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Hot Topic (More than 30 Replies) Black powder and the cheap ass (Read 5369 times)
Flintlock
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Re: Black powder and the cheap ass
Reply #15 - Oct 6th, 2016 at 12:52pm
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The Swiss make the best black powder and they use Alderwood charcoal as their base . It seems it has a higher creosote content , thus makes the fowling softer and easier to remove . its burning rate is 20% faster than Goex so less is needed for the same velocity. It is what used to be called rifle powder in the old days  Goex etc are more like old time musket powders . There were many different powders including one with a charcoal made from straw .
Bishops Pee was esteemed in making powder , probably because they had a better quality of alcohol than the peasants ale Grin
  

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Re: Black powder and the cheap ass
Reply #16 - Oct 6th, 2016 at 1:41pm
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Safety first is the major concern with the boys up here and while some had no concerns, others did, so the vote went - no homemade. I didn't have any problem with it - hell, one of the first lots I made put me in hospital for 4 months - and that was a little over fifty years ago.
I also made most of my BP shooters back yonder - either cobbled together from existing bits or from scratch and the BP boys had no problem with them.
Interestingly - as a young fellow I'd buy my BP from the Sports Depot in Wellington for my cartridge shooters and it would come loose in a brown paper bag. Can't remember when I first got it in a can, but it must have been after 1967 because I still have that Curtiss & Harvey can with the price tag $2.15.
Getting hold of powder was sometimes a problem - I don't think the modern replicas were around then, so you either parked your gun or made your own - and that's where I went.
I've never heard of 'crack willow' - I just cut sticks from a tree down by the lake where I live. Can't remember what I used in the early days - probably pine or cedar, because that's what I used in an old forge I got.
This topic is interesting for me because all I ever did was the same thing over and over and because it worked I never saw need to change. I saw that with the black powder crowd - I was shooting BP before most of them were born, but they knew a hell of a lot more than I did about how to get a gun shooting. If I could smack the 6" gong at 100 I was happy - more than a few of them could smack the 3" at 200.
I initially joined this forum to listen to talk about places I hunted 30, 40 years ago - access, animal numbers - stuff like that - and I'm glad I did - there's a lot more to this site than just that.


  
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SF90
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Re: Black powder and the cheap ass
Reply #17 - Oct 6th, 2016 at 1:59pm
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Good man 'Gonebush' - we need some more experimenters on here.
And 'Flintlock' - I know the Vicar down in Eastbourne who is friends with the Bishop of Wellington. I've got a feeling here I just might be able to get you some pee - be very interested in hearing how it goes.
I've never used Swiss - still got a few cans of powder I got a very long time ago.
  
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Re: Black powder and the cheap ass
Reply #18 - Jun 27th, 2017 at 4:00pm
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Spent the last 4 days making a batch of powder - about 350 grams.

Used the standard 75%KNO3; 15% Charcoal, 10% Sulphur formula and made my charcoal from Crack Willow as per Tasbay's suggestion.
I think it was a Crack Willow - certainly a willow of some sort.

Had done some homework and used the 'Double and Double' method for ball milling - which made me a little less nervous than ball milling all components at once.

Once done, I sieved the two lots together several times to combine it.

Took two and a half days to mill it as I ran the charcoal/KNO3 and sulphur/Charcoal lots through the mill for 3 hours in small batches - came out like flour and I'm still picking black out of my nose.
Could do other stuff while this was happening, but needed to be close to keep an eye on things.

I then dampened three 17 gram lots of the mixed ingredients very slightly with water and pressed a combined total of 51 gram, 61mm diameter pucks with a 10 ton jack in my press frame.
I separated that 51 gram puck into three parts using plastic milk bottle discs so I got 3.4mm thick pucks.

I dried the pucks overnight and yesterday and spent half of today granulating the powder with my son's heavy dumbell as a roller - the powder in a plastic bag on the concrete floor and running it through sieves.

At the end of the exercise I got about 35% 1F, 25% 2F and the rest fines.
Out of those 'fines' I expect a good percentage of 3F (when I find the bloody sieve), some 4F for pan priming and the rest meal - or dust, which I'll likely press with the next lot.

co*k-ups - I fractured half the pucks tapping them out of the die without slacking it off. These pucks were softer and easier to break and provided most of the dust.
The other half I slackened the die and removed them whole - and these pucks proved much harder, granulated better and gave less dust.

At the end of the day that was a lot of time and effort for a small amount of powder.

