Author Topic: New to cap and ball revolvers.  (Read 1235 times)

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Offline Redhawk1

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New to cap and ball revolvers.
« on: May 21, 2009, 06:09:56 am »
I just got an Model 1860 Army 44 Cal C&B revolver.
What size round balls do I need to get? I have seen .440, .451 and .454 lead balls all listed for the 44 Cal. So which do I get?

Thanks in advance.
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Offline jager

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Re: New to cap and ball revolvers.
« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2009, 06:16:02 am »
The .451 is the listed ball size for your 1860, 44. (The .440 is for a rifle using a patch.) Those black powder pistols are a "blast" to shoot!

Offline FourBee

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Re: New to cap and ball revolvers.
« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2009, 06:20:46 am »
Hey All:
If you own a PIETTA revolver the .451 ball is adequate.  However; in the UBERTI you should use a .454" dia. ball.  I own a PIETTA and use the .454".  When seating it shaves off all excess lead, makes for a tighter fit if you're worried about chain fires (sparks getting into the next chamber).
Enjoy your rights to keep and bear arms.

Offline Redhawk1

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Re: New to cap and ball revolvers.
« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2009, 10:09:42 am »
Thanks for the information, the gun is a army san paolo .44 cal. 1860 cap and ball revolver. I got it in a trade and want to shoot it. 
If  you're going to make a hole, make it a big one.
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Offline mcwoodduck

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Re: New to cap and ball revolvers.
« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2009, 10:16:15 am »
+1 for the .454 size.
Or even better are the wonder wads and the 180 grain Bufflao bore bullets.

Offline Redhawk1

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Re: New to cap and ball revolvers.
« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2009, 12:59:25 pm »
oK I ordered the 454 round balls, I have 1 Lb of Goex FFFg powder. I also ordered some over the powder OxYoke wads. What powder charge (gr.) should I start out with?
If  you're going to make a hole, make it a big one.
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Offline mcwoodduck

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Re: New to cap and ball revolvers.
« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2009, 01:21:49 pm »
I use Pyrodex and 32 grains of P.
that is equal, they say to 40 grains of black powder but volume.  You use 80% of pyrodex to a black load.
this is a little more than normal and if you have a brass frame I would cut that down.
figure 30 - 35 grains of Black is a good place to start.
I will check and see what I have in a book some where. and get back to you tomorrow.

Offline Redhawk1

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Re: New to cap and ball revolvers.
« Reply #7 on: May 21, 2009, 03:45:26 pm »
It is a brass frame with no top strap. I don't think this is a strong set up. I just want to play with it some to see what it will do.

Do you think 25 to 30 gr. is a good starting place?
If  you're going to make a hole, make it a big one.
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Offline mcwoodduck

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Re: New to cap and ball revolvers.
« Reply #8 on: May 21, 2009, 04:20:28 pm »
 I will get some data when I get home in an hour or two (Pacific time) and answer you tomorrow morning with loads.
If I remember right the 454 balls are around 125 grains.  It does not take much to get them down the tube and hitting at 25 feet.
McDuck.


Offline FourBee

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Re: New to cap and ball revolvers.
« Reply #9 on: May 21, 2009, 08:37:11 pm »
Hey Redhawk1:
                     Brass Frame !    Okay; they're fun, but remember keep the powder charge at 21grains of real black powder (GOEX fffg).    Continuous, I said continuous use of high charges(35grains) will wallow out those brass frames, but with responsible care it will last a long time.  My brass below is about 15yrs old. 

Even with a steel frame, a charge of 21grains of GOEX fffg under a wad gives (in my opinion) the round ball its best combination for accuracy.

Enjoy your rights to keep and bear arms.

