I got Hornady Balls...

Thread starter #1

Railroader

Senior Member
I am gonna dip my foot into the ocean of shooting patched round balls in my Hawken.

Never messed with em before, so I consulted the Traditions Hawken Manual, that suggests a .490 ball and a .015 patch.

As a jumping off point, I ordered a couple hundred Hornady balls and some prelubed .015 patches from Midway. With all the panic going on who knows when they'll show up.

But I am in the game.
 
Thread starter #4

Railroader

Senior Member
Actually, these are being bought for entertainment and experimenting purposes. Just want to get myself familiar with using them.

I've seen first hand what a ball will do to a deer or pig. Have a Bro who is a a sho nuff serious ML hunter.
 
If you are buying them with plans on hunting, they will kill a deer dead.
They killed deer and bear and moose almost to extinction east of the Mississippi. They did kill elk, buffalo, caribou, wolves and panthers to extinction in the same area.

No telling how many untold numbers of buffalo, elk, moose, black and grizzly bears, antelope, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, mule and blacktail deer, and humans they killed out west before they were replaced by conicals.
 
Thread starter #7

Railroader

Senior Member
I'm looking forward to messing with them...Until I got this Hawken, I never had a gun that would shoot em.

My Omega and Buckskinner have fast barrels that supposedly won't shoot balls, so I have always used conicals with fine results.

I'm gonna find out if the other guns really will shoot balls or not, as part of my round ball rat killin'..
 
When my son was small, around 7 or so, I bought him a CVA Bobcat. It was .36 caliber , side hammer with a synthetic stock. It was small, lightweight, no recoil and was legal for deer in Sc. Perfect for a young un. It had a 1:48 twist but it was impossible to find anything but round balls for it. I found out the hard way that there is a difference in .36 rifle and .36 pistol balls. Doesn't make any sense, but there is. Anyway it shot the RB's just fine. He didn't kill a deer with it, but killed a fox a couple coon and several squirrels. We had a blast just shooting it. Best $69 dollars I ever spent. Them round balls will surprise a lot of people.
 
It was the diameter. The pistol ones would not work in the rifle if I remember correctly ( 20 plus years ago). I believe the pistol balls were way too small. Track of the WOLF list 19 different sizes of 30 cal. balls. .350-.389. You can always make up some of the gap with thicker patches or multiple patches. But these were way off. The container was labeled "Pistol balls" and whoever I ordered them from made it right. This was before the internet mind you, and if you weren't in the loop on muzzle loader things, it was all trial and error. All calibers have a list of sizes that varies. If you hear someone say their muzzleloader is too hard to load, they simply need to mic the inside of their barrel, subtract the thickness of their patch and then pick the correct size ball or projectile. Muzzle loader barrels differ greatly on size within the same caliber. Knight rifles use to be the most consistent of the mass production rifles. And the older CVA with the Spanish barrels were probably the worst. Part of the fun of shooting a older model muzzle loader is "working up a load" as they used to say.
 
We're working on a project to shoot roundballs without the patch. Ballistic Products makes a 0.500 hardened lead buckshot. https://www.ballisticproducts.com/Super-Buck-Lead-Ball-500-8-lb_jar/productinfo/SBK500/

30 grains of 777 FFFg push it to 1100 FPS, accuracy is good, and expands well when tested in water. Pushing it past 1300 FPS might cause leading, but we've seen no leading at 1100 FPS. Recoil is very modest.

Wanna go faster, use the patch and a 0.490 ball.
 
It was the diameter. The pistol ones would not work in the rifle if I remember correctly ( 20 plus years ago). I believe the pistol balls were way too small. Track of the WOLF list 19 different sizes of 30 cal. balls. .350-.389. You can always make up some of the gap with thicker patches or multiple patches. But these were way off. The container was labeled "Pistol balls" and whoever I ordered them from made it right. This was before the internet mind you, and if you weren't in the loop on muzzle loader things, it was all trial and error. All calibers have a list of sizes that varies. If you hear someone say their muzzleloader is too hard to load, they simply need to mic the inside of their barrel, subtract the thickness of their patch and then pick the correct size ball or projectile. Muzzle loader barrels differ greatly on size within the same caliber. Knight rifles use to be the most consistent of the mass production rifles. And the older CVA with the Spanish barrels were probably the worst. Part of the fun of shooting a older model muzzle loader is "working up a load" as they used to say.
Every gun is different. I have a .54 flintlock that doesn't like .530 balls, even with a .010 patch. Way too tight. The third one won't hardly go down the barrel. I switched to .526 balls with a .020 patch, and it shoots great. Much easier to load, and more accurate.
 
36 pistol balls are oversize (about.375).so the loading lever can shave a little of each side so they seal the cylinder. Before black powder revolvers came into being there was no need to designate pistol balls they where just roundballs. Thompson center used to make a 36 cal. Maxi ball but I don't know if they still do.
 

Darkhorse

Senior Member
That patch looks good. No burn through or tearing. Accuracy is fine also. You could quit right there or continue on and work up a load or two for that rifle.
Working up loads consists of a lot of shooting off a bench and changing your components until you find the best combinations.
Increasing the powder charge may or may not tighten your groups. Changing from 3fg to 2fg also may or may not tighten your groups. Only your rifle can tell you what it likes the best.
Don't rely on the twist to determine your load. I've owned rifles with 1-48, 1-56 and 1-60 twists and all of them would shoot one hole groups with the right loads.
Best accuracy is often found with a little thicker patch than .015 even though they load harder. I can count on good .0175 pillow ticking for my best accuracy especially with heavier powder charges.
A change in patch lube sometimes gets you increased accuracy plus easier loading and is a basic part of working up a load.
My rifles have more than one good load depending on the purpose. Such as my deer hunting load is different than my everyday just shooting load.
I shoot only patched round balls, I've never shot anything else in over 40 years. 95% of the season I hunt deer with a flintlock and the prb. It is a fine killer and I see no reason to change.
 
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