View Full Version : Black Powder Revolver Loading Data

March 21, 2002, 11:42 AM
I recently Purchased a Black Powder revolver. Could someone tell me the Min and Max powder load for a 44 Caliber, 1858 New Army revolver with a 7 1/2" barrel. Using Pyrodex FFFG equivalent.
and .451 round lead balls.



March 21, 2002, 11:55 AM
Tony: According to the Lyman Black Powder Handbook, a .44 caliber revolver using a .451 round ball and 8" barrel.

19.0 grains of FFFFg powder gave them 772 fps and 182 ft./lbs. energy with 5,240 LUP of pressure.
37.0 grains of FFFFg powder gave them 960 fps and 282 ft./lbs. of energy with 7,420 LUP of pressure.
19.0 grains of FFFg powder gave them 706 fps and 153 ft./lbs. of energy with 5540 LUP of pressure.
37.0 grains of FFFg powder gave them 1032 fps and 326 ft./lbs. of energy with 7,940 of pressure.
These charges were their minimum and maximum charges.

March 25, 2002, 11:01 PM
(and the book is no doubt accurate as far as it goes)

the proper blackpowder (or Pyrodex) load for a cartridge is to have the case full and just slightly compressed by the bullet.

Do not leave any open air space in the loaded case. The powder doesn't burn properly unless it's packed in.

I used to load Pyrodex in .44 WCF. I decided the full charge was too much and lowered the powder charge. But I had to fill up the top of the charge area with corn meal to make it shoot right. Sort of a pain, but gives good results.

March 26, 2002, 12:08 AM
Archie, we are not talking about a cartridge, we are talking about a "cap and ball" revolver. There is no case, so the ball is seated against the charge no matter how much powder you use.

4V50 Gary
March 26, 2002, 11:41 AM
444 is dead on regarding the Remington. However, there are ways to fill the gap between the powder charge and the ball (if such a gap exists). Some shooters use a lubricated felt wad and others (cheapos like myself) use old cornmeal or gubmint issued farina (hey, it's over 10 years old, probably rancid and it was given to me for free).

Matt Wallis
March 26, 2002, 01:44 PM
Though I have never tested this out myself, I've heard that it's pretty much impossible to overload a cap and ball. I use 20 grains of 3Fg in my Navy, and get pretty good accuaracy with a reasonable amount of power. But then again, it's only a .36. It still could definitely take more, but I've never maxed it out.

I also use wonder wads, and put crisco over the first and third shots. Keeps it firing very smoothly.


March 30, 2002, 05:22 PM
In a 45 cap and ball I would recommend 28 grains volume and a wonder wad. Also a .457 ball will give better accuracy. This is an accurate, fun load. You can get better accuracy with a lighter load but you'll want to skip the wad and use a corn meal filler to take up the air space as the ball should be just below the chamber mouth. Use crisco or a commercial grease to seal the chambers.

Be aware that Pyrodex is very corrosive, more so than black powder, and requires good cleaning to get rid of the deposited salts that attract water and cause rusting.

April 9, 2002, 03:37 PM
I'm with Ron. I use 26-28 gr in my .44 & it does well. With Pyrodex P, at 30gr I start losing accuracy. And yes, the stuff will attract corrosion. You need to clean the entire firearm with *WATER*. Hot, soapy water is good. It takes water to dilute & remove the salts. My bro & I couldn't bring ourselves to use water the first time we shot our .44's. We cleaned very diligently with Hoppe's, but a few days later you could hardly see down the bore. Another long, diligent cleaning with Hoppe's, & a week later the same thing, lots of corrosion. We finally dunked'em in water and scrubbed them out, the corrosion stopped.

A good thing to (whether it's a new gun, or one you have just finished cleaning) is to soak it in very hot water (the metal will steam itself dry when removed from the bath). While it is still very warm, coat everything with "Bore Butter" or a similar product. Heating the firearm is essential, it forces the petroleum based oils out of the metal, and liquifies the Bore Butter, drawing into the metal as it cools.

