View Full Version : Leaving my 1858 New Army pistol loaded [no caps nearby] Should I seal nipple holes?

November 20, 2010, 10:51 PM
I partly bought this gun for home invasion protection. So, I have loaded it with 30 grains of Pyrodex {Gun is handy on top shelf of bedroom closet, caps are in a nearby suit jacket pocket } - no wads, just powder & ball- and put Cabelas Black Powder Pistol Lube on all the balls= a small amount on the sides as I loaded [tried not to get a bit that would contact powder] and some brushed on the loaded balls with a tiny artist brush.
I don't want the powder to obsorb moisture and fail, so should I seal the nipple holes with a tine bit of the Cabelas lube too?
This is my 1st black powder pistol, so i'm inexperienced. :rolleyes:
Thank You! :D

November 21, 2010, 07:12 AM
Sealing the nipples will prevent moisture contamination of the powder charge, so in a word, yes.

Now, having answered your question I'm going to lecture a bit; you may not want to read further if you don't react well to unsolicited advice.

First, if you are truly going to rely on this gun for personal protection - in other words, you're going to bet your life on the gun AND your ability to shoot it, you are doing absolutely the wrong thing. You need to be proficient with it, and being proficient means practice, regular, consistent practice, every week, rain or shine, with that very same gun! Shooting strong hand, weak hand, one hand, two hand, standing, sitting, laying down. In the light, in full darkness (you will be amazed at how a bp revolver will blind you at night). Putting it on a shelf with sealed chambers is guaranteeing that the critical partnership (you and the gun) won't be ready when the need arises.

Second (if you're really going to do this), Pyrodex, along with 777, are excellent black powder substitutes, but both have long term storage issues. Sealing the chambers will address the issue, but if by some chance the seals don't work completely it's possible they will weaken over time. Real black powder is a much better choice for long term stability.

November 21, 2010, 07:47 AM
Did I read you correctly? You want to seal the nipple holes with lube? Big mistake! It will creep into the powder and foul it, plus when you do cap the piece and try to fire it, you will almost certainly have mis-fires. If this is your plan, you are better off with a sharp stick! JMHO

November 21, 2010, 08:01 AM
Don't seal the nipples cap them. Caps are hard enough to install in daylight when you're calm. I disagree about Pyrodex having long term storage problems. I found a half used container at my moms I had forgotten about for several years and it worked fine.

November 21, 2010, 08:16 AM
I would put the caps on. If you don't want a loaded gun sitting around take the cylinder out. and keep it where it is easy to get to. Loading a cylinder in the middle of the night would be much easier, in my opinion than capping 6 nipples.

Doc Hoy
November 21, 2010, 08:26 AM
...and I know there are smarter folks out there.

But I would not rely upon a BP revolver for personal protection unless, for some reason, a cartridge pistol were unavailable.

Too much can go wrong and frequently does on a Remington or Colt. Plus, you are limited to six shots.

Trying to fiddle around putting caps on a revolver if an intruder wakes you from a dead sleep is only the start of the potential difficulties.

If the intruder has the drop on you and you are trying to get your revolver into battery, he can potentially shoot you and claim self defense. Okay so he gets jail time for the invasion but he escapes having to answer for killing you.

Cap fragment gets into the works after the first shot...The intruder is not likely to wait while you field strip the revolver to free it up. No he is going to kill you and because you are holding, what any logical person (not to mention any smart lawyer) would assume is a very lethal weapon, he is going to beat the wrap on a claim of self defense.

I understand the almost universal requirement to flee if an exit exists. But here is an intruder in an unfamiliar place. A smart lawyer would have the culprit testify that he did not have time to familiarize himself with the lay of the house. He had no alternative but to shoot you to preserve his own life. As detestibly wrong as it sounds, I think it happens. It happened in Hampton Roads that a drug dealer beat the wrap for killing a police officer on a very similar defense.

Lets say you cock the pistol and pull the trigger but the first shot fails to discharge. Now, not only are you holding a lethal weapon from which the intruder has a right to protect himself, you have already indicated by your behavior an intent to kill him. Smart lawyer field day.

