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Old October 5, 2012, 05:23 PM   #1
jtmckinney
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1851 Navy Loading Questions

I traded for a brass frame 1851 Navy 36 cal. Below is the post I did in the research forum asking for some value info, includes pictures and condition info.

< http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=502091 >

I have been trying to put together what I need to shoot this revolver. I have the stuff for my 50 cal. Hawkins and some of it may help and I am not totally new to black powder just never loaded up "cap & ball" before. I have spent several hours reviewing You Tube videos, they are certainly a help.

The #11 Remington and CCI percussion caps I have are too large so I am planning on picking up some #10. Also will have to get a powder measure for pistol as the rifle one I have would be hard to get the powder into the chambers.

I plan on casting my own balls but do not have molds yet. Hopefully Cabellas will have .375 diam balls when I go there tomorrow.

Powder I have is Pyrodex P "The FFFG Equivalent" Would a starting charge of 18 grains be a good place to start. Cornmeal seems to be a popular filler between the powder charge and the ball. How much corn meal?

This brings up another question. My rifle powder measure goes up to 120 grains on the scale but the actual weight is only 75 % of that. 40 grains on the powder measure scale only wieghs 30 actual grains using my reloading scale. Should I load to actual weight or by volume per whatever powder scale I purchase for this revolver? I will also check its volume to actual weight when I get it.

Supposed to rain tomorrow but hopefully I can light off a few Sunday if Cabellas of Bass Pro has some balls. rest I can work around.

Making paper cartridges also looks interesting, may have to try that soon.

Have a great day!
James
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Old October 5, 2012, 06:13 PM   #2
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20 grains by volume of Pyrodex P is a good .36 load. I like felt wads between powder and ball myself, but cornmeal would work, I would put your powder in and cornmeal up to the cylinder mouth (loose) then ball and you will be fine. Your number 11s will work just give them a pinch.

Last edited by brushhippie; October 5, 2012 at 06:19 PM.
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Old October 5, 2012, 06:33 PM   #3
Roshi
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I agree with brushhippie

I like 24 grains of Pyrodex P in my 51 Navy but it is a steel frame. 20 grains should give you a low recoil accurate load. I would use a flask with a 20 grain spout. The spout is slim and easy to use to dump powder into the cylinder.

I use .375 round balls in mine and place a felt Wonder wad between the powder and ball.

Cornmeal can be messy and doesn't provide the lube that the Wonder wads do.

Enjoy your new pistol!
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Old October 5, 2012, 06:49 PM   #4
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I wouldn't go over 20 grains in a brass frame. Actually I don't go over 15 in a brass frame.
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Old October 5, 2012, 07:04 PM   #5
brushhippie
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I missed the brass frame sorry Hawg is right.
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Old October 5, 2012, 07:56 PM   #6
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Be sure to buy a revolver nipple wrench since a standard nipple wrench won't fit. Cabela's may not even have one that fits snug so bring the cylinder along for a trial fit.
Some folks grind their own nipple wrench from a size 3/16" socket having a 1/4" drive by using a Dremel and/or file. A 6mm Allen wrench can be used to turn the socket.

http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=578275

http://www.trackofthewolf.com/catego...px/65/1/NW-140

Many folks apply breech plug grease or anti-seize to the nipple threads.

Last edited by arcticap; October 6, 2012 at 06:39 PM.
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Old October 6, 2012, 03:44 PM   #7
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Some additional thoughts

I don't like pinching caps. Tens should work on this revolver. Take along a small piece of wooden dowel or something to force the caps onto the nipples nice and snug. It is my personal opinion that if you have to pinch caps, you have the wrong size caps.

Although I load with a flask directly into the chamber I do it with the cylinder out of the revolver and use a press to push the ball in. This does two things for me. 1) It takes a little extra time to take the pistol apart and that additional time gives the stuff left over in the chambers a chance to cool off. 2) it allows me to see clearly inside the chamber to make sure there is no stuff still in the chamber that might still be hot.

It is more dangerous to load with a flask directly to the chamber than it is to use a scoop or something that does not have a quarter pound of powder two inches away.

Having said that I do it all of the time with the additional precautions I mentioned above. But you should understand the risks involved and then make your own decision.

