Minnie Ball Stuck 1861 Springfield

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Whitworth

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BTW: It appears that troops often had trouble loading a dirty bore. i have a quart jar of Civil War battle field pickup Minie balls; About ten percent have the noses badly battered from whanging with the ramrod.
Yup, I've observed the same in my finds. Some with the noses really beaten down leaving a perfect ramrod imprint. I also have one that is badly mangled from an attempted pulling with a worm that failed and was finally shot out.
 

kh54

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All right you bright and experienced folks - the following is a serious question: Say your ball puller indeed fails, leaving a hole in the ball. Can’t powder ignition theoretically still provide enough pressure to shoot out the ball? I’m half tempted to try it myself.
 

deerstalkert

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have always wondered that myself.
physics was always my weak spot, but as i understand the nature of pressure it is equal in all directions. this means if there is a hole completely through the ball the pressure inside that hole could swage the bullet tighter into the grooves. OR it could shoot it out :dunno: :dunno: :dunno:

OH Wait! the question was asked of the bright,!!
disregard my thoughts!
 

kh54

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On another note, I shared the following either here or on a similar forum some time ago: in 1961 my family took a summer-long road trip, visiting both famous and obscure historic sites and battlefields. I remember a museum near an ACW battlefield (can’t tell you which one) where a deformed musket hung on the wall. The center of the barrel had a bulge in it but the metal had not ruptured. An X-ray photograph below the musket showed that a Minié ball had entered the muzzle just as the musket was fired. The two balls met in the middle of the barrel. I recall that the musket’s owner, a Union soldier, was killed but I don’t recall exactly how. Something at the breech end blew off and killed him. Has anyone else seen this display and recollect where it is located? I was only 7YO and I remember the story but not where it occurred. Anyway, the relevance to this thread should be clear. Beware of solid obstructions in your barrel!
 

Tasbay

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Quite a few years back when I got my first Muzzleloader ,a T/C Hawken , I didn`t know to swab the barrel between shots and now that I think of it recall getting Patched balls stuck half way/ two thirds of the way down the barrel on probably 4-5 occasions. Just used to point the barrel up with the 100 grain FF load and pull the trigger. 25-30 years later I still have the same gun and the barrel is still like new.-, with no ball stuck down it.
 

Winters

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Quite a few years back when I got my first Muzzleloader ,a T/C Hawken , I didn`t know to swab the barrel between shots and now that I think of it recall getting Patched balls stuck half way/ two thirds of the way down the barrel on probably 4-5 occasions. Just used to point the barrel up with the 100 grain FF load and pull the trigger. 25-30 years later I still have the same gun and the barrel is still like new.-, with no ball stuck down it.
So, even with the ball about halfway down the barrel, you were able to shoot it out with no issue?
 

Britsmoothy

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On another note, I shared the following either here or on a similar forum some time ago: in 1961 my family took a summer-long road trip, visiting both famous and obscure historic sites and battlefields. I remember a museum near an ACW battlefield (can’t tell you which one) where a deformed musket hung on the wall. The center of the barrel had a bulge in it but the metal had not ruptured. An X-ray photograph below the musket showed that a Minié ball had entered the muzzle just as the musket was fired. The two balls met in the middle of the barrel. I recall that the musket’s owner, a Union soldier, was killed but I don’t recall exactly how. Something at the breech end blew off and killed him. Has anyone else seen this display and recollect where it is located? I was only 7YO and I remember the story but not where it occurred. Anyway, the relevance to this thread should be clear. Beware of solid obstructions in your barrel!
No relevance at all. The failed gun you refere to had TWO separated bullets.
 

Mark Herman

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I had a similar situation. After making sure the powder was well saturated with oil, through the nipple hole, I took a steel rod (3/8 I think) and hammered a spoon on one end with a point. Took a drill and ran the spoon THROUGH the bullet, removed the spoon and hammered it a little larger. Kept doing that until the spoon was bore size and only a tiny lead ring was left. Ring was picked out wit a smaller rod.
 

Malamute

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I guess I will run into town and find a grease gun!

