musket ball dilemma...!

Post Reply
User avatar
HolzHammer
Posts: 2243
Joined: Wed Jul 22, 2020 6:00 pm
Has thanked: 1556 times
Been thanked: 2736 times

Afternoon All,
The fist picture below shows only a handful of some 50 or 60 musket balls I dug over a large area over the weekend (in Herts). There was no rhyme or reason as to where they were - they were just everywhere! I would probably have unearthed even more but I started ignoring the very samey signal! I know the area and its always been the same I have only just started to wonder why....?
They are almost all rather "unfinished, often lop-sided and rough with lots of sprues and casting waste by the looks of it. I was wondering if anyone else had come across anything similar; with so many being having obviously not been "rounded" off.

I also found this amongst all the lead - a rather unusual Wellington memorial token I think... I guessed on unearthing and reading the names of the Spanish cities, it had something to do with the Peninsular War... (SORRY for lack of scale its the size of a 19thC Halfpenny size... 25mm)

Many thanks in advance for any theories!
All the B,
Alexander
Attachments
AVW_3432.jpeg
AVW_3437.jpeg
AVW_3427.jpeg
AVW_3425.jpeg
User avatar
shaggybfc
Posts: 2653
Joined: Sat Jul 18, 2020 8:46 pm
Location: Warwick
Has thanked: 2152 times
Been thanked: 2494 times

Has there been any evidence that there was a camp on the fields? My thinking would be; if they were all round (finished), then they could have been fired - practice, therefore spread out. As these are all either mis-casts or not finished, it suggests they were being made in the field, and as they are spread out, then the making was also spread out - so maybe a training camp?
Nice Wellington token :thumbsup:
Always carefully proof-read what you've typed to see if you've any words out.
Deus with 11" X35 and 9" HF coils. MI 6 pinpointer.
User avatar
HolzHammer
Posts: 2243
Joined: Wed Jul 22, 2020 6:00 pm
Has thanked: 1556 times
Been thanked: 2736 times

shaggybfc wrote: Mon Apr 19, 2021 1:46 pm Has there been any evidence that there was a camp on the fields? My thinking would be; if they were all round (finished), then they could have been fired - practice, therefore spread out. As these are all either mis-casts or not finished, it suggests they were being made in the field, and as they are spread out, then the making was also spread out - so maybe a training camp?
Nice Wellington token :thumbsup:
Hi shaggy ... some good points there thank you - food for thought... don't know about a camp I'll make some enquiries!
User avatar
Easylife
Posts: 9654
Joined: Sun Jul 19, 2020 2:47 am
Location: Valhalla
Has thanked: 9928 times
Been thanked: 8702 times

I expect that they were made on site and ploughing has spread them about the field. The greater concentration should narrow down the spot and maybe there will be other related finds too. Perhaps a Civil war stopover?
D2 - 13"x11" coil - audio only.
User avatar
Bors
Posts: 849
Joined: Sat Jul 18, 2020 6:18 pm
Has thanked: 161 times
Been thanked: 516 times

Target Practice area :thumbsup:
Things aint cooking in my kitchen
User avatar
alloverover
Posts: 1837
Joined: Sat Jul 18, 2020 3:02 pm
Has thanked: 1512 times
Been thanked: 2294 times

Should be a lot of lead waste around as well if they were all cast on site ? Are they of military size do you think or smaller, mybe somebody gave all the crap ones to the kids to fire from their catapults at each other :D :thumbsup:
User avatar
HolzHammer
Posts: 2243
Joined: Wed Jul 22, 2020 6:00 pm
Has thanked: 1556 times
Been thanked: 2736 times

Easylife wrote: Mon Apr 19, 2021 3:18 pm I expect that they were made on site and ploughing has spread them about the field. The greater concentration should narrow down the spot and maybe there will be other related finds too. Perhaps a Civil war stopover?
these were found over 4/5 acres.. there is a bourne that runs down the side of the field it has very steep banks with woodland each side of it( see a video I ma putting out later) and I have found as many musket balls in the higher field the other side of it!!! that's about 150 metres away!they are covering a hell of an area...
User avatar
HolzHammer
Posts: 2243
Joined: Wed Jul 22, 2020 6:00 pm
Has thanked: 1556 times
Been thanked: 2736 times

Bors wrote: Mon Apr 19, 2021 7:48 pm Target Practice area :thumbsup:
Thats what I think - it may have suited a range - they are found on two bits of higher ground separated by a bourne and small valley now wooded... ( see my reply to easylife please!)
User avatar
Easylife
Posts: 9654
Joined: Sun Jul 19, 2020 2:47 am
Location: Valhalla
Has thanked: 9928 times
Been thanked: 8702 times

