View Full Version : Loading preferences for cap n' ball revolvers

August 5, 2010, 03:24 PM
I have been shooting a Pietta 1858 Remington .44 reproduction with a 12'' barrel and adjustable target sights for about a year now. I love the gun and the whole process of loading and tinkering with loads. I load a .451 138 gr. round ball over a cornmeal buffer over a pre-lubed wad over 35 grs. of 3F Shockey's Gold. #11 cap slightly pinched with a small ring of plastic tubing around the cap to keep it from exploding. This load produces 4'' groups at 50 yards from a bench. I am interested to hear others favorite loads, brands, and techniques. Is another wad between the buffer and ball a good idea? I'm also looking into trying some .450 200 gr. conicals from a Lee mould. Anyone had experience with these?

August 5, 2010, 03:37 PM
I'm just surprised you can fit all that in the chambers!:eek:

the rifleer
August 5, 2010, 03:47 PM
Well you load much more carefully than i do. I have a ruger old army and I have a small tin with corn meal and a small scoop in it. I have a .38 special shell that when filled to the top is almost exactly 30 grains and that is my powder measure (i have a real powder measure, but loading the shell is faster because I just fill it to the top). I have a spout on the powder than fits and i fill the case up to 30 grains and put it in the chamber. I then put a little bit of corn meal in and seat a cast .457 ball that i mold myself. I just put the #11 caps on and dont pinch them or anything.

I have this method down pretty good and can reload relatively fast (probably less than 3 minutes). Accuracy is acceptable. I can get a guestemated 5'' group at 30 yards. Its not great, but thats what you get when you load fast. If i use store bought swaged balls and measure the powder precisely the groups shrink an inch or more. I've heard that lowering the charge to around 24 or 25 grains is the most accurate load, but the shot drops considerably more at 25 yards and has a noticeable power loss.

I usually just shoot soda cans and swinging targets anywhere from 10 to 40 yards. I could work up a load and i know i could get better accuracy, but I like to spend more time shooting than reloading.

Some times I just fill the cylinder to the top, leaving just enough room to cram a ball in and shoot it like that. Accuracy absolutely sucks, but it a ton of fun. Thats the cool thing about the Ruger Old Army is that It can take that kind of abuse. I don't do it very often, maybe the last 2 or 3 shots of shooting session. Its a huge waste of powder, but it is fun to make that much smoke and get a good kick.

I also have made a few paper cartridges for when i go shooting later today. I have never used them, so we will see weather they work or not. I made them out of tea bags.

August 5, 2010, 06:07 PM
Yeah, I use a .45 acp shell to measure my corn meal. I have been surprised at the capacity of the chambers myself. Makes me wonder if these pistols were not originaly intended to fire much hotter loads. I could easily fit over 60grs. of powder in there! Nevertheless, any thoughts about a wad between the buffer and the ball?

August 5, 2010, 06:19 PM
IMHO 4" groups at 50 yards off a bench is only average, especially with a 12" barrel. If you tweak things a bit you might get better groups. I run opposite of the crowd regarding "target" loads that use small charges. In some instances, especially with the larger 44's, you might get better accuracy with full charges. I'd try, powder, lubed wad, ball, and seat the ball so it is just below the front end of the chamber. You have to have no air between powder and ball so adjust the powder charge accordingly. Your accuracy might improve.
I filed a small mark on the rammer so all balls are seated at the same depth. You might shrink the group to 2" to 2 1/2". Also try different brands of balls, some are up to higher specs. I think some one said Speer are better than Hornaday ( although the Hornaday 30-30 bullets I use are great)- in any event try some different combinations. On the caps, you shouldn't have to squeeze them. Try different caps or get another set of nipples. Good luck. :cool:

August 5, 2010, 06:44 PM
After nearly half a century being a traditional muzzle loading enthusiast, I have formed my own rules about such things. e.g. If it is safe and works for you, go for it.
Personally, I would not use the corn meal or make-believe powder. I would use as much genuine black powder as the cylinder will hold and let the ball be seated flush with the mouth. Grease over the balls, what kind is almost not relevant. Cap, cock, shoot and enjoy.

August 5, 2010, 07:01 PM
If you can shoot 4 inch groups at 50 yds from a rest, you would win the
National bench rest pistol matches and probably set a record. And you can
even use a "Red Dot" sight!

August 5, 2010, 07:41 PM

I could easily fit over 60grs. of powder in there!

I have to say that I am truly amazed at this. The chambers in my Uberti 1858 only hold a maximum of 45 grains, filled flush to the top. Are you sure someone didn't fit a Walker cylinder in your 1858?:D I feel short changed by Uberti:( (not that I'd ever feel the need to go over 30 grains through my 8-inch barrel anyway)

August 5, 2010, 08:00 PM
How about a 400gr .460 conical over 100gr of highly compressed 777 no corn meal needed but you do need a 1/8" berrilium copper wad to act as a gas check. A little tuff to load but 1" groups at 100yds are guaranteed.:D
Hey! Makes as much sense as some of the other posts:rolleyes:

August 5, 2010, 08:19 PM
Intersting. I had no idea 4" groups at 50 yards from a rest was record setting material. Please let me know what your sources are so I can notify them of my incredible accomplishment. I'm looking so forward to the endorsement deals!

August 5, 2010, 08:24 PM
Denster, Which posts do you consider non-sense?

August 5, 2010, 09:01 PM
My sources are the NMLRA posted scores on their site and I have shot these

August 5, 2010, 09:10 PM
Model-P - in regards to your '58 Uberti Remy - don't feel "shorted" or anything like that in regards to your cylinder size. . . . . remember what they say . . . "it's not the size, it's how you use it". :D Sorry . . . couldn't help myself!

Fingers McGee
August 5, 2010, 11:07 PM
Are you sure it's the 400 grain conical and not the 415 grainer Denster? Last I heard, you couldnt get the 400s anymore. :D

August 5, 2010, 11:52 PM
Daggone Fingers you're right as usual.

August 6, 2010, 01:35 AM
Are you sure about that? I got to get into some matches. A while back I was shooting pretty fast with a 1851 Colt and the guy next to me wanted to know if I was "keeping them on the paper?"
"The whole target?"
I thought he was kidding, I told him I was trying to keep them in the black.
In any event he thought I should get into competition, maybe I should. At 25 yards off a bench I'm usually shooting 1"- 2" groups. With my S & W Model 29 I've on some (i.e. rare) occasions shot 4" groups at 100 yards off a bench with open sights and the 29 only has a 6 1/2" barrel.

August 6, 2010, 07:55 AM
"My sources are the NMLRA posted scores on their site and I have shot these

Just spoke to the good folks at the NMLRA. The records kept for revolvers at 50 yards are for standing one handed shooting. They occasionally have "fun" events where contestants fire from a bench but no records are kept for that event. As I indicated in my original post, 4" groups from a rest, 12" barrel, and adjustable target sights. I don't see the comparison at all to standing, one handed with a period replica.

August 6, 2010, 08:15 AM
In my original post I explained the pistol that I use, the materials that I load my pistol with, and the performance that I have gotten from it so far. All of which I am absolutely certain of. I don't waste other people's time with innaccurate information so please don't waste mine by questioning it. I am looking for any constructive suggestions or ideas regarding loading techniques, materials, bullet selection, etc... If you have any of these things to offer please do so with my appreciation.

If you have nothing to offer specificly regarding these topics please save your comments for someone else's post or start your own.

August 6, 2010, 08:27 AM
cap-n-baller, I believe your claims, albiet with a touch of skepticism. A 4" group at 50 yards, from rest, with any pistol borderlines on exceptional. I know nothing about the Pietta, it may be an outstanding C&B firearm. Your loading procedure strikes me as being highly ritualistic with steps unnecessary. However, as I said, if it works and you like it, I ain't gonna call the 'do it my way' cops on you.
All in all it is a very good post. In close to 50 years at this ML game, one of the things I have always, and still, enjoyed about it was seeing, and learning from, the many-many techniques it's practitioners come up with.

