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View Poll Results: Accuracy, which is best conical bullets or lead ball in Cap and ball revolvers
conical or hollow base 8 23.53%
Ball 26 76.47%
Voters: 34. You may not vote on this poll

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Old August 28, 2009, 08:17 PM   #1
Ozzieman
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Conical bullets or lead ball in Cap and ball revolvers

Conical bullets or lead ball in Cap and ball revolvers
I have been shooting cap and ball revolvers for over 40 years and have never tried conical or hollow base bullets in any of my guns. Just wondered if any of you out there have a preference for accuracy,,,, please take cost out of the equation.
Thanks.
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Old August 28, 2009, 09:31 PM   #2
Hawg Haggen
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I've shot conicals and round balls out of my .36. Can't really tell any difference in accuracy but the conicals have more punch with the same powder charge. Also more recoil.
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Old August 29, 2009, 01:03 AM   #3
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I've had good accuracy with conicals in a Dragoon ...but I prefer Round Ball which to me are more accurate and with less powder... if desired.
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Old August 29, 2009, 07:05 AM   #4
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I have two boxes of buffalo bore conicals I need to try out. I have tried a few dozen a friend gave me, cast from a Colt style mold. Had a major pain getting to seat straight, so accuracy sucked(or my shooting) Now that I have PPP loader that well not be a problem.
Hawg, do you think the heavier recoil is due to the increase in bullet weight or does the bullet seal to the barrel have anything to do with it.
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Old August 29, 2009, 07:39 AM   #5
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I had bad luck with conicals in my Ruger old Army. The accuracy was horrible and the loading harder. I now use ball only.
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Old August 29, 2009, 08:09 AM   #6
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One way to check the accuracy difference is to have someone load the revolver some chambers with round ball and others with conical and not tell you which is which. ( the idea is the same as loading a fired case in a revolver to check for flinch). The powder charge must be the same for both so you will be able to tell if there is a recoil difference but this may not be the best test to determine which bullet is more accurate as the powder charge can change that. I have used this method and found that the conicals do produce a bit more recoil and I attribute that to the bullet weight. I have tried conicals in a 1851 Navy, 3rd Dragoon, 1860 Army and a WALKER and have found them to be tricky to load (if you want them to be seated correctly in the chamber) and not really worth the added expense. The conical round is a bit slower than the RB and will penetrate a bit deeper but it will not produce a wound cavity as large as the RB.
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Old August 29, 2009, 10:44 AM   #7
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At the Nationals in Friendship Indiana, we are allowed to use either bullets or
round ball. In the 20 years that I have shot there I can remember only one
person who used bullets. All the records are held by people shooting round ball. I tried it and no luck with the bullets. I think the twist is just too slow to
stabilize a bullet. I would think a faster twist, say 1-10 or 1-12 might do it.
Then your accuracy would be up there with the ball. Save yourself a lot of
trouble and just shoot the round ball.
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Old August 29, 2009, 12:34 PM   #8
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I'm impressed by the clean holes in the target that these Buffalo Bullets can produce.

Review by mec of the 190 grain Buffalo Bullets sold at Dixie:

http://www.dixiegunworks.com/product...reviews_id=566

Post #6 of the following thread is quoted below:

Quote:
http://www.thehighroad.org/showthrea...uffalo+bullets


This is possible the first five shot group I fired from this Uberti dragoon. It was one handed using round ball




This is a bench group from the same distance using the commercial swaged, modern buffalo bullets. Pretty close to the off hand group with ball with some of the luck factored out by using a rest:

Below is from Post #6 of another thread:
Attached Images
File Type: jpg draggon60ft.JPG (203.1 KB, 1781 views)
File Type: jpg dragbuffswiss.jpg (68.4 KB, 2244 views)
File Type: jpg rugertarge.jpg (86.3 KB, 1724 views)
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Old August 29, 2009, 12:38 PM   #9
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From Post #9:

Quote:
http://www.thehighroad.org/showthrea...uffalo+bullets

those groups really don't count as I shot them from a bench and the 50 yards rested over my knees. The 36 buffalo bullets are real accurate too.
Kind of handy with this rig as the stock makes the gun shoot low with rb loads. These bullets brough it up to the right elevation though they shoot about an inch to the left at this range


Also from Post #1:

Quote:
http://www.thehighroad.org/showthrea...uffalo+bullets

.36 Buffalo Bullets

These cost about $15 for fifty through Dixie Gun Works. I shot a 7" group at 50 yards while chronographing and then one just over 2" at 60 feet standing and with the Uberti 61 navy with shoulder stock mounted. It appears that they approach round ball accuracy.

The bullets strike higher than 81 grain balls. this is useful with the shoulder stock since point of impact is several inchs low with ball loads. The groupw was only silightly low but shot 1- 1.5" left of the point of impact with ball.

