Success with tow and round balls

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NorthFork

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Many thanks to Spence's recent posts on paper and tow loads. Shooting shot through my Pedersoli Indian Trade gun has been a success since the start. Shoots dead on where I look (important in shotgun shooting!). Square loads tend to donut when charges/loads get heavy. Lighter square loads are fine. SkyChiefs load with 1 1/8 oz shot is wonderful. However ball loads have been frustrating at best.

I've tried many many different loads of patched balls without repeatable success. I've shot fantastic groups at 85 plus yards but can never duplicate the results. There also seems to be a really wild flier or two or three that would either miss or only wound a deer at 50 to 85 yards. The point of impact with many of the patched RB loads tended to be radically different than point of aim. What's really baffled me was the wild fliers. I've tried nearly every combination of ball size, patch thickness, cushion wad or no wad, etc. It's been a real disappointment.

I've tried a couple of loose ball loads at 50 yards but wasn't happy with the results either. I for the most part gave up on shooting round balls from this smoothbore.

Then the other day I stumbled on on thread here that Spence mentioned he used paper, tow, ball, tow. I asked for more details and he showed pictures. It's here on page two.


So this morning I duplicated his load setup the best I could. I used 80grs ffg DuPont powder, 1" x2" brown paper folded in half, walnut sized ball of sisal fiber 'tow' wiped across a tin of TOW mink oil, .610" bare ball, walnut sized ball of sisal fiber again lubed with mink oil. The group size is larger than I'd like BUT I shot 9 shots all into the same group with NO fliers at 50 yards. Here's the cool thing, the POI is the same as the shot loads at 50 yards. This means one sight picture for ball and shot. I shot a few more groups until it got too hot for comfort. No wild fliers, and poi and group size was repeatable time and time again. I think I can shrink the group size down some by playing with powder charge and ball size. I have .600" and .613" balls to experiment with. As it stands now I have a 50-65 yard smoothbore deer load. As a side note sisal rope fiber is not very flamable. I found sisal 'nests' downrange blackened a bit but no smoldering or flame.

I then tried his method of loading with shot and was pleasantly surprised. Not quite as tight as a SkyChief load but far far better and more even dispersion of shot than any traditional square load using nitro cards and over shot cards I've tried.

I guess moral of the story is, if you are not getting good PRB groups with your smoothbore try using tow and bare ball instead. You might be surprised. I certainly am!
 

Leadball loader

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Great to here a successful load work up story. I will try varying my loads using some sisal tow. I have lots of old baling twine.
LBL
 

NorthFork

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I was unsure of how this would turn out so I was hesitant to spend money on real flax tow. I had heard of guys on this forum say that they made tow from sisal, hemp, and manila rope. Cut pieces to a few inches in length and separate the fibers. $3.00 of sisal rope netted me an over flowing 1 gal bag of tow. I also had heard of fire concerns with flax tow. Like I said earlier, the sisal tow was blackened but not on fire or smoldering. I shot enough today that I would of seen some evidence of smoldering if it was going to. I did not add enough mink oil grease to the sisal to matter in terms of flame resistance.
 

smo

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Mic the bore and get as close of size roundball as you can find to it.

That should tighter the groups up even more.

My gun ( 16 gauge) mics at .653, it too doesn’t shoot a patched ball very well.

However a .648 bareball load performs well in it.. a .642 works well also.

The .648 will get a little tough too load sometimes, depending on humidity/ fouling.
But nothing a spit patch followed by a alcohol patch won’t cure every 3 rounds or so.

The .642 I haven’t had any issues loading due to fouling.
 

NorthFork

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If I recall correctly it mics out to .625". I bought the Pedersoli mold that went with it and those balls are supposed to be .614" but mine throws balls .613". I'm going to try them next.
 

Blind Dog

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If I recall correctly it mics out to .625". I bought the Pedersoli mold that went with it and those balls are supposed to be .614" but mine throws balls .613". I'm going to try them next.
I have yet to try them but have you tried powder coating round balls? My 20 gauge mics out at .618 .600 round balls are too loose for shooting bare ball. I powder coat cast bullets for handguns so I tried it on a group of round balls. The PC increased the size to .605. Going out to the range this week to see what happens. If nothing else it will eliminate leading in the bore.
 
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smo

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I’d try some with two coats of PC, that’d put you at .610 or there about.

Please give us a range report when you try them, I’m wondering how hard it will be too clean and if the pc burns off on the barrel interior...

I don’t think it will , but an interesting experiment!
 

Greenjoytj

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I wonder if the sisal fiber 'tow' locks to ball preventing spinning from occurring.
The sisal fiber separates from the ball just outside the muzzle.
A non spinning ball should group more accurately.
A ball that exits the muzzle spinning is going to be subject to aerodynamic forces just like a struck golf ball.
The spin will cause the ball to veer off the line of sight, like a golf ball that hooks or slices after a short distance of straight line travel.
A spinning ball would make a fired group look like a buckshot pattern as the range to the target increased.
 

Britsmoothy

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I wonder if the sisal fiber 'tow' locks to ball preventing spinning from occurring.
The sisal fiber separates from the ball just outside the muzzle.
A non spinning ball should group more accurately.
A ball that exits the muzzle spinning is going to be subject to aerodynamic forces just like a struck golf ball.
The spin will cause the ball to veer off the line of sight, like a golf ball that hooks or slices after a short distance of straight line travel.
A spinning ball would make a fired group look like a buckshot pattern as the range to the target increased.
Many many don't get this phenomenon.
Also the danger of using a patch in a smooth bore is if the patch is not centered perfectly an unequal force can be applied to the ball by the cloth impacting the ball exactly on emerging from the bore.
 

