Black Powder Only?

Ballards

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.22-5-40
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Black Powder Only?

Post by .22-5-40 » Wed Feb 16, 2011 10:31 pm

Hello, Concerning that No. 3 in .25-25. Since this is a cast action..would you recommend black powder only in this? I don't look forward to the mess in this little bore...but I sure dont want to do any damage to the gun...or myself! Thank you.

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marlinman93
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Re: Black Powder Only?

Post by marlinman93 » Thu Feb 17, 2011 7:22 pm

I personally would consider rebarreling it to a .22RF. You could shoot it with very light smokeless loads using powders that are slow, but I'd guess performance and accuracy would suffer if you get it down to safe levels. The .25-25 doesn't perform well with BP in my experience, and I've not had good results with accuracy.
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Re: Black Powder Only?

Post by JimRowe » Tue Feb 22, 2011 9:35 am

Before you give up on that 25-25, look in some of the older reloading manuals if you have them, I'm sure you can find some info on line concerning the caliber. The 25-25 was always a bit too long and a tad finicky with loading. as far as a cast action? So what. Its really not a hood ornament its a cast steel action plenty capable of the pressure of that round. The real weakness in Ballard rifles is not so much in the steel, but in the design. What everyone seems to be concerned with is the chamber pressure with these guns and having owned over 40 of them, I can tell you the real issue is going to be rearward thrust. Thats not to say I would load the behezues out of it or re barrel it into a 32 H&R magnum but use some common sense. If you found this forum you most likely possess some. It seems to me that I had some success with the round using duplex loads,( in a Stevens 44 action, which is fairly weak) I have used duplex in my Rigby before with mixed results so take that for what it is. You can get into trouble with duplex with the before mentioned rearward thrust so if you do not know how to make a duplex load, don't. Try some unique with it and see what type of accuracy you get,or trail boss, you never know. I don't think I need to say this but just in case, don't use jacketed bullets with any load in this gun. I, like Marlinman93, have never gotten the accuracy Ned Roberts did with the round but perhaps you can. If not then at least you can always go to a .32 ideal or .22 rim fire or have the barrel turned down and chambered into a 25-21. But I would try it out first. Use light bullets.

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Re: Black Powder Only?

Post by JimRowe » Tue Feb 22, 2011 9:43 am

It occurs to me that this gun being in that caliber that there is a good possibility it has been redone, and I was wondering if it has been re-casehardened? The only reason that I bring this up is that casehardening too much can make an action brittle. even with annealing first you can get the action to the point where it will distort or put stress on it and make it prone to cracking. That is the reason so many people case harden at lower temps than what the factory used. If that is the case then re-barreling to a rim-fire would not be a bad idea at all.

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Re: Black Powder Only?

Post by .22-5-40 » Wed Feb 23, 2011 10:42 pm

Hello, JimRowe. Yes the original .22 bore was re-bored /chambered to .25-25 many many years ago, professional job. Nice and tight action, mint bore. I have used light charges of smokeless in old single-shots & know how to be careful..I wonder if I should first find an accurate load with say FFFG Swiss, and chronograph it. Would this be of any help duplicating a safe smokeless load? I would want pressures to be near equal or less than this. I wonder if it is possible to find a corelation between velocities of these propellants? Thanks for reply. When I have gun in my possesion, I plan on posting pics.

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Re: Black Powder Only?

Post by marlinman93 » Thu Feb 24, 2011 10:08 am

I've got a couple Stevens in .25-25 and .25-21, but both are 44.5 frames, so I can't reccommend a load that I'd feel comfortable with in a cast Ballard action. I do know that both were somewhat finicky to get shooting accurately, and it wasn't until I found a mold for a 102-104 gr. cast bullet that I was able to get good accuracy, and even then it was a narrow group of powders and charges that gave good results. All are too much for your Ballard #3 action.
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Re: Black Powder Only?

Post by .22-5-40 » Sat Mar 05, 2011 1:11 am

Hello, everyone. Thank you JimRowe on your informative post. I spoke with Paul Shuttleworth of CPA Corp. He said the Ballard cast action was more like a cast steel, than the oft-quoted cast iron. Further, he said the cast Ballard action was stronger than the Stevens 44. I have seen some guys use some pretty stiff smokeless loads in a 44 at our schuetzen matches. I told him of my experiance with a Stevens Mod. 49 in 44 1/2 , chambered in .25-20 S.S. I am using 7.0gr. H4227 with a breech-seated 96gr. Barnet bullet. Accuracy is good & very mild load..In fact, 7.0gr. is charge I use in a .22 Hornet with cast. He said to forget black in that little case and work with the familiar 4227. I'll have to start low & as always...be careful of dbl. charge.
What is your opinion on this? Hate to think of B.P. fouling in that little bore..but at same time want to be safe. Thanks guys!

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Re: Black Powder Only?

Post by JimRowe » Wed Mar 09, 2011 11:59 pm

Sorry I just got back to the forum, I see you mentioned guys using "Stiff" loads in the 44 action, I would point out that many people get the 44 Stevens and 44 1/2 Stevens confused. Marlinman has 44 and a half actions if I read his post correctly. A MUCH stronger and better action than the old 44. I personally feel ( and I realize it may be the wrong place for this admission) that the 44 1/2 was the best, strongest American single shot. I personally think it is better than the high wall. I am sure Paul explained it to you but try some light loads, no sense using black in that small case, unless you have low blood pressure. Good luck with it and let us know what you find. Data is always useful.

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Re: Black Powder Only?

Post by .22-5-40 » Sat Mar 12, 2011 11:15 pm

Hello, JimRowe. I re-read your post, and realized I didn't answer your question on whether the action on the old Ballard had been re-cased? No, the case colors are faded to nearly silver..& it hasn't been re-cased. When you say you wouldn't use black in such a small case, does the fact that it is of a small head dia. mean reduced case-head thrust when using smokeless? I have a .25-20 S.S. on the Stevens 44 1/2 action in which I use 7.0gr. H4227 with a breech-seated Barnet soft-cast bullet. This is a very mild and accurate load. I have quite a bit of experiance with 4227, & perhaps I can start with low charges & work up to an accurate, safe load. I also have 4759 powder. I am not yet sure about IMR TrailBoss..this is bulky..but it's burn rate is way up there near Bullseye? Thanks again for all your help.

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Re: Black Powder Only?

Post by JimRowe » Wed Mar 16, 2011 11:44 am

Since you have experience with that powder I would recommend sticking with what you know, That being said the case of the 25-25 is much longer and you need to watch powder laying in the case and causing uneven pressure or duel pressure spike. ( Tap the case to the rear, bullet up schutzen style before you shoot.) The trail Boss has a silly name I know but it is bulky and will help fill the case. Load the case up to the base of the bullet and back off 10% and that is your max load, roughly, so you can back off 25% and start there. I wanted to pass along a caveat at this juncture, only you know the condition of your Ballard. I would feel fine shooting a cast Ballard in any caliber that Stevens loaded a 44 action in,(With the exception of 38-55) The 44 design is weaker than the cast Ballard. But remember there can be voids in casting. If you just don't get a warm and fuzzy about shooting it or are somewhat worried about it, don't shoot it! You won't have fun no matter how many people tell you its alright and there are too many other guns out there to enjoy safely! words of consolation mean nothing if your blind or dead. So While I can sit by my computer and say *beep* Yeah I'd shoot it, You are the one actually doing it. If you don't feel like trying it, then sell it and get another. Re-barreling is too much money when there are so may out there in .22 already for 1000 to 1400 in great shape. This economy at least makes the older stuff a bit more affordable. Hope that helps.

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