Dragoon Ball Sizes


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Foto Joe
March 14, 2010, 10:57 AM
I shoot an ASM 2nd Dragoon manufactured in 1979. I load it at 40 Gr Pyrodex P, 10 Gr Corn Meal & a lubed Ox wad. Here's the kicker, I load Speer .451 balls with this and I don't see a .451 mentioned not only in the load data below but ANYWHERE.

When I first got the gun a couple of months ago, I was loading .454 Hornady's just because that's what my Navy eats. I was out in the desert with a friend and he had a box of .451 Speers that he didn't use for anything. I loaded one just for grins with the other 5 chambers in .454. I fired the .454's first and checked the seating on the .451 visually, it stayed put so I loaded the whole cylinder in .451's and did it again.

The .451's shave nicely but of course not as much as the .454's and they are easier to load.

So here's the question: Am I just asking for it? Chain fire, ball jam etc.?

The .451's have been working VERY well ballistically. I'm consistantly hitting a 4" group at 25 yards with them. I haven't gone out to 50 yards yet as I'm in Texas at the moment and it's almost impossible to find someplace to shoot. I've been going to a local shop that has an outdoor range up to 25 yards so I'm stuck.

Also, for those of you with Dragoons that are trying to hit a bullet with the broad side of a barn, Madcratebuilder is right on the money with his post stating that accuracy degrades in a 2nd Dragoon with charges in excess of 40 Gr.

Joe

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Copied below is a portion of a post from mykeal on another thread. This brings up a question as to ball sizes for a 2nd Dragoon (thanks by the way).


Dragoon

Load ................Powder...............Velocity...Spread (5)
.454 Ball...45 Gr/Vol...Goex FFFg.....881 fps...19
.457 Ball...50 Gr/Vol...Goex FFFg ....890.......37
.454 Ball...50 Gr/Vol...Swiss FFFg.....1217......51
.457 Ball...40 Gr/Vol...Pyrodex P......1030......56
.454 Ball...45 Gr/Vol...Pyrodex P......1157......55
.454 Ball...45 Gr/Vol...Pyrodex RS....869........85

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rcflint
March 14, 2010, 12:08 PM
If the 451 balls are Speer, they might be fine, but I would avoid Hornady balls that small, as Hornady balls are not as round as Speer, and migh have an open space unless they are at least 454. An Uberti needs 454 balls, so if I had to load Hornady, I would use 457s in an Uberti. An ASM or Pietta could use 454s, and if Speer, 451s will do.

mykeal
March 14, 2010, 12:10 PM
mec's Dragoon for the data I posted was a Uberti. ASM Dragoon chamber and bore (groove/land) diameters may be very different. The real answer to which ball is best depends on the chamber sizes of your gun. From your description (that the ball does shave a ring of lead, however small, when it is swaged into the chamber), I'd conclude that a .451 ball will work ok in your gun.

It might be worthwhile to mike your chambers and see exactly what the sizes are relative to a sample of .451 balls. It's possible you're right on the edge (say, 0.450") and a .451 ball that's a bit undersize (and thus doesn't shave a FULL circle) will result in a chain fire. That's the only down size that I see from your description.

edit: rcflint makes a good point about swaged vs cast balls. You have more room for 'error' with Speer.

madcratebuilder
March 15, 2010, 09:29 AM
The .451's shave nicely but of course not as much as the .454's and they are easier to load.

I have a 1977 3rd Model Dragoon by ASM. The chambers are .446-.447 in diameter and I have good luck with .451 and .454 rb. The .454 is just a bit hard to ram on two chambers. I plan to rebuild this revolver this summer and well slug the barrel and ream the chambers. Probably end up using .457rb.

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