Carbon 6

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I wonder if the sisal fiber 'tow' locks to ball preventing spinning from occurring.
The sisal fiber separates from the ball just outside the muzzle.
A non spinning ball should group more accurately.
A ball that exits the muzzle spinning is going to be subject to aerodynamic forces just like a struck golf ball.
The spin will cause the ball to veer off the line of sight, like a golf ball that hooks or slices after a short distance of straight line travel.
A spinning ball would make a fired group look like a buckshot pattern as the range to the target increased.
No.
 

Blind Dog

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I’d try some with two coats of PC, that’d put you at .610 or there about.

Please give us a range report when you try them, I’m wondering how hard it will be too clean and if the pc burns off on the barrel interior...

I don’t think it will , but an interesting experiment!
Yes, I was thinking the same thing. Considering I push .357 Maggie’s at 1200 FPS + with out issues I seriously doubt I’ll have any problem with burn off with a 325 grain RB going less than 1000.
 
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tenngun

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I wonder if the sisal fiber 'tow' locks to ball preventing spinning from occurring.
The sisal fiber separates from the ball just outside the muzzle.
A non spinning ball should group more accurately.
A ball that exits the muzzle spinning is going to be subject to aerodynamic forces just like a struck golf ball.
The spin will cause the ball to veer off the line of sight, like a golf ball that hooks or slices after a short distance of straight line travel.
A spinning ball would make a fired group look like a buckshot pattern as the range to the target increased.
I think spinning vs non spinning balls was settled about 1500 AD that spinning beat non spinning in the accuracy department.
A lot get good results with dimpled/ chewed ball. And the dimpling may cause a spin (????)
I THINK that chewed balls become closer to bore size and not slipping or bouncing. But .... I don’t know if any real ballistic study ever been done.
We fill this forum with antidotal evidence based on our own experiments that, admittedly are not real science
But I love finding what works for me.
I hope we don’t ever have hard science because it will take a bit of the fun out.
 

Zonie

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Powder coating balls is just so "Traditional"? Wrapping balls in a plastic patch is not allowed here so?? Zonie where are you?
I agree, it's not traditional at all but I really hate to interfere with someones experiment if other members are showing any interest in it.
We allow people to talk about using plastic shot cups in the smoothbore section although I really don't like to see it. (Usually it serves as information for newcomers to the world of shooting a smoothbore loaded with shot. Most of the answers about these plastic cups is, don't use them. They will leave hard to remove deposits of plastic in the bore.
I suspect the same thing will happen when someone shoots a powder coated ball in their gun. Powder coating is, after all, just a tough paint job and the forces involved when a firearm fires are more than enough to scrape even tough paint off of a surface.)

I guess I should add, we also have allowed a few posts about using Teflon patches on the forum. Here again, these are far from traditional but because some of the modern muzzleloading target shooters use them I usually leave the posts just because of their educational value.

The members who are really into doing things in a traditional way won't use Teflon patches or powder coated balls either.
 

Greenjoytj

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I think spinning vs non spinning balls was settled about 1500 AD that spinning beat non spinning in the accuracy department.
A lot get good results with dimpled/ chewed ball. And the dimpling may cause a spin (????)
I THINK that chewed balls become closer to bore size and not slipping or bouncing. But .... I don’t know if any real ballistic study ever been done.
We fill this forum with antidotal evidence based on our own experiments that, admittedly are not real science
But I love finding what works for me.
I hope we don’t ever have hard science because it will take a bit of the fun out.
Spin created by a rifled bore will certainly be much more accurate.
Random directional spin created by a smooth bore just might be the cause of big groups at distance targets.

I recall reading about a test done around the time of the civil war, a smooth bore canon tested for accuracy against a new rifled canon. The targets were a large cloth sheets (probably a worn out main sail off a square rig ship).
The test results showed that the smooth bore could be relied upon to make hits on a large target like a barn.
But the rifled canon could place shots into specific windows of the barn at the same range.
I think that’s an good example of accuracy guaranteed by proper rifling vs the random spin of a smooth bore.
 

Britsmoothy

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It is the random rotation on any axis which is the demon that smoothbore guns are cursed with. It even can be detrimental to shot patterns.
Tame this phenomenon by any means and a good result will arise.
I wish we could still get straight rifling!
 

toot

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PLASTIC, what is PLASTIC anyway?? I thought this is a muzzle loading site, I thought?
 

Cattman

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i guess why i never got into smooth bore guns is the range you shoot a deer or antelope is beyond a smooth bores ability out here. i have shot deer and antelope to 200 yards and dropped them. so has my son. his was 218 yards. a rifled muzzleloader will do the job way out their if loaded right. many buffal where shot with smooth bore shotguns. they took out the pellets and put a solid round ball in the shell. they were shot close up but many a buffalo hunter used this method.
 

Blind Dog

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Powder coating balls is just so "Traditional"? Wraping balls in a plastic patch is not allowed here so?? Zonie where are you?
I never said it was traditional but if is against the rules I more than understand if Zonie wants to pull my comments.
 
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