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Old 01-17-2011, 06:51 PM
andersed andersed is offline
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Default Round Ball vs Minnie Ball

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I have always been under th impression that in a muzzle loader designed for it, minnie balls were superior to a round ball in almost every respect. Faster loading, no need to use patches, and much improved ballistics. A lot of people I know, and reading these threads, seem to prefer a round ball. Is there something I am missing?
Old 01-17-2011, 09:27 PM
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Texas Patriot Texas Patriot is offline
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I don't know about other people but for me it depends what I'm shooting. If I'm shooting one of my rifled muskets , then I shoot minie balls. If I'm shooting my Brown Bess musket or a rifle with a slow rate of twist rifling( say 1:66) I'll shoot PRB. I have one rifle that has a 1:48 rifling twist. Some say this is the
perfect compromise, it'll shoot both RB and conicals equally well. I have not found this to be true. Mine shoots maxis very well. I like all of them. I hunt with all of them as well. When hunting whitetail deer, and using a minie or maxi ball, I aim for the shoulder. When using PRB , I aim for the lungs. As for loading faster with a minie ball, compared to a PRB, yes. In my musket, its a paper cartridge, just like the minies, even though it is a ball. So it's quicker than a PRB,just like a minie. TP
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Old 01-17-2011, 09:35 PM
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ChapNelson ChapNelson is offline
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Yeah, what he said! Essentially, it depends on what works best in your muzzleloader. Try both and see. Personally, if BP was going to be my survival tool, I might stick with a minie ball as patches may be just one more thing to run out of. And a mold for minieball is no more expensive or harder to cast with than a RB mold. Which might mean I find a real accurate minieball shooter first.
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Old 01-27-2011, 11:15 AM
Eagle223usa Eagle223usa is offline
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As the above posters said, It all depends on the twist rate and the particular arm. You will find some that go both ways but its not likely. The Minie and Maxi have better long range and terminal ballstics, Round balls are just more fun if a little slower and labor intensive to load.
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Old 01-28-2011, 03:17 PM
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Irish Mead Irish Mead is offline
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Having been a confirmed flintlock shooter for around 20+ years, I can't say it any better than Texas Patriot has. Good sound advice.
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Old 02-07-2011, 06:17 PM
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Spearhead Spearhead is offline
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Minnie ball might give more knock-down power. But you sacrifice accuracy. Inadvertently the conical minnie ball gets canted to one side when you ram it home, so it enters the bore at an angle.

At least that's according to Pietta Firearms.
Old 04-06-2011, 02:26 PM
rextex rextex is offline
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I pretty much agree wit Texas Patroit. If I'm shooting my Zouve I want a minnie if I'm shooting my Hawkins or Pa style gun I want a patched round ball.
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Old 04-07-2011, 09:33 AM
dcliffhanger dcliffhanger is offline
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If you are BUYING your componants the minie sounds like th superior chouic, and probably is.

Secondly, there is a difference between minie balls and enlongated projectiles like buffalo bullets or maxiballs. Minies always have a hollow base. Maxis and buffalos require some real loading preasure to score the groves which slows them down in the reloading cycle.

If you cast your projectiles, the ease of casting for round balls gives them the edge. Even the cheapist Lee mold throws a perfect RB almost from the first pour and will do so with trash metal of almost any misture.

Minies are a bit more complicated and require more attention. They also take more time.

Also, finding a minie mold for a .32 rifle is a bit of a task. The smallest minie I have ever seen was in .45 caliber and was quite a novelty. Most makers do not offer a minie mold in less than .58 and not many BP guns are bored that big.

Last, if you shoot any competition you will have your ammo type defined by the rules. Some competitions require/prohibit one or the other. I belong to a couple of clubs that will not even allow a caplock rifle on their range, much less a minie ball.
Old 04-10-2011, 09:30 AM
rjsixgun rjsixgun is offline
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all my rifle muskets are 1-72 twist.......and have single hole groups at 100 yards with a 210 grain minie ball................Id say they work very well.

Trick with a minie is to size them as tight to the bore as possible.
Eg. My bore is .577 so I size my minies to .576.
Also you need to match bullet and powder charge to the particular musket.
I'm one of the lucky ones as my muskets have custom made barrels from the same maker and are the same spec. So all use the same ammo and shoot the same groups.

Buy an over size mold and then size the minie to your bore.
Old 04-15-2011, 06:37 AM
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Some folks compete with blackpowder arms. Some only allow a patched ball. Patched ball uses less lead and less powder to push it. In some places blackpowder is hard to find, like NY.

If this is primarily just for a late or early big gae season in your area, I'd lean towards the mini balls. They have a longer range and can produce better results when hunting. The trajectory of round balls are pretty lousy. With a mini ball, you can pretty much have a 100 yards zero. Have it aim a touch high at 75 and it'll hit good at 100, but a bit low. From my limited experience with round ball, you have to aim at the top of the shoulder at 75 to get a good hit on a deer at 50. I could be wrong there.

I'm in the group of using a flintlock for a hunting season extender.
Old 05-14-2011, 03:42 PM
Ed Foster Ed Foster is offline
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Default .58 Zouave.

I have several .50 caliber Hawkin type weapons, but continue to hunt with my Navy Arms Zouave .58. simply because it shoots a 505 grain Minie ball into 2 inches all day long, directly to point of aim, at 50 yards from kneeling. Actually, that's to the center of a 50 yard smallbore target with a 6 O'Clock hold, about a 2.5 inch difference.

That's with a store bought 505 or 525 grain Minie with 60 grains by weight of Pyrodex and a hot RWS or Navy Arms cap.

Point of impact at 100 yards is an inch or two below sighting point, with groups about 3 to 4 inches.

The Zouave will put everything into one round hole at 50 yards with a 445 grain wadcutter over 45 grains of Pyrodex, but for some reason it throws far to the right, beyond anything I can correct for.

I filed out the rear battle sight to a square partridge type, which also gave me my "windage" correction for the Minie. Otherwise it's bone stock, and a handy weapon to carry and shoot. It's also provided two fat bucks over the years, and murdered many a soup can down in the sandpit at 50 yards.

Perhaps interestingly, the Zouave is an oddball, one of the few sold by Navy Arms that was made in Korea during the early '70's, rather than the more common Italian rifles.

I've shot patched balls and sabotted pistol bullets, and they all shoot about as well as the Minie at 50 yards. I've also tried 2 patched balls over the same charge as the Minie, and one of them always goes to the same point of impact as the Minie, while the other completely disappears. I've never been able to find a trace of number two.
Old 05-14-2011, 03:46 PM
FarmerJohn FarmerJohn is offline
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Originally Posted by Spearhead View Post
Minnie ball might give more knock-down power. But you sacrifice accuracy. Inadvertently the conical minnie ball gets canted to one side when you ram it home, so it enters the bore at an angle.

At least that's according to Pietta Firearms.
How do you figure? do you understand that there the same sized round and will have the same kenitic energy?

mass x velocity = energy of round

and if your using minie balls you use a conicular tip on the rod and you dont have any cant issues

personaly I use patch and ball as its easier for me to make round balls than mini balls


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