Performance wise an equal measure of Homemade and Goex weigh so close to the same it doesn't matter and both 'flash off' without any discernible difference.

Next test is down the range - when I get my car fixed and can actually get down there.

I like Tasbay's method of doing it, but as I only test down the range and use my guns for hunting I will put the effort into a compressed powder I can volumetrically measure - but I will need to smarten up my process.


  
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Micky Duck
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Re: Black powder and the cheap ass
Reply #19 - Jun 27th, 2017 at 7:48pm
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sounds like a great way to spend some time......one day I might just look into it...got to have spare $$$$$ to buy front stuffer to begin with.
  
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SF90
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Re: Black powder and the cheap ass
Reply #20 - Jun 27th, 2017 at 7:57pm
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Careful MD - it can get addictive  Smiley
  
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SF90
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Re: Black powder and the cheap ass
Reply #21 - Aug 19th, 2017 at 1:04pm
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Update to my above post .........

Made a new mould for my 1:48" twist snider. Bullet was .600" diameter and 1.100" long and cast out in soft lead at 811 grns.
I knew it was going to be heavy, but that 811 grns surprised me, so I hollow pointed some with a quarter inch drill by .800" deep which brought the weight down to 708 grns.
Loading ten Bertram cases with 65 grns of my home made 2F powder which I drop tubed then compressed 1/8" to allow room for lube cookies, wads etc, I seated five of the 811 grainers and crimped them. Then I did the same with the hollow pointed bullets and galloped off to the range.

My gun weighs six and three quarter pound and I had a feeling recoil would be brisk.
First off I fired the heavy solid from a standing offhand position.
I weigh 70 kgs and despite being firmly anchored, the recoil from that shot gave me a solid belt on my cheekbone and sent me back a step.
Next up I loaded the 708 grainer and achieved much the same result - so I went home and pulled the unfired bullets and drilled them through, opened the base and plugged them with manuka dowel.
Got the weight down to 500 grns, so back to the range with the same powder loading and managed to get seven out of ten bullets on a two by two foot square target.

I've turfed that mould, but the upside is my home made powder while a little less dense than Goex 2F (can only get 400 gms in a 1 lb tin) ignites easily with pistol primers, seems to have equivalent power and gives a softer, fluffier fouling which cleans out very easy with ballistol/water moosemilk.

I've since made another two kilos of powder - the process going much quicker and easier with a larger ball mill and better knowledge of what I'm doing.

  
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Re: Black powder and the cheap ass
Reply #22 - Aug 28th, 2017 at 1:10pm
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Observations .......

Went back to shooting the .600" round ball in the Snider to play some more with the powder.
Loading the case with 70grs homemade 2F powder (not drop tubed), a card wad, wax paper wad, grease cookie, another card wad, wax paper followed by the ball seated in a bed of the missus hand cream, then crimped, I achieved two 2" five shot groups at fifty yards.
Walking up to the target, I found both the cookies and felt wads had travelled almost all the way - only a meter or two short, which indicates they were either sticking to the ball or traveling close behind in its draft.
Looking at the fired cookies, they still had the card and wax paper stuck either side and while spread out to 19mm looked as though they'd lost no weight and if squashed back to diameter could be fired again.
Doubting any useful effect these cookies had on fouling control, I looked through the barrel and was utterly startled to find it still shiny through most of its length - just a few specks here and there with some soft, moist soot in the last few inches at the muzzle.

Going home, I filled a case with my 1F and found it held 96grs scooped powder.
Loading 90grs (not drop tubed) I followed with a card wad then a wax paper wad followed by the ball in its bed of cream.
Back to the range I got a ten shot 5" group with added recoil and cheek slap from that Snider stock. As the string progressed, the group opened up suggesting fouling build up - or possible flinch.
The sights are low on that gun and from the bench I have to scrunch down to line them up. Offhand it's a different story - they line up naturally.
This time the barrel was dirty and pushing a dry patch through was difficult and produced hard, flake fouling in the action bed.
I didn't clean between shooting strings.
It still cleaned up easily with moosemilk after a short soaking.

So - what do I think about all this ?

I have never liked the idea of inert fillers other than wads and cookies for lube control.
My grease cookie appeared to have done squat when inspected after firing and I didn't like that it had traveled so far. Yet - I can't deny the cleanliness of the barrel after firing those five shots with the 2F.
The 1F fouls badly but at the same time gave me four or five shots into 3" before spreading the group with the last five shots.
I like the idea of the 1F due to its bulk loading and the fact that is what I produce the most of - assuming I can get decent velocity using it.

