using round balls in BP cartridges?


Texas Moon
March 8, 2010, 02:21 PM
Had an idea. I know RUN FOR THE HILLS!!!! LOL
If a guy wanted to make up some .45LC BP cartridges for plinking could I use a round ball for the bullet?
Been casting the .454 RB for cap&ball use so have a bucket full of them available.
Load the powder, then a felt wad(s), enough to compress, then the ball, with a slight crimp.
Super cheap.
Pretty much a short range plinking load.

Think it will work?

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March 8, 2010, 03:30 PM
this work fine with my MAS 1873 (french gun) It's cheap, easy to make and accurate.
I use a self-made press to seat the ball but i know lot of guys who use a plastic or wood hammer to seat the ball.
the gun: (

the press : (

the cartridge : (

the result: (
My press:

March 8, 2010, 03:39 PM
founded on the web :
11mm 1873

320 bulldog : (

March 8, 2010, 04:43 PM
Hi Texas Moon,

Oh yeah...all-day-long...

Done right, it'll work well.

With Smokeless Loads, one can load Two Balls.

Long as you can Crimp the Ball in the middle, well enough to no one in the Cylinder wanders out from Recoil...all is well.

Long ago, one could buy off-the-shelf Double Ball loads for .38 Special anyway, and, probably other Hand Gun Cartridges also.

What fun..!

March 8, 2010, 07:38 PM
They are called Gallery loads. i have been shooting them for years. they actually have been around since the 1860's. So its not a new thing about a year ago on guns of the old west there was an article about them. If you wanted to shoot on the cheap you can use .454 round balls and either 45 schofield or 45 colt cases. put in about 10-15 grains of black with a wad and oatmeal for filler then press the round ball just so its at the 1/2 way part. so your using less powder saving moola and a round ball saving moola over a bullet.

March 8, 2010, 07:38 PM
The partial box of Remington .38 Special double 000 buckshot loads that I have state that they're "for law enforcement use only".

March 8, 2010, 07:39 PM
here is a link on Gallery loads.

March 8, 2010, 07:40 PM
Ok lets look at gallery loads. They were originally designed to allow people to shoot in their basements. This process was first done during the civil war era. Now looking at its use today. Gallery loads can save your wallet as well as produce low recoil rounds. They are great to use in calibers such as the 45-70,45-90,45-120. They can also be used in the 45 Colt. Gallery loads can be made by using a lee loader or a loading press. However seating the ball is best done not on a press or using the lee loader.

You will have to experiment on the load. I would not recomend loads at 5 grains or less as the accuracy is pretty poor. Depending on the firearm 7-15 grains is ideal. The best thing to do is to load up a few and test them out. Now here is the process. First lets look at fillers and wads. Fillers and wads are comonly used today however they were not always used before in the past. For 45 colt this is what you need

5/16 wooden dowl about 5 inches long.
either a size die or a lee loader
a method of priming with a hand prime or lee loader
a method to deprime lee loader or decapper
.454 round balls
3/4 deep socket

Decap the shell, and resize the shell. resizing is important.
Prime the shell.
Try some different load options, i like 10grains but 15 works good too
Charge the case. now You May want to use the lee loader or Bullet seater from a press to start the ball. However this is where the deep socket and the dowel comes in place. put the shell in the deep socket. 3/8 works best. The primer will not be able to come in contact with anything and the shell will stay straight up. Use the wooden dowel and a light mallet to drive the ball all the way down until it seats the powder.
Now take out the powder. This is where i usually take some (borebutter, crisco or any lube and put it over the ball.
Last thing to do is apply a light crimp to the case to keep the ball in and back. Some times you may want to do a light punch just above where the ball is seated on each side. Very very very lightly put a little dimple.

Now your set. try them out and record your results.

March 8, 2010, 07:41 PM
If your felt wad is lubed, shoot them up quickly. If you leave them sitting for a while, the lube will contaminate the powder and you will get very poor performance. First hand experience with this situation. Left wads in a load for over 60 days, only about half the powder charge detonated.

March 8, 2010, 07:45 PM
For Black Powder Cartridge it is recomended to use a Fiber type wad. this is what i use. The fiber wad is used after the powder. pressed firmly then either a felt lube wad or oatmeal filler and lube wad followed by round ball Just you need to use the fiber wad first

March 8, 2010, 10:09 PM
Another tip:
If you assemble smokeless loads, invert the completed cartridge and dip it briefly in Lee Liquid Alox, right up to where the ball meets the case.
Now, stand the cartridges on a sheet of waxed paper and allow the lube to dry overnight.
Though this adds another step, it will eliminate the leading.
Been doing this for years, when I assemble .25 ACP loads with No. 3 buckshot balls.
The Lee Liquid Alox isn't moist enough, and there's not enough lubricant on the half-ball (hemisphere, really) to overcome black powder fouling.
But for smokeless powder loads, it works great.