From Post #1:

Quote:
http://www.thehighroad.org/showthrea...uffalo+bullets

I got one six inch group at 50 yards while shooting over the chronograph and using my knees for a rest. the second group did this. It appears to be about 4+ inches.

Attached Images
File Type: jpg 61navystocktarg.jpg (82.4 KB, 1720 views)
File Type: jpg blank.jpg (57.7 KB, 1699 views)

Last edited by arcticap; August 29, 2009 at 12:59 PM.
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Old August 29, 2009, 06:17 PM   #10
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I've been wanting to try the LEE REAL bullet mold in my 1858 Remington, anyone try that yet??
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Old August 29, 2009, 06:25 PM   #11
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Gee, alot of the old pistols like Colts, came with moulds for conicals, I once had a decent display condx. 49 and a steel mould for 32 conicals with it. Not a shooter though. Would not the guns have had enough twist to stabilise them if they were made to use with the conicals? I can see the added expense of the conicals for hunting, but assume that round balls are just more economical and easier to load, if nothing else.
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Old August 29, 2009, 06:44 PM   #12
rjsixgun
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Its just another bullet to try for me, I've been shooting RB outa my 58 Remingtons for years and get really good groups. I tried the Lee black powder revolver bullets and they didnt group well for me, However LEE makes a light wieght 45ACP mold that works just as good if not better than the RB, only problem is loading it with its flat base. The REAL bullet is kinda tapperd so it might help loading into the cylender, so thats next to try on the list. I was just wondering if anyone else has tried it and can save me the expence of buying the mold if it doesnt work well.
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Old August 29, 2009, 09:33 PM   #13
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I have no experance with bullets in CB and to tell you all the truth, this is the oppisit from what I was expecting.
Thanks for your imputs.
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Old August 30, 2009, 03:33 AM   #14
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Quote:
The REAL bullet is kinda tapperd so it might help loading into the cylender, so thats next to try on the list. I was just wondering if anyone else has tried it and can save me the expence of buying the mold if it doesnt work well.
I use Lee bp bullets in my .36. They're tapered.


Load easy with the cylinder in the revolver.



Pretty accurate too.

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Old August 30, 2009, 06:37 AM   #15
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Quote:
I've been wanting to try the LEE REAL bullet mold in my 1858 Remington, anyone try that yet??
I bought a bag of .45 caliber REAL bullets from someone at a gun show and shot them out of a Ruger Old Army. They worked pretty good and were easy to load. TC Maxi Balls also are easy to load and shoot quite well but are so long that there is only room for about 25 grains of powder in the chamber resulting in low velocities.

Shooting a small varmint with the Maxi Ball, I found I had to shoot it several times to get it to die whereas a roundball usually makes clean one-shot kills. Velocity counts when it comes to lethality. That slow heavy bullet may penetrate but it's almost like shooting the critter with a target arrow.
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Old August 30, 2009, 06:57 AM   #16
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Tough varmints! An armidillo with a kevlar sweater?
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Old August 30, 2009, 08:40 AM   #17
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Quote:
Tough varmints! An armidillo with a kevlar sweater?
As a matter of fact, it was armadillos. A high velocity round ball = clean one-shot kill. A heavy but slow bullet = the animal running into its burrow mortally wounded.

The REAL bullets are short enough to allow a decent powder charge and so most likely are better bullets.

The nice thing about bullets is you can pre-grease the grooves at home and then wrap the bullets in Saran Wrap like Tootsie Rolls and then carry the bullets in your jacket pocket. No need to carry grease out in the field. The multiple driving bands with grease between them also keeps the barrel remarkably free of accumulated fouling after a couple of cylinders.
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Old August 30, 2009, 09:40 AM   #18
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Quote:
That slow heavy bullet may penetrate but it's almost like shooting the critter with a target arrow.
I find that hard to believe. I never shot a critter with one but you can't say they have low velocity because they expand really well.



BTW, that's a .36
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Old August 30, 2009, 02:42 PM   #19
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I use the Lee 200 grain REALs extensively in my cap and ball guns, and find them to be more accurate than the round balls in my guns while providing a lot more punch on the target end. They are easy to load straight as well. I'd recommend them.
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Old August 30, 2009, 04:18 PM   #20
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robhof

I've got the Lee mold for both ball and conical for the ROA and from a benchrest with 30gr 3f b/p; the round ball is far superior to the conical. All the b/p pistols had a twist rate set for the round ball and are OK for the conical for short to medium range. I've got a 31 pocket that has a slower twist than my Ruger and it also came with the combo mold. The ball uses less lead and is easier to load, shoots straighter too, so I usually go for the ball. I got a box of those swaged bullets with a mixed bag of b/p parts I won on an auction, haven't tried them yet.
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Old August 30, 2009, 06:07 PM   #21
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I think the twist in a ROA is one in 16. It is essentially the same barrel used by revolvers chambered for .45 Long Colt, so I don't see a problem with stabilizing long heavy bullets. The TC Maxi Balls stabilize quite well out of that revolver.

