Cat Sneeze / Gallery Loads

Discussion in 'Ammo & Reloading' started by greg_r, Jan 7, 2017.

  1. greg_r

    greg_r Well-Known Member

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    I posted in another thread about round ball loads I was working on for my LCRX-3. It generated a bit of interest, so I thought I would talk about them a bit.

    First, I will talk only in generalities. I will not give out any of the load data I am using. None of these loads are found in any of the modern loading manuals I have, or have seen. However, they can be found in older loading manuals. Today they are commonly called Cat Sneeze or Mouse Fart loads. The old vernacular was Gallery loads. They are round balls pushed at a low velocity by a small charge of fast burning pistol powder. Those of us who are old enough remember the shooting gallery's at the county fair will remember these loads. They are low velocity, 300 to 600 fps pure lead round ball loads intended for close range target shooting where noise is an issue.

    I load them in 45 Auto Rim, 45 Colt, and 45/70. A .457 pure lead round ball weighs 144 grains. I load these as is in the 45/70 or run them through a .452 sizer to load in the 45 AR or 45 Colt.
    A .451 round ball weighs 138 grains and can be loaded into the 45AR or 45 Colt as is. The .454 weighs 141 grains and can be loaded in either of the pistol rounds as is, or after running them through a .452 sizer.

    I have not had good accuracy out of the 45/70 with the .457 RB unless loaded to the slowest velocity that will assure the ball does not get stuck in the barrel. I believe the bearing surface is so small as to strip the rifling easily. Same with using the .451 ball in the Colt or Auto Rim cartridge. I use Lee equipment almost exclusively. Their sizing equipment is push through, so it is only possible to reduce the diameter of the ball. I have recently purchased a Lyman sizing die, along with a .459 die and top punch. I hope to be able to bump the .457 ball to .459 with this setup. I expect good things. My favorite loads with the Colt and Auto Rim is to use the .454 ball as is. I get very good accuracy with it.

    Recently I decided to develop a RB load for my 38 Special. My only experience with round balls in the 38 was a multiple ball load for social work, not something I could get interested in. I have loaded some 000 buckshot run through a .358 sizer. I have not gotten the accuracy I wanted. I intend to load some up without sizing to see what I can get. The sizer only reduces the size of the buckshot by .002, so I think letting them size down in the barrel might do well, kind of like the .454 balls in the 45 Colt.

    What do I use these for?
    1, Garden gun. Sometimes rat shot is just not enough. Plus, the Cat Sneeze load is much quieter.
    2, Small game. They excell here. I liken then to a wrist rocket shooting marbles. Often I have collected a game animal and the ball has not even pierced the skin.
    3, Backyard plinking. I have found that a bullet trap designed for 22 rimfires actually works well as a backstop. And while the ball will penetrate a cedar fence board, a soft target will stop them. I use a piece of old carpet hung behind my target. The carpet will give enough to stop the ball and drop it into a troth I have set below it.

    Some parting thoughts:
    1, Always use pure lead, and coat it with Liquid Alox. Lead is slippery in itself, and the Liquid Alox makes it even more slippery. It will keep from leading your barrel and help to make sure the bullet exits the barrel. If I am sizing balls, I lubricate with a spray of furniture polish. After pushing the ball through the sizing die, I tumble in Lee Liquid Alox and let dry overnight.
    2, It is suggested that these loads be run through hand guns. The velocities are low enough that the ball could become lodged in a rifles barrel. When testing loads make sure the ball just fired has exited the barrel before touching off the next round.
    3, be aware of what's behind your target. While the range is greatly reduced over standard loads, the lead ball can and will bounce around until it runs out of steam.

    And I feel that a DISCLAMER is in order. Do not do this. There have been no loads like this published for many years. Only use modern data found in modern loading manuals published by reliable sources.
     
  2. Tommycourt

    Tommycourt Tommycourt

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    Greg,

    I am confused but I usually am. The part I don't understand is that basically you are building a firing pin pistol that has the same capabilities of a black powder pistol only using modern gun powder. What is your goal? Why would someone want to shoot a black powder pistol when one has a center fired cartridge and what advantage is there to that? Please un-confuse me. The gallery loads we used to shoot were .22 cal shorts.

    Tommy
     

  3. phideaux

    phideaux Well-Known Member Lifetime Supporter

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    Greg,

    You may want to try powder coating some of those balls , then resizing to what size you want. The coating usually adds .002 to .003" to the dia.

    You can load the coated boolits about any way you desire,
    Eliminates any bore fouling, and no need for any lube.

    Been loading everything from 9mm to 45-70, 460 mag, for quite a while,

    Will never run a lead or jacketed bullet thru any bore again, if I can coat it.

    powder coat.jpg

    Jim
     
  4. greg_r

    greg_r Well-Known Member

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    I don't understand the firing pin pistol unless you are comparing it to a nipple on a BP revolver???

    First is reduction in sound signature. I can shoot it in my 25 foot basement range without disturbing those upstairs. I know, there are wax bullets and primer fired plastic bullets, but those shoot high, RB will shoot closer to point of impact for a standard round. Also can be an advantage in the garden or on the hunt. These are not much louder than some CO2 air guns.

    Second, I can shoot cheap, less than the cost of 22.

    They are specialty rounds, I understand that. Generally they are not as powerful as the black powder pistols, certainly the .36 Navy and .44 Army are more powerful.

    The gallery rounds we shot at the county fairs were 22 CB's, which is what I was using to compare. But gallery loads have been made in many calibers.

    Here is a couple I have made in 223, but they are using a conical instead of a round ball. These are about 900 fps though.
     

    Attached Files:

  5. greg_r

    greg_r Well-Known Member

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    I would be afraid to powder coat them. Afraid they would stick in the barrel. I don't know how much harder the powder coat makes them but I want them dead soft.

    I started powder coating this past summer. Bought a HF vibratory tumbler to use for coating the bullets. An el cheapo B&D toaster oven and a couple of aluminum mesh thing-a-ma-giggies from the dollar store to form into baskets to cook my bullets in. Inspired by a post you made a while back and FortuneCookie45! :)
     
  6. phideaux

    phideaux Well-Known Member Lifetime Supporter

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    I understand what your saying, but the coated bullets slide much easier than raw lead bullets,

    I have tested this by actually hand pushing a coated bullet (sized) thru the rifling and they slide easy.
    I would think the hardness would eliminate the stripping of the ball in the grooves.

    They actually increase the velocity .

    So you may have to even play with a lower powder charge to achieve the slower velocities your seeking.

    Just thinking out loud here, I have never experimented with cat sneeze loads.




    Jim
     
  7. Tommycourt

    Tommycourt Tommycourt

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    Now I finally understand what you are doing. Thank you for clearing that up. I have never seen or heard of those bullets out her in the land of the sun. It does look like fun though especially if you have a place to shoot. Thanks again for clarifying.

    Tommy