Ammo Weight of a Civil War Bullet or Ball. + a rant.

Pvt.A.Wells

Sergeant
Joined
Oct 31, 2011
Location
Southern, Ohio
Okay one of my pet peeves is reenactors stuffing thier Cartridge Box with more than 40 rounds. They do this by making too small thier paper cartridges. I have always made mine the proper size, but recently I been doing more living history than reenacting. I decided to fill my cartridge box with true period ammunition to show what the soldier would really be hauling around. I have a few original pieces of ammunition to also hand to spectators. That said.....

What is the weight of a .68 ball. and the weight of a .32 ball. (I use a smoothbore) I have no scales to work with so I thought I'd ask.

Along with my pet peeve of having only 40 rounds, I also dislike units not falling back or covering by section to reload thier tins from the bottom to the top. Or the pulling out of units to resupply. What is your thoughts on that subject too?

S.D.Swart
 

Nathanb1

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
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I think someone will be along shortly. :smile: Last time I asked a question some really kind person sent me beautiful examples for my classroom. I know he and some others can easily help you out.
 

Red Harvest

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Apr 10, 2012
From The Confederate Field Manual (1862):
0.69 caliber smoothbore (nominal) -- ball = 463 grains, powder = 110 grains (this is for regulation 1822 and 1840 pattern muskets.) Note that this is from page 52, on page 74 "ball" ammunition is listed as 400 grains with 0.65 ball diameter with 100 grains powder while "buck and ball" does not have a weight listed, but includes 110 grains powder.
 

ole

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Near Kankakee
Small stuff. Given physics and kinetics, a half-ounce ball travelling at roughly 600 ftm is going to create damage.. If one were lucky enough to survive sugrery. It was not nice.
 

DixieRifles

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Now you have to convert that to pounds.
I used this link: http://www.metric-conversions.org/weight/grains-to-pounds.htm

Adding the above weights of the powder and ball and multiplying for 10 Rounds, that = 5,730 Grains.
Converting that to Pounds - - -
0.818572 lb

For 20 rounds, you would double that = 1.6 Lb

For 40 rounds, double it again = 3.2 lb

Is my conversion correct???
I thought those .69 caliber ammo would weight much more.
 

TerryB

Lt. Colonel
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Dec 7, 2008
Location
Nashville TN
E. G. "Eb" Buford of the 3rd Tenn Infantry (Clack's) was hit in the lung at Fort Donelson and sent to the rear, thus not captured. His musket pick went through his lung as well. In his pension application from the early 20th century he said the ball weighed one ounce. He may have been guestimating, but I thought I'd throw it out for what it's worth.
 

DixieRifles

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In his pension application from the early 20th century he said the ball weighed one ounce. He may have been guestimating
Read more:​
http://civilwartalk.com/threads/weight-of-a-civil-war-bullet-or-ball-a-rant.73690/#ixzz1zbGEIdDQ​

It is easy to calculate the weight of a bullet, especially if it is a round ball. Just use the density of lead and the equation for a sphere. The Army Artillery Manual has some good tables for Steel shot of various sizes and it also has the correct density for the steel shot(not same as modern high-strength steel).

For a comparison, I carry my powder and balls for my 0.50 caliber Hawken---a smaller gun. But the powder does not weigh much at all. I carry a good supply in a powder horn. The balls are not as much as the leather possibility bag. Even if I pick up a tie bag of 30 or 40 balls, it doesn't seem to weigh anything near a pound.

I am still curious to know how much 40 cartridges would weigh.
 

Nathanb1

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
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Smack dab in the heart of Texas
It is easy to calculate the weight of a bullet, especially if it is a round ball. Just use the density of lead and the equation for a sphere. The Army Artillery Manual has some good tables for Steel shot of various sizes and it also has the correct density for the steel shot(not same as modern high-strength steel).

For a comparison, I carry my powder and balls for my 0.50 caliber Hawken---a smaller gun. But the powder does not weigh much at all. I carry a good supply in a powder horn. The balls are not as much as the leather possibility bag. Even if I pick up a tie bag of 30 or 40 balls, it doesn't seem to weigh anything near a pound.

I am still curious to know how much 40 cartridges would weigh.

Too danged much.
 
Joined
Aug 11, 2011
Location
huntington beach, ca
It is easy to calculate the weight of a bullet, especially if it is a round ball. Just use the density of lead and the equation for a sphere. The Army Artillery Manual has some good tables for Steel shot of various sizes and it also has the correct density for the steel shot(not same as modern high-strength steel).

For a comparison, I carry my powder and balls for my 0.50 caliber Hawken---a smaller gun. But the powder does not weigh much at all. I carry a good supply in a powder horn. The balls are not as much as the leather possibility bag. Even if I pick up a tie bag of 30 or 40 balls, it doesn't seem to weigh anything near a pound.