I don't know what Cabela's gets for a round ball mold but Titan Reloading has good prices, great service, and quick shipping. I like aluminum molds.
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Old October 6, 2012, 05:38 PM   #8
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Volume or weight

If you are using anything other than real BP, don't go by weight.
The substitutes, like Pyrodex, are meant to be an equivalent by volume, not weight.
If you switch to real BP, then by all means weigh your charges if you want to be more consistent.
If you want extra consistency with Pyro, then measure out whatever charge seems to work best in your gun by volume, then weigh it, and use that weight.
Cheers,
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Old October 6, 2012, 07:25 PM   #9
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I use 15 in my brasser, (under the recommendation of Hawg) and it works wonderful! I put a felt wad between the powder and the ball, but don't use the filler crap. I have not noticed it to affect accuracy in the least bit, and I really don't feel like blowing corn meal all over the place. I'm the only cap and ball guy at the range I go to anyways, and I think it would confuse them as to whether I was shooting or making dinner
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Old October 7, 2012, 11:10 AM   #10
jtmckinney
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Thanks For The Info

Thanks to all that replied!

If using corn meal for filler smells like my mothers corn bread then I am all for it. I also wasn't in love with the price of the felt pads cut to 36 cal I saw yesterday. Hopefully the first place I shoot it will be private property so I can evaluate if corn meal will be a bother to my fellow shooters at the local public range when I go there.

I bought Remington #10 caps and they also fall off, tried pinching the caps and I think I can make them work. I also may try different nipples at some point. If there isn't a real size difference is the difference the amount of power the caps have, if so are the #10's a lot less powerful than #11? I didn't find a nipple wrench I wanted, will continue my search for one.

I bought a brass flask CVA part # CA1400. It throws 16.2 grains Pyrodex P by weight so I will need to trim some length from the spout. Above post have suggested 15 grains by volume. If the ratio of volume to weight is 75% then I need to get the capacity down to 11.25 grains by weight. Does this sound right?

I may not get to shoot it today after all unless I go to the public range I frequent and I don't want to do that for the first time I shoot this revolver.

Have a great day!
James
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Old October 7, 2012, 01:41 PM   #11
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What About Trail Boss

I saw my containeer of "Trail Boss" and thought it should perform well in this revolver. Maybe it is getting away from the traditional way to load for a cap and ball with all the smoke and other things but there may be times that is what I would want.

I have heard that you never compress Trail Boss so I guess not use any filler. Probably insert the ball a consistant level in the cylinder.

I searched the IMR site and they did not have any info for this powder as a black powder substitute for cap and ball.

My new CVA powder flask throws a consistant 7 grains by weight, I haven't modified it yet as I mentioned plan to do in my latest post.

Anyone with any experience with this and wish to share please chime in.

Thanks!
James
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Old October 7, 2012, 03:05 PM   #12
arcticap
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Trail Boss is only for reloading brass cartridges

Quote:
Originally Posted by jtmckinney
I saw my containeer of "Trail Boss" and thought it should perform well in this revolver. Maybe it is getting away from the traditional way to load for a cap and ball with all the smoke and other things but there may be times that is what I would want....
...I searched the IMR site and they did not have any info for this powder as a black powder substitute for cap and ball....
...Anyone with any experience with this and wish to share please chime in...
Trail Boss is a smokeless powder that should never be used in a cap & ball revolver, but only to load brass cartridges.
The Hodgdon/IMR reloading data center has info. on loading Trail Boss into brass cartridges only.

http://data.hodgdon.com/main_menu.asp

And except for a .22LR conversion cylinder, it's not recommended to use any conversion cylinders in any brass frame cap & ball revolver.

Last edited by arcticap; October 7, 2012 at 03:13 PM.
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Old October 7, 2012, 05:23 PM   #13
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Quote:
I saw my containeer of "Trail Boss" and thought it should perform well in this revolver. Maybe it is getting away from the traditional way to load for a cap and ball with all the smoke and other things but there may be times that is what I would want.
Do it and lose your pistol, most of your hand and maybe an eye.
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Old October 7, 2012, 09:35 PM   #14
jtmckinney
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I guess Trail Boss isn't a good idea, thats ok. Thats the reason I ask the question.

I use it for low pressure, low power loads to introduce someone to a large revolver, my Blackhawks in 357 Mag and 45 Colt. Works great for that and thought it was made to produce the same approx power of original black powder loads. Of course these are cartridge loads and I am asking about a cap and ball.

Back to original plan with Pyrodex P.

Hawg, I visited the website where you moderate "Black Powder Times". Good information there, I will be visiting again.