Second amendment, fifth amendment and sixth amendment be darned....The lawyer will win. Our self defense rights, our right to keep and bear arms, our right to be secure in our person and property are being eroded. The reason they are being eroded because, through our best intentions we are providing the smart lawyers with the fodder they need to tear up the constitution.

Sorry fellas....I am proabably wrong about virtually everything in this post but there are certain things in life that just make me mad. So logic and correctness and accuracy go out the window and emotion kicks in.

November 21, 2010, 09:10 AM
Even though I am a die hard muzzle loading traditionalist, I recognize modern guns evolved for a reason. To buy a C&B for home protection is not a logical approach. To not cap the cylinder is just plain foolishness.
However, if that is the way you want to go here is a good approach. I have loaded and capped rifles and left them for years this way with no harm to anything.
Before loading clean the pistol completely, dry thoroughly. (DO NOT POP CAPS TO CLEAR NIPPLES, you can see if your nipples are clear just by looking before loading.) Load. I would prefer lubed wads to grease for the balls. Cap and put where handy. It will keep for centuries that way.
It will not corrode. Black powder does not corrode. The by-product of burned black powder is what does the nasties.

November 21, 2010, 09:49 AM
Six shots would be plenty. Odds are if you miss with the first one he's going to run. I wouldn't recommend using a bp revolver but I've been around them long enough to be comfortable and confident with one if it had CCI caps on it.

November 21, 2010, 11:14 AM
A home intruder that successfully claims self defense after shooting you?

I don't want to live where you do.

Around here that's called Murder 1. Murder committed while in the process of commiting a felony.

November 21, 2010, 01:02 PM
Hhmmm....Well, where I live there's no requirement to flee when one's home is invaded (the "castle law" renders that unnecessary);therefore, said requirement is NOT universal.

Personally I'd cap the gun; it's not going to do much good if all the components are not where they're supposed to be & you're not ready to fire at less than a moment's notice. If I found it necessary to pull a gun on someone who invaded my home, an attorney (his or mine) would be the last thing on my mind.

You know, as far as tools for defense/aggression go, one uses what's immediately at hand. Unless there's a reason that precluded my ownership of a more modern firearm---my cap&ball revolver is the last firearm for which I'm going to reach, loaded or not.

Just my 2-cents worth.--Patrice

November 21, 2010, 01:17 PM
Hawg - I agree that Pyrodex left in the original container (presuming the container is not damaged) will not measurably degrade over a long period of time. You missed my point: Pyrodex in an open environment, such as an unsealed revolver chamber, may degrade significantly in a short period of time. Not something you want to stake your life on. Real black powder is not immune to problems in open storage but it is the better choice.

I guess I'm the only one who feels that regular practice to ensure proficiency with a gun that you are counting on to save your life is necessary.

November 21, 2010, 02:05 PM
To claify my comment. I think only in terms of genuine black powder. My comment was so directed.

November 21, 2010, 03:45 PM
Have you considered one of the BP cartridge revolvers?

{BP rookie here}

Doc Hoy
November 21, 2010, 04:02 PM
"I guess I'm the only one who feels that regular practice to ensure proficiency with a gun that you are counting on to save your life is necessary.

You are absolutley not the only one.

I shoot pretty much. About every third Sunday. I was Expert Pistol Shot with the .45 in the Navy. I did law enforcement operations in the Persian Gulf and Red Sea and during my second Desert Shield deployment I had more foreign flag boardings than any other officer in theater.

In spite of all of that, I absolutely do not trust myself to do the right thing in any armed combat situation because I do not have enough training. I think there are plenty of active duty police officers who will declare the same thing.

I once read a very poignant statement. It goes, "The zealot injures his cause by his excess." I vow that I will never knowlingly injure the cause of the protection of second amendment rights by a) doing something dumb with a firearm b) being over-confident of my ability to use a handgun to proect myself. c) being over confident in the presence of a handgun as a deterent to a would-be intruder.

There is very little in life that I am afraid of. That is because I have the ability to view most situations with my eyes wide open.

If you are going to do personal defense, do you get a tool that was designed to do personal defense today or 150 years ago. How often do you practice with it? How often do you examine it? Unload it? load it? cycle the action? Think about the ammunition you are using. While I don't agree with them, some say use birdshot for the first round then follow that up with "business rounds". Hogwash! Shoot to kill on the first round or just turn the pistol on yourself.