August 21, 2004, 06:36 PM
How do you measure 28 grains of powder? My powder measure is in 5 grain increments. Also, how much pyrodex p should I use in my colt 1860?
Do I need to cover the cylinder with grease if I use lubed pads between bullet and powder?
How far do you seat the bullet?
I tried to load and some balls were higher in the cylinder than others.

August 22, 2004, 05:30 PM
I don't mean to hi-jack your thread tony but what exactly is "bore butter"?

Matt - What do you mean by "and put crisco over the first and third shots"... put where?


August 22, 2004, 06:23 PM
Bore Butter is a product sold by Thompson Center Arms. It is a grease like substance that you use to lubricate patches, bullets, or to seal the chambers of a black powder revolver. They advertise that it eliminates bore fouling which makes loading (in a single shot rifle or pistol) diffiicult after several shots. I have found the product to pretty much work as advertised and I am a big fan of it. http://www.tcarms.com/mlaccessories/cleaning/73097409.php I also use it as a rust preventitive as is mentioned in their webpage. I clean my BP guns in boiling water. When I am done, I wipe a patch with bore butter over the whole gun. I also run a bore butter patch down the bore and the cylinders. The bore butter melts when it comes in contact with the hot metal and it spreads around pretty evenly. One problem with this is it usually blocks off the nipples. A few caps are fired with no powder or ball to open them up prior to firing.
Crisco: same application as Bore Butter. In a blackpowder revolver, you put some grease on top of each ball in each cylinder. This is supposed to prevent chain firing and also serves to lubricate the ball and keep fouling to a minimum. It also makes a big mess.

August 22, 2004, 07:47 PM
Ok, now I know what bore butter looks like. What about crisco. I have one product in mind and I don't want to post the pic here least I want everyone laughing at me. Could someone please post a link of this grease?


August 22, 2004, 07:58 PM
Crisco ?
It is vegtable shortening that you buy at the grocery store. Blue can, white grease, bake stuff ?

August 23, 2004, 09:48 AM
It is vegtable shortening that you buy at the grocery store. Blue can, white grease, bake stuff ?

That's what I have in mind. I thought it was something special. Thanks.


August 23, 2004, 11:10 AM
That probably just seemed to easy to be true :D

August 26, 2004, 07:59 AM
The "normal" .44 spout on a pistol flask usually throws 28-30 grains of fffg and you use the same spout with pyrodex. Pyrodex compresses more than black and the ball will seat pretty deep- to the full extent of the rammer. Some people like to use filler material to reduce the jump but I cant shoot well enough to appreciate anything better than this:
Here are some chronographed loads with a couple of armys:
30 grain FFFG Colt Second Generation 822 FPS 55
30 grain FFFG Uberti 871 104
35 grain FFFG Colt Second Generation 855 37
30gr/vol Pyrodex P Uberti 841 54
35 gr/vol Pyrodex P Uberti 1047 116
35 gr/vol Pyrodex P Uberti
with felt wonder wad 1055 69
30 gr/vol American Pioneer 506 57
Lee 200 Grain Bullet
35 gr/vol Pyrodex P 967 46
30 gr/vol FFFG 753 46

And with a 58 Remington
Load .451 Ball Velocity Spread 5 Rounds
30 Gr American Pioneer Pietta 506 57
30 Gr Pyrodex P Uberti 975 66
30 Grains Pyrodex P Pietta 841 54
35 Grains FFFG .454 Uberti 855 37
30 Grain FFFG .454 Uberti 795 31
30 Grain Pyrodex P .454 Uberti 966 54
30 Grain FFFG Lee Uberti
200 Grain Bullet 764 41

Mark whiz
August 26, 2004, 04:22 PM

Most 1858 Replicas have a 30gr max charge limit. For a minimum charge, I would say 20gr is about as low as I would go..............since accuracy starts falling off as you go under 25gr anyway. This is when using True 3fg Black powder or Pyro P. If you use 3fg 777 powder those loads have to be reduced by 10 to 15%. I use 27gr of 3fg 777 as a max load for my 1858 Pietta replica.

You might also want to consider trying .454 balls - They usually give you a little tightt in the cylinders...........improving accuracy.