Hi all, glad to be here.
One day I hope to get a musket. The firearms I have owned are M14 auto, .45, and a 410 spanish double which I am sorry I sold for peanuts. It was engraved and really beautiful and I miss it for partridge. I've also owned a lee enfield 7.62, 3 shot dating to WW1 (really bad on the shoulder), and a slew of .22's over the past years.
Just mulling over some things in my mind. I was wondering if it was theoretically possible to substitute ball bearing for lead balls in a SB musket.?
I assume the issue would be primary heat expansion which would be dangerous has the barrel surface wouldn't allow for the size increase. Personally, I don't think it's that much of an issue.
I thought it may be possible if we were able to determine the max expansion. I assume .020 undersize without the cotton seal would lose some power, but not that much, the low mass cancelling out power loss. One could try ever increasing incremental sizes, but of course the last size would be the most dangerous, so .020 under would be the max tested.
Another experimental option is to make up for the sealing attribute of lead due to expansion by tinning the ball surface with solder. This resulting ball would I think be better symetrically for air resistance, but lacking the impact mass. The effective range would show a slight increase.
Another question is has anyone tried the dimpling aspects of shot to decrease air resistance and improve trajectory such has designed in golf balls. Sealing would be a problem I guess.