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"correct" .577/.58 cal Minie ball weight?

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by DutchmanDick, Apr 21, 2008.

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  1. DutchmanDick

    DutchmanDick Member

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    What was the weight of the original Burton-style .58 caliber Minie ball as used in the Civil War? I will want to get a mold for my Nepalese P1853 Enfield, assuming the inside of the barrel is in as good of a condition as the outside, but there are a number of different molds for the "old-style" Minie ball and they are all of different weights! I want to get one as close to the "correct" bullet weight as possible without having to buy a custom mold. I don't want a Pritchett-style mold, as a Pritchett/Pritchard ball does not have grease or scraping grooves and I don't want to monkey around with paper-patching my bullets (paper cartridges is as far as I'm willing to go!:D)
     
  2. bonza

    bonza Member

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    Bullet weight

    Hi D.D., I just checked my copy of 'The Rifled Musket' by Claude E. Fuller & on page xiii there is an ilustration of "The Civil War Catridge". The caption below it reads (bold print by me for emphasis):
    "During the war the Ordnance Department secured by purchase and fabrication 470,851,079 of these cartridges of .577 and .58 calibers. The .58 caliber cartridges for the Springfield arms used a bullet with three grooves or cannelures with a cavity at the base consisting of a perfect cone. It was .5775 inches in diameter and weighed 500 grains, and was fired by 60 grains of musket powder; rifle powder was not considered suitable. Before placing in the cartridge the bullets were dipped in a hot composition consisting of one part beeswax and three parts tallow."
     
  3. DutchmanDick

    DutchmanDick Member

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    Sounds like the Lee mould will fill the bill just fine, then (I've always used Lee moulds, with very little trouble, although some people hate them). Thanks!
     
  4. rusty from italy

    rusty from italy Member

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    But the british enfield cartridge was made with flat side hollow base bullet wrapped in paper and waxed in the part around bullet , and was loaded with paper!
    ciao
    Rusty
     
  5. Smokin_Gun

    Smokin_Gun Member

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    I'd say 500gr also...it's what I mold and shoot.
     
  6. bigjohnson

    bigjohnson Member

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    Lee doesn't make a mould for a correct Civil-War style Minie ball. The closest you will find is the Lyman 575213-OS (Old Style), which is 460 grains.
     
  7. DutchmanDick

    DutchmanDick Member

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    What is the difference between the Lee Minie ball and the Lyman, other than weight? Lee makes molds for 3 different styles of .58 Minie ball: the "old style" 500 grain; an "improved" style that is lighter, has wider grease grooves, and a more blunt nose profile; and a "target" wadcutter style. Seems like the 500 grain "old style" mold would be historically correct, or at least as close as one can get these days.
     
  8. 4v50 Gary

    4v50 Gary Moderator Staff Member

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    Traditionally, the British used (and sold to the Confederates) the smooth sided Pritchett ball with a boxwood plug. While it is true that the Pritchett was smooth sided and didn't have grease grooves, the Enfield was the most accurate of the rifle-muskets during the ACW.
     
  9. Rachen

    Rachen member

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    Dixie Gun Works carry an original Match grade Enfield bullet that weighs 530 grains and have no grease grooves for smooth and reliable expansion inside the barrel.

    During the War, I think these were the choice for Confederate sharpshooters. I just looked it up.
     
  10. DutchmanDick

    DutchmanDick Member

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    I'm afraid that still doesn't answer my question of what is the difference between the supposedly more "historically correct" (but under weight) Lyman 575213-OS 460-grain Minie ball mold, and the Lee 500 grain ""original style" Minie ball mold (as opposed to their "wadcutter" Minie and the "improved" Minie molds). A few posts ago BigJohnson stated that Lee doen't make a "historically correct" Minie ball mold.
     
  11. bigjohnson

    bigjohnson Member

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    The Lee "Original Style" Minie is longer than the Lyman 575213-OS. Also the base cavity of the Lee minie is larger, resulting in thinner walls on the skirt. Some guns like the Lee minie. My 1855 Harpers Ferry does not.
     
  12. DutchmanDick

    DutchmanDick Member

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    Ohhhhh. Ok. I might be better off with the Lee then, anyway, if the length is in the shank portion rather than the ogive, just for more bore riding surface. I know that in the Springfield pistol/carbine, the ball was the same length and outside profile as the musket bullet, but had a larger base cavity to lighten the ball to 450 grains or so.
     
  13. Tomb29

    Tomb29 Member

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    .58 minies

    I have been shooting a .58 zouave and a .577 enfield musketoonand I have used with great success, the Lyman 575213 510 grain round and it works great I size them .577 and they slide in the barrel nice and tamp well. I only use Crisco in the hollow base for lube and after the first dirtying round have had no problem with shooting team musket and carbine at the N-SSA nationals which with a one shot brushing at mid point just to be safe I shot about 20 to 25 rounds with no problem and clean up is easy with some soapy water sucked in through the nipple with a piece of vinyl tubing into a jug of the soapy water and run a brush and then some clean patches down the bore and then a patch with some WD-40 to prevent rust til next time. Just patch the bore to remove oil before loading and shooting next time.
     
  14. drogstad

    drogstad Member

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    Loading an 1861 springfield

    I'm not experienced with rifles at all, so please excuse my ignorance. How exactly did a soldier load a paper cartridge with a minie ball in it. Was the entire thing rammed down the barrel or was it ripped open and poured in first? How hard did they have to tamp it down? Is there a way to quantify that?

    Thank you.
     
  15. badpenny

    badpenny Member

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    the us style cartridge you tear the end from it and pour the powder down the barrel,then remove the ball and thumb press into the barrel,then ram it down.the british was made with the base backwards.you tear the end from the cartridge,pour the powder,reverse the cartridge and force it in paper and all,once past the muzzle,you tear the remainder of the paper off and then ram it down.the british ball was considerably undersize.once the barrel is badly fouled you could load it without the paper wrapping.
     
  16. badpenny

    badpenny Member

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    dutchman dick see how fast your rifling is,if it is a slow pitch you may be better off with a lighter ball,mine prefers the 460 grain old-style.with the lee mold it hits 6 or 7 inches to the right,with the 460 it hits the point of aim.it took a number of years to discover that.but i enjoyed the trip
     
  17. TomADC

    TomADC Member

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    I shoot this same bullet in my Zouve. I use Wonder lube 1000 in the cavity and shoot them as delivered from Track of the Wolf.
     
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