Thanks for the info!
James
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Old October 15, 2012, 12:33 PM   #15
DD4lifeusmc
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loading .36 Navy

I would agree that 15 grains by volume would be a good starting point.
If you already have an adjustable powder volume measure you can use it.
I bought a separate flask for my 50 cal rifle and 44 cal revolvers.
Mine are traditional metal with a brass tube spout.
I measured the correct amount in my adjustable measure, then poured that into the spout.
Marked it for depth on side. Then emptied spout, removed it from flask and used a tubing cutter to remove excess.
Course I cut mine just below the maximum.
Now I turn flask upside down, place finger over end of spout, open the gate, let spout fill, close gate. turn right side up, remove finger, confirm powder level, pour into cylinder
or in case of the 50 cal, down the barrel.
However, in my 44's I make paper cartridges. Which save reload time when plinking or hunting.
It is not advisable to leave a BP gun loaded for extended periods of time. Our metals are better than 150 yr ago, but the BP is still somewhat corrsive, and can absorb moisture, causing hang fire or misfire. Not common but can.
I use the paper cartridge so the powder is protected from moisture better and insulated from the metal, so I leave mine loaded for a month or so till I go shoot.
If you are going to shoot immediately after reloading a wonder wad is not needed.
You can use nothing, or a small piece of tissue paper wadded on top of the powder.
Or plain crisco. But if you do, you need to shoot right away, as any lube in direct contact with the powder will render it inert in a short time.
If the ball is the correct size a small ring of lead will be sheared off during seating.
I use one size larger than smallest recommended. My 44 uses .451, .454, or in a pinch .457. When using ball I use the .454. Nice sheared ring, good tight fit.
The grease over the ball is a good safety for cross fires. But I've never had one in 40 years. Also it is a carry over from way back then, when some pistols weren't consistent on tolerances nor were the balls. So if they didn't fit tight when loaded could cross fire.
I shoot mostly all conical now. I pan dip the bullet to seal the rings.
I use my own mix,
3 tbs melted beeswax mixed with 1 to 1 1/2 tbs melted hog lard. Note measurement is made AFTER they are melted.
If you need a much softer lube for finger dipping, you can add more lard.
I try to stay with what the shooter back then realistically would have had access to.
If need be you can add some pure vegetable oil or olive oil to the mix.
I live in Wyoming. When I made my mix it was 85 degrees in kitchen. But when I went to shoot it was 60 degrees outside. I was satisfied with the mix. Others may not be.
I carry a small bottle of rubbing alcohol, cloth rag, patches and some q-tips. After a couple full reloads, if it feels stiff, I swab down with the alcohol. Relube the moving parts if need be and continue shooting.
Have fun with it.
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Old October 15, 2012, 07:56 PM   #16
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Loading your rifle directly from the flask is risky. I'd advise you to reconsider that practice.
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Old October 16, 2012, 12:05 AM   #17
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Before you buy a .375 mold make sure that is correct. You need to shave a small ring of lead off when you ram it in. All my 36 Navies and I have 5 of them use .380 round balls Gus
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Old October 16, 2012, 05:20 AM   #18
Hawg
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Quote:
Loading your rifle directly from the flask is risky. I'd advise you to reconsider that practice.
+1
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Old October 16, 2012, 05:44 AM   #19
Doc Hoy
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Yep...

I don't shoot long arms but if I did I would not load from a flask ever.
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Old October 17, 2012, 09:52 AM   #20
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I guess I know why they but BLACK POWDER ONLY in big bold letters on the side of cap and ball revolvers. To save fools. Don't pinch the caps to fit, it well cause a chain fire some day.
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Old October 20, 2012, 11:45 PM   #21
DD4lifeusmc
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loading rifle from flask

It may or may not be safe.
Been doing it for 40 years. And yeah, I know it only takes once.
But, After I shoot I always blow down the barrel and it is usually
a minute or so before I reload.
I either have to walk out to target to confirm where POI was or wait for partner to walk back.
If hunting I usually take a few to listen for a confirmed hit.
Also I don't pour from flask direct with the gate open.
I fill spout close gate. I pour from an angle with spout back off to side.
But thanks for your concern and warning.
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Old October 21, 2012, 08:39 AM   #22
Hawg
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That's all well and good but don't think the closed gate in the spout is going to keep the flask from blowing up. It wont.
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Old October 21, 2012, 05:35 PM   #23
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Quote:
don't think the closed gate in the spout is going to keep the flask from blowing up. It wont.
+1
Quote:
I pour from an angle with spout back off to side.
??? Flame from a flashover can't turn a corner?
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Old October 21, 2012, 08:52 PM   #24
jtmckinney
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Due to work I couldn't answer anything last week, maybe this week will be better.

OK loading from a flask is a no no. I understand why. I assue this only applies to a recently shot firearm. OK I get it. No unnecessary risk here.


My nest stupid question, does cork make a good filler material between powder & ball. I am thingking about soaking it in hot lube and then cutting to size. Anyone with any actual experience.

Thanks!
James
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Last edited by jtmckinney; October 21, 2012 at 09:04 PM.
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