August 6, 2010, 08:35 AM
Hey, cap-n'-baller. Don't get torqued. You are playing a different game than most of us.
Some of us are casual, shooting a few shots a year.
Some are a little more serious and actually do develop loads etc.
Some are like Fingers and I in that we shoot a lot. Shooting rifle (44-40) pistols (1860 Armys) and 12 ga coachgun, I have run through, as of August 1, over 13# of FFFg and FFg for 2010.
We can reload 10 rounds in 2 pistols in less than 4 minutes. Our guns are timed, tweaked and tuned to be ultra reliable and accurate within the range we shoot as cowboy Action Shooters. My only accuracy testing with the pistols is using a two handed grip and a Weaver stance at 10 yards. This gave me a POI that is very close to POA and about a 3" group. Close enough for what we do.
So do your bench shooting and be pleased and proud of your groups.

August 6, 2010, 08:57 AM
That's what I love about BP shooting. Some of us are practiced and measured to tweak maximum accuracy out of our guns. Some of us are not.

Me, I just like to make smoke and fire. I buy whatever BP substitute is on sale when I can find it. .451 balls with a wad or .454 balls without. I measure out my powder with an old .38 special casing. Sometimes I grease the ball sometimes I don't (shooting for fun at the range I do. Packing for camping I don't)

My goal is to blast holes in rotten stumps from 20 yards out or have something that makes enough flash and boom to scare the coyotes from around the tent.:D

August 6, 2010, 09:46 AM
I use my BP .44 to hunt hogs. Where I live my pistol is classified as a primitive weapon, like a muzzle loader, which allows me to hunt hogs on public land from mid August to the end of February. I shoot from a bench because I believe it is the best way to determine the performance of a given load by removing as much human error as possible. I shoot at 50 yards because that is the maximum range I am comfortable firing at a hog with this pistol. I shoot from a variety of postions and know my effective range from each. My goal in all my loading and shooting with this pistol has been to develop the best combination for putting pork chops on the table. I've read alot on this forum and most of my loading knowledge has come from what I have learned here from far more experienced shooters than me.

As for the 'ritual': powder, wad, buffer, ball, repeat. All to the sound of tantric drumming, Sage smoke rising through the air, and the chanting of the elders. Did I mention I carve ancient Druid rune signs into the ball before loading it?:D

August 6, 2010, 11:32 AM
The reason you got some chiding responses is because some of your statements about your load and proceedures and observations and preformance hurt your credability.
The 1858 cylinder has a limited volumetric capacity which 35gr of powder, a 45acp case of cornmeal, a lubed wad and roundball far exceedes.
Your statement that the gun was made for hotter loads and the cylinder can hold 60gr is not within the capacity of your gun.
A 4" group at 50yds is beyond the mechanical accuracy capabilities of most cap and ball revolvers and beyond the capabilities of most shooters. That is not saying it is impossible just improbable.
As Larry Potterfield is fond of saying. "And that's the way it is"

Old Grump
August 6, 2010, 02:00 PM
Ruger Old Army shooter here and I started with the recommended load of 147 gr round ball over 45 grains of FFFg powder and it made lots of noise, lots of smoke and a 4" group at 8 yards. No grease, no felt pads, no filler and I still don't use any of that stuff.

Today I shoot 20 grains of the same powder over the same ball and I'm getting the same group at 25 and 30 yards I was with the heavy load at 8 yards. Half the smoke and bang, nearly like shooting a 22 except there is more clean up to do afterward. It also takes a lot longer to load but the fun factor makes it worth it. I have the conversion cylinder but have never used it and I'm not sure I ever will. I'm having all the fun I can handle with my little baby powder puff load.

I don't intend to hunt with it but if I do I can go back to 40 or 45 grains and do some serious practicing but I have my Lyman Cougar in-line rifle for that.

Maybe I'm missing something here but all these doctored up and buffered loads seems like a lot of work for little gain to me. My ball is down quite away from the mouth of the cylinder but I really can't see where my accuracy has been hurt by my reduced loads. Maybe I'm lucky but I just haven't seen the need yet.

August 6, 2010, 02:31 PM
I'm also looking into trying some .450 200 gr. conicals from a Lee mould. Anyone had experience with these?

Some folks have mentioned obtaining good performance with Lee 200 grain conicals from their Remingtons in the following thread, but I never heard that they were a really good target round or as accurate as the Buffalo revolver bullets.


Performance probably depends on the individual gun, casting & loading variables.
Is your 12" Pietta Remington the stainless steel model?

The photos below were originally posted by mec on THR:


August 6, 2010, 04:45 PM
So, Dense-ster I can see where you got your name. As you have now ignored my request to address the questions in the orignal post as well as misquoting my posts, mocking those who are offering their advice, and calling me a liar. I am requesting that you stop posting on this thread.

Articap- Yes, my pistol is the stainless steel Pietta with 12" barrel. The finish left a little to be desired out of the box (some machining marks still visible). Other than that it has been a pleasure to shoot and of course clean. Perhaps it is the long barrel and adjustable sights that account for the "unbelievable accuracy" that other poster here seem to find so hard to swallow. . Also, I've heard great things about the Buffalo Bullets except for one, they are very difficult to find. I tried Track of the Wolf, and Dixie Gun Works and they say the production is very sporadic and they will not have any for months. Thats why I was looking for a more reliable source. Does Buffalo sell moulds?
The Buffalos sure seem to have out done the Lee bullets in the test you posted. I wonder if a lesser charge (35-37grs)for the larger Lee bullet might have resulted in better accuracy. Only one way to find out.

August 6, 2010, 05:02 PM
As far as the buffer and wad goes all I can tell you is what works best in my pistol. I have shot without one or the other or both. With a charge that gets me the velocity I want for hunting this combination works best. I will be shooting some next week and will try an additional wad between the buffer and the ball. I will also be trying some Lee conicals next week.

August 6, 2010, 05:08 PM
Happy to oblige. For the record though I didn't call you a liar, nor did I mock anyone who gave you advise, nor did I misread your posts. You asked me what posts I thought were nonsense. I told you and why they were nonsense. You're response was name calling. And that's the way it is.

August 6, 2010, 05:26 PM
Somehow I knew you would need to try to get the last word in as well as a final accusation. Happy Trails.

Fingers McGee
August 6, 2010, 06:53 PM
Since we're talking about loads & accuracy, here is a target I shot at the 2010 Prince of Pistoleers CAS Match in Lanexa KS.

5 rounds at 10 yards, off hand (Duelist) using a Taylor/Uberti 1861 Navy loaded with 20 grains of fffg Grafs powder, Oxyoke .36 cal Wonder Wad (The last of my stash), BPstuffllc cast .380 round ball, Treso nipples and #10 Remington caps. 3 rounds touching and two flyers. You can also see where 4 of the 5 wads hit the target. All loading done with flask using a pistol stand and installed loading lever.


You don't need all that other cr....... stuff


August 6, 2010, 07:59 PM
Fingers- When you seat the balls in your .36 do they sit flush with the top of the cylinder? Do you think this matters regarding accuracy/consistencey?

August 6, 2010, 08:33 PM
The Buffalo bullets are definitely better than the bullet designs with a very narrow driving band. My experience has been that when a bullet has a narrow driving band it can twist out of alignment during its seating into the chamber- obviously not good for accuracy. Along the same lines that's why I think a slightly larger ball- the type that shears off a ring during the seating, is good- a little more contact area with the rifling. I think the bullets will normally beat the balls at the longer ranges although in rifles some guys shoot very good groups at 100 yards with a PRB.
A few years ago I made up about 100 small paper tubes with fitting caps. I use a reloading scale and weigh every charge (I use black powder not volumetric substitutes). All the tubes go into a reloading box- kept upright and taken to the range. It may be mental but I have had better accuracy with the carefully weighed charges.
On the wads. I cut some of my own and experimented with various lubes. Now I use the pre-lubed wonder wads. I think the biggest benefit of the wad is it helps prevent gas cutting and improves accuracy.
As I said, I tried the cream of wheat fillers, etc but the heavier charges seem better in my case so I omitted the filler. With the thick wads the charge is moderately heavy- I can hear a slight crunch in seating the ball.
As I said, I put a line on the ram to seat the balls at the same depth. The idea about being near the end of the cylinder is to reduce the "jump" into the rifling and therefore have better accuracy.
I've only shot pistol in a couple of State Events and one hand- off hand was my recollection, the guy next to me on one event had a flintlock and if I recall at 50 yards off hand he was getting around 6" groups. In any event I'm sure you can better 4" off a rest. As far as other handguns, my experience has been better than 4" groups at fifty yards when using a rest.
I've never weighed the balls to check for voids, etc but that would be one more step towards accuracy.
Speed up lock time? I suppose the hammer could be lightened or a stronger replacement spring used. I too would be interested in knowing what others do for top accuracy.
And...some other things would pertain to handguns in general. A range rod can test chamber alignment with the bore. The forcing cone angle might play a role as well.

