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Trying to understand something

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by vincyr, Mar 25, 2020.

  1. vincyr

    vincyr Member

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    I'm going to cast some miniballs for my muzzleloader(Lee mold I picked up at a gunshow), and I am having difficulties wrapping my head around something. Do miniballs get loaded directly onto the powder, or is there some sort of wadding or patch between them? All I've ever shot before were saboted bullets.
     
  2. dave951

    dave951 Member

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    NO, don't load anything over the powder.

    Hopefully your Lee molds will cast a correctly size bullet. I compete with 58cal rifle muskets and minies. A properly setup musket is quite capable of one hole accuracy at 50yds. Two of mine are sub 2moa guns.
     
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  3. arcticap

    arcticap Member

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    Conicals and miniballs can be loaded directly onto the powder.
    But that doesn't mean that a person can't place a wad, wax paper or other types of wad material under the projectile.
    That may depend on how well they fit, personal preference, experimentation and trial & error.
     
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  4. arcticap

    arcticap Member

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    For example, if a person packs the skirt of the miniball with lube, they may want to put a piece of wax paper under the projectile.
     
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  5. .38 Special

    .38 Special Member

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    I hope the pedantry will be forgiven, but just for the record, the bullet is named after one of its inventors, French captain Claude-Étienne Minié. Whenever I see "miniball" I think "really small bullet". ;)

    At any rate, if it is a true Minie ball it will have a large hollow base and a relatively thin skirt. It should be just a few thousandths of an inch smaller than the bore and is designed to be easily loaded with no wad. Traditionally these were dip-lubed and the hollow base essentially filled with lube. As Arcticap noted, some people will use wax paper or similar to prevent the lube from contaminating the powder.

    It is not dangerous to use an actual wad, and some people do, though I am not sure why. It is unnecessary, and a wad getting forced into the hollow base is unlikely to help accuracy any. I like to experiment myself, and I have used Minies with and without wads. The best I can say for wads, in my experience, is that they didn't hurt anything.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2020
  6. dave951

    dave951 Member

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    I see some folks fill the base with lube. We call those "Mississippi tracers" since they'll leave a smoke trail. I've did quite a few out of the berm still with lube in the base. FWIW, you won't see anybody in the top ranks of a shooting match doing it.
     
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  7. Mike OTDP

    Mike OTDP Member

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    A Minie should be loaded directly onto the powder. Do be sure to put lube into the grease grooves.
     
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  8. dave951

    dave951 Member

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    For my competition minies, I cast from either a RCBS Hogdon mold with extended base pin or a Rapine Trashcan. The Hogdon is designed for competition and shoots very well in both my Parker Hales. Both of those guns with that minie are sub 2moa when the loose nut at the end of the stock has his poop together. The Trashcan shoots best out of both my 62 Colts, like one ragged hole at 50yds but is a bit unstable at 100. I'm looking for another bullet to counteract that.

    For minies to shoot best, use real black powder, good caps, and good lube. Minies must be cast from as pure lead as you can get, wheel weights are a no no. Then they need to be sized to about .001-2 under bore size. Best powder is Swiss followed closely by Old Eynsford (Goex product). My preference in caps are RWS followed by Schutzen. CCI reenactor caps are garbage as is powder marked for "reenactor use". As for lube, I use a couple. The Hogdons respond best to beeswax/lard 50/50. The Trashcans like beeswax/olive oil.

    Lee molds- they're priced like that for a reason. I have a couple and do use them on occasion. The only Lee minie I've ever gotten to shoot well was their "target" minie that was a direct copy of the Rapine Trashcan. The Trashcan can't be sized much and the Lee version is very close to the bore size on my Parker Hales. The thing I don't like about that mold is Lee quit making them in 58cal so I'm always on the lookout for a New/Old stock one. I have two, one is pretty used and starting to have issues and I have one new I got off ebay for a backup.
     
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