My primary purpose in all this is to develop a hunting load where only one or two shots will be fired, so all the above is hardly significant - yet somehow I can't unwrap my head from it.

Might have to spring for a chronograph - and I wonder if a duplex load of 15 or 20grs 2 or 3F behind the 1F will help with a cleaner burn ?

And a new flat base mould - as I really do like hollow pointed bullets for hunting.



  
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Re: Black powder and the cheap ass
Reply #23 - Sep 12th, 2017 at 8:32pm
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Update to my 'update' and 'observations' for anyone who hasn't been bored to death.

Made a new front sight utilising a Parker Hale hooded sight that takes various inserts. I pinched this idea from the Britishmilitaria forum - just pinched it in much the same way I pinch my neighbour's smoking sawdust and grapes.
Made the barrel fitting from a threaded pipe fitting I bored to a tap fit over the barrel, then slotted it to straddle the original sight and filed in a dovetail to accept the sight.
This sits considerably higher than the original sight and brings the POI to just below centre at 50yds using the 200yd rear express sight.
With the 300yd leaf raised I am just above centre at 100yds, but grouping with the round ball was a little dismal at that range - around 8" with the following load.
85grs 1F 'homemade' BP drop tubed into case followed by a wax paper disc, then a 2.4mm Beeswax/Vaseline cookie followed by another wax disc.
The ball was laid in a bed of handcream and crimped.
This load shot five into 3" at 50yd and with the new raised sight was comfortable from the bench.
The barrel stayed moist to the muzzle (24" barrel) and after five shots a dry patch was easily pushed through leaving the barrel shiny.
Digging two fired balls from the dirt backstop I found the bases clean of lube, nor was there any imbedded marking from powder combustion or particles.
The ball casts at .602" and shows a bore riding section 5mm long with clean rifling and no sign of gas blowing past.
Surprising considering the pitting near the breach and mid-barrel.
With the shooting the barrel is developing some shine and the last 6" has come up relatively clean.

Another thing I have done is spin up new reloading components from brass in my lathe.
Previously I had been priming with an old shotgun priming and de-priming tool I had modified. While it worked, I was never truly happy I was seating the primers as well as I could be, so spinning up an offcut of brass 5/8" thick by 32mm diameter. I recessed one face 1/16" deep to locate the case rim, then I drilled through so a primer dropped in. The other face was left flat.
The second part to this is a plunger 32mm long by 16mm diameter. I spun the back of this about 3/8" diam by .200" long and this part locates in the top of my press plunger - centering it.
The front part I machined to a sliding fit in the offcut disc primer hole by 22mm long. The end of this plunger is concaved for the RWS primers.
Around the primer plunger is a spring so that when assembled and with the plunger base located in the press ram, the recessed disc wobbles above on the spring, the plunger face low enough within the hole to drop a primer in. I then sit the case in the recess and using the press ram and with a dowel in the case that contacts a thin hand held plate at the top - seat the new primer.
That's a shitty description but it works very well and is moderately quick and reliable.
I also use the disc on its own for de-priming with a pin I made.
I only work the front 1/16" of the case and I do this with a simple flaring tool (brass) and a crimping tool I made from a small iron pipe fitting that also work well.
I like to carry my hunting cartridges in my pockets, so crimping was necessary.

After every range session I de-prime the brass then anneal over a candle using the de-priming pin to spin the case over the flame until I feel the heat at the rim (count to twenty four or thirty) - then drop into water. Some days, and for reasons unknown - I count quicker.
Next is to wipe the soot off the neck, give them a quick scrub in the sink with my wife's toothbrush, then into vinegar while I deal with the rifle - then a rinse and pop them on the windowsill to dry. If I'm in a hurry I'll dry them inside and out with toilet paper.
These are expensive cases - I look after them.
I also wash my cleaning patches (wife's scented bar soap) and re-use them until they fall apart.

So - at the end of all this, all I wanted to say was the lube cookie worked well with only a wax paper disc separating the cookie from the powder.
I did consider using a 'hand cream' cookie and managed to make some by freezing it for a short time, but found it 'wet' through the wax paper - so discarded that idea.

