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Old January 10, 2012, 04:04 PM   #26
Noz
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Hardy, go to the Possible Shop on line and they have a "look up" section which will tell you exactly which nipple will fit your gun perfectly.

The lube in the wad under the ball should be very solid so that it does not migrate into the powder. Mine are so hard that in sub freezing temps it is very difficult to get them into the chambers.
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Old January 10, 2012, 05:46 PM   #27
kwhi43@kc.rr.com
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In National competion in 20 years that I've been going, I have never seen
or heard of anybody using wads in their revolvers. In the excellcent book
"Muzzleloading Shooting & Winning With The Champions" the chapter on
revolver shooting by National record holder Peter Allen, he does not say
anything about using a wad in a revolver. I think they are OK for just informal
shooting, or hunting, but not serious target shooting.
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Old January 10, 2012, 09:25 PM   #28
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FWIW, I have been shooting C&B revolvers since 1996, and I have never used a wad, only occasionally use grease over the ball, and always pinch the caps. I have had exactly ONE chain fire. That's how I learned the importence of properly sized round balls. If you read the instructions that came with the original Colt C&B revolvers back in the 1850s and 60s, it says nothing about wads/grease at all. It pretty much says put the proper powder charge in, ram a ball on top of it, and cap. Look at a military issued revolver (paper/skin/foil) cartridge from the civil war. It was a conical ball, with the paper wrapped powder charge glued to the bottom. No lube, grease, or anything else. In my OPINION, the most important part of loading a C&B revolver, is to use the proper size round balls. Make sure that when you ram the ball into the chamber, that a good ring of lead is shaved off of the ball. This will insure a proper seal of the chamber mouth (unless the chambers are not properly formed). The MOST important things about shooting a BP revolver are, do what works for YOU and your comfort level, enjoy yourself, and be safe.
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Old January 13, 2012, 12:03 PM   #29
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600 shots or so in the ol' Walker with no bad luck, but I'm a wad AND grease guy. (unless it's just half charges when plinking cans, then it's corn meal under ball and grease over) But I do always pinch the #11 caps or before I get to 6 shots, there will be one missing when the nipple spins into view.
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Old January 13, 2012, 01:41 PM   #30
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Old January 13, 2012, 08:22 PM   #31
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I'm glad someone here has something ELSE for the mind to work on instead of the tangible only known through science and logic. Umm -very interesting and thought provoking, Gatefo.

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Old January 13, 2012, 09:13 PM   #32
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Quote:
FWIW, I have been shooting C&B revolvers since 1996, and I have never used a wad, only occasionally use grease over the ball, and always pinch the caps. I have had exactly ONE chain fire. That's how I learned the importence of properly sized round balls.
I've been shooting them since 69 and it don't always work out that way. Some guns are just persnickety.
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Old January 14, 2012, 01:54 PM   #33
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Nuttin Like A Bunch of Chain Fires....

A couple of years ago, a buddy of mine showed up here at the farm with a replica .36 caliber percussion Whitney Revolver he had owned for years. He hadn't fired it for about a dozen years, so was anxious to shoot it again.

So, he loads the revolver up, aims across my Sight-In Bench and KER-BOOOOOOOOOooooommmm! I was standing a bit behind him and we were both were amazed because neither one of us were expecting the little pistol to chain-fire.

My friend said some unkind remarks about his pistol and reloaded it. He sighted on the target and KER-BOOOOOOOoooooommmmm! [Another chain fire.] Every time he reloaded it and aimed at the target, I found myself dropping further and further back fro him.

One thing about my friend, he was not the sort to "Give Up Easily" even though after the fifth or sixth "Chain-Fire" the loading lever latch on his little Whitney went to parts unknown.

Suddenly, I came up with a BRILLIANT INSPIRATION! We could carry my friend to a N-SSA Skirmish and sign a pistol team up in the Revolver Team Matches. Then the "trick" would be to "farm him out to another team." The theory being after one or two of his "Chain Fires," in the match,he would have the rest of the teams so freaked out, we could easily win the match!

Finally, after 8 or 9 Chain Fires he decided to quit shooting the revolver for the day. His target was so peppered with bullet holes, he had trouble figuring out exactly WHICH bullet hole in the target came from the bullet that actually traveled down the barrel!

In the mean time, he has renamed his revolver "Ole Multi-fire." I am thinking about calling it: "Ole Hell and BYE THUNDER."

