets (.429 -.430 diameter) or .45-70 type bullets (.450 - .452). So you can easily shoot and try out whatever different bullets you can find using the sabot components that can be bought in bulk.
There also are easier loading plastic skirted ML bullets (the plastic bases just snap onto the bullet base) and sabots of slightly different designs. They can have more or less plastic petals, be made of slightly different materials and have different dimensions and/or features.
The most popular bullets for .50 sabots probably weigh about 240 - 250 grains. The lighter bullets produce less recoil and generally shoot flatter, and each style can have a different trajectory and accuracy potential. When the bullets are smaller .44 -.45 diameter, they have better ballistics and stability than most of the .50 lead bullets shot out of the fast twist inlines, especially those with shallow rifling.
You shouldn't worry too much about the plastic litter, it can sometimes be found right below the target frame. When the bullet passes through a cardboard backed target, some of the one piece sabots will release from the bullet and simply drop to the ground there. Others that release closer to where they exit the barrel are easier to spot and pickup than plastic shotshell components because they're usually more colorful.
But I do enjoy loading and shooting patched round balls the most. :D

January 23, 2007, 01:11 AM
Gave away a Knight inline rifle awhile back because ......it shot round balls like a smooth bore , even with reduced charges 40 to 50 gr charges ///they never hit the same hole twice . a good round ball barrel will out shoot an inline . I cut the same hole with 3 shots out to 100 yards with my ole timey round ball rifle with a Green Mountain barrel ....and shoot for pennys a shot ....inline guys are paying up to a dollar a shot to have fun ........not any fun to me .

January 23, 2007, 01:47 AM
it shot round balls like a smooth bore

sundance44s, are you making fun of the authentic "Old Tyme" accuracy of my smoothbore now? :D :D

January 23, 2007, 11:05 AM
Sorry bout that Arcticap I should have added ...there is this one guy i know that got so tired of comming in first place at our shoots ....he now shoots a smooth bore flintlock , and he`s made some shots with it ....i just almost wouldn`t have beleived if i haden`t seen it with my own eyes . 100 yard shots . Truth ...:D

Phillip Allen
January 23, 2007, 11:44 AM
I believe it...seen em

DaveP (UK)
January 23, 2007, 11:46 AM
No one at my club bothers with smooth bore. Some have in the past. When I've enquired they just make jokes about the club not being able to afford big enough target holders. What sort of grouping should a smooth bore long gun deliver at, say, 100yds?

I guess used sabots are no worse than shotcups, wads etc. - I just have visions of turning up on maintenance day to be told "You're the worst offender, here's your rake..."!

Phillip I have actually read Mr Shumways book. Incredibly my local library used to have a copy.About 18 months ago I took it out for the second time, and returned it. A month later I wanted to check something. It had disappeared from the shelf and from the catalogue. Political correctness strikes again.
It is available for purchase over here though :)

Phillip Allen
January 23, 2007, 01:47 PM
taken away from the public's view...incredible!

(bet you could get one from Track of the Wolf...)


January 23, 2007, 01:57 PM
We have a steel pie plate hung at 100 yards and this fellow that is good with his smooth bore hits it pretty regulary ...
we have regular smooth bore shoots during our Rendevous ...I`m tempted to buy a smooth bore drop in barrel for my Thompson Hawken ...just to try it .\After all it is a large part of our history ...Interesting story on how the rifleing came to be .... it was invented to releive the fouleing in a smooth bore , so they wouldn`t get so hard to load and dangerous .... and there you have it the invention of rifleing as a means to control the flight of the projectials by accident . Didn`t take them long to notice the difference it made eaither..

January 23, 2007, 03:05 PM
I thought that rifling developed because of the "science" and experience that arrow makers had learned about the flight patterns of arrows and how this was affected by the feather positions on the shaft. So rifling applied similar dynamics to ball trajectory.
Some of the earliest rifling was fast twist too, only the balls didn't shoot consistently well, and it took more "eons" before conical bullet development could catch up to the existing barrel technology.
Most open choke smoothbores shoot like rifles out to 50 -60 yards, but then anything can happen to the trajectory depending on all of the variables. I have one modified choke .28 bore shottie that shoots great out to 25 or 30 yards, but at 50 yards I'm lucky to hit a large 100 yard target. But that's the nature of having a choked smoothbore, it's usually made to either shoot shot or patched balls well. But it's still a blast to knock down bowling pins with it, I just have to shoot it at moderate range if I want it to be as accurate as a rifle. Using ~.020 looser balls, thicker (.018) patches and moderate powder charges, there's really no need to swab either. But the really accurate long range smoothbore loads are required to be so tight that swabbing between most shots really does become necessary.

Rex B
January 27, 2007, 11:01 AM
I have 4 or 5 (6?) traditional reproduction percussion guns, most of which I built from kits or started with kits. Last year I decided I want to look at an inline. CVA has a refurb page on their website, where you can buy a modern inline rifle for as little as $70 plus $10 shipping. It also says they will include a starter kit "..wth any rifle on this page" but they refused to honor it with my purchase.
Nevertheless, it's a pretty nice little (cheap) gun for $80.
I am embarrassed to say that I haven't shot it yet. It says to only shoot PowerBelt ammo and powder pellets, and I haven't wanted to spend the money, having become used to cheap shooting with balls and patches. Now that I've read the above posts I think I'll try it - thanks!

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