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 Are all balls created equal???

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CoHiCntry
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CoHiCntry

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PostSubject: Are all balls created equal???   Are all balls created equal??? Empty2019-01-11, 08:35

So I’m entering the world of PRB’s after using conicals only for hunting. Are all balls basically the same?  Are there different material make up or other considerations to consider when buying balls?  Any information is appreciated as I really have no idea and basically no knowledge about round balls. Thanks...

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PostSubject: Re: Are all balls created equal???   Are all balls created equal??? Empty2019-01-11, 12:53

I'll be interested in the feedback on this, I use Hornady because they are easy to find, are frequently on sale and seem to perform well. Here is a 54 that I took out of this years deer compared to an unfired one.Are all balls created equal??? 20181011

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PostSubject: Re: Are all balls created equal???   Are all balls created equal??? Empty2019-01-12, 05:51

I am in the same boat as you CoHiCntry, Me being a “Dyed in the Wool” Bullet Guy This Roundball is ALL New to me. I just bought a New in the Box old school CVA .45 Cal Mountain Rifle, According to tracking info I should get the Rifle this Thursday the 17th

  I ran over to Buffalo Arms and picked up some supplies the other morning, Since i pour my own projectiles I decided to buy a .440 RB Mold, i went with an RCBS 2 Cavity. I also picked up 1 box of Hornady Swaged Roundballs for testing. I actually like the looks of my own Cast balls better, or at least every bit as good as the Store bought. I will soon find out if i can tell any difference in accuracy or not?

Are all balls created equal??? 5cdsshbm Are all balls created equal??? ZcVPeNPm Are all balls created equal??? Il3ziPAm
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CoHiCntry
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CoHiCntry

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PostSubject: Re: Are all balls created equal???   Are all balls created equal??? Empty2019-01-12, 06:23

Hey Idaholewis, good to see you found this forum. You’ve been a great help to me over on the other forum when I was switching from an inline to a sidelock shooting big conicals.  Now I’m taking the next step to real black powder and PRB.  Always enjoy reading your posts!  I’ll be interested to hear what your accuracy testing shows.

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PostSubject: Re: Are all balls created equal???   Are all balls created equal??? Empty2019-01-12, 07:20

Commercially manufactured round balls are not all the same.

i had always used Hornady made round balls. They fit my .50 and .54 caliber TC rifles very well. Then one day i bought some cheaper .50 caliber Traditions round balls at Academy. The things are too large. They also appear to be harder.
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PostSubject: Re: Are all balls created equal???   Are all balls created equal??? Empty2019-01-13, 03:29

While you might find some very small differences in diameter from different brands of balls, adjusting the patch material will pretty much always make up for the differences. Just stick to the purest lead you can find if making your own, or purchasing them. Some guys tend to want to mix some wheel weights into the mix, and I don't think this is really a good idea. I've shot a ton of .440's over the years, and have pretty much settled on .445's anymore, as I like a good snug fit. Have fun with your new endeavor...
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CoHiCntry
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PostSubject: Re: Are all balls created equal???   Are all balls created equal??? Empty2019-01-13, 07:56

Thanks for the replies!  So, what I'm gathering is there might be some differences in sizing or roundness from one manufacturer to the next but there's no difference in performance?  Especially as it pertains to big game hunting?  There aren't some balls that are meant for target practice, then others designed for hunting... correct?

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BigAl52
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PostSubject: Re: Are all balls created equal???   Are all balls created equal??? Empty2019-01-13, 08:11

Ive used Speer, Hornady and home cast. I dont cast anymore but I have bought home cast from guys I know who do a good job. Last time I hunted in Colo with muzzleloaders I used the Hornady balls. One thing about home cast you always want to make sure of the sprue location. With Hornady and Speer you dont have that issue. CoHi Country where are you at up in the high country?

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John Bergmann 50 cal Lancaster
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CoHiCntry
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CoHiCntry

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PostSubject: Re: Are all balls created equal???   Are all balls created equal??? Empty2019-01-13, 08:34

@BigAl52 wrote:
Ive used Speer, Hornady and home cast. I dont cast anymore but I have bought home cast from guys I know who do a good job. Last time I hunted in Colo with muzzleloaders I used the Hornady balls. One thing about home cast you always want to make sure of the sprue location. With Hornady and Speer you dont have that issue. CoHi Country where are you at up in the high country?

Thanks... sounds like I just need to get some different ones and start trying them out.  I don't plan on making my own, at least at this point!

I'm west of Colorado Springs in Woodland Park.

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Buck Conner
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PostSubject: Re: Are all balls created equal???   Are all balls created equal??? Empty2019-01-13, 10:22

This is a good subject that has been around since Speer, Hornady and a few others started offering round balls. 