Fingers McGee
August 6, 2010, 10:55 PM
Fingers- When you seat the balls in your .36 do they sit flush with the top of the cylinder? Do you think this matters regarding accuracy/consistencey?

No, with 20 grains and a wad, they sit around 3/16 inch below the mouth - that's a guess, I've never measured it. I give the loading lever a full stroke when seating so the rammer bottoms out.

I've never shot revolvers in precision/bullseye competition, and I've never been anal enough to compare, so I have no first hand knowledge of whether the ball being flush with the chamber mouth makes a difference. There is no way to totally eliminate ball jump between chamber and barrel. All you can do by seating flush is reduce it. I personally do not think it makes enough difference to matter. But, I've been wrong before. Besides, I'm happy with minute of paper plate accuracy for what I do.

August 7, 2010, 04:13 AM
I don't use fillers either. I've never had a gun I couldn't pretty much keep within three inches at 25 yds. offhand. As for Lee conicals I like them but all I have a mold for are .36's. They're slightly tapered and load easily and straight.



August 8, 2010, 12:40 AM
Those three bullets- are those the Lee Conicals? The overall shape looks good and the heavier weight ought to be better for hunting. How's the accuracy compared to RBs?

August 8, 2010, 11:18 AM
Got my pistol out, filled one cylinder to the top with Shockey's Gold, poured that out and measured it. Came up with exactly 60grs. Not sure what all the confusion is about this. Try your own experiment and see what you come up with. I'm also unsure about the idea of pressing a ball (or conical) over that load in anything other than a Walker, or ROA.

For those of you intersted in trying some conicals, here is a post from Raider2000. I am ordering some of his bullets (the .450 200 gr.)this week and look forward to trying them out as soon as they arrive.This post is a few years old so some of the info has changed. Apparently he has had to raise his prices due to demand and they are now $20.00 per 100 including shipping. Also he has a larger selection of bullets available than are listed and they are available to ship immediately. He has been quick to respond to any questions I have had. You can search his posts on this site to view the whole thread, there is some good info in it.

.44 caliber bullets for sale.


Hi all.

A thought come to my head on the THR forums that some people may not cast their own Balls & Bullets for their muzzloading fun & may not have access to a conical for their .44 caliber C&B revolvers.

At the moment my 200gr. Lee .450 diameter conical mold in out of commision but if intrest comes about I'm willing to acquire another one for this but I do have the 220gr. Lee .456 diameter conical they both are excellent bullets for general shooting & increased striking energy for hunting purposes.

The 200gr. conical will load nicely in most .44 caliber C&B revolvers with it having a heeld design making the first ring about .442 then the next about .446 & the last .450.

The 220gr. conical will load nicely in many Uberti .44 caliber C&B revolvers & is an excellent bullet for the Ruger O.A. & like the 200gr. conical is of heeled design, .447 then .451 & lastly .456.

I'll sell 100 rounds unlubed for $11.00 + $6.00 for shipping to anywhere in the lower 48 U.S. states

Now remember if any one is interested in the 200gr. conicals the first order will take 2-3 weeks b ecause of having to acquire a new mold but the 220gr. conicals are available now & will ship imediatly.

If interested please PM me or email me at [email protected]

August 8, 2010, 07:51 PM
Got my pistol out, filled one cylinder to the top with Shockey's Gold, poured that out and measured it. Came up with exactly 60grs. Not sure what all the confusion is about this.
Well, part of the confusion stems from:
I could easily fit over 60grs. of powder in there!
We typically quote powder capacities that allow one to also load a projectile, so I expect that many, like me, assumed you meant 60 grains under a ball or bullet of some sort. And I think you'll have to agree that saying 'easily fit over 60 grains' is a bit of an exaggeration from 'filled ... to the top with...exactly 60 grs.', yes?

So you see, as a new member, since we have little else to use in judging your veracity, you've picked up a bit of a reputation for hyperbole, and the 4" 50 yard group from a bench claim is viewed with some, well, skepticism.

Not trying to bust your chops here, just passing along what I hope will be viewed as some helpful information.

By the way, my Euroarms 1858 Remington chambers hold 40 grains by volume of fffg Goex, settled by tapping the chamber and the measure but not compressed, just like I do when I load it. It was loaded flush with the top. Now my 3 powder measures don't agree exactly, varying by as much as 13% at worst; I used the 'middle' measure, but even at 13% error, that's still only 45 grains. Perhaps your measure is a bit off?

August 8, 2010, 08:10 PM
Those three bullets- are those the Lee Conicals? The overall shape looks good and the heavier weight ought to be better for hunting. How's the accuracy compared to RBs?

Yeah they're Lee's. Accuracy is good. This was at 25 yds.

But there's only five holes you say. Well the sixth wasn't exactly a miss.


Here's an unfired one and a recovered one.


August 8, 2010, 08:32 PM
Hey Noz who or where can you have C&P pistols tweaked? Gus

August 9, 2010, 04:57 AM
I tweaked my own Pietta NMA for my own purposes to load the larger .456 Lee conicals & .457 ball, including smooting up the innards, re crowning & throating the barrel & now to me she shoots better than I can ever get.

I know that the boys over at Taylors do some work but I'm not sure what they will do or how much they charge.

August 9, 2010, 12:29 PM
Mykeal - Point taken. I have never calibrated my powder measure. It is possible that it is off. I was wrong to say that the chambers "could easily hold more than 60grs" without having measured it out exactly. I based this on the fact that after loading 35 grains of powder and a lubed wad I was still able to put close to 30 grs. of cornmeal in there. The cornmeal is much finer than my powder so I did not take that into account (the coarser powder does not settle nearly as much as the cornmeal when tapped). That said, I stand by the 4" groups. This is not intended as a boast. I intended this to be a starting point from which I could improve with the help of more experinced C&B shooters. I recognize that my pistol is different than most of the ones others are shooting that are contributing here. I believe that a pistol with a 12" barrel and adjustable sights should be more accurate than an exact period replica. Shouldn't a 50%-70% ( assuming a period replica having a
7-8" barrel) increase in sight radius and increased velocity (due to more time in the tube with accelerating gasses rather than larger charge) result in more accurate shooting?

August 9, 2010, 03:30 PM

I do my own tweaking!

If you don't have a tweak tool, Fingers can sell you one. Unless you shoot a 44. He has only tools for 36 cals.

Fingers McGee
August 9, 2010, 06:47 PM
If you don't have a tweak tool, Fingers can sell you one. Unless you shoot a 44. He has only tools for 36 cals.

I'm currently out of stock right now Noz. My supplier is on vacation and left no contact info for where he went. He does this to me all the time. I may have to find a different supplier that will abide by the buy southern clause in the contract.

I've been working on the prototype for a .44 tweaking tool and would like you to do a proof of principle field test on it for me to see if it would be viable if put into production.

August 10, 2010, 09:18 AM
I have my own design that is secret but would be honored to field test yours.

August 10, 2010, 10:02 AM
What ever it is I want one if nothing more than to say I have one! What is it? Gus3836

Fingers McGee
August 10, 2010, 04:19 PM

August 10, 2010, 05:18 PM
Where's a leg-pulling smilie when you need one?

August 11, 2010, 08:50 AM
Had my pistol at the gunsmith's place the other day. He looked my pistol over and recomended reaming the forcing cone (it is visibly out of alignment with the barrel). He also suggested crowning the barrel. Both of which are fairly simply done as long as proper time, tools, and preperation are used. Could result in greater consisitency. Any one had experience with these procedures and there results? I would prefer to hear from folks with practical experience regarding this one.

