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Old February 1, 2008, 07:27 PM   #1
samco
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Keep BP loaded

Hi All

How long can you let a BP revolver set after loading it? Approximately. 2 days 2 years, forever?



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Old February 1, 2008, 07:56 PM   #2
long rider
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Are we talking real bp or sub.

Sod Buster Tried To Pull On Willson.
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Old February 1, 2008, 08:46 PM   #3
Jbar4Ranch
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A long, loong, looong, loooong time.

I have a relic 1849 Colt revolver that still had 5 loaded chambers when it was plowed up in a nearby field around 1941 after having been lost probably in the 1860's sometime.

About a decade or so ago, I had it out and one of the balls fell out of a chamber, along with a bit of rust contaminated powder. I scraped the residue into a primed .25 acp case, seated a bullet, put it in my trusty Raven, pulled the trigger, and BANG it went.
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Old February 1, 2008, 09:03 PM   #4
long rider
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That would be something if you could find out
who the last person was that ownend that gun.

Sod Buster Tried To Pull On Willson.
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Old February 1, 2008, 09:24 PM   #5
Jbar4Ranch
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Unbelievably, I've found some information about the owner of the gun. Scratched into the butt is: C Smith April 29, 1861. I found three pieces of correspondence between a C Smith and an Overland Stage agent named Nat Stein in the University of Utah's Manuscript Library dated 1865, and the signatures on the letters are a spot-on match to the scratched signature on the gun butt. It's almost a dead certainty that they are one and the same person. From the context of the letters, C Smith was likely a station agent in charge of two or three stations in present day southwest Montana; Red Rock (creek), Horse Prairie Station, and possibly Junction Station, all three of which I've located. In one of the letters, he writes of "returning to the states" soon, which leads me to believe the gun could have been lost on a trip to Fort Benton shortly after the letter was written in 1865. Of course, it's entirely possible Mr. Smith made several trips to and from Fort Benton too, and it could have been lost anytime clear back to sometime in 1861. It's also possible that "returning to the states", he had no further use for the revolver and sold it before leaving too and the next owner lost it. Who knows. Fascinating stuff, this history.
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Old February 1, 2008, 10:38 PM   #6
long rider
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Your right thats fascinating stuff, i wonder if the gun
saw any action, now that would be fascinating to know.
I envy you, you have a cool piece of history there.
P.S thanks for the info.

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Old February 1, 2008, 10:54 PM   #7
Jbar4Ranch
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A transcript, as written. On page two of the first letter, he refers to another man's shotgun and says, "the gun will be a good thing in camp", so perhaps he had already lost his 1849 Colt by that time, meaning it could well have been lost here between 1861 and 1865.
_____________________________________________

LETTER ONE
Read (Red) Rock
Aug 25th/65

Mr Stien Sir
I have a favor to ask of you
it is concerning Mr John Allen
to and that is to go to Mr Downs
and See if you can get the
mair of his that he troubles So
much a bout Mr Downs has a bridle
Sadle and laryette and powder flask
and Pouch
and go to Thom ???? and get his
gun that is John Double barrel you
can see if it is all rite and
Send gun and flask & pouch
down on the coach to mee
and the second teamster you
Send Send him on the cutoff to
Junction Station if you think
he will do to trust with
the mair Send mair Sadle and
bridle & lariett by him and
Then he will hear where I
am at I think I shall be
threw with ??? in Six days
from to day

PAGE TWO
if I am not there he
will find out from
them there where I am
at
Send the Mair for Roob
Tolde John that he would
have the next man to bring
him down to him I am going
to use him my self to
wride the gun will be
a good thing in camp
if you can get it with out
to much trouble to your
Self The auld fellow
can’t write and he wants
his gun and Mair with So
I can use his
I am a heap of trouble
I think I can’t tell what
you think but I recon
you think the same
yours C Smith

LETTER TWO
Read (Red) Rock Creek
Aug 25th/1865

Friend Stien Sir
You will Please Send me 3 Teamsters
as I or one of my men ar going
to the States as Soon as I can get a
man for th?? ???
Send (me? the?) regular auld bull drivers
for all the men I have had lately ar
stage drivers as soon as they see Roob
they ar going to get a String of Stock
I want 3 hay forks I forgot to say any
thing to Mr Thomas as he won’t now a bout
them and some ox lashes I can’t tell
how it is with you a bout geting
such things but I must have the forks
and there ain’t such a thing on the road
oanly what I have got and the mule teamster
broke the 1 I let them have
I need the gun and ammunision all rite
and am under obligation to you for
your trouble and will be happy
to settle for the same
I have not had any more forks in
camp since Yours Truley
C Smith

LETTER THREE

Horse Prerray Station
Oct 5th 1865

Mr Stien Sir
you will Please Send
Mee 5 lbs of chewing Tobaco
and charge the Sum to mee
And oblige yours
C Smith
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Old February 3, 2008, 11:46 PM   #8
Raider2000
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Interesting read there my friend & a great piece of history you have there with the pistol & letters..

Back to the question.

If loaded properly "IE chambers deffinitly dry, powder then wad & or Ball over top then maybe grease over the ball & a good seated cap" & if the weapon is not subject to the elements it should last for several years & still be reliable enough to fire off the loaded chambers.

I've had my 1851 Navy loaded for more than 1-2 years once & only had one chamber fail to fire on the first attempt but after the second cap it too fired & kept the acuracy as though it had been loaded that morning.

