Firearm projectiles have come a long way since the very first gun was introduced in the 1300s. Traditionally, guns of the era used so-called ball and buck bullets. A soldier in the field is trained to fill a musket with gunpowder before loading the bullet inside the muzzle.
Today, buck bullets still exist in a different form. Typically employed in hunting, the buck and ball combination has a sporadic effect with an intended target. It is why the buck bullet is a favorite amongst hunters and woodsmen.
Buck Bullets making a Comeback!
Historically, the buck and ball were issued to frontline troops. It consists of a paper cartridge composed of buckshot, ball, and gunpowder. The paper cartridge would be torn open while the powder is poured inside the musket muzzle. The ball would follow suit which would act as a gas sealant for the buckshot. When it fires, the powder would ignite, the ball would propel the buckshot meters away to a shooter’s target.
The original intent of the buck and ball was to use the full potential of the .65 caliber ball with the sporadic firing effect of the shotgun. If you find this interesting, they still exist. You can choose such as the 7mm or the creedmoor which is applicable for your hunting purposes. It’s up to you to decide which of either choice packs an additional bang to the traditional .65 cal ball.
As we are discussing, the buck and ball have a tremendous effect upon hitting a target. The .65 ball could penetrate light layers of wood, fabric, and leather. There are some instances when a pellet round can penetrate through a sheet of metal. But it is only possible when shooting a metallic material at closer ranges. Take note that we are talking about gunpowder era weaponry, not modern guns that involve newer ballistic designs.
When the .65 ball is fired from a muzzle-loading musket, the shot spreads similar to a shotgun. It could be fatal at medium ranges, very lethal at close ranges, but highly ineffective at farther ranges. If you watch some American or European Civil War movies set in the gunpowder age, you will notice that even the musket is not that accurate at long fields of combat, but is quite effective at close distances.
Buck and Ball: Modernized
Ever since the military around the world has used smoothbore flintlock muskets, ballistics has continuously been developed and achieved milestones. Combined with new techniques of making metal alloys, discoveries in physics (esp. Gun physics) traditional weaponry extend its life to our times.
Let us now show you some other alternative rounds that are reminiscent of the buck and ball.
.718 inch Roundball + 3x (0000 Buckshot)
The new .718 inch roundball combined with three 0000 buckshots are hand loaded. The round is effective and lethal at a 15 feet range. When firing at that range, the impact of the rounds is nearly clustered with an approximation of 1.5 inches between round impact positions. If tested to a target at 25 feet and beyond, the shot spreads wide but differs per distance. You can still get a deadly shot between the 15-25 feet of range.
2.75 inch PDX1 12 Gauge (Winchester)
The Winchester developed buckshot is an excellent throwback and similar to modern shotgun shells in performance. If you use the Winchester 2.75 in. PDX1 12 Gauge buckshot, you can have a clustered shot at 15 feet of range. When shooting a target at 25 feet and beyond, only the three slugs will probably hit the target, while all the buckshots spread wide, missing the intended point.
Centurion 2.75 inch Multi-Defense Buckshot
A shotgun shell recommended for close quarters, the Centurion 2.75 inch is applicable for the defense of your territory, fending off predators, and hunting purposes. When fired and tested at a target 15 feet from the shooter, all the buckshots and slugs hit the center mass of the target. It ensures a clustered hit at this distance. The Centurion 2.75 in Multi-defense buckshot has the least recoil when firing at a target.
The traditional buck and ball rounds depend on a paper cartridge. The paper cartridge is torn to deliver the gunpowder for propulsion, while the ball acts as a gas sealant for the buckshot when the chamber lights up. All the buckshots are propelled out of the muzzle followed by the ball measuring 6.5 mm in diameter. It is a potentially fatal shot at close quarters. Today, the old buck and ball are making a return with modern hunting rifles and defensive shotguns.