Next session is to use plain mutton tallow for a cookie and see how that goes. I have some - my dad brought it home from Lever Bros. where he worked many years ago - maybe even forty years ago. That stuff has sat in my drawer wrapped in plastic for all that time and though it has yellowed some and has some dark spots on it still smells good enough to eat.
I will do that because I read some bloke who said he placed his tallow cookies directly on the powder with no apparent ill effects - even after his loads had sat in his truck in the Texas heat.

  
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Micky Duck
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Re: Black powder and the cheap ass
Reply #24 - Sep 12th, 2017 at 9:13pm
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ok so got it now..... you arent front stuffing at all,you filling a case and reloading...
so in theory same would go for shotgun case or indeed rifle case......look out trailboss sales there is a cheaper option out there. Grin Grin
  
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Re: Black powder and the cheap ass
Reply #25 - Sep 12th, 2017 at 11:51pm
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Yep, this particular chappie is a modern shooter in that it takes a self contained cartridge much as the latest thing on the shop shelf today does.
They're a fascinating gun in that the original Sniders, or Snider Enfield Rifle if you wish to be pedantic about it were conversions from the .577 Enfield rifled musket (muzzleloading) introduced 1853 in various patterns through to 1867 when the Snider action was used to convert the Enfield muzzleloader into a cartridge shooter.
Mine is a Mark 3 and was built as a sporting rifle about 1875.

In 1874 the Martini Henry 577/450 superseded the Snider, which in turn was replaced by the various .303's.

What makes the Snider so fascinating is that during all its short lived military life, the cartridges were loaded with an undersize Minie bullet designed for the muzzleloading rifle of which the British War Department had an awful lot of.
With a groove size of around .590" (mine .596") at the breech (tapered rifling) and a bullet that was a slip fit in the bore - about .575" - these things would mostly not shoot for shit. As someone once said - you couldn't hit a barn if you was inside it.

I've had a few of these things and I love them, but this is the only one I have now and while it's been parked for a while - it's now time for me to play with it.

And indeed - I could if I chose shoot modern powders out of it, it's quite a strong action - but I don't make modern powders, wouldn't have a clue how to go about it - but I do make black and that's what all this started out about - the Snider just being the vehicle in which to play and test it.

Sort of took over a bit - didn't it.

But that's what Snider's do - they're a bastard gun, once you've got one there's not a lot else in life matters.
Snider owners are a queer bunch (I think 'J' has one) and are capable of only talking about bullet diameter, form (minie or flat base), bullet weight, fast or slow twist, whether you shoot with a lube cookie (and what is it) or do you shoot with a dab of Udderly Smooth, hand cream or KY Jelly on the bullet nose and other shit like that.
I'm not one of them, I merely lurk the fringes like a gypsy dog picking up tasty morsels here and there (and the occasional woman's undergarments) - but I did get carried away and with the ensuing headrush felt I had something astonishingly interesting to say.
And if you haven't really got what that lot are like, even after all my explaining - I was shooting on the Deerstalkers Range a while back when I felt I sensed a hint of alcohol fumes drifting across from the Black Powder range next door.
Wrapping up I galloped over to get my fair share and had barely arrived when in my excitement I passed what can only be described as a 'black powder' fart - I'd been shooting black on the other range.
As discreet as that fart was and despite me moving rapidly to disown it, the gathering of hardcore BP men (and lone strange woman) recognised a possible kinship and fell into a slow jostling dance several steps behind, heads bobbing like flamingos in an effort to locate the source.
Like I said, blackpowder people are odd buggers, but I suppose when Judgement Day comes (not far off) and all the modern powder is shot up and us guys (me excluded) are throwing rocks, spears and shooting arrows - those queer buggers are going to have the last laugh.

And I think it is interesting - and because I think it is - so should everyone else.

I also shoot frontstuffers in cap and flint - and they're okay too, but yesterday, today and tomorrow is reserved for my Snider because I haven't finished playing with it yet.

And I'm not entirely sure Trailboss will be cheaper - a pound of homemade BP cost me between 3 and 4 bucks.
With stolen roof flashing for bullets, cheap powder and donkey's year old primers I probably didn't pay more than a half crown for - my shooting ain't never been so cheap.


« Last Edit: Sep 13th, 2017 at 11:31pm by SF90 »  
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Micky Duck
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Re: Black powder and the cheap ass
Reply #26 - Sep 13th, 2017 at 6:36pm
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cheap is good Grin Grin Grin
  
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Re: Black powder and the cheap ass
Reply #27 - Sep 13th, 2017 at 8:05pm
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Haven`t pulled my Snider down and shot it for a while now. Been too busy trying to get the 58 cal Mountain rifle to behave.
Had good luck shooting the Snider with 28Ga shotgun brass , just shortened and fire formed , sitting on a case full of home made corned Black powder and a .600 ball pressed down onto it. No lube or wadding . It shot 2-3 inch groups at 50mts. Surprising really and fun to shoot. Mine is a Cavalry carbine.
As the case rim is too small I just knock out the fired cases with a ram rod.
  