I am now thinking about writing a "Hollywood TV Western" about an Old West Gun Fighter that had TWO Whitneys that always Chain-Fired! What a scene, our hero would walk down the Western town street "Matt Dillon style" facing 12 "Bad Guys." The Bad Guys would try to draw first, Our Hero would fast draw and shoot both of his Whitneys [which, of course, would Chain-Fire.] At the other end of the street, all 12 bad Guys would fall down!!!!

Our Hero would be known as "Kid Dirty Dozen" because every time he drew and shot his Whitney's, a dozen, dirty "Bad Guys" would get shot!!!!

Hollywood....Here I come!!!!
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Old January 14, 2012, 02:27 PM   #34
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LOL @ SouthRon, That was some funny stuff, thanks for posting that I needed a good laugh after a trip to the rip off show!
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Old January 14, 2012, 02:46 PM   #35
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How much real world danger is there with a chain fire?
I've experienced a few and not much happened other than the extra bullets left the cylinder.
And not with much power, it seemed.
Guess the gases behind the bullet escape out of the chambers fast and don't provide much velocity??
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Old January 14, 2012, 02:51 PM   #36
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"G"

I have had only one chain fire and that loosened the arbor on the revolver.

It was a previously fired C.O.M. Sheriff's .36. brass frame.

Let me qualify that.

After the chain fire I noticed the arbor was loose. It was tight before the chain fire so I assume that the extra force loosened the arbor.

Even considering the lower velocity I would not want to get hit by what comes out of the chamber.
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Old January 14, 2012, 03:01 PM   #37
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I had one happen. This was in 1971. I had just started shooting in competition and I had a 1851 brass frame 36 which I had accuratize. I was
very serious about shooting good scores. I had loaded my revolver with 5
shots. Took careful aim and when it went off I thought I heard a ka-boom.
I looked at it and two chambers had fired. I noticed then that I had forgot
to put any crisco over the front of the balls. What really bothered me was
where the balls went on the target. We were shooting on standard NRA
pistol targets. I was afraid to look thru the spotting scope. I knew the one
shot would be good, but where would the one be that went off right next to
it? I remember thinking if I'm lucky it won't even be on paper and I will get
another shot, worst it would be on paper outside a scoring ring. Well I still
have the target. Let me tell you when I looked thru the scope I saw two
little holes side by side about a inch apart in the "10" ring. Talk about luck.
I was so shook up I dropped a few 9's and wound up with a 96 I think. Boy
would that little Navy 36 shoot. Ex wife stole it in 1976.
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Old January 14, 2012, 03:41 PM   #38
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For those of you anti greasers do a Google search on “loading cap and ball guns” and see if you can find one reputable gun expert that recommends not using some type of grease of pad. Then compare to the number that say that they must be used.
I have been shooting cap and ball revolvers for over 35 years and right now I own 7. I have never had a chain fire on any of them and for 4 years I used two for SASS matches.
I use grease and have never used pads. In my own humble opinion, any one that recommends shooting a black powder revolver without grease or some type of pad is giving dangerous advice.
If you do a search on how they loaded them during the civil war, even when they used paper cartridges they still used grease.
Grease can be messy, but a lot less messy than a multiple fire and a whole lot less dangerous. And I don’t understand the concern about the mess that grease makes. Let’s face it, your shooting black powder, which in itself is messy, dirty and smoky. You have to clean the gun afterward any way.
http://www.hackman-adams.com/guns/capandball.htm
http://www.gunfighter.com/cgi-bin/bb...cgi?read=50267
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Old January 14, 2012, 05:31 PM   #39
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Quote:
If you do a search on how they loaded them during the civil war, even when they used paper cartridges they still used grease
Not everyone.
This is confederate guerrilla George Maddox. He rode with William Quantrill.


Notice the projectiles in his revolver. Clearly visible. Nothing on top of them.


This is a typical CW cartridge.

Except for lube in the grooves of the bullet, no grease. They were issued in packs of six, with six or seven percussion caps. Thats it. Nothing else in the pack. Just cartridges and caps.

Typical cartridge pack

Not everyone did/does things the way you might do them. That doesn't make them wrong, or you right. As I said in my earlier post, the directions that came with Colt revolvers in the 1850s-1860s said nothing about grease. Just fill the chambers, leaving enough room for the ball, then ram the ball and cap. Do as you wish, but understand that others may not do the same.

