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Does anyone have any experience with keeping a percussion revolver loaded for moderate periods of time? Assuming dry conditions and a safe location, are there any inherent problems associated with the moisture, oil, etc preventing combustion over a few weeks or months?
 

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storage

Folks used to do it in the good ol' days. If they don't get wet, they're probably OK. Heard of some folks shooting charges that were loaded for 50 or more years, but I don't think I would chance the cylinder not being almost rusted through from the inside.... Be careful with a capped gun, load only five, hammer on the empty chamber and put a BIG SIGN on it so you don't kill someone next month. If a Remington, pull the cylinder out, if capped, be VERY careful putting it back in. Heard that Wild Bill Hockock fired his Navies empty every day, cleaned and reloaded for the new day, fresh and ready, didn't help him in the end, though. If the gun is capped, it would be dangerous to try to uncap it, and I wouldn't store it that way, or even put it in my car to take home that way. If uncapped, and not likely to get rained on, maybe OK.
 

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Glad to see this forum!

I am new to cap and ball. I have a cheap brass frame army 44 that is probably the only gun I own that I can shoot better than.

But it is FUN. I am waiting for an order of lead balls to shoot again.

Once I shoot a few more times I will be back here with stupid questions.

Fred a/k/a HappyHunter
 

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:D Hunter!! Don't wait ta ask stupid questions!! You can help take the heat off of me!!! :-D
 

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Why do you say it is dangerous to try to remove the caps?

Now realize my only experience in this area is with my caplock rifles and I've taken caps off them plenty of times.

GB
 

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caps

It's just that the revolver nipples are buried deeper and can be tight enough to need a tool like a pocket knife to remove. The caplock rifle can live with looser caps than the revolver. If one did go off, it could be a serious problem. Nor do I want tp drop a capped, loaded cylinder on the ground.....
 

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I"ve not done this, but ...

Understand that I'm speaking completely theoretically, but if I were to want to store a c&b pistol loaded I'd look into paper cartridges. They were widely used in the Civil War, and easily made with nitrated paper. This won't solve the rusting problem completely, but should minimize it. I know, it's the salts that cause the rust, and nitrate is a salt. I'm just imagining that the concentration of nitrates on the surface of the paper can be made less than what is in the powder.

Of course, as this is theoretical, I could be all wet. Come to think of it, that may be the solution - deal with the water, not the salts. Keep it in a closed area with one of those absorbant packages. Keep the air dry and this will minimize the rust.
 

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KH, I have had a lot of experience with long term loaded capandball pistols. I keep a pair of loaded cap an ball pistols in my over night kit. They are loaded with a accurate powder charge and a tight ball with a lubed wad. The nipples are sealed with bees wax as the orginals were. I have the occasion to examine a large number of loaded orginals that when fired did so with gusto. The only problem is sometimes if the nipples were not sealed well the nipple did rust badly. As far as modern guns they can be left loaded for years and fire with a high degree of certainty.Tryit.
 

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KH

Don't normally remove the cylinder once loaded...but it doesn't seem to be any more hazardous than handling cartridges. Most range officeres consider a capped cylinders, removed from the firearm, as safe. Regardless, I suppose there is some danger if you dropped a loaded cylinder. From my perspective the gun is more hazardous WITHOUT nipples in place on loaded cylinders...an ignition source from any direction could ruin your day, if it found an uncapped cylinder. Sends a shiver up my spine just thinking about it.

...my two cents!

Be Safe! ...Chris :)
 

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Tryit


How do you seal the nipples with beeswax so that it still fires?
 

