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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Do you have to use round balls in them, or can you load lead bullets? (without a conversion kit I mean)

Can they remain loaded for a period of time or is the BP too corrosive for that?
 

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Round balls are the traditional and cheap ammo used in a BP revolver, however they do make "conicals", "Minie Balls", and similar "conventional bullet" projectiles for them. Being longer, they reduce powder capacity somewhat. Other than that, you just put them in on top of the charge just like a round ball.

BP itself is not very corrosive, it is sold and stored in steel cans without a problem. What is corrosive is the residue left behind after firing, that will pit a bbl in no time. One drawback to keeping loaded for a length of time is the BP draws moisture and damp BP will cause misfires. Stored in a climate controlled area probably not a problem, but in the field it is a good idea to put a fresh charge in every day if the weather is humid or damp.
 

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You have to enjoy cleaning your gun if you want to shoot black powder - too much work for me.

We have a couple of members in our club who choose to shoot BP revolvers - 9/10 times there is a hang up on the firing line with a dud primer or a split primer getting jammed in in the action. I liked the idea of shooting cap and ball until I saw how much trouble they could be. Apparently the caps are very susceptible to oil contamination. I'd say they are great to mess with on the range but have very little practical value in the field.

Just my 2 cents - no change required.

OEK
 

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Do you have to use round balls in them, or can you load lead bullets? (without a conversion kit I mean)

Can they remain loaded for a period of time or is the BP too corrosive for that?
Wild Bill Hickok reloaded his pistols everyday, whether they were fired or not. Couldn't afford any misfires in his line of work.
 

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Those "revolver rifles" had one little drawback: BP revolvers have been known to "chainfire," that is the flame from the chamber being fired can, in rare instances, ignite the powder charge in an adjoining chamber, sending off multiple shots from the chambers not aligned with the bbl. If you ever see one being fired you will notice that the experienced shootist always keeps both hands behind the cylinder, almost holding it in a two handed pistol hold but with the stock to the shoulder. Holding the "forearm" would be a real sphincter tightener.
 

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on the subject of chain fires (Note: I do shoot a black powder revolver ) - you must seal the chamber to prevent this - usually some type of grease. One of the best things I have found is a wax toilet bowl gasket - one of those will last a long time - a little stickey but does a good job of sealing the chamber - just spread some over the ball after loading. When shooting a black powder revolver, you must make sure you always keep your hand and fingers behind the front of the chambers unless you want to be called stubby.

By the way, if you want to see a chain-fire, watch the movie gettysburg. When Chamberland fires his revolver on little round top, more than one chamber fires If my memory is right, it's just as they start to charge down the hill.
 

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Here's my little hand smoker...

1864 Spiller and Burr Confederate Navy Pietta Replica. Shoots a .36 ball with 20g of 3F. Mmmmm Smoky goodness...I use the felt discs for a sealer between the BP and the ball. I use standard #10 caps with a little squeeze to make sure they stay put. So far so good, but dang it gets dirty quick...



And of course some vid of me shootin it...

 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Those "revolver rifles" had one little drawback: BP revolvers have been known to "chainfire," that is the flame from the chamber being fired can, in rare instances, ignite the powder charge in an adjoining chamber, sending off multiple shots from the chambers not aligned with the bbl. If you ever see one being fired you will notice that the experienced shootist always keeps both hands behind the cylinder, almost holding it in a two handed pistol hold but with the stock to the shoulder. Holding the "forearm" would be a real sphincter tightener.
I have decided that, because of the whole "chain fire" thing that the BP carbine is probably not the way to go. So I have found a compromise gun to put on my wish list.



It is the stainless steel version of the 1858 .44 buffalo revolver. The 12" barrel should make it pretty accurate from quite a distance.

The only thing better, would be to find a way to put a 12" barrel on a Colt Walker!

 

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When I was a kid of 9 or 10 years old, I went out frog gigging with my dad and uncle. We were at the pick up eating some polish sausage, cheese and crackers. it's good and dark, you know the kind of night that's good for frogging...
My uncle asks if I want to shoot his Navy revolver. Being a good Texas boy I say "SURE". Pop sets a Schlitz beer can on a fence post, Uncle Harold hands me the pistol, I take aim... The damn thing chain fires... I remember it like it was last night!!! As I type this I am a 44 year old man. To this day I have not and will not shoot a cap and ball revolver...LOL Damn good times!!! I know two old men that would laugh there a$$ off at this post!!!
 

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If you can find one used, the discontinued Ruger "Old Army" in stainless steel is probably about the best BP field gun there is. Modern construction in the Ruger tradition, including all coil springs instead of the breakage prone flat style of the antique guns. Stainless steel so the corrosive residue from firing is not as urgent a problem as it is with blued steel. Adjustable sights on some versions. Available with a 7.5" and a 5.5" bbl for different handling qualities. Solid frame similar to the Remington design for max strength and accuracy.

Some early guns are marked .44, later ones are marked .45. Both use the same .457 diameter ball, just different ways of measuring the bore (land to land versus groove to groove). At least one maker offers BP cylinders so you can carry extra pre-loaded cylinders as "speed loaders". Several makers also sell conversion cylinders chambered in .45LC or Schoefield that let you shoot low pressure "cowboy loads" through them. Also available for other .44/.45 caliber BP revolvers as well.

All BP revolvers have a problem with shot caps falling off, they are designed to split when fired. That is why you should always point the gun straight up when cocking it, this lets the cap fall free of the gun. When capping a revolver, one should also squeeze the cap a bit so it deforms into an oblong shape. This makes it "hold on" to the nipple much better and is less likely to get knocked off under recoil.

Speaking of recoil, the Old Army is very pleasant to shoot from a recoil perspective. Many lighter large caliber BP guns kick pretty hard, most people compare the Ruger's recoil to a heavy .38 special.

Being a Ruger, it is also pretty stout. Many people have experimented with making "magnum" loads for it using various powders. Do an internet search, there is plenty of data out there. Just be warned that it is real easy to blow up a gun with too much or the wrong powder. Proceed carefully and at your own risk.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Okay, what you need to do is...get you a 1858 Remington .44 cal. Pistol, Get you a R&D con. cylinder .45LC, then you will have some FUN. :yes: ;)
You don't think the buffalo gun, with the 12" barrel is really cool?
 
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