View Full Version : Ball stuck in a black powder rifle

November 13, 2005, 01:46 PM
I have a tompson .54 cal with a ball stuck about 6 inchs down in the barrel.

i have tried ball pullers, those CO2 things and can not think of anything else to do.

the ball has been there a few years. due to real life getting in the way of having time, and too many other irons in the fire.

4V50 Gary
November 13, 2005, 02:00 PM
Any powder in the bore?

Suggest you remove the nipple and saturate it with water so as to ensure safe handling. If the stuck ball remover didn't work and the C02 discharger didn't work, then you might need to pull the breechplug and tap the ball out from the breech end with a brass rod. this is of course after you've wetted down the powder so as to discourage detonation.

November 13, 2005, 02:42 PM
yeah i wetted the poweder down, this is a side hammer also,

they feel better to me.

4V50 Gary
November 13, 2005, 08:56 PM
You can make a breechplug wrench by bending bar stock to fit the breechplug.

Cut some hardwood to put the barrel in. Rough chisel it out to fit the contour of your barrel. Secure the barrel in a vise via the wood blocks (prevents the barrel from being crushed). Then a couple of spins with the wrench and you'll have access to the breech end. Clean out the wet powder residue and then drop in your rod. Inertia alone should pop the ball out but if it doesn't, a slight tap with a mallet will free it.

November 13, 2005, 09:15 PM
Think sence it is only 6" down the barrel i would use a long drillbit and drill a pretty good hole in the ball, then i would rig up a puller bolt that could be used with a big slide hammer.

I really think pulling the plug that's rusted in is asking for it just my 2cents

You know they need a grease sert to replace the nipple so you could pump out the ball

November 13, 2005, 09:38 PM
I agree about not trying to remove the breech plug myself. I have had to drill a ball out myself when one was stuck. I have seen some stuck down in the bottom of the barrel that were extremely hard to get out, but I use a good screw attachment that screw up into the bottom of the ram that will go through the ball and then allow it to be pulled. I suggest soaking the barrel from above the ball with a good lubricant so it will ease the ball out when you have to pull it out.

November 14, 2005, 06:46 AM
if it is only six inches down the bore, make a drill guide out of a piece of 1/2 inch plastic hose and drop down the barrel, now take a 5/16 inch aircraft (long) drill bit and drill a hole in the ball, screw a 3/8 lag screw with a washer into the ball and now using the washer as a bearing plate just use the screw threads to pull the ball out. I have done this several times. ALWAYS Aim the barrel in a safe direction, never put your face over the barrel. expect something to go wrong and blow the ball out of the barrel. If you think that way, you keep your face away.

November 14, 2005, 11:00 PM
Ditto the last comment. A drill guide is important or the drill will walk right into the rifling. If you can't find plastic tubing that fits the drill, go to the hobby shop and find a piece of the K&E metals telescoping brass tubing and pick a size that does. You can wrap the outside of it with masking tape until it just drags going down the bore.

If you've watered the powder already, I would additionally squirt it full of Kroil or PB Blaster or other penetrating oil. Ditto on the ball. After the hole is in the ball, squirt some down the hole just to be sure.

You can also tap the hole for a 3/8" bolt, if need be. Same as guntotin_fool advised, you just need to use a washer and a bolt long enough to screw through the threads. Then just turn the ball out.

If the ball strips out and is still stuck, see if you can flush the powder out through the hole by running water into the nipple? Once it is clear and rinsed out, find someone with an Outer's Foul Out. It would be slow going to remove all that lead electrolytically, but it could be done. This assumes a patch isn't insulating it from the barrel steel and that the bore has no rust (which will cause a Foul Out to start removing steel). The reason for getting the powder out first is to prevent the Foul Out lead solution chemistry from changing during the process.


November 19, 2005, 01:17 PM
Smith I worked for would unscrew flash hole pipe/piece, then screw in an air chuck with proper nipple size and blow the ball, via air compressor, out after saturation with Kroil. Be careful not to point muzzle towards anything your wife owns or holds near and dear.

4V50 Gary
November 20, 2005, 09:22 PM
So, did you manage to extract the ball?