PDA

View Full Version : New to black powder, need advice.


xMINORxTHREATx
November 25, 2010, 10:49 AM
I've been looking at getting a blackpowder pistol and am interested in the Army Revolver kit from Tradition's/Pietta, seeing as its a starter kit, and I will be new to this whole black powder stuff.


I REALLY want a LeMat Cavalry, but don't wanna fork out 850 bucks for a gun Im only going to shoot three or four times a year, and have decorating my bookshelf the rest of the time. haha

Anyone know of a cheaper LeMat Cavalry out there?

And if I go with the kit, what else should I invest in?

Also, can I use less powder to lighten the recoil so my lady friend can fire it comfortably?

robhof
November 25, 2010, 11:04 AM
The Lemat was and is a complex pistol due to it's duel barrels, I don't know if I'd want a cheap one if they made any. Your powder load can be adjusted down on any b/p gun and is one of the advantages if it. You'll find the round ball to be lighter recoiling and actually more accurate in most pistols. Read the reviews on any kit gun as the level of expertise and fit and finish varies greatly. Finally, welcome to the world of B/P, beware that it's addictive.:D:rolleyes:;)

Doc Hoy
November 25, 2010, 11:36 AM
You came to the right place.

You should find a thread near the top entitled, "So you want to buy a cap and ball revolver", or something like that. It is a good read.

The Cabelas deal is going for 239.00 in the Xmas catalog (Page 51) and it looks like they are including a steel frame revolver. (I'd go with the eight inch Remington for starters. A little more user friendly) What you get in the kit is worth just barely forty bucks so it is not really a deal. (Cabelas says it is 54.99 in retail value but that is bogus) Just lets you get shooting with fewer things to buy. The nipple wrench, and powder measure are very important. The bore lube isn't worth what they charge for it. You can start with pure Crisco although that is not a much admired bore lube, but neither is the Cabelas. At the right moment, ask the group about bore lube and you will get several different recipes. They are all less expensive and more effective than the crap you get in the tubes.


The powder flask is junk. I like the CVA1400 at about $16.00 or so but many on the forum will give me a argument on that. IT IS ASSUMED TO BE UNSAFE TO LOAD DIRECTLY FROM THE FLASK INTO A PREVIOUSLY FIRED REVOLVER. Not embers remaining from the previous shot can ignite powder in the flask causing serious injury.

You get thirty round balls which of course, you will need. You will also get thirty wads which (IMHO) you can do without. (Others swear by wads and I can not argue since I never tried them.)

I recommend buying the revolver alone (Steel frame Remington - 199.99) and then getting the other paraphernailia seperately but lets assume you get the revolver and kit, you'll need powder and caps. Get a can of Rem oil and some rags. You'll need a cleaning rod and some cleaning patches

Hearing protection and eye protection is pretty important.

To clean the revolver after shooting it, you will need a plastic basin, an assortment of bottle brushes from half inch to inch and a tolerant girlfriend.

The book you get with the revolver will recommend a relatively light (The book was written by lawyers, not shooters) load with not much recoil. You can increase it by about fifty percent and not hurt the pistol. But you will find that much more than 25 or 30 grains in the .44 is overkill unless you like more smoke, fire and noise.

I would carefully remove the nipples from the cylinder before you fire the revolver. Spray the nipples and the holes in the cylinder with Rem oil before you put the nipples back into the cylinder. Don't make the nipple too tight or you won't get them out easily. Many disagree with me on this as well but I believe the nipples should come out of the pistol every time you shoot it.

Others on the forum will have additional things to say. Don't be surprised if you enegender conflicting opinions. This forum would not be near what it is if everyone always agreed.

Hawg Haggen
November 25, 2010, 01:23 PM
Pretty much what Doc said. The balls in the Cabela's kit are .451's. I prefer (as do most shooters) .454 balls. One thing I will disagree with Doc on is spraying Remoil in the nipple holes. You don't want any petroleum based lube in the bore or chambers. Cleanup is with hot soapy water.

starbuck125
November 25, 2010, 02:01 PM
i perfer the .454 balls, better seal in the chambers. some like the .451's. like mentioned before anything over 25-30 grains is overkill. use # 10 caps, #11 caps don't seal, fit good, could come off the nipple after you fire a round or two.
powder loads ....try different loads, to see what you and your pistol like.
welcome to the forum , these folks here , are full of knowledge that stuns me everytime i'm on this site.

