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Minie Ball Tests In Smoothbores

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36 Cl.
Mar 1, 2023
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United States of America
I read a while back that there were tests with Minie balls in smoothbores during the Civil War, but I can't find any actual historic documents on it. I'm hoping someone here might have an idea of who did these tests, and better yet, access to their results. As far as I recall it was an American testing in old 1842 smoothbores, trying to see if it was worth the effort to equip soldiers with minie balls even if they hadn't yet been issued with the new rifle-muskets.

I already asked the National Archives, I'm sure they'll reply before Christmas... 2040.
Look up "Nessler Ball", I don't believe they were much of a success.

Buck and ball seemed to be the troops favorite!
Bullets, Projectiles, & Sabots

The thing that confuses me is that Foster slugs provide reasonably good accuracy out to around 60 yards or so; What is it about the Minie Ball that prevents that??
Most Foster Slugs have rifling ribs on the outside of the slug to create some spin stabilization. Without spin stabilization on a non-uniform projectile (think center of gravity), anything greater than 25 yards is a crapshoot.

Picture throwing a football - a nice tight spiral spin and it flies far and accurate. No or little spin and it flies like a wounded duck.
My understanding is that the "rifling ribs" do not impart spin; they are designed to allow the slug to slightly crush to allow the slug to go through choked barrels.

ADK Bigfoot

Slow motion filming by Taofledermaus showed that Foster slugs do produce spin. Not very fast but enough to help stability {750rpm}.
It does seem to require a tight fit to the barrel as the spin is caused by friction against the barrel. That's according to the original patent.