I live in a two story house of 4000 square feet. I have a three year old grandaughter who visits often and a wife who is terrified of firearms. Where should I place my home defense weapons?

I know the answers to all of these questions because I have thought about it and have come to some conclusions about what I have to do to appreciably increase my odds over a determined thug. And I must confess I am not confident of the outcome should the worst happen.

November 21, 2010, 04:15 PM
#1. The law does concern me. Is it true that if someone breaks into my home and I shoot him inside my house, I can be liable? If so, they need to change that slogan from "HOME OF THE BRAVE" to HOME OF THE DEFENSELESS" :confused:
#2. I only thought of a small part of this excellent info "You need to be proficient with it, and being proficient means practice, regular, consistent practice, every week, rain or shine, with that very same gun! Shooting strong hand, weak hand, one hand, two hand, standing, sitting, laying down. In the light, in full darkness (you will be amazed at how a bp revolver will blind you at night). Putting it on a shelf with sealed chambers is guaranteeing that the critical partnership (you and the gun) won't be ready when the need arises."
I do not intend to leave it sit uncapped. I shoot it once or twice a week, but after cleaning it up, I leave it loaded and uncapped.
#3. The idea mentioned of removing the cylinder, with caps in place, is excellent! I plan to buy an extra one soon too! { Anybody got one to sell? :) }
#4. Does a black powder cartridge revolver fall under the same laws as cap & ball? Or do they require the same red tape as regular guns? I want to keep it simple. I do not live in a dangerous area. What got me concerned, was actually a movie I saw a while ago called { THE STRANGERS } based on real events, where defenseless people were slowly shook up, tortured and slowly killed. I was thinking,if they had a gun ready, they could probably have scared them off with even a shot out a window etc?
They did find a shotgun, but had no clue how to use it, or even load it at first. They were not mentally prepared to use a gun for defence and had no practice, not a mindset to do what muct be done to protect their lives.
I should think that criminals [under most circumstances] would leave if the homeowner fired a gun? There's easier people to mess with, than those firing guns! :eek:
I will continue to follow this post, all advice is very welcome!
I'd also love to hear more about Black Powder cartride revolvers too!
Chuck in Florida

November 21, 2010, 04:27 PM
In all honesty, I have thought of trying a black powder pistol for a couple of years. This movie got my order in to Cabelas the next day. :eek:

Doc Hoy
November 21, 2010, 04:30 PM
As regards 1. In 31 out of 50 states, the "castle Doctrine" that "Patrice spoke of is the law of the land. That means that you can defend yourself and the you do not have to retreat, although in some cases that particularity is not clear.
As regards 2. I would load and cap five and let the hammer rest on an empty chamber if you have to use a cap and ball revolver instead of a cartridge revolver of semi auto.
As regards 3. If you are going to use it for home defense, how long does it take to get the cylinder back into the pistol and what is the likelhood you may not have that much time?
As regards 4. A black powder cartridge revolver costs almost as much as a smokeless powder revolver.

My thought is that our interest in black powder shooting is quite a different thing from home defense. I don't think they should be mixed.

November 21, 2010, 04:42 PM
Thank You!
As to: As regards #4. A black powder cartridge revolver costs almost as much as a smokeless powder revolver.
It's not the cost I asked about, it's the law. In Florida at least, cap & ball black powder pistols are not considered "Firearms" under the law. So, you can just buy it, own it and shoot it freely.
Regular guns require more red tape= not sure just what?
Do black powder cartridge guns fall under the same laws as cap & ball or under smokeless powder guns?
Anyone know for sure?
Can a gun shop ship them to Florida without shipping to another gun shop?
Chuck in SW Florida

November 21, 2010, 04:57 PM
I have experimented with this and I feel the cabellas lubed overpowder wads foul the charge, the potential for fouling the charges increases with the liberal use of lubes, just my .2

November 21, 2010, 05:06 PM

I have a nice collection of Black Powder Weapons but.... they are for collection purposes and range use only. I also own a select group of modern firearms, have a concealed weapons permit that enables me to protect myself outside my front door, within the limits of the law.:rolleyes:

The idea of calmly dashing over to a closet and smacking some caps onto 6 sealed chambers is not very practical. Your nipples would be fouled by what ever you chose to seal them with. Most people who take a BP Revolver to the range fire off a few caps on empty cylinders to clear them before shooting.