Doc Hoy
November 25, 2010, 02:15 PM
....a good screwdriver. It should be hollow ground so as to better engage the slots. Otherwise the screwslots will be damaged.

There is much other stuff you will realize you should have as the shooting days go by but those things will present themselves as a need or nice-to-have at the right moment.

Rifleman1776
November 25, 2010, 02:51 PM
Can't go wrong with 92% of what Doc Hoy said. :rolleyes:
I agree with him except Crisco and firearms (of any kind) lube should not be mentioned together, ever. It is the worstest stuff ever for C&B lube or seal.
Order a bunch of Ox Yoke wads from Track of the Wolf, you will never want to use anything else. Except, maybe, wads you punch out your self.
Leave the nipples alone except to change them once every thousand rounds or so.
Use any quality lube for the moving parts you want. I prefer Teflon based ones like Break Free.
Just be sure to clear oil from the inside of the cylinder and nipples before loading your first round for a shooting session.
Other than that, enjoy.

Doc Hoy
November 25, 2010, 05:46 PM
Seems like everyone who uses them likes them.

I do like my Crisco and toilet donuts recipe better than the schmutz that comes from Cabelas or Thompson. But I can not criticise wonder wads because I never used them.

At seven bucks a thousand, you can't make them much cheaper.

starbuck125
November 25, 2010, 07:05 PM
doc, you'll love the wonder wads, been using them for a few years now... give them a try. if ya decide that you don't like them, let me know. i'll buy what you got left :D

Wildalaska
November 25, 2010, 07:54 PM
I do like my Crisco and toilet donuts recipe better than the schmutz that comes from Cabelas or Thompson.

Showing your age...when I got my 1st BP revolver in 1973, thats what everyone used:p


Regards

Wildijustloaded80.455webleyblackpowderroundsoractually.450adamstobepreciseAlaska ™©2002-20210

mrappe
November 25, 2010, 09:50 PM
I would recomend the Remington 1858. It is a better gun and has better sights and does not jam as easily. I have both the Colt and The Rem. The Remington is more accurate and easier to clean and shoot. I used the wads under the ball and Bore Butter over the ball for 12 years but have recently switched to no wads and Crisco over the ball and I like that better. best way to clean is with soap and warm water in a plastic tub as Doc says. Make sure you take the nipples out before you shoot it and make sure you lube them or even better coat them with a high temp anti-seize. After I did that I don't have any trouble getting them loose anymore. After you clean the gun Use an air compressor or hair drier to make sure it is dry. I have found with mine that the Remington #10 caps stay on much better that the CCI's that I was using but your gun may be different. Cap an ball guns take a little more experimenting with but I am addicted to them and find them cheaper to shoot also. Have fun.

Doc Hoy
November 26, 2010, 06:32 AM
You are correct on that score.

I started shooting the Crisco/wax ring in about 1975 and just never switched to anything else. I tried the Cabelas and Thompsons concoctions but I decided mine is better for me and the way I shoot. I bought a coupla pure wool felt hats and punched out about a billion wads but never soaked them in anything to try them. I realized halfway through the process how cheap wonder wads are and that I was wasting my time.

If you make your own, what do you soak the punched out wads in?

xMINORxTHREATx
November 26, 2010, 09:14 AM
Thanks for all the information guys!

Some of the information you guys are giving me, you learned before I was born (no offense) and you are still using it, so its gotta be good. haha

So just to make sure I have this right, the nipple is what the cap goes on, and it screws into the back of the cylinder?

And what did they use for lube before Crisco and "wonder wads?"

And how easy is it to change the cylinders? I read somewhere, or maybe Im making this up, that since reloading took some time, they used to carry extra cylinders already loaded, and switched the cylinders out in the middle of a gun fight.

Thanks for the patience, I know I'm full of question, I just love to learn. haha

Hawg Haggen
November 26, 2010, 09:40 AM
So just to make sure I have this right, the nipple is what the cap goes on, and it screws into the back of the cylinder?


Yes


And what did they use for lube before Crisco and "wonder wads?"


Colt recommended against the use of wads. Most probably didn't use anything. The ones that did probably used a mix of animal fat and beeswax as an over ball lube. Gen Lee's 51 Navy was fired 7 years after his death and it was noted chambers had some kind of black waxy substance covering the balls. It was also noted all six chambers fired perfectly.


