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Login Name Post: Buck and Ball Load?        (Topic#272262)
jon math 
40 Cal.
Posts: 138
jon math
08-30-12 03:15 PM - Post#1184912    


I have always wondered about a buck and ball load. Now that I have a smoothbore I’d like to work one up, but do not know where to begin. To load it does one start with a patched ball seated on the powder as normal and then add some shot to that and finish with a standard over shot wad? Or do you put an over powder wad down followed by a smaller ball topped with shot and finally an over powder wad? Or is it something completely different.
Thanks
Jon


 
flintlock75 
45 Cal.
Posts: 528
flintlock75
08-30-12 04:46 PM - Post#1184947    

    In response to jon math

The loading i use is, Powder, wad, ball,3-4 buckshot, wad on top.
This works pretty good on paper.

 
jon math 
40 Cal.
Posts: 138
jon math
08-30-12 05:24 PM - Post#1184958    

    In response to flintlock75

Thank you. Basicly just like you would load a shotgun but with two different sized shot.


Jon

 
Cynthialee 
70 Cal.
Posts: 4985
Cynthialee
08-30-12 06:13 PM - Post#1184972    

    In response to jon math

I did a google search with the key words: buck and ball load data

Then I used the images refinement feature. As I purused through a bunch of non related pictures I found a number of old time buck and ball diagrams.
Most have the ball seated atop the powder and the shot on top of the ball. A couple diagrams I found show the shot under the ball. All diagrams I found of actual buck and ball loads were depicting them in a wraper I am asuming was paper. (also came across a factoid that said George Washington had his men load buck and ball)

 
Swampy 
Cannon
Posts: 15602
Swampy
08-30-12 06:17 PM - Post#1184973    

    In response to Cynthialee

A paper cartridge was made back then for troops. Tear the end with powder, dump then ram home the rest. The paper held the shot in the bore...

If you plan on using this for hunting, make sure to check your game laws. This type of load is illegal in most States.


Edited by Swampy on 08-30-12 06:21 PM. Reason for edit: No reason given.

 
Carp 
40 Cal.
Posts: 187
Carp
08-30-12 07:52 PM - Post#1185020    

    In response to Cynthialee

  • cynthialee Said:
I did a google search with the key words: buck and ball load data

Then I used the images refinement feature. As I purused through a bunch of non related pictures I found a number of old time buck and ball diagrams.
Most have the ball seated atop the powder and the shot on top of the ball. A couple diagrams I found show the shot under the ball. All diagrams I found of actual buck and ball loads were depicting them in a wraper I am asuming was paper. (also came across a factoid that said George Washington had his men load buck and ball)



Yep, it was generally a military load, done up in paper cartridges:



It was used as late as our Civil War, by smooth-bore armed units on both sides.

Ballistically, I understand that buck-and-ball actually performs better with the big ball loaded on top of the buckshot. It forms a tighter group that way....

 
LeMat1856 
45 Cal.
Posts: 548
LeMat1856
08-30-12 10:15 PM - Post#1185090    

    In response to Carp

.
.
.

thats my thinking also, carp.

the big ball could punch a hole in the shot group just the same as a C wad (1/2" lubed) does to birdshot.. it might even be better to not use any wads or cards so long as the main ball is tightly patched (and lubed).. we need a volunteer to do some range experiments and get some facts.

~d~

 
Ogre 
40 Cal.
Posts: 460
Ogre
08-30-12 11:21 PM - Post#1185116    

    In response to Carp

I always tended to think that the buckshot loaded first in the cartridge followed by the ball made more sense, but sound arguments could be made either way.

The Gettysburg monument for the 12th New Jersey Infantry, a buck and ball outfit, shows a finial of three buckshot with a ball on top of them.

Other monuments, such as the 134th new York Infantry, show a minnie ball.

 
jon math 
40 Cal.
Posts: 138
jon math
08-31-12 06:48 AM - Post#1185158    

    In response to Swampy

Thank you, again. As a purely historical experiment I might shoot a few of these loads, but I do not see myself hunting with them. They seem complex to load, very possibly illegal to use hunting (thank you for that heads up), and seem like they would deliver questionable accuracy at best. I’d rather spend my range time developing a quality patched ball load, and patterning shot loads.

Jon


 
Loyalist Dave 
Cannon
Posts: 6029
Loyalist Dave
08-31-12 07:46 AM - Post#1185173    

    In response to jon math

(iirc) Roger's Rangers are documented as loading the ball, and adding a half dozen "pea sized" shot on top, and (iirc) that would be about the size of #1 buckshot.

