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Shooting Shotgun Slugs in a Smoothbore Musket (Nesslers)

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by stantheman1986, Oct 28, 2019.

  1. stantheman1986

    stantheman1986 Member

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    Just as a fun little side project , I'm trying to make Shotgun Slugs work in a smoothbore Musket.

    For those unfamiliar with the Nessler Ball, a brief history is that these were bullets, similar to later shotgun slugs, developed to increase the range of smoothbore Muskets during the Crimean War.

    7.jpg
    Unearthed actual Nessler balls.
    7000002n (2).jpg
    I'm trying these next, they look most similar to a Nessler.
    unnamed-2.jpg
    I tried firing these .660 16 gauge slugs.

    In brief, the .660 slugs in the paper patch worked well for about 3 shots , then the skirts would tear off. I think the skirts were too thin, and after a little fouling the drag in the bore broke the slug up. I think even 60 grains of 2f was too much. No good, I can maybe try mouse fart 30 grain loads just to use them up next time.

    The 12 gauge .678 slugs look beefier, and may hold up.

    I'm not above trying American Pioneer or Pyrodex, but would like to stay with the real Holy Black.

    Any advice? Anyone tried this before?
     
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  2. 792mauser

    792mauser Member

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    Almost.
    I was using an old lee 12 gauge 1oz slug mold to cast some projos for my Brown Bess.
    It worked-ish. Patched with cheap paper it held center of mass to 70~75 yards but occasionally failed to stabilize.

    Then got a really cheap supply of 70 caliber lead balls and never looked back.
     
  3. stantheman1986

    stantheman1986 Member

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    I think you were right on the cusp of making that work....I bet if you tweaked the powder charge, grain type etc they would stabilize.

    If I can find a slug that won't tear skirts I'd be happy. I think 1f is less "aggressive " and may work. Also, finding paper that survives the ram down the bore is important.

    The slugs that worked were very accurate.

    I was advised to try a shotgun card or wad under the slug.
     
  4. troy fairweather

    troy fairweather Member

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    Sometimes a card underneath will stick to the slug and make it fly funny. For bp cartridges when using a wad we use two peace off paper to prevent the was from sticking to the bullets.

    Have you tried wax paper?
     
  5. stantheman1986

    stantheman1986 Member

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    I haven't tried too much, I just started playing around with these recently.

    I started with the Eras Gone "North Carolina Nessler" and got poor results , so I began to play with Foster slugs just as something to do.

    Having to load blanks to blast a separated skirt out of the bore of my $1400 Musket doesn't excite me so I'm proceeding with caution now.
     
  6. arcticap

    arcticap Member

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    You could try some filler such as Cream of Wheat, farina or grits.
    Or some balled up newspaper tightly compressed by ramming.
    Similar to cushion wads but either of them may provide more of a cushion.
    Perhaps wool wads or cards can be placed over and under the filler or newspaper.
     
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  7. stantheman1986

    stantheman1986 Member

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    Here's me shooting the Eras Gone solid base NC Nessler , but I loaded them like a Minie and I think my aggressive ramming deformed the bullet , destroying accuracy. Apparently they should be paper patched . At .680 there's not much windage for paper in a .69 bore.

    The idea of using wads or filler may work, I may try a wool wad, something that loads easy. My intent was to try to replicate the original, military style use of the Nessler.

    I'm anxiously awaiting the .678 Foster slugs I ordered from Ballistic Products.

    Those I may even try to load "bare" or with maybe a single wrap of paper.

    One source says the Nessler was removed from the paper and seated directly on the powder.
     
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  8. troy fairweather

    troy fairweather Member

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    You can deform the front of a bullet pretty good and not hurt accuracy, it does not take much on the back tho. Looks like a good slug for deer.

    Those 678 are the exact bore on my 15ga Hopkins and allen.
     
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  9. stantheman1986

    stantheman1986 Member

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    I think I mashed the back up in my effort to "bump it up" in the Breech.

    Even the creator of the mold for these believes they were made to be paper patched and used in .71 Austrian muskets by the CSA.

    A .678 slug will need thin paper and I'm not sure that's gonna hold up going down a fouled bore. I'm thinking a bare slug with a lube on the sides is the way to go.

    Most of the 12 gauge slugs are in the .730 range, I think the Fosters run smaller to fit in the plastic wad they use. They just happen to nearly replicate a Nessler ball.
     
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  10. 792mauser

    792mauser Member

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    I'll give it another go probably around Thanksgiving break.

    I still have a few (~10) of the slugs floating around.
    I'm going to try kinda loading it like a shotgun, with wads and all. And see if it improves.

    I love this smooth bore.
     
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  11. stantheman1986

    stantheman1986 Member

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    My man at Fury Custom Bullets is going to replicate the actual hollow base Nessler for me, basically a 1 oz Foster slug with a thick skirt.
     
  12. Carl N. Brown

    Carl N. Brown Member

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    Back when I was shooting .45 bullets in .50 caliber sabots in a caplock .50 muzzleloader, without controlling the fouling, three shots in a row is about all I could manage with an increasing fouled barrel.

    When I entered the black powder matches, I learned to wipe the barrel with a damp patch between shots. Crud built up in the powder chamber whether black or Pyrodex so I would pop a cap after wiping the bore to keep the firing channel clear, before charging the next shot. and wiped the bore with a patch with bore butter after seating the bullet. Course of fire was 100yd bench rest bullseye target five shots, and five shots silhouette at each of 100m pigs, 150m turkeys, 200m rams. Minimum of 22 rounds: fouler shot, sight check, twenty for score, by keeping fouling under control or consistent after the sight check shot.

    Needless to say I switched to black powder cartridge gun for the matches the next year. It was fun at the start but it got to be work by the end of the season.
     
  13. Ironhand54

    Ironhand54 Member

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    Look at the Lee Key Lock slugs. The internal partition might help with skirt failures and keep the wads out of the base.

    IronHand
     
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  14. stantheman1986

    stantheman1986 Member

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    I'd have to cast them I think, which I can't do yet. I haven't found anyone who sells the Lee Key slugs as a loose slug.
     
  15. stantheman1986

    stantheman1986 Member

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    20191101_201400.jpg
    Got some .678 slugs today, they fit with just a little "windage" so paper patching won't work. A finger swipe of Lanolin around the slug should do it. I'm going to try them bare like a Minie.

    Given that a rifled .69 takes a .685 Minie , a .678-.680 slug in a .69 smoothbore should bump out nicely. A tap with the ramrod should fill it out when it's in the breech, to keep it in the bore.
     
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  16. 792mauser

    792mauser Member

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    Looks promising.

    Its feeding my itch to take out the bess again.
    Dang it! Where'd I put those .70" cal balls again?
     
  17. Curator

    Curator Member

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    I tried the Lyman .678 Foster Slug in both my 1842 Springfield Smooth bore Musket and my 1848 "Rifled Musket" with relatively poor results. I did try various powder charges and cream of wheat filler to get them to group into something I could brag about. Unfortunately, I never found anything that met the mark. Patched (.015 pillow ticking) round ball (.662") out performs them all, regardless of powder charge, at least in my two muskets
     
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  18. stantheman1986

    stantheman1986 Member

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    This is my last shot with this, Round Balls are my go-to in my Pedersoli 1795 that I basically turned into a big Fowling piece. Super accurate with .648 balls in paper cartridges.

    20191101_232147.jpg
    I made some cartridges up but I doubt the paper will do anything for accuracy that the bare slug won't do.

    My results with .660 slugs were promising enough to make me want to continue playing with these .
     
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