And how easy is it to change the cylinders? I read somewhere, or maybe Im making this up, that since reloading took some time, they used to carry extra cylinders already loaded, and switched the cylinders out in the middle of a gun fight.


It's pretty easy to change cylinders on a Remington but that's a modern deal. Gunfights didn't take that many rounds.There weren't that many gunfights either except maybe during the Indian wars. During the war C.S. Cavalry troopers carried anywhere from four to eight revolvers.

Foto Joe
November 26, 2010, 09:51 AM
Doc is right on the money with his advice but I'm surprised that only one person has taken him to task on the RemOil.

Keep in mind that when these guns were in use, petroleum products for the most part did not exist. Lubrication was achieved via what ever was on hand which a lot of times turned out to be animal fat, beeswax or some sort of coal oil. We do have better things around today but there really isn't too much disagreement when it comes to using petroleum based lubricants on anything that shoots Black Powder. They work, but they do make your life more complicated at bath time.

Petroleum lubes tend to get tarry and resist cleaning with soap and water. This leads one to use things like GunScrubber or Brake Parts Cleaner or solvents to remove the residue, all unneeded expenses in my opinion and not as effective cleaning a gun as they are cleaning brakes. Also the pH of RemOil is unknown to me, but I would guess that it's neutral. Black Powder residue is slightly acidic so using a slightly alkaline lubricant makes sense (anybody see where this is going yet?). There exists just such a product which has been in production for over a century, Ballistol. It's the wonder product for Black Powder shooting, it slices, it dices and it puree's so to speak. Mix it with water 1:1 and you get Moose Milk which can be used for cleaning, although it's messy and your wife/girlfriend will need to love you more than you irritate her if she catches you using it in the house. Ballistol can be found a numerous outlets including MidwayUSA, but keep in mind you do not want the aerosol, get the non-aerosol and buy a small spray bottle for Moose Milk.

Nipples
Some do some don't (remove them). I personally remove them every time I clean but that's just me. I would suggest that as a beginner you DO remove the nipples when you clean. My reasoning is that when you get started you are going to miss stuff, cleaning is an art. Until you perfect your "Art" remove the nipples and make sure that they are absolutely dry before re-installing them. Since you already have your Ballistol by now, just put a drop on the threads before you re-install then screw them in snug but DON'T lean on them. They won't fall out during use, trust me.

Now the mis-understood Crisco
I use it, but maybe not for the reasons some people might think. First off, I'm cheap. I've used the wads both lubed and not. I don't need the expense of the wads and since I have a tendency to keep a gun loaded once in a while, lubed wads will foul the powder. One of my reasons for the Crisco isn't to seal the chambers. If the ball doesn't seal the chamber then the Crisco won't either. I just use a popsicle stick to put a dab on the mouths of the chambers for lubrication. In the summer I don't use it at all, I just pull the barrel ever few cylinders and Ballistol the arbor. Not really for the cylinder as much as to keep the barrel arbor lubed so I can get the barrel off at bath time. Any commercial Black Powder lube will do the same as Crisco and possibly better but think about it. Your wife/girlfriend probably has a can of Crisco sitting in the kitchen cupboard already paid for, and when's the last time she used it?? My only advice is not to return it to the kitchen cupboard when you're done or the next time you get cupcakes, they may taste funny.

Notes for a beginning Black Powder shooter.

1. Pull the nipples during cleaning until you are comfortable with your methods.

2. Lubricate with petroleum products only if you have to and don't use solvents. WD-40 IS NOT a lubricant!!

3. Use lubed wads if you want, they won't hurt anything. If you want filler, try cornmeal or cream of wheat to bring the ball closer to the forcing cone of the barrel. These also make excellent "gas-checks" as they compress and form around the ball better than wads.

4. Clean with hot soapy water or Moose Milk. Stay away from Petro-Chem solvents as they are not as effective.

5. And most importantly, post pics of the new gun. Post "Range Tales". Encourage others to get BP soot on them as well where ever you shoot. And if you reload cartridges be prepared to start thinking about putting Black Powder in guns you never considered to be Black Powder guns.

And remember, we're here to help you with your addiction, there are always people here that can point you in the direction of more Black Powder guns.

zippy13
November 26, 2010, 10:24 AM
As usual, Doc Hoy's advice is on target, but, he must have a different Cabelas Xmas catalog, mine has the c & b revolvers on pages 296 & 297.