I chronographed the Maxi Balls out of a ROA with 25 grains of Goex FFFg and I was getting about 650 fps ten ft in front of the gun.

In contrast, the .457 round ball leaves enough room for 45 grains of powder (according to my volumetric powder measure) and results in about 1000 fps with Goex FFFg and about 1125 fps with Goex FFFFg.

BTW, those full chamber FFFFg loads made other people at the range go "What the hell is that you're shooting?"
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Old September 3, 2009, 09:20 PM   #22
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I've been shooting cap and balls since about 1971. In all that time, I've found a proper-diameter ball to be more accurate than any conical.
Until Jan. 21, 2009.
I had my Uberti-made 1858 Remington .44 out for a day's plinking.
Firing from a benchrest at a measured 20 yards, it consistently put the Lee 200 gr. conical into groups that were 1" vertical and 3/4 wide.
This remains the best group I've shot with any conical bullet, though I have round ball targets that will match it.
Here are the particulars on that remarkable load:

Lee 200 gr. conical cast by me of dead-soft lead.
Home-brew lubricant of Gatofeo No. 1 Bullet Lubricant in bullet grooves.
Goex FFFG black powder - 26 grs. by powder flask.
Remington No. 11 cap, pinched into an elliptical to stay tightly on the nipple.

No greased, felt wad was used under this bullet. Indeed, there wouldn't have been room for one with this much powder, unless you reefed on the loading lever hard, which would have likely distorted the bullet.

Years ago I tried Buffalo Bullets but had little success. Balls were far more accurate.
However, I'll have to try some in this Uberti-made Remington replica. Perhaps this revolver has some special ju-ju.

For the record, this same revolver with .454 inch balls, over 30 grs. of FFFG black powder, and a wool felt wad greased with Gatofeo No. 1 Bullet Lubricant will sometimes put all six balls into a 1" group.
That's from a benchrest, at 25 yards, but not the norm. Those are good days. Most days it will group into 1-1/2 to 2 inches.
My ol' fuzzy eyes don't help matters.

Overall, I'd have to say that balls are more accurate. They are also much easier to get straight in the chamber. That's the key: getting the conical started straight is crucial to accuracy.
The Lee has three driving bands, the lower ones smaller in diameter than those above it, so you can start it straight.
The older designs had no such gradual reduction; starting them straight, and ramming them straight, was usually iffy.
For my purposes, I prefer lead balls over a greased felt wad.

But by all means try conicals in your revolver. If you do, however, fire them against a real target, at a known range, and take your time to load them. Do the same with round balls. This will give you a baseline for comparison.
If you just shoot tin cans and rocks from unknown distances, you'll never be able to learn which is more accurate.
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Old September 5, 2009, 09:26 PM   #23
Ozzieman
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I don’t want any one to think that I am doubting every ones words on ball being more accurate than conical but to me with a longer bearing surface making contact with the rifling, the conical bullets especially if there hollow base should be more accurate (and I know I don’t know what I am talking about since I have no experience with conical).
Also the longer bullet should have better ballistics also.
I just wonder WHY conical bullets aren’t more accurate?????
You guys have brought up some very good points and good comments,,,,,, I am going to have to try some my self.
Thanks Gatofeo, guess I’m going to have to get some of Lee’s molds and try them my self.
My loads are much like yours with round ball, I picked up 20 boxes of Hornady 44 cal .451 lead round balls several years ago and in my Colt replicas I can get 3 inch groups at 20 yards with the same 30 gr, and yes my eye sight is going also.
The attached is my latest pair,,,

Last edited by Ozzieman; October 3, 2012 at 04:14 PM.
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Old September 6, 2009, 05:14 PM   #24
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The biggest reason why the conicals are not as accurate in modern Italian replicas is probably because of the undersized chambers compared to the groove depth in the Italian guns. Most of the Italian .44s have .450" - .454" groove depth, and have .440"-.445" chambers! The longer, heavier conicals don't obturate that quickly, letting gas get between the bullet and the rifling, throwing accuracy off. The soft balls expand in the bore faster, reducing this problem. Ream your chambers to proper diameter and you will notice an improvement in the accuracy.
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Old September 6, 2009, 07:11 PM   #25
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Deadguy,,, I think you answered my question,,,,,
I just measured one of the guns in the photo that I attached and came up with very close numbers you did.
The chambers are (with a dial calipers) at the largest opening I can measure .443 and although it’s very hard to measure the grove depth accurately I did get number above 455 at the end of the barrel.
I would say you got that one right on the money.
Thanks
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