View Full Version : Minie Ball Size

July 8, 2010, 09:57 AM
When you only shoot a few rounds a year, a hundred minie balls last a loooong time, but eventually they do run out. This year's festivities marked the end of the road for the latest batch and it raises a question.

The last bag o' balls that I bought were .575", 510gr, from a Lyman 575-213 mold. How tight are they supposed to be? With a freshly cleaned barrel, I can push the ball in most of the way with my thumb, then, once the nose is below the muzzle, a few stout whacks with the ramrod will seat it. After two or three shots, it's a little tighter, as I'd expect. Does that sound right?

The rifle is great great grandpa's 1862 LG&Y contract Springfield. I used 60gr of Pyrodex RS and it was very accurate, certainly at least minute of Rebel :p The gray tin cans didn't stand a chance.




July 8, 2010, 11:42 AM
Mine measure .577 and slide down the bore of my repro .58 Enfield from ramrod weight alone whether it's the first shot or 50th. They're pretty tight in my original .577 Enfield but they work.

July 8, 2010, 12:13 PM
What are you using for lube? Have you checked to see if maybe the bore is a little undersized? My mold is a Lyman 575-213A. Don't think they're but 488 gr.
You said you bought them. Have you measured them to be sure they're .575?

July 8, 2010, 12:46 PM
I never did measure them. I just used Crisco for lube. I'm going to order 25 of them from Track of the Wolf. I think that theirs use the same Lyman mold as the old ones that we had. I'll measure them and see if they're .575.

I'm not quite sure how to measure the bore of the rifle - can you slug a muzzleloader like that? How do you get the slug out?

July 8, 2010, 01:32 PM
You can pack the bore with paper towels about two inches down and melt some cerro safe in it. Stick a wood screw in it while it's still liquid to have something to grip to remove it. Or melted crayons will work but are more fragile and stink while melting.

July 8, 2010, 03:22 PM
I'll give the cerro safe a try. After some of my more creative attempts at firearms artistry, my wife has put the kibosh on stinky things. Well, other than my feet.

July 8, 2010, 09:02 PM
I believe that I have found out why the bore seems a little undersized. This evening I did what I don't think that anybody has done for probably a hundred years or more - I field stripped the gun.

Now, this is the first year that I've been responsible for the family relic, but thinking back over the 45 years or so that I remember it being shot, the only cleaning that really comes to mind is that after the ritual shooting, somebody ran some patches and a mop down the bore. And before that, I would put money on it that my grandfather never cleaned it - I don't think that he ever cleaned a gun in his life. Oh dear.

I took the barrel off, unscrewed the nipple and poured boiling water down the muzzle. Nasty, nasty stuff came out. About 50 patches, interspersed with a brush, later, it started getting clean. I used a 20 gauge jag and Windex. I've got a small mountain of patches - they're not coming out completely clean, but I think that I've gone as far as I can go before I go stir crazy.

On the bright side, the metal that was hidden by the wood is as bright and clean as the day that it came from the armory. And the wood under there looks absolutely pristine. It's a minor miracle. And, given what came out of the barrel, I'm actually astonished that the nipple unscrewed for me!

As they say, God protects drunks and fools.

July 8, 2010, 10:37 PM
The last bag o' balls that I bought were .575", 510gr, from a Lyman 575-213 mold.

I've used .575" x 500M 500gr minnies in my .58 Zouave 1863 Remington load easily ... from a Lee .575x500M mold.