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What's your go-to round ball?

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by SlowFuse, Jan 14, 2020.

  1. SlowFuse

    SlowFuse Member

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    For those shooting 44 cap and ball revolvers, curious if you go back to a certain brand of lead balls that works better than others for you.

    I have .451 Hornady, .454 Speer and .457 Hornady. Wish I had Hornady .454's right now as well to compare back to back with the Speers. That size seems like it will be the most promising.

    Are there any other brands out there worth trying? Not really wanting to buy molds to make my own at this point.

    Pictures make everything better:

    rps20200114_213046.jpg
     
  2. Starter52

    Starter52 Member

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    .457 Hornady in my Old Army. I tried cast lead ball once. Not a good experience.
     
  3. Armored farmer

    Armored farmer Member

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    I cast my own pure soft lead .454 for both my pietta '58s. 20190405_171218.jpg
     

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  4. SlowFuse

    SlowFuse Member

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    I've shot the .457's but feel they're too tight for my Uberti. They shoot fine but feel like I'm straining the loading lever.

    What issues did you run into with cast?
     
  5. woodnbow
    • Contributing Member

    woodnbow Contributing Member

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    I have a bunch of Hornady .457 that I use in everything. Rugers, and Uberti Colt’s. I’m set up for casting but when a local drugstore stopped selling guns and reloading stuff I snagged all the round ball I could afford. Along with a few sets of dies, cases of powder and primers, bullets, made quite a haul. I usually buy a box or two of those Hornady balls whenever I come across a reasonable price. Same thing for the Remington #10 caps. Once I’m really retired I expect to get back into casting again. Just don’t have time right now.
     
  6. rodwha

    rodwha Member

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    The cost of scrap lead was $1/lb for me. That’s 48 balls for $1, though for me it was wide meplat bullets that got me into casting (was $40/100 plus shipping upped to $50). The savings paid for all of my gear by now and some, and I don’t need to worry about any sort of shortage
     
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  7. damoc

    damoc Member

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    .454 for most everything .457 works well but is harder to load .451 is easy to load but has poor accuracy.
     
  8. Loyalist Dave

    Loyalist Dave Member

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    Swaged .454 Hornady (or .375 Hornady in my .36.) :thumbup:

    Nothing against Speer swaged bullets as I shoot them in my .54 flinter, and they get me venison.

    The problem with hand cast is that IF you don't have the proper lead, or if you buy them from somebody who doesn't really understand and does them out of alloy, you have problems ESPECIALLY if you're trying to load .457's. I have seen twice where guys were making extra cash by casting "Cowboy" bullets for cartridges. So you want the harder alloy to reduce leading, but when they were asked to cast round ball they didn't know they needed pure lead. In the latter case, the lead won't shrink as much, so you may have a .458 or .459 and it's harder too.:confused:

    If I was going to load hand cast instead of swaged bullets I'd probably buy them from Track of The Wolf. https://www.trackofthewolf.com/List/Item.aspx/127/1/BALL-454-X

    LD
     
  9. BullRunBear

    BullRunBear Member

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    I use both Hornady and Speer round ball. Never saw an accuracy difference between them so I just look for sales and stock up as the budget allows. While a bit annoying, I keep three sizes for the 44 C&B revolvers:
    .451 for the Colts
    .454 for the Remingtons
    .457 for the ROAs

    These sizes give me the best accuracy without over stressing the loading lever.

    Jeff
     
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  10. Jackrabbit1957

    Jackrabbit1957 Member

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    Don't care about the brand myself, as long as they are swaged. Hornady seems to be common every where.
     
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  11. whughett

    whughett Member

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    Hand cast from whatever lead I’ve accumulated.
     
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  12. SlowFuse

    SlowFuse Member

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    Thanks for the replies!

    So, it seems like the general answer here is pick a size that shows good results and buy whatever is available/cheaper with less focus on brand. And the other side... seems like a lot of people that are into black powder also cast their own? And BP shooters are maybe more DIY types (just from my perspective in the short time i've been browsing this section). I have a little bit of casting equipment and have tried casting 45 and 32 cal tumble lubed bullets using a borrowed pot and my own Lee molds, they were just ok. Just not sure if I want to dive all the way in! That said, I understand the need for dead soft lead if I were to get a round ball mold.

    How long ago was that? First time i've heard of a drugstore selling guns! I've heard the stories of auto part stores or hardware stores back in the day. I'm too young to have ever witnessed it.
     
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  13. skeeterfogger

    skeeterfogger Member

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    380 in 36cal. 454 in 44cal upto and including Dragoon. 457 in walker.
     
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  14. Tommygunn

    Tommygunn Member

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    I have in the past used Hornady .454 round ball for Uberti guns and .451 for Pietta, and manufacturer's suggested for Palmetto. I have cast my own, usually conical bullets, but some balls.

    Am I wrong to think newer Pietta guns now use .454s? I have some new Piettas I haven't had the opportunity to shoot ---guess I'll have to check the instructions.:oops: I understand some use .454s as they fit tighter.
     
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  15. .38 Special

    .38 Special Member

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    Another who has found no difference between the brands of swaged round balls. I use Hornady for the most part, just because that's what seems to be available to me.

