View Full Version : 2 questions. Bullet size, cleaning

September 18, 2010, 02:52 PM
Hello. I just got my first BP ever. Its a navy arms .44 It came with balls. .445 dia. Is this right???? Also, I have been a reading and it seems a lot of people clean there shooters with soapy water. I cant bring myself to do this! Water? On my gun? Why cant I clean it the same way I'd clean any other gun? If it need something extra powerful would Kriol work?

September 18, 2010, 02:59 PM
If it's a revolver you need .454 balls. Black powder fouling is unlike smokeless fouling. Water cuts bp fouling easily. Smokeless solvents have no affect on it. Also any petroleum based lube or solvent in the bore or chambers when fired with bp will make it a lot tougher to clean. If you're going to shoot bp and enjoy it you're going to have to get over the water on and in guns phobia.

Doc Hoy
September 18, 2010, 03:37 PM
You did the right thing, buyin that pistol.

September 18, 2010, 03:42 PM
You don't need water to clean your BP guns. Get a good black powder solvent and follow the directions. I think Hoppe's makes BP solvent. Don't use petroleum based lubes, the BP fouling will turn it into a hard sludge that will be a b*tch to clean up. (Add.) Ballistol is your friend.

September 18, 2010, 04:04 PM
Water is cheaper.:D

September 18, 2010, 04:14 PM
You can't clean it the same way because the dirt is different.
The BP crud will get everywhere inside your shiny new pistol & furk it up from the inside out if you use the wrong techniques.:eek:
Now the good news.
The "hot soapy water" is the best thing ever & is much easier than the regular cleaning stuff used for smokeless powders.

Get past the phobia, remove the wood grips, pull the cylinder & nipples & fling that puppy into a nice steaming bucket of hot water.

After cleaning shake as dry as possible & sit the whole ding-dang-doodle thing in a cardboard box & run a Wally-World $10.00 hair dryer in through the closed lid, flipping occasionally. When dry & hot oil with something that won't turn to road tar when firing BP next time.:D

PS: It scared the bejesus out of me the first time too, but now it's second nature.

Ball size depends on individual pistol chamber diameter. If you get a thin, complete ring of lead wrapped round the rammer rod then you're good to go. If the ring is incomplete, go up a size. If the ring is wide & it is very hard to ram then go down a size. .451, .454 & .457 one of these will usually be right for your pistol. The balls you got sound a tad small, but if you get a complete ring then they aren't. You can measure the I.D. of the cylinder with a caliper to check before loading any BTW, Ideally you want a ball a couple of thou oversize from the measured internal diameter.

September 19, 2010, 09:18 AM
You folks been throwing the entire revolver into the hot water? Did not know that would work without rusting the trigger and hammer assemblies. Also it seems I must be doing something wrong, the inside of my cylinders always rust when dry. What kind of soap do you all use for best results?

September 19, 2010, 09:48 AM
I use Joy or Dawn whatever the wife has handy.:D I do shake as much water as possible out and spray liberally with WD-40 to disperse water and then spray liberally with Remoil, except for chambers and bore. Those get a light coating of bore butter. No rust anywhere. Some dry with a hair dryer or compressed air but thats too much like work.:D

September 19, 2010, 10:00 AM
Why wouldn't you use water? Never heard of anyone getting rust if they do it right. After the wash and rinse in super hot water I like to shake off as much as possible, paper towel dry, then bake in the oven for 20 minutes at 175 degrees...then cool for 20 minutes, then blast the innards with WD-40. Last, wipe the outside with RemOil or Ballistol.

.454 is probably the right answer for the balls. Are you sure you didn't just do a typo when you said .445?

September 19, 2010, 11:44 AM
I bit on the "44 cal" balls. I bought a mold described as "44 cal" It is a .445 which is the correct size for a 45 cal muzzleloading rifle using a patch to make the ball come up to size.
Doesn't work in the revolvers.

Doc Hoy
September 19, 2010, 12:27 PM
After cleaning, make sure it is good and dry and then hit it with Remington Gun oil or some such.

The Clembert method is also the Hoy method FWIW.

September 19, 2010, 12:34 PM
Any good gun oil or motor oil will do for internals. Just not in bore or chambers. I use Remoil for internals and 3n1 for exterior wipe.

Old Grump
September 19, 2010, 12:38 PM
I run the cylinder through the dishwasher, the grips get taken off and the frame goes with me into the shower. A few strokes with a bore brush and its clean. a little longer and I am clean too. Afterwards as hot as I can get it under running hot water in the sink and air dry. No rust.

I clean my BP rifle behind the house with a hose and cold water, trick is to get it dry afterwards and run a little bore butter down the barrel, (a little butter, not a lot). I have a table back there and I just lay it in the sun with the action open, (inline), and let it do its thing. Leave it out in the rain or put it away wet and you will have problems. I wish I could clean all my guns that way.

September 19, 2010, 02:07 PM
>I cant bring myself to do this! Water? On my gun?
Yikes, you'd have had a major coronary if you'd seen the thread about the folks who just remove the grip wood and then toss the entire revolver into the dishwasher. Cleaning issues is one reason many BP shooters opt for non-period-correct stainless steel guns.

Typically, many so called .44-caliber cap and ball revolvers are actually .45s and use balls/bullets in the .452"+ neighborhood. What does your owner's manual recommend? When in doubt, measure your gun.

September 19, 2010, 02:47 PM
You folks been throwing the entire revolver into the hot water?
Yep, everything except the grip panels.
Swishing it round & dunkin it vigorously seem to help loosen up BP crud before I use patches.

For rust to form you need both moisture & oxygen. If you remove either (like by using lots of oil) you won't get rust from steel + one other, you need both.:D Hot water heats the steel which in turn drys quickly as well.;) The hair dryer in a box trick makes thing soo easy, just shove it in there, flip occasionally remove & oil.

September 19, 2010, 06:31 PM
Commercial black powder solvents are mostly water anyway so it's not like using them is a "waterfree" way to clean your gun.

Some folks swear by a mixture of rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, and some sort of detergent, claiming that this contains "no water", but, rubbing alcohol is about 30% water and hydrogen peroxide is only 3% H2O2, the rest is water.

Personally, I get great results using water and spraying with WD-40 while the gun is still wet. The WD-40 wants to wet the metal more than water does and so it creeps underneath the water and lifts it off the metal. This prevents flash rusting of the metal as the water dries.

WD-40 is not a good long term rust preventer, that's why you need to use a good gun oil after the water is dry.

.445 balls are for single shot .45 caliber muzzleloaders that use a cloth patch between the ball and the bore, not for revolvers.

the rifleer
September 19, 2010, 06:37 PM
Obviously you dry the gun well after you clean it with water... :D

September 19, 2010, 10:31 PM
>Obviously you dry the gun well after you clean it with water... :D
Compressed air and/or a hair dryer can help with BP clean-up.