LD

 
Sam86 
36 Cal.
Posts: 92
08-31-12 08:23 AM - Post#1185181    

    In response to LeMat1856

When the buck and ball charge came out the idea was for the buck to spread out, they were shooting into a line of men, collateral damage was the idea in mind. (fact)

Also the buck behind the ball would cause (in my mind) the ball to be highly inaccurate, due to the buck pushing the ball out the barrel with uneven force basically favoring the ball to the right or left. (guessing)

Now I have never shot buck and ball so I can't say this as if I know for sure but it makes sence to me, I might be wrong and that's ok too

 
wahkahchim 
45 Cal.
Posts: 579
08-31-12 09:14 AM - Post#1185205    

    In response to Sam86

I've been experimenting with this in the past few weeks with college students as shooters of a Brown Bess Pedersoli, using a card wad, with three OO buck then a full-sized ball. The ball comes out first. At up to 50 yards at least one buckshot hits a row of silhouette IDPA target as well as the ball. Sometimes all three hit! So my limited experimentation suggests that buck and ball actually ADDS to hits on targets. I imagine it would be even more effective in the chaos of battle. But beyond 50 yards it seems that the buckshot just fly off somewhere else: at 75 yards relatively few buck even landed on paper.

 
Many Klatch 
69 Cal.
Posts: 3245
Many Klatch
08-31-12 10:22 AM - Post#1185231    

    In response to jon math

I have shot buck and ball loads quite a bit. I just do it for fun so I don't worry about state hunting laws.

My normal load is a round ball and a varying number of .032 or smaller round ball on top. With my Bess I will shoot about 5 to 7 "buck" with a 20 gauge smoothy maybe 3 or 4.

In my experience the round ball pretty much hits where you aim at 25 or 50 yards, maybe a little low. The buck shot may pattern on a double sheet of newspaper at 25 yards and beyond that who knows where they land.

Against a line of troops coming at you that is two to three wounded per shot. In Grant's memoirs he states that he preferred the smoothbore when you had lines shooting at 50 yards apart. Every shot sent 4 ball down range.

The usefulness of such a load today is limited but it is worth doing just to see how it patterns.

Many Klatch

 
Britsmoothy 
69 Cal.
Posts: 3995
09-01-12 04:45 AM - Post#1185494    

    In response to Many Klatch

As to what is loaded first I always thought the clue was in the name! Buck and ball!

B

 
Loyalist Dave 
Cannon
Posts: 6029
Loyalist Dave
09-01-12 09:20 AM - Post#1185544    

    In response to Britsmoothy

Ah but is it the order that the load is placed into the barrel or is it the order that the load is placed into a cartridge when the cartridge was made, for if it's buck [shot] then ball [then powder], when you tear the cartridge, prime, then pour the remaining powder into the muzzle, insert the cartridge, then ram, ..., the buckshot ends up at the top of the load column..., unless after pouring you invert the cartridge, and ram, with the surplus paper where the powder was contained being compressed by the rammer.

LD

 
Spence10 
Cannon
Posts: 6291
09-01-12 10:00 AM - Post#1185555    

    In response to jon math

I've played around with B&B a bit, posted some result in this recent thread:

http://www.muzzleloadingforum.com/fusionbb/showtopic.php?tid...

Spence

 
Alden 
Cannon
Posts: 6476
09-01-12 10:02 AM - Post#1185557    

    In response to Britsmoothy

My loads vary by gun but follow a theme. You've seen the military loads. Effectively paper patched and waded. Devastating. But I agree that they are of little accuracy, even in a scattergun, with no attention paid to the loading itself.

I want a single, flat, layer of the largest pellets that will fit. Preferably, I use a lubed fiber shotgun cushioning wad over the powder but sometimes use three over-shot cards (many will use a single commercial over-powder card). Then the largest buckshot pellet one can find that fits for the number of pellets you want to use (more on that in a second). Then usually a lubed patched ball or ball and overcard (or whatever). The powder charge is the same as the bore of the gun for these loads of mine -- remember you are adding some weight to the "projectile" and will slow down the velocity at first while increasing the pressure.

I really only use three pellets in my buck and ball. And, as I said, the largest that will fill one layer. I am paranoid about loads wedging in the barrel. That is essentially impossible as I am outlining here so even those India guns might be OK (though I make no warrantee and do not claim to be an expert).

In a 20 ga. that's .27/#2 Buckshot (still the most common and efficient load in 20 ga. buckshot shotguns and the common factory load). .69 caliber? Three .30/#1 Buckshot. .75 caliber? Three .33/#00 Buckshot (i.e. double-ought buck in a 12 ga.).

