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Old February 20, 2015, 11:53 AM   #1
Texas Moon
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Ever try a minie' out of a smooth bore?

Been trying a few loads in the Charleville.
Buck-n-Ball is fun but wildly impractical.
Tried a .678 roundball. Again with lousy accuracy.
Now I know this thing will never equal a rifled gun but i was hoping to be able to hit a 10" circle at 50yds.
Saw the Lyman .69cal minie' mold. Worth a try or waste of money?
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Old February 20, 2015, 12:01 PM   #2
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never tried it but based upon experience with minies, if they're not spinning they're very unstable. so w/o rifling, I doubt a minie could ever do better than a round ball
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Old February 20, 2015, 02:01 PM   #3
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Hmm well Foster slugs are sort of shaped like a Minnie bullet, so it might work... let us know!
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Old February 20, 2015, 03:19 PM   #4
Carl N. Brown
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I have only shot rifled muzzleloaders, but (here it comes) I have read that muskets inaccurate with powder and loose ball (.69" ball in a .75" bore) shoot a lot more accurately better if the ball is patched (so it stays centered in the bore as it travels down the barrel).

Never tried a minie out of a smoothbore but have shot Foster slugs from smoothbore 12ga shotguns.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:M...rry_burton.jpg
(Wikipedia commons image credited to public domain Harper's Ferry 1855)

While the miniball is not as front heavy as the Foster shotgun slug it is hollowbased and the grease grooves allegedly contribute to aerodynamic stability.
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Old February 20, 2015, 03:33 PM   #5
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Quote:
Foster slugs are sort of shaped like a Minnie bullet
Center of mass of a Foster is much further forward and so are much less likely to tumble than a Minie. Foster slug would get my vote if the OP wants to try something other than a roundball
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Old February 20, 2015, 03:59 PM   #6
Carl N. Brown
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Cross section of the Foster slug looks like a U made of lead. It stabilizes in flight like a badminton cock.

Lyman 1-Cavity Minie Ball Bullet Mold #68569 69 Caliber (685 Diameter) 730 Grain runs $72.99 from the ads I saw. That is a lot to pay for a smoothbore experiment that might not work.

I wish I knew what to say about the .69" Minie Ball; I suspect they work in rifled barrel arms only.
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Old February 20, 2015, 03:59 PM   #7
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I shoot an 1842 Springfield and with an unpatched ball can hit a 10 inch target at 50yds about 4/5 times but it took awhile to find the right ball fit, load, and lube. I still have a lot of room for improvement, but I rough up a .678 ball between 2 ferrier files and then roll in alox and allow to dry. 50grains of 3f Swiss powder.

There are many over at the N-SSA that can shoot a lot better then me...I would suggest searching there sight for discussions on smoothbore loads.
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Old February 20, 2015, 05:00 PM   #8
Texas Moon
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I saw a brief vid over on the YouTube about a guy casting 12ga slugs.
The front band on the slug was .685.
The hollow base would blowout to bore diameter on firing.
Basically a minie' in a smoothbore.

Just wondering.
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Old February 22, 2015, 03:15 PM   #9
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The smoothbore guys I shoot with in my club are doing FAR better than 10 inches at 50 yards using moderately snug fitted patched round ball. I'd be willing to say that they are getting something more akin to 5 inches at 50. Which would put them pretty much on par with the results I've gotten for shooting slugs from my 870 short barrel come to think of it.

The Foster slug option seems rather attractive. Basically a drop in fit that fire forms to the bore size and rides the walls out. The take it that the spiral grooves in the sides of the Foster are there to allow some of the gas pressure to flow by and impart some spin?

But if you can get the same results from a patched round ball then I'd set the Minie idea aside.
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Old February 22, 2015, 08:43 PM   #10
4v50 Gary
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You're better off tightly patching a round ball in that Charleville. Expect minute of redocat at 75 paces. Lawrence Babits did it with his reproduction Bess (see Devil of A Whipping).
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Old February 22, 2015, 09:39 PM   #11
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I would think a tightly patched round ball would have a much better chance of accuracy out of the smooth bore. I just don't think you would be able to get a mini to stabilize out of it.
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Old February 23, 2015, 10:11 AM   #12
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If you can lay hands on some of the Lyman hollow base slugs you might find that they can be relatively accurate.