August 11, 2010, 09:02 AM
Well at the risk of being told to not post here, this is something I have experience with. If the forcing cone is visibly misaligned you could benifit from having it recut to align it. It will require your gunsmith to make a bushing for the cutter rod that closely fits your barrel as the ones sold with the kit are not designed for these barrels. Crowning is only useful if the end of your barrel is out of square with the bore and with the accuracy you report that is unlikely. That likely falls into the "if it aint broke don't fix it " catagory.

August 11, 2010, 09:26 AM
Thank you for that usefull information Denster. I apologize for 'name-calling' earlier and your productive comments are welcome. I was looking at the bushings sold at Midway and Brownell's for .44s and.45 and was concerned about a good fit given the unique size of most BP pistol barrels. What pistols have you done this with and what were your results?

August 11, 2010, 09:50 AM
I have Brownell's set I bought years ago. I don't know that they sell the complete set anymore. Midway has the best price and they are all made by the same manufacturor. When I mentioned bushing size I had my mind on the 36 cal as that is what I am working on this morning and that requires you make a bushing. You have a 44 which is actually a 45 so the 45 bushing will be the one you want. If you are doing it yourself get the 11 degree cutter and the 11 degree polishing lap. This is generally considered optimal for lead bullets and since Pietta and Ubertti use a somewhat more abrupt angle it works well for realigning. Just be careful not to over do it as you do not want the max diameter to be more than .452 and it's a good idea to mark your cutter at this diameter. If the gunsmith is doing it for you he should know this allready.
Most of the time I don't recut the forcing cone unless it is misaligned or they forgot it entirely. You don't see that anymore on newer guns but early Pietta's and ASM it wasn't unusual. In those cases a marked increase in accuracy resulted.

August 11, 2010, 12:38 PM
Great info! Thanks Denster.

August 15, 2010, 10:12 AM
:confused:I'd say one of the most important things you load besides the powder and ball is the "lubed wad". The fouling can affect accuracy within a "six shot string" and the lubed wad helps affect the accuract in a positive way. I figure without the lubed wad on the powder you're not going to get the best from the gun. The lube on the wad needs to be stiff so it doesn't mix with the powder on ball compression and firing. Equal amounts of bees wax and paraffine wax and a lube(crisco,lard,olive oil) works fer me.
I'd say getting the ball to the top of the chamber is a good idea but I dislike the corn meal and the extra hassel measuring it. The "ball at the top of the chamber" is a good idea because the chambers of the italian and other cap&ballers are tapered and drilled irregular. I see it when I ream and find "black" left wherte the reamer didn't touch the side walls of the chamber. The chambers look fine because they are black but run a reamer in there piloted by a mill machine and you see the irregularities. Anyway since the chambers are tapered and actually undersize for the barrels grooves it's a good idea to get the ball to the top of the chamber. it's a better idea ,I thunk, to ream the chambers to at least equal with the barrels groove diameter. I like .001's over the groove diameter for my chambers shooting balls.
I've always found that a good powder is really important in a load chain. That's ovvious.::D I am under the understanding that nothing beats "The Holy Black" if the shooter uses it right. That means dealing with the fouling(lube pills on the powder)and loading correctly....no over compressed loads,the right granulation ect.ect.
I'd recommend trying some of the real powder if you can get it.
Well.....if the gun shoots 4 inch groups at fifty yards with it's undersized chambers(all the Italian guns but a few have under sized chambers) with the load mentioned in the beginning of this thread I'd say that's not bad and may be able to be improved too. That would be nice.
I use the 45gr. FFFg Holy Black in my old Walker with chambers reamed to a good size for the barrel(barrel is .464 groove diameter) and the lube pills on the powder(no separater between the powder and the pill so the powder activates the pill to spread luby stuff ahead of the powders fouling/heat/ect.ect.) and seat the ball with firm but not overly compressed pressure and try to get them all the same compression with the plunger.
I've shot ground hogs on the old farm at 80,20,40,50,30,200,300 300+ yards with that load. The gun shoots as accurate as any cartridge revolver I have. Maybe better. I attribute that accuracy to the "lube pills on the powder and the reamed chambers and a good barrel on the gun and.....the use of the Holy Black Powder.
I can go lubes wads on the powder but not a card on the powder first and I can't go corn meal. I think it compresses when the powder gas hits it like a cushion and can be a little irregular from shot to shot as any cushion in the load chain can be. Cushions are for shotguns. Cornmeal is like a cushion.
I might add...that if the corn meal was removed from the load chain and the accuracy got worse then...I'd put it back in the chamber.;)
I's say...since the Pietta cap&ballers shoot the cartridge conversions and do it well with 45 conical bullets it's possible to get a good load from a cap&baller cylinder too...if the right amount of powder can be gotten in the chamber with the conical bullet. I'd thunk that maybe the use of FFFFg powder or 777 powder may be the way to get a good coniocal l0ad from a cap&baller. I don't delve into it too much since I figure "balls" are good enough for a cap&baller. My Pietta Remingtons sure seem to like the 45 cal. Long Colt cartridge and the conical bullets in the 1-32 rifling twist. Some say it's 1-30 twist but....:confused:
I have to add....that I thunk 50 yards is too far for a max range shooting wild hogs with a cap&baller(even with a 12 inch barrel) and a lead ball(conical would be better I'd say). I'd say half that range would be better and a Walker revolver would be even better with a max charge of powder......unless you rely on a pack of "pit bull terriers" to help hold down the wounded hog so you can get up on it and "coup de grais". Forgive my lack of proficciency with the French language....the English one too.:D
I can see why the pics of the Walkers targets have a smaller group with the "hollow based" conicals.....the hollow base being the improvement. Too bad the Lee conicals an't be shot from a chamber at least equal in diameter to the groove diameter of the Walker Barrel. I'd thunk the right size chambers and the "heel of the bullet" sized so the heel(and chambers) is at or .001-.002 over the barrels groove diameter would be good to go in a Walker. That would mean a custom mould though to cast the heeled bullet. The heel on the bullet and the oversize front of it sized to .000,.001,.002 by the chambers to be within the barrels groove diameter or a coupla .001's over it.
I guess I'm trying to say......the chambers size the conical and the heel and front of the bullet are sized to be the same which...eliminates the "heel" upon loading the conical in the chamber. The heel has a negative affect on accuracy...even if it is small at times it's(the negative affect on accuracy) still there if the heel is thee as the bullet leaves the barrel.

August 16, 2010, 09:18 AM
The cap and ball revolvers were never intended to be long range sniper weapons. They were intended to be used at "handshake" distances. Current theory say that the reason for the high bullet strike on the original Colts was to be able to hold "dead on" on a charging cavalryman and hit him from saber range out to a max of 75 yards. Sam Colts loading instructions were to "load powder, ram ball, cap and fire". No lube pills, lube wads or over ball grease were recommended.
If you are trying for extreme accuracy then over sized chambers, re-cut forcing cones etc. etc. are well advised.
If you want to use them as Sam Colt intended, then powder, ball and shoot works well. It will give you 1 minute of charging cavalryman out to 75 yards easily and do lots better than that with deliberate fire.
Used as a hunting gun, they will do quite well out to 50 yards or so using either ball or bullet. Any more than that is pushing the inherent accuracy and killing power of the gun. Hogs? I'd leave the cap and ball at home and take the 44 mag instead.

August 16, 2010, 07:22 PM
Hi Gang,

I just picked up my 12" Bison and look forward to shooting very soon. All the info that was posted on this thread answered a lot of my questions about shooting it. Except for one - My local gunshop has no 44 wads in stock, from what has been posted, I gather that I could sub a certain layering of cornmeal????

I'm ordering wads but just in case I just have to go shooting.....


August 16, 2010, 11:24 PM
It's been quite a while since I shot any BP revolvers. Had a 1858 remington that I shot a lot many years ago.
Still have all the pyrodex, wads, balls from then.
Just acquired a nice Pietta 1851 brass framed navy .44 revolver.

Here's what I remember.
about 28 gr. of pyrodex P (fffg equivalent)
wonder wad
.451 ball
seat with ram full stroke.
Cap with #11 caps
Fire at will

Is that correct?
Do I need to ram with a full stroke, Do I need filler, do I need grease over ball if I use the wonder wad over the powder.

Please feel free to refresh my memory.
Tried a#10 cap and it didn't go on the nipple.
Fired a #11 cap, and hammer strike is powerful and crisp.
Trigger pull has clean break after slight creep.
Pistol is like new, hardly fired.
Purchased for 100.00 with holster, so didn't come out too bad on deal.

