View Full Version : Antonio Zoli 58 Caliber

May 1, 2010, 05:06 PM
I've got an old Antonio Zoli 58 Caliber I inherited - it's in fantastic condition - but I'd like exposure to the black powder experience!
So I suppose my question is where do I get the "bullets" and how much/what kind of black powder do I pour down the barrel?

This is a little embarrassing to ask - but I've never fired a black powder rifle. So needless to say, I don't know a whole lot about them.

May 1, 2010, 05:43 PM
I have one of those.
It does pretty well with .570 round balls. Go to dixiegun.com and buy pillow ticking, Old Zip patch lube, and the balls. You also need musket caps.

You need a brass black powder measure, and try 70 grains of ffg black powder.

Spend 22 bucks for this book:


May 1, 2010, 06:17 PM

Pop in over here and talk with these guys

4V50 Gary
May 1, 2010, 08:08 PM
Get the Lyman handbook or at least borrow it. Let me see what it says about the gun later.

May 2, 2010, 06:59 AM
Musket caps? Mine doesn't use musket caps - it takes regular Remington No. 11's. My best load is 60 gr ffg under a .570 round ball with a .018 lubed patch. It also shoots a .580 mini ball very well with that same load. I did not have good luck with 70 gr ffg, but I know others have, so you'll have to work up your own load.



May 2, 2010, 07:30 AM
Mine uses musket caps. I bought it from Dixie in 1985.
I thought all the Civil War guns used musket caps.

By the way, it is very good on deer and wild hogs with that big round ball.

May 2, 2010, 08:30 AM
You can buy nipples for muskets that are designed to take standard #11 caps. A standard #11 nipple should be about 0.17 inches in diameter or about the diameter of a BB. A musket cap nipple is about the size of a pencil eraser.

I understand that the standard military issue load for .58 caliber muskets was 60 grains of black powder wrapped in a paper cartridge along with a Minié bullet.

4V50 Gary
May 2, 2010, 09:47 AM
From Gun Digest's Blackpowder Loading Manual:

Navy Arms Zouave Rifle

Caliber: 58
1:48 in twist
Depth of groove: .003" - .005"
Bullet: .577" 530-gr. Lyman Minie mould #577611
Power: GOI
Patch: none
Lube: Young Country No. 103
Ignition: Navy Arms Musket Cap

50 FFg 850 MV 850 ME 782 (velocity at 100 yds) 720 (energy @ 100 yds)
60 FFg 971 MV 1110 ME 879 (velocity @ 100 yds) 910 (energy @ 100 yds)
70 FFg 1035 MV 1261 ME 932 (velocity @ 100 yds) 1023 (energy @ 100 yds)
80 FFg 1095 MV 1411 ME 953 (velocity @ 100 yds) 1069 (energy @ 100 yds)

80 FFg is the maximum recommended load. Do not exceed it.

BTW, the Lyman Blackpowder Handbook has several pages of loading data for a 1:48" twist, .578 caliber gun.

May 2, 2010, 02:00 PM
Never heard of a C.W.style rifle that didn't originally come with musket nipples. Original charges were 60 grs. with a minie for U.S. troops and 65 with a minie for C.S. troops. My Enfield does great with 70 grs. of Pyrodex and a Lyman minie. Also does well with a Lee improved minie. Never shot round balls out of it.

May 2, 2010, 04:06 PM
Thanks a lot for all the suggestions. I'm always amazed at the support and helpful knowledge of this forum.

I have the caps already, a lot of them.

Can someone go into more detail as to what "pillow ticking" is?

Also, this "Old Zip patch lube" - I understand what it is but the exact function/purpose is....

Lastly, my "ramrod" is very old and wooden - it seems a little fragile.
I see dixiegun.com has two .58 Caliber rods but they seem to have different purposes?

I suppose I don't understand the difference between the two.

I'll be sure to get the suggested literature and read up. I like to be well informed before I go in blind.... ;)

May 2, 2010, 04:21 PM
"pillow ticking" is a very tightly woven cotton fabric used in making pillows. The tight weave keeps feathers from poking through it. It's perfect patching material for patched round balls.