HolzHammer wrote: Tue Apr 20, 2021 4:13 pm these were found over 4/5 acres.. there is a bourne that runs down the side of the field it has very steep banks with woodland each side of it( see a video I ma putting out later) and I have found as many musket balls in the higher field the other side of it!!! that's about 150 metres away!they are covering a hell of an area...
Were the others unfinished and unused too?
D2 - 13"x11" coil - audio only.
User avatar
Easylife
Posts: 9654
Joined: Sun Jul 19, 2020 2:47 am
Location: Valhalla
Has thanked: 9928 times
Been thanked: 8702 times

I mentioned your musket ball conundrum to my wife. Her theory is that there were two different musket ball makers in competition. One shot the other and kicked his unfinished musket balls all around the field. I do apologise for her! :D
D2 - 13"x11" coil - audio only.
User avatar
HolzHammer
Posts: 2243
Joined: Wed Jul 22, 2020 6:00 pm
Has thanked: 1556 times
Been thanked: 2736 times

Easylife wrote: Tue Apr 20, 2021 7:55 pm I mentioned your musket ball conundrum to my wife. Her theory is that there were two different musket ball makers in competition. One shot the other and kicked his unfinished musket balls all around the field. I do apologise for her! :D
Ha! Best explanation so far!!!! Thanks Mrs Easy! Interestingly, a couple of slingshot specialists saw my YouTube video and both said they looked like the type of fairly modern stuff cast for using with catapults and the like....
User avatar
Bors
Posts: 849
Joined: Sat Jul 18, 2020 6:18 pm
Has thanked: 161 times
Been thanked: 516 times

Alex , the majority in the first picture you put up are called " Belted bullet " style.>> Belted bullets
" A spherical ball with a wide raised ‘belt’ around its circumference is a 19th-century type, used with a two-grooved rifle (Foard 2009, 12-13). There are good examples of belted bullets on the PAS database at DEV-9635B4 and DEV-961764."

Granted, quite a few are of irregular appearance some still having the casting "spurs" on them but yet they`d still be fireable. I think we tend to think on the lines of Modern bullet heads where the bullet heads are deigned to fit to go through the barrel with such close tolerances but those musket balls could be pretty much fired by any musket where the bore was big enough to take any smaller musket ball regardless of shape as long as it was undersize enough to travel down the barrel because the Barrels were not rifled as modern day barrels of military personnel use and the wadding pushed down after would stop them from rolling out when lowering the barrel .
.I suppose it depends how desperate you was for the correct size musket balls , and if you were short of them I guess anything was better than nothing to fire as long as it would go down the bore. So the fact a lot are misshapen didn`t mean much as far as firing them because the muskets weren't that accurate as compared to modern day rifles . So the fact all nearly are not perfectly round wouldn`t have been an issue as far as going down the barrels concerned . I admit to find such a mass of misshapen ones isn`t common in one area , but I guess we`l never know why they are found in that area or why the majority are irregular . One of life's many mysteries it seems :D .
Things aint cooking in my kitchen
User avatar
HolzHammer
Posts: 2243
Joined: Wed Jul 22, 2020 6:00 pm
Has thanked: 1556 times
Been thanked: 2736 times

Bors wrote: Thu Apr 22, 2021 9:27 am Alex , the majority in the first picture you put up are called " Belted bullet " style.>> Belted bullets
" A spherical ball with a wide raised ‘belt’ around its circumference is a 19th-century type, used with a two-grooved rifle (Foard 2009, 12-13). There are good examples of belted bullets on the PAS database at DEV-9635B4 and DEV-961764."

Granted, quite a few are of irregular appearance some still having the casting "spurs" on them but yet they`d still be fireable. I think we tend to think on the lines of Modern bullet heads where the bullet heads are deigned to fit to go through the barrel with such close tolerances but those musket balls could be pretty much fired by any musket where the bore was big enough to take any smaller musket ball regardless of shape as long as it was undersize enough to travel down the barrel because the Barrels were not rifled as modern day barrels of military personnel use and the wadding pushed down after would stop them from rolling out when lowering the barrel .
.I suppose it depends how desperate you was for the correct size musket balls , and if you were short of them I guess anything was better than nothing to fire as long as it would go down the bore. So the fact a lot are misshapen didn`t mean much as far as firing them because the muskets weren't that accurate as compared to modern day rifles . So the fact all nearly are not perfectly round wouldn`t have been an issue as far as going down the barrels concerned . I admit to find such a mass of misshapen ones isn`t common in one area , but I guess we`l never know why they are found in that area or why the majority are irregular . One of life's many mysteries it seems :D .
Thanks Bors, and sorry not to have got back sooner - extremely interesting and informative. Hope all well and thanks again.
Post Reply