When these companies offered "swagged" round balls is when I got interested. Cast round balls if not weighted can become an issue with small voids not visible to the eye when casted (mold to hot or cold causes this). Swagged on the other hand are made with pressure not having the voids (air pockets) that can make a flyer or not shoot the same as the previous shot. 

I mention Friendship National Matches in IN every once in a while on these posts. This is the test bed for muzzleloading shooting. These shooters are some of the best shots in this field and they test everything under the sun to find that edge over the other shooter. Last time as well as times before, seems everyone was shooting swagged over poured. There's a reason no voids. Every round has been weighted and ones that were off of the group number are used for local shooting not these matches at Friendship. Each shooter has a weight that there match rifle or pistol likes and that's the "target weight". Now there is swagged dies and small presses to make your own swagged balls (never bothered to check it out, I've become lazy and just by Speer or Hornady swagged).

This is reason that swagged should be considered for hunting, use the cast balls to just shoot at targets (they don't require a hard to get hunting permit).  

Thanks for your time.
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Buck Conner
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PostSubject: Re: Are all balls created equal???   Are all balls created equal??? Empty2019-01-13, 10:26

Had a few friends that lived there years ago, AMM brothers that have now went to cleaner water and better pastures. We had some good time at period camps in Woodland Park, nice quiet place.

How's the new side-lock shoot CoHiCntry?
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BigAl52
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PostSubject: Re: Are all balls created equal???   Are all balls created equal??? Empty2019-01-13, 12:06

Pretty easy to get lazy when youre old right Buck

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John Bergmann 50 cal Lancaster
John Bergmann 54 cal Hawken
GRRW 50 cal
GRRW 58 cal
Lyman GPR 54 cal flintlock L&R lock davis deerslayer trigger
Lyman Trade Rifle 54 cal
CVA Hawken 58 cal by Jonathan
Hawken Squirrel Rifle 40 cal by John Bergman
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FrontierGander
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PostSubject: Re: Are all balls created equal???   Are all balls created equal??? Empty2019-01-13, 12:12

I cast all of my ammo these days. When I can control the quality, I only have one person to blame for failure lol.
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CoHiCntry
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PostSubject: Re: Are all balls created equal???   Are all balls created equal??? Empty2019-01-13, 14:24

@Buck Conner wrote:
Had a few friends that lived there years ago, AMM brothers that have now went to cleaner water and better pastures. We had some good time at period camps in Woodland Park, nice quiet place.

How's the new side-lock shoot CoHiCntry?

Like every place else in Colorado Woodland Park has changed over the years.  It's still nice being in the mountains with somewhat decent hunting close by, but close enough to Colorado Springs for jobs and other stuff that comes with a bigger city.

I haven't shot the new gun yet... been busy at work, then the holidays, now the snow has piled up.  Really looking forward to shooting it!  It's a great looking gun.

I thought about you this morning... I was reading my newest Poke & Stroke from CSMLA and saw your name listed as the "muzzleloader of the year" in 1988!

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Buck Conner
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PostSubject: Re: Are all balls created equal???   Are all balls created equal??? Empty2019-01-13, 16:52

Thank you for mentioning that, those were good times.  Oh for the good old days.  headslap

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PostSubject: Re: Are all balls created equal???   Are all balls created equal??? Empty2019-01-13, 17:31

I buy round balls from TOTW.  I've purchased both hand cast and Hornady in .54 and .58CAL. I haven't noticed any difference on the paper.  They both seem to shoot the same for me.  You do have to be aware of the sprue location when loading the hand cast but that's the only difference for me.

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Last edited by Smokin' Joe on 2019-01-14, 08:17; edited 2 times in total
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Buck Conner
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PostSubject: Re: Are all balls created equal???   Are all balls created equal??? Empty2019-01-13, 17:41

@Smokin' Joe wrote:
I buy round balls from TOTW.  I've purchased both hand cast and Hornady in .54 and .58CAL. I haven't noticed any difference on the paper.  They both seem to shoot the same for me.  You do have to be a ware  of the spur location when loading the hand cast but that's the only difference for me.

I have to agree Joe, as long as the person casting the balls pays attention to an average weight on them they should be fine. Like said I'm lazy so its easier to get a box of Hornady's when needed as Cabela's is 2 miles away.
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Hylander

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PostSubject: Re: Are all balls created equal???   Are all balls created equal??? Empty2019-01-14, 00:28

For store bought I prefer Speer, always weighed and sized more consistent.