BP guns were of course used for home defense and carried around for self defense back in their day. Loading and capping the cylinders, then sealing them to prevent the invasion of moisture, with other concerns, was a common and well known practice. Beeswax and tallow were commonly used.

All great stuff from a historical point of view but not very practical in todays world where the Village Idiots turned Thugs carry heavy caliber revolvers or semi automatics.

An old style revolver in the hands of an experienced user or even a lucky beginner will of course do the job but I'd stick with more modern applications.

Regarding home defense. That's a whole different topic. I live in SC where we have Castle Laws that don't require us to retreat to another room. But I have little doubt that should I ever have to use a weapon in self defense there would be some major concerns about the afterwards part. Should I get the wrong investigating officer, an ambitious DA or a Judge, with a Brady Bunch Jury that equates a Home Owner who defends himself with a handgun on the same level as a criminal (Worse than... because Progressive Thinkers don't believe in the right to self defense and "we" should know better.).

I have made several contributions to defense funds for people who have clearly had to defend themselves but found that the Case Laws that some judges and DAs apply take precedence over legislative law. Do some reading. Some States make no provisions for justifiable homicide and things can get crazy real quick like.

Have fun with the BP Revolvers but I'd suggest you get yourself a modern piece, take a class to learn how to use and maintain it. Get yourself a permit and bone up on the legal aspects of the self defense in your State.

November 21, 2010, 06:14 PM
I have experimented with this and I feel the cabellas lubed overpowder wads foul the charge, the potential for fouling the charges increases with the liberal use of lubes, just my .2

I have never seen Cabela's wads so can't comment on whether they foul anything.
But wads I have purchased or made would/could never foul the charge. They are either dry or impregnated with wax.
Lubes, as sealants, are not meant to be used on the charge. They go over the ball and cannot foul the charge.
It was my practice to keep my ROA charged and capped. I used wads under the ball. Never a fouling problem.

November 21, 2010, 07:22 PM
I have about 3 times left a C&B loaded and capped for months at a time and they don't always go off reliably (YMMV). This is with guns having no lube wad to contaminate the powder. If I was to rely on a loaded C&B I would have NO OIL or lube any where near the powder or nipples. I'd want the chambers & nipples DRY. I'd also run a nipple pick into each flash hole to be sure there is a clear fire path and no oil or fouling in the nipple. Be sure you have taken the gun out for "shake out cruises" so that all chambers fire and the gun doesn't seize or jam up. A Remington is a better choice over a Colt until the Colt is tricked out to prevent cap jams. A loaded cartridge gun with FRESH ammo is a superior situation.

November 21, 2010, 08:11 PM
Having grown up and living over half of my life in Fl.; I can tell you that b/p cartridge guns are classed as modern weapons and all BATF rules apply. Fl. has the castle law and you don't have to run and hide, Ky also has it as it's my current domicile. Fl. law doesn't consider muzzle loaders/ including percussion pistols as guns. When I lived in south Fl(homestead) I open carried my ROA when I fished from my boat and night fished, the only hassle I got was from the Marine partol, but all I got was warnings, once I proved it was a b/p gun. They said I was asking for trouble, my reply was that I was advertizing against trouble and I never had a problem, only lots of curious fishermen.

November 22, 2010, 07:09 AM

I have a pair of ROAs. They're the guns Mr Colt and Mr Remington would have gladly produced back in their day if they had the technology. I own a stack of Colt and Remington Replicas and a couple of originals, but the ROA is the best shooter in the bunch.

Asking for trouble is the attitude a lot of folks take towards people who legally decide to exercise the idea of Self Defense. I've run into that same mentality myself and just smile and go on my way.:barf:

I've seen too much reality in emergency rooms and hospitals and know better.

But if I were going to carry a Black Powder weapon for self defense, the ROA would be my choice.

