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Old April 6, 2019, 03:34 PM   #1
drdirk
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1858 Pietta round balls loose

Have not shot my BP for a while so went out today with some Hornady 454 round balls that I have had for about 10 years. They were in a sealed box and looked ok but had the aged look where they looked a bit grey and white. They appeared to seat fine and shaved a nice lead ring. Unfortunately they were very loose in the cylinder and even shaking it caused them to move around. Have you guys had that? Is it due to age? Any way to prevent this?

I didn't think that lead corrodes to the point where they would not seat sufficiently.
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Old April 6, 2019, 05:25 PM   #2
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If the shaved ring was completely round, that means that the ball was contacting all of the chamber. Why would they be loose in the chamber?
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Old April 6, 2019, 06:55 PM   #3
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I've heard that [cast] lead can become harder over time but don't know if that can affect how clean that a ring can be shaved from the balls.

I would try to simply wipe the oxidation off the balls before ramming them to see if it makes any difference.

If they're still too loose then one can be pushed out from the rear through the empty nipple hole and measurements can be taken of its diameter and the mouth of the chamber.

I wouldn't want to suspect any problem with the chamber walls if there wasn't anything wrong with them before.

Last edited by arcticap; April 7, 2019 at 08:39 AM.
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Old April 6, 2019, 10:48 PM   #4
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Is this the first time you've shot this particular Pietta? Could be that the chambers are big. NBD, you can use .457 balls or buy a new cylinder.
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Old April 7, 2019, 12:29 AM   #5
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Occasionally there is a residual lip along the edge of the chambers caused by machining the face of the cylinder. This shaves a ring but the edge of the chamber is slightly smaller than the rest of the chamber and the ball is a loose fit. I've heard it being called "ball creep". The cure for this STD is to slightly chamfer the mouths of the chambers to remove the lip and the balls should be shaved a bit less but stick to the chamber walls by friction fit. If you bevel too much the balls will not be shaved but will swage into the chambers and still stay put. It's an easy fix and even I have successfully performed the cure.
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Old April 7, 2019, 02:01 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hellgate View Post
Occasionally there is a residual lip along the edge of the chambers caused by machining the face of the cylinder. This shaves a ring but the edge of the chamber is slightly smaller than the rest of the chamber and the ball is a loose fit. I've heard it being called "ball creep". The cure for this STD is to slightly chamfer the mouths of the chambers to remove the lip and the balls should be shaved a bit less but stick to the chamber walls by friction fit. If you bevel too much the balls will not be shaved but will swage into the chambers and still stay put. It's an easy fix and even I have successfully performed the cure.
A burr. Yes, that could cause it by shaving the lead smaller than what it should be.
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Old April 7, 2019, 07:33 AM   #7
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Wow, that's a bizzare occurrence. I have the same .44 Pietta 1858 and my balls shave nice ! Matter of fact I use a home made ball press as it takes a good amount of force to get my balls pressed into the cylinder bores. Only thing I can come up with is maybe corrosion pitting down inside the cylinder bores that are scraping the edges of the lead balls and causing a deformed (loose) fit when fully seated ?
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Old April 7, 2019, 05:21 PM   #8
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Road Clam,
Bevel your chamber mouths. A nice shaved ball does not mean a nice fit. The ASP Remingtons I have had (about 7 of them) had very shallow but very deep (about 1/8" deep) beveling of the chamber mouths to prevent ball creep and help align conicals. On my own pistols with ball creep (a Walker and 1 or 2 other Colts) I used a counter sink drill bit to do a 45 degree bevel but a shallower angle like with an 11 degree forcing cone reamer would be better.
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Old April 19, 2019, 02:41 PM   #9
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it was the cylinder!

So after playing with it a bit more and even trying 457 balls, it turns out the cylinder is not straight and has a lip or is larger at the top. I beveled it and it is much better now. It always shaved a nice ring but turns out that once the balls where seated lower they would actually move around by just shaking the cylinder. So it comes down to a manufacturing defect. Kind of sucks but thankfully I have a number of other cylinders. Thanks for the feedback!
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Old April 19, 2019, 09:11 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by drdirk View Post
So after playing with it a bit more and even trying 457 balls, it turns out the cylinder is not straight and has a lip or is larger at the top. I beveled it and it is much better now. It always shaved a nice ring but turns out that once the balls where seated lower they would actually move around by just shaking the cylinder. So it comes down to a manufacturing defect. Kind of sucks but thankfully I have a number of other cylinders. Thanks for the feedback!
Have you tried seating the round balls a bit more firmly to see if the round ball will swage down a bit and fit the cylinder chamber a bit tighter?
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Old April 21, 2019, 10:20 AM   #11
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Well, can't seat them lower than on top of powder. Problem is cylinder was tight in the top, loose in the middle so balls would actually move around but could not be shaken out because it was tighter on top.

Cylinder is now a range second.
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Old April 21, 2019, 10:48 AM   #12
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Well, can't seat them lower than on top of powder. Problem is cylinder was tight in the top, loose in the middle so balls would actually move around but could not be shaken out because it was tighter on top.

Cylinder is now a range second.
Even though you can't seat them down past the top of the powder, if you put enough force on them, they would swage a bit and *possibly* expand enough to be a bit tighter in the chamber. I don't know if the loading lever would give you enough leverage to do that though.
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Old April 21, 2019, 12:17 PM   #13
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Pietta

My brand new and expensive 1858 Army had different sized cylinder bores new from the factory.
I bought the stainless target model. Was very disappointed. I had to pay the freight sending it back. My phone visit did not inspire confidence, even tho I gave the tech the exact size of each cylinder bore to a thousandth.

While not impressed with the service, they did send a replacement that I still enjoy. The replacement is excellent.

So all's well that ends well.
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