Most students of the Civil War are familiar with the term “buck & ball”—a load consisting of a single large ball and three buckshot fired from a .69 caliber smoothbore musket. Now it can be yours!
Well, sort of. An Italian ammunition company now makes a 12 gauge shotshell for home defense that sports a .65 caliber ball complete with six buckshot. Muzzle velocity is advertised at 1300 fps, which is probably pretty close to that of the black powder musket.
You can explain the fine points of it all to the dirtbag who’s breaking into your house as you jack a round into the chamber…as many soldiers on both sides found out, it’s a devastating load at close range. I don’t know exactly who developed this, but it goes back at least to the American Revolution.
UPDATE: Bill Adams emails: “A .69 is 14 gauge; a 12 gauge is .72 cal. Gauge is simply the number of round balls of that size/diameter that weighed a pound. .577 is 25 gauge or 25 bore; .58 is 24 bore.”
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