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Pumkin ball shotgun slugs???

earlyagainearlyagain Posts: 6,749 Senior Member
edited February 2019 in General Firearms #1
Anyone ever see or use them???

Reading a fiction paperback. Hit man uses a concealed sawed of shotgun. Detective hero makes a big deal out of the use of punkin ball slugs. No longer made, must be handloads, guys a mechanic, blah blah blah.

Googled it. They're old time, before the 1950's. Near as I can tell they're completely inferior to anything modern for general use. Less mass, less accuracy. Then I thought maybe more lethal. Elmer Keith said the old Civil War vets perfered roundballs to conicals for their cap&ball revolvers. That don't make sense either. A big hole is a big hole. Having less mass don't add up.

I think the author just shucked some smoke in there for ambience.

Opinions????

My interest is only curiosity.

Replies

  • mitdr774mitdr774 Member Posts: 1,445 Senior Member
  • earlyagainearlyagain Posts: 6,749 Senior Member
    I cant watch videos. Looking at the picture just made me realize a possible advantage though. Less mass = less recoil.
  • JayhawkerJayhawker Moderator Posts: 16,920 Senior Member
    edited February 2019 #4
    Very common when I was coming up as were " cut shells". 
    Getting smacked with a 1 ounce 75 caliber round ball would smart some..
    I've shot a couple of deer with a Brown Bess using patched .730 RBs and they worked nicely

    Sharps Model 1874 - "The rifle that made the west safe for Winchester"
  • earlyagainearlyagain Posts: 6,749 Senior Member
    I've no doubt theyd work.👍

    Had to google cut shells.
    Very ingenious!
  • tennmiketennmike Senior Member Posts: 27,395 Senior Member
    You could buy punkin ball shotgun rounds in the late 1960's. I have a couple of boxes of paper hull punkin balls around here somewhere. And I have a round ball mold for pouring cylinder bore round balls for 12 ga. Got crazy in the 1980s and bought a double barrel muzzleloading shotgun and went deer hunting with it. Only accurate to around 30 yards but the deer sure dropped over when you hit them in the vitals.

    Early, if you look up info on the Revolutionary War, you'll get more than enough info on the effectiveness those big honkin' round lead balls. Arm or leg wounds generally ended up in amputation.
      I refuse to answer that question on the grounds that I don't know the answer”
    ― Douglas Adams
  • earlyagainearlyagain Posts: 6,749 Senior Member
    One of the books Ive read had some details of treating wounded Hessians at Trenton. Bunker Hill was worse. Terrible business. Much worse than the Civil War.

    I've no doubt theyd work. I recently viewd a pic of the bullet that killed Lincoln also. The deformed sphere agrees with Keith's claim of being better than the conicals.
  • NNNN Senior Member Posts: 24,713 Senior Member
    I shot a couple of paper hulled ones sometime in the late 50s. They looked old at the time.


    Yes, they were not so accurate in the shotgun I used.
    Shut up-----KAREN; OK Cynthia
  • SpkSpk Senior Member Posts: 3,962 Senior Member
    edited February 2019 #9
    I don't know about less mass, the ones I've seen online are 550 grain'ers (almost 1.25 oz). That's pretty hefty.
    https://www.ballisticproducts.com/Pumpkin-Ball-Slugs-12ga-715-550gr-25_pak/productinfo/7000004/

    ... Looking at the picture just made me realize a possible advantage though. Less mass = less recoil.
    Not always, could just mean higher velocity at the same load.


    I've seen a few places that sell Round Ball. Some of these loads look pretty fun.

    http://wolfhillammo.com/12-gauge.aspx


    https://www.sportsmansguide.com/product/index/50-rds-12-gauge-2-3-4-2-round-ball-shotgun-ammo?a=864940

    Cheaper than Dirt has a few interesting items also:
    https://www.cheaperthandirt.net/search.do?query=law enforcement round ball 2&sku_instock_b=true


    There's a few other obscure stores that still sell pumpkin ball or you can just load your own. Looks fun.

    earlyagain said:
    I think the author just shucked some smoke in there for ambience.
    Strong possibility. It's like adding seasoning to food... brings out the flavor.
    :D


    Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience -- Mark Twain
    How easy it is to make people believe a lie, and [how] hard it is to undo that work again! -- Mark Twain

  • knitepoetknitepoet Senior Member Posts: 21,093 Senior Member
    If you remember, gauge is determined by how many round pure lead balls, of bore diameter, it takes to make 1 pound.
    there are 7000 grains in one pound, divided by 12 = 583.3gr
    437.5gr to the ounce, so a 12ga round ball should weigh 1.33 ounces (unless it's alloyed, most metals added are less dense than lead)
    Seven Habits of Highly Effective Pirates, Rule #37: There is no “overkill”. There is only “open fire” and “I need to reload”.


