Swaged vs molded

Discussion in 'Shooting Accessories' started by mudcreek, Aug 12, 2019.

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  1. Sep 9, 2019 #41

    Bassdog1

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    Well spent another morning on the range and this time I used only cast balls that I had cast sorted and weighed. Kept them all within .5 grain range. Used the same load of 15 grains Swiss, .010 patched lubed with Hoppes BP Lube. Shots were from 20 to 40 yards from a bench resting on a back pack. I also only shot one gun today and ran a spit patch between shots. All 40 shots stayed within a 1.5 inch circle most being within 1 inch of dead center. I did manage to load with no powder for the first time also but was able to trickle enough powder under the nipple to fire it out. Again nothing earth shattering but enough to decide I dont need to be be buying swaged balls when I have molds and 60 lbs of pure lead to work with. Doing all of this to get comfortable with this gun to start squirrel hunting. At the end of the day I guess if you have what you need to cast your own there is no reason not to but if you want to buy swaged they are alright too. Whichever you do weigh and visually inspect the balls for best performance.
     
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  2. Sep 9, 2019 #42

    Zonie

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    I've shot a lot of swaged balls made by both Hornady and by Speer. None of them had the slightest wrinkle on their surface.

    The only time I've seen wrinkled balls is when I've cast them and the temperature of the lead wasn't hot enough.

    With the swaging process, a piece of lead cut to a precise size is placed into the die. The die is then closed using tons of pressure forming the ball into the sphere. If too little lead is placed into the die, the ball will be produced with the surface in the direction of the split line, slightly undersize, but it will look like a smooth transition from the correct size to the undersized area to the naked eye. It will never be wrinkled because as the die squeezes it, it will flow outward to fill the cavity in a smooth manner.

    If I had bought a box of Hornady or Speer swaged balls from someone and the balls were wrinkled, I would suspect the person had cast up some defective balls, put them in the box and tried to pass them off as something that "came from the factory like that".

    There's all sorts of people in this world and some of them would do things like that.
     
  3. Sep 9, 2019 #43

    curator

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    Zonie:
    You are correct. However, swaged round balls are tumbled with a small amount of (what looks like) graphite after manufacturing. If you look closely, you will see hundreds of small facets on their surface from the process. This eliminates fold lines and evens out any out-of-
    roundness. I have a 10 year-old box of Hornady .535 balls that I measured. About one-third measure .532 in one direction and .529 in another. Most are .532-.533". One can hope that new equipment and better quality control has eliminated this as they are mighty convenient compared to casting with a single cavity mold.
     
  4. Sep 9, 2019 #44

    springfield art

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    Wow. You're speaking from true real-world experience. I like this site; many good comments! Thank you. Have a good Fall hunting season!
     
  5. Sep 9, 2019 #45

    smo

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    I appreciate the compliment Darkhorse , but there’s several others here who have taken many deer as well.

    Wattlebuster comes to mind , maybe he’ll stop by for a visit here soon.

    I would like too hear his opinion on the matter.

    Season starts for this ol’ boy Oct 17.
    I got drawn for an early season buck tag.
     
  6. Sep 9, 2019 #46

    Darkhorse

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    Congrats on the buck tag smo. Yes, I forgot about Wattlebuster. Top notch flintlock hunter with a lot of deer under his belt. I'm sure there are a few more here, I just don't know them.
    Another thing, down here in the southeast we have long seasons with high bag limits. We can legally take 12 deer here in Ga. But most states have a 1 or 2 deer limit. This gives us the opportunity to shoot a lot of deer over the years and form strong opinions. Where it might take a western hunter a decade or more to shoot 10 or 12 deer. And since there are less of us old timers around every year opinions can get muddied.
     
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  7. Sep 10, 2019 #47

    hanshi

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    The more deer you shoot, the more valid comparisons you can make. As a Ga. native I took full advantage of the generous limit. The only deer I ever shot with a Hornady swaged ball dropped in its tracks. I still have a few of them in the Hornady box but also a supply of cast ones; I can't see or tell any difference between them.
     
