View Full Version : Recommended Powder Load for Steel Frame 1851 Navy Colt

January 30, 2010, 08:24 AM
This has probably been asked a million times and I tried searching for the answer on the site but no joy.

New to BP and have been using 30 grains of Hodgdon 777 FFFg in my 44 caliber 1851 steel framed Pietta Colt "Navy".

Any thots/recommendations? Too much?


MMA1991 (a.k.a. The New Guy)

January 30, 2010, 08:38 AM
777 is hotter than Holy Black. 30 grains is fairly stiff . Should not actually hurt the gun though.

January 30, 2010, 09:07 AM
Colt specs are 25-30 grs with 25 recommended for the 60 Army .44. I would think a 51 in .44 would be the same.

Reduce 777 by 15% so a 25 grain load less 15% is 21.25. So 21-23 grains would be a good 777 load to start with. Your 30gr load of 777 is the same as 34.5 of black. That's about all the black powder you can get in a Colt .44 chamber. I think you well find the revolver is more accurate at a lower charge.

As I recall my .44 flask spout is 27 grains and my normal load.

January 31, 2010, 04:42 PM
Do you think I did any damage to my steel frame 1851 Navy .44 Cal Pietta with the 30 grains used to date? The recoil was not real stiff.....

This BP stuff is addicting......:D

January 31, 2010, 06:58 PM
The gun can withstand all the powder you can cram in the chamber without damage. Accuracy will be poor, but you won't do any damage.

January 31, 2010, 09:50 PM
FWIW, Hodgdon's Cap-N-Ball data:

36 cal 1851 Navy steel frame: 20 grains = 832 fps

44 cal 1858 Army steel frame: 25 grains = 763 fps

44 cal 1860 Army steel frame: 25 grains = 592 fps

45 cal Ruger Old Army: 35 grains = 987 fps

I would think your 44 cal 1851 is most like the revolver above in bold print. Why the muzzle velocity of the 1860 is significantly lower than the 1858 I haven't got a clue but there ya go.

February 9, 2010, 05:59 PM
The load range is 22 to 30gr fffg powder. You can go to the Traditions web and get the info. Pietta makes revolvers for Traditions. The whole manual is on line. traditionsmuzzle.com ;)

February 9, 2010, 08:04 PM
Thanks...I should have known better.

February 10, 2010, 08:33 AM
I would be very skeptical of any Italian manufacturers manual.

Like mykeal said you can fill the chamber with out damage to the revolver. You well find the most accurate load for your revolver is going to be in the 25 gr area, plus or minus 5 grains or so. It takes a several grain change in powder to see a difference in accuracy or poi. You can shoot a whole box of rb finding the sweet spot.

February 15, 2010, 06:02 PM
Thanks madcratebuilder.

The Italians are good with food but their machine work leaves a little bit to be desired.....had to work on the bolt stop to get the timing right and when I took the pistol down all of the internal parts needed a good buffing to get the metal smooth.

But hey, for less than $300 I don't have too much room to complain.


Doc Hoy
February 16, 2010, 11:00 AM
And it is fun working on the pistols.

February 16, 2010, 11:25 AM
The right charge is as much or as little as you want to use. As long as the ball is seated firmly on the powder charge with no air gap between them, and it doesn't stick out and keep the cylinder from turning, you're fine.

February 16, 2010, 01:12 PM
The right charge is as much or as little as you want to use.
Well I guess that depends on what your definition of the 'right' charge is. To my way of thinking the 'right' charge is the one that results in the greatest accuracy, or, to put it another way, the smallest group size. And that certainly isn't 'as little or as much as you want to use'. If I understand your concept, the 'right' charge is any charge that doesn't cause damage, regardless of whether or not you can reliably hit anything with it.

February 16, 2010, 05:27 PM
MMA1991, I had to take apart my Traditions ASM made 1858 new army also. The timing was off with the bolt and had alot of burrs to clean and polish off also. I also found out later that ASM does not make revolvers for Traditions anymore and is not supported by them. I found this out when I bought a spare cylander and discovered it did not fit. I then drove back to traditions with the revolver and showed them the problem. Thats when they told me they no longer supported ASM. Nothing is the same between the two except the model. I have been in their show room and looked at most of what they offer. For the price on some of them you would think the machine work,fit and finish would be a little better. I guess you get what you paid for. I no longer support Traditions. :barf:

February 16, 2010, 08:34 PM
Traditions no longer supports ASM manufactured guns because they've been out of business for several years. Not Traditions' fault.

February 16, 2010, 08:44 PM
My pistol is made by Pietta.

February 16, 2010, 11:51 PM
I understand. However, steelman762 said his gun was made by ASM, and my post was directed to him.

February 20, 2010, 11:52 PM
I owned a brass-framed 1851 back in the early 1970s, in .44 caliber.
As I recall, I could only get 25 grains of DuPont FFFG black powder in the cylinder, and be assured of having enough room to seat a ball. In those days, I did not use a greased felt wad between powder and ball.
Chamber capacities can differ, but I don't think you'll be able to get more than 30 grains (FFFG equivalent) of powder in those chambers. The 1851, when made in .44 caliber, has the smallest capacity chambers of any .44 revolvers.
I'd be careful with Hodgdon 777. It is NOT intended to be substituted straight across with black powder, like Pyrodex is. It's fairly strong stuff. The warning to reduce by 15% is a good idea.

I haven't found 777, nor Pyrodex, to be as accurate as Goex FFFG black powder but if it's all you can get then, go for it.
Use a .454 inch ball, instead of .451 inch, whether Pietta or Uberti made the revolver. The larger ball, when rammed into the chamber, sticks to the chamber walls with greater tenacity. This discourages ball movement during recoil.
Also, the larger ball, when rammed into the chamber, creates a wider bearing band for the rifling to grip. In my experience, this enhances accuracy. Certainly, it means better obturation in the bore.

Yep, cap and ball revolvers are definitely addictive.
:DIt's so ingrained in my blood that historical records of the future will probably read, "Lake Gatofeo was formed when the ol' desert cat was cremated and the crater formed by the blast began filling with water ..."

February 21, 2010, 07:04 AM
Yep, cap and ball revolvers are definitely addictive.
It's so ingrained in my blood that historical records of the future will probably read, "Lake Gatofeo was formed when the ol' desert cat was cremated and the crater formed by the blast began filling with water ..."
That's priceless. A man could have no better epitaph.;)

March 2, 2010, 09:43 PM
I have read that the most popular load for a .36 Navy is 22 grains of Black powder by Volume. I load Pyrodex by volume to the same mark.
I have used this load for about a year now and have had good luck with accuracy from it' For a .44 Brass Frame I drop the load to 20 grains of pyrodex and have not had problem number one and it is VERY accurate at 15 yards.
I use s 30 gr (by Volume) load in my '58 Remington Army's. They are a much stronger frame and the load dosen't seem to put any strain on them at all.