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Mofish



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PostSubject: Re: Are all balls created equal???   Are all balls created equal??? Empty2019-01-14, 07:47

I've been using some Lee molds lately, and you really have to look close to find the sprue. Maybe they changed up something in their mfg. of them, but I have been having very good luck shooting them...and don't even try to position the sprue up or down. I've used a bunch of brands of molds over the years, and the sprue was always a factor.
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PostSubject: Re: Are all balls created equal???   Are all balls created equal??? Empty2019-01-14, 11:40

Same as molfish with the lee molds, and the more they bounce around in the box or bag the harder it is to find the sprue. They should be weighed, I don't know of another way to find voids.
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PostSubject: Re: Are all balls created equal???   Are all balls created equal??? Empty2019-01-15, 08:26

OK... so I've been looking online to buy some .54 caliber balls.  I see what looks like the most common size of .530... I also see some .535 & even .520 all listed under .54 caliber.  Should I be buying the .530 to start with?  Why, or when would someone get the other sizes?

Also for patches... looks like the size is 0.10.  There are other sizes but to start with am I correct in thinking a .530 ball + a 0.10 patch = .54.  Anything I'm missing here?

Anyone wanna shed some light on the different patch materials that are available and there pros & cons?  I see some regular cotton patches then pillow ticking and a couple others.  What's the difference?

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PostSubject: Re: Are all balls created equal???   Are all balls created equal??? Empty2019-01-15, 08:55

I would recommend .530 round balls and a .015 patch.  The different sizes are because not every barrel is created equal. The .010 are too thin for my liking.

The last order for patches (which has been awhile) I ordered "non-lubed". I then melted down some Frontiers Patch lube in the microwave, coated the patches, stacked them up, placed them in a zip lock baggie then squeezed then in a vice to wring them out a bit.  I think that's how Daniel Boone did it.  Very Happy

I forgot to mention when I was lubing the patches: I dipped every other one.  When I stacked them there would be a wet patch then a dry patch, wet one dry one and so on.  When I squeezed them in the vice all the dry patched absorbed the lubed from the wet patches and all patches were lubed equally.

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Buck Conner
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PostSubject: Re: Are all balls created equal???   Are all balls created equal??? Empty2019-01-15, 09:18

Do as Joe recommended and you'll have a good starting point with .530, later once the gun has been broke in you may want to try a larger diameter to see if that helps or hurts how it shoots. Seems some barrels perform better with what they like?  Dunno

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PostSubject: Re: Are all balls created equal???   Are all balls created equal??? Empty2019-01-15, 13:41

What rifle you shooting?
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CoHiCntry
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PostSubject: Re: Are all balls created equal???   Are all balls created equal??? Empty2019-01-15, 15:02

@FrontierGander wrote:
What rifle you shooting?

I recently had a .54 caliber GRRW built.  Kit Carson Hawken, percussion.  It has a 1:56" twist barrel.

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PostSubject: Re: Are all balls created equal???   Are all balls created equal??? Empty2019-01-15, 15:06

Ok, I would agree, go with at least a .015 patch. I used both .018 and .020 patches in the GRRW Hawken that Buck sent me. The .020's were tight, but that was a brand new barrel. I'd shoot for the .015" patches to start off with.
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PostSubject: Re: Are all balls created equal???   Are all balls created equal??? Empty2019-01-15, 15:36

Have used custom muzzleloaders since 1980, Large, Douglas or Rice barrels are the general run with Long's Locks, various woods. 

CoHiCntry your rifle we built you is a GRRW Collectors Association gun built by Carl Walker out of Rossevelt, UT (first employee of GRRW).  Nice man to deal with and has become friends with the new clients of GRRW.CA (just like the old days at the old firm).

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PostSubject: Re: Are all balls created equal???   Are all balls created equal??? Empty2019-01-15, 16:14

Are all balls created equal??? A3c97510

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PostSubject: Re: Are all balls created equal???   Are all balls created equal??? Empty2019-01-15, 16:44

That's an ugly rifle. You should send it to me and have a good looking one built.


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CoHiCntry
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PostSubject: Re: Are all balls created equal???   Are all balls created equal??? Empty2019-01-15, 17:03

@FrontierGander wrote:
That's an ugly rifle. You should send it to me and have a good looking one built.


Twisted Evil

LOL!!!

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PostSubject: Re: Are all balls created equal???   Are all balls created equal??? Empty2019-01-15, 17:26

Maple always amazes me. Thin stripes, horizontal stripes,lightNing striping, just amazing what shapes maple can come in.
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PostSubject: Re: Are all balls created equal???   Are all balls created equal??? Empty2019-01-16, 10:23

Thanks everyone for your input!  I put in an order at TOTW today for some balls and a couple different sized patches.  I'll try these out and go from there...  Definitely learned a little through this thread.

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PostSubject: Re: Are all balls created equal???   Are all balls created equal??? Empty2019-01-16, 14:16

When these companies offered "swagged" round balls is when I got interested. Cast round balls if not weighted can become an issue with small voids not visible to the eye when casted (mold to hot or cold causes this). Swagged on the other hand are made with pressure not having the voids (air pockets) that can make a flyer or not shoot the same as the previous shot.