March 8, 2010, 10:19 PM
I've been loading RB in .45LC with TrailBoss for a few weeks. I'm shooting them out of a 1858 Pietta. I have found seating them PAST half way to be much more accurate. I use a crimp die to lightly roll the edge onto the ball. (not too much crimp as the lead is very soft) I then smear some Bore Butter onto the ball and around the edge of the case. No leading up to 650fps, but 550fps is very accurate. You can actually SEE the ball in flight on a sunny day. For me .451 RB does better than .454 for accuracy, but the .454 are much easier to crimp and load.


March 8, 2010, 10:56 PM
I have been loading round ball too, but with a twist! I put 2 452 round ball over 5.5 grains of bullseye! NOT FOR BLACK POWDER GUNS This is only for Ruger Blackhawks!! It is a lot of fun though.. I tell people my gun shoots twice as good as theres then when you add up the score I always win. Get a great one shot group.
A lot of work to load up, Lee liquid lube the balls, seat first with a Lyman M die and us a Lee factory crimp die.

March 8, 2010, 11:09 PM
If done right, will work great.

I actually prefer RB in .45 LC for my Kirst conversion for Pietta 1858 Remmy for accuracy, as it has a rather slow rifling twist and doesn't do do the heavier bullets well. Best bullet I found was a 185 grain semi-wadcutter, anything over 200 grains was not too good.

March 22, 2010, 11:42 PM

March 23, 2010, 09:42 AM
I've been shooting round ball out of my 45 Colt revolver for awhile now. Specifically, 000 Buckshot 4 balls at a time.

Anyhow, if nothing else this demonstrates that you can shoot round ball from a 45 Colt revolver that has a rifled barrel.

March 23, 2010, 01:34 PM
000 buck is listed at .36. Is that truly accurate? I'm sort of wondering if this wouldn't be a suitable ball size for use in a .36 caliber 1851. Or would the lead be too hard a grade or the size is truly accurate in which case there wouldn't be any shaving?

March 23, 2010, 02:39 PM
If the 000 buckshot is too loose in the chamber by itself you could try loading it along with a .005 cotton patch, or use paper patching if you can find paper that fits and is durable enough.
Or it can be sandwiched between tight wadding, especially over the ball so it won't move forward. Then as a precaution only load 1 - 3 balls per cylinder.
Even loose bare balls can shoot fairly well from a single shot pistol out to 25 yards.
It would be similar to shooting steel BB's from an air gun which aren't engraved by the rifling and many are smooth bores.
Since shot loads can be safely fired from a revolver, then so should loose fitting balls if they're reasonably secured on top of the powder charge to protect from chain fire and ball creep.
IMO shaving a ring of lead is not necessary if the load is being swagged into the chamber, especially with the help of wadding or patching.

March 24, 2010, 01:24 PM
Back in the late 1800's /early 1900's, U.M.C. offered a .45 Colt Gallery cartridge.
The load was 7.0 grs of b.p. and a round ball seated down on top of the powder. I would think that they tested various recipies before offering that powder charge/round ball cartridge(?)

One of the things on my list to do is to make some of those up and give them a try this year.

Should be interesting......


March 24, 2010, 02:25 PM
I've been having great results loading light RB loads for the .450 Marlin, based on .45-70 loads from "45 Years." The new TB powder is ideal for them, but BP will also work I suspect.

March 24, 2010, 09:06 PM
000 buck is listed at .36 Is that truly accurate?

000 buckshot is actually closer to .350" diameter, so it is too small for a .36 caliber C&B revolver which generally require a .375" diameter ball. However, the 000 buckshot is quite useable in .36 caliber muzzleloading PRB rifles & pistols. I have used Hornady 00 (.330") & 000 (.350") buckshot in a few guns I've owned; a Hege-Siber .33 caliber percussion pistol, a Pedersoli Carleton .36 caliber underhammer perc. pistol, & an original .34 caliber C&B Adams-patent revolver.
Be aware though that factory made buckshot is generally made with an alloy, not pure lead, so it is harder than roundball made specifically for muzzleloaders.

March 24, 2010, 09:40 PM
Thanks bonza. That kills THAT idea. Back to ordering up a few boxes of .375 balls.

March 25, 2010, 03:07 PM
BCRider - you would need 0000 buck for a .36 revolver 0.380dia

March 26, 2010, 12:39 AM
BCRider - you would need 0000 buck for a .36 revolver 0.380dia

That sounds like a great idea.

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