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Old May 13, 2009, 07:54 PM   #1
broknprism
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Good 1860 load?

After 34 years shooting cartridge guns, I'm just now getting into BP. I got fed up with ammo shortages and FFL transfer fees.

I have a 2nd gen Colt 1860. I bought 2 lbs 777, and 1 lb AP Shockey's Gold. What is a safe and effective load (unless those are two different criteria) using these BP substitutes? I haven't torn the Colt manual out of the plastic sleeve it's sealed in, so I don't know what the factory recommendation is. I've seen '25 gr' pop up a lot on the Internet, but I'm wondering if it matters whether you use real BP, or the substitutes.

I may even carry this thing. I have Hornady .454 balls, and Buffalo Ball-etts (round nose, hollow base, heavily greased .451 bullets). The balletts should pack more energy, I would think.

Thanks very much!
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Old May 13, 2009, 10:26 PM   #2
mykeal
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Safe is not an issue with any load you can put into a steel framed bp percussion revolver. They simply cannot be overloaded (from a safety standpoint) with black powder or any of the black powder substitutes. Of course, smokeless powder must NOT be used in any amount. And be sure the ball is seated on the powder; an air gap between the powder and the ball is very unsafe and can result in a failed cylinder or barrel.

It is, however, very easy to overload the chambers from the standpoint of accuracy. It's an almost universal truth that a fully loaded chamber is not the most accurate load. 25 grains by volume of real black powder is probably close to the optimum load for your 1860, but you need to try different loads, from 15 to about 30, to see what load shoots the smallest groups.

777 is significantly (10 to 15 percent) more powerful than real black powder. My blanket statement about safety above applies to 777 as well - you can load as much as you want - but accuracy will suffer even more with overloads of 777. Also, 777 is sensitive to compression. Don't use much force when seating the ball as you can overdo it, resulting in FTF's. Just be sure the ball is seated on the powder and no more.

I have no experience with Shockey's Gold; it is probably more comparable with real black powder in terms of power than 777.
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Old May 13, 2009, 10:35 PM   #3
Fingers McGee
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Mykeal has given you some good advice. I too have never used Shockey's Gold; but have heard that it was no better or worse than regular APP.

FM
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Old May 13, 2009, 11:46 PM   #4
broknprism
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I did sort of buy the pitch on the gold stuff - the shop owner (a nice guy who sells out of his barn) said he didn't have much left, and I drew conclusions about quality from that.

"Don't use much force when seating the ball as you can overdo it, resulting in FTF's. Just be sure the ball is seated on the powder and no more."

This is very valuable advice! I'll be careful. As for accuracy as the primary goal, that's where I'll go. When you only have 6, they have to count.
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Old May 14, 2009, 05:06 AM   #5
CaptainCrossman
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I'd recommend fill the cylinders up to the top, then press the ball in to compress it. The 1860 holds about 38-39 grains of BP, or equivalent volume of substitute. So basically you end up with a load roughly equal to the old blackpowder cartridge 44-40 caliber. Not a bad place to be.
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Old May 14, 2009, 05:18 AM   #6
Dingoboyx
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Lots of good advice given

I used to shoot pyrodex in my ROA's & Pietta 44's, but alas, all we can get in Oz now, is black

I use about 30gr of black (could fit more, but accuracy suffers, more soot & it is just wasteful) I use bread crumbs as a filler (some in my club use baby porridge powder) to bring the ball to the right place in the cylinder. (bread crumbs are good, but makes you feel like you need a cup of coffee.... smells great)

I would reccomend trying 30gr and work up (or down) from there, whether you want to impress or be accurate IMO, you cant go wrong with 30 (ish) gr. About the same for the replacements.... they do have a bit more grunt tho... you might need to back it down a bit for good groups
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Old May 14, 2009, 09:24 AM   #7
madcratebuilder
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Quote:
I have a 2nd gen Colt 1860. I bought 2 lbs 777, and 1 lb AP Shockey's Gold. What is a safe and effective load (unless those are two different criteria) using these BP substitutes?
For the 2nd gen 1860 Colt specifications are 25-30 grains (25 recommended) of 3F, #10 caps and a .457 rb. I shoot a 28 grain load in my Centaure, Uberti and two Colt 1860's. That is the happy spot for how I load. I have shot some 25 grain loads of triple 7, it is a hotter load than the 28gr of black.

mykeal's advise on the seating pressure of the triple 7 is spot on. If you compress it very much it does not like to light off. I had some hang fires to first time I loaded it and now use a loading stand when using triple 7 so I get a better feel of the seating pressure.
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Old May 14, 2009, 08:16 PM   #8
broknprism
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.457?! Crap. I have a bunch of .451 bullets and .454 balls. Guess I'll see.

OK, I'll get a stand and try to get the feel of loading and compressing.
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Old May 14, 2009, 08:43 PM   #9
madcratebuilder
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Quote:
.457?! Crap. I have a bunch of .451 bullets and .454 balls.
Damn, I guess you'll just have to buy a Pietta .44 to use them up.
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Old May 14, 2009, 10:08 PM   #10
olyinaz
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Shockey's Gold is the same thing as American Pioneer powder. Unlike 777 it ignites easily and it actually likes to be compressed tight but it's not as stout as black powder. It's also more granular and doesn't flow well from some powder flasks. The up side is it smokes less, fouls less, cleans up beautifully with nothing more than water and it doesn't stink like rotten eggs. American Pioneer recommends no lube be used for their powder.

As another noted I'd start with 30 grains (a mild load) and work up from there. I suspect you'll find something in the 35 grain range will shoot very nicely but to each his own.

Cheers,
Oly
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Old May 14, 2009, 11:37 PM   #11
broknprism
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Thanks for the tips about APP.

I asked the seller of the Buffalo Bullets/Ball-etts if .451 was right for a Colt and they said yes. I guess I can always try to return them, but I have to try at least a few of each.

How can .451/.454 be too small...? It's a .44 for crying out loud. : )

I also have a NIB 2nd gen 2nd Model Dragoon, but I'll save those questions for another post. Same general thing -- recommended loads. And don't tell me: .457, right? I love the Dragoon. The Army has class, but the Dragoon has grande mojo.
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Old May 15, 2009, 06:19 AM   #12
mykeal
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The mystery of .457, .454, .451 and 44 cal

First of all, caliber refers to bore size (generally the size of the original bore before rifling, or land to land diameter, although even this definition is perverted in some cases). Also, caliber designations are marketing tools and are not necessarily all they seem. One man's .44 is another man's .45, etc.

Second, percussion, or cap and ball, revolvers use balls that are intentionally oversize for both the bore and cylinder chambers. They are swaged down in diameter by the action of forcing them into the chambers on loading. The reason is to provide for a gas seal around the ball (no cloth patches are used). The seal allows for the pressure from the burning powder to build up and to prevent burning gas from adjacent chambers from igniting the powder in chambers not in battery (the dreaded 'chain fire'). Thus when loading the ball you should find a small ring of lead is shaved off and left behind as proof of this swaging action (some cylinders have chamfered chamber mouths and the shaved ring is thus not produced).

So, is .457, .454 or .451 the 'right' size? Usually the answer is Yes, all three may work. It depends on the gun, so the only thing to do is try them and see. If it doesn't shave the ring of lead (and the chamber mouth is not chamfered), try the next larger size. If it's too difficult to load, try the next smaller size.
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Old May 15, 2009, 09:02 AM   #13
madcratebuilder
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Quote:
I also have a NIB 2nd gen 2nd Model Dragoon, but I'll save those questions for another post. Same general thing -- recommended loads. And don't tell me: .457, right? I love the Dragoon. The Army has class, but the Dragoon has grande mojo.
For the Dragoon the Colt specification is 35 to 40 grains of 3f, 37 gr recommended, #11 caps and .451 to .457 rb, .457 recommended.
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Old May 15, 2009, 09:36 AM   #14
Noz
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The question that must be asked is "What will be the use of the load". Is it a self defense load, a hunting load, a plinkers load or a CAS load?
If it is one, sure fill er up and cram a ball in. You want as much noise and smoke as possible at a very close range for intimidation.
Two, start at 28-30 grs and go up and down to find an accurate load.
Three, put some powder in it and shoot.
Four, 22-25 grs of real black and a 454 ball will not harm you or the gun and will shoot all day long with minimum mess. For CAS you should buy TRESO nipples and use #10 Remington caps for grinding reliability.
My Armys have gone 42 stages, since I started counting, without a cap related problem.
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