  8. Sep 10, 2019 #48

    PaPaBruce

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    Well, I am new enough at this game that I ought to keep my mouth shut- but, when I first started I got Dutch's book and it has been a great help to me. However some things do change over time and most of Dutch's tests were done several years ago. When I first started, I bought 300 Hornady .395 swaged balls and weighed them all. All but one was in one half o a grain of the average. The one light ball was just slightly out side of that. That is far better than what Dutch found. I suspect that Honady's quality control has improved since Dutch did his testing.
     
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  9. Sep 10, 2019 #49

    renegadehunter

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    With swaged RB's you have to think about the manufacturing process. Most of those places are running 4 shifts...so many different people touching the process. Operators keeping them running, changing the lead wire, doing the QC checks, dumping them as the bin fills up. Mechanics that set up the machine, make adjustments, and make repairs. Might be someone pretty new, or an old hand. Any run of RB's that goes for 3 or more days is going to be handled by at least two different people per shift, if close to the weekend then all 4 shifts would be involved in the run...so 8 different people minimum touching this process. There will be ranges for the QC measurements, I'd bet up to at least 2 grains. So one shift has them running right at 229 grains and then the next shift the machines breaks down or something and then gets set up to throw them out at 231 grains...still in their spec. This could be going into the same lot easily. Then they are going to have a tool supply room with several dies. Some dies will be new and some will be older, they will have some sort of tolerance for them to be in spec., some on the outer edge and some on the inner. Then they could also be running them on more than one machine, so there's completely different tooling sets. Then those get mixed during the washing or tumbling with graphite stage, or during the packaging stage I would think, unless they really commit to traceability.
    The best batches of them are going to be when the machines are set up well and just run without any types of breakdowns or problems. Smooth runs like this mean minimal adjustments made, same tooling used, so you're going to have large quantities made that are all within whatever spec the machine is capable of running at. But throw in tooling changes, different mechanics setting it up again...that's what leads to variation.
     
  10. Sep 10, 2019 #50

    Rodd Boyer

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    I had just the opposite problem papa... with 200 .445 balls almost 50% were more than a grain out of Dutch's findings.
    I moved on to my .530 balls and they were better at 25% light....
    I've not weighed my .350 balls as of yet.


     
  11. Sep 10, 2019 #51

    PaPaBruce

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    Spent the night thinking about my post, hoped to get on line and retract my conclusion before to many people called out my brain leak. I realized that considering the size of Hornady's operation, 300 balls ,all from the same lot, doesn't make for a representative sample. My only (lame) excuse is that college statistics was over half a century ago for me. Should have followed my first impulse and kept my mouth shut.
     
  12. Sep 11, 2019 #52

    Darkhorse

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    I see we are talking about 2 different subjects. I am only concerned that swaged balls don't expand as well as cast balls inside a deer or hog or any big game.
    Most of you are concerned more with weight and surface finish.
     
  13. Sep 11, 2019 #53

    hawkeye2

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    I doubt either you or the deer will notice the difference.
     
  14. Sep 11, 2019 #54

    renegadehunter

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    Speer is in my hometown, I know quite a few folks that work there. They make RB out of what they call "pure, soft lead". It is the softest lead they run and only one or two other projectiles are made from it. They have to completely empty their lead melt pots and pour pots of the other antimony of lead and then they put in the "hogs" of soft lead and fill the melt pot. Then it gets transferred to a pour pot, that gets poured into molds to make "billets", and once those are cool they get extruded into a couple different diameters of lead wire for making the RB's on header machines. I wouldn't think there's much softer lead than what they use, so I don't know why they wouldn't expand well?
    A chunk of wire is cut off, picked up by a punch and driven into a die with such force that the lead "flows" and fills out completely. Just enough wire is used so there is a little excess that extrudes out of a bleed hole to ensure there was enough lead to completely fill out the die. You can see the spot where this happened if you look closely at a RB. These extrusions go right back into the melt pot so there is no waste, so it is just a matter of using enough that the die fills out completely (QC), yet they get the most RB's out of a roll of wire that they can for efficiency.
    I work in a sawmill and we find RB's flattened out as big as a silver dollar on occasion in the trees we cut, although I of course can't say what process made them. They sure are nasty looking to think about something like that going through and flattening out like that, but of course flesh is going to be much softer than wood fiber. Really makes you wonder who shot it, if it hit anything, and what interesting story it might tell if it could.
     
