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Conical vs balls

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by ChasMack, Mar 24, 2013.

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  1. ChasMack

    ChasMack Member

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    I have been reading as of late that conical bullets are much more accurate than lead balls. That makes sense. I was wondering, can you buy conical bullets already made up or can you only get them by casting them yourself? I have not casted bullets before, so if that's the case I need to start another hobby :( Thanks for any info!
     
  2. Kayaker 1960

    Kayaker 1960 Member

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  3. mykeal

    mykeal Member

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    That's a very inaccurate generalization. There's more to it than projectile shape. It is possible to match the right combination of many variables so that a given conical shape is more accurate than a round ball; it's also just as possible to assemble another combination that makes the round ball more accurate. And the use of 'much' is hyperbole in either case.

    if you simply start substituting conical bullets for round balls you're bound to be disappointed.
     
  4. AbitNutz

    AbitNutz Member

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    They're readily available though you have to mail order them.

    If you buy 500 for a revolver they last a very, very long time.
     
  5. Lunie

    Lunie Member

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    If only... :cuss: My experience is that revolvers are hungry critters. ;)

    (At least when it comes to roundball. I'm assuming they would eat up conicals with similar enthusiasm. I haven't found any particular advantages to conicals for most of my uses, except that they offer less room for powder.)
     
  6. ChasMack

    ChasMack Member

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    It was a generalization for sure. I read a couple subject lines in different forums that stated conicals were more accurate. I don't know anything about them and so posted as to just where to get them or if they had to be made. I am sure there is more to loading conicals than just putting a bullet in the cylinder. I thought if they could be purchased I could try them, after researching them more. Depending on how it goes, I might cast them. I'll need to research casting, balls or otherwise. Might be a good thing to take up. Thanks for the replies!
     
  7. rodwha

    rodwha Member

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    Kaido had Lee make custom molds from their 255 grn 45 Colt bullet. He sells them for $40/100 + shipping. They weigh 240 or 255 grns depending. They work well, but are fairly expensive.
    You can order them here: kaido93@hotmail.com

    Masscaster (another forum) has begun resizing 45-70 230 grn FP bullets to work in the Old Army. He'll even give them a rebated base to seat easily in the chamber for loading. He sells those for ~$11/100 + shipping depending on what you want him to do.
    You'll have to become a member of the forum: http://castboolits.gunloads.com/showthread.php?87136-Forefather-s-Casting-Shop

    I've also read of many people successfully loading lead bullets for the 45 ACP/Colt in their guns. A fellow has given me some .452" bullets he uses to try out. It seems they would easily back out of the chamber, but he claims they hold well.

    I've heard that Buffalo Bullets are back in production too... Maybe Dixie Gun Works has them again.

    Oh, I've also heard of people using REAL's. I believe Masscasters sells those as well...
     
  8. kituwa

    kituwa Member

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    I agree with Mykeal,there is more to it than just bullet shape.A conical needs to start straight and not be too long to stabilize for the riffling twist in your gun.Another thing with both conicals and round balls both that you dont hear much said about is that on many cap and ball revolvers the loading ram deforms the top of the bullet and usually not in the center but off to one side or the other and that can not be good for accuracy.I know that in some of my guns a round ball after it is seated is far from a round ball anymore.In my walker they look like wad cutters even and that would be ok if the ram was nicely centered on every ball. That is one thing i want to do yet is try and regrind the end of the ram to better fit a ball. I would think that shaping the ram end would be even more important if you were trying to use a kieth style semi wadcutter.
     
  9. Fingers McGee

    Fingers McGee Member

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    While that may be true for an occasional recreational plinker. Used in CAS competition, they wouldn't last 3 months for an experienced shooter. I go through around 2000 round balls a year between March and November.
     
  10. AbitNutz

    AbitNutz Member

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    To get consistent groups out of conical bullets you need to use a loader. Loading the bullets with the on board ram is painful, slow, sloppy and results in tipped bullets. It's an overwhelmingly frustrating experience. RB's are a no brainer with the ram. They self center, load fast and seat easily.

    If you intend to shoot conical bullets seriously...you need to use a loader. Your mileage may vary but that's my experience. If I had to use the on board ram, I wouldn't shoot conicals.
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2013
  11. AbitNutz

    AbitNutz Member

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    I don't believe that the OP is a CAS shooter. I too burn through a couple of thousand bullets a year in my ROA. It doesn't read like he would need to start with a big pile of bullets.
     
  12. kwhi43@kc.rr.com

    kwhi43@kc.rr.com Member

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    At the National Revolver Championships at Friendship Indiana we are allowed
    To use either bullets or balls. All National records and championships are won
    With round balls. I know of no one who uses bullets. I've been going over 20 yrs
    I did try them once. Didn't take over 5 shots to see why nobody uses them.
     
  13. Dframe

    Dframe Member

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    If you want to try conicals I'd pick up a few from some local caster. But any thought that they are better than round balls is a mistake. As noted above there are a myriad of problems with them, in Loading, rifling twist rates, length, deformation of bullet tips, tipping, and length causing problems with loading depth in the cylinder. Most people try them at one time or another, but almost always go back to the round balls the revolver was designed to use.
     
