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Old April 25, 2005, 07:44 AM   #1
Jaxen
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Beginner Cap n Ball Questions

Hi all,
I am a beginner to cap n ball revolver shooting and have a few questions. Bit of background first, I am new to this and haven't shot one in about 20 years when I used to shoot a friends. Currently I am in what I would call the "acqusition" stage, having dealt with our idiotic Massachusetts gun laws and aquired the following:

A pair of Cimarron 1860 Armies (.44) in original finish, slightly used.
One Pietta 1860 Army (.44)
One cased Uberti 1861 Navy (.36) with flask, mold, etc. (I am looking to trade this for another Pietta 1860 Army, it also comes with a new Dixie fake Ivory grip, not installed)

Along with all this I received a powder measure, 2 flasks, 2 cappers, half a jar full of .452 round balls, some Hornady .454 balls, some old .375? balls, assorted half full cap tins (size 10 and 11), and I bought a cleaning kit, a gunsmith screwdriver set, and some T/C Bore Butter and cleaner.

Questions:

1. Powder? I have seen Pyrodex, American Pioneer Powder, Hodgon 777, Geox, Swiss, and a few others all talked about but don't know one from another. Some I think are black powder and some are ?substitutes? What are substitutes and what do I want to start with?

2. Conicals? I have heard of them, are they better than round balls or can I use what I have?

3. Wads? Do I need them or will the bore butter give me the lubrication I need?

4. Anything else I need that is missing from the list?

Thanks

Joel
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Old April 25, 2005, 02:26 PM   #2
100W_Warlock
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getting started...

Well, for starters, you can pick up a "starter kit" along with the pistol from Cabelas. Most run under $200 or so including everything you need (minus powder and primers) to get going.

Alot of new shooters get the 1851 Navy Colt replica with a steel frame in 36cal.
I shoot 777 (15graines VOLUME, which is simply measured using the included powder flask) and it cleans up really easily.

I use "Wonder Wads", but, you can use "lube pills. Or, simply put crisco over the end of each bore. The wads act to lubricate as well as help prevent "chain fires".

I have shot conicals and they are quite nice. You have to lube them, but, they work just as good if not better than round balls. After my 100rds of conicals are gone, I am just going to stick to round ball. I don't shoot it far enough to justify conicals. Wild Bill killed a man with one shot from his 1851 using a round ball at 75 yards.

For a great "getting started", http://www.angelfire.com/ny5/shenandoah/Choy.html
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Old April 25, 2005, 04:30 PM   #3
novus collectus
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I have no experience with the other powders but goex is blackpowder and pyrodex is substitute. The newer Clean Shot (Clear Shot?) is a substitute that claims to be cleaner and claims to be less attracted to water. Clean Shot works fine for me but I prefer blackpowder out of all powders I have tried.

Wonder Wads are nice and a lot less messy, but they are expensive and I have had a few problems with them. I use Bore Butter and I use it liberally on the cylinder pins (especially on my 1858(1863) remington replica).


What you have forgotten: Hot water and soap. The best way to clean off the powder. Just don't make the mistake I did and try to dry it off in the oven because it gives the guns rust spots. When you rinse, use really hot water and wipe dry as best you can. The hot water will heat the metal and evaporate real quick.
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Old April 25, 2005, 08:37 PM   #4
4V50 Gary
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Uglycat's (Gatofeo) thread

Click here for many answers to your questions about the BP revolver.
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Old April 26, 2005, 05:01 PM   #5
black bear 84
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I have not tryed the other powders by Pyrodex P don't work too well in small hole nipples like the .36 and .44 (in my experience) I do have better luck with black powder 3 F, with this I don't get hang ups and the groups are more accurate than with the Pyrodex.
I don't mess around with any grease anymore since I discovered wonder wads many years ago, it avoid having grease all over the place, in your pants your holster your hands.
Too clean the barrel faster use a little vinegar with your water.
If you shoots targets and cans the round ball is the proper one, conicals are a bear to start straight, cost more and if you don't use them to shoot meat they are a waste of money. Buy round balls
swaged without sprue.
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Old April 26, 2005, 05:05 PM   #6
Mark whiz
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Joel, let me answer what I can for you.

1. Basically about the only true black powder you'll come across is Goex or Swiss. There are a couple other brands out there, but hard to find. Any TRUE black powder will say "blackpowder" on the label, everything else (Pyrodex, Triple Seven, Clean Shot Clear Shot, American Pioneer, and Black Mag 3) will say "blackpowder substitute" or "smokeless" on the label.
I've found that true Goex black powder gives me the best velocity out of my Pietta 1858 replica; but the substitutes (excpet Clear Shot) clean up quite a bit easier than Black does.

2. I have hunted with 180gr conicals made by Buffalo and they good results on a hog my son took with them. They tend to not be quite as accurate as round balls are, and definitely not as cheap to buy.

3. Typically, you need to either use lubed wads or cover the top of the ball with a lube, or both when shooting these revolvers - to both keep the bore ready to shoot and to prevent "chain fires" (more than 1 cylinder firing at a time). Most of the time, I use both wads & a lube and it works well for me. I have been making my own felt wads and lube lately, so the expensive of using them has become moot.

4. You're in pretty good shape with accessories. You might want to consider a loading stand to speed up your loading time - otherwise, you're good to go.
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Old April 26, 2005, 05:40 PM   #7
novus collectus
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Quote:
I have been making my own felt wads and lube lately, so the expensive of using them has become moot.
How? I gotta know. A Wonder Wad is more expensive than the bullets, powder and cap all put together (I may be exagerating, but not much). Be great to find a cheaper substitute. Sounds like a great idea (that I want to copy).

