round ball fit for smooth bores

Help Support Muzzle Loading Forum:

Joined
Oct 5, 2019
Messages
28
Reaction score
12
What is the proper fit for a round ball, I guess it does matter if it's patched or just waded. I am looking for a ball for my 15ga it's bore is .677.
 

Stantheman86

32 Cal.
MLF Supporter
Joined
Jul 23, 2018
Messages
1,324
Reaction score
475
There are 3 ways I shoot round ball in a smoothbore:

In a Paper Cartridge, using a ball about .05 undersized , still wrapped in a lubed paper cartridge (i.e. a .648 ball for a .69 musket)

"Bare Ball" with wadding on top.....is the most convenient by far. Pour measured charge in, drop in undersize bare ball and take paper wadding, such as a wadded up piece of newspaper and ram it down on top.

Patching the ball like a rifle , which I rarely do because there is little usable accuracy gain for the type of range blasting (target shooting :) ) I do.
 
Joined
Oct 5, 2019
Messages
28
Reaction score
12
There are 3 ways I shoot round ball in a smoothbore:

In a Paper Cartridge, using a ball about .05 undersized , still wrapped in a lubed paper cartridge (i.e. a .648 ball for a .69 musket)

"Bare Ball" with wadding on top.....is the most convenient by far. Pour measured charge in, drop in undersize bare ball and take paper wadding, such as a wadded up piece of newspaper and ram it down on top.

Patching the ball like a rifle , which I rarely do because there is little usable accuracy gain for the type of range blasting (target shooting :) ) I do.
I'd like to hunt so a 6'' group at 50 would be nice. Lee makes a .600 or .610 ball can't remember. Would th at be to small for my .677 bore.
 

Stantheman86

32 Cal.
MLF Supporter
Joined
Jul 23, 2018
Messages
1,324
Reaction score
475
Those would be too small, if you're hunting and not worried about quick reloading or firing a lot of shots, I'd go with the .662 ball, Track of the Wolf has balls and a mold.

Patch it tight with a .015 denim patch so they don't slide forward and it will be as accurate as a smoothie can get. A patch that can be easily loaded with the ramrod but isn't loose or sloppy. You'll need bigger patches or just get a piece of muslin or pillow ticking from Walmart and cut some. Standard pillow ticking is usually. 018 which is fine.

Using super tight patches and balls in a smoothie usually gives no gain, there's only so much you'll get accuracy wise.
 
Joined
Oct 5, 2019
Messages
28
Reaction score
12
Those would be too small, if you're hunting and not worried about quick reloading or firing a lot of shots, I'd go with the .662 ball, Track of the Wolf has balls and a mold.

Patch it tight with a .015 denim patch so they don't slide forward and it will be as accurate as a smoothie can get. A patch that can be easily loaded with the ramrod but isn't loose or sloppy. You'll need bigger patches or just get a piece of muslin or pillow ticking from Walmart and cut some. Standard pillow ticking is usually. 018 which is fine.

Using super tight patches and balls in a smoothie usually gives no gain, there's only so much you'll get accuracy wise.
I wish Lee made that size, I cast but broke at the moment. Tow has the .662 balls for $13 per 25 don't have the money for a good mould right now. I have some pillow ticking.
 

Rat

50 Cal.
Joined
Sep 16, 2004
Messages
2,276
Reaction score
448
Should be able to do at least 6" at 50 yards with a patched ball. In my experience with my Bess, a heavy charge seems to be more accurate than a light one, and wads under the ball seems to increase accuracy for me.

I have also found that a wonder wad, dropped in hot, pure bee's wax, and then fished out and put on some wax paper to solidify, works well. I load one wax-wad over the powder, and then a normal wonder wad on top of that for best results.

I shoot .690" balls in my .75" bore, "chewed" balls with a .020" patch, or unchewed balls with a denim patch. Either way, I get three shots at least before I need to wipe the bore, which is fine for hunting.
 

ADK Bigfoot

40 Cal
Joined
May 29, 2016
Messages
273
Reaction score
146
Location
Lake George, NY
Google "The versatile smoothbore" by B E Spencer for some insight into loading ball in a smoothbore. He advocates two methods; powder, wad, bare ball, over-shot wad; or powder, wad, patched round ball. I have used both and they work. Your issue may be finding the right diameter ball. I have lots of round ball molds, but nothing that will serve your purpose. Good luck and good shooting.

