Home made square shot

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JakeGa

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Hi Guys,

I will be back in the smoothbore game soon, thanks to Bill Edick. He gave me a great deal on a Pedersoli double barrel 12 gauge shotgun. I previously owned a CVA 12 gauge and foolishly sold it some years ago along with everything to make it go bang. I have mostly hunted with rifles both percussion and flint for the last few years and now have the urge for a smoothbore again. I have been gathering up everything I need to hunt and shoot the new gun and have seen some of the shortages (namely shot of various sizes). And bullet molds, I looked for some time before finding a .690 round ball mold. So far I have cast quite a few round balls, some .31 caliber buckshot and have made a shot horn and a range rod to use while testing all those loads. I am really looking forward to that labor.

Given all this, I have been researching different loads, shot sizes, etc for the last few days and have a question.

Some years ago, I read an article, book, something printed, somewhere ( I cannot remember where I read it to save my life) about what the author described as goose shot. The author stated that in the old days they would flatten a lead ball into a sheet and cut squares of lead to load in their smoothbores. I haven't been able to find very much written about this at all on the net. I was just wondering how effective it would be on game. I am fully well aware that in needful times you will do what you have to in order to protect or feed yourself and loved ones. Do ya'll think this was done as an expedient solution to a shortage of other shot or was a common way to feed a shotgun. I know what swan shot is and it seems to have been commonly used and have actually made my own version.

I thought I would see what some of our more knowledgeable friends may know about this. I am just curious and may try this on my own when the gun arrives, just for the fun of it.

As an aside, I reload for other modern guns and have plenty of store bought shot of various sizes to hunt and play with the gun for some time, but I am always interested in things such as this from our ancestors time.

Turkey season opens soon in Georgia and I can't wait.

Take care,

JakeGa
 

Bosteldr

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I had an old roll of lead solder wire about 1/16 thick. I just took wire cutters and cut it into 1/16th pieces, quick way to get shot, spreads very quickly but has enough power to put big holes in a steel can at 25 to 30 yds.
 

Banjoman

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I had an old roll of lead solder wire about 1/16 thick. I just took wire cutters and cut it into 1/16th pieces, quick way to get shot, spreads very quickly but has enough power to put big holes in a steel can at 25 to 30 yds.
Cool. I'm gonna try that.
 

ZUG

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I chopped up lead wire and used it in a sling shot when I was a kid. It was very poor on anything it hit beyond 2 feet. I can't see where it would be very humane on game. I'll stick to shot pellets that are made to kill game cleanly and effectively :thumb:
 

Musketeer

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Some years ago, I read an article, book, something printed, somewhere ( I cannot remember where I read it to save my life) about what the author described as goose shot. The author stated that in the old days they would flatten a lead ball into a sheet and cut squares of lead to load in their smoothbores. I haven't been able to find very much written about this at all on the net.
I remember reading about that too. I'm fairly certain that was Sam Fadala in one of his Blackpowder Handbooks. I used to have several versions, but they were lost in a move, so I no longer have them for reference.
 

Feltwad

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On several restoration I have come across guns loaded with home made square shot which were of antique Indian match lock long guns .The shot was cut from a 1/8 lead sheet and cut into 1/8 squares. I have not come across any of English or continental manufacture , The flintlock and percussion period there were plenty of Shot Towers in most areas which carried on into the breech loading period. Today has I understand there are none in the UK also the powder mills have all gone .
Feltwad
 

Artificer

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I remember reading about that too. I'm fairly certain that was Sam Fadala in one of his Blackpowder Handbooks. I used to have several versions, but they were lost in a move, so I no longer have them for reference.
Colonial Frontier Guns, by T.M. Hamilton gives an amazing amount of information on all sizes of shot and balls in the late 17th through 18th century including Square Shot and Rupert Shot, as well as a treasure trove of other information.

Colonial Frontier Guns by T.M. Hamilton - Track of the Wolf

Gus
 

Dave James

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Back in the 60's I remember one year where I was hard up for shot and cash, was shooting the 10 bore single,and old English made piece the Ole man brought home, so I used SPENT 12 gauge primers, we where jump shooting coyotes in the sand hills
 

Spence10

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I've loaded all sorts in my smooth bores. Bullets and airgun pellets oh and chopped brazing rods! Some work and some dont.
Ever try this?

Samuel Hearne, A journey from Prince of Wales's Fort in Hudson Bay to the Northern Ocean, in the Years 1769, 1770, 1771, and 1772
Nov. 1770 "Deer proved pretty plentiful for some time, but to my great surprise, when I wanted to give Matonabbee a little ammunition for his own use, I found that my guide, Conreaquefe, who had it all under his care, had so embezzled or otherwise expended it, that only ten balls and about three pounds of powder remained; so that long before we arrived at the Fort we were obliged to cut up an ice-chissel into square lumps, as a substitute for ball. It is, however, rather dangerous firing lumps of iron out of such slight barrels as are brought to this part of the world for trade. These, though light and handy, and of course well adapted for the use of both English and Indians in long journeys, and of sufficient strength for leaden shot or ball, are not strong enough for this kind of shot; and strong fowling-pieces would not only be too heavy for the laborious ways of hunting in this country, but their bores being so much larger, would require more than double the quantity of ammunition that small ones do; which, to Indians at least, must be an object of no inconsiderable importance."

