I recently inherited a 45 caliber Kentucky Rifle replica (barrel states, "Dikar, Spain .45 Cal."). I think it's a CVA import from the 1970's. What diameter lead round ball is made for this rifle? .440" or .445"? Or does it even matter which of these two diameter balls is used? I'm new to black powder shooting, muzzleloading, and casting bullets. Thanks for the information.
45 caliber Kentucky Rifle - lead round ball size?
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- Last Post 19 November 2021
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I use a .440 ball, but I wish I had a .430 or a .435 mold so I could use a thicker patch.
Thanks Boschloper! I assume you are using 0.015" patches now, but what thickness patch do you want to use and why? I'm still learning about muzzleloaders and trying to understand the benefit of a thicker patch. Thanks!
I have been shooting a CVA Kentucky .45 since the late 80's; I am not an expert, but done a fair amount of shooting. I use .440 round balls, some swaged I have bought or been given, and the rest cast by me. If you cast, conventional wisdom is use soft lead, I have used pure lead, range scrap, wheel weights, lead pipe lead, recovered .22 lead from an indoor range, and have not seen a big difference in shooting; probably me. I have used cut up cotton t-shirts no longer to be worn, pillow ticking, and other cotton cloth; used lubed with CVA Patch Grease, olive oil, spit, Hoppe's, and I can't think of anything else right now. My best results? Spit patch with thick part of T-shirt cut up, trimmed off barrel with knife after round ball seated just below crown of barrel, barrel swabbed after shot with another spit patch. Group? Well, none on record, but when I was shooting regularly I could hit a rabbit in the head, so I am guessing 2.5 inches at 50 yards. Spit patch with thick t-shirt works best for me, but in cold (*freezing) weather, I use patch lubed with CVA Patch Grease so it won't freeze. My patch grease is the last of the last tube I bought years ago.
Keep in mind, it is the patch sealing off the gasses and imparting the spin on the round ball, and like in all shooting see what works best for you. If I had known of the book mentioned by JeffinNZ when it was first out, I would have gotten a copy.
What has not worked very well for me are Pyrodex, and Maxi-balls. Pyrodex probably due to cold weather with inconsistent ignition. Maxiballs just don't seem to like my rifle, probably too slow a twist; I can hit a bull in the butt in a barn with one, just not target accurate. I do use them hunting occasionally, accurate for boiler on a deer out to 50 yards, but not necessarily heart of deer accuracy.
A lot to say use .440, with lubed swab that seals gasses and imparts spin without cutting to round ball.
Thanks TK. Sounds like you have a lot of experience. I have a bar of pure lead, so will start with that once I get a mold for this size round ball. I've got .015" lubed patches from RMC-Ox Yoke, Schuetzen FFFg BP and #11 percussion caps (was really hard to get these in stock). Once I have the ball cast, and get the rifle cleaned up (probably hasn't been shot in decades) I'll take it out and give it a try. I'd like to be able to use it in a primative weapons hunt for whitetail deer at some point, probably next season.
Jasonarm92, if the rifle has not been used in decades I would recommend brushing down the bore with some liquid Wrench to help loosen up any rust. After swabbing and letting the barrel set for a few minutes, then clean thoroughly. I did that with an old bore I thought was clean, and was amazed at what crud came out. Also, pull the nipple and run a q-tip into the bolster before replacing the nipple. I am assuming yours is a cap lock. If it is a flintlock, ignore the nipple advice; I don't shoot flintlocks, just cap locks. After cleaning, what I did was swipe the bore with some oiled patches to let the oil soak into the iron. Others may disagree with my method and advice, but hey it has worked for me. Oh, and when I shoot my rifles, I clean them, let them set overnight or a couple nights, then clean them again. Enjoy your making smoke.
I have not shot deer or caribou with my .45, but have with my .58. I have hunted with the .45, but never had the chance to pull the trigger to shoot at a deer or caribou. The deer I shot in South Dakota was shot in the head, at about a hundred yards, using a Minne Ball. When the bullet hit the deer, it literally spun the deer 360 degrees, then it dropped straight down. I was amazed. The caribou I shot a few years ago had the spine clipped, it dropped right down, and the photo I took shows the bottom of the hooves vertical from the edge of the footprints. Neither projectile was recovered. The caribou was a measured 54 yards from where I was standing in a group of spruce. Both shot with iron sights. Good luck getting into a primitive weapons hunt, if you do write up the hunt in the forum please.
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