And as far as "gun experts" go, I never cared for them. What exactly makes them an expert? There always seems to be plenty of experts around, but never enough people that know what they are doing. Just watch the "experts" on the (used to be) History channel. I've seen experts have accidents too. I try to learn from the old timers. Weather it's talking to people that have done what I'm trying to do, or reading first hand accounts from those that are long gone. I don't need some self appointed "gun expert" telling me that what worked for folks a hundred and fifty years ago doesn't work now.

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Old January 14, 2012, 05:46 PM   #40
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Granted I'm still a NOOB, and have only shot my ROA 30 times (no grease, just lubed wads) now with that said I can't for the life of me understand how any ignition is going to get around a properly sized ball. My ROA with .457 (the ones called for) shaves a beautiful ring of lead and it takes some ummph to press them in. My vote is on ignition form the back side those percussion caps explode and I did notice once that it knocked the cap off of the next cylinder (no chain fire but lucky I guess). So loose caps or caps not pushed on tight enough is my VOTE
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Old January 14, 2012, 08:22 PM   #41
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Old January 15, 2012, 12:41 AM   #42
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If you visit the Brimstone Pistoleros site they do a study of chain fires by creating one and noting where the ball goes and estimate the velocity. I consider the guys thet did the experiment as "experts" ....Old Scout, Rowdy Yates & Midway).
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Old January 15, 2012, 10:35 AM   #43
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I am curious on how you can say” Clearly visible. Nothing on top of them.” With a photo that is so poor. I could also say the opposite from the photo since the chamber closest to the top of the photo is not perfectly round and has an oblong shape to what’s in it proves that there is grease.
Also the paper cartridges from what I heard were covered in a light coating of wax to keep moisture out.
And the photo that you call typical CW cartridge looks to me to be a Burnsides cartridge which was again sealed in wax and only a single shooter which they also made with brass cartridges. I know this since I have a Burnsides and several of the brass cartridges.
Arguing on who is right and wrong it not the point. If you shoot without any type of grease or patch thats your decision. But to tell new shooters that have been having chain fires that it’s not needed again in my humble opinion and the black powder group that I have been shooting with for the past 30 years will say that it’s dangerous.
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Old January 15, 2012, 01:18 PM   #44
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To Grease or Not to Grease???

The Colt combustible cartidges came with grease grooves BECAUSE a lube was in the grooves!

IF you shoot your replica percussion revolver WITHOUT ANY LUBE you are going to get a LEADED BARREL. It is that simple.

IF you don't believe me, shoot your replica with naked lead bullets and then look at your bore.
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Old January 15, 2012, 06:16 PM   #45
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We do not have a time machine to go back there. All letters posted by my ancestors from the civil war never spoke of their firearms. I did see on an earlier post about HOW did those guys care and fix their guns. What I do know is that there were gunsmiths on every corner. They were as popular as blacksmiths etc. All general stores sold guns like they sold bags of sugar. No FFL etc! There is no mention that I know of in the history of that era of talks about chain fires. Or how they talked about how to prevent them. And too; no mention of any problems of these! Maybe(Period info and advise from old letters/ manuals/ etc.) 150+/- years ago about fixing/caring/ problems for percussion revolvers might be enlightening and fascinating. As I said before--never owning one, I bought an old brass gun made in Augusta Ga supposedly during the war. I think it was Gunnison. it chain fired and came out of my hand. Um I think it did. I thought the gun was broke until someone from the country of S/E Georgia told me to grease it. Anyway, maybe the balls were too small. I don't know. I haven't had a chain fire since. A round ring of lead after loading should prevent it. NOW ---caps are the problem with most new shooters. The possible shop told me that Amco caps will solve 97% of problems of caps falling off or misfiring. Chain fires can come from nipples too. I ordered some for a 58 44--hadn't come yet but anxious to see how they do..

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Old January 15, 2012, 07:34 PM   #46
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With a photo that is so poor. I could also say the opposite from the photo since the chamber closest to the top of the photo is not perfectly round and has an oblong shape to what’s in it proves that there is grease.
.....And I could say the moon is made out of cheese. That doesn't mean I'm right. Your eyes must be worse than mine, buddy. You seriously can't tell, of the three chambers shown, that the top and bottom chambers are loaded with conical bullets (note the points of the bullet tips) and the middle chamber has a round ball in it? Looks pretty clear to me. Also, you're only seeing half of the top chamber. The 1863 NM Remington he is holding, (I have three, two replicas and one original) has the hammer in the safety notch (between the caps) of the cylinder. Kind of explains why it's not "perfectly round" don't it?

