Mountain Men and Life in the Rocky

Subject Guide


Mountain West

Malachite’s Big Hole

Making Shot & Ball:
Rudolf Freiderich Kurz, in his journal, describes crafting lead shot when there was none available for hunting water fowl.  "I had to flatten 1-pound bars of lead into thin plates, cut the latter into narrow bars, from which I then struck off little cubes, threw them into our frying pan together with ashes and sand, rubbed and rubbed them over and over with a flat stone until those small angular pieces had become round.  Cadotte [another hunter] is put to the necessity of fabricating his own sort of shot, or rather buckshot.  He takes such cubes of lead as I have mentioned, of whatever size his need requires, and rounds them off in his mouth with his teeth."  
Lewis Garrrard recorded the following observation in his journal in early 1847: "Tom [Bransford] wanted some bullets-in lieu of a ladle he cut a shallow place in a stick of wood-a hunter's expedient-where, laying in the lead and piling on coals, it soon melted.