I am still curious to know how much 40 cartridges would weigh.

no one told me there would be math!:cold:
 

frankconrad

Sergeant
Joined
Sep 19, 2009
Location
Iowa
For all pratical purposes .69 is 16 ga, the ball is slightly undersize add 110 grain of powder is 1/4 0z so in that case you have about 1 1/4 oz per round= 50 0z if its buck and ball add that weight you have about 20 oz, all told about about 5 1/2 pounds.
Fifty eight cal is about 1 1/2 oz so about 5 lb, not exact but close you couldn' tell the differenceafte a 20 mile march.
 

Red Harvest

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Apr 10, 2012
One of the things I've wondered is if there were different size cartridge boxes issued for different calibers of weapon. A 0.58 or 0.54 minie cartridge is a lot shorter and smaller than a 0.69 caliber smoothbore cartridge.

As to the weight...during "Black Dave" Hunter's campaign in the Valley he required his men to carry extra cartridges for 100 total! But he did other things to reduce non-military impedimentia allowing only a single wagon per regiment, and that for ammunition, and camp ketttles/pans and tools.. This was not well received at grunt level and his men referred to themselves as "Hunter's ammunition train." They thought better of him after their win at Piedmont.
 

Pvt.A.Wells

Sergeant
Joined
Oct 31, 2011
Location
Southern, Ohio
Sure is a difference. There are the smoothbore .69 cartridge boxes such as the model 39 and model 57 and 61. The 61 model was slightly shorter than the 57 due to the fact it was made mainly for conical rounds, while the 39 was longer (deeper), because it was made for buck and ball and buckshot rounds. All these boxes are larger than the .58 cartridge boxes. which are slimer and shorter.

As for the 100 rounds. Poor fellows. I guess they just put the arsenal packs in thier pockets. That had to be a pain totin around 6 extra packs.
 

Red Harvest

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Apr 10, 2012
Here is some more data from that Confederate manual:
(Weapon, bore caliber, wt. of ball grains, charge grains)
Belgian rifle, .70, 738, 80
Mississippi rifle, .54, 470, 70
Rifle musket, .69, 738, 80
Rifle musket, .58, 500, 75
German rifle, .69, 738, 80
Enfield rifle, .57, 540, 70
Smooth bore musket (ball) .69, 400, 100
Smooth bore musket (buck and ball) .69, -- , 110 <=Probably 463 grains of projectiles
English smooth bore musket, .75, 480, 110
Hall's carbine, .54, 228, 60
Merrill's carbine, .56, 420, 50
Sharp's carbine, .52, 480, 60
Burnside's carbine, .56, 385, 75
Colt's revolving carbine, .56, 420, 60
Colt's revolving carbine, .44, 250, 35
Maynard carbine, .51, 345, 55
Maynard carbine, .37, 256, 25
Colt's army pistol, .44, 250, 30
Colt's navy pistol, .33, 145, 17
Horseman's pistol, .54, 228, 30

Figure a little weight for the percussion cap and cartridge paper, string, etc. depending on round.
 

Pvt.A.Wells

Sergeant
Joined
Oct 31, 2011
Location
Southern, Ohio
Thanks for the help and suggestions. I found a grain to grams to ounces to pounds conversion table. Plus accurate data for the buck and ball weight. .65 cal. ball weight = .94 oz. .31 buckshot weight = .09, and 4,400 grains of black powder (40 x 110) = 10.05 oz. So 40 rounds of buck and ball would be rounded to the nearest 10th of a oz. = 58 oz or 3.625 lbs.
 

Pvt.A.Wells

Sergeant
Joined
Oct 31, 2011
Location
Southern, Ohio
Thanks for the help and suggestions. I found a grain to grams to ounces to pounds conversion table. Plus accurate data for the buck and ball weight. .65 cal. ball weight = .94 oz. .31 buckshot weight = .09, and 4,400 grains of black powder (40 x 110) = 10.05 oz. So 40 rounds of buck and ball would be rounded to the nearest 10th of a oz. = 58 oz or 3.625 lbs.
 

DixieRifles

Captain
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Mar 22, 2009
Location
Collierville, TN
This discussion whetted my appetite to make some more bullets. My supplies are getting low and after hearing of news of the fall of Vicksburg and Gettysburg, I thought I better make some ammo.

Photo of bullets I made for my Ruger .44 Old Army pistol. This is a Lee mold that casts a .45 caliber conical bullets with hollow point.



moldbullets_ 010-B.jpg


Now--- I'm ready to throw some lead. :cannon:
 
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