Tell me more! Picket balls.

Joined
Oct 24, 2019
Location
Texas
picket ball.jpg


Hey friends, I have a question I've been pondering for awhile. Instead of round balls, wouldn't connical bullets always have an advantage? Can't you fire "Picket Balls" out of a smooth bore musket? Wasn't the only reason rifled muskets had the upper hand because of the........... Well, rifling combined with the traditional Minie Ball?

Thoughts?
 

DixieRifles

Captain
Member of the Year
Regtl. Staff Shiloh 2020
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Mar 22, 2009
Location
Collierville, TN
I joined a FaceBook group that is for people interested only in cap and ball pistols and flintlock and percussion rifles---i.e., no modern black powder weapons. They discuss the difference between round ball and conical bullets.

My opinion is that patched round balls are the most accurate. However, if you are shooting for groups on paper, then usually you load less powder; too much powder pushes the ball at higher velocity and doesn't grip the rifling. The drag on a round ball is higher than a conical so it will begin to loose velocity and will drop more than a conical.
If you are interested in knock-down power and more energy delivered to the target, I think the conical bullet is better.

@W. Caldwell-37thNC Maybe you want to clarify your question; what do you want to achieve?
 

Big Sarge

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Joined
Jul 19, 2014
Location
Mississippi
The 44 Picket Bullet was made for "country" rifles, as in civilian sporting. I have also seen them called the 44 Country Rifle bullet or "sugar loaf." BTW, there were also Picket bullets made for the Colt revolvers. Basically, the term is a catch-all for pre-Civil War for conical bullets for rifles & revolvers. To my knowledge, they were not intended for smooth bores
 
Joined
Nov 15, 2019
View attachment 418107

Hey friends, I have a question I've been pondering for awhile. Instead of round balls, wouldn't connical bullets always have an advantage? Can't you fire "Picket Balls" out of a smooth bore musket? Wasn't the only reason rifled muskets had the upper hand because of the........... Well, rifling combined with the traditional Minie Ball?

Thoughts?
5E8BAF8A-D8BE-420A-A398-4C39EB66EF3A.jpeg

Here is a pile of different “picket” or “country rifle” bullets I dug about 14 years ago in one of the 1863-64 Second Corps winter camps north of Stevensburg Va. The two rows at the bottom all came out of a soldier’s hut fire pit. Pretty unusual to find these in a Federal Army camp especially so late in the war.
 
Joined
Oct 24, 2019
Location
Texas
View attachment 418546
Here is a pile of different “picket” or “country rifle” bullets I dug about 14 years ago in one of the 1863-64 Second Corps winter camps north of Stevensburg Va. The two rows at the bottom all came out of a soldier’s hut fire pit. Pretty unusual to find these in a Federal Army camp especially so late in the war.
WOW, that's amazing dude!
 

Booner

2nd Lieutenant
Forum Host
Joined
May 4, 2015
Location
Boonville, MO.
View attachment 418546
Here is a pile of different “picket” or “country rifle” bullets I dug about 14 years ago in one of the 1863-64 Second Corps winter camps north of Stevensburg Va. The two rows at the bottom all came out of a soldier’s hut fire pit. Pretty unusual to find these in a Federal Army camp especially so late in the war.
What surprises me is that picket bullets would still be in use as late as '63 or '64.
I always thought that they were sort of an evolutionary dead end when it came to bullet design and use.
 

Ole Miss

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Regtl. Staff Shiloh 2020
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Dec 9, 2017
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North Mississippi
Dixie, you really believe that a patched round ball is more accurate than a conical 'ie' minnie ball? I had been led to believe that the conical ball was more accurate, delivered more penetration and wound damage than round balls. Have I misunderstood your comment? Unlike you I have little experience shooting black powder weapons and only know what little I have read about Civil War ballistics.

Good to have seen you again this past weekend and we need to meet again at Shiloh!!
Regards
David
 

rob63

Sergeant
Joined
Jul 13, 2012
Location
PA, but still a Hoosier
This was all new to me as well and while trying to learn more I stumbled upon this fantastic old thread about a rifle that used this type of ammunition, and included the bullet mold amongst other accessories.

 

Booner

2nd Lieutenant
Forum Host
Joined
May 4, 2015
Location
Boonville, MO.
This was all new to me as well and while trying to learn more I stumbled upon this fantastic old thread about a rifle that used this type of ammunition, and included the bullet mold amongst other accessories.

Thanks for bringing that old thread. I remember that it caused a lot of excitement at the time, and I enjoyed reading it again.
 

DixieRifles

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Member of the Year
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Joined
Mar 22, 2009
Location
Collierville, TN
Dixie, you really believe that a patched round ball is more accurate than a conical 'ie' minnie ball? I had been led to believe that the conical ball was more accurate, delivered more penetration and wound damage than round balls. Have I misunderstood your comment?
Yes, I may not have been very clear.
The minie ball does have more penetration at longer range. I believe the patched ball is more accurate with the right load—if the barrel twist is designed for a patched load.
I dont have much experience shooting the Minie. I bought a used replica Zouave and the round balls that came with it was too tight and the Minie was too loose. I finally sold it.

After youve had your coffee, go back and read my post again.
Your team pulled out a win.
BTW, someone posted on FB the origin of the name “Ole Miss”.
 
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