Morse - Ballard comparison


#1

Below on the left is a 48 Morse stepbase next to a 44 Ballard percussion. My understanding is that we really have no reliable understanding of the origin of the Ballard percussion cartridge or how the Ballard name came to be associated with the cartridge. What is interesting to me is the similarity of the very wide belt on the bullets of each. Both are very securely seated so I don’t know if the Ballard bullet has a groove like the Morse but that is below the case mouth or if they share any other similarities. Does anyone else have an example of such a wide-belted bullet? Just one of those things that makes you go hmmmmmm.


#2

Rich
I am not an expert on bullets but to me they both look like they are healed bullets. what are the case mouth and bullet diameter dimensions?


#3

Rich, it is believed that the cartridge on the right was made for a Ballard breech-Loading rifle with Merwin & Bray’s 1863 patent dual ignition percussion system (rimfire/percussion). In case ammunition was exhausted an empty rim fire case could be modified by punching a hole in the center of the base, loaded with powder and ball, and then ignited by means of a percussion cap. The one in the picture looks like the thin rim brass case variation and it is reported to be loaded with a heel type bullet.


#4

MRT: Morse case mouth is .518, the bullet is .513; Ballard case mouth is .451, the bullet is .446.

Fede: I couldn’t locate the text for the patent you cited, though I found a number of references to that same patent regarding Ballard rifles. I assume the patent was on the firearm rather than a cartridge. I did find reference to the “dual ignition system” being used on Ballard rifles of .22, .32, .38, .44, .46 and .52 caliber. I have never heard of a cartridge of this type in any caliber other than 44. Whether factory or handmade, what doesn’t make sense to me is that the case of the percussion cartridge is a full half inch longer than the rimfire case.

Thanks gents.

Rich