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Kinda embarassed to have to admit this...especially this late in life.

But I've been a rifled barrel junkie all my years. And when crossing over into the black powder guns...always sniffed my nose up in the air about the smoothbores. Yep, once again...couldn't have been more wrong. ;)

They are lighter and livelier guns in general. All that forward muzzle weight is missing. Normally, they just have a small front sight....and nothing for a rear sight. So a fellow that crosses over from shooting centerfire rifles has a lot to learn to master one of these. Or, maybe not. Perhaps they just require a different mindset than we're used to... More of a instinctive approach. Lord Slashcat and I were shooting a Canoe gun this afternoon. 30' Barreled affair in what works out to be a 20 gauge. Paper patched roundball of about a .600 diameter and George drilled the 10 ring at about 35 yards. After he critiqued my shooting and got me to stop aiming so much...I too, could put it in the black. With abit of work, maybe I could cut the 10 ring ;)

Ahhhh, but the other side ...
That same gun will shoot whatever you choose to load into it as a duck gun. Or you might prefer to hunt squirrels, or turkeys, or deer and bear with it. And if you develop your loads for each species, the gun will serve you admirably.

Perhaps our Forefathers were onto something. One gun that could do it all :eek:



giz
 

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The rifle gives more refined accuracy which obviously is an advantage as the range increases.However,I have a soft spot for smoothbores.As you've said,they're extremely versatile.An added advantage is that they're much easier and faster to clean.

Within typical woods ranges,the accuracy is "good enough"with patched ball under most conditions and the option of using shot puts it in a class all it's own.
 

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I want to learn more about this....

Some of my old friends in the southern states are big fans of round balls in smoothbores. They had all been routinely shooting their whitetails, hogs, and black bear at very close range - so M.O.A. accuracy was never an issue. According to their testimony, the large round balls are more effective than shotgun slugs - not quite as accurate, but more effective.

Some use flintlock fowlers, some use percussion shotguns, and some load round balls in hulls for use in breechloading doubles with no choke. They all say that top accuracy is obtained when you perfectly match the ball dia. to the I.D. of the barrel.

I have a couple of old percussion shotguns, but I'm afraid to shoot a ball in either one of them. I'm told that pressures with a fitted round ball are a good bit higher than the pressures with a shot payload. Any thoughts on this? I'd probably have no worries with modern steel and a barrel with no choke. My main focus initially would be to load up some cartridges with round balls for a breechloading hammergun.

xtm
 
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xtm,

As a good friend said....It's a pipe, your just throwing different chunks of lead through it. :mrgreen:

I'll take a undereducated stab at answering your questions.

Where to begin,....
Somebody can correct me where I tread down the wrong path!

First off, the field observations of your friends...comparing modern shotgun slugs to a round ball. Let's use a 12 gauge as an example. A modern Forster Slug is a deliberatly undersized .690 finned skirted style with hollow backed slug at about a ounce in weight. A round ball in a .715 is about a ounce and a quarter. Or 25 percent more lead. Given similiar velocity, I would assume your friends are getting some pretty observable results.

As to your question on hulls....couple of things to consider. Again use pure lead balls...and remember that hulls are different diameter. Hulls on brass shells are somewhat overbore.... .725-.729 and should be avoided. Using a underbore hull (.715) would be fine. Be sure the OD of the ball doesn't exceed the bore ID and take into consideration the barrel choke. I wouldn't fool around with full choke...just I.C and maybe M.C.

Hoping one or two experts will chime in on my answer and point out any errors...I'm relatively new to smoothbore's and really new to shooting BP fowler's. Little to no experience with Muzzleloading SXS's but I intend to change that.. :mrgreen:

giz
 

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Thanks, I'm taking notes!

Any knowledge on pressure differences between a shot payload and a fitted round ball of equal weight - assuming no barrel choke? This is my biggest concern - way beyond concern about P.O.I. vs. P.O.A. and accuracy. :)

I'm planning on using Federal paper hulls because I can put a nice, firm roll crimp on 'em and the I.D. of those hulls is very close to the I.D. of the bore of the shotgun I'm considering.

Know anyone who makes a precision custom round ball mould?

xtm
 

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I'm petty sure that paper hulls used a .690 ball in a cardboard guide that would pass safely through any choke. Nominal bore diameter on a 12 ga. is about .725-.729 depending on manufacturer. That is without taking the choke into consideration,of course.
That being said, pressure from a slug load should be about the same as a 1 1/4 oz. shot load. It's mostly the payload weight and the powder charge that determine the pressure,all things being equal.
 

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I'll help anyway I can.The first thing I'd recommend you do is get a good book on black powder loading.One that I've had for many years is "BLACK POWDER LOADING MANUAL" by Sam Fadala.I'm sure there are others and I believe that it's been updated somewhat since the copy I have.As you might expect,the lion's share of info is about rifles and pistols but there is a very helpful section on loads and loading methods for the smoothbores.That particular book also covers black powder breechloaders(including shotgun shells) so most of these questions will be answered.

This is not my way of passing the buck but the information in such a book will be far more useful to you than a post on the forum.

About the round ball being more deadly than the slug,I'd have to know more about what they're making comparisons with but all in all I don't agree with their perceptions.Again,it depends on just what they're comparing.

Accuracy is best gotten by using a patched ball that fits the bore well.For the typical 12 gauge,some will use a .690 better and some will use a .695 better.The patch makes a difference too.

Hope this helps.
 
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