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Old July 27, 2014, 03:15 PM   #1
WestKentucky
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.451 balls and bullets in TC hawken?

I got a bunch of .451 balls and buffalo bullets in a recent trade and unearthed them while rearranging my man cave (post roof leak and remodel). Both are .451 and seem like they would be a fair fit in the rifle but I have never shot .451 balls in a rifle. The bullets seem a natural fit so they are for sure being stuffed down-bore. Any help on the .451 balls would be appreciated.
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Old July 27, 2014, 03:44 PM   #2
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What is the bore size? The ball has to be small enough to use a patch or you won't get a seal. Most stock barrels are 1/48 a compromise fair for ball and bullet, but not best for either. If slower twist; 1/60 or 1/72 better for round ball, if faster 1/36, 1/30, or 1/26 only good for bullet and fastest only good for sabots. Easiest way to check twist is run a tight patch down the bore and tape a T stick to the rod and back out, measure back out til 1/2 turn of T and double for actual turn length. Knowledge is half the battle!
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Old July 27, 2014, 04:27 PM   #3
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It's a midrange twist, and it works with the smaller balls and bullets. Sabots are miserable with it. I just need info on pounding a .451 ball down over a .010 patch. The bore is funky right now so I need to clean it, but just wanting to know if I should trade/sell these .451 balls, use without a patch (never heard of anyone doing this) or use them with a thin patch.
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Old July 28, 2014, 11:25 AM   #4
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You still haven't answered the most important question Robhof asked. What is the bore size (caliber) of the rifle?????????

From your description on 'pounding' a .451 bullet in, I assume it's a .45 and not a .50. If it's a .45, sell the bullets and buy maxi-balls or maxi-hunters to shoot ... or patched round balls in .440 size.
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Old July 28, 2014, 01:00 PM   #5
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Yes it's a .45 but I'm not sure of its actual bore size as the smokepoles tend to come in a wide variety of flavors from .450 up to about .454. The .451 bullets actually do pretty good so I will keep shooting them until I run out.
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Old July 28, 2014, 06:35 PM   #6
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Let's put it his way:
My Pedersoli Missouri River Hawken likes a 0.451"/0.018" ball/patch combination.

After cleaning.... Try them w/ a thin (0.010") patch first, then adjust.
(And don't be afraid of a smoothly stiff ramrod when seating.)

Last edited by MEHavey; July 28, 2014 at 06:47 PM.
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Old August 5, 2014, 11:48 PM   #7
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Shot the rifle extensively yesterday and tried a few things at 50yds. Sabots made a 3" group. .451 lubed bullets shot 2.5" and .451 lightly lubed balls with NO PATCH shot 3.5". This was surprising as I expected the balls to destabilize and shoot erratically. I didn't get a chance to shoot the balls with patches, but with the results I got I was pleasantly suprised as a lot of the grouping size was my shooting as it was all standing offhand. I plan to try the balls again at 100 yds both patched and bare to see what the gun does.
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Old August 6, 2014, 03:41 PM   #8
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Did the rifling shave off any splinters of lead when you rammed in a non patched ball? If it did then you won't be able to use any sort of patch since it'll almost certainly be cut between the lead and the edges of the rifling during the initial starting thump.

The fact that it fits at all suggests that it's an oversize bore. It would be nice to slug it so you can measure it.

But this raises a question I'd not considered. I've slugged some cartridge barrels. But how does one slug a closed breech barrel? Once the slug is beaten into the bore THEN what?
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Old August 6, 2014, 06:37 PM   #9
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No shaved lead. I could push the ball in by thumb but it definately took some rifling.
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Old August 6, 2014, 07:40 PM   #10
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What I've seen said is to drop a length of brass rod into the barrel before the ball. Then raise and drop (not to the ground) the rifle so that the rod will slowly hammer the ball back out.
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Old August 6, 2014, 07:49 PM   #11
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Quote:
I didn't get a chance to shoot the balls with patches...
As previously suggested, start with some .010" ticking/muslin (simple spit patch); and then 0.015/0.018" (same spit patch).
Use rawhide hammer to start; and cut the patch strips flush at the muzzle with a sharp knife.
Run ~60gr 3Fg and work up.

You might be surprised....
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Old August 8, 2014, 02:49 PM   #12
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Quote:
What I've seen said is to drop a length of brass rod into the barrel before the ball. Then raise and drop (not to the ground) the rifle so that the rod will slowly hammer the ball back out.
Thanks rodwha. A slide hammer solution it is. And now back to the regular topic......
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