My grand father, now gone over sixty years, left me a single bbl shotgun........made by the long defunct Shattucks arms co. Apparently he'd bought it new sometime in the 1890's......used it as a farm gun, and it showed it.

I repaired the stock, polished the bore and removed most of the pitting from corrosive ammo. Kinda "proofed" the thing by lashing it to a tire and running nearly a box of hi-brass modern buck 'magnum' loads thru it. Kinda a loose old gun, but it held. Still, I was not comfortable with smokless in a gun from the era it came from and relegated it to BP only. I've shot both plastic and full length modern produced brass cases in it with really good results.....using shot, buck and my own Lyman cast Foster slugs..

Thing amazed me with its patterning with shot, but the real kicker was when I ran some of those 70 grain BP slug loads (brass cased) and started getting really good groups at a friends 50 yard range........and that's with the simple nearly worn off brass bead original 'sight'!

The loads I used were hard card over the charge itself, fiber under the slug............I've pushed that slug with as much as 90 grains of GOEX 2f, but the 70 grainer is a LOT easier on the shoulder.

I know I'm talking cartridge here, but if that slug worked in that old smoke pole it ought to be at least worth a try.

By the way, several years back a close friend borrowed that gun and dropped an 18 lb turkey..........then kept trying to talk me out of my "heirloom"!


Just noticed BC's comment about the groove cut slugs........mine are not so configured.... simply smooth sided. My belief is that the things act similar to shuttlecock.....weight forward with a reasonable gas seal from the hollow base, incidentally, those fiber wads I mentioned were from some really old stock Alcan stuff I scrounged somewhere. By the way, the groups I was getting with them were approximately six inches or slightly better.

Last edited by dogrunner; February 23, 2015 at 10:19 AM.
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Old February 23, 2015, 03:20 PM   #13
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There's no doubt that the shuttle cock aerodynamics of the hollow back design plays a HUGE part in the flight stability. I've just always smiled at the idea of putting the "rifling" onto the slug. Then a while back it hit me that it may be there for the gases to leak by and get it spinning in the bore to some extent. Otherwise it's just a styling affectation feature.

And in fact looking at some pictures of this same style slug in prep for posting this reply I now see that there's a sealing band around the base that will ride the bore. So gases aren't going to leak past the spines after all. So why the external spines on the side wall then? Simply to reduce contact area and friction?
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Old February 23, 2015, 03:39 PM   #14
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How does those Brenneke shotgun slugs work? They're sold as more accurate than other slugs and isn't there a shotgun slug mold that cast has rifling like grooves into the body of the slug?
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Old February 23, 2015, 11:40 PM   #15
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Gary, years back Lyman used to market a device that you could cut your own grooves in their hollow base slugs.........I recall reading about 'em back in the 50's............never have seen one and I doubt seriously they made a lot of difference.

Far as the Brenneke slugs go........one's I've shot are doggone good. I have a Sarasqueta double in .16 that shoots like a rifle using those things up to around 75 yards....gain you have the weighted front end and the screwed on wad base for the shuttlecock effect.
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Old February 24, 2015, 12:05 AM   #16
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It would be interesting to see how 12ga slugs would perform in a revolutionary war style musket with .69-.75" bore. I think an over powder card and under slug felt wad would be needed.

Off topic aside: I suspect the "rifling" on the classic Foster slugs adds a little drag on the skirt of the slug aiding the shuttlecock arodynamics, helping slightly to keep the nose forward. Or, it may be pratically useless.
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Old Yesterday, 03:13 PM   #17
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I used to shoot Lyman Foster style slugs out of a Navy Arms "magnum" double 12. I patched them tight and used, I believe, about 3 1/2 drams of ffg. Patched really tight...didn't have any move forward from recoil in second barrel. Don't put a wad on top of a slugger minie as they could overrun it and bulge the barrel.
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