ADK Bigfoot
 

Brokennock

50 Cal.
Joined
May 15, 2011
Messages
2,542
Reaction score
1,061
Location
North Central Connecticut
Google "The versatile smoothbore" by B E Spencer for some insight into loading ball in a smoothbore. He advocates two methods; powder, wad, bare ball, over-shot wad; or powder, wad, patched round ball. I have used both and they work. Your issue may be finding the right diameter ball. I have lots of round ball molds, but nothing that will serve your purpose. Good luck and good shooting.

ADK Bigfoot
This would be on Bob's Blackpowder Notebook website I believe. Thanks and praises be to Spence.
 

Brokennock

50 Cal.
Joined
May 15, 2011
Messages
2,542
Reaction score
1,061
Location
North Central Connecticut
Conventional wisdom based on patched round ball shooting in rifles says that a patched ball should be a tight fit. This is not always true with a smoothbore. My Centermark tule f.d.c is a 20 gauge and likes a .600 ball with a lubed .010 patch. It is not super tight, can be thumb started, and with 3f powder, can be reloaded and shot again and again, till I'm done shooting, without swabbing. My smoothrifle does not like that combo, nor does it like a tighter combo any better. It's bore is a little undersized for a 20 gauge at .615. With thoughts of folks shooting ball with just wadding in mind I tried a looser fit and got better results with a .595 ball and a .010 patch. With looser proving better I tried no patch with .595 and .600 ball. With lubbed wad between powder and ball and thin card over the ball holding everything in, .595 wasn't any worse than the worst patched ball loads, .600 was better, a .610 ball with no patch, just a thin card then lubed wad between powder and ball, then a card holding it in resulted in palm size groups or better off the bench at 50 yards.
Track of the Wolf offers .662, .672, and .675 diameter balls. I would try the .662 with different thicknesses of patching, the .672 with a very thin patch, if you can find sturdy enough material thin enough. Also try the .672 and .675 with wads.

Best of luck,
Dave
 

tenngun

Cannon
Joined
Jan 27, 2008
Messages
12,009
Reaction score
2,262
Location
Republic mo
Smoothies are more forgiving of load then rifle-guns.
I look over data of folks that found the best loads their rifles, but I don’t think that there is one best load, as much as a shooter found a load that worked best for him.
What you get from ‘best’ load for a smoothie can be duplicated with different loads in the same gun.
Just a check out of things like chewed balls, you will find lovers and haters. I had a .67 el cheapo that shot great with a .600 and a denim patch, or a .650 and a thin patch.
 

FlinterNick

45 Cal.
Joined
Nov 1, 2018
Messages
731
Reaction score
226
In my Charleville muskets I shoot a .685 ball with almost any type of batching. I found that using coffee filters for wadding is perfect when using a bare ball.

For paper cartridges I use a .66 ball, paper I use for the cartridges is cooking parchment because is doesn't stick to fouling or grease.

In my .77 Bess I use a .732 patched round ball, it gives the best accuracy in a large bore.
 

spudnut

50 Cal.
Joined
Jul 13, 2005
Messages
1,520
Reaction score
65
There are 3 ways I shoot round ball in a smoothbore:

In a Paper Cartridge, using a ball about .05 undersized , still wrapped in a lubed paper cartridge (i.e. a .648 ball for a .69 musket)

"Bare Ball" with wadding on top.....is the most convenient by far. Pour measured charge in, drop in undersize bare ball and take paper wadding, such as a wadded up piece of newspaper and ram it down on top.

Patching the ball like a rifle , which I rarely do because there is little usable accuracy gain for the type of range blasting (target shooting :) ) I do.
I put a wad over the powder and over the ball
 

FlinterNick

45 Cal.
Joined
Nov 1, 2018
Messages
731
Reaction score
226
Crazy wadding experiments.

I tried a wasp nest, this actually worked pretty well.

Corn meal, smelly and messy once burnt.

cotton balls... huge mistake. Took me a month to clean out a smoothbore.

Coffee Filters... works best in my smoothbore muskets.

Pulled husk twine, works great, a real pain to unravel twine.

wax paper, and parchment works great.

crushed up rotted wood. hard to get the right consistency.
 
Joined
Oct 5, 2019
Messages
28
Reaction score
12
Crazy wadding experiments.

I tried a wasp nest, this actually worked pretty well.

Corn meal, smelly and messy once burnt.

cotton balls... huge mistake. Took me a month to clean out a smoothbore.

Coffee Filters... works best in my smoothbore muskets.

Pulled husk twine, works great, a real pain to unravel twine.

wax paper, and parchment works great.

crushed up rotted wood. hard to get the right consistency.
Thanks for the info. Do you patch with the coffee filter or just wad it under the ball.
 
2

Latest posts

Top