Thank you for the info.
I just walked in from shooting 35 grains with a .451 ball using a "Precision Lube 2000 PLUS felt Wad" and a light coating of Cabela's brand natural lube on top of the ball.
I went to the Cabela's website and read the user comments and most suggested using 35 grains.
One person posted that he went with the suggested 12 grains in the Pietta manual and now has a ball stuck 1/2 way down the barrel.
My grouping was a consistent 2 1/2" at around 25 yards with the pistol shooting about 1" high and 2" to the right consistently and yes, I did get a little smoke and flame but the bore was clean.
Just to note, I am using Remington #10 caps (Read on Cabela's site that they fit better) and the Pioneer powder seems to be very clean.
I'll play around with 25 and 30 grain loads tomorrow and post the results.
Again, thank you for the replies and advice.
Further info is welcome.