November 22, 2010, 03:02 PM
If you plan on using it for SD/HD, I would cap the nipples and keep it stored with the safety notch engaged. Let me back up and say, first I would shoot the tar out of it, clean it, break it down, put it back together, load it up and shoot it some more. then clean it again, break it down, put it back together, shoot it, etc etc etc. THEN maybe load it up and store it with it capped, in a good holster or case, with the safety notch engaged or chamber empty under the hammer.

I wouldn't bet my life on a BP revolver, but then again depending on where you live you might have a better chance of a lightening strike or hitting the multi-million lotto than being attacked in your home at night. Personally, I have a .45 Glock by the bed and a 12 gauge loaded up the next room over. My 1858 isn't the first gun I would go for, but honestly, it wouldn't be the last in my collection that I would grab either.

I'm the scientific sort who likes to do little experiments to see what happens. So, I routinely load and cap my 1858 after I get done cleaning and drying it after some range time. It sits in my cabinet either in a holster or a gun sock with no sealant on the nipples. I generally get out and shoot every 4-6 weeks (and as long as 8 weeks). The gun has never failed to fire other than one miss strike on a cap which mashed the cap sideways over the nipple instead of straight on. the other 5 went off without a problem. Recapping the nipple was all it took to make it go boom. All I was using was cheap pyrodex and teflon grease lightly over the balls.

Like I said, I wouldn't grab the 1858 first. But I can tell you that I would snap it up before my Nagant revolver or my cheap .22 single action colt clone. I sometimes carry my 1858 as my woods back up. Now, I'm not talking about deep hiking. the iron is way too heavy to play around with when weight is an issue. But for stomping around the woods or going for a hike from camp. I usually have a lever gun or shot gun at camp in the truck and the 1858 on my hip simply because it's fun to shoot, cheap to shoot, won't make me cry too much if I lose or damage it, and I feel pretty confident with the holes I can put in things with it.

But if you're going to keep the pistol as an HD firearm, cap the nipples. I can't get the dang things on in a timely fashion at the range, in the day light, with my laser corrected 29 year old eyes. In the dark? forget it, it'd make a better club.

November 22, 2010, 03:55 PM

I'm all in favor of having a shotgun or rifle handy when in the woods, especially in the Wilderness type areas. Out there where the predators tend to show unwary travelers real quick exactly where they stand in the food chain. I spent 83-90 up in North Dakota and got introduced to a Ruger Blackhawk and a Redhawk. Then came the Super Redhawks. Up til then I thought the .357 was one mean weapon until I ran into the .44 Mags.

I have a Ruger Super Redhawk Alaskan in .44 Mag, with a 2.5 in barrel. A great carry piece for those days when you just don't feel like playing dead for the bear is a good idea. Even better in event that Yogi decides to eat your horse, while you're sitting in the saddle.

November 22, 2010, 07:05 PM
I have been here since 1997 and have not heard of any home invasions in this neighborhood?
I did have a pressure washing machine stolen out of the back of my pickup truck 2 different times. Both times a week before Xmas= just wonderful fathers lookin' to buy their kids some presents, without actually getting a job to do it. :eek:
One time my dog went wacky out back [my home is in a sparse neighborhood and my yard is cut into the woods-the dog just goes out to do his business] I went out back and sat low and listened-I could hear someone trudging through the heavy brush.
I called the cops and they circled the area, but noone was caught.
I'm not overly concerned, and I know my .44 black powder gun is not a 357, but it's a heck of a lot more than I had for defence up until I got it!
I already had a baseball bat, mace and a stun gun by my bed! Hmmmm, I think I sound a bit paranoid? :D
I still think that if I fired my gun, [ even through my ceiling? ] most crooks would head on out and find an unarmed home to rob??????????
If not, I will be practicing most every week at least once a week, so i'll be as ready as I am willing to be. ;)
I will be target shooting tomorrow and after that, i'll take the average advice and cap the loads and leave it on a safe notch. I do have to keep it in the bedroom closet though, because I have 3 grandchildren ages 3-8 that I have overnight 2-3 times a month!
I love those grandchildren!!!
You say you want to see pictures of my grandchildren? :confused:
Well, - - - - - OK! Here they are! :D { PS: The blonde babe is my 51 year old wife! :p }

November 22, 2010, 09:25 PM
You are truly blessed.

