View Full Version : What is the best pistol ball loader

October 15, 2010, 05:32 PM
I would like to hear from those that have a cylinder loader for c&b pistols. I would like one that works for both Rem and Colt models ove various sizes so It is easier to preload my cylinders.

October 15, 2010, 06:30 PM
I use this one from Powder Inc. Works just excellcent. As a matter of fact,
I won one of these last weekend at a revolver shoot but sold it.


October 15, 2010, 08:49 PM
I have the Powder Inc and I love it. When I go to the range I make a day of it taking my 1860 Armies and 4 cylinders. I will shoot 200 rounds a day some times.
I do wish the base plate was 6" longer in the front and a longer handle would be nice for a little more leverage.
I suppose I could mount the press on a board and put a cheater on the handle. It's a great unit and I most likely will never load a ball with the lever on the gun.

October 15, 2010, 09:56 PM
I also have the Powder Inc. loader; I made the handle longer and mounted it to a 2"x4" a few inches longer than the base, extending the handle is easy; get a joiner nut- long nut and long bolt to fit the threads, thread onto end of handle add bolt to other end and cut bolt to desired length, wrap with silicone tape or electrical tape.:rolleyes:

October 16, 2010, 08:16 AM
Easy enough project to make on your own from wood if you have some wood working tools.

October 17, 2010, 09:01 AM
Lot of threads here on loading tools. At one time a member here, 6gun4fun, made a loader, but he disappeared after producing a few and collecting for many?? There is a guy a cas that makes a very nice loader.

6gun4fun loader

October 17, 2010, 10:34 AM
I clamp my Powder Inc. loader onto my work bench. I have to get around to putting a longer handle on it.

I want to get some bushings to slip over the guide pin so I can load my Walker and Dragoon cylinders. I've been faking it so far.

I just had the idea to put marks on the the plate that holds the guide pin, so I can have marks for Colt and Remington to make it quicker to adjust.

October 17, 2010, 10:51 AM
I'm happy with the ones I've made from wood.
If interested, PM me an eMail address and I'll mail back the plans for private use.


October 19, 2010, 05:18 AM
That's nice work zippy!

October 19, 2010, 08:39 AM
Here's mine:

Doc Hoy
October 19, 2010, 09:36 AM
My home brew:



Loads all six at once and breaks down to fit in the shooting box.

October 19, 2010, 10:02 AM
Wow, Doc, that's one imPRESSive brew you have there. I'm curious, do you miss having the feel, as each ball seats, of a single cylinder loader? And, which is more uniform -- individual seating by feel, or setting all to the same depth as with your loader?

Doc Hoy
October 19, 2010, 12:42 PM
I seat the balls with the loader and then feel the individual balls with the loading lever. This means that I don't lube the chambers until after the cylinder is back in the pistol.

The more I use this contraption, the more imperfections surface.

The jig I made, the one that is shown in the photo, only works for .44 caliber Remingtons and the ROA and the Rogers and Spencer. I have a sleeve that goes over the centering pin to fit Colt cylinders. But I now have to make a separate jig for .36 caliber pistls and well as a big one for the Walker. I may find it is more trouble than it is worth.

I have a variable volume spout for the CVA1400 flask I use which gives me a charge with excellent volumetric consistency. So I could seat the balls all at the same level and wind up with consistent compression. Notice that I did not say "correct" compression because as you say, it is impossible to feel the compression with this loader. I have not gotten good enough with it to know how far down to seat the balls and of course that would change depending upon powder and volume of charge.

This loader is a work in progress and those who have followed its developement are probably chuckling as you are reading this.

October 30, 2010, 04:37 PM
My home made loader. There are no side loads generated and the mechanical advantage is adjustable. It is adaptable for many revolver types. I only have one though, a Pietta stainless 1858.

November 9, 2010, 10:50 PM
I did some thinking about my RAI cylinder loader and decided on these two inexpensive mods. I cast and shoot 'hard cast' round balls, so the handle was a little lacking in the leverage dept, and while I was extending the handle, I decided to add a lever/ram return spring. This loader does not have, or need, an arbor to hold the cylinder (which I consider a plus). Most of my C&B revolvers are .44's, but the second ram will handle .36's and .31's. The brass ring (which also came with it) steadies Colt type cylinders on the base. It works quit well and think well worth it's $49.95 price tag.

June 21, 2015, 08:52 AM
there is no end to them. I would like to have just one. I have a 1849 wells Fargo with no loading lever, and don't shoot be cause of that!. what to do?.

June 21, 2015, 01:04 PM
What are the negatives to using the lever?

