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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I melted down a couple ingots of lead bought long ago and molded some .575 minies. Now, on inspection, I suspect that the lead I used is on the hard side.
Question: can I damage my bore by firing hard lead? My rifle-musket is not an antique but a modern Italian repro.
 

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Probably not - a properly sized minie is supposed to drop relatively loosely into the bore, without a patch.

But, a minie's skirt is designed to expand as the powder ignites and thus engage the rifling of the bore. If your lead is hard, it may not expand - and the bullet won't spin and will tumble, causing gross inaccuracy. Why not just buy some minies that are properly sized and made of soft lead?
 

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Probably not - a properly sized minie is supposed to drop relatively loosely into the bore, without a patch.

But, a minie's skirt is designed to expand as the powder ignites and thus engage the rifling of the bore. If your lead is hard, it may not expand - and the bullet won't spin and will tumble, causing gross inaccuracy. Why not just buy some minies that are properly sized and made of soft lead?
Nailed it. Pending getting some soft projectiles, paper-patch them up. Slows loading, but will get better accuracy. You won't hurt anything with your hard (maybe) Minnies, but if they are indeed too hard to expand the skirts, they will indeed go anywhere but where desired.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Yup, I presumed that if the lead is too hard, accuracy will suffer. Just wondered about possible damage to the bore.

I'll try those minies my next visit to the range. If they stink, I'll use them for mixing (little by little) with some real soft lead--maybe just one bullet per pot.

Thanks for your opinions.
 

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Watched a guy shooting a replica 1861 springfield 58 caliber musket. Had cast his bullets out of wheel weights. They did not expand to take the rifling upon firing as they were way too hard. You could actually hear them make noise when they went through the air. Accuracy was also very poor. Pure lead or very close to it is the way to go. Roofing lead in sheets, stack vents, any of these that are pure lead can be found at the local scrap yard. I got lucky one day at my yard as I was scrounging in the brass container and a guy came in with his truck sagging with the roofing lead cutup in strips. caution, do your smelting outside as the roofing lead has tar on it and will stink up your house. You and the wife will not be happy. I use a wally world burner with an old cast iron dutch oven. Do not use an aluminum pot as it most will likely fail when melting lead. Frank
 

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They did not expand to take the rifling upon firing as they were way too hard. You could actually hear them make noise when they went through the air. Accuracy was also very poor.
I hadn't thought of a tumbling conical bullet making noise, but it makes sense. When I shoot minies, I inspect the paper target for key-holing caused by the bullet hitting the target sideways.
 

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Had a 1884 trapdoor many moons ago. Figured standard sized cast bullets would work .458-.459. Was I mistaken. Bullets tumbled and made noise down range. As you can guess was pretty bad. Found out the true bore diameter after being told by a more experienced shooter. Actually slugged out at .462 and had a gunsmith I knew open up a lyman 457125 and same for a H&I die. So first thing I do with a new to me rifle is slug the bore. Then I know what I'm dealing with. Frank
 
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