I occasionally will keep either my 1858 "8 inch barreled or 5.5 inch barreled" or my 1860 loaded for going out back & sometimes they'll be loaded for a few months before I get a chance to shoot them off, when I do that though I usually will have a bit of finger nail polish around the cap & nipple to keep from moisture from getting into that area of the cylinder "do that mostly for when I do have one loaded in this maner & I'm caught out back & it rains a bit." "Before any one rings in, I some times carry one of my toys instead of my regular deffence pieces because I can shoot them just as well as I can my .45ACP or 9mm, just sometimes I feel like doing so & because I can."
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Old February 4, 2008, 07:57 AM   #9
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Quote:
I some times carry one of my toys instead of my regular deffence pieces because I can shoot them just as well as I can my .45ACP or 9mm, just sometimes I feel like doing so & because I can.
And it just seems more fun too!
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Old February 4, 2008, 11:30 AM   #10
Raider2000
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grymster2007
And it just seems more fun too!
Exactly, I never know when a very mean looking stump may come creeping by..
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Old February 4, 2008, 12:48 PM   #11
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Quote:
never know when a very mean looking stump may come creeping by..
That's what I like about stumps... you can unload on them and if you happen to hit one of the good ones, well... no foul!

We've never had a bear or big cat or even two legged predators invade our camp, but we've had a lot of trouble with those no-good, low-down, commie, pinko, Bolshevik beer cans and water bottles trying to sneak in. In the past, many of these terrorists fell to well placed double taps from modern firearms, but this year, lots of them are going to give up their lives the old fashioned way.
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Old February 4, 2008, 01:15 PM   #12
Raider2000
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grymster2007
That's what I like about stumps... you can unload on them and if you happen to hit one of the good ones, well... no foul!

We've never had a bear or big cat or even two legged predators invade our camp, but we've had a lot of trouble with those no-good, low-down, commie, pinko, Bolshevik beer cans and water bottles trying to sneak in. In the past, many of these terrorists fell to well placed double taps from modern firearms, but this year, lots of them are going to give up their lives the old fashioned way.
Yeah I know what ya mean about all them cans & bottles, have a few of them on occasion too "too often for my liking" but I have had a Coyote, a rabid Fox, & a rather irritated Black Bear come cross as not too friendly on a few occasions & only once did I have a 2 legged tresspasser/poacher that wished he had not picked my land to set up a hunting operatunaty "no I didn't shoot him but he felt kinda weak kneed & lost all control of his bodily functions when he saw the business end of a .45/70 Winchester up close & personal."
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Old February 21, 2008, 09:48 PM   #13
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Wow thats some history and a nice find indeed. love to have that in my collection
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Old February 22, 2008, 01:39 AM   #14
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My first gun was a 45 kit gun; Italian percussion, killed a few rabbits and many cans with it. Went to modern and for many years only shot the magnum stuff. I picked up a Ruger old Army(not period correct) and have got back into B/p, now I've got 3 rifles and 2 pistols in B/p. I guss it's an addiction...
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Old February 23, 2008, 09:43 PM   #15
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Haven't you heard the story about the farmer plowing up the old rusty CW musket barrel? He was heating it up or beating on it or something happens and the thing goes off and blows his head off--and a dug up CW artillery shell, setting on the bricks next to the fire place, gets too hot from the fire, blam it blows up the fire place? I suppose that powder like that can remain active as long as it does not absorb moisture over time. However, stuff that is in or on guns can contaminate the powder load, so there are chances of a fizzle too. Presumably heat can melt something like lube in wads under the ball, or groove grease in a mini ball could migrate into the powder, or any oil that was in the chamber before loading could affect the powder, etc. Well that is a good excuse if your gun fizzles when you are at a shooting match? I would think a dab of melted wax around the caps would seal them from moisture in the air? I suppose that if the gun is loaded perfectly, with a good seal on the cap and around the ball or bullet, then it is maybe equivalent to a sealed brass cartridge case loaded with BP in which case it might go boom after a long time? Then again if the powder attracts or holds moisture, is it possible to cause rust in the chamber if the thing is not just perfect and mess up the gun? Best to not leave it loaded if you have no purpose for it. Or buy a cartridge conversion cylinder.
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Old February 24, 2008, 02:46 PM   #16
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Black powder is somewhat hygroscopic, meaning it will absorb moisture. But if sealed and out of the weather (as in a loaded gun or a loaded artillery shell) it will last literally forever. Several years ago a Civil War buff tried to deactivate an old explosive shell. He made his last mistake.

Jim
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Old February 24, 2008, 03:56 PM   #17
Raider2000
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Yes we still sometimes find unexploded ordanance in or around the Civil War Battlefields & on occasion a person will get harmed or even killed from either playing around with one or trying to drill into one to dissable it.
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Old March 1, 2008, 11:48 AM   #18
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A guy that posts on THR bought a couple of Civil war period Colts percussion pistols that had been hidden under the floor of a tack room in a barn. They were wrapped in rags, and were loaded. One of the guns had some rust on one side of the cylinder, but both were in good condtion. He replaced the caps and shot them. The one with the rust on the cylinder had some hang-fires, but went off, the other one fired all six fine.

Another guy on Leverguns did an experiment with some primers and percussion caps. He put 10 each of 2 different brands of caps and centerfire primers in a cup of water and left them for a week. The then took them out, shook them off, blew them off with his breath, and they all fired. The caps on an otherwise unloaded revolver, the primers in empty cases. I think oil is more damaging to powder or caps than moisture.
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