Ball size?

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zzzippper

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I'm really going to show my noobosity here so be gentle.

I've read in two sources that the ball should be slightly smaller than the bore and the patch fills the gap. I believe this is only for single shot weapons. Am I correct?

Revolvers use a slightly over sized ball correct?

Now for my main questions. I was at Bass Pro today. They had Hornady .45 (.457) caliber balls. Being over sized I reckon they're for revolvers based on my information. Correct?

SO...what is the correct diameter ball for my .45 caliber rifle?
 

FishDFly

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Now for my main questions. I was at Bass Pro today. They had Hornady .45 (.457) caliber balls. Being over sized I reckon they're for revolvers based on my information. Correct?

SO...what is the correct diameter ball for my .45 caliber rifle?
Correct

Rifle .440 or .445.
 
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hanshi

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In general, rifle ball should be from .005" to .010" under bore diameter. My .45 rifle gets loaded with either a .440" or a .445" ball; both shoot exactly the same. Oversize ball is for revolvers because the lead seals the ball and keeps it tight in the chamber and safe from sparks.
 

bang

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Measure the bore first. Not all bores are necessarily exact. A true .45 bore can use a .440 and .010-.015 patch. The deeper grooves typically take thicker patch. If the bore measures .455 or slightly more you might want a .445 ball and patch corresponding to fit or a .440 and .012-.020 patch. Subtract .010 from bore measurement and go from there.
The ball/patch should start using easy pressure but not just go in. Too tight and the patch could tear on entry and won't be accurate. Too loose and it will skip across the riflings. The pressure should be enough the patch will leave slight imprint of fabric on the ball.
 

zzzippper

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Measure the bore first. Not all bores are necessarily exact. A true .45 bore can use a .440 and .010-.015 patch. The deeper grooves typically take thicker patch. If the bore measures .455 or slightly more you might want a .445 ball and patch corresponding to fit or a .440 and .012-.020 patch. Subtract .010 from bore measurement and go from there.
The ball/patch should start using easy pressure but not just go in. Too tight and the patch could tear on entry and won't be accurate. Too loose and it will skip across the riflings. The pressure should be enough the patch will leave slight imprint of fabric on the ball.
That you, Great info. Should I measure to bore at the lands or grooves?
 

Grenadier1758

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You select the ball by measuring the land to land dimension and choose the initial ball to be 0.010" smaller than that dimension.

You select the patch thickness by measuring the groove to groove diameter. Subtract the land diameter from the groove diameter. Divide the difference by two. The initial selection of the patch will be the compressed thickness the patch equal to the groove depth + 0.005". This will be a tight loading combination, so a thinner patch is also good.
 

Col. Batguano

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The tightest combination you can get down the bore will probably be your most accurate combination.

Get Dutch Schultz's book on ML'er accuracy and follow his advice. Things like consistent placement of the sprue (if you have one) can make a big difference in accuracy. Try shooting it sprue up, and sprue down. For sprue down since you can't see it in the barrel when you are starting your loading, take a sharpie and put a little dot on the opposite side of the ball to help you with alignment.
 

Art Caputo

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With round-cut rifled barrels, my usual starting point is to use a ball that is .010” under the bore with a .015” lubed patch. Generally, I have found best results with tighter patch/ball combo in my round-cut rifled barrels. With my square-cut rifled barrels a ball that is .005” under the bore size, and a thinner patch(.010”), with a looser fit, has generally produced best results.....at least with the rifles ai have owned. IMO, it does pay to do some testing as barrels can surely differ!
 
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Larry (Omaha)

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In general, rifle ball should be from .005" to .010" under bore diameter. My .45 rifle gets loaded with either a .440" or a .445" ball; both shoot exactly the same. Oversize ball is for revolvers because the lead seals the ball and keeps it tight in the chamber and safe from sparks.
Another reason; The ball has to be spun by the rifling. A BP revolver uses the same principle as a cartridge revolver. The lead is forced into the rifling.
 

zzzippper

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The tightest combination you can get down the bore will probably be your most accurate combination.

Get Dutch Schultz's book on ML'er accuracy and follow his advice. Things like consistent placement of the sprue (if you have one) can make a big difference in accuracy. Try shooting it sprue up, and sprue down. For sprue down since you can't see it in the barrel when you are starting your loading, take a sharpie and put a little dot on the opposite side of the ball to help you with alignment.
Thank you for the recommendation. The book seems to be out of print and unavailable as neither Amazon or Ebay have any for sale.
 

FishDFly

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Try a PM to:

Dr5X

Have not seen him here in awhile, but he might respond.
 

fastburn

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You select the ball by measuring the land to land dimension and choose the initial ball to be 0.010" smaller than that dimension.

You select the patch thickness by measuring the groove to groove diameter. Subtract the land diameter from the groove diameter. Divide the difference by two. The initial selection of the patch will be the compressed thickness the patch equal to the groove depth + 0.005". This will be a tight loading combination, so a thinner patch is also good.
GRENADIER 1758 if i knew that technical stuff 20 years ago i would have saved a ton of money on powder and ball, not to mention time!!
 

hanshi

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FWIW, I agree with Art Caputo on tighter loads for radius rifled barrels. I have two barrels so rifled. Example: The .50 barrel has grooves .016" deep. I don't have a .495" mold so cast .490" ball instead. I patch with .024" canvas so there is at least some compression in the grooves. The square cut rifle barrels have grooves .010" to .012" deep. But I use the same patches with both the .440" and .445" cast ball for even better compression. I've found tight loads means (usually) better accuracy in rifles, but not necessarily in smoothbores. YMMD.
 

andy52

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Every rifle will be different as suggested measure the bore or just experiment with with different combos of patch and ball size it's more fun that way. I have a .54 that I use 535 balls and a .015 patch which sound tight and is a little hard to load but it shoots like a laser.
 

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