Buck & Ball

The Historical Load Goes Mainstream

Combining buckshot and a bore-sized ball in a single charge is a historical and very effective answer to improving the lethality of the smoothbore in combat. It was a common load during the Revolutionary War and was the standard musket load during the War of 1812. According to Dean Thomas’ 4-part opus, Round Ball to Rimfire—A History of Civil War Small Arms Ammunition, 69-, 71-, 72-, 73- and 75-caliber buck & ball loads were widely loaded and supplied to both sides of the struggle.

One unit, the 12th New Jersey Infantry, was so effective with their smoothbore .69 Springfield muskets so loaded, that they became known as the “Buck & Ball Regiment.” The typical 69-caliber, paper-wrapped musket cartridge of the day contained three buckshot over a single roundball and was not a load you wanted to be facing if within 200 yards of the shooter.

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