Sept. 1771 [A severe wind blew over his tent and the poles fell on his quadrant, breaking it.] “.... two of the bubbles, the index and several other parts were broken, which rendered it entirely useless. This being the case, I did not think it worth carriage; but broke it to pieces, and gave the brass-work to the Indians, who cut it into small lumps and made use of it instead of ball.”

Spence
 

Britsmoothy

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Ever try this?

Samuel Hearne, A journey from Prince of Wales's Fort in Hudson Bay to the Northern Ocean, in the Years 1769, 1770, 1771, and 1772
Nov. 1770 "Deer proved pretty plentiful for some time, but to my great surprise, when I wanted to give Matonabbee a little ammunition for his own use, I found that my guide, Conreaquefe, who had it all under his care, had so embezzled or otherwise expended it, that only ten balls and about three pounds of powder remained; so that long before we arrived at the Fort we were obliged to cut up an ice-chissel into square lumps, as a substitute for ball. It is, however, rather dangerous firing lumps of iron out of such slight barrels as are brought to this part of the world for trade. These, though light and handy, and of course well adapted for the use of both English and Indians in long journeys, and of sufficient strength for leaden shot or ball, are not strong enough for this kind of shot; and strong fowling-pieces would not only be too heavy for the laborious ways of hunting in this country, but their bores being so much larger, would require more than double the quantity of ammunition that small ones do; which, to Indians at least, must be an object of no inconsiderable importance."

Sept. 1771 [A severe wind blew over his tent and the poles fell on his quadrant, breaking it.] “.... two of the bubbles, the index and several other parts were broken, which rendered it entirely useless. This being the case, I did not think it worth carriage; but broke it to pieces, and gave the brass-work to the Indians, who cut it into small lumps and made use of it instead of ball.”

Spence
Spence, friend, I dont have a quadrant. Much to my shame I use google maps.







😁
 

Britsmoothy

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We're the air gun pellets all over the place when shot or did they group fairly well?
IMG_20191223_091506594.jpg
IMG_20191223_100540350.jpg

IMG_20191225_101758903~2.jpg

Never patterned them but do recall getting a pheasant with them. I do know they don't straighten up in flight!
The .22 bullets were pardon the pun, hit and miss!
Larger bullets have so far proven useless but .36" ball x5 in my .45 smoothbore have some reach!
 

Spence10

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Then there is this:

John Palliser, (at Ft. Union in the 1840s) _Solitary Rambles and Adventures of a Hunter in the Prairies_, written 1847, published 1853

“I had again recourse to my Trulock, but alas! shot was not to be had, so I was obliged to make it as well as I could ; first I tried pricking holes in a card, fixed in a small wooden frame, and pouring melted lead upon it---taking care to keep it perpetually in motion, by shaking it backwards and forwards.
“But I found the following a better plan ; i.e. to beat the lead quite flat, and cut it into little bars, about seven-eighths of an inch square, which we divided across so as to form little cubes one-eighth of an inch every way. These we made as like grains of shot as we could by putting them into a small metal boiler in the kitchen of the fort, and rolling them round and round with a smooth stone along with some ashes. With this very imperfect substitute for shot, I contrived to kill some ducks and geese ; the latter were very difficult to obtain….I contrived to crawl along the ground so stealthily that I came within thirty yards of a fine flock of wild geese. Their heads were all close together in an admirable line for a raking shot as I lay on my chest in fear and trembling, chuckling with delight at my good luck ; I stole the gun up cautiously to the front, and a fine raking shot I made. I did not stop to count how many I had mowed down with the first discharge, but fired the second barrel at one on the wing as he rose, knocking him over by the side of his companions. I found I had floored six at the first shot, and having picked them up, and the victim of my left barrel also, walked home in triumph with seven geese on my back which proved a very grateful accession to our tough and scanty supply of meat in the larder:”

Spence
 

Eterry

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Seems there was a video on YouTube where cut lead shot was tried from a flat sheet with very dismal results.

I've loaded steel BBs in modern shells, would definitely kill up close.

When there's no Walmart to get protein from, you will use almost anything you can get down the bore to kill critters.

My grandpa spoke of using pea gravel from the creek to load in his muzzleloader to kill small game. But he wasn't worried about what it did to the barrels.
 

Spence10

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A drawing to go with your story, Spence.
I'm impressed with his left-handed over-the-shoulder technique, Zonie.

High quality commercial shot was made by a technique similar to Palliser's in the 18th century.

An Essay on Shooting, Wm. Cleator, 1789:

*The patent milled shot is said to be made in the following manner. Sheets of lead, whose thickness corresponds with the size of the shot required, are cut into square stripes by a machine, and thus again into small pieces that are cubes; or of the form of a die. A great quantity of these little cubes are put into a large hollow iron cylinder, which is mounted horizontally and turned by a winch; when by their friction against one another and against the sides of the cylinder, they are rendered perfectly round and very smooth."

Spence
 

Runewolf1973

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Hmmm.... This gives me an idea. Maybe I should have bought that little rock tumbler I saw the other day.
 

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