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Old 02-06-2004, 03:33 PM   #1
Dominant Buck
 
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Default .54 caliber Minnie Balls

I bought the mold and made up 100 .54 caliber 415 grain minnie balls. I thought they would be a lot of fun to shoot. They looked excellent after they were made. I am sad to report they did not shoot very well.

The first thing you notice is the loose fit. The first one I loaded in the clean rifle fell down the barrel almost. I turned the rifle over and shook it back out. I then fowled the barrel to see if that made a difference. Well all I can say is put away your short ball starter, they are not needed. It was so loose, I checked it against my .50 caliber. Too big, made for a .54 caliber. I then thought I might be able to patch the thing. The patch was just a little too tight to try. I think a paper patch might work.

Accuracy was not the greatest. At 35 yards off shooting sticks it made about a 3" group which is unacceptable. The first was a flyer, and the more I shot the better they got. I did not clean the rifle barrel at all. I left it get dirty.

There is some definate recoil in the load. I was shooting 70 grains of Pyrodex RS and the recoil in my Renegade was STIFF. I am glad I did not up the charge any it would have become brutal almost.

I wish I had bought some and tried them before getting the mold, but I live and learn all the time. I think I can work on them with a paper patch and maybe get them better.

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Old 02-06-2004, 04:55 PM   #2
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Default RE: .54 caliber Minnie Balls

What brand of mold did you use, what are the specs on the bullets it is supposed to cast as compared to your bore diameter? I use a TC maxi ball mold and have had good luck with my conicals in TC guns and Tradition guns. It sure sounds like you have got the wrong size mold for your gun.
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Old 02-06-2004, 05:33 PM   #3
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Default RE: .54 caliber Minnie Balls

It is a LEE mold in .540 diameter which should by all indications fit the .54 caliber. They do work, the whole point is they could be just a hair tighter. The 380 grain LEE R.E.A.L. conicals are the same diameter and they work just fine, but they "rifling engaged at loading" as the name implies. Minnies on the other hand engage the rifling when fired. This was done so they could be loaded in dirty fowled barrels under battle conditions easy. (From what I have read)
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Old 02-07-2004, 10:00 AM   #4
 
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Default RE: .54 caliber Minnie Balls

If you want to try to "tweek" your mold to increase diameter, you don't have much to loose with lee molds because of the price. Two ways to increase diameter.
1. Get some aluminum duct tape, the type with the paper backing. Cut two strips the length of the mold block height, and use them to shim the mold halves. Sounds strange, but it works, and it will not make out of round bullets until you increase the space between blocks more than the tape will do.
2. Cast a bullet, and imbed a nail or metal rod in the center of it. Coat the bullet with lapping compound, and chuck it in a drill. Go slow and easy, and you can increase bullet diameter several thousandths iwth that process as well.

Tape is a quicker fix, but some would rather lap the mold. Your choice.
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Old 02-07-2004, 01:18 PM   #5
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Default RE: .54 caliber Minnie Balls

I thought I would try to paper wrap them in tissue and see if I could make them just a little bigger. I will lube the outside, wrap them, then tuck the rest of the paper into the hollow bottom and lube the paper also. It just might work because when fired the paper should hold the rifling until it exits the barrel. I thought also of some real thin material and try to patch them. Then again, maybe I will just shoot them for what they are, a minnie. Blow big holes in the paper, and never hunt with them. Instead hunt with the 380 grain conicals....
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Old 02-10-2004, 12:41 AM   #6
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Default RE: .54 caliber Minnie Balls

Paper wrapping really made an improvement in the way the minnies shoot. I was not really expecting too much from them so I was not prepared for how well they actually began to behave. I paper wrapped six of them. I used computer paper. I then stuck two soda cans on the fence which is 30 yards from the house.

The first thing I noted with the paper wrapped minnie is they loaded like a normal conical. I increased the powder charge 5 grains, added a wonder wad, and seated the minnie. I stepped out the back door, took a free hand aim at the can and pulled the trigger. The can disappeared..

I then decided to get the shooting sticks out for the last five minnies and hit the cans five more times. Needless to say I was impressed with them a little more then the other day. I still have a lot of work to do on the charges.

I wrapped up 10 more with a different kind of wrap to test this out and see what happens....I am hoping I might get a good hunting load out of them yet.

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Old 02-11-2004, 06:00 PM   #7
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Default RE: .54 caliber Minnie Balls

That seems like a lot of extra work.I would toss the lee mold and get a T/C Maxi ball mold cast and shoot. It works great for me.
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Old 10-29-2013, 12:51 PM   #8
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Default .54 cal minie ball accuracy issue

Are you casting with pure lead?
Minie balls must be cast in pure lead. Any alloyed compositions like lineotype or wheel wieghts will not allow the bullet to upset and take the rifling upon firing.
Also if you make a paper cartridge as used in the civil war, the paper will act as a wad over the powder and expand when the bullet it rammed home to keep it from falling out until the rifle is fired. Hope this helps.

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Old 10-29-2013, 12:56 PM   #9
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10 year old thread?

You're lucky cayugad is still on the forum.
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Old 10-29-2013, 01:17 PM   #10
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Default

I was casting with pure lead. That is all I will cast with. As for the molds.. sold them for next to nothing to someone. I even warned them that they might not be happy with the results. Never heard back from them, so I figured... maybe they have a rifle that shoots them well.
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