  14. AbitNutz

    AbitNutz Member

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    Bullets are ballistically superior to round balls. They are more difficult to shoot accurately because of the greater possible variations, dozens of different styles and weights. There is only one style and weight of RB.

    Especially at distances greater than 20 yards, a well developed bullet load out performs my RB loads in my ROA. They always outperform them in regards to power. At 25 yards or so and under, RB shoot with my best bullet loads. Maybe a little better due to much lower recoil.

    I always shoot bullets. I use a loader, lubricated bullets, no wad, no grease. It shoots as clean as I could ever expect, no leading and cleans up in the dishwasher.

    Again, your mileage may vary.....
     
  15. mykeal

    mykeal Member

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    You do understand that round balls shot out of your ROA are not round balls at all?

    What is the parameter you use to determine power output and how are you measuring it?
     
  16. robhof

    robhof Member

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    robhof

    There was a discussion awhile back about conicals and Round balls and revolvers. I and many others have found that at the 25yd range that better groups can be obtained with the RB's. I've found this to be true with all my b/p revolvers, with the exception of my Walker; for some reason it seems to group better with the Lee REAL bullet for revolvers.
     
  17. AbitNutz

    AbitNutz Member

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    The only one I know of, energy. E=1/2M*V(2)

    E=1/2 Mass*Velocity squared. A 250 grain bullet can be driven at a velocity that will always have considerably more energy than a 155gr RB. The sectional density of a bullet is always superior to a RB of the same diameter and gives greater penetration.

    The ballistic coefficient is also much greater on a bullet than a RB and keeps a much larger portion of that energy at longer ranges.

    A 255 gr bullet driven at 800 FPS delivers 355 ft/lbs of energy. A 155 gr RB at 800 FPS delivers 220 ft/lbs.

    A .457 155gr RB squeezed into .456 chamber will always be the same
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2013
  18. AbitNutz

    AbitNutz Member

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    The problem is that you can compare any RB load to any other RB load because the RB is a constant. It's always the same.

    You can't say that RB's are superior to all conicals because there are too many conicals. My ROA doesn't like the Lee 220gr .456 conical that much. It shoots OK but it will shoot RB's more accurately. It does like the BigLube 220gr a great deal and will out shoot my RB loads.
     
  19. kwhi43@kc.rr.com

    kwhi43@kc.rr.com Member

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    Energy is a myth. Energy never killed anything. It's the big hole that does it.
     
  20. Patocazador

    Patocazador Member

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    The big hole leaves a longer (deeper) wound channel if there is more energy behind the hole maker (bullet). That increases lethality.
     
  21. mykeal

    mykeal Member

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    You said
    not energy. That's why I asked. Energy and power are not the same thing.

    Not necessarily. Dissipating energy also results in increasing heat; that extra energy may well just result in heating the soft tissues, turning them to jelly.
     
  22. AbitNutz

    AbitNutz Member

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    Well if energy is a myth it's a good one. Given no alternative, just looking at the data, I think that most would choose to get shot by a 155gr .45 at 850fps rather than a 68gr 5.56. at 3300fps.

    5.56=1643 ft/lbs
    .45=248 ft/lbs

    I don't want to be argumentative. All I'm saying is that in my ROA, I get better results in accuracy and observed pumpkin exploding, with my particular recipe of bullets vs round balls. Your mileage may vary.
     
  23. mykeal

    mykeal Member

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    I certainly don't intend to disparage the use of energy as a meaningful parameter in comparing projectiles. This is a very complicated science, however, so often what may seem obvious is really very difficult to fully understand.

    Round balls are well known to be ballistically better, sometimes much better, than their calculated ballistic coefficient would suggest. It's also well known that taken to their limits they don't measure up to a well designed bullet shape. In the end projectile shape is just one of many parameters one must consider in choosing the right load for a given use.

    Sharing what we've individually learned helps everyone else come to a better end result eventually, but it's important when reading what someone else has done that we don't oversimplify. I appreciate knowing that one person has developed an effective load for an ROA using a conical shape; knowing it can be done and how it was done will make my task easier. But I don't take those results to mean all (or any) conicals are always better. Generalizations such as the one which started this thread are not useful.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2013
  24. twice barrel

    twice barrel Member

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    ChasMack,

    I suppose it depends a great deal upon just what you are shooting. Back when I was into muzzleloading rifles the rate of twist on my hawken barrels dictated whether or not round balls or conicals were best suited. With a slow round ball twist and tightly patched round balls my 54 cal would cluster one hole at 100 yards. My quicker twist rifled barrels designed for conicals would not equal the accuracy but would deliver a much heavier projectile to the target. They'd still shoot a nice group but no where near that of my round ball set up.

    Regards,

    TB
     
  25. Patocazador

    Patocazador Member

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    Turning tissue to jelly also increases lethality. :)
     
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