Round Ball Loads

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Round Ball Loads

Postby Ohio3Wheels » 20 Jun 2019 13

I have a number of lever guns and I'm thinking about making up some round ball loads for small game and general fun. About the only "small game" load I've done so far was years ago in my 35 Remington using cast 158 gr gas checked semi wad-cutters it was effective on groundhogs to the limit of the iron sights. With round ball I'm looking for both general and specific info. Do you go groove diameter on the balls and what powders seem to work best. I'm thinking something like Unique. I have 357, 35 Rem, 38-55, 44 Mag and 45 Colt.

Curious what some of you may have tried and your experience.

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Re: Round Ball Loads

Postby Ranch Dog » 22 Jun 2019 06

I spent a couple of summers working with them. I've used them with just about everything from 218 Bee through 480 Ruger. I even bought a bunch of expensive wad cutting dies as you need something between powder and ball.

What I found is discovered is that this is very time-consuming work; both the reloading and shooting. On the reloading end of it; getting that ball to stay seated where the radius meets the case mouth is very tedious. On the shooting end, Cartridge OALs are so short I could never feed them through the magazines of any of my Marlin, Rossi, or Winchester leverguns. So, one cartridge placed in the chamber at a time.

I gave up.
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Re: Round Ball Loads

Postby 9x80Drilling » 22 Jun 2019 07

I, too, have been considering round ball loads. But after your post, RD, I think I'll spend my time doing something else.
Thanks for relaying your experiences.
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Re: Round Ball Loads

Postby Ohio3Wheels » 22 Jun 2019 09

Maybe I'll work on some light loads for the 357.

Thanks for the heads up RD.

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Re: Round Ball Loads

Postby mr surveyor » 22 Jun 2019 11

maybe 105 gr cast bullets and 3-4 gr of Unique


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Re: Round Ball Loads

Postby mikld » 24 Jun 2019 11

My only experience was with .432" diameter. balls. I rolled them in a bit of alox, used about 3.0 grains of Bullseye and standard primers. I seated the balls just below center so i could apply a very light roll crimp. I shot them out of 3, 44 Mag. revolvers and got surprising accuracy; 2" at about 50'. For me it was just a "I wonder if..." experiment and only tried about 60-80 rounds (a ton o' fun! Like shooting a 22 short). Never got around to trying them in my Puma...
Last edited by mikld on 26 Jun 2019 13, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Round Ball Loads

Postby GasGuzzler » 25 Jun 2019 05

mikld wrote:My only experience" diameter.

Help me. Did you use .454" diameter?
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Re: Round Ball Loads

Postby Mad Trapper » 25 Jun 2019 12

Here is an article by John Goins (aka Beagle)
http://www.castpics.net/LoadData/Round% ... 0Loads.pdf
I made a copy of the 44 magnum section and put in my note book for future use.
Time consuming, but it can be done.
I found an old lyman/ideal rd. ball single cavity mold in .437
I think it was used for 44 special gallery loads back in the day.
I pushed them through a .430 sizer, gave a lot of bearing surface, set them flush with the case mouth in full length sized brass and got 1"to2" groups at 21ft. with 2.9 gr of bullseye.
I went back and sized 6 of the balls to .429, and got about a 5" spread.
I shot these out of a SBH with 7.5" barrel.
Believe i did a very slight crimp.
I was looking for a quiet small game load, accurate out to 25 yds. in the 44 magnum.
I wanted it to be efficient, with the ability to recover the lead ball without much effort.
Same as the bow hunters small game blunt tip arrow, for knocking small game down, without blowing the game apart.
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I ordered a .431 sizer from Lee, then i may try them in the 92.
These loads were quiet, but if i want 25 yd accuracy will have to increase charge
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Re: Round Ball Loads

Postby mikld » 26 Jun 2019 13

GasGuzzler wrote:
mikld wrote:My only experience" diameter.

Help me. Did you use .454" diameter?

Sorry, don't know what happened to that sentence. :oops: I only tried balls in my 44 Magnum reloads; .432" diameter...
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Re: Round Ball Loads

Postby oneoff » 20 Jul 2019 09

When a boy many decades ago, I was playing with this in my 30/30, and was also discouraged by the fact that accuracy depended somewhat on consistent seating, and that required my lever-gun to be a single-shot.

There was at least one practical application though, and I appreciated the excuse to take out the deer gun more than a week or two of the year! It was “very” cheap to load this way, and while some of those big midwestern bull-frogs would jump after being poked with a .22, they did “not” move after being clobbered with a .30 caliber round ball with a bit more oomph behind it. Had to be mindful of the angle-of-fire though, for the mud-splat-radius was quite large. I miss frog legs, haven’t had’em in years.
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