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Here is a tip many of you may not have thought about.

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by Brutuskend, Nov 5, 2020.

  1. Brutuskend

    Brutuskend Member

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    As you can tell from my avatar, I am into bicycles.

    Bike shops throw out pounds and pounds of old bearings all the time!

    If you have a shotgun, or shoot shot out of your smooth bore, make friends with someone at your local bike shop and have them save the old bearings they would normally toss out.

    FREE shot!!!!

    20201105_202337.jpg
     
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  2. arcticap

    arcticap Member

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    Last edited: Nov 6, 2020
  3. AJumbo

    AJumbo Member

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    An even better idea would be to forget you ever had this idea. Bearings are WAY harder than steel waterfowl shot and will ruin the bore in a hurry. The advice above from Chuck Hawks applies to waterfowl shot, not bike shop floor sweepings.
     
  4. Brutuskend

    Brutuskend Member

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    Ok, both good things to know.
    I will go back to my original idea for using old bearings.
    Originally I started saving them with the idea of combining them with old chains and forging blades out of them. Basically taking small bearings and hammering them into the "tooth" area of the chain and then sticking the chain into a forge and hammering them into a sort of Damascus type steel. Though the hardness of the bearings might make this impossible.
    Still, always thinking of ways to recycle. ;)
     
  5. Brutuskend

    Brutuskend Member

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    As far as using the bearings in my shotgun. ( or soon to be my shotgun) I was thinking of putting the bearings into a thick cardboard tube and then wrapping the tube with copper tape and firing it that way. Seems the cardboard and copper would protect the barrels from getting damaged.
    Your thoughts?
     
  6. woodnbow
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    woodnbow Contributing Member

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    Nah...lead or bismuth is the only way to go.
     
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  7. the Black Spot

    the Black Spot Member

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    Use the bearings for sling shots
     
  8. arcticap

    arcticap Member

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    I'm sure that some folks have done it more than a few times, but there's always a risk that it won't work as intended.
    I wouldn't trust doing it unless the bore was already beat up and had pitting or rust.

    And I wouldn't shoot them in your new antique shotgun unless there was a zombie invasion.
    I even cringe when I see folks firing steel airgun BB's from any kind of smooth bore and those are probably much softer steel than bearing balls.

    If there was a way to securely encase some steel balls inside of a plastic shot cup without breaking open, then perhaps it would become a mini solid slug or a type of bean bag round.
    But I wouldn't know how to guarantee that it wouldn't break open inside of the bore and releasing the balls.
    And then only by firing one at a paper target would you be able to tell if it held together or not.
    It's not without some risk and IMO not a good idea to try with any antique gun.
    I'm only trying to explore the topic since it's not worth spending the money to buy plastic shot wads to try this when the money could be used to buy lead shot instead.

    Maybe you can glue some of those steel balls into the hollow point of bullets so they will expand better, or to create a more aerodynamic round.
    Or just wait for a rust bucket ML to come along, then you can play around with them.
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2020
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  9. noelf2

    noelf2 Member

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    If using a shot cup, I don't see the harm in using them. But I would never use them bare to the bore even in chrome lined bores.
     
  10. damoc

    damoc Member

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    I loaded some 12 gauge blackpowder a very light load with steel bbs just for around the ranch vermin control It was terrible and that is ignoring
    any damage done to the bore. Half the time I had bbs bounce back at me.
     
  11. woodnbow
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    woodnbow Contributing Member

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    The harm comes from some of the shot escaping the shot cup during the journey down bore and scores the walls of the bore. I was set to use steel in a lovely 60’s vintage Franchi over under until I got a look at my friends Marlin goose gun that was used with steel shot. It looked like someone went after the bore with a half round rasp. If you’re not particularly fond of the gun, have at it. If you intend to keep and use it for a few years use lead or bismuth only.
     
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  12. noelf2

    noelf2 Member

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    Ridiculous. Not sure how any shot from the cup could jump the cup and travel faster than the rest. There's some serious g force compressing that shot firmly in the cup. Just don't overflow the cup with the shot when loading, and have a good firm overshot wad seated in top.
     
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  13. Jaymo

    Jaymo Member

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    What about using shot wraps inside of shot cups, with the bearing balls as shot?
    The hardness of the balls is of no consequence, if the balls don't touch the barrel.
     
  14. woodnbow
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    woodnbow Contributing Member

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    There’s a reason though that most folks don’t use steel shot in old shotguns and manufacturers recommend against the practice. Even though you can be sure that all modern steel ammo comes with fully functional shot cups. Ridiculous as it may be, the use of it has damaged soft steel barrels and I’d never use it in any shotgun I valued. But you’re an adult, you should do as you see fit.


    Maybe. It may work. If it does or doesn’t you’ll know soon enough. Again, I wouldn’t, only because the alternatives, lead or bismuth for those who need non toxic shot are readily available, work very well and are not that expensive.
     
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  15. arcticap

    arcticap Member

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  16. PapaG

    PapaG Member

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    Thanks, arcticap. You got it on the head. Steel does not "flow" like lead. Regardless of cup or not you can ruin a good gun. Lots of older cartridge guns should not be used with steel and their steel is better than most 1800s originals or replicas.
    I've even scratched up some barrels using reclaimed lead shot that hadn't been cleaned. I doubt the inquirers thought about the need for special steel shot wads either. Bearings are orders of magnitude harder than steel shotgun shot.
    Bottom line: Bad Idea. Lead isn't that expensive.
     
  17. Cowhide Cliff

    Cowhide Cliff Member

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    excellent way to ruin a gun
     
  18. Jaymo

    Jaymo Member

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    For the record, I strongly prefer lead shot.
     
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