View Full Version : newbie need some advice

January 24, 2010, 12:05 AM
Just purchased a 51 navy revolver from cabelas, the one with the brass frame. 45 cal. Ive been shooting bp rifles for over 20 years now and just took interest in the revolvers. Ive been reading a lot and searching on here for the answers to my questions, which so far has been very helpful. Along with the revolver I picked up some .454 balls and the prelubed wads, as far as the powder this is where my question ls. I picked up the triple seven fffg, i recently switched to the triple seven in all my rifles including my 3 percussion caps with good results. My concern is will this powder be ok in this revolver , I know about the 15% reduction factor but im a little confused as to what the safe maximum load is to begin with. The owners manual from Pietta says max is 15 grains the little insert from cabelas says not to use more than 25 grains of black powder. If I use the triple seven and reduce it by 15 % that would be about 12.75 grains if I did my math correct. Wont the ball be seated too far down the cylinder with that little bit of powder? Or doesnt that matter, from everything ive read so far it says that the ball when seated should be about an 1/8 of an inch below cylnder face. Like I said Im completely new to the cap and ball revolver, havent even shot one yet, and want to get as much info and be more than a 100% safe before I try. Im getting older now and my body parts take longer to heal than when I was 20. Thank you all and sorry this was so long. charlie

January 24, 2010, 01:44 AM
Multiply the black powder load by .15 and then subtract that number from the black powder load to obtain the equivalent volume of 777.

BP load times .15 = Z
BP load minus Z = 777 equivalent load

If the max. load for a brass frame were considered to be 25 grains to avoid causing the brass frame to stretch, then 15% would equal 21.25 grains of 777 by volume.

The equivalent load for 20 grains of BP would be 17 grains of 777 by volume.
The equivalent load for 22 grains of BP would be 18.7 grains of 777 by volume.

A wad or filler can be used over the powder to help the lever bottom out the ball in the chamber .
Folks use Cream of Wheat, corn meal, grits, or semolina among others as filler.

If you were loading a notably weaker and bulkier powder like American Pioneer Powder fffg, then it's possible that up to 30 grains of powder could be loaded without causing much additional risk.
Every powder is different and 777 does have the sharpest recoil.
The recoiling of the cylinder can lead to indentations on the interior of the recoil shield of the revolver and a potential loosening of the arbor.
No one really knows the maximum optimal volume of powder to load & for how many shots any brass frame revolver can endure that load over the long run since each is different and subject to tolerance variations.

The Traditions 1851 manual:


Doc Hoy
January 24, 2010, 07:11 AM

January 24, 2010, 07:57 AM
arcticap gave you the right load info. You well need a filler at those load levels in order to seat the ball.

The Pietta load recommendation is very conservative, the load recommended by Cabela's is more realistic. 22-25grs is about max for a brass .44

Welcome to the darkside.

Doc Hoy
January 24, 2010, 09:17 AM
Good morning to MCB and Articap.

January 24, 2010, 09:30 AM
Arcticap nailed it.

January 24, 2010, 10:38 AM
thanx arcticap think Ill start with 17 grains and a prelubed wad. If that loads and shoots well Ill stick with that. This is my first revolver and picked up the brass model due to a sale, but I already know Ill be getting a full steel frame in the future. thanx again

January 24, 2010, 11:03 AM
If you want to be historically accurate the 51 Navy was never offered in a .44 it was a .36