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Old March 19, 2009, 02:55 PM   #1
dmacintyre
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OK, BP revolver on it's way.....

Finally got my Pietta 1851 bp revolver and have been reading the Gun Digest blackpowder special to try to get some guidance. It's all a bit much to take in at first reading so I would appreciate some direct advice. Anyone offer a good starting load (it's 44 cal / 451 diameter balls)? What brand and type of powder do you recommend - any special requirements in a revolver powder? What about those bp pellets?

Sincere thanks for any assistance you can provide a complete newcomer to bp shooting.

David
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Old March 19, 2009, 03:07 PM   #2
grymster2007
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Someone that knows something will be along soon. Meanwhile, I'll spout off.

Use real black powder (Goex) if you like, or a substitute such as Pyrodex. You'll want FFFG powder for the proper granule size. I don't think the pellets would be a good idea here. I would probably start with 20 or 25 grains of powder, then a wonder wad, then the ball.

You really should read some more and certainly ask questions here before shooting it, but in the end, you'll find it's actually very simple to safely load and shoot these things.
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Old March 19, 2009, 03:47 PM   #3
ClemBert
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I only currently own Ruger Old Army's but was taking a peak at Colt replicas. I have a question...why did you select the Colt 1851 vs a Colt 1860 Army? Was wondering what compels one to go one direction versus the other.
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Old March 19, 2009, 04:37 PM   #4
sundance44s
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Did you buy the brass frame or steel frame gun .... it would make a difference in loadings .
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Old March 19, 2009, 04:42 PM   #5
kirpi97
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Why the 1851 over the 1860? I see it as a personal issue. Without going into the subtle differences, it is the look and feel. I prefer the 1851 or the 1862 primarily because of the looks. I also like the feel of the grips better as there is a little difference in the clearance between the grips and the trigger guard.

But this also is a difference between various manufacturers. My favorite is ASP as the grips are made for a larger hand as opposed to an ASM. Both revolvers function fine, it is the feel. The same reason some like Uberti over Pietta today. We all have our likes and dislikes.

But in my eyes, both Colts are fun to shoot. When I went to purchase a Colt Second Generation, I chose the 1851 over the 1860. I like the style.

But with all that said, I like the Navy versions over their larger Army versions. I have the Navy versions in both .36 and .44 cal. It is not the caliber, but the length that I like. Easier in and out of the holster.

Now you didn't ask about the 1862 Colt. I like that style even better than the 1851. And in a Navy .44 version, it is sweet to fire.
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Old March 19, 2009, 04:52 PM   #6
ClemBert
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kirpi, now that you mention it...based on looks alone this is the order I like them:

1862 Police - love that fluted cylinder
1861 Navy
1860 Army

I like the sleeker look of the barrel to frame interface. However, I admit I do like the octagon shaped barrel of the 1850's models. It would seem to me that the 1860's models would be improved over the 1850's models so it would be natural to go for improvement. Honestly, I've only drooled over them in magazines or the internet and know nothing about the details. Also, I would probably be more inclined to go for a Xeroxed replica copy of them. In other words, the larger grips would probably fit me better but I'd probably just get the original size. I have a couple of ROA's already and obviously there isn't any historical accuracy there at all.
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Old March 19, 2009, 05:08 PM   #7
kirpi97
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I forgot to answer one of the basic questions. I personally use .454 balls in all of my Colts (1851 Pietta 1860 ASM, 1862 ASP), Remingtons (1858 Pietta), and my Ruger Old Army.

Haven't found a reason to use a .451. But I hear tell of others who say it is what their revolver likes best. It is something you will have to try and see. Because not all barrel/cylinder diameters are equal.

ClemBert, I can't agree more with your order. Except my number 2 is the 1851 Navy.

My 1862 is a .44 Navy version, but some places called it a Sheriff Model. I see no difference from the Police model. So it just be what folks want to call it.

As for the pellets, I just bought some and I will try them out. So I can't offer a bit of info there.
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Old March 19, 2009, 05:35 PM   #8
ClemBert
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dmacintyre -

For ordering a lot of lead at lower cost: A good source for lead balls Better price but not in stock: Wholesale Hunter

Don't forget the Wonder Wads: Wonder Wads

Not that you have a ROA but...Gunpowder, Percussion Cap Thread

Last edited by ClemBert; March 19, 2009 at 05:40 PM.
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Old March 19, 2009, 05:46 PM   #9
dmacintyre
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Quote:
Did you buy the brass frame or steel frame gun .... it would make a difference in loadings .
It's brass.

Thanks for all the info guys.

D.
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Old March 19, 2009, 06:19 PM   #10
mykeal
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Quote:
Anyone offer a good starting load (it's 44 cal / 451 diameter balls)? What brand and type of powder do you recommend - any special requirements in a revolver powder? What about those bp pellets?
1. .451 balls should work ok. There are two issues regarding size of the ball: sealing the chamber from hot gas, thus preventing chain fires, and engaging the barrel rifling to create an efficient gas check and stabilize the round. You should get a good solid ring of lead on loading the ball into the chamber to handle the first issue; if you don't get one, move up to .454 balls.

The only way to be sure about the second issue is to slug the bore (force an oversize ball through the bore and measure the impressions left by the lands and grooves with a caliper). This, however, is an advanced project for those who are trying for high accuracy.

Your brass frame requires using mild loads; I'd start with 15 grains by volume and then try 20 grains and 22 grains. You can occasionally shoot 25 grains but don't make a practice of it as over time it will result in frame damage.

I'd recommend using a lubed felt wad (aka Wonder Wad) between the ball and the powder; it is insurance against a chain fire and also lubes the bore to soften fouling and make subsequent shots more accurate and cleaning easier. Some folks prefer to use a grease (e.g. Crisco) over the ball instead; it will work as well but I think it's messier.

2. Goex, fffg. Pyrodex P is the second choice. 777 fffg is acceptable but should be avoided until more experience is gained as it is sensitive to compression and requires care in loading. You can use ffg or Pyrodex RS, but fffg/P are preferred.
3. Pellets are not recommended as they are tricky to handle (they do not like to be touched by bare hands) and tend to break up on loading. They are also slightly more difficult to ignite. Finally, they do not allow the flexibility in loading in that you can only load in 30 grain increments.
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Old March 19, 2009, 10:31 PM   #11
tiberius10721
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U can even use .457 balls if u want.thats what I get when i cant find 454 balls at the local bass pro shop.Just shaves off more lead when u ram them down into cylinder
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