View Full Version : are wads necessary??

September 5, 2010, 12:41 PM
again, being brand new in the BP hobby, I just bought all the fixins for the Pietta
colt 1851 navy 36 cal, powder, balls and powder measurer..I have also read that "wads" are used : IE patches that go between the powder and ball..are these necessary??some told me yes, and some told me no..I'm sure you "pros" can set me straight, before I take this beauty out for a spin.

September 5, 2010, 12:59 PM
Wads are not necessary; but, some folks prefer them to grease over the balls.

September 5, 2010, 01:32 PM
grease over the ball is traditional, but I preferr a lubed wad under the ball. It also prevents chainfires adequately, is less messy (especially after the gun gets warm), and lubes the bore w/ every shot to keep fouling soft and to a minimum. Have fun and give us a range report!!

September 5, 2010, 03:22 PM
What SLTM1 said goes for me, too. Of course, shooting black powder is messy already, so I don't know why a little extra mess makes a difference to me!

September 5, 2010, 06:55 PM
very well..wads it is!..now since no one in my area sells them..I take it cabelas would have em..

September 5, 2010, 07:06 PM
Yeah, most every bp supply house has them if you have a favorite shop. I make my own w/ felt I buy from Durofelt, a simple punch cutter and I soak them in Borebutter....too lazy/smart to make my own lube, (recipe calls for lanoline, wax and crisco and one of your wifes pots and her stove in her kitchen.....she let's me get away with enough already bless her heart wouldn't want to pust the envelope too hard !!).

September 5, 2010, 07:35 PM
Try Circle Fly Wads. They have wads for everything imaginable. http://www.circlefly.com/index.html

September 5, 2010, 07:52 PM
I use the wads. I get wads from Buffalo Arms,they have lubed and unlubed at much better prices than Cabelas or the ox-yoke wads. Get the unlubed and soak them in olive oil or Ballistol or what ever else you use.

September 6, 2010, 08:46 AM
I prefer to use lubricated felt wads. I don't see any advantage to using grease over the ball. I'm not sure what would make that a traditional method. We do know that lubricated felt wads have been used and recommended for at least 80 years. In a sense, 80 years sounds like it might qualify as being traditional.

If you are interested in learning more or making your own felt wads then refer to this link (http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=411414).

September 6, 2010, 09:10 AM
All good advice except the Crisco part.
I have been shooting primarily traditional muzzle loaders since 1970 and have tried every concoction possible.
Crisco is the poorest excuse for a C&B pistol or ML rifle ever. Well....not quite the worst. I give that vote to chicken fat.
If you are going to be shooting that pistola much, make yer own patches. Find a store, like Harbor Freight and buy a punch. Almost anything will make decent wads. Choose advice from previous messages, except the Crisco, and lube them. Yer in business.

September 6, 2010, 09:43 AM
thanks, haggen...I will order from them..I am assumimg .360 is the correct size for my 1851 navy 36 caliber, as it doesnt state caliber size

September 6, 2010, 10:17 AM
Not .360" -- 36 caliber revolvers typically use .375" balls and wads from a 3/8" punch. At one time I used the Ox-Yoke lubricated wads. Since they are up to $12.99/100 at Cabels, I now make my own. IMHO, the wads alone shouldn't be more than a total cost of loading metallic revolver cartridges!!!!

September 6, 2010, 10:48 AM
May I suggest that you peruse the sticky at top of the page, So you want a cap and ball revolver? It will answer all of your questions, and more.

Wads and lubes are near the beginning. I've found the recommended lubricant quite nice, but it was a bother getting the mutton tallow -- Dixie Gun Works was out of the stuff. I waited until after the animal auction, at the local fair, to get some lamb suet and rendered it into tallow. My wad punch is from Harbor Freight and the wool from Duro-felt.

September 6, 2010, 11:34 AM
Thanks Zippy...that site didn't bother to mention caliber sizes, and since I am new at this, theres no way I would know...I didnt buy a lead ball micrometer..lol

September 6, 2010, 01:35 PM
They make lead ball micrometers?:D Crisco is ok in cool weather but gets runny in summer heat. It also gets rancid over time. I use it and beeswax to make lube and I make my own wads.

September 6, 2010, 03:34 PM
I just wanted to say that I use Wonder Wads with a little Bore Butter over that. I haven't yet tried to make my own wads or lube. One problem that occurs with shooting these guns is that the action starts getting to stiff if it is not lubed correctly. Also, the sticky thread mentions toliet rings as a source of 'bees wax'. While this may have been true at one time, the toliet rings sold today are not made of bees wax. I used to use real bees wax when sewing leather holsters and belts and it is mich firmer.


September 6, 2010, 06:21 PM
Bee's wax and lanoline = Ebay. Still a better place to shop than Walmart !!!

September 7, 2010, 08:53 AM
Sam'l Colt said to load powder, place ball on top of powder, cap and fire. No wads, no over ball lube.

That said, I use Durofelt wads made with an 11mm punch from Harbor Freight soaked in pearl lube.

September 8, 2010, 11:01 AM
I once read in the book 'Cowboy Action Shooting' by Charlie Gullett that the BP in the 1800s was different than it is today. I believe that it burnt in a way that it left a softer residue. This was related, in the book, in regards to the need ( BP metalic cartridiges ) for a lube in the channels of the bullet and/or the use of a bees wax disk underneath. Today, many shooters use a lubed wad and or grease for more reason than just the prevention of chain fires.
I have always wondered what the acutal differences are in the materials and processes that account for this and why someone does not make a version like this? I would think that many of todays shooters would buy it. Does anyone have any more info on this?

Fingers McGee
September 8, 2010, 12:36 PM
Wads are not necessary. Neither is grease/wax/lube over the ball. Back in the day, discharging more than one cylinder full in a short time period was an unusual occurrance - think Civil War battle . Nowdays, C&B users are loading and shooting multiple cylinders full in a short period of time in practice, plinking, or competition. As a result, some means of lubrication is necessary to keep the pistol functioning. This can be from lubed wads, lube cookies, over ball lubes, or even breaking the pistol down and cleaning/lubing it after a coupl cylinders full. IMNSHO, a lubed wad is the easiest and cleanest method of ensuring a C&B revolver will function smoothly during extended use. I have shot my Navies on numerous occasions in 10-15 CAS stages over 3 days with no problems using lubed felt wads between the powder and ball.