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Thread: BP pistol question

  1. #1
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    Apr 2008
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    Exclamation BP pistol question

    Going to sportmans ware house to get a black powder pistol any advise on loads when i get it tomorrow thanks guys..

  2. #2

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    Are you thinking about revolvers or single shot?

    If it's a single shot you're looking for, matching bore size to your rifle is real handy. After that, it's not much different than caring for a rifle. You can think along the lines of it being a short rifle in terms of care and feeding.

    If it's a revolver, decide beforehand whether you want to mess around with stronger loads. Those like the 1851 with no top strap won't take heavy loads. Period. Especially if they also have brass frames. I've got a brass framed 1851 44 cal and the rule of thumb with most folks is a max charge of 25 grains of 3f or Pyro P. I'm shooting 20 grains through mine and it's a real hoot, but nothing I'd try on anything but small game. Stronger guns easily handle 40 grain charges. Ruger Old Army's are the strongest by far, and guys turn out impressive ballistics with them.

    Be aware that you need balls larger than bore size in order to help seal the chamber. In my 44 (.440), you have to use .451 balls, and they actually shave off a little ring of lead when you seat them down in the chamber.

    There are conical bullets and molds for them available for 36 cal and up, and maybe for 31 cal, but I'm not sure on the last. Conicals are heavier and a way to more "power" if you want.

    You HAVE TO seal off each chamber in the cylinder in order to avoid a spark getting around the ball in the next chamber and setting that off too. It's called a chain fire, and usually dismantles the pistol violently with many airborn parts. Traditional way to do this is with a smear of Crisco over the cylinder face after you seat all the balls when loading, but it's a greasy mess before and after firing. Many folks have gone to using greased felt wads (available in bags of 100), with some seating them under the ball and some seating them over. I haven't tried it, so further reading would be in order before you do.

    There are two sizes of percussion caps out there: #10 and #11. Rifles generally use #11 and handguns traditionally use #10. It's important to know which your gun needs, because #11's will fall off #10 nipples and sometimes sieze up the gun. Many guys change out their #10 nipples for #11's because #11 caps are easier to find. Your choice, but make sure caps and nipples are a match.

    For revolvers, get one of those long skinny cappers to ease seating caps. Nothing else works better, and they're cheap.

    Without adjustable sights, most of these revolvers shoot about 6" high for some reason. If you're planning to bust bunny heads either get adjustable sights or plan to mess around with the fixed sights.

    Get a nipple wrench that fits the gun. Most require a thinner "revolver" wrench in order to reach into the small space and remove the nipples. And you'll have to remove all the nipples for thorough cleaning.

    Get some good grease intended for breech plugs on inline rifles and use that on the nipple threads when reinstalling the nipples after each cleaning. It will make your life a whole lot easier.

    Some folks claim that you have to shoot real 3f black powder rather than Pyrodex P for reliable ignition, but I've never found that to be the case. Mine is a super reliable firer with either one.

    Get the Lyman Black Powder manual. It's got an excellent chapter on loading and care of revolvers.

    There's more fine tuning info, but this should be enough to get you out the door with the gun and accessories you need.

    Sorry this has turned into a book, but come on back if you have fine tuning questions.

  3. #3
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    1,892

    Default Thanks for the info.

    Didn't make it there to day but will in the morning and see what they have in stock but thanks for the info


    Quote Originally Posted by BrownBear View Post
    Are you thinking about revolvers or single shot?

    If it's a single shot you're looking for, matching bore size to your rifle is real handy. After that, it's not much different than caring for a rifle. You can think along the lines of it being a short rifle in terms of care and feeding.

    If it's a revolver, decide beforehand whether you want to mess around with stronger loads. Those like the 1851 with no top strap won't take heavy loads. Period. Especially if they also have brass frames. I've got a brass framed 1851 44 cal and the rule of thumb with most folks is a max charge of 25 grains of 3f or Pyro P. I'm shooting 20 grains through mine and it's a real hoot, but nothing I'd try on anything but small game. Stronger guns easily handle 40 grain charges. Ruger Old Army's are the strongest by far, and guys turn out impressive ballistics with them.

    Be aware that you need balls larger than bore size in order to help seal the chamber. In my 44 (.440), you have to use .451 balls, and they actually shave off a little ring of lead when you seat them down in the chamber.

    There are conical bullets and molds for them available for 36 cal and up, and maybe for 31 cal, but I'm not sure on the last. Conicals are heavier and a way to more "power" if you want.

    You HAVE TO seal off each chamber in the cylinder in order to avoid a spark getting around the ball in the next chamber and setting that off too. It's called a chain fire, and usually dismantles the pistol violently with many airborn parts. Traditional way to do this is with a smear of Crisco over the cylinder face after you seat all the balls when loading, but it's a greasy mess before and after firing. Many folks have gone to using greased felt wads (available in bags of 100), with some seating them under the ball and some seating them over. I haven't tried it, so further reading would be in order before you do.

    There are two sizes of percussion caps out there: #10 and #11. Rifles generally use #11 and handguns traditionally use #10. It's important to know which your gun needs, because #11's will fall off #10 nipples and sometimes sieze up the gun. Many guys change out their #10 nipples for #11's because #11 caps are easier to find. Your choice, but make sure caps and nipples are a match.

    For revolvers, get one of those long skinny cappers to ease seating caps. Nothing else works better, and they're cheap.

    Without adjustable sights, most of these revolvers shoot about 6" high for some reason. If you're planning to bust bunny heads either get adjustable sights or plan to mess around with the fixed sights.

    Get a nipple wrench that fits the gun. Most require a thinner "revolver" wrench in order to reach into the small space and remove the nipples. And you'll have to remove all the nipples for thorough cleaning.

    Get some good grease intended for breech plugs on inline rifles and use that on the nipple threads when reinstalling the nipples after each cleaning. It will make your life a whole lot easier.

    Some folks claim that you have to shoot real 3f black powder rather than Pyrodex P for reliable ignition, but I've never found that to be the case. Mine is a super reliable firer with either one.

    Get the Lyman Black Powder manual. It's got an excellent chapter on loading and care of revolvers.

    There's more fine tuning info, but this should be enough to get you out the door with the gun and accessories you need.

    Sorry this has turned into a book, but come on back if you have fine tuning questions.

  4. #4

    Default

    Keep us posted!

    Pistols are a sincere hoot. Revolvers take some labor to clean, but if you kinda go with it as fun rather than work it's not so bad.

    BTW- On those fixed sight revolvers. If you notice, the rear sight is actually a notch in an extension of the hammer. A good friend who's knowledgeable in these things insists that the high POI was intentional so you could file down the rear sight to sight in the gun for your own load. Makes sense to me, cuss the sight notch is in an extension of the hammer face and serves no function at all in firing or gun safety. Haven't done it to my 44 yet, but a needle file set is in the range box waiting for the next trip to the range. Sure beats messing with trying to come up with a higher front sight!

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