Patched balls in Rifled Muskets?

Discussion in 'Percussion Rifles' started by Gregory Mitchell, May 20, 2019.

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  1. May 20, 2019 #1

    Gregory Mitchell

    Gregory Mitchell

    Gregory Mitchell

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    Hello all. I just bought my first BP rifle a month ago, the Pedersoli Traditional Hawken .50, and am having a great time learning the ropes with it. I'm already starting to plan my next rifle purchase and am heavily leaning toward one of the two primary CW muskets -- 1861 Springfield or P53 Enfield (Pedersoli, of course). But, it looks like Minie balls are either really expensive to buy pre-cast, and then need additional sizing and lubing, or I'd have to gear up to cast them myself (which I haven't ruled out). It seems like in the short term it would be a LOT cheaper and easier just to use .570 balls with the right thickness patch, while I figure out what to do to buy or cast Minies. HOW DO the .58 cal rifled muskets shoot with patched balls? With their really slow rifling I'd think they would do Ok, but can somebody with experience let me know how this combination has worked for them?

    Thanks . . . this forum has been a great help to me getting started in the long arm BP game.
     
  2. May 20, 2019 #2

    Grenadier1758

    Grenadier1758

    Grenadier1758

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    Patched balls will work in a musket. You will need to measure the bore on the lands and also the depth of the grooves. Shallow grooves re.quire a tight fitting patch and ball combination so the ball and patch will spin in the rifling. An oily lubricant such as mink oil in a 0.010 patch wood be recommended. If the grooves
    are shallow, keep the powder charged on the light side.

    By the way, if you cast your own minnie balls, you still need the sizing dies.
     
  3. May 20, 2019 #3

    lyman54

    lyman54

    lyman54

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    I've tried a .575 ball with a .010 patch with very good accuracy. Grenadier is right, use a lighter load of powder for best results.
     
  4. May 20, 2019 #4

    Gregory Mitchell

    Gregory Mitchell

    Gregory Mitchell

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    Thanks a lot. Good to hear. I've already learned with my Hawken (1:48 twist with .004 grooves) that a lighter charge produces better results with PBs.
     
  5. May 20, 2019 #5

    Gregory Mitchell

    Gregory Mitchell

    Gregory Mitchell

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    On this issue, it looks like Pedersoli make a really nice Minie sizer, one that is operated by hand, but I can't find anywhere that sells them??
     
  6. May 20, 2019 #6

    Eterry

    Eterry

    Eterry

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    My experience with round balls in muskets has NOT been good at all...unless you want to punch holes in large pieces of paper at close range.

    My Navy Arms P61 Enfield musketoon with a tight patch RB would shoot decent groups with 40grs fffg. yes, i tried ffg, no change. Above that charge the ball seemed to "Skip" the shallow riflings and dinner plate groups were usual at 50 yards. I didn't think 700 fps was enough from a carbine so i abandoned the prb. Using a .579 500 gr Lee minie, unsized, and 60grs fffg shoots a 3 MOA group at 75 yards.

    I was told my Buffalo hunter (cut down Zouave) shoots a prb decently, but the same minie ball load above had 3 shots touching at 50 yards. I cast my own and didn't see the need to try to improve on that load.

    I havent shot my Armi Jager Zouave enough to form an opinion.

    Another option is the Lee REAL conical.

    BTW, I've yet to run a minie ball thru a sizer...i wonder what groups i'd get if i did?
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2019
  7. May 21, 2019 #7

    Stantheman86

    Stantheman86

    Stantheman86

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    Dixie and Lodgewood sell .577 push through sizers.

    I have a Pedersoli .450 hand push sizer and it's more of a pain than its worth.

    Northwest Trade sells sizers in any size but he's kinda semi retired and you'll have to call in your order.
     
  8. May 21, 2019 #8

    Stantheman86

    Stantheman86

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    It also depends on the rifle-musket....the .54 Mississippi repro is made for patched round balls plus the Pedersoli 2-band Enfield, Cook and Brother rifle , and Zouave all have 1-48 twist which usually works well for both conicals and round balls.

    I had an Armi Sport .58 1861 Springfield that loved .570 round balls with a .15 patch but it seemed "wrong" so I used Minies in it.

    I sold it but I replaced it with a Pedersoli.
     
  9. May 21, 2019 #9

    Eterry

    Eterry

    Eterry

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    My NA P61 has a 1-48" twist, and a .580 bore. Like I've said, I never could get it to group better than 6 MOA using a PRB. I know i could kill a deer at 50 yards that way...but a Skirmisher friend helped me get it to shooting MUCH better.
    Namely, find out what the bore was.

    If the bore is a .580, and the minie I'm molding is a .579, exactly why do I need a sizer????
     
  10. May 21, 2019 #10

    Stantheman86

    Stantheman86

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    The sizer , in my opinion, is to ensure consistency because lead expands as it cools.

    In the "period" when Remington and other manufacturers made Minies for rifle ammunition, the arsenal workers cast them , lubed and sized them. I think. 575 for Springfield cartridges.

    I have a Zoli Zouave with a supposedly .575 Minie stuck in the pipe, that I didn't size. Must have been oversized.

    Sizing them to what the rifle likes is important.
     
  11. May 21, 2019 #11

    Eterry

    Eterry

    Eterry

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    My Armi Jager Zouave has a tighter bore than my other 2 muskets. I have a 575213 OS that throws a .575 minie, gonna try them in the AJ sometime. The .578's are a snug fit, but not tight. I've shot a couple 100 thru them, no problems yet.

    The Zoli could have had a fouled bore, or the minie too big, or a dirt dobber nest, or anyone of a dozen other things. You wont know until you pull the ball.

    I would say using the correct minie, either sized, or cast, goes a long way to shooting small groups. Some day I'll try sizing them...heck i may have a Record Shooting Gun in my safe and dont know it...
     
  12. May 21, 2019 #12

    dave951

    dave951

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    In shooting musket competition or just wanting best
    accuracy, you'll want to have the minie cast right at bore size then, run it through a sizer to get it right at .001 under bore AND concentric. Not every mold casts a round bullet, especially cheap ones like Lee.

    NETrade carries sizers that fit either an arbor press or screw into a standard reloading press 7/8x14.
    https://www.northeasttradeco.com/
    Over on our board for the North South Skirmish Association, there's another guy making great sizing dies- Tom Crone. He doesn't have a website that I know of but everybody in the NSSA knows who he is.
     
  13. May 21, 2019 #13

    nkbj

    nkbj

    nkbj

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    Don't be discouraged if your first attempts at finding a round ball load just don't seem to be working.
     
  14. May 21, 2019 #14

    hawkeye2

    hawkeye2

    hawkeye2

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    Tom atarted making things skirmishers need a few years ago and slowly adds new items to his inventory. A good person to do business with. I do wish he had a website but I'm fortunate in that he has a booth at Ft. Shenandoah just a few miles down the road and he is there at most of the skirmishes.

    Tom Crone
    6305 Ed Crone Lane
    Frederick, MD 21703
    (301) 473-5699
    tomcrone123@msn.com

    https://www.northeasttradeco.com/online-store
     
  15. May 21, 2019 #15

    Stantheman86

    Stantheman86

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    North East Trade co has an "online store " but you'll still have to call him to pay.

    If you're the kind of person who needs your stuff the day before yesterday don't use them, he is older and has health issues. If you call him and bug him you're just slowing the staff down from getting orders out.

    His shop is a half an hour from me, I've been there many times, all the guys who work there are great people but they do what they can. He makes the sizers in his machine shop, he may ship them right away or maybe not .
     

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