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Very Hot Topic (More than 25 Replies) Ball & Williams Ballard sporting rifle .44 rimfire (Read 15626 times)
Reverend Al
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Ball & Williams Ballard sporting rifle .44 rimfire
Jul 24th, 2018 at 5:19pm
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I've been scratching my single shot rifle itch lately and I just received my latest purchase in today's mail.  Couldn't be happier.  It's a Ball & Williams mfg Ballard octagon sporting rifle in .44 rimfire / percussion with the dual ignition system.  Good condition overall with a good shootable bore.  Very light pitting in the grooves, but shouldn't hurt accuracy with my old eyes and open sights.  Came supplied with a lathe turned brass adaptor cartridge to use the percussion nipple for ignition and I will likely duplicate it and make some more to use in it.  He was also kind enough (?) to include 100 rounds of PPU .303 Savage brass that has been converted into .44 Ballard XL cases ... so now I guess I need to try and find myself a Ballard in .44 Ballard XL!
Anyway, here are some photos for your viewing enjoyment ...

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powderman
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Re: Ball & Williams Ballard sporting rifle .44 rimfire
Reply #1 - Jul 24th, 2018 at 10:58pm
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Looks like your setting yourself for some fun. Thanks for posting.

Regards,
Powderman
  
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marlinguy
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Re: Ball & Williams Ballard sporting rifle .44 rimfire
Reply #2 - Jul 24th, 2018 at 11:04pm
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Looks like a well cared for, solid Ball & Williams!
  

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Reverend Al
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Re: Ball & Williams Ballard sporting rifle .44 rimfire
Reply #3 - Jul 25th, 2018 at 12:04am
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Yes, I was more than happy when it arrived as it was much nicer than described by the seller.  The fact that it's the rimfire / percussion dual ignition makes it practical to shoot a bit using the chamber adaptor and a percussion cap.  I'm assuming that the nipple uses one of the larger "top hat" musket caps?  It looks way too big to fit a standard No. 11 percussion cap.  I will likely make up a few more adaptors similar to the one that was supplied with the rifle.
  

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marlinguy
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Re: Ball & Williams Ballard sporting rifle .44 rimfire
Reply #4 - Jul 25th, 2018 at 10:56am
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Dixie Gun Works sells those .44 caliber adapters already made up, and fitted for .22 blanks.
  

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Reverend Al
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Re: Ball & Williams Ballard sporting rifle .44 rimfire
Reply #5 - Jul 25th, 2018 at 2:55pm
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Yes, I've seen those ... so that is an option too.  (And it looks like they will ship them to Canada as well, and that can be a big issue with some reloading related components crossing the border these days.)  For some reason the large "top hat" musket caps are often very tough to find up here in my neck of the woods, but the .22 rimfire acorn blanks are very common.  (I'm sure that I still have some in a drawer somewhere with a single shot .22 blank gun that we used for bird dog training when we had our German Shorhaired Pointer.)
  

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Re: Ball & Williams Ballard sporting rifle .44 rimfire
Reply #6 - Jul 25th, 2018 at 4:17pm
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That's a really nice looking old Ballard. Congratulations  on finding it and bringing it back home to shoot. I'm doing the same with my .44 rimfire Rolling Block. I'll be using the Dixie cases and a round ball (not sure of the size yet) over black powder. Have fun with it!
  
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oneatatime
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Re: Ball & Williams Ballard sporting rifle .44 rimfire
Reply #7 - Jul 25th, 2018 at 5:25pm
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Having never seen one of those apart could someone tell me if the nipple is screwed into the 2 halves? Seems like if it is and since it all lines up with the center of the case that a clever machinist could make a nipple replacement that incorporated a firing pin somehow. Comments?
  
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Redsetter
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Re: Ball & Williams Ballard sporting rifle .44 rimfire
Reply #8 - Jul 25th, 2018 at 5:29pm
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oneatatime wrote on Jul 25th, 2018 at 5:25pm:
Having never seen one of those apart could someone tell me if the nipple is screwed into the 2 halves? Seems like if it is and since it all lines up with the center of the case that a clever machinist could make a nipple replacement that incorporated a firing pin somehow.


Yes--I've seen it done on two of them.   
  
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marlinguy
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Re: Ball & Williams Ballard sporting rifle .44 rimfire
Reply #9 - Jul 26th, 2018 at 2:53pm
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Chauncey, the Civil War reenactors do exactly what you mentioned to use old pre-Marlin Ballards in their reenactments. Not sure of the entire process, but whatever they do does permanently change the guns, and isn't just screwed into the old nipple position.
  

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Reverend Al
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Re: Ball & Williams Ballard sporting rifle .44 rimfire
Reply #10 - Aug 15th, 2018 at 3:09pm
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Well, I just received my Old West brass mould that I'll use to cast a heeled .44 rimfire bullet for this Ballard.  The Ballard slugs at .440" groove and the bullets from this mould are .440" on the driving bands and .418" to seat in the case mouth so it should be a good match.  I'll make up some more adaptor cartridges so that I have more than one to work with and then I will get this old girl up to the range and shooting again!

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Re: Ball & Williams Ballard sporting rifle .44 rimfire
Reply #11 - Aug 18th, 2018 at 3:33pm
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Thanks a lot for posting your bullet mould info, just what I needed to know for my .44 rf rolling block. I'll be ordering one as well. Now, to find .22 blanks....
  
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Reverend Al
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Re: Ball & Williams Ballard sporting rifle .44 rimfire
Reply #12 - Aug 18th, 2018 at 4:01pm
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Try any sporting goods store that stocks dog training supplies (for .22 blank pistols) or a sporting goods store that stocks accessories for field sports (.22 blank pistols for starting races).  They're usually not too tough to find.
  

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Re: Ball & Williams Ballard sporting rifle .44 rimfire
Reply #13 - Aug 25th, 2018 at 8:15pm
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Al,
I've been considering one one of these for for quite a while, Merwin and Bray - Ball and Williams - pushed the button last week and it came in last night.  Mine isn't quite as nice as what you have - needs a little TLC and a couple of pieces made for it the trigger is broke off where it just begins to thin up, nipple is replaced with a plug, and the rear sight is missing but it's a simple project compared to a few of my others.   
I haven't had a lot of time to check it close but it looks to be around a .440 groove diameter (had to bump up a round ball to slug it ) not as good a reading as I like.  Mine is a 5 groove, left hand twist, close to 1:28" with wide lands and narrow grooves, is this close to what yours is?  I'll do chamber cast and double check bore diameter before making a mold... 

Have you shot yours yet, been awaiting a report.   Wink
Thanks for the nudge...
Regards,
Greg
  

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marlinguy
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Re: Ball & Williams Ballard sporting rifle .44 rimfire
Reply #14 - Aug 26th, 2018 at 10:19am
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Greg,
Is yours a nickeled receiver, or just old case colors turning nickel looking?
  

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