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Re: Black powder and the cheap ass
Reply #28 - Sep 13th, 2017 at 10:43pm
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Micky Duck wrote on Sep 13th, 2017 at 6:36pm:
cheap is good Grin Grin Grin


At my age and with some bad financial decisions behind me - 'cheap' is all that's left.
What you need mate - is a Snider.
You're far too happy a person and need bringing back to harsh reality - a Snider will do just that.

And Tasbay - you're the bugga that got me rolling on this.
Glad you did though, it's given me something to do and kept me in a good mood.
Missus is probably not so happy though - say's I remind her of a blinkered horse going hell for taffy to god knows where.
And she's taken her pot of hand cream back with some harsh words thrown in for good measure, so tomorrow I shall scrub the toilet with her toothbrush.

I did have a shorty for a while - just can't remember what it was. The others I had were long guns and I liked them too - made up all sorts of swaging dies to get those things going - didn't know or even think about balls back then. Shot some deer with them too - very satisfying.
What's the barrel like in yours - and do you get any leading ??
Reason I ask is I got bad leading shooting dry with this one, so that's why I'm playing with various lube cookies.
The guys over on the Britishmilitaria forum mostly don't like cookies so much, they dollop a big blob of Udderly Smooth (udder/body cream) on the nose of the bullet and say it cures their leading problems.
I don't want to do that so use the cookie in the hope a good amount of it squishes past the ball before it engraves in the rifling.
I don't know if that's happening, but I do know my leading problem has gone away.

And I'm glad you told me about the extraction difficulties with the shotgun brass - I had read it before but had forgotten. There's some Magtech 24Ga brass on TM I was saving up for, but I think I'll give it a miss now.
I've got quite a few Bertram cases here I got a while back plus some turned ones I kept from years ago, but I like to keep stocked up - you never know when this sort of stuff will get hard to get.

I don't know what weight of your corned powder you can cram in your cases, I loaded some 95gr loads today of my powder which I had to compress 3/16" to get a 5mm cookie and ball into the case.
Yours will probably be a quicker powder than mine.

One day I'll have this gun sorted and by the time that's done I'll be sick of the bloody thing and throw it back in the rack.
Then I'll play with something else until I'm sick of that too - and that's how it's mostly gone for much of my life - feast and famine.

I will make another mould for it though  - I make them out of a disc of aircraft aluminium I cut from a 3" bar I got.
I three jaw it in the lathe, face it, then drill to depth with a 1/4" drill. Following that I run a slot drill (milling cutter with 2 teeth) to depth that I profile on the grinder then bore out the bearing diameter to whatever size and length I want.
I then bolt on a handle and Lyman sprue plate and start casting. These bullets are straight sided, or very slightly tapered, no grease grooves and pretty much fall out the mould once the sprue is cut and I turn them upside down.
I've made a few like that for my other guns, but I paper patch those and they shoot as good as I want them to.
I also made a few that didn't work plus a couple of split ones with grooves that also didn't go so well. Lot of work in those buggers, I got to face plate them as my four jaw is buggered.
I got a formula here on this computer I borrowed from someone else that gives expansion and shrinkage factors and my moulds will usually cast to one thou plus or minus.

I saw you got a Mountain rifle - even looked it up to see what it was - take you on a ride these things - don't they.


  
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Re: Black powder and the cheap ass
Reply #29 - Sep 14th, 2017 at 9:00am
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SFf90, The Brass I use in the Snider is Magtec 28ga  not 24ga. The 24ga needs to be reshaped in a press but the case rims are wide enough to work in the Snider extractor. The 28ga on the other hand fits the Snider chamber and fire forms on first shooting, just need to knock out the fired brass with the Sniders cleaning rod.
The cases after firing a few times get a bit lose on holding the ball so I just dry patch them when pressing them in the case in a bench vice.
Haven`t had any leading issues that I have noticed and the barrel is pristine apart from one pit ..(cave) halfway down the barrel. Powder charge would be around 50gr FF so not pushing the ball hard, its an old gun , prefer it goes bang rather than Boom.
  
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