View Full Version : a thought about round balls

March 28, 2007, 03:33 PM
I was reading about the effectiveness of round balls (terminal) on another board and I see this from time to time all over - the fact that they seem to perform way beyond their sectional density, etc.

Well it ocurred to me that in fact, a round ball comes out of the bore looking like a tootsie pop - with a fat ring arournd the circumfrence and a round nose - so it's really kinka a like a round nosed wad cutter.

Perhaps that is part of the reason that it performs so well?

March 29, 2007, 10:34 PM
There's probably multiple reasons. The balls are caliber light rather than caliber heavy like conicals, owing to the efficient shape of the sphere. This helps them to travel faster. And being pure lead, they can upset at lower velocities.
Plus .44/.45 is considered to be a relatively larger pistol caliber. ;)

Augustus McCrae
March 29, 2007, 11:33 PM
Saw a show on the hysteria channel on lincolns assassination. They said the ball "wobbles" and does more damage than a conventional round. fwiw

March 30, 2007, 01:37 PM
That sounds kinda like military fmj bullets tumbling...

March 30, 2007, 10:56 PM
I have a 1863 A Jenks and Sons in .58. Family member carried it in the CW ... a Yankee ... but we learned better. Quite accurate. Would not want one in the gut!

April 8, 2007, 03:41 PM
I have killed many deer with a .50 and .54 ball. When you can find one that did not exit the deer they are flattened out to almost the size of a quarter.

People that claims balls are not effective are idiots. You don't need a sabot and modern pistol bullet to kill a deer.

May 6, 2007, 05:27 PM
Let’s face it, the Revolutionary War, The war of 1812, and the Napoleon wars only had round balls and only one or two people were killed in those wars.
So throw those round balls away and let’s just shoot jacketed sabot rounds in our BP guns.
“They said the ball "wobbles" and does more damage than a conventional round.”
Really they said that?
That is amazingly stupid of them.

May 6, 2007, 10:24 PM
Elmer Keith seems to have had a high opinion of round balls...

"For its size and weight nothing is so deadly as the round ball of pure lead when driven at fairly good velocity."

And apparently his opinion was shared.

"Both Major R.E. Stratton and Samuel H. Fletcher told me the .36 Navy with full loads was a far better man killer than any .38 Special they had ever seen used in gun fights."

Both quotes are from Sixguns by Elmer Keith.

May 10, 2007, 12:52 AM
round balls do fine for me. i like my modern smoke poles too but i have shot many deer with round balls and never had any complaints. my CVA Mountain gun has taken bucks at well over 100 yrds and none got away. and remember we grow em' big here in Ohio:D

May 10, 2007, 10:15 PM
Y'know, sectional density is great when you're bucking aerodynamic drag. But once a bullet hits meat, high sectional density just means a clean hole right through your target. That's why hunting bullets for rifles are designed to mushroom. Mushrooming destroys that streamlined shape and transfers the bullet's energy to the target instead of wasting it on the landscape beyond.

A round ball is already shaped to transfer its energy to its target. I'm not surprised if it does a good job at that.

I've never heard anyone say that a round ball isn't effective once it hits. I've heard people say you ain't agonna get that 400-yard head shot on a groundhog with one, that's all. But smokeless and bolt actions have got to be better at SOMETHING, right?

May 15, 2007, 03:48 PM
That makes me think of the 303 Brit and 30-40 Krag rounds - both had great reputations at the turn of the century (1900) for being good big game rounds - the Brit round was used extensively all over the world.

They both had long, high sectional density bullets which would penetrate like crazy even at 2000 fps muzzle velocity. The "blue nose" soft points were quite soft and expanded quickly on "thin" skinned game - penetration and quick expansion -the original "premium" bullets :D

Yes, I think you're right - the round ball doesn't need expansion - gives immediate effect at contact and penetrates enough to reach the vitals dumping all the energy into the animal.

It may not go through and through, but if the animal drops in 50 steps, what matter is it?

May 15, 2007, 04:46 PM
"They said the ball "wobbles" and does more damage than a conventional round.”
Really they said that?
That is amazingly stupid of them.."
The history channel/tales of the gun ...etc is pretty entertaining. Some of the information is very good and other items get lost in the translation. There is a guy on another board that picked up that the Walker colt was way more powerful than a .44 magnum. I remember one deal where an actor playing Bat Masterson was standing on the boardwalk running a big flat file across the hammer spur of his colt. This was supposed to "sweeten" the trigger.