If you want to save a pinch more, forget about a powder dipper and find a .45ACP shell casing. Attach a wire handle and you'll have your .44 dipper.

After you've learned the ropes with a Remington (or Colt), then have another look at the LeMat. I've always thought it was very cool since my childhood days watching TV's Sheriff Johnny Ringo get out of one scrape after another with his 7th shot.

doc, you'll love the wonder wads, been using them for a few years now... give them a try. if ya decide that you don't like them, let me know. i'll buy what you got left
Yes they are great, but at what price? When I went to replenish my supply and realized they're now more than it costs me to reload .45ACPs, I had second thoughts. The wad shouldn't be the most expensive part of shooting! So, I got some wool felt, mixed up some lube and re-sized a Harbor Freight punch. Now I save a few dollars with each trip to the range.

Hawg Haggen
November 26, 2010, 10:41 AM
One of my reasons for the Crisco isn't to seal the chambers. If the ball doesn't seal the chamber then the Crisco won't either

I've got a 58 Remington that will prove you oh so wrong.:D

My only problem with Crisco is it gets runny in summer heat but then so does Bore Butter. I mix mine with beeswax.

Rifleman1776
November 26, 2010, 10:46 AM
Keep in mind that when these guns were in use, petroleum products for the most part did not exist.

Nicest response: Horsefeathers. Petroleum products did exist. You even mention one later in your post.
In fact there were petroleum greases aplenty, the original petroleum jelly, water pump grease and others. But beeswax mixed with something else to soften was probably the number one.
The main use of a grease, of any kind, was for overball sealing to prevent chain/cross firing.
I became a fan of wads after using them for the first time many-many years ago. Easy to use.Easy to make if you wish but they are inexpensive to buy. I had punches to make my own but usually purchased. Lubed or dry did not seem to affect performance. A lube really is not needed.
Low velocity, soft lead doesn't need any slickery help to get through a bore.

Foto Joe
November 26, 2010, 11:25 AM
I've got a 58 Remington that will prove you oh so wrong.

My reasoning is that when the gun is fired for the first time, most of the Crisco gets blown out of the chambers by the blast. Enough remains for lubrication from my point of view. Sealing the chamber from a chain fire it would seem, would be the function of the lead ball shaving during loading. Explain about the Remmie if you would, did you have a chain fire and if so what did you attribute it to??

Nicest response: Horsefeathers. Petroleum products did exist. You even mention one later in your post.

"For the most part" is the key. Petroleum products did exist but prior to the gasoline engine (diesel used peanut oil) the wide spread refinement of crude oil into other products was not something that the common man encountered. Also, it is my understanding that Ballistol is a Coal Oil based mineral oil.

I would really rather not hijack this young mans thread though. The whole idea of this is to encourage him in his pursuit of the Holy Black. We each have our own methods of doing what we love to do and to each of us, ours is the right way. He too will find his "Right Way" and we may or may not agree with it, as long as it works for the individual shootist it matters not to me how he achieves his goal. Only that he does it safely, enjoys the experience and at some time passes his passion on to another generation.

Hawg Haggen
November 26, 2010, 11:35 AM
Sealing the chamber from a chain fire it would seem, would be the function of the lead ball shaving during loading. Explain about the Remmie if you would, did you have a chain fire and if so what did you attribute it to??

I bought the gun when I was 12 and didn't know squat. I had chain fires galore with it until I started putting a drop of oil on the balls. Later I learned about Crisco. True enough most blows out but it will leave enough for lubrication and seal off the chamber. I still have the gun and have fired it with all six chambers loaded and just capping one nipple at a time. It won't chain that way but leave the balls unlubed and no wad and it will chain every time. I use .454 balls and it shaves a nice ring so your guess is as good as mine.

Hawg Haggen
November 26, 2010, 05:29 PM
Spend a lil more and get the CCH with checkereed grips. It is really smooth.

http://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y269/rebel727/Remingtons/cch.jpg


Then you're gonna need a .36 Navy.

http://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y269/rebel727/36%20Remington/left.jpg


And a 60 Army.



http://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y269/rebel727/Colt/Pietta1860.jpg


And well nm you get the idea.:D

Doc Hoy
November 26, 2010, 06:03 PM
Here are some of the Colts.

http://i617.photobucket.com/albums/tt259/Dochoy/Colts.jpg

robhof
November 26, 2010, 09:07 PM
Not as nice as Doc's, but this is my family of smokers;

xMINORxTHREATx
November 26, 2010, 10:28 PM
You all are getting me excited about this. haha

For the longest time I've been into the latest and greatest about guns. The newest technology, polymer frames, EOTech sights etc, etc.
When I was in the Army, I had more money in accessories on my M16 than my car was worth!!!