I guess I am confused about how deep to seat ball, and whether I need to use filler, and if I have forgotten anything else. Also have .454 balls from my .45 caliber flintlock. Can these balls also be used in the .44?

Yes, I am an experience handgun shooter with safety knowledge.
Just been a while since I shot black powder.

August 17, 2010, 02:05 AM
My local gunshop has no 44 wads in stock, from what has been posted, I gather that I could sub a certain layering of cornmeal????

Is that correct?
Do I need to ram with a full stroke, Do I need filler, do I need grease over ball if I use the wonder wad over the powder....

...I guess I am confused about how deep to seat ball, and whether I need to use filler, and if I have forgotten anything else. Also have .454 balls from my .45 caliber flintlock. Can these balls also be used in the .44?

Wads and filler serve several purposes, to ensure that there's no air gap over the powder when loading with a small powder charge, to raise the ball in the chamber closer to the forcing cone which may slightly enhance accuracy, to help prevent chainfires from the front of the chamber and to help keep the barrel clean.

Neither wads or filler are absolutely necessary. Lubrication is used to both prevent chainfires and to keep the fouling soft, so that may be considered to be a chainfire prevention substitute but even that is optional.
Whether compressed filler helps to prevent chainfires or not hasn't been proven but it may indeed help to do that.

It doesn't really matter how deep the ball is seated as long as it is on top of the powder or in contact with the wad or filler which is seated on top of the powder.
The ramming stroke need not be full as long as the ball ends up being seated properly. Proper leverage and support for the gun during ramming will probably result in a full stroke, but a full stroke isn't really critical once the ball is past the chamber mouth.

Depending on the size of the chambers, a .454 ball may be more difficult to load but is considered to be completely acceptable and recommended for some guns.

If using wonder wads, grease isn't necessary to prevent chainfires. But using a little grease on top of one or two balls may help to keep the gun lubricated during each cylinder full. Otherwise it would be duplicative to use both wads and grease in every chamber.
There's several options on how to load and what methods to use.
Some folks safely load with only powder and ball since the risk of chainfire is usually small if the balls fit and seat well.
And there's always the risk of chainfire from the nipple end if using loose caps or if a cap falls off during shooting.

The brass frame guns are usually loaded with slightly less powder than the steel frame guns to promote their longevity. Usually 25 grains or less powder. No one knows how long any brass frame will last if too many heavy loads are shot through one. The cylinder pin hole of the brass frame Remington is somewhat at risk of loosening up and enlarging over time.

August 17, 2010, 02:17 AM
I read an article once that was about a hunter that wanted to use a Walker to kill wild hog. The short story is the conical from the Walker at 25 yards went thru both shoulders but didn't exit the hide on the far side. That gives an idea about the power of the revolvers.
Anyway Sam Colt did make the Colts for close range combat and that is what the Army considered the revolvers. Close range was intended to be by the ordanance dept of the Army to be- 17-28 feet if I recall correctly what the ordanance dept. figured and is documented somewhere.
All I know is I've gunsmithed many cap&ballers and the main ingredient seems to be a good barrel and all the cap&ballers don't come with that. Slugging and measuring can give a good idea about that. Sometimes lapping out tight spots ect.ect. get a barrel on solid ground.
The muzzle end and the breech end of the barrels have to be concentric with the bore for the gun to give it's best and a piloted reamer like Brownells sells is good for that. Shimming the pilots to have "no play or space" to move while reaming is imperative.
Reaming chambers to be at least equal to the groove diameters of the barrel seems to be imperative to best accuracy in my opinion. The "target models" like the Hege Remington,Pedersoli Remington and Rodgers and Spencer and the Pietta "Shooters Model" Remington will bear that out as they have a close tolerance between chambers and barrel groove diameters. The undersized chambers were to accomodate subsequent shots when using blackpowder(fouling). Val Forget (Navy Arms)told me that when I asked him why the Italians made the guns with undersized chambers.
Shooting a revolver using blackpowder and even the subs the fouling can ruin the accuracy. Controlling the fouling is imperative I think to getting the best from a cap&baller. The best way to do that without cleaning after every shot is to use Lubed wool wads or lube pills (grease cookies) right on the powder under the balls. Elmer Kieth stated he used wool wads made from old hats and saturated with lube made of bees wax and lard(don't quote me on his lube recipie) and seated them right on the powder. His old Navy Colt would shoot thru the same hole all day long he stated. The lube for a wool wad or lube pill laid right on the powder can't be soft naturally. "Equal amounts of bees wax,paraffin wax and lube" seems to be the best recipie I've found. Mutton Tallow is a favorite lube for me as is olive oil also.

If you're shooting your revolver as an old time Civil War soldier the accuracy to point at and hit a torso at 10 yards is plenty good I'd imagine.
I've never read or heard of any credible documented info about Colt making the guns(cap&ballers) to shoot high to hit horses or whatever at 75 yards. I think that is a misinformation confused with the 1873 SAA revolver. The only revolver I've read that was requested by the Army Ordanance Dept. to be able to disable a horse out to 100 yards was the 1873 SAA and it was a cartridge design. I think the "made to shoot high" about the cap&ballers is hear-say passed from word of mouth. I believe the sights are situated on the Colts out of convienience and out of design for durability. The sights are short and stubby on the cap&ballers ,I believe, to be sturdy enough not to be knocked loose easily. I think people just quess at why the sights are short on the cap&ballers. Of course if one does shoot short shots with cap&ballers (and other guns) they may notice that at very short range the guns shoot "low". Short range being the intended use. The guns shoot low at short range due to the top of the front sight being a certain amount of space above the centerline of the bore. Like a scoped rifle will shoot low at a very short range since the centerline of the bore is "way down there" and the scopes center is "way up there" so to speak. If anyone ever shot rabbits in the eye at three/four paces they would know what I mean. Better aim to nip the hairs atop the head or you'll shoot the poor things lower jaw off.
Anyway if the chambers in the cylinders of the Italian cap&ballers are tapered (smaller towards the bottom)to a certain degree then keeping the balls at the top of the chambers just assures the ball will be as large as the chamber can leave it since the lower in the chamber the ball goes the smaller in size it's swagged. The chambers at the mouth being undersized to begin with the deep seating of the balls in the chambers just exassperates the problem.
A range rod is made to tell if a chamber is within "range" of being aligned properly. You know....in the ball park. The best way to know a cap&baller revolver chamber is in alignment is to learn to visually check it with a light down the muzzle. Close examination can tell you it's aligned or not. The undersized chambers make that easier since a small shiny line will show in each groove in the barrel on the breech end from the reflection of light against the flat face of the cylinder. The small bevels to the chambers mouth on some cap&ballers shows as "black" and not silver. If you see black then the cylinder shows some of the "bevel" in the grooves. That's a slight misalignment but "within range". Range rods ,as I understand, have to have close fit bushings within the chambers so the rod that rides the lands in the barrel,if it's a good fit,will slide into the center hole of the bushing if the gun is aligned. You'd need bushings fit in the cap&baller chambers with center holes a close fit to the rod that rides the lands in the barrel to tell if it's within range right?
Anyway......I hope I haven't aggravated anyone here with my "right to the point" way of writting. I'm trying but I am very tired. Tired.
I might add...the last 1860 Army Colt Pietta I worked on and tuned shot less than one inch at 20 paces. Probably can do better but my eyes are a little old and tired.
I've done the "tuning" I mentioned above to more than afew cap&ballers and they were all improved by the tuning.
Just thought I'd mention the things to try and be helpful.

August 17, 2010, 10:23 AM
Thank you for the information. Some people even go several steps futher to
try and get the best accuracy from these old revolvers. Some want them to
shoot like a S&W Masterpiece. Mine has a hand fitted cylinder pin. Cylinder has been plugged solid and each chamber re-bored down the barrel when on
full cock to make sure each chamber is alined with the bore. Chambers are
.002 larger than groove dia of barrel. Barrel is a custom with a 1-16 twist.
Barrel is lapped where it screws into frame to remove any tightness. This pistol locks up tighter than a bank vault. Oh the pistol is a Pietta 1858 Rem.
in .36 cal. What some people will do to get these old things to shoot. Now all
we have to do is work on the loose nut behind the wheel!!

