You’ll have to excuse me if this is an odd question, but I am a real newbie to this.
I’ve seen on “the tube” a guy test shooting a .44 1860 Army and he measured the distance between the grooves as .457 so was going to fire a .457 ball.
However I’ve not seen this size of ball for sale. Do you buy a resizing die to resize the balls to the required size? I see Kranks sell these (although not .457, they have .459).
Sorry if a stupid question (actually I’m not – I just want to know!)
As the size of ball shot from a notionally .44cal revolver seems to vary, not only from maker to maker, but from gun to gun, most people settle on the size of ball that produces a nice 'ring' of lead on loading it into the chamber. My Colt Walker likes a .451" ball, and my Ruger Old Army likes the .457" that it was designed from the outset to shoot best. Some Uberti and Pietta like .451" and others of the same make prefer .454" - there is no hard and fast rule, it seems.
Sizing a ball, as you can imagine, is a bit like trying to catch fog - suffice it to say that it is near-impossible to do if you think about it. A ball that is a forced fit into the chamber - see my first sentence - is also deformed yet again as it enters the forcing cone of the barrel, and when recovered, shows a distinct 'band' of flattening in the circumference due to being squashed as it goes into the forcing cone, hence its name.
There is no hard and fast rule - if you can, cadge a few of each size from your fellow shooters and try them out, remembering that although it should be a tight fit, trying to load a TOO big ball will put unwanted strain on the loading lever pivot. Then, when you have settled on the right size for YOUR gun get a mould to that size and make them yourself.
PS - if it's any consolation, I've not seen .457" ball for sale either - there is, however, a Lee mould made for exactly this size - called the 'Ruger Old Army ball mould dia. .457"'
PPS - I note that you are in Cambridge, somewhere. Give me a call via PM if you want to meet up and shoot some time.
Last edited by tacfoley; 26-12-2012 at 08:52 PM.
Just use 457 balls!
Hornady do lead balls in .457 often seen them for sale.
Advice from TAC is spot on I cast my own with the LEE.457 mould, They do a conical mould too but I've always found balls to be far more accurate in my ROA.
We commonly use .454. the lead is soft and the lands push the metal into the grooves if you see what I mean. So if its .450 across the lands that metal has to go somewhere, so a .454 could end up measuring .457 after firing. You could split the difference between land diameter and groove diameter and consider that the optimum but, heat and abrasion would mean you would want to add a little. You wouldn't want to add too much though because you would end up with an elongated projectile which may be prone to tumbling spoiling accuracy.
Then you have to consider that whatever size ball you use if your cylinder is bored to .452 then thats going to be the pheriferal diameter. A .454 ball would still be .454 front to back but .452 round the outside so already and elongated projectile and increasing to a .457 ball would increase the elongation.
Or you could do what most of us do, as Tac says select a ball size that loads nicely into the cylinder.
“If a cricketer, for instance, suddenly decided to go into a school and batter a lot of people to death with a cricket bat, which he could do very easily, I mean, are you going to ban cricket bats?” :- Prince Philip said after Dunblane
Thanks! I think I'm getting the gist of this now - well, it makes sense - the more you squash a ball into a smaller size diameter - the less round it will be
It's going to be quite an exciting learning curve.
Thank you for your replies!