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  15. Sep 11, 2019 #55

    smo

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    Thanks Renegadehunter!

    Finally some insight on how swagged balls are made.

    Back on post 29 , I ask if they were ever molten?
    Which I assumed they had too be.

    So , the high pressure being applied too the lead wires makes them “flow” into the die.

    I would assume all possibilities of air being trapped , such as a void in a poured ball would then be eliminated..

    That’s close how I assumed they were made, which is what made me ask the other question in post 29...

    Compression... is it possible that the excessive pressure applied too the pure lead makes the ball harder?

    Much like compacting the ground , or tamping in a fence post?

    Great story about the round balls in the trees, I’d never thought about it but I’m sure there’s still a few around.

    There’s Guys on this board who have shot a lot of animals over the years with round balls , I wish more of them would chime in.

    Wattlebuster, Spikebuck, Lobo too name a few , I’m sure there’s many , many more.

    As I stated earlier the few swagged balls that I’ve recovered (2) from deer showed little too no deformation.
    Even after striking bone and penetrating flesh .

    However these were shot from a TC Hawken with 60-65 grns of fffg ,not a roundball longrifle.

    I’ve never recovered one from a deer shot with a longrifle.


    Roundball a member here for years is another that comes too mind, it would be interesting too hear these Guys opinions on the matter.

    Thanks again for the info..
     
  16. Sep 11, 2019 #56

    Darkhorse

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    I noticed the difference as soon as I shot my first deer with a swaged ball.
    When I was casting my backstop was an old soft sand pit. The .54 balls I dug out were in fact flattened out about the size of a silver dollar and about 1/4 inch thick. Deer shot with those balls didn't go far and had a larger hole coming out, if they came out, than the entrance hole. You shoot one now and it's the same size hole going in and coming out. That's what I have noticed.
     
  17. Sep 11, 2019 #57

    Walkingeagle

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    Only ever recovered one ball from all the animals I’ve ever shot with muzzleloader. This includes unmentionable projectiles, maxi-ball (or similar styles) and round ball, both swaged and cast. The recovery was from a moose taken, I don’t exactly remember but likely 80-90 yards broadside. It was with a .54 cap, .530 Hornady ball and 110gr Pyrodex RS. Recovered on the far side of ribs just under the skin. It was flattened pretty good. Everything else was a pass through. Unless I am forgetting something at the moment.
    Walk
     
  18. Sep 11, 2019 #58

    hawkeye2

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    Speer and Horniday use pure lead with a brinell hardness of approximatly 5. If a person casts with pure lead then there can't be any difference between a cast and a swaged ball barring air cavities or dross inclusions. A cast ball and a swaged ball of the same diameter, weight and hardness (which is dependent on the material and not the method of manufacture) entering a consistent medium at the exact same velocity will both behave identically.
     
  19. Sep 11, 2019 #59

    renegadehunter

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    Lead can't be work hardened. Something else has to be added to it to make it harder, such as zinc, etc.
     
  20. Sep 12, 2019 #60

    Griz44Mag

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    The commonly used hardener for lead is antimony - in very small percentages.
    When an alloy gets up around 26-28 BH it becomes brittle and the balls or bullets will shatter instead of mushrooming. Tin will have a very small impact on hardness but will improve flow into the mold.
    Zinc will destroy the leads ability to flow into a mold smoothly and will cause havoc on filling a mold, especially one with grooves or hollows. Adding a touch of silver will make the balls or bullets super shiny but will also make a harder alloy!
     

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