August 17, 2010, 10:55 AM
kwhi43. How much of an improvement over a stock revolver did you notice after all of those modifications?

August 17, 2010, 11:39 AM
It is my belief that most all revolvers from the factory (Pietta & Uberti) will
shoot just fine at 25 yds. By that I mean when loaded proper will shoot under
3 inch groups. That is good enough for the most serious competion. The problem is at 50 yds. I believe the twist (1-28 1-30) is too slow to stablize
the ball at 50 yds for accurate shooting. You just have to get the ball turning
around faster. The way to do this is to re-barrel it with a 1-16 or in the case 44's 1-20 twist barrel. They were doing this back in the 1930's or
before. Nothing new here. The ball will then be stablized at 50 yds shooting
at revolver velocitys. I'm just talking shooting competion here, not hunting.
Championships are won or lost at the 50 yd. distance. Mine would shoot fine
at 25 yds before the mods. 50 yds was mebby around 7-8 inches. Now it will
shoot say under 2 inches at 50 yds. Good enough for the most serious competion. What did it cost? 300.00 Was it worth it? Yes to us. For the
casual plinker No. Would we do it again YES. Have we won Championships
Yes. All depends what you want to do.

August 17, 2010, 11:44 AM

August 17, 2010, 12:50 PM
Thanks for the info. Who did the work for you if you don't mind my asking.

August 17, 2010, 12:56 PM
Rob Lewis from Ohio

August 17, 2010, 01:43 PM
OK, You might ask What does a winning 50 yd revolver target look like. Here
is one I shot at the Nationals at Friendship a couple years ago. Mind you this
is one hand un-supported in competion when the heat is on.


August 17, 2010, 04:24 PM
Cap & Baller I like your sense of humor. Dark of the moon and guns serial numbered 666 also tightens groups. :D

August 17, 2010, 07:58 PM
Were you shooting in a special class for traditional revolvers, or shooting against tricked out modern black powder guns?
I know of some shooter who compete with black powder actions built on 1911 frames.

Nice winning target!
I have shot bullseye, so I am familiar with one handed 50 yard slow fire under stress! Is that a score of 92?

Love the pistol and the adjustable sights.

August 17, 2010, 08:42 PM
The match was a revolver match. You can use Rugers and any Black Powder
revolver that loads from the front. This is not a "As Issue" match. You can
shoot either Bullet or Ball. A lot of the guys shoot into the 90's at 50 yds.
A lot will shoot 98-100 at 25 yds. Most are Ruger Old Army's that have been
converted to .36 cal like mine was. Anybody who has a 1911 45 can have a
good competion pistol for Muzzleloading. Just take the barrel and slide off
and remove the clip. Put a muzzleloading barrel on by welding a lug near the
back and go up thru the magzine well with a screw. Put a plug in the back
of the barrel and tap it 1/4 X 28 and screw in a nipple. You can use the
hammer on the 1911. This way you can go back and forth between the 45 ACP and muzzleloading. Several folks I shoot with have this set up. Real slick
I would have it but my hand don't fit a 1911. I have a Ruger Mark 2 hand. I
just need more of a angle. All my pistols, flintlock included are bulit on the
Ruger Mark 2 angle. The 1858 Remmy is more of a Ruger angle than a 1911.
I could go on and on, but you all are probably getting tired of this. Time to
pop some caps.

August 18, 2010, 10:00 AM
Kwhi43, it's interesting about the comp shooting. Lapping the barrel at the threads to remove the choke that can be formed by the stress there is refining in a good place.
Using 36cal. at 50 yards is a curiosity to me. Why the 36cal. and not the 44cal. that carries better at a distance(air resistance and velosity maintained from the extra weight and all)? So the plugs for line bore can be used?
What do you do,or any of the comp shooters,the keep the barrels clean as they shoot for score?
When you mentioned plugging the chambers and line boring I wondered what the plug was held in by so the gas pressure can't work in behind it and shoot it loose? Pressed in fit? I've been pondering doing some chamber plugging myself with old guns that need barrel sleeves so a reduced cal.
I'd like to get a hold of Ron Long if he has a shop with the "lathe'. I need a lathe man that knows guns. I'm in Ohio. Turn sleeves to reline barrels.
Your target at 50 yards with the beautiful "blueprinted' cap&baller is a beautiful sight to behold. Nice target. A lot of people would feel good to shoot that good of a target with a rifle.:)
I don't line bore when I tune an Hombres gun. I use eye sight down the barrel before I ream and align the chambers as best as can be using the bolts head and the bolts frame window and sometimes shims on either side or both sides of the bolt. When the chambers are a little high or a little low that is more difficult to fix. That is when I may use weld spots on the arbor(Colt) to move the cylinder. Remington...I look for a replacement cylinder.;)
Doing some guns for Hombres that are in a serious competition and a life and death situation protecting themselves from marauding man eating bean cans and pop cans I go the "Kitchen Table Gunsmith" route and work cheap. Most people can't afford serious machine shop work. :(
I've found ,with the balls cap&ballers shoot, that elongationg and widening a forcing cone can spiff up slight alignment problems and get an average gun shooting better average and good to go for hittin cans and the like even out at some distance. The balls can be directed to enter the center of the bore by a forcing cone. Balls being so easily moved by anything they hit during their movement. You know for those that can't afford line bored cap&ballers. The chamber alignment being good to go can really help shooting with less flyers. It was mentioned above by someone that doing a forcing cone revitalization not to go over .452 in. in a 44/45cal barrel. I don't understand what is meant there since forcing cones are usually a little more diameter than the groove diameter in the barrels. That's the idea I thought. Make a sort of funnel to guide the slightly off alignment ball or bullet into the center of the bore.When a gun isn't easily fixed in the alignment department the forcing cone is one of the last resorts to get a gun shootin well enough I thunked. The forcing cones I do are always more diameter than the grooves in the barrel. Usually they are already more to begin with.
Anyway wish I could still see good enough to shoot good targets at 50 yards.
I've re-assessed my expectations about how accurate I can be anymore. I still compete against myself as I always have. Sometimes I win and sometimes I lose.:eek:

August 18, 2010, 02:34 PM
I bet this will come as a shock, but in the single shot matches the caliber that
is used the most is .36 followed very close by .32 The 50 yd. record of 98
was shot with a .36. ALL my pistols are 32 except for the revolver. You don't
lose a thing at 50 yds shooting a .32 My wrist can't take the recoil of the 45
any more. My wife has a bad rotor cup and she can't shoot 45's any more.
We been shooting 32's for about 15 years now. We start them out at 1200 fps and take the same hold at 50 as 25. There is no drop.
To keep barrel clean on a revolver I and others wipe after every shot or wipe
real good after 5 shots. Fouling is not a problem. Oh, before I forget, there's
a couple shooters at Friendship who use .22 cal. Yes 22. They are Master
Class shooters. The plugs are welded in my cylinder. Will show a picture.

August 18, 2010, 02:42 PM
Here is my 36 cal cylinder. It started out as a 44. If you look real close, you
can see a ring around the chambers. That's the sleeve. The chambers are .357 dia and I use a .360 ball. The barrel is a modern 9mm pistol barrel.


August 19, 2010, 09:57 AM
Man, this thread is realy turning out some great info! KWHI43- that is a beautiful pistol.

Enyaw - I used a small LED light to peek down my barrel and can see a very thin sliver of cylinder reflecting back at me on one side. It does not appear to me to be significant enough to merit plugging, line boring etc. Any suggestions on tuning a small adjustment like that? I plan to ream the forcing cone. Does that mitigate a slight misallignment between chamber and barrel?

Headed to the range tomorrow with my .450 200 gr. Lee conicals. Results to follow.

August 23, 2010, 04:14 AM
Off-hand, Black Powder, 50 yards (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a6gojrtqY5A)
[I seem to always need a "strong language" warning.] :eek:

I am sure the about 4" group would have been bigger if I had loaded/cleaned it properly. Good thing I'm a newbie! :p

I used 30gr Goex FFFg, Hornady .451 balls, and Remington No. 10 caps and Our Family all vegetable shortening.