Kids and guns: Children are naturally curious. They look in closets and cabinets and dresser drawers just to see what they can find; they're not supposed to, and they know it, but they do. IF they find it they're going to play with it. If they play with it, someone is going to get hurt.

The best defense against that curiosity is education. Show them the gun; let them handle it (unloaded, of course), and let them know that it's not a toy. It's something that belongs to you and is your private property. They're not to play with it; they can see it if they ask, but they are not to touch it unless you hand it to them.

I have a good friend who used a little subterfuge in addition; he coated the gun with a thin film of oil. The youngest children thought it was 'slimy and yukky'. They had no desire to touch it after that, until they were old enough to learn to shoot it.

But, some people don't want their children to learn about guns; if that's the case with your grandchildren's parents, remove the gun from the premises when they're visiting. True, you won't have it for self defense during that time, but you also won't have to explain an AD to a grieving parent.

Closets are no barrier to inquisitive, active children.

November 22, 2010, 10:25 PM
You are right. This closet has a very high shelf in it, but still, when they come over, i'm going to lock it up until they go home.
Their parents are not opposed to their seeing the gun, so I will also educate them and I believe I will also oil it up. That will cure the girls curiosity, i'm sure! These girls don't like "dirty hands" much! :eek:
The older grandson isn't here as often, but i'll do the same with him.
I will also let them watch me shoot a hole through plywood, so that they see how serious it is.
Thanks for the good advice!

November 23, 2010, 11:47 AM
While education is crucial ( I know I'll be teaching my daughter about firearms when she's old enough..right now she can't even roll over:p),
What about taking the cylinder out of the gun and keeping it locked/tucked away in a drawer?
Once you get used to dropping the lever, pulling the pin, and feeding in the cylinder, "loading" an 1858 doesn't take much more time to a practiced hand than a speedloader on a modern revolver. However, to even curious children, they would still have to find BOTH piece AND get it together before the gun would operate...just a thought.

I keep all of my firearms locked up and unloaded short of the shotgun for HD. Even that is kept at cruiser ready, so in order to chamber a round the latch must be activated.
I keep my .45 in a locked safe in my closet. The key stays on my keychain which never leaves my person short of bedtime. It's unlocked at night before I go to bed, I retrieve my gun in the morning once I am dressed (it's also my carry piece). It goes in and is locked up as soon as I step in the door. I don't store it chambered and I drop the mag. So luckily, my daughter would have to figure out how to get the "stick thingy" in the gun and wrack the slide which has a pretty stiff spring.

Kids certainly make things a bit trickier, don't they;)

November 23, 2010, 02:13 PM
Chuck ...know your C&B Rev well, make sure it functions properly and you can shoot it with accuracy...load it with Black Powder only and a proper fitting ball over the top with proper fitting caps. I recomend a Remington, Rogers& Spencer, or an ROA for a home/personal defence weaspon.
And any as long as the rev is properly tuned and you are comfortable shooting it accurately the .44 ball with BP behind it is one of the most capable rounds for droppin' a man with a one shot kill.
I have no problem myself or with anyone else keeping a C&B or any Black Powder Gun loaded for home/personal protection...if you trust and know your weapon it will serve you well.
You can keep a C&B Rev loaded indefinately by using Black Powder and yes keep it capped with a proper fitting cap.
My $.02 worth :O)

November 23, 2010, 08:17 PM
It seems like this subject comes up every once in a while on every forum. I view it this way - HD is an individual decision. If you think you can do it with a black powder firearm - you go for it. I'm not being critical when I say that. For the OP of this thread - trust me, if you have a home invasion you are going to be so scared, especially if you wake up in the middle of the night to find a stranger in your house or room, that you'll probably be shaking so hard you won't be able to get a tin of caps open, let alone getting them from there to the nipples. Every state is different and regardless of state statutes, every individual case is different. Whatever you use for HD, you need to practice, practice, practice so you are familiar with it - whether it be a baseball bat, a pump shotgun or a handgun. The more you are familiar with it, the less likely that if something happened, you can keep a level head and react appropriately. I've shot blackpowder for over 45 years and i'm not going to debate whether a ROA or a '58 Remy is the way