This changed when I bought my 1944 Nagant Revolver. It was a completely impulse buy, and since then, I have been looking at more and more older weapons.

It's kind of off topic, but if you got an extra $95 lying around, and want a weird piece of history, check out the Nagant revolver at www.aimsurplus.com
very fun to shoot.

Foto Joe
November 27, 2010, 10:42 AM
It's kind of off topic, but if you got an extra $95 lying around, and want a weird piece of history, check out the Nagant revolver

That's an interesting little piece of history and for a cartridge gun, not a bad price to my uneducated eye. Having just bought a Schofield Russian however and finding out that it's almost impossible to get the brass, let alone ammunition, what are the odds that you could find what you needed to fire it?

Fingers McGee
November 27, 2010, 11:18 AM
And here are a few of mine:

http://i25.photobucket.com/albums/c86/fingersmcgee/100_1549.jpg

They all get lubed wads (not the expensive Cabelas or Wonder Wads) and bore butter on the arbor to keep them spinning free. Nipples get removed and cleaned with Birchwood Casey BP Solvent after every match. Balistol is used to clean and lubricate them the rest of the revolver. A little straight Balistol is sprayed on the nipple threads to keep them from freezing up.

mrappe
November 27, 2010, 12:20 PM
My only problem with Crisco is it gets runny in summer heat but then so does Bore Butter. I mix mine with beeswax

I just started to mix mine yesterday with beeswax. What ratio do you use?

Doc Hoy
November 27, 2010, 01:34 PM
...I do use the wax rings from under toilets. They used to be high in beeswax but no more. Now it is probably a parafin base material. It works for me and I mix it about half and half with Crisco. It stays were I put it even on hot day on a hot revolver.

It cleans up easy and does not appear to be harming the pistols.

I lube the bullets in it and smear it over the chambers.

4V50 Gary
November 27, 2010, 01:39 PM
Fingers McGee, you've got quite a collection of cap 'n balls. I've only three Ruger Old Armies to my name (7 1/2 blue w/adj sights, 7 1/2 stainless w/adj sights and 5" SS fixed sight).

Hawg Haggen
November 27, 2010, 02:04 PM
I just started to mix mine yesterday with beeswax. What ratio do you use?

It varies with the temp. I really don't measure anything but usually around 60/40.

xMINORxTHREATx
November 27, 2010, 03:58 PM
a box of 50 is $20 and some change from the same website. Everywhere else its about $40 a box. That website is very fair priced on their stuff. The store is about four minutes from my house too. =]

Gatofeo
November 28, 2010, 07:36 PM
I much prefer greased, felt wads between the ball and powder, instead of grease over the ball. The wads are more easily carried and used. The grease is often messy to apply (a Popsicle stick helps).
A mix of beeswax and lard (unsalted, please) makes a good lubricant, or any kind of animal tallow. I can't give proportions because it's been years since I made it. I seem to recall I made it about 4 parts melted beeswax to 1 part lard.
The late gun writer Elmer Keith, who learned to load cap and ball sixguns from Civil War veterans, suggested a 50-50 mix of (unspecified) tallow and beeswax.
For the past 10 years or more I've been using the lubricant recipe named after me: Gatofeo No. 1 Lubricant. You'll find the recipe in my post, "So you want a cap and ball revolver" in the sticky section.
It's a mix of mutton tallow, beeswax and canning paraffin. I haven't found anything better, but you MUST use the specified ingredients. Substituting anything else results in an inferior lubricant.
Anymore, the only time I put grease over a ball is when I'm firing maximum charges and there is no space for a wad, or sometimes when it's so blamed hot and dry here in the Utah desert that the felt wad won't keep fouling soft.
Both of the above are exceptions, not my typical shooting day.

Fingers McGee
November 28, 2010, 08:41 PM
Fingers McGee, you've got quite a collection of cap 'n balls. I've only three Ruger Old Armies to my name (7 1/2 blue w/adj sights, 7 1/2 stainless w/adj sights and 5" SS fixed sight).


Thanks Gary. It's only a small portion. Your three ROAs are a good start on a collection.