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on lead balls from a 12 ga.

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by burnse, Oct 4, 2012.

  1. burnse

    burnse Well-Known Member

    I have a H&R single-shot 12 ga. It has a 20" barrel with no choke. I've got some brass hulls and some goex. I kind of like the idea of hurling a lead ball out of there, and I'm wondering if anyone has experience with this.
    Specifically I was thinking of getting a .710" ball mold from Track of the Wolf, but I do not want to bother with this unless it may prove just accurate enough to be fun. Thoughts? Opinions? Pictures?

    EDIT: I should mention the Goex I've got is FFFg.
  2. Oldnamvet

    Oldnamvet Well-Known Member

    I have shot prb from my muzzleloading shotguns with adequate accuracy to consistantly hit a paper plate at 25 yds. The problem I see is that when the ball is pushed down in the brass shell to sit on top of the powder, it is smaller than the bore size. As a result, when fired, it will rattle around while coming out. If you choose to go that route, make sure you have a wad under the ball to keep all the gases from blowing by the ball. Another thing that could be tried is to put a very short brass shell into the gun, then pour powder down and follow it with a patched ball. The powder would have to be enough to fill the short shell so there would not be an air space between the powder and the ball. This would give better accuracy but I personally would not do it since you would be pushing a ball down on a load with the primer in place. It would be like putting on a percussion cap and then proceeding to put in the powder and prb. Just not a safe operation.
    However, if you put in the prb and pushed it most of the way down, then holding the barrel vertically, pushed in the short shell full of powder with it fitting snug against the prb, closed the gun, pull back the hammer and fired, it could be done with reasonable safety. You'd have to size the shell to hold the amount of powder needed so there would be no air gaps.
    Only issue still might be blowback from the breech. Without an airtight seal at the breech, there could be some blowback so if you decide to try any bp shooting, I'd recommend that the first shots be fired using a string and with the gun held in an old tire, strapped to a tree, etc.
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2012
  3. arcticap

    arcticap Well-Known Member

    I researched threads about various pumpkin ball loads and folks seem to experiment using different size balls, components and loading methods.
    They use balls anywhere from just under .69 caliber all of the way up to slightly oversize .735 balls.
    Some will cut the base off a plastic wad to load under the ball and others load BP shotshells with more traditional components.
    Which ever ball size and components that you decide to use should work out.
    Bayou Runner has a 20" H&R shotgun like yours and posted about his pumpkin ball load.


    In post #2 of the same thread scrat mentions that brass shotshell casings can sometimes be problematic and also recommended using 2F.

    Black powder shotgun shells loaded with round ball

    Last edited: Oct 4, 2012
  4. AJumbo

    AJumbo Well-Known Member

    When Wyatt Earp was hunting buffalo, he used a 10ga double-barrel shotgun loaded with round ball shells.

    I have fired round balls from my ML shotgun and would consider using it on deer-sized game. Accuracy is plenty good within 50 yards or so to put the balls in the boiler room. At 25, a patched ball powered by 90gr of black went through four 2x6 pine boards and lodged in the fifth. That should double-lung any deer on this planet.

    I also used a 1/2" thick fiber wad under the ball, with a thick overshot card on top of the ball; basically the same column I use for shot, but with a different payload. It didn't seem as powerful or as accurate as using a patched ball, but a ball that size moving out at around 1000 fps is nothing to trifle with.
  5. Hellgate

    Hellgate Well-Known Member

    Using a short brass case might cause a problem if the PRB is seated below the forcing cone just into the chamber where the barrel thins. The PRB might not even touch the sides of the chamber or case. Better to just shoot the .69 cal RB inside a AA wad or a Power Piston plastic wad in a straight walled case. You can easily cut the "legs" out of the AA wad to shorten it to make room for the bulky BP. Just 6 or 8 fold crimp over the ball.
  6. Loyalist Dave

    Loyalist Dave Well-Known Member

    In an old issue of The Double Gun Journal a fellow was loading his 12 bore rifle with 12 gauge round ball loaded into a plastic shotshell and roll crimped. In his case his round ball was larger than the actual bore so it was forced onto the rifling and worked quite well.

    I'd suggest that you use a modern shot cup and get a variety of different size ball and experiment, from .715 to .690 or so. What you will be using will be the old style "pumpkin ball" loads from the early days of breech loading shotguns. If you can develop a consistent hitting load for you barrel, you will probably be OK out to about 50 yards. Better than buckshot for deer, not as good as an actual slug.

  7. arcticap

    arcticap Well-Known Member

    There are plenty of videos on Youtube.com about reloading and shooting pumpkin ball loads by entering "12 gauge round ball" or "12 gauge pumpkin ball" into the youtube search box.

    1. 12 gauge pumpkin ball accuracy tests with balls made from a Jeff Tanner mold:


    2. Here's a video about how to load a bare .690 ball into a 12 gauge shotshell without any plastic wad.


    3. The 1st part of this video shows how to load pumpkin balls into 24 gauge black powder shot shells for the .577 Snider military service rifle.


    4. Then the pumpkin ball loads are fired into an elephant target at the very end of this video:

    Last edited: Oct 6, 2012
  8. PapaG

    PapaG Well-Known Member

    Used to shoot .690 round balls out of my Navy Arms "Magnum" muzzle loading shotgun. I'd use about 3 drams of FFg and seat the patched roun ball on the powder. Use a tight patch, however, as you don't want the recoil of the first shot to move the ball off the powder for the second one.
  9. AJumbo

    AJumbo Well-Known Member

    I've never tried it, so I'm not sure whether a PRB would even work in a shell; I have this idea that the patch might not stay with the ball like it does with in a muzzleloader. I can't get over the idea that the transition from shell to forcing cone could strip the patch away from the ball. The only way I could ease my micd on this one would be to load 20 shells or so, fire them one at a time, and check the bore after each shot.

    If it would work, I'd want a heavy card or a fiber wad under the PRB to keep the patch lube out of the powder. I might also want (I'm talking brass shells here) a card and a light roll crimp over the ball. I don't load BP in shotgun shells (yet! :) ), so I'm open to some critique.

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