28 or 29 caliber??

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Pilgrim67

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The hardened lead buckshot will work but you should probably use a cloth patch that is a little thinner than the .018 thick ones a lot of us use with pure lead balls.

If I was shooting the gun I would try some .015" thick patches with those balls. Maybe even some .012 thick patches.

One of the nice things about shooting patched balls is, the ball never touches the bore of the gun. One of our forum members even successfully shot some solid brass balls out of his rifles quite accuretly. As I recall, he also killed a deer using the brass balls. (He was an avid hunter. He didn't live in California but he read about the lead ban in that State so he wanted to be prepared in case his State adapted a similar anti-lead ban.)

A couple of muzzleloaders who write articles for Muzzle Blast magazine (The Bevel Brothers) also tried shooting lead balls that were cast out of wheel weights. As you may know, most of the lead wheel weights are made from hardened lead.
What they found is that the patch thickness needed to be reduced but once that was done, the wheel weight lead balls shot almost as well as the pure lead balls they use to often win shooting matches.
Thanks for the great information and advice!
 

gkterry

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Does anyone currently make rifle barrels in calibers smaller than .32?
 

griffiga

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For a while, I shot #1 buck (.30) out of my .32 CVA squirrel rifle. I used a medium patch and it shot fine until I found a .310 mould. I'll bet you could do the same thing with #3 buck (.25 diameter) with a bit thicker patch if the patched .27 doesn't work out.
 

griffiga

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Does anyone currently make rifle barrels in calibers smaller than .32?
I haven't seen any recent makers of that small of a caliber, but I have seen .22 caliber before. I just can't imagine trying to load one. My .32 is bad enough as I usually end up dropping a couple on the ground before I get one loaded.
 

Crow-Feather

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Hello, I’m not sure this is the correct place on this forum to post this. I apologize if it’s not.
I recently purchased an old muzzleloader and need some thoughts/advice/help with determining the caliber so I can find round balls and/or ball mold. It’s got a 7 groove rifling which makes it hard to measure. If you measure from a land there is always a groove on the opposite side. Measured like this it is .290. If I measure from one land to the opposite land as close to the groove as possible it is .280.
I realize My options are limited with this caliber range and would like to hear some advice or opinions before purchasing balls and molds that may or may not work. I will try to post some pictures if I can figure it out😁 Thank you

A .270 mold (Buck #2) can be bought at Buckshot Slingshot and Fishing Molds
 

Crane Senior

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If you can measure the barrel wall thickness with land and then without, or in a groove you can then work out the bore by adding or subtracting what you measure across the bore etc.
If you did want to try a full size ball hammered in. Use a firewall of creame of wheat. You may have to rod the barrel every shot with a lubricating patch.
The hardened buckshot of the right size would be better though.
Thank you all so much for your input. I just purchased it and have it posted elsewhere on this forum trying to figure out the maker/age of it as it doesn’t have any makers mark on the barrel. Here are a couple of pictures of the rifle in question. There are more on the other post if you wish to see more. Thanks
That is a very cool rifle, we don’t see many of those in CA.
 

SDSmlf

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From what you measured, the rifling bore is very close to a .28 caliber. With the narrow rifling the photo shows, your .280 measurement was probably pretty good.

The angle on the rifling on the slug looks like the rate of twist is very slow. That indicates the gun was most likely made for shooting cloth patched lead roundballs. Normally, a patched lead ball size is approximately .010 smaller than the bore. That would mean the gun would shoot a .270 diameter ball.

Now for the bad news. I checked the Track of the Wolf's web site and the smallest lead ball they offer for sale is .283 in diameter.


Although you could drive that size ball down the bore if you used a hammer, it wouldn't shoot very well. The ball needs the cloth patch to not only grab the rifling but to also seal the grooves off by making a tight seal.

Dixie Gun Works catalog shows a "Tatham's Compressed Buck Shot and Lead Balls chart that says that somewhere there is a No. 2C buckshot that is .270 in diameter and that would work if you could find it. It is also called "IV" in Germany. That 2C is not to be confused with "#2 American standard shot" though. #2 shot is .150 in diameter so it wouldn't work.

I'm going to move this thread to the General Muzzleloading area because the question applies to all muzzleloading rifles.
I have become a fan of Ballisics’ Products 1-1/2 buckshot in my 32 caliber guns. Stuff is a little harder than pure lead, but not by much. If I remember correctly, their buckshot measured around 8BHN (maybe 40:1 lead to tin or plumbers lead) as opposed to pure lead at 4-5BHN. Has worked great for me over 12-15 grains of 3F in Pedersoli and TC 32 caliber guns. Here is a chart from Ballisics Products with diameter info. Number 2 buckshot appears to be close to what you need
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Pilgrim67

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I have become a fan of Ballisics’ Products 1-1/2 buckshot in my 32 caliber guns. Stuff is a little harder than pure lead, but not by much. If I remember correctly, their buckshot measured around 8BHN (maybe 40:1 lead to tin or plumbers lead) as opposed to pure lead at 4-5BHN. Has worked great for me over 12-15 grains of 3F in Pedersoli and TC 32 caliber guns. Here is a chart from Ballisics Products with diameter info. Number 2 buckshot appears to be close to what you need View attachment 73323
I called them earlier today because they are out of stock of #2. Their customer service person told me that they didn’t know when they would have any back in stock but that they daily update their website. So I will make a habit of checking it every day until I can get some. Thanks for the information and sharing your experience with their shot.
 

longcruise

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Like most reloading suppliers these days, they seem to be out of stock on most items. :(
 

Scota@4570

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You could run #1 buckshot through a size die and the patch the slightly oblong bullet. Drill a hole in a piece of metal. Do it in two step and end with a "J" size bit (0.277"). Then polish the hole with a split sick and emery cloth run in a drill press or hand held electric drill. That will leave it smooth and flair the outside of the hole. Press the buckshot through the die as you see fit. Patch your little belted balls as usual. You can adjust the size of the hole in the die by polishing with coarser sandpaper on your split stick.

When oversized, tiny balls will be easier to start down the barrel than larger calibers.
 

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