And thanks ahead of time if you respond with the recipe.
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Old April 26, 2005, 07:41 PM   #8
4V50 Gary
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After you finish reading that link I posted, go to Gatofeo's other sticky thread that describes how to make your own wads. It's worth your time.
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Old April 26, 2005, 08:17 PM   #9
novus collectus
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Thanks 4v50 Gary. I only glimpsed it earlier but got discouraged when he said he did something I don't (drying the pistol in oven). But his ideas for the wads sound real good. Only problem I'll have with it though, is that the canning parrafin and beeswax are probably things I can only get at the out-in-the-country farmer's market. They do not sound like easy to acquire items. When I read most of the rest I found that the guy had lots of good advice.
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Old April 29, 2005, 02:44 PM   #10
RobW
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Novus Collectus: if some of gatofeo's ingredients are hard to find, 50% Crisco and 50% candle-wax (paraffin) will do it, too. You can even go with the scented candle-wax to ease the smell of the black

If you don't want to punch out your own wads, www.buffaloarms.com sell .36 and .44 unlubed wads for $20.00/1000. I use them with Crisco and Candle-wax but after my 1000 are gone, I'll try out the concoction gatofeo discovered.
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Old April 29, 2005, 05:27 PM   #11
mec
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I use the boiling hot water thing for drying and start to oil even befire the water has steamed off- pot holders to keep from getting blistered.

Usual Performance curve with all charges thrown from a measure calibrated for Black powder ( the subs weight less but you use the same volume)
American Pioneer
Goex fffg
Pyrodex P
H777
Swiss.
Results can vary but this is the usual outcome. Any black powder is hard to get around here- because of insurance and government and I get by just fine with Pyrodex P most of the time. Black powder fouls the bore and the gun up quickest followed by pyrodex and American Pioneer and H777 fouling not very much at all. I clean them all the same way so , don't know about their rusting properties.
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Old April 29, 2005, 05:39 PM   #12
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go check out www.muzzleloadingforum.com

lots of very helpful people.
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Old April 29, 2005, 05:56 PM   #13
novus collectus
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Rob W.,
Thanks, buffaloarms.com is a good place. I probably wil get some of their wool felt wads when my expensive Wonder Wads run out that I had bought a while ago.

My earlier post I said that it would be hard to find canning parrafin. Apparently it is found in my local supermarket. "Don't figure".
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Old April 29, 2005, 10:34 PM   #14
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Just a few things to add. Until you've become very familiar with your revolvers, and the loading practice, steer clear of the nitrated paper, or paper catridges.
Also a thin brass wire would be useful.
As would a cone wrench.
On any Colt derived design, having a spare wedge is useful.
And on a Colt, grease the arbor, that's what the grooves are for....
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Old May 1, 2005, 11:15 PM   #15
Gomezy3k
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Back in the 1970's when I first started shooting muzzle loaders Crisco came in metal buckets... I snagged an empty one and then melted about a quarter of a can in a large pan, added some beeswax I had gotten at a Hobby shop (candle makers sometimes use it) and melted that in... I then poured it in the bucket...

I still have it and when it gets low I just throw it on my gas grill on its lowest temperature and add in more wax and crisco...works great...

You might want to consider casting your own round balls and conicals. I have used both... Actually if you use the correct diameter Round Ball it almost becomes a Conical when you use the rammer to push it into the cylinder...

The bullet mould I have casts both Round and Conical bullets (one of each)...
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Old May 2, 2005, 08:56 AM   #16
Jaxen
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Thanks

Thanks for all the answers and links. Very informative!

Has anyone tried this company:

http://www.powderinc.com/

They carry Geox, KIK, Swiss, and something called Skirmish and deliver it to the door. Skirmish looks the cheapest, but I haven't heard anything about it before.
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Old May 2, 2005, 11:39 AM   #17
novus collectus
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Watch out Jaxen, there may be a hazardous materials shipping fee of $20 added onto the final price. You would have to buy in large bulk to compensate for the added cost. (loaded ammo is not charged the fee, but primers and some powders by themselves are).
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Old May 5, 2005, 07:06 AM   #18
Jaxen
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Cost

Your right on the added fee. Cost works out to:

Swiss - 23.25 lb for 5 lbs and 19.35 lb for 10 lbs
Geoxx - 17.40 lb for 5 lbs and 14.00 lb for 10 lbs
Skirmish - 15.00 lb for 5 lbs and 11.60 lb for 10 lbs

delivered to the door. Not sure yet how that compares to the local prices. Obviously 25 and 50 pound lots would bring the cost/lb down more, but that seems a little much to start with. Might work if there's a few divying it up.
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Old May 5, 2005, 08:12 AM   #19
novus collectus
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Quote:
Geoxx - 17.40 lb for 5 lbs and 14.00 lb for 10 lbs
Is that total cost figured in or is that just the HAZMAT fee? I think that some suppliers might also charge an extra HAZMAT fee for really large orders, but I never looked into it so I haven't a clue if that is the case. It may be a good idea for people in a gun club that has a lot of blckpowder shooters.
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Old May 5, 2005, 08:58 AM   #20
Jaxen
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Total charge for powder, hazmat, and shipping. Their web site has a calc feature where you plug in quantity and zip and it adds shipping, hazmat, and powder charges.

How does it compare to what your paying locally?
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Old May 5, 2005, 03:44 PM   #21
novus collectus
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Quote:
How does it compare to what your paying locally?
I can't remember exactly since I last bought powder a year ago. I do remember that it was a whole lot more than $3.50 a pound. I think it was between $10 to $15 a pound. I might go the mail order route next time.
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