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Author Topic: Ball boards and speed loaders  (Read 237 times)

Online Rob DiStefano

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Ball boards and speed loaders
« on: February 16, 2021, 07:25:39 AM »
With a new-to-me .50 flinter on the way, time to make up some ball boards in shooting anticipation whilst whiling away the doldrums of a freezing, snowy winter.

Cut up some 1/2" x 2-1/2" oak to 6-1/2" lengths, layout the tick marks for the ball holes.
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Drill press does the hole making deed.
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Ready for sanding.
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Belt sander takes care of smoothing out the flats and rounding off the edges.
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Ready for some wipe-on polyU to seal the grain.
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All done.  Made a pair - top one with the red .015" pillow ticking (9/16" ball holes) and t'other with .010" linen (1/2" ball holes).
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A hunting speed loader!

I've made these in the past and gave or sold them all off, but couldn't find images, so .... I cobbled one together in the rough.

This is a chunk of soft pine I had laying around that's 3/4" x 3" x 5".  On the 3" side I drilled three 7/16" holes about 2-1/2" deep.  Each hole will easily hold 80+ grains of black powder plus room for the cork stopper.  Drill deeper for more robust powder charging.  Below those powder charge holes I drilled three 1/2" holes (for .490" patched balls).  Then at about 3-1/4" down I stepped down 1/4" where the ball holes are located.  This gives me about 1/2" thickness for the patched balls.  Tidied it all up a bit on the sanding machine and rounded off the corners with a 100 grit emery board.  What it needs is fine sanding, staining and some clear coats.  I have the corks on order, too.  Each cork is pierced lengthwise and a piece of synthetic sinew is knotted in and attached to the board, so that corks can be pulled off and powder dumped without the cork getting lost.  A lanyard is attached near the top of the loader for around the hunter's neck or attached to the shooting bag.  In this manner, the powder holes are on top and the ball weights are at the bottom.  It should be finished by next week, whenever the corks arrive.

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Online goingoldskool

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Re: Ball boards and speed loaders
« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2021, 10:06:55 PM »
That looks pretty handy!  I like it.

Offline stikshooter

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Re: Ball boards and speed loaders
« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2021, 09:12:36 PM »
With a new-to-me .50 flinter on the way, time to make up some ball boards in shooting anticipation whilst whiling away the doldrums of a freezing, snowy winter.

Cut up some 1/2" x 2-1/2" oak to 6-1/2" lengths, layout the tick marks for the ball holes.
 [ Invalid Attachment ]

Drill press does the hole making deed.
 [ Invalid Attachment ]

Ready for sanding.
 [ Invalid Attachment ]

Belt sander takes care of smoothing out the flats and rounding off the edges.
 [ Invalid Attachment ]

Ready for some wipe-on polyU to seal the grain.
 [ Invalid Attachment ]

All done.  Made a pair - top one with the red .015" pillow ticking (9/16" ball holes) and t'other with .010" linen (1/2" ball holes).
 [ Invalid Attachment ]

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

A hunting speed loader!

I've made these in the past and gave or sold them all off, but couldn't find images, so .... I cobbled one together in the rough.

This is a chunk of soft pine I had laying around that's 3/4" x 3" x 5".  On the 3" side I drilled three 7/16" holes about 2-1/2" deep.  Each hole will easily hold 80+ grains of black powder plus room for the cork stopper.  Drill deeper for more robust powder charging.  Below those powder charge holes I drilled three 1/2" holes (for .490" patched balls).  Then at about 3-1/4" down I stepped down 1/4" where the ball holes are located.  This gives me about 1/2" thickness for the patched balls.  Tidied it all up a bit on the sanding machine and rounded off the corners with a 100 grit emery board.  What it needs is fine sanding, staining and some clear coats.  I have the corks on order, too.  Each cork is pierced lengthwise and a piece of synthetic sinew is knotted in and attached to the board, so that corks can be pulled off and powder dumped without the cork getting lost.  A lanyard is attached near the top of the loader for around the hunter's neck or attached to the shooting bag.  In this manner, the powder holes are on top and the ball weights are at the bottom.  It should be finished by next week, whenever the corks arrive.

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That looks workable even for me ,thanks winter is still here and I need a project /Ed

Offline vtmtnman

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Re: Ball boards and speed loaders
« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2021, 08:44:45 AM »
Nice work Rob.

If you've made .54  boards before,can you recommend what drill size works best?

Online Rob DiStefano

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Re: Ball boards and speed loaders
« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2021, 10:03:28 AM »
Corks arrived this morning, all done.

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Online Rob DiStefano

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Re: Ball boards and speed loaders
« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2021, 10:06:44 AM »
Nice work Rob.

If you've made .54  boards before,can you recommend what drill size works best?

That's a tricky diameter (.530" balls) and I found that a 35/64" bit worked best with .015" patching.  Ball board holes can be reamed open if needed.
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Online Rob DiStefano

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Re: Ball boards and speed loaders
« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2021, 11:57:47 AM »
I've been making and using these speed loaders for decades. They load easy with .50 and up (wouldn't go less in bore for pig, deer, etc), but I might use a small copper or brass funnel, that's always attached to my shooting bag strap, for smaller calibers. Not at all large or bulky - 3/4" thick at the powder side and 1/2" thick at the ball end, 3" wide and 4-1/4" long.

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Online bldtrailer

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Re: Ball boards and speed loaders
« Reply #7 on: February 19, 2021, 07:15:37 PM »
 I like yours but Lowell took it 1 step farther  Look this up  http://www.lowellhaarer.com/image-39/DSCN1322-b.JPG

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« Last Edit: February 19, 2021, 07:17:21 PM by bldtrailer »

Online Rob DiStefano

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Re: Ball boards and speed loaders
« Reply #8 on: February 19, 2021, 07:25:02 PM »
Good stuff, Tom!  :thumbs:

Ball boards are fun and for me they're necessary at matches. 

But I think speed loaders might be a tad faster.
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Online goingoldskool

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Re: Ball boards and speed loaders
« Reply #9 on: February 19, 2021, 09:34:27 PM »
Rob, do you have any trouble dumping powder out of the middle cavity?  I would be afraid I'd spill quite a bit from that one....

Online Rob DiStefano

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Re: Ball boards and speed loaders
« Reply #10 on: February 20, 2021, 05:55:13 AM »
Rob, do you have any trouble dumping powder out of the middle cavity?  I would be afraid I'd spill quite a bit from that one....

Since the loader's powder holes are 7/16" in diameter, for .50 and up, no problem.  Just tilt the loader sideways and pour down the tube.  With smaller tubes, one can use a small brass or copper funnel ... IF need be.  Since you get to decide the powder holes drilled in the speed loader, a smaller diameter can be used as well.
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Online Rob DiStefano

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Re: Ball boards and speed loaders
« Reply #11 on: February 23, 2021, 07:28:25 AM »
One for a .62 smoothbore.

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Online doc nock

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Re: Ball boards and speed loaders
« Reply #12 on: February 23, 2021, 10:44:02 AM »
Beautisuckle, as one friend used to say.

Did or do I recall that you also planned on pushing a hole thru the corks and inserting, then knotting fake sinew and affixing to those attachment points in back so you don't lose the corks?