Offline Redhawk1

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Re: New to cap and ball revolvers.
« Reply #10 on: May 22, 2009, 04:25:11 am »
Ok got ya. 21.0 gr. of Goax FFFg. As soon as I get my round balls and wads I will head to the range.
If  you're going to make a hole, make it a big one.
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Offline longcaribiner

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Re: New to cap and ball revolvers.
« Reply #11 on: May 22, 2009, 05:54:00 am »
an alternative to using just powder isn a brass frame is to use a reduced charge of real powder (like 15 gains) and then 5 to 10 grain equivalent volumne of corn meal to take up the extra space and still leave the loaded ball at the end of the chamber.  Some folks use wonder wads over the powder, which is also a kind of filler.     I prefer to always use lube over the chamber after the ball has been loaded.  The reason is that I want to lube pushed down the bore to protect it and create a layer of lube before the lead of the ball contacts the bore.  cuts down on leading and cuts down on fouling sticking to the barrel walls and creating a problem.  The lube on top method is messier to shoot, but easier to clean up at the end of the day. 

Offline mcwoodduck

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Re: New to cap and ball revolvers.
« Reply #12 on: May 22, 2009, 08:03:05 am »
Both the book and the 1981 Guns and Ammo Complete shooter's Almanac agree.
P. 80 By Phil Spangerberger has loads for the guns as 28 grains with a round ball for 736 FPS.
I load my 1858 Remington hot with the 180 grain conical bullets figuring that there is a 45 Colt cylinder for this gun and the 45 colt shoots a 250 grain bullet pushed by 40 grains of black.
Hope this is helpful.
If you want ot use a reduced load from this use the wonder wads you bought.
I would never mix anything with the Black powder.
Have fun.

Offline Redhawk1

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Re: New to cap and ball revolvers.
« Reply #13 on: May 22, 2009, 08:54:51 am »
What lube over the ball?
If  you're going to make a hole, make it a big one.
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Offline mcwoodduck

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Re: New to cap and ball revolvers.
« Reply #14 on: May 22, 2009, 09:06:34 am »
With the wonder wads and the conical bullet I don't use any lube.  With the round ball, I just use a Q-tip and smear some of the bullet lube around the gap between the cylinder and the ball.  The less I use the longer I can shoot the gun.  I used to be afraid of the chain fire but when I went to the 454 ball and with a round cylinder I am not worried about a spark getting to the powder.  I use the lube only as lube and not a barrier.  Heck half the time I do not use lube at all.  Again With the 454 ball shaving a ring of lead and filling the round hole I am not worried.  If I were to shoot an older or original gun.... Heck yea i would have lube.  When I first was shooting my 58 the front was so full of the white squeeze lube i could only get three maybe four cylinders our before the gun would be so gunked up I had to tear it down and clean it in order to reload it.  One of the guys at the range used Vasoline and the Q tip.  I still had enough of the bullet butter or what ever it is called and am still using it, but sparingly. 


Offline longcaribiner

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Re: New to cap and ball revolvers.
« Reply #15 on: May 22, 2009, 09:37:44 am »
McWoodduck, the guy has a colt repro with a brass frame.  He has to take it easy on the gun if he ever wants to reload the cylinder.

The weak point is the place where the cylinder pin screw into the brass frame.  Once that goes loose, you are pretty much screwed.

Since you have a full size cylinder and chambers it is absolutely best to use reduced loads.    All the bravado crap in the world will do you no good if the cylinder pin goes down range with the barrel. 

Some folks don't use any lube.  With a brass frame, you need as little force hammering the barrel and cylinder pin as possible.  Lube on top the ball at the chamber mouth will help that slightly.  Generic Shortening is cheap and as long as the temps are 85 or under, should work ok.  I found some stuff years ago called "pistol patch" which works great.  Nearly anything about the consistency of vaseline or lanolin will work. 

Yep it gets messy. Do you want the gun to last?  And I never suggested MIXING anything with the powder.  The powder goes down first and then a layer of corn meal or Cream of Wheat (out of the box, not cooked) then seat the ball.  You want the powder and filler to take up all but enough room to seat the balls just below the mouth of the chambers.  With no voids behind the ball.    Yeah, I shoot a ruger old army with substantially hotter loads than I would ever suggest you try in your gun. 

Lube in a standard steel frame repro is more of a personal choice.  If you ever attend a skirmish like the one at Ft Shenadoah, you will see some of the top cap and ball shooters in the country.  I've been there a few times.  The better shooters all lube on top the ball.
Not using a lube allows fouling to stick to the bore and with each successive shot cakes up the bore and affects accuracy.