Thread: .32 ballard
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Old July 25, 2012, 08:51 AM   #15
Jim Watson
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Join Date: October 25, 2001
Location: Alabama
Posts: 11,086
There has been a lot of discussion about "modernizing" Ballards after one blew up last month at The Q with serious injury.
The short version is that a cast Ballard, almost certainly converted from rim- to centerfire; with barrel relined to .40-65, was shot regularly with a top load of smokeless powder. That day it did not hold the first one fired. The receiver split open, shedding fragments and launching the barrel downrange. Shooting was offhand and the Lady shooter's left support hand was shredded. Reports are that she kept all her fingers but they won't work as well as they used to.

Steve Garbe, who ought to know, he once owned the company making repros, said the quick way to identify a Ballard action is that cast ones have a three line address, forged ones have two line markings. Usually. That will serve as a quick check and maybe help you make up your mind whether or not to buy until you can get it apart and look for mold marks.

He says that a cast action should be limited to .22 rf; the forged actions can be used for black powder centerfires. And shot only with black.

As to the one in the OP, if it is a .32 XL in too nice condition to rebore or rebarrel, it will be tough to shoot as is except maybe with .32 Colt as a subload. I don't see anything that would be a simple source of brass to reform. If it is rough, it can be made into about anything within the strength of the action.

Frank DeHaas warns that opening the lever of a Ballard when cocked can break the hammer. A new one is $125 from Ballard Rifle Co. A mainspring is $50.
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