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Old February 6, 2013, 07:24 PM   #1
Dinohntr
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I.D.a old fired ball

Try to make this long story short.While in the Navy stationed at The Naval Weapons annex north of Charleston in 1960, there was a fire in the West Virginia Pulp and Paper forest and all off duty personel were ask to help contain the fire.We were given a shovel and told to clear a fire break lane.During my shoveling I scraped up some bones which I thought were deer bones but after seeing finger or toe bones along with arm and leg bones I figured it was a mass burrial of some kind. After everything was done I reported this to the guy in charge and he called in a Civil War historian. A few weeks later I was asked to show a few people where the bones were found which I did.We went to the place and they did some digging and said it was probably a field hospital site.While they were digging I picked up this fired ball and am wondering what caliber it was. The measurements are .755 wide and .390 thick. It weighs 277 gns.I weighed one of my .45 balls and it is 139 gns so I know it is larger than .45. It is covered in a thick hard patina that I scraped off in a couple spots to be sure it was lead.Anybody have a idea of the caliber. I will try posting photos but haven't had much luck lately.






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Old February 6, 2013, 07:47 PM   #2
Hawg Haggen
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Probably a .58 round ball judging by the weight and expanded size.
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Old February 6, 2013, 07:55 PM   #3
James K
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That bullet it so battered and corroded that IMHO it is impossible to say what it is or even what caliber it is. All I can be sure of is that it originally weighed more than 277 grains, which would be almost any musket bullet of that era and a number of .50 and .54 bullets as well.

Perhaps someone else can be of more help.

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Old February 6, 2013, 08:28 PM   #4
4V50 Gary
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I'm guessing a .62 caliber ball. Smaller fusils were carried by officers if they elected to carry a firelock. That caliber may have been used the the German jaegers.
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Old February 6, 2013, 08:59 PM   #5
B.L.E.
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277 grains is the theoretical weight of a .569 diameter lead roundball so that would be the minumum caliber. Taking account material lost during the impact, a .62 caliber rifle is very plausible. A rounball load in a .58 caliber musket is also plausible.
Time and weather should not reduce the weight much because lead oxide is actually heavier than the lead it used to be.
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Old February 6, 2013, 09:11 PM   #6
James K
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My first impression from the first picture was of a hollow base bullet, flattened from hitting the ground or something else. So were there any battles in that area, and if so, when? Are we talking about the Revolutionary War or the Civil War or folks going hunting? The Revolution would rule out any hollow base bullets.

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Old February 6, 2013, 09:33 PM   #7
Hawg Haggen
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The shape is consistent with a flattened round ball. A conical, even a hollow based one would retain much of its shape.
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Old February 6, 2013, 10:19 PM   #8
B.L.E.
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Yes, round balls that I have dug out of berms behind target frames pretty much resemble that bullet.
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Old February 6, 2013, 10:28 PM   #9
4V50 Gary
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BTW, it's hazmat. Send it to me for disposal.
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Old February 6, 2013, 11:19 PM   #10
Dinohntr
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I is a round ball as one side still shows the remains of being round.The other side has some deep striations on it. The head guy said it was civil war (war of northern aggression)as they found what he said was boot nails,a belt buckle and the front half of a muzzle loading revolver,he said the make but it has been many years and I have trouble remembering last week.The amount of bones is what I remember the most.After seeing the movie Dances with wolves I can imagine the site as a field hospital. The head guy said that there was a large battle (don't remember the name) about 20 miles from the site. Thanks all for the info and will probably never know for sure I guess.
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Old February 7, 2013, 10:01 AM   #11
Mike Irwin
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I'm confused...

Did you find this in North Carolina, or in West Virginia?

There were a fair number of battles in West Virginia during the War of Southern Stupidity, but most were small affairs.
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Old February 7, 2013, 12:01 PM   #12
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It is definitely not an expanding ball. Even ones I have shot into steel and completely mushroom out have a recognizable skirt - even if it's flat.

http://www.4thla.com/bullet_bucket/P1010013.JPG

Minnie balls for .58 caliber are going to be closer to probably be over 400 grains, too.

Steve
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Old February 7, 2013, 12:26 PM   #13
Dinohntr
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North of Charleston South Carolina.
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