August 23, 2010, 04:40 AM
A 4" group at 50 yards, from rest, with any pistol borderlines on exceptional.
I get 1.75" at 100 yards off a rest using my 8" barrel 686 S&W 357, iron sights.
The first shots were to get me on target, (had it set at 150 yards for hunting.)

Check out 6 Shots, 357 Mag, 300 Yards (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qldh3rZ72y8). The last 5 shots make about a 6 inch group.

I think that is pretty good but I am sure others can do just as well, they need only try... (I'm convinced the Audette Ladder Test did most of the work.)

August 23, 2010, 07:37 AM
Kwhi43, that looks liike a fine job with the chamber sleeves. It looks like a press fit since I can't tell where any weld is. You sure it's weld and not solder to hold the sleeves in? I'd thunk if the press fit was proper it would be good to go with the "pressed in" only as long as the bottom of the chamber and the end of the sleeve form a perfect fit.
I can see and understand the smaller caliber for shooting target especially if old injuries take their toll or the fatique of the 44 can take hold. I've got enough "stoved up" places to be a canidate for a bionic replacement body.
I know the 32 and 36 cal. rifles(muzzleloaders) can really zing the balls out there a good ways so the pistols could too I guess.
I would like to get the number of the gunsmith you mentioned so I can try to get some lathe work done. I'd like to plug the chambers and reduce the cal. in a coupla old Belgian Colts 1860 Army cap&ballers and I need someone to turn the chamber liners and barrel liner for me as I haven't access to a lathe.
One thing I wonder about in the line boring department....the line bore makes a pilot hole in the new chamber plugs. Then since a caliber size chamber can't be bored thru a barrel the set up has to be taken down and re-set back up to ream/drill the chambers the right size diameter. The re-set up can throw things off if the machinist can't set back up and "center" perfectly on an existing hole. I asked machinists about setting up on an existing hole to ream perfectly and none knew how to do it. They said they can make holes in the right place but none could give a good proceedure for seting up on an existing hole like a pilot hole. I figure that's the achilis heal to line bore...the re-set up to ream to size. When I stated to the machinists on the machine forums how I set up on an existing hole to ream with my milling machine they just said that's the way to keep doing it. I've had some machinists tell me they "indicate" the hole in to be reamed. That's use an indicator to find the exact center. That would involve finding the exact widdest point with the indicator then moving so many .001's to the center in two axis sort of like the Osborn Method to find the exact center of a "round piece". Finding the exact center of a small hole with an indicator would be pretty difficult I bet. That's why I wonder if the pilot hole is drilled with the ,"line bore", and then the reaming throws the tolerance off. The fit of the pilots and the drill in the center of the pilots in the line bore can add some "within tolerance" and miss the perfect center some too. I used to talk to a guy named "----- Accuracy" that accurized Remingtons for competition.(passed on-car wreck) He used a tooled barrel fixture that screwed into the barrels place in the frame to line bore right to the exact diameter if I remember corrcectly. That's a good way if the fixture is an exact fit to the chambers. I'll tell ya.....it seems anyway I look at it there's a "tolerance" or "range" to work within that's not perfect when it comes to line bore. I had Starett make me a tool out of a modified edge finder that has a cone that goes up to .500 in. so I can get the cone in the chamber and line up the edge finder by sight and then feel to know I'm on the center of an existing hole without the indicating. The achilis heel for that is the fact the cap&baller chambers aren't always perfectly round. :eek: (they are usually tapered too ....smaller the deeper in you go so that's why the "keep the ball to the top of the chambers" makes sense) The dang chambers are tapered in the mass production drilling. Don't ask me why just the set up I guess.
I have an indicator that reads to .0001's but finding the widdest point inside a small hole with it ain't an exact science. I'd probably line bore and then ream the holes to tolerance with a finely fitted piloted reamer. A fine fit piloted reamer that's as snug as it can be and still turn is the surest way to get to the exact center of an existing hole. Anyway this is droning on and on.:o Surfice to say it's a good idea to have good alignment of the chambers to the grooves of the barrel. Notice I didn't say "bore" of the barrel.
Anyway Kwhi43 your gun is a nice one and shoots even nicer. If yer shootin about 900ft/sec then yer balls are spinning over 600 times a second right? The standard twist would spin the balls about 300+ times a second. I'da thunked that standard twist (1-30or 1-32)would be fast enough spin on a ball. I'd wonder if the 1-16 would be too fast for a heavy load that might strip the ball thru the rifling. Did your gun get the 6-7 inch group(as a 44) before it was turned into a 36 cal.? I'd wonder since the grooves in the barrel become lands ,that sorta stick up like fins, on the lead balls if the extra spin couldn't throw the balls off the point of aim/point of impact by the fan effect of the fins in the wind or air. You know,sorta like a cut or slice with a golf ball. I guess not if yer gun shoots that well. Who knows. It may shoot even better if it could have a good barrel in 1-32 twist. If it could have a good barrel in 1-32........
I'd just wonder if the gunsmith told you the extra spin was good since the only easily obtained barrel liners would be the 38 cal. liners for/in the .357's and 38spl ect. ect. to get a smaller diameter ball used in the gun. You know...modern twist liners for the modern cartridges. I bet that a good barrel with the 1-32 twist could be good too. The Italian barrels aren't the best when it comes to ultra competition. They may be good or they may be average or they may be really bad. The new barrel liner may be more of an asset because it's got a consistant bore/land dimensions rather than just a faster twist. Barrels with no tight or loose spots and consistant rifling depth ect.ect.are the biggest asset I'd say.
I get some mediocre groups with some barrels with inconsistant rifling depths and loose spots in the wrong places(like at the muzzle) ect.ect. If I can lap the barrel into "good" it'll shoot a lot better. If the barrel is just good from the beginning it'll shoot good. I've shot 2 inch groups off hand at 40-50 paces(some luck involved I'm sure) from brass frame 36's with good barrels and tight tuned fit ect.ect. That's with a 1-30, 1-32 twist to the riflings. Other cap&ballers I've shot seem to get really good groups with the 1-32 twist if the barrels are "right". That's why I'd ponder the 1-16 twist in your gun as ,maybe, not really needed. I'd say it's the liner and the consistant good riflings and bore dimensions compared to Italian cap&baller barrels. I'd say that the faster twist in the target guns may be needed or may not be. It seems like if the barrels are good to go and the guns are aligned good they shoot good with the 1-32 twist rifling. Of course I don't shoot targets at 50 yards much. Bean cans maybe. Rocks and old fence posts and the like maybe. I hate shootin paper so since tha paper don't lie I may be wrong. I doubt it though. There are too many ground hogs from the old farm that are in ground hog heaven right now from cap&ballers with 1-32 twist or 1-48(Walker) like they come with. It's all relative though. Everything is relative. We all percieve the world a little different I'd guess.I guess that since I go out and always fire a minimum of 200+ balls from a cap&baller for a session that I wouldn't be bothered by a 44-45 in competition much. I'm probably wrong though since I do ache a lot the next day. I'd wonder.....if your tricked out, adjustable sighted Remington cap&baller is really any more accurate than,say, one of the better barreled Belgian Colts 1860 Army or Uberti or Pietta Army or Navy cap&ballers I've got? The ones "tricked out" by a good tune up that includes anything that needs done to accurize them. They seem pretty danged accurate but.....counting the loose nut behind the wheel that's a half blind stoved up old man now(me).....it may be just a demensia illusion. :eek::D;) Oh well! It seems real to me.:p

Cap&baller, you can tune a slight misalignment using a new bolt that is slightly larger than the cylinder notches and file fit the bolts head to the cylinder notches on the side you want the cylinder to move towards.
If the bolt is loose in the frames window you can shim it to move it a little to move the cylinder a little in the right direction.
I do that stuff all the time. A cap&baller will show a marked improvement once it's aligned if it was out of alignment much at all.
Yes you can ream the forcing cone to negate a little misalignment but that's for the balls and not the conical bullet. Bullets can't take much misalignment and be directed by a reamed forcing cone like the balls can. It's better to move the cylinder with the bolt one way or the other...new bolt or shimmed bolt depending on what's got the gun out of alignment in the first place.
What type revolver do you have Cap&baller? Colt type? Remington type?

August 23, 2010, 06:00 PM
#11 cap slightly pinched with a small ring of plastic tubing around the cap to keep it from exploding.

