Casting round balls for ROA

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by highlander 5, Sep 17, 2012.

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  1. highlander 5

    highlander 5 Member

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    Though I've been loading smokeless for eons I decide to acquire a ROA for giggles.7.5" stainless with adjustable sight with a set of micarta grips.
    Question is this I've boat loads of ww can I use them to make round balls for my ROA? I'm using a loading tower from Big Lube/Dick Dastardly for loading rather than the pistols loading lever. My blocks are a Lee .457 mold.
     
  2. FreddyKruger

    FreddyKruger Member

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    only problem really with wheel weights is the hardness. trying to seat them in the cylinder requires more effort than pure lead but the loading tower is the best option for it tho.

    i even noticed the different between the stick on weights which is meant to be 99%+ lead and the pure lead flashing that i got.
     
  3. ottsm

    ottsm Member

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    Wheel weights are going to be a harder alloy then just pure lead which is soft. You might find it difficult to ram home. Some people have alloy conical bullets they shoot in the ROA. Typically when you ram a round ball home you get a shaved off ring of lead.
     
  4. BADUNAME30

    BADUNAME30 Member

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    Wheel weights are more valuable to boolit casters than pure lead.
    Make a trade with a caster for say 1.5 o' his fer 1 o' yours.

    Orrr.. git ya a .45 LC conversion cylinder and cast pure ww's for them boolits.
     
  5. J-Bar

    J-Bar Member

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    As in surgery and playing cards, one peek is worth 1000 guesses.

    Cast a few and see if you like them. Otherwise you are guessing.
     
  6. Curator

    Curator Member

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    Highlander5:

    Wheel weight alloy can be used quite successfully in the ROA, particularly if you are loading with something other than the gun's loading-lever. I have bent my lever a couple of times with WW balls, as it is soft from the factory. Also an important fact: WW alloy as cast and for a day or two is quite soft (Brinell hardness # 7 or so) but begins to "age-harden" for the next two weeks to BHN #12-15. This age hardening thing makes the balls somewhat difficult to load after they have aged. Cast them up on Friday for shooting on the weekend and you are good to go. Also, you can bake them in the oven the night before using at 400 degrees for an hour and let them air cool to restore their "as-cast" softness for a few days.
     
  7. loose noose

    loose noose Member

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    I disagree with just about everyone on this thread, which is somewhat unusual, in using wheel weights for casting for BP guns. Just use pure lead is the only way to go if you don't want to bend your loading lever, and get decent accuracy out of your firearm. Believe me I've tried and the hard lead just won't follow the the lands and grooves in a BP pistol/revolver.
     
  8. BADUNAME30

    BADUNAME30 Member

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    Heeyyy..what's wrong with tradin' 'em off to a boolit caster ??

    Jist messin with ya noose :D
     
  9. Noz

    Noz Member

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    loose noose.
    Balls poured for loading in a replica C & B pistol with the on board loading levers should always be as soft as possible.
    Balls for the Ruger or loading with a loading machine can be much harder.

    Accuracy and clean up are much better with all C & B with dead soft lead.
     
  10. highlander 5

    highlander 5 Member

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    Of all the people that I know that shoot smokeless or BP I'm 1 of 2 that casts their own bullets so trading isn't going to work. I've something on the order of 300 lbs of ww ready to be melted. I've been mixing them 50/50 with lino for my regular bullets. Going to pick up a 20 lb Lee pot in the near future to start the process of casting rb. I suspected I could use ww if I used the DD loader since it's just a variation of an arbor press. What little I've used it it does do a much better job of seating the ball into the chambers.
    Thank you for the info/advice one and all.
     
  11. robhof

    robhof Member

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    robhof

    Air cooling will also keep the hardness to a minimum, holding them in the mold a few seconds past regular cooling and dropping into clean sand as opposed to dropping into a bucket of water as I do with my mag bullets.
     
  12. BADUNAME30

    BADUNAME30 Member

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    robhof, I've only ever cast rb's for bp.
    I use only LEE double cavity aluminum molds.
    I pour, reach for my 'mallet' and immediately knock open the mold and dump onto a terry towel.
    I then immediately re-pour before the mold has any chance to cool at all.
    Does what i have underlined pertain to smokeless bullet casting?
    Why sand ?
    Why water?
    Would not water cool to quickly and cause hardening ?
    Mmm..but then the water is gonna get warm.
     
  13. Prairie Dawg

    Prairie Dawg Member

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    There is a neat little big lube boolit for ROAs that Dick Dastardly sells the mold for.
    EPP_UG = El Paso Pete Ultimate Gamer.
    El Paso Pete passed on a few years ago, but he designed this little bullet to emulate a round ball.
    Fill the groove with BP-friendly lube and no more grease needed.
    It loads just fine with the ROA loading lever.
    & shoots really well out of cartridges with a minimum of BP - 15 - 20 grains is sufficient.

    Now why am I going on about this?????

    Because Mike Fink, one of the premier Frontiersmen in the cowboy shooting game & known as a champion in the Michigan-Ohio-Indiana-Kentucky region, uses them in his ROAs and casts them out of wheel weights. He has for years.

