View Full Version : Pumpkinball loads in shotguns....

July 4, 2006, 11:30 AM
I was in the book store yesterday and picked up an issue of the Backwoodsman. It had an article about using what is called a pumpkinball. The pumpkin ball is one great big round ball that was used up until slugs came about. Would make the 12 guage esentially a .73 caliber smoothbore at close ranges.

Where would one get a mould or get one made?

I know its cheaper to just buy some slugs but you could roll your own in a pinch.

silicon wolverine
July 4, 2006, 11:48 AM
Depending on your componets used, Lee makes several round ball molds that are appropriate. the hard thing is finding load data. I have a loadbook from the early 80s that had revelant load data for 12 ga round balls. I can email it to you if you need it.


July 4, 2006, 12:29 PM
A ball the diameter of a 12 gauge bore would weigh 1/12 of a pound or 1.333 ounces or 583 grains. That was how shotgun gauges were determined way back in time. The number of spheres of lead it would take to make a pound.

That would be one heck of a projectile to push out a barrel!

July 4, 2006, 12:43 PM
wonder what its effectiveness would be in an 18" to 20" shotgun an close range say 5 to 20 yards?

July 4, 2006, 01:50 PM
If you want to cast and roll your own, why don't you just cast and load slugs. It's a better projectile in every way. Round projectiles "knuckleball". That's why pellets are more accurate than bb's out of the same smooth bore barrels. You'd be giving up accuracy for a slight increase in weight. A slug is lighter than a ball but the sharp edges make "better" wounds. A slug also penetrates farther.

When smoothbore muskets were used for warfare, you were pretty safe from someone that was aiming at you at +50 yards. That's why they used massed, volley fire.

I don't see any benefit. If you are going to buy a mold anyway, why not get one that'll do slugs?

July 4, 2006, 11:47 PM
It would not be used for long distance shooting. probably 25 yards and under. Its kinda like Mt. Everest..because its there.

July 5, 2006, 12:31 AM
i know you are looking for a SINGLE round ball but....

Dixie slugs makes their 'tri-ball' round, which is a 12 gauge load, that fires 3, 20 gauge lead balls. Accuracy is claimed to be very good for what it is in a tight choke.

If you swing on down to www.shotgunworld.com there is a dixie slug forum where you can talk to the owner/creater of the company.

44 AMP
July 5, 2006, 12:58 AM
My Garndfather loaded his own shells, back in the 20s-40s. Several of the shells were "pumpkin balls", single round balls. He used them as slugs. Never said anything bad about them that I remember.

I would expect them to be slightly less accurate than slugs, being round balls with no spin.

I still have a couple of these paper shells, with the ball clearly visible through a hole in the top wad. (roll crimp). My grandfather never cast his "punkin' balls", he FOUND them! There were (are) original musket balls from the French & Indian, and Revolutionary wars that he found as a child, combing the old battlefields in the area where he grew up. He also had an impressive collection of stone arrowheads that he had found during his youth.

Musket balls were pure lead, so were able to be shot through even the old full choke guns, as the soft lead would compress.

July 5, 2006, 11:39 AM
Pumpkinballs are just rifled slugs. The reason they are called pumpkin balls is that the rifling on the slug makes them look kind of like a pumpkin. Foster type slugs are closer to the old style slugs, but the base wad is attached to the slug and stays with the slug in flight. If you cast your own slugs and do not attach the base wad to the slug, it would be like the rifled slug loads of 50 years ago. It also would not fly very accurately. The wad on the slug helps keep the slug flying point first, kind of like the feathers on a badminton bird.

psycho nut
July 7, 2006, 03:38 AM
Huh, I always thought that they were called punkin balls.
At 5 to 20 yards I don't think that there would be any problems. But then I've never used them.