Edit: That's a lot of money... I'll see if somebody else has one.
How much was a grease gun? Shopping around may yield a better deal, but I think they can be had in the $15-$20 range.

How much would you expect to pay a gunsmith to pull the breech plug and remove the ball?

How much was the grease gun again?....
 

griffiga

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I had one stuck once and I sprayed a bunch of WD-40 or penetrating oil down the barrel and let it sit for a couple of days. I still had to pound it, but it did eventually go down. I'd make sure to use a pipe/tube near as bore size as possible.
 

fjrdoc

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Don’t underestimate the hydraulic power of grease. Years ago I had a car that had an oil passage to the rocker arms that was so plugged up no oil would flow. I rigged up a capped pipe with a zero fitting and bolted it to the rocker pedistal. Pumped the zerk with grease and it pushed the blockage out lickity split. I think it is your easiest solution to your problem
 

Tasbay

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So, even with the ball about halfway down the barrel, you were able to shoot it out with no issue?
Yep No issues at all. At the time I just didn`t know better, would I still do it... Yes. A T/C has a good strong barrel and as mentioned no damage at all.
Was talking to a Army Armourer a while back and he relayed to me when they get 105mm Howitzer projectiles stuck in the barrel they fill the barrel behind the obstruction with water and set off a charge in the breach. He also commented sometimes the demolition boys put in too much charge and blow up the barrel, apparently their problem not his.
 

Dude

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Something similar, but different application:

Sometimes when rebuilding disc brake calipers, the pistons won't come out. There's no way to pound them out from the backside, and air pressure didn't work. Threading in a zerk fitting to the inlet and pumping the cavity full of grease always gets the job done with no excitement. Clean-up is a little mucky, but not a big deal.

If it won't shoot out, won't ram in, compressed air failed, pump it out.

The best solution I've heard of as far as using a ball puller, is the one that drills a hole in the lead, then threads it - possibly with a self tapping bolt, and then pulled that way. If the ball is horribly jammed, that's the only solution that makes sense as far as ball pullers. But even there, if the ball is really stuck, I'd be concerned the threads would pull out. Then you'd be stuck drilling with larger and large drills till it's mostly gone and ramming out the remainder. I think the easiest, if air and shooting don't work, would be the application of hydraulic pressure via the grease gun approach.
 

ML48

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You've just made it a whole lot harder for your self wetting the charge. Boy the are some fairies on here nowadays.
People just can't think outside a tiny box!
Instead of rodding it down in the normal fashion invert the rifle to aquire much more momentum. You have to instead of pounding the bullet to get it to move, move the mass of the rifle to move around the bullet. Then shoot it out.
I did tell you in post #7.
I don't know why I bother.
You hit the nail on the head. Once you add water, you now have a bigger problem. Problem here, is some always have to turn it in to rocket science. Yours ways the easiest way to do it. Use the damned rifle as your hammer.
 

bud in pa

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When I first started with a flintlock a Pedersoli 50 cal. Kentucky it was used when I got it. Having had the experience of breaking my ramrod while hunting, I decided to make one out of a fiberglass chimney cleaning rod. I wanted indestructable. On occasion when a ball would get stuck, I would get up close to a tree and with the ramrod sticking out of the barrel and do bayonet practice by stabbing the tree with the ramrod which never failed to seat the ball. Now I shoot smoothbore, no rifleing to jam the patch.
 

Okie Hog

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Can’t powder ignition theoretically still provide enough pressure to shoot out the ball? I’m half tempted to try it myself.
Maybe.

i've shot dry balls after the worm stripped out. One ball was recovered with a hole all the way through: The first attempt failed. Then i worked considerable more powder into the flame channel using a torch cleaner: That worked.
 

59sharps

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Been a gunsmith for almost 50 years, and yes you have to remove the breach to get out stuck round. Just no way around it. Usually not to hard, but it can be a pain and can be hard to non mar the barrel. But a gun is made to use and things happen.
Sorry but Not true stuck rounds will come out w several options available. de breaching is normally a last resort.,Ask any N-ssa skirmisher.
air bottle is first option and normally works, than there is wetting it down and using a slide hammer stile ball puller. I’ve personally never been past the first option on my musket or smoothbore
 
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