Wanna play with minimal investment? I did some analysis once and determined that the largest pellet that can best be used for a single layer of pellet for all three of those calibers is the .24/#4 Buckshot. Four in the .20, five in the .69, and for the .75's drop six for the small (start around .72) and seven for the larger (end around .75) mic-ed bore Bess' for example.

There was another post here recently where I linked to formulas that you can use to calculate the maximum number of pellets per layer yourself. In fowling loads you can even calculate the number of pellets for fairly consistantly filled layers if you choose, but there you are usually working with pellet sizes less than half any I've indicated here and no-one would really bother...

Good luck and let us know how it goes!

 
jon math 
40 Cal.
Posts: 138
jon math
09-02-12 07:46 AM - Post#1185820    

    In response to Spence10

Thanks to all again. I need to get out and mess around with this information and see what I can come up with.

 
jon math 
40 Cal.
Posts: 138
jon math
09-02-12 12:26 PM - Post#1185938    

    In response to jon math

I just got my copy of Smith's "Gettin' the Lead Out" I very nice book by the way. There are numerous shot pouches still containing old shot. It was most interesting to a novice like me that there were pouches with widly mixes sizes. One contained a mix that ranged from 1 buck down to size 11's. Could that mixed load of shots be considered buck and ball?

 
tg 
Cannon
Posts: 10776
09-02-12 08:07 PM - Post#1186103    

    In response to jon math

I found that a much tighter grouping of the shot was had by putting the shot atop the ball in my .62 smoothbores over the years, for hunting it is a very close range set up probably 15 yds or so from my experience, but at that distance and coser it will punch a lot of holes in an animals kill zone but many shots will have to be passed on most likely.

 
Elnathan 
50 Cal.
Posts: 1054
09-04-12 08:47 AM - Post#1186684    

    In response to tg

In Donald Grave's book Red Coats and Grey Jackets: the Battle of Chippawa 5 July 1814, on page 141 there is a x-ray picture of an american musket thrown away at Chateauguay in 1813 that is still loaded with a buck-and-ball load, buckshot on top.

 
Rifleman1776 
Cannon
Posts: 13328
Rifleman1776
09-04-12 09:04 AM - Post#1186690    

    In response to jon math

  • jon math Said:
I just got my copy of Smith's "Gettin' the Lead Out" I very nice book by the way. There are numerous shot pouches still containing old shot. It was most interesting to a novice like me that there were pouches with widly mixes sizes. One contained a mix that ranged from 1 buck down to size 11's. Could that mixed load of shots be considered buck and ball?




I'll surmise that is simply an indication of why smoothbores have been so popular for so long. And they still are in some primitive parts of the world. Almost anything you stuff in the front end will come out with deadly effect. Pebbles, broken glass, nails, etc. Even lead shot, even sizes or mixed.

 
Stumpkiller 
Moderator
Posts: 17175
Stumpkiller
09-04-12 09:14 AM - Post#1186695    

    In response to Rifleman1776

I have a powder horn and shot horn that have been passed down in the family and the horn has shot from #7-1/2 or so on up to 0.25" intermixed. No idea the last time it was actually used but it does indicate the "use it up" mentality.

Wish the firearm they went with had come down as well.
"Don't take life too serious - it ain't nohow permanent."


 
jon math 
40 Cal.
Posts: 138
jon math
09-04-12 10:24 AM - Post#1186710    

    In response to Rifleman1776

You hear that a lot. I wonder if it was ever done more than once from the same gun? I certainly would not want to shoot anything I plan to eat with glass. And loads of steel nails, or rocks fired through an old soft metal barrel sounds like a fast way to ruin it. Even the old rock salt as a less than lethal load sounds suspect. How much corrosion damage would a load of salt do to the barrel just sitting loaded and waiting for the chicken thief to happen by? Not to mention what those hunks of rock salt must have turned to when the hammer fell; would they hold their shape or turn to powder? Either way being so light and misshapen they would have not patterned at all. I often wonder if a rock salt load was really just a blank load (a BP charge of salt peter and charcoal is, for all intents, made of a rock and salt). That might be a stretch, but who is to say.

 
bangfxr 
45 Cal.
Posts: 800
bangfxr
09-04-12 10:50 AM - Post#1186716    

    In response to jon math

I have shot B&B using paper cartridges, you tear the cartridge, pour powder down then the RB is run down the barrel with the 3 buck shot on top. The paper keeps everything togeather. B&B was ment for mass rank formations up to 70 yards at the most. Accuracy was not a factor in that load as you were just throwing large valumes of projectals at the other fellow and his comrades to thin out the ranks before a bayonet charge.

 
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