I have been shooting BP hand guns for over 40 years more for fun than anything else but cap-n'-baller, could you explain the statement above.
Is this to keep the fired cap from falling into the action or something else?
5 inch groups at 50 yards with a BP gun,,, the only thing impossible about that is if I were behind the gun.:D

August 24, 2010, 05:53 PM
Enyaw: thank you for the info on adjusting the bolt. Two questions. Where would I find a bolt slightly larger than the one I have? And how do you shim the bolt without interfering with the movement of the bolt?

Ozzieman: I got the idea of the plastic tubing (like used on aquarium air pumps) from another Firing Line contributor who has been shooting C&B pistols longer than I've been alive. By cutting the tubing the same length as a #11 cap the tubing fits snuggly over the cap reinforcing the sides of the cap and keeping the cap from fragmenting and hanging up in the action or your fingers or eyeballs.

Initial results with Lee conicals were...unsatisfactory. Barely kept it on the paper at 50 yds. Interested to see what results some tuning can produce.

August 25, 2010, 09:31 AM
Howdy Cap&Baller. On the side where a shim (shim stock of brass or copper or even aluminum pie pan)would fit between the bolt head and the frame a flat shim stock is used and simply cut with scissors and rubbed flat and a hole punched in to fit the bolt screw thru. It stays between the bolt and the frame due to the trigger guard being there.
Bolts move some since the screw holes in them are usually a little too big. Naturally the bolt window in the frame has to allow movement and if it's too tight on the bolt head it needs filed carefully so when the shim moves the bolt over the bolt rides against that side of the window(not so tight as to bind the bolt against anything. The shim just has to be the right thickness.
On the other side of the bolt in front of the trigger and filling in that wide space a part or piece needs to be made. It fits the contour of the frames milled out area on one side and has a groove milled or filed in the side close to the bolt screw so that end straddles the bolts screw with more going under the screw than above. That keeps the new part in place but....if it moves up and down some it's still where it needs be and works to keep the bolt inplace.
Work one side or the other of the bolt moving it and checking the alignment by eye ballin down the barrel with a small flash light watching the "silver moon of misalignment" growing smaller till it's gone and the shim or shims(sometimes there would be a shim stock shim on the side where the bolt is next to the frame and the new made part/piece metal shaped to fit there on the other side where the open space is in front of the bolt screw and to the side of the bolt (sorta in front of the trigger). The flat face of the cylinder around the chambers reflects light back at a "gunsmith" (kitchen table extrourdinaire type) using a small flash light. There's a trick to it and the more you look in there the easier it is to see right at the place where the rifling grooves and the cylinder face meet. You want to learn to see the small little line of silver that would be in the beginning of each rifling groove because the chambers are slightly undersized. When each looks equal in each groove the alignment is pretty "on".
Going a little further yet there's the "black" reflected back that is the crown or bevel on the opening of each chamber. That's harder to see but it's there.It's just not silver reflecting back but it's black reflected back looking down the barrel. Get that "gone" too by turning the cylinder with the bolt to hold it where no silver or black shows looking down the barrel. When the chambers are reamed to be "groove diameter" size then when the silver and the black around the front edge of the chambers is gone it's aligned. When the chambers are smaller than groove diameter only the silver shows a thin line in each groove of the barrel and,if you look real close if the chambers are beveled you'll see black inside the sliver. If they are all equal looking the chambers are lined up good. I like when the chambers show only the sliver and not the black from the chamber bevels when the chambers aren't beveled.
Basically if you see the "silver moon of misalignment" you move the bolt till the silver is gone and ,if you want it better yet you'll see only the black from the bevels and you make those equal in size. Hopefully the bevels aren't those huge gaping "overly large bevels".
I've always noticed a marked difference to the good with accuracy after a cap&baller revolver is aligned better in the chamber bore area.
I hope that explains it clear enough.
What does this have to do with loads preferred in a cap&baller? I quess it is saying that the first step to loading a cap&baller rev is to make sure the chambers align to the bore so you can see when you have a good load and not a good load trying to over come misalignment. How can a Pard know a load is good when the gun isn't aligned good?
Sometimes when the alignment is really off all the tricks of the trade need be used. The shim between the bolt and frame, the part/piece on the open side between the bolt and the frame and in front of the bolt screw,a new bolt filed or stoned to be fitted only on one side so it moves the bolt over when the bolt head is fit to the cylinder notches. The bolts that are a little large for the cylinder notches can come from anywhere. Pietta makes some replacements like that and some Uberti's are like that and....Dixie Gun Works,bless their souls, usually sells overzied bolts that can be fit to a wide range of guns. You just have to look around and order some bolts and/or ask about whether or not they are sized to fit right in the cylinder notches or a little big and need fit to the notches. You may get an answer or NOT since parts people seem to think that's getting a little "picky".
I've aligned some guns that are so far "out" that I've had to get a spot of weld on the one side of the bolt and mill or file a shallow flat groove in the frame to accomodate the lopsided bolt head or.....if the bolt has weld put on the other side a lot of the bolt window in the frame needs filed/stones away till it can accomodate that bolt lopsided on the other side.That leaves a big space open on the other side of the bolt window and either a shjim or weld build up to weld and fit that side of the window over further....like adding metal to file and shape and move the window over. Take off one side and add to the other.
Sometimes when the alignment is at the top or the bottom looking down the barrel a new cylinder base pin(arbor) needs to be fit so the cylinder doesn't just lay on the base pin with a loose hole that lets the cylinder drop or.....if the cylinder needs to drop(silver shows at the bottom looking in the barrel).....the cylinder needs it's center hole opened up so it can drop or an over sized(just a little) base pin needs fit and the frame holes(Remington) need reamed to be a little lower when the new bigger base pin id fit. You have to look to see if a larger base pin can be fit with the frames holes moved in a Remington.
The Colts are simpler to move a cylinder up or down. A coupla spots of weld on the arbor can raise or lower a cylinder. The center hole of the cylinder may need reamed open a little more or it may already be loose enough.
You can move barrels on Colts with the qeld bumps filed or stoned smooth and the same and fit to the arbor hole in the barrel,especially if it's already loose to begin with(the hole in the barrel may not need opened up in the case of a "Loose caboose" barrel arbor hole. Sometimes a coupla bumps on the arbor can tighten the barrel on the arbor just right....as long as the cylinder can still go on. If the cylinder hole is opened up a little that lets the cylinder drop and that may make the gun out of alignment there.
I always say..."don't go anywhere till you know where you're going". ;)
Anyway...some of these tips can help get a gun tuned to be ready to find the best load for the chambers so I guess checking your gun for fit is the first step to finding a preferred load.:eek: All things being relative.....it's up to the owner of the gun what he/she wants. The forcing cone in a cap&baller revolvers barrel can be opened and elongated and made to alieviate some of the stress of an out of alignment chambers as long as thge misalignment isn't way too much....since it's the "ball" that's used in the cap&ballers. The conicals need a perfect alignment,or as close as possible, to shoot their best.:( The cap&ballers,especially the Remingtons, can fling those conicals real well when......the conical is made to fit the dang barrel and isn't made undersized by the undersized chambers. Only a hollow based conical has a chance to be accurate when it's under sized compared to the barrels grooves.
The darn conicals or conical moulds can't always be used if they are undersized to begin with. Just like a Pard wouldn't shoot an under sized conical from his cartridge gun he shouldn't do that with his cap&baller. If the barrels grooves aren't abnormally large diameter and close to nominal 45cal size like .451-2-3-4 in. a Lee oversized .456 ma6y be made to shoot well......if the chambers are sized to be at groove diameter or .001-.002 over that. Right at is plenty good though. Barrels grooves diameter at .451? Then the chambers should be .451 in. too. Never more than .002 in. oversized. Some say the lead bullets are better sized for accuracy when they are .001 or .002 in. over the groove diameter in the barrel. Hope this helps Cap&Baller.
I forgot to add....those little rubber "Cap Guards" are sold at places that sell muzzleloading loading supplies. I have a coupla packs some good friend gave me to try. I tried them years ago. They do what the caps of yesteryear most likely did. Not flay out all over the place and hang the guns up and all that. Those "Cap Guards" work. The ones sold commercially are red. Red of all things.:barf: Black would be nicer.:D