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Old 10-10-2004, 06:22 PM
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best .50 caliber round ball?

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Hello, I'm new to muzzleloading and have just purchased a Lyman Great Plains rifle. I was wondering if there is any difference between the different brands of round balls, and if a particular brand is the most accurate, or if it doesn't really matter. Any advice would be greatly appreciated, thanks!
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Old 10-10-2004, 06:37 PM
Jack Monteith's Avatar
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Location: Saskatchewan
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I'd suggest you buy a box of Hornadys and a box of Speers and see which ones your rifle likes. Actually, my old T/C flinter can't tell the difference.

Cast balls can get off course if the sprue isn't centred exactly, and the swaged balls from Hornady and Speer give you less chance of error.

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Old 10-12-2004, 01:06 PM
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If you have access to a powder scale, weigh them and cull the light ones (air pockets) Far as cast is concerned I have a .54 that is all that I shoot is my cast. The sprue being centered as well as I can. Then the patch starter is centered over the ball and I then administer a hammer blow to seat it in the bbl. Viola the sprue is almost gone. You may ask how? It is easy if you have access to a lathe and the proper sized ball nosed cutter made for rough milling profiles. The .50 cal is easy as they make a ball nosed .500 and if you can find a cutter grind shop that has some resharpened ones that are nearer to the round ball size you are using. .490 or .495. I make the short starter and the patch seater out of nylon then make a large T-Handle for the short starter that I use as a hammer. The short starter and the patch seater get the ball nosed treatment before using. Believe me this does make a difference downrange when using patched round ball. You would swear you had just seated a swaged ball as the spue is almost non-existent.
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Old 10-14-2004, 10:11 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2002
Posts: 254
The best commercially made balls I've found are those made by Speer or Warren Muzzleloading. Hornady is okay, but I always seem to find a few slightly out of round or with swaging marks in each box of Hornady.
Warren Muzzleloading is in Arkansas. Like Speer and Hornady, its balls have no sprue so there is no nub to dead-center straight up before loading.
You may order Warren Muzzleloading balls at
Most sporting goods or gun stores stock Speer or Hornady balls.
Remington also makes a lead ball, brass-plated. They're good too and have no sprue. They're not often seen on the shelf. At least, not around the Salt Lake City area.
Interestingly, Remington claims that this brass plating helps to eliminate leading!
How's that?
Um ... scuze me, Remington .. but that lead ball is enclosed in a patch! It never touches the bore.
And if a plated ball is used in a cap and ball revolver, the plating from the area that touches the rifling is removed with the ring of lead shaved from it.
Sheesh. What a load of advertising hooey.
But the Remington balls with their brass plating have one advantage: few people seem to use them, so they're readily recognizable when recovered.
If you use them, and your buddy doesn't, and you both fire at a deer --- you'll know who got it if you recover the ball.
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