Musket ball with hole?

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Saffron
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Yesterday I found what I thought was a musket ball, but it had a hole right through it. Another club member also found some the same.

I have seen people claim they were used to scoop dung up. This meant that if the musket wound didn't kill you then the wound would get infected from the dung (Chemical Poisoining) & finish you off!. But I have never seen this in what I would call reliable sources.

But I did wonder if it might be some kind of net weight (it was found about a mile from the nearest arge rive, although there was a very small pool nearby (to small for a carp pool)).

The "musket ball" is about 16mm dia. and the the whole about 4mm.

Thoughts appreciated.

Evan
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Blackadder43
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As a nipper i also used lead weights such as these with holes straight through for "ledgering" style of fishing
Although yours has an older look about it and may well have been a net weight of sorts

Love your once read theory of the dung method
I also read that if being shot itself didnt kill you, then the lead poisoning would end up getting you
Infections back then were killers
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Saffron
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Blackadder43 wrote: Fri Nov 19, 2021 1:37 pm As a nipper i also used lead weights such as these with holes straight through for "ledgering" style of fishing
Although yours has an older look about it and may well have been a net weight of sorts

Love your once read theory of the dung method
I also read that if being shot itself didnt kill you, then the lead poisoning would end up getting you
Infections back then were killers
I know exactly what you mean by the lead weights for ledgering, I used them myself. This gives the feel of being older, I also think the hole is a bit large for that.

It does not have enough weight IMHO to be a normal net-weight, as in the type to hold a net down. However, I have seen somebody say on a American site that they are "cast-net" sinkers. These are spherical lead balls, with a hole through the centre. They are put on cord around the edge of these radial nets (the kind you cast by holding the edge in both hands and your mouth, whirling your body through a half circle and suddenly releasing it, to give it some spin so it will spread out). The holes are for the circumferential cord to go through. Was this done in the UK.

Might be worth me checking exactly where the other club member found his. If fairly close to where I got mine it might suggest a net having been lost.

As for the dung and lead poisoning getting hit by a musket ball certainly was a very bad idea.

Evan
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I have two of those - mine seem to be repurposed musket balls as they are identical except for the hole. They always surprise me amongst the hundreds of musket balls I find on the same site. Both found near ponds on the fields so assuming fishing related.
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figgis
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Aren't some nets lightly weighted so that when a rabbit comes bolting out of a hole it gets wrapped up in it?
Blackadder43 wrote: Fri Nov 19, 2021 1:37 pm I also read that if being shot itself didnt kill you, then the lead poisoning would end up getting you
Infections back then were killers
Then you've got maybe a little bit of cloth from your clothing which gets pushed into the wound, doesn't get spotted and leads to sepsis. Plus the fact that the surgeons' tools were probably alive with bacteria... It's no wonder people died from the most seemingly innocuous of wounds.
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Saffron wrote: Fri Nov 19, 2021 1:58 pm I know exactly what you mean by the lead weights for ledgering, I used them myself. This gives the feel of being older, I also think the hole is a bit large for that.


Evan
I would guess older fishing weight. I would expect the hole to be somewhat larger as before the invention of monofilament, line would have been of a larger diameter as well...

Regards

Peter
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Another theory on holes in musket shot
Some musket shot have a hole but not all the way, this may have been caused by a "worm" (old term for screw) if the gun did not discharge the shot had to be removed with a screw type "worm" end on a rod for muzzle loaded guns, it would screw into the soft lead ball allowing for it to be removed, then the wadding and powder.

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I have also heard that sometimes they were holed so when fired they would 'whistle' whilst flying through the air thus scaring they enemy. not sure how true this is but I heard it said to me years ago when I found a few holed musket balls amongst an area producing loads of them, mostly normal and some flattened on impact. :thumbsup:
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the-roman wrote: Fri Nov 19, 2021 4:51 pm I have also heard that sometimes they were holed so when fired they would 'whistle' whilst flying through the air thus scaring they enemy. not sure how true this is but I heard it said to me years ago when I found a few holed musket balls amongst an area producing loads of them, mostly normal and some flattened on impact. :thumbsup:
Can`t remember which programme, but the Romans also used whistling sling shot.
Cheers, :thumbsup:
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Saffron
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Steve_JT wrote: Fri Nov 19, 2021 4:39 pm Another theory on holes in musket shot
Some musket shot have a hole but not all the way, this may have been caused by a "worm" (old term for screw) if the gun did not discharge the shot had to be removed with a screw type "worm" end on a rod for muzzle loaded guns, it would screw into the soft lead ball allowing for it to be removed, then the wadding and powder.

Regards steve
That is correct, but as you say in the case where a "worm" was used the hole did not go all the way through, and was normally rougher.

In this case, and the ones the other club member found, the hole was neat and went right through.

the-roman wrote: Fri Nov 19, 2021 4:51 pm I have also heard that sometimes they were holed so when fired they would 'whistle' whilst flying through the air thus scaring they enemy. not sure how true this is but I heard it said to me years ago when I found a few holed musket balls amongst an area producing loads of them, mostly normal and some flattened on impact. :thumbsup:
I had never heard of this with musket balls. However, as Dave said the Romans certainly did this with sling shot. But it is interesting that you found yours among lots of other "normal" musket balls, suggesting they were used like the normal musket balls rather than for fishing.


On the whole (no pun intended) the thought seems to be more likely fishing, or net related rather than a very early chemical weapon discharged from a musket. I will find out where exactly the others were found and if I can find out anything about the very small pond the other side of the fence to where mine was found.

Any more comments welcome, especially if anybody has found any and if they were with "normal" musket balls, or near rivers / ponds.

Evan
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I'm sure that I have a fair few though whether right or wrong I just regard them as line weights as we will never know for sure.
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I get several of these popping up in Normandy. They are simply not anything to do with musket balls. There is something about them that just isn't right in terms of size, structure etc and the way the hole looks. Yes I have heard the stories of inducing sepsis etc etc but it doesn't really pass muster, especially in areas where there were no battles of that period. Most of the musket balls in my neck of the woods are, like in every neck of the woods, related to hunting.
I am lucky in that I am surrounded with fields that used to have houses on before the first quarter of the 19th century, and little to no activity since to muddy the waters. I find these holed lead balls/beads in the vicinity of these areas of old houses. The vast bulk of finds are 17th/18th century and a tad before (coins etc). So I tend to conclude that, if no evidence to the contrary, the artefacts that come up are default of that era as well. The area I live was very involved in the production of cloth, weaving and spinning etc. (The bloke who lived here in the 18th century was a maker of smocks/froc-coats) But all rural areas at that time would have been involved in this activity in some form or other. I find these holed thingummies in places i normally find thimbles. I conclude that some of them are tensioners for threads, probably loom-weights or similar. I find very little, if any, fishing related stuff on my permissions so I have dismissed that. What fishing there is locally is trout.
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