Ball and Williams Ballard

Ballards

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Roundsworth
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Ball and Williams Ballard

Post by Roundsworth » Wed Dec 18, 2013 3:30 pm

I just received a Ball and Williams Ballard Patent rifle today. It is a 38 RF with a clever CF modification. The barrel has a narrow sporting rear sight, held in place by a single screw, with no evidence of a dovetail, filled or otherwise, for an original rear sight. The bore has lots o' rifling and bluing, with nice octagonal flats and sharp edges. The receiver has faded to a nice brown (patina, not rust!) and the wood has a fairly fresh coat of varnish. The extractor mechanism is intact, tight, and functions smoothly. Overall, it appears to have been taken care of by someone who appreciated fine rifles. The gun does not have a bunch of fresh nicks and scratches that we see on a lot of antique firearms that have been neglected by subsequent generations! A 38 Special case chambers nicely. I have plans to use a pure lead HB bullet for my first hand loads. The 38 Special case will completely cover the lube grooves. If that doesn't produce satisfactory results, I will cut the brass down and try a heeled bullet. My first Ballard! Now my Stevens 044-1/2 has some company. Cheers!
GMC(SW), USN - Retired / 1978 - 2001
USS San Diego
USS Missouri
USS Boxer
NAS Whidbey Island

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marlinman93
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Re: Ball and Williams Ballard

Post by marlinman93 » Thu Dec 19, 2013 11:36 pm

Should be a great gun, and much like the .38 Long if it accepts a .38 Spl. case. A full load of black with a 140-160 gr. cast lead bullet should be fun. Or a reduced charge smokeless load for plinking is also great! I've got a few #2 Marlin Ballards in .38 Long, and love shooting them. Congratulations!
Marlin lever actions 1870's-WWI, Ballards, and single shot rifles!

Roundsworth
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Re: Ball and Williams Ballard

Post by Roundsworth » Fri Dec 20, 2013 9:20 am

Thanks! I found plenty of data for the 148 grain HB wadcutter and Unique, so I thought I would start there. I can always test the loads in my S&W Model 28 beforehand. Cheers!
GMC(SW), USN - Retired / 1978 - 2001
USS San Diego
USS Missouri
USS Boxer
NAS Whidbey Island

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marlinman93
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Re: Ball and Williams Ballard

Post by marlinman93 » Sun Dec 22, 2013 11:05 am

The short barrel (relative to the Ballard) might not tell you much in testing. Loads that shoot well in a 4"-8" barrel, might not shoot the same in the long Ballard barrel.
Marlin lever actions 1870's-WWI, Ballards, and single shot rifles!

Roundsworth
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Joined: Thu Sep 12, 2013 4:38 am
Location: Minnesota

Re: Ball and Williams Ballard

Post by Roundsworth » Sun Dec 22, 2013 1:25 pm

You are right! :oops: I was thinking more from a pressure standpoint. Without any equipment to measure pressure or velocity, I would go by close visual inspection. I always lean toward the mild side with my antiques. I don't hunt or compete with them, but use them for recreational shooting. This little Ballard is the oldest firearm I have ever owned. It appears to be in real nice condition, so I am comfortable with loads on the lower end. The HB pure lead 150 grain bullet will, hopefully, not be an exercise in futility. I like to try all different approaches. I have my eye out for a 38 Long OL mold, too! Cheers....
GMC(SW), USN - Retired / 1978 - 2001
USS San Diego
USS Missouri
USS Boxer
NAS Whidbey Island

Roundsworth
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Posts: 31
Joined: Thu Sep 12, 2013 4:38 am
Location: Minnesota

Re: Ball and Williams Ballard

Post by Roundsworth » Thu Jan 02, 2014 6:09 pm

I just received a real nice, post 1902, Ideal tool for the 38 Long OL. If I cast bullets for my Ballard, what ratio is recommended? My 1890 WRA Co. catalog shows pure lead for the OL bullets. I know that pure lead is standard for hollow based bullets, but is it necessary for OL bullets? Would liquid Alox be a good 'dip lube' for the OL bullets after loading the cartridges? I have been planning to start casting my own for the past few years, and will have to get with it if I want to shoot the Ballard! Cheers!
GMC(SW), USN - Retired / 1978 - 2001
USS San Diego
USS Missouri
USS Boxer
NAS Whidbey Island

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