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Mississippi Valley Archaeology Center

Ball and Shot

March 9, 2016

Ball and ShotPictured are examples of ball and shot from Second Fort Crawford. Those measuring at least 0.46 inches in diameter are considered “balls” (pistol, rifle, or musket balls), and those measuring 0.45 inches or less are considered shot. Perhaps the most frequently found on historic sites are the 69- and 54-caliber balls. Second Fort Crawford had 14 balls measuring 0.64-0.67 inches, which would fit in a 69-caliber weapon. The 69-caliber musket ball was standard on military-issued muskets such as the Model 1795 (manufactured 1795-1812), the Model 1812 (manufactured from 1813-1817), the Model 1816 (manufactured 1817-1844), and the Model 1840 (manufactured 1840-1848). Also found at Second Fort Crawford were two balls measuring 0.50 and 0.54 inches, most likely used on the 54-caliber rifles such as the U.S. rifle Model 1803, the U.S. rifle Model 1817, the Model 1819 (Hall breechloader), or possibly 54-caliber pistols. Fifty-four caliber balls could also be used for non-military guns. The 36 pieces of shot found at the fort ranged from 0.12 to 0.45 inches in diameter. Shot between 0.25 to 0.45 inches can be classified as either buck or swan shot, while the smaller shot (less than 0.25 inches) was most likely used on everything from geese and fox to gophers and songbirds.