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Wayne, Mr. Handcock of Richmond Va. of whom father served in the War for Southern Independence had shown him how to load the revolver showed me. First place a cap on the nipple and seat it tight using the hammer to flush it up. When all the nipples are charged primed then take bee's wax and melt it around the cap and nipple to seal the nipple and and the area under the nipple. Use the hammer to be sure the hammer wil contact the cap and nipple for clearence. Then charge the cylinders with the most accurate charge and use a light ring of bee's wax to seal the bullet into the chambers. "Tend to the bee's wax if needed in cold weather and repair any cracks with soft neaded wax and CAREFULLY use the hammer for proper clearence". It works and I use a like method to seal my carry pistols.Tryit.
 

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Tryit..............:shock: :shock: I have a real problem with charging the cap and ball AFTER.. the cylinder has been capped. That looks like a real quick way to get into trouble. No this might be a real stupid question...but.....why would anyone want to keep a cap and ball charged...unless yer talking about while hunting Im trying to come up with a good reason other than overnight at a hunting camp. As fer self defense,in todays world i dont think I would be entrusting my life to one of these critters. Ya might get the first shot,but............. There are alotta other guns to be using fer that and a lot more reliable also. King
 

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Loaded Cap and Ball Revolvers!

On the contrary King, what would be more intimidating to a thug who had entered your abode than a sombrero wearing, crossed bandolier styled bad man with a pair of 8" .44 armies or Remingtons in his hands? The thunder, smoke and perhaps even a hit or two would convince the miscreant he had chosen the worst target he could have. He might even give up his misdeeds forever.

Dan C
 

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While I don't use C&B pistols for home or personal defense, I have to admit that when fired in the dark they are very impressive! I still think a cartridge pistol or a double shotgun is best, though.
 

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:D DC. Well,i have seen what they look like when I have had my Glock,and when the are facing a 12...But I gotta admit...That photo would be priceless with the look on the varmints face. That would be great. Probably think he stepped into a time warp......HEHEHEHEHEHEHEHEHEHEHEHEHEHEH king
 

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Wayne, some times I have to travel to areas that have restrictive handgun laws and spent a lot of time there. Lets face it I do not like going to any place and not having some method of of self defence. Thus the .36 pocket navies. They are accurate as any firearm I have and except in a few radical places they are not considered a firearm. As for loading a capped cylinder there is no difference in that and reloading a primed brass shell of modern design. Tryit.
 

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tryit

Yeah, I've thought of that. All I know is that the 1968 Federal firearm law did not consider anything designed or built before 1898 a firearm in that law. I don't know if any other laws have said the same. It would be in the definiations in the law, not in the body of the law. I'd want to know the law in the particular area I'm going to be in before I'd use that reason.

If that's the case, then I'd fully agree with you. Except I think I'd use my Sheriff's .44.

I guess it's what you have and are used to.
 

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:D Not to add any more confusion to this subject but here is what the law says about a cap and ball revolver. If it is found on your person,loaded,or in a manner that a cartridge gun would be,and you dont have a ccw....You be going to jail . Commit a crime with one,and it is still considerd a firearm. Just becasue of the way it is loaded does not make it exempt from firearm laws. It may make it exempt from registration law. Here in Mi.,it does have to be registered. King.....hope this helps ya a little....................
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Thanks everyone for your input on this topic. There are valid reasons for keeping a percussion revolver for home defense. I know they are capable of doing the job, but I was uncertain about their reliability. I have a pair of 1860s, one with a 3" barrel, that I'm keeping loaded. My problem is that I can't seem to keep from shooting them every couple of weeks so I don't have experience with longer term storage. From the input I've received, I believe they'll be reliable and dependable if they're ever needed.
 

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I would never count on a longtime loaded C&B that had a lube wad under the ball for fear that oil would leach into the powder and cause "floofers". If i were (did in the past) to rely on a loaded C&B in storage I'd be real sure that the chambers were completely devoid of any oil or lube and that the nipples were completely free of debris and oil as well before capping and storing. I doubt that I'd even bother to put lube over the ball. It too could migrate oilinto the powder and you're only going to fire 5 or 6 rounds anyway if you really need to (not an all day shooting session requiring lots of lube to prevent binding).
 
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