Buck made the above comment.   After I bought DUTCH"S program, I started weighing balls. I found far more variation in the swagged balls than I did in the cast balls. I don't know why. If someone has the ability, weigh 20 of each and let me know the results.
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PostSubject: Re: Are all balls created equal???   Are all balls created equal??? Empty2019-01-16, 18:16

@CoHiCntry wrote:
Are all balls created equal??? A3c97510

I want that Rifle !
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PostSubject: Re: Are all balls created equal???   Are all balls created equal??? Empty2019-01-17, 09:07

Contact me at: grrw.ca@gmail.com  and I can help you get what you want.  Buck

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PostSubject: Re: Are all balls created equal???   Are all balls created equal??? Empty2019-01-17, 09:54

To put it simply, swaged RBs are formed in a die that has a bleed hole.  To ensure it forms completely there is an excessive amount of lead that enters the die than what is necessary to get a 230 grain RB (for example).  Once the RB completely forms, the excess is extruded out the bleed hole.  If you look closely at a swaged RB you will see a tiny spot on it where the excess lead was forced out of it and through the bleed hole.  The variation is more from how big of a range the manufacturer decides is ok for the target weight.  For example, they may have a spec of 230 grains, plus/minus 2 whole grains.  Say the machine gets set up and is running at an average of 231 grains, well within their spec.  Then the machine has some sort of issue like the die breaking or something, and it could even be a different person on a different shift when something like this happens.  They repair the machine and then check a few and find that the RB's now weigh an average 229 grains.  Still well within their spec, so the machine is ran that way.  Manufacturers use "Lot" sizes, so the above could happen and you have half a "Lot" that averages 231 grains and the other half 229 grains...plus whatever normal deviation is present in the machine. 
Lot sizes are much bigger than the 100 round boxes we buy, so you are going to get some good ones that are all very close in weight to each other because the machine ran the whole time without any issues or adjustments...but then you'll also possibly get some that did have an issue and changes or adjustments were made.

So either weighing and sorting the store bought ones, or casting your own using tight tolerances is going to be the best method to ensure they are as close to each other as possible if you are looking for 10x accuracy.
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PostSubject: Re: Are all balls created equal???   Are all balls created equal??? Empty2019-01-18, 01:52

Sizes can make a difference in performance
Are all balls created equal??? LadTjvOl
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PostSubject: Re: Are all balls created equal???   Are all balls created equal??? Empty2019-01-18, 09:06

Mofish your the guy  cheers   Wink   lol!

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PostSubject: Re: Are all balls created equal???   Are all balls created equal??? Empty2019-01-18, 09:49

I weighed 20 Hornady .530 swagged balls.  I didn't have any hand cast to weigh.  I also weighed 20 Hornady .570 swagged balls and 20 .570 "Hand Cast". All round balls from TOTW.  I found the "hand cast" were more consistent, however they were 5 gn lighter. 

Results:

54 cal .530 swagged   = high 227.4 gn,  low 223.5 gn,  average 225.76
58 cal .570 swagged   = high 280.9 gn,  low 277.6 gn,  average 279.145
58 cal .570 hand cast = high 275.2 gn,  low 273.2 gn,   average 274.395

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Semper Fi……..


Last edited by Smokin' Joe on 2019-01-18, 10:04; edited 1 time in total
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Buck Conner
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PostSubject: Re: Are all balls created equal???   Are all balls created equal??? Empty2019-01-18, 10:03

Good Information

Thanks Joe, that's valuable information to keep.  I glad we have guys like you that are willing to put out the effort to check these subjects and provide a clear answers.  Thanks again bud.  :tup2

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PostSubject: Re: Are all balls created equal???   Are all balls created equal??? Empty2019-01-18, 10:32

Holy crap, that one picture ALMOST makes me jealous Cool
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PostSubject: Re: Are all balls created equal???   Are all balls created equal??? Empty2019-01-18, 12:43

@strong eagle wrote:
my balls are average, nothing special about them, looked like a angus bull after my surgery, sorry, just couldnt help that, please do not come after me, im just a old man with a little sense of humor left in me. my wife doesnt laugh at my jokes but once in a while others do.

Are all balls created equal??? Img5

Damn part Indian comment ......   lol!

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Mofish



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PostSubject: Re: Are all balls created equal???   Are all balls created equal??? Empty2019-01-18, 17:21

Had that boy showing up  on my game cameras regularly for a while. I never managed to get him, but he must be struggling as I can't imagining his trying to sit down...
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PostSubject: Re: Are all balls created equal???   Are all balls created equal??? Empty2019-01-19, 00:19

The king of “Hauling Balls”  Very Happy

Are all balls created equal??? 4YLpzlk
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PostSubject: Re: Are all balls created equal???   Are all balls created equal??? Empty2019-01-19, 04:33

He needs to build a small extension on his trailer to support the parts of the hog hanging out !
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