  • earlyagainearlyagain Posts: 6,749 Senior Member
    In view of this additional information, maybe they are a potentially more lethal close range projectile?

    Interesting that they're still made. Must be customers that buy them.
  • knitepoetknitepoet Senior Member Posts: 21,093 Senior Member
    I've no doubt theyd work.👍

    Had to google cut shells.
    Very ingenious!
    Eli and I met up at the range and played around with cut shells some a few years ago, QUITE eye opening
    Seven Habits of Highly Effective Pirates, Rule #37: There is no “overkill”. There is only “open fire” and “I need to reload”.


  • MichakavMichakav Senior Member Posts: 2,728 Senior Member
    Shotgun slugs are still called "punkin balls" by many around this area of SW Pa.
  • DanChamberlainDanChamberlain Senior Member Posts: 3,395 Senior Member
    With regards to cap and ball revolvers, think of the profile of a ball, vs that of a conical. The ball has a significantly flatter ogive, more closely aligned with a wadcutter. The conical is heavier so you will get a little better penetration, but you will have slower velocities. The ball will be faster and project more hydrostatic shock. Ballistically, all your cap and ball revolvers other than the early Dragoon and Walker behemoth were inferior to our magnums of today, but I'd bet the .36 Navy loaded to 25 grains FFFg and a round ball was the equal of the 9mm in "tickle factor..." 

    It's a source of great pride for me, that when my name is googled, one finds book titles and not mug shots. Daniel C. Chamberlain
  • JayhawkerJayhawker Moderator Posts: 16,920 Senior Member
    Also, the round ball in a cap & ball revolver , if correctly sized, isn't perfectly round..during the loading process a ring of lead is trimmed from the ball, which also served to seal the chamber.
    Sharps Model 1874 - "The rifle that made the west safe for Winchester"
  • earlyagainearlyagain Posts: 6,749 Senior Member
    Food for thought.
  • Gene LGene L Senior Member Posts: 11,738 Senior Member
    Saturday, my buddy shot a buck and slug load out of a 500 Mossberg 12 ga.  The gun was standard, bead front sight, no rear.  He hit a man sized target at 100 yards.  To my surprise.
    Concealed carry is for protection, open carry is for attention.
  • earlyagainearlyagain Posts: 6,749 Senior Member
    Could arguably be the most versatile firearm obtainable.
  • Great OutdoorsGreat Outdoors Member Posts: 314 Member
    Brenneke style slugs are typically milk jug accurate from  a standard modified barrel shotgun with a bead to 100 yds- aim at the top and hit it somewhere- killed plenty of deer with them
  • Great OutdoorsGreat Outdoors Member Posts: 314 Member
    We shot round balls out of a home made cannon with a 2" bore- went all the way through a v8 engine block. 
    Shot all kinds of stuff out of shotguns- old single shots we didn't worry about messing up, 12 gauge flares, dragons breath, rubber buckshot, 44 mags out of a .410
    ( surprisingly accurate), cut shells. 
    We reloaded with ball bearings, rocks, rock salt, dimes,fireball jawbreakers, just about anything we could fit in a shell- the stacked dimes threw a very interesting pattern. 
    We even loaded a box with rice and slipped them in our friends shell bag for a skeet shoot- he thought his shooting had gone to hell suddenly. 
  • tennmiketennmike Senior Member Posts: 27,395 Senior Member
    I've done homemade flechettes from a 12 ga. single shot that had the barrel cut down to 19 inches due to an 'unfortunate incident'. Used several different gauge nails, and made the 'tail fins' by smacking the blunt cut off end with a 4# hammer. Interesting penetration on wood depending on gauge nail used. I used a hard card over shot card to keep the flechettes from tearing up the star crimp.
      I refuse to answer that question on the grounds that I don't know the answer”
    ― Douglas Adams
  • 10canyon5310canyon53 Member Posts: 2,120 Senior Member
    Gene L said:
    Saturday, my buddy shot a buck and slug load out of a 500 Mossberg 12 ga.  The gun was standard, bead front sight, no rear.  He hit a man sized target at 100 yards.  To my surprise.
    Not surprised.  This is a five shot group of Winchester PDX1 Defender 12 ga. slugs out of my VEPR-12 with a smooth bore 19" barrel at 50 yards.  Sights are non-magnified holographic red dot.

  • BigslugBigslug Senior Member Posts: 8,258 Senior Member
    20 gauge "pumpkin ball" - roughly equivalent to what came out of a .69 caliber French Charleville musket.

    12 gauge "pumpkin ball" - roughly equivalent to what came out of a .75 caliber British Brown Bess.

    Both made plenty of buzzard chow in their day.
    WWJMBD?

    "Nothing is safe from stupid." - Zee
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