June 21, 2015, 02:50 PM

Make your own:


June 21, 2015, 04:00 PM
SMOAKING'JOE, I am off to ACE HARDWARE to get the parts, wow this is the simplest one that I have ever seen. all of the rest either cost an arm & a leg or you need a machine shop to make them!! will let you know how it works ? the thin piece of plywood that the cylinder rests on, how did you get the groove cut in it? thanking you very much for the information and help!!.

June 21, 2015, 04:47 PM
SMOKIN'JOE, in the picts the round balls are flush with the cylinder, can they be shot that way or do they have to be seated deeper on the wads? if so will a small wooden dowel with a mallet do it?

June 21, 2015, 06:14 PM
The process of pressing the balls in will cut groves in the wood. The balls need to be driven home on top of the powder. A wooden down will do fine.

June 22, 2015, 02:31 PM
I assume when you use the washer+wrench method that after you run the washer tight the first time, you have to back off and remove the lead rings and then run it down tight again?

Otherwise won't the balls be over-flush by the thickness of the lead rings?


June 26, 2015, 07:35 AM
SMOKIN'JOE, thanking you for all of the help you have given me on the questions I have asked on home made loaders.

June 26, 2015, 11:50 PM
Toot, you're very welcome.

Chuck Dye
June 27, 2015, 09:17 AM
The kids I shot with found the best to be the old man doting honorary uncle even though he had to work with field expedient hand tools from the cleaning kit. :D

4V50 Gary
June 27, 2015, 02:36 PM
Nice work DocHoy. :)

Doc Hoy
June 29, 2015, 08:09 AM
I now have that thing mounted to my shooting box. It comes off and fits in the top drawer for easier transport.

I redesigned the plungers so as to reduce force needed to load and increase my awareness of the pressure I am applying. Don't have jig for five shot pistols.

http://i617.photobucket.com/albums/tt259/Dochoy/Shooting%20Box/Jigs2.jpg (http://s617.photobucket.com/user/Dochoy/media/Shooting%20Box/Jigs2.jpg.html)

I must have picked out the worst looking cylinder I own

http://i617.photobucket.com/albums/tt259/Dochoy/Shooting%20Box/Jigs1.jpg (http://s617.photobucket.com/user/Dochoy/media/Shooting%20Box/Jigs1.jpg.html)

MOunts to the top of the box like so. The flange remains on the box and the pipe is removed and placed in top drawer when going to the range.

http://i617.photobucket.com/albums/tt259/Dochoy/Shooting%20Box/Bench4.jpg (http://s617.photobucket.com/user/Dochoy/media/Shooting%20Box/Bench4.jpg.html)

Doc Hoy
June 29, 2015, 08:12 AM
This photo was taken right when the box was finished. It doesn't look like this any more.

http://i617.photobucket.com/albums/tt259/Dochoy/Shooting%20Box/Bench6.jpg (http://s617.photobucket.com/user/Dochoy/media/Shooting%20Box/Bench6.jpg.html)

http://i617.photobucket.com/albums/tt259/Dochoy/Shooting%20Box/Bench3.jpg (http://s617.photobucket.com/user/Dochoy/media/Shooting%20Box/Bench3.jpg.html)

http://i617.photobucket.com/albums/tt259/Dochoy/Shooting%20Box/Bench1.jpg (http://s617.photobucket.com/user/Dochoy/media/Shooting%20Box/Bench1.jpg.html)

June 29, 2015, 08:45 AM
What are the negatives to using the lever?

I assume you are asking about the lever on the gun itself?

Some people claim that it stresses the gun. I don't think I believe that, compared to the stress of actual shooting.

But anyway, the biggest advantage to an off-the-gun loader is that it is faster, less "fiddly", and I find I can more consistently drive the balls to the same depth.

It's also easier to apply lube over the cylinder face when it's off the gun.


Doc Hoy
June 29, 2015, 09:51 AM
That loading with the lever with the pistol still assembled puts more stress on the pistol than one might think.

If you calculate the mechanical advantage of the lever (In most pistols it is about 9) Multiply that by the force needed to get the ball seated and the stress on the frame can be two hundred pounds.

I know...I know.... These pistols were designed to be loaded using the lever. About a billion pistols were made and used successfully in battle without the benefit of a loading press. There are likely very few examples of steel frame revolvers coming apart during the loading process. (Maybe a higher population of brass frame revolvers).

I agree that the revolver undergoes a good bit more stress during firing than during loading. My thought, though is; If you have a press and are permitted by the event or range rules to use it, Why not use it?