    Like skeeterfogger, I use .380 balls for the '51 Navy. I rarely know what brand they are as they usually come in Ziploc baggies.

    I cast almost all the bullets for my centerfire revolvers and they are better than almost all the commercially available bullets I have tried. I no longer cast round balls, though. They are rarely as accurate as swaged for me, and I don't like fiddling around with sprue orientation while loading.
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2020
  16. rodwha

    rodwha Member

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    Lee molds don’t leave a real sprue, but for revolvers you can lay them sideways and shave the sprue off.

    I have nothing but a .457” ball mold and I load these in my Pietta NMA, but the chambers have been reamed to .449” and chamfered. These don’t stress my loading lever. Even my pistol bullets drop at .456” and have a long bearing surface. These are what I load (I don’t bother with balls in my revolvers) and they don’t stress the lever either. I use pure lead but intend to start using 2% tin when my stash runs dry. I’ll also eventually modify my bullet design and reduce the diameter to .454” as there’s no need to have them so oversized.
     
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  17. TheOutlawKid

    TheOutlawKid Member

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    Brands make no difference in my opinion...pure swaged lead is pure swaged lead to me. BUT...and this is a big BUT...different guns like different things. Your .44 colt may not like what someone elses .44 colt likes and so on. One thing i found that always helps improve and even allow for a specific sized ball/bullet to perform better is chamfering the cylinder mouths to allow the ball/bullet to swage into the cylinder. This has helped me gain accuracy and also helps decrease or prevent gas cutting and blow by. If i were to leave a stock pietta .36 cal cylinder chamber stock at .367 then no matter what size ball i use (.375 or .380) the chamber mouth edge will still cut the ball to a diameter of .367 and will pass down my barrel thats .360 at the lands and .372 at the groove. It will catch the lands but not fill the grooves entirely even if the soft lead obturates. BUT chamfering the cylinders allows you to not lose any lead, the ball/bellet has been swaged to fit the cylinder and the lead that would have been lost due to cutting at the cylinder mouth is now available to help seal the grooves and prevent gas cutting and blow by therefor helping with accuracy AND power. Personally i open up my chambers to be .003 over groove, so all my pietta chambers are .375 wide and have been chamfered so that my ball/bullet fill in the grooves. I use .380 diameter balls and custom conicals and .377 diameter kaido conicals.
     
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  18. SlowFuse

    SlowFuse Member

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    Ok, so with the chamfering, reaming etc is that something you guys do yourselves?

    I looked at cylinder reamers years ago because I have a revolver that seems like it had one inaccurate cylinder. Found a company that you "rented" the size reamers you need for a fee and return it back to them. The more I looked into it the more it seemed like something a professional should do, or at least above my comfortable skill level. One factor was having to re-blue the reamed area, I'd rather have more than do it yourself cold blue on the part I modified so my logic was to have someone do the job from start to finish.
     
  19. Olon

    Olon Member

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    All I've ever used is Hornady .451 balls, but I doubt I'm a good enough shot with mine to even tell the difference if I'm being honest.
    20181231_130500.jpg
     
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  20. TheOutlawKid

    TheOutlawKid Member

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    I find that .451's are pretty accurate on a chamfered pietta cylinder, but thats with shooting a friends revolver. The chamfering i do myself...the reaming can be done by a pro although not all gun smiths do it. I know a well known gunsmith who will do it for 35 bux per cylinder. Not bad of a price in my opinion. But chamfering can be done easily with a bullet case chamfer tool. Its pretty easy actually.
     
  21. TheOutlawKid

    TheOutlawKid Member

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    When i get a cap and ball gun i do certain things "tuning wise" before i even consider it "shootable". If timing is good then first start by removing the stamped steel sear/bolt/trigger spring and make a two peice wire spring set up to control my trigger and bolt seperately (makes it very light on the hammer pull and trigger but still keeps a strong stock main spring to ensure cap detonation but it feels as if you are using very light main/hammer spring), then i put a " percussion cap shrapnel" blocker made from sheet aluminum or brass that keeps cap fragments from falling into the action, i shave down the hammer face so that it barely touches the nipple cones face due to most hammers are way too "long" and really ding up the nipples cone and hammera face, i also might add a cap post and if i do then i deepen the notch in the hammer face to allow the hammer to clear past the cap post, if i dont put a cap post then i fill in the hammer notch, then i get my cylinder reamed and chamfer my chambers. All this makes for a non jamming dependable and very accurate cap and ball gun
     
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  22. Mike OTDP

    Mike OTDP Member

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    My Hege-Remington will eat .454 or .457. The originals take .457 exclusively. At Worlds, I just pack .457 RBs, as I can use them in both revolvers and the original flintlock dueling pistol. I'm set up to cast, but have an ample stock of swaged round balls...so I use those.
     
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  23. SlowFuse

    SlowFuse Member

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    Is there a coating on Hornady balls or is this white-ish residue from age? These have a price of about 6 dollars and the box looks old. Not sure how old exactly... Quite opposite of Speer, they're dark almost black.

    rps20200115_162541.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2020
  24. PapaG

    PapaG Member

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    Pure lead from my own mould.
     
  25. Olon

    Olon Member

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    I think it's just mild corrosion.
     
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