    This may be the boolit for you......

    ---Dawg
     
  14. loose noose

    loose noose Member

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    Well dog my cats, there Praire dawg, I have no experience with the Ruger Old Army, but like someone else mentioned cleanup with the soft lead bullets is a lot less hassle. Now I can understand shooting close range with the BP cartridge loads using wheel weights, is fine; however, if you shoot a Trap door 45-70 any distance beyond 100 yards there is a distinct advantage to using a softer lead for accuracy as the bullet must expand in order to fill the lands and grooves. For example: My Springfield Trap Door Rifle would not hit the proverbial side of a barn using wheel weights at 50 yards.Once I got the book, "Loading Cartridges For The Original 45-70 Springfield Rifle and Carbine" a whole new horizon opened up to me. I immediately began getting groups of 5-6" out to 300 yards, and I know fellers with a lot younger eyes than me (my sons) that get right close to 4" groups at that range. Any way I'm not trying to be a smart a$$ but just trying to give some good advice as far as shooting BP.;)
     
  15. BADUNAME30

    BADUNAME30 Member

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    BP .45-70 at 300 yards.
    Now that right there gotta be some seriously fun shootin Noose.:D
     
  16. loose noose

    loose noose Member

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    Yep Jim, I've heard reports of shooting the 45-70 out to 500 yards and beyond, that little book I mentioned, tells how you open up the primer hole just a tad to get more complete ignition of the BP, which I did, how to cast the bullet (405 grn.) how to get the right compression, all kinds of good stuff.;)
     
  17. robert garner

    robert garner Member

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    There aint no telling how many 5 gal buckets of wheel weights I've shot thru my ROA,first got it in '73,wheel weights were free for the asking,haven't been able to procure any for several yrs now,still have 3-4 hundred lbs of first melt on hand.I can't relate any problems from doing so,never used anything but the loading lever to load with.Lead then and especially now is too dear to waste. Have you got a source for the Wheel weights?
    robert
     
  18. loose noose

    loose noose Member

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    robert, I cast my own bullets, using wheel weights for my 45-70 Marlin Lever Action, with Ballard rifling using smokeless powder, and a 405 grain round, I've shot moa many a time with that load. (three rounds) In fact I was going to take it to Alaska for a Kodiac Bear hunt which just never happened. Didn't you have a hard time getting the lever down even in a ROA? Sorry if I got off track here a bit.
     
  19. Zeke/PA

    Zeke/PA Member

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    Maybe I'm Old School to an extent BUT I refuse to use anything but pure lead for my Blackpowder needs.
    I was fortunate in some respects in being able to claim a lead Scale "dampner" that weighed in excess of 100 #'s before I retired.
    My ROA, using home cast round balls is without a doubt my most accurate handgun in a rather "extensive" arsenal.
     
  20. robert garner

    robert garner Member

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    Loose Noose,could very well be a matter of just not knowing any better,but as a high school kid with a 45 that could hit milk jugs at 100 yds, I didn't do too bad, never any problems,caps and powder were cheap,lead was free.No problems loading,but Pa had me working at 13,never bent a lever but a long day of shooting did leave one "sore".
    I did learn to copy the Brits, my iron pot would hold more than 100 lbs of lead,after the initial melt and skimming a thick blanket of ash was placed over the lead, and stirred often into the melt, perhaps this cleaned up the mix some?Lots of "dross" from this.
    Eventually I ended up with a brace of ROA's ,and last Christmas got my son one, simply cause it's the one pistol I couldn't do without.
    robert
     
  21. Curator

    Curator Member

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    Loose Noose,

    The OP asked if he "could" use wheel weight metal for round balls since he is using a loading tower, not the lever on his ROA. While "pure" lead is the preferred material for cap & ball revolvers, wheel weight alloy does indeed work, and work well if done correctly. I have two ROAs as well as several other replica and original C&B revolvers and extensive experience shooting them. I also teach the NRA Muzzle Loading Handgun Instructor course. Wheel weight alloy round balls can and do shoot as accurate as pure lead balls in some revolvers. In some cases more accurately. There are many factors that influence accuracy in these guns, bullet hardness (within reasonable limits) is only one. Having engaged in many C&B competitive shoots, I can report that more than a few shooters use wheel weight alloy either out of convenience or preference. I post this, not as a criticism, but to add my actual, genuine experience to the thread.
     
  22. loose noose

    loose noose Member

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    Well like I said before, I've tried wheel weights in my C&Bs and couldn't get the loading lever down without fear of bending or breaking it, maybe if I used a bit smaller mold they might have worked, don't really know, I do know I've got enough pure lead to just about sink an ocean liner, and along with that I've got a generous supply of tin. I've also got about 100#'s of wheel weights melted down in 1 and 2# ingots, and I use that for my .45's, .38's in modern arms. To each his own I allways say. Oh BTW Curator, I've been shooting BP for over 40 years, and I'd be the last one to tell ya I know it all when it comes to BP.:D I'm also aware of the OP's question as to what he was using to insert the balls into the cylinders, perhaps I'm just old school too!;)
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2012
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