May 2, 2010, 04:28 PM
Ramrods for that rifle are steel and are used for loading as well as cleaning. See the pic Mykeal put up. Patch lube aids in loading ball but it's main purpose is keeping fouling in the bore soft.

May 2, 2010, 04:30 PM
Sometimes a good video is worth a thousand words.


May 2, 2010, 04:32 PM
Sometimes a good video is worth a thousand words.

Unless you have dialup :D

May 2, 2010, 04:42 PM
Ah, thank you BLE and Hawg - I think I understand this completely now... well, except for the ramrod. Why does one of those have a "swell" in the rod?

May 2, 2010, 04:46 PM
Unless you have dialup

Right, that's why I post a link instead of embedding the video.

Also, an empty .30-06 case just happens to hold almost 70 grains of black powder, if you don't want to spend money on an adjustable powder measure.

May 2, 2010, 04:49 PM
The swell is almost bore size. It's cupped so aids in loading ball or minie and is a patch jag for cleaning. Just place a patch over muzzle and run it down with rod. Patch curls around swell and tightly fits bore so it removes it easily. Just don't use a dry patch or one that's too thick or you'll get a stuck ramrod.

May 2, 2010, 04:59 PM
Understood! I should be set now. Thanks again for your help, I really appreciate it.

May 2, 2010, 05:03 PM
If you elect to use Minié balls (properly pronounced min-ni-ay after its inventor C. E. Minié), no patch is used, you simply grease the grooves in the bullets with Crisco, T.C. Bore Butter, Wonder Lube or something similar to keep the fouling soft.

May 2, 2010, 05:16 PM
Those get runny in summer heat. I use a beeswax/Crisco mix for my minies.

May 2, 2010, 05:27 PM
Old Zip patch lube is what the pioneers used, it is made from mutton tallow.
It works great for lubing the patches. Holds up well in warm weather.
One little tin will last a long time.
And, it smells good, too.

May 2, 2010, 07:06 PM
It's perfect patching material for patched round balls.

Pillow ticking is .018 thick and based on mykeal's experience may be the proper thickness for loading balls into your bore, but it's not always the best for every bore.

Sometimes experimentation is needed to determine the best patch thickness for each individual gun.
There's a formula to use that based on the bore & ball diameter & groove depth. Slightly over thick patches are okay to use but if they're too thick then they can be difficult to load with especially after the bore gets fouled.

See pages 9 & 10 of the Lyman Shooter's manual below for info. about how to select the best size patch for loading a specific diameter of round ball in your bore.


TC Bore Butter is probably the most popular brand of commercial patch lube. Each patch lube has slightly different ingredients, properties and viscosity.

May 2, 2010, 07:21 PM
Pillow ticking is .018 thick and based on mykeal's experience may be the proper thickness for loading balls into your bore.

I have some that's .018 and some thats .010.

May 2, 2010, 07:38 PM
My best load is 60 gr ffg under a .570 round ball with a .018 lubed patch.

Every pre-packaged commercial pillow ticking that I've ever seen that's sold at muzzle loading suppliers was .018 thick even if the thickness was not indicated on the label.
There may be pillow ticking that's thinner, but I'm pretty sure that most folks would agree that .018 is the standard thickness of pre-packaged pillow ticking.

There's plenty of perfectly good 100% cotton patching material that's not pillow ticking at all. And anything besides .018 pillow ticking would be hard to find. The pillow ticking that's sold at the Walmart craft dept. doesn't seem to be quite the same quality or thickness of the commercially pre-packaged pillow ticking. It's often thicker which causes many folks to complain that it's tougher to load with.

May 2, 2010, 08:01 PM
The pillow ticking that's sold at the Walmart craft dept. doesn't seem to be quite the same quality or thickness of the commercially pre-packaged pillow ticking.

Works fine for me. Just sayin.

May 2, 2010, 09:10 PM
WalMart used to have the pink and blue flower pillow ticking years ago that
was .010 thick. They stopped selling it and I went to Hancocks Fabrics to
buy the same. I bought a bolt of it. Now they don't have it anymore. I have
enough for about 30 years and I'm 67. I'm set!!

May 2, 2010, 09:28 PM
I have red striped that's .010 and blue that's .018 but is my understanding that it changes from bolt to bolt if not yard to yard.