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Old July 12, 2008, 11:07 PM   #1
ELMOUSMC
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Hornady round ball weight variations

I was shooting my .50 cal smoke pole today and was seeing a really wide variation in point of impact(shooting from sand bags).Using the same load,patch,primer and ramrod pressure.I had a new box of Hornady 177 grn round balls Figureing something wasn't right I started weighing them the variration went from 176.4 to 180.2 very few (less than 15 out of 85) came close to the advertised weight.Does anyone know of another brand of round ball that have a more consistent weight?I am going black bear hunting this fall and I don't want a wounded critter because of an errant round ball ELMOUSMC
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Old July 13, 2008, 01:19 AM   #2
Smokin_Gun
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Is it a new rifle or one you've had? How far were your targets? I start out at 25yds punch cloverleafs from a bench. Then move out to a hundred have found with my Rifle, a Tennessee Mt. (Miroku), that at 100yds that POA & POI is the same at 25yds. Using home made Lee .490 R.B, 60gr of ffg, pillow ticking and Mooses' Milk...Have you ever tried Lee Maxi Balls alot heavier, sold my scale no way to way them conical solid base, lube rings no patch. With Bore Butter they'll slide down all day.. I know I'd hate to be in the way of one.
Anyway, that's quit a variation on the Hornady balls. Patches aren't tearin. burnin', crown's ok? Jus' a thought. Could try Speer Balls.
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Old July 13, 2008, 06:01 AM   #3
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Unfortunately the variation you found is not unusual in retail bullets. I routinely find up to 4 grains variation in a box of 100 round balls from both Hornady and Speer.

I have two suggestions:
1) set your scale to 1 grain less than the heaviest ball in the batch. Weigh every ball and keep those that equal or exceed that weight. You don't have to be precise as this is just a pass/fail test - they're either heavier or not. Discard or keep the light ones for plinking. You may only end up with 20-25 balls but it's enough to sight in and hunt for a few days.

2) get a mold and start casting. I've little confidence in any retail large batch round balls. And you can at least melt and recast the discards from suggestion no. 1.

Last edited by mykeal; July 13, 2008 at 06:03 AM. Reason: Spelling. Or is it speling?
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Old July 13, 2008, 02:30 PM   #4
arcticap
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I measured Speer and Hornady balls for comparison once and the Speers were more uniformly round. I believe that holds true even though that was just a one batch sample. But I don't think that alone is enough to make too much of a difference, and a riflescope might be needed to really tell.
My all time favorites are Buffalo Bullets round balls.
But they aren't easy to find and have become relatively more expensive online than the local offerings.
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Old July 13, 2008, 03:15 PM   #5
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Good Info

The rifle I am using is a CVA St Louis Hawken I have owned it for several years and it has always been a dead on shooter 1 to 2 inch groups at 50 yds.I just recently put a Lyman 57 rear peep sight on it and replaced the front sight with a Lyman 17 and I have it dialed in pretty tight.This morning after church my neighbor came over with some Buffalo ballets we went down to my range and at 50 yds 5 shots with 3 touching,went to 100 yds and all 5 shots could be covered with my hand.I use a charge of 90 grns Pyrodex RS and have found this to be an excellent load for Iowa white tails.I am going to contact the Buffalo Bullet Co and find out if they have a closer weight variation on their round balls than Hornady.ELMOUSMC
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Old July 13, 2008, 03:32 PM   #6
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Quote:
Buffalo ballets we went down to my range and at 50 yds 5 shots with 3 touching,went to 100 yds and all 5 shots could be covered with my hand.I use a charge of 90 grns Pyrodex RS and have found this to be an excellent load for Iowa white tails.I am going to contact the Buffalo Bullet Co and find out if they have a closer weight variation on their round balls than Hornady.ELMOUSMC
Sounds like you got that St. Louis Hawken happy as can be...good job.
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Old July 13, 2008, 04:02 PM   #7
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For the most part, I would have to echo what mykeal has stated and really don't bother weighing the factory balls except when doing long range target shooting. The last time I weighed the factory balls, I found the Speer to be more consistant but have no problems with Honady. I group the weights, store them in separate containers and lable them. I have found that some groups shoot better than others. When I shoot this way, I clean between every round.

I too run my own lead and most definitely weigh them and recast the bad ones. Have to say that with my set-up, I have to reject about one third. I first do a visual and roll check and then weigh the ones that pass.

Now, getting back to the Black Bears, I mostly shoot conicals and have shot sabots. I put in some range time and work with my limitations. I went this way after seeing one Black Bear run off with a .50 round ball in the vital.

Be Safe !!!
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Old July 13, 2008, 07:55 PM   #8
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Pahoo:I have taken many Iowa White tail with PRBs but have yet to try my hand on anything that might decide I look like dinner.I can reload in about 25 sec but I am hoping for a 1 shot kill.I know that with a conical that really should not present a problem,but since this is my 1st and most likely my last big ticket hunt I would like to use a PRB to harvest a Black bear.Am I looking for trouble or is this a realistic goal?ELMOUSMC
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Old July 13, 2008, 10:32 PM   #9
mec
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I havn't weighted batches of them for consistency but found that 375 hornady balls would sometimes slip into the chambers and right back out again. of a uberti replica revolver. Other times not depending on which way the ball was turned. they weren't perfectly round.

speer 375s seated consistently in the same revolver.
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Old July 14, 2008, 10:39 AM   #10
Pahoo
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I have taken many Iowa White tail with PRBs
Then I certainly don't have to tell you where and how to shoot. I too have taken Midwest deer and Black Bear in Ontario. Average range and terrain is about the same. Most Black bears are not that hard to kill. Personally, I just like the mass of the conicals as mass kills. My traditional Black Bear hunting buddies, all shoot 54's. Whatever you shoot, you have to be comfortable with and experience your usual confidence. Your .50 will kill that Black Bear !!!


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Old July 14, 2008, 05:53 PM   #11
4V50 Gary
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There's a fellow who attains high accuracy with most round ball guns. His secret? None. Consistency is the key. He weighs the balls and separates them into groups according to their weight. Same patches, same lube all the time. Same powder charge of course.

It makes you ponder about the old timers who trimmed the sprue off their balls with a knife. That wasn't conducive to accuracy and yet they could hit an orange at 100 yards.
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Old July 14, 2008, 10:51 PM   #12
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Ditto to what Gary said and I'll add that I spin check my balls for balance and out-of-roundness for hunting & serious match.
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