Quote:
And the photo that you call typical CW cartridge looks to me to be a Burnsides cartridge which was again sealed in wax and only a single shooter which they also made with brass cartridges.
Apparently you don't know what a combustable revolver cartridge looks like. By all means, look it up for yourself. Also I am well aware of what a Burnside carbine is. I have studied the ACW for over twenty years. I was even a reenactor, many years ago.

Quote:
The Colt combustible cartidges came with grease grooves BECAUSE a lube was in the grooves!
Yeah, I mentioned that. The point of contention was grease over the ball, or lubed wads under the ball.

Quote:
IF you shoot your replica percussion revolver WITHOUT ANY LUBE you are going to get a LEADED BARREL. It is that simple
Not in sixteen years I haven't.

Quote:
IF you don't believe me, shoot your replica with naked lead bullets and then look at your bore
I never said I didn't lube the bullets/balls, just that I do not use grease or lube over/under the projectile. Pay attention.

Quote:
Chain fires can come from nipples too.
Never said they couldn't.

Look at old, original cased revolvers. They have a place for the revolver, balls/bullets, cap tin, powder flask, ball mould, oil bottle and maybe a cleaning rod. Everything you need to load and shoot your gun. Usually when you see these guns, the cases contain all the accessories. Ever notice there isn't a space for grease?
http://colt-revolvers.com/list.htm
http://www.flickr.com/photos/ctarchives/4522702309/
Just do a google search for cased percussion revolvers.
You all can argue that if you don't use grease, the gun will chain fire, or will lead your barrel, or damage the rain forrest, or whatever else you can think of. The fact is, not everyone used/uses grease over/under the ball. Also, I don't recall ever telling anybody not to use grease or anything else. I said,
Quote:
In my OPINION, the most important part of loading a C&B revolver, is to use the proper size round balls.
and
Quote:
The MOST important things about shooting a BP revolver are, do what works for YOU and your comfort level, enjoy yourself, and be safe.
Some of you folks are the ones that got a bit incredulous that someone doesn't do as the "gun experts" say. I don't give two squirts how you or your black powder group that you've been shooting with for the past 30 years or anyone else loads their gun. I know what works, and has worked for me for almost twenty years, and that's all that matters. I just gave my $0.02, same as everyone else. If that bothers you, I'll sit down and have myself a good cry over it, I assure you.

P.S. Mark Twain wrote about witnessing a pepperbox revolver chain firing. In fact, pepperboxes were known for that. I have also read accounts from CW soldiers about loading revolvers, and rifles, and about chain fires. They wrote about just about everything.

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Old January 15, 2012, 07:46 PM   #47
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Whether anyone greased over the bullets or balls is probably not going to be determined with any certainty from the records. Grease in the bullet groove of the combustible cartridges was probably enough for what the guns were used for. We need to think of the mind set of the 1840s-60s era. The revolving pistols were SIX SHOOTERS! A huge improvement over the single shots only recently abandoned. If one ever needed more than 6 shots they either carried a big fighting knife (e.g. Bowie) or another loaded revolver. The idea of shooting a C&B revolver more than 6 shots was never a consideration to the designers until after cartridges were developed. They were basically shot dry, holstered, and a different weapon was used. After the fray they were cleaned and reloaded for another 6 rounds at the next incident. There were no powder bushings on the cylinders to stop fouling because, geeze, who needs to shoot it more than 6 times in a row? Maybe the Rogers & Spencer revolvers had a bushing to handle the fouling but nothing from the Patterson & Walker on up did until after the Civil War was over. So, lubrication was not really needed if you were only going to shoot it 6 times anyway. That was not enough to badly foul the gun or lead up the barrel. Going 30 rounds in a row for a CAS match is an application that was never imagined.
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Old January 15, 2012, 07:54 PM   #48
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Actually, I have read extensively about Mosby's rangers in the ACW. There are more than a few accounts of reloading revolvers in combat. Even in the Mexican war, I have read about Texas rangers reloading their revolvers in a fight. In one account, "Jack" Hay's men reloaded their Walkers and Patersons on the run, on horseback, after emptying them into an overwhelming group of Mexican lancers that surprised them near Izucar de Matamoros. After reloading, the rangers then turned, charged the lancers and emptied them again, before repeating the scene a few more times. So it was done. Probably more often than you or I will ever know.

Quote:
The idea of shooting a C&B revolver more than 6 shots was never a consideration to the designers until after cartridges were developed. They were basically shot dry, holstered, and a different weapon was used.
Then why did companies bother to manufacture packaged, combustable cartridges at all? If you didn't have to reload in a hurry, wouldn't loose powder and ball be good enough? At the battle of Walker creek, in June 1844, the first time Texas rangers used the Paterson revolver in a large engagement, "Jack" Hays, as well as other participants of the fight, wrote of reloading those Patersons during that encounter with Comanches. The fight lasted for over an hour, and "tumbled over two miles". In the Mexican war (1846-1848), the very first war that revolvers were used in, there are accounts of Texas rangers having to reload under fire. I gave one example above. Others are, Monterey, San Juan Teotihuacan, and Zacualtipan, not to mention countless fights with Mexican guerrillas. That's probably why combustable revolver cartridges have been around since at least the late 1840s or early 1850s. You are right, that it was easier to just pull another loaded revolver in a fight. That's what the Missouri guerrillas/bushwhackers did during the ACW. But, regular cavalrymen, and average civilians, either weren't allowed by regulations, or couldn't afford to buy six, or eight revolvers like Quantrill, or "Bloody" Bill Anderson carried. Hence, the pre packaged, paper/skin/foil cartridges.

Quote:
There were no powder bushings on the cylinders to stop fouling because, geeze, who needs to shoot it more than 6 times in a row?
Quote:
So, lubrication was not really needed if you were only going to shoot it 6 times anyway. Going 30 rounds in a row for a CAS match is an application that was never imagined.
How long do you think Mexican war, or Civil war battles lasted? Do you think that after the rangers, or cavalry emptied their guns, they just went home? What about battles in wars, and fights with indians that lasted for hours? Did everyone empty their guns in the first few seconds and then scream insults at each other? Bushings don't matter much, as long as the cylinder axle pin is greased, or even oiled. Ever wonder why the axle pin on a Colt C&B revolver had those grooves cut in it? Now you know. And, they could always give the cylinder face a wipe when needed. These guns were weapons, not wall hangers. They were meant to be used in long drawn out battles. Battles don't just last five or ten minutes.

I seriously doubt, that in any of the above mentioned fights, that any of the participants, took the time to put a wad under, or a nice little dab of grease on top of the balls. Nowadays, BP shooting is a game, a hobby, a sport. Everything revolves around safety. Use grease over the balls, only load five in your six shooter. This is the way a lot of modern folks learn about BP shooting. The most dangerous thing most of us will ever shoot at are steel targets. Our lives will probably never depend on a C&B revolver. In the 1840s-50s-60s-70s, things were altogether different. Their C&B revolvers, often literally, meant life or death. So, as I said before, I will do as I have learned from the oldtimers, the folks that had to fire their guns at other flesh and blood human beings that were shooting back, through their first hand writings and other sources, not from "gun experts" that have been "cowboy shootin" at steel or paper targets for 30 years. You all will do as you wish. I never understood why some folks get so worked up about other people's opinions/way of doing things. Anyway, this has gotten way off subject, so I'm done.

Last edited by MJN77; January 16, 2012 at 06:48 AM.
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Old January 16, 2012, 11:00 PM   #49
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Hhmmm....Good for you MJN77; I was talking with my spouse earlier in the evening & discussing the "traditional" blackpowder shooters' penchant for using reduced loads, in conjunction with traditional cream of wheat filler, patches, and traditional Crisco as a part of their traditional loading procedures. []

I've seen copies of mid-19th century loading instructions...can't remember seeing anything recommended other that powder, ball, & caps. Folks re-loaded during battles....I'm pretty sure they didn't waste cylinder space with filler & wads between powder & ball, and equally certain they didn't mess with lard or axle grease during the heat of a battle.--Patrice

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Old January 17, 2012, 02:12 AM   #50
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MJN77,
Obviously I am not a student of the Texas Rangers/Mexican war. Thanks for educating me on those incidents. It is my understanding (although on more shakey ground) that the revolver was considered a cavalry weapon but the sword was considered the primary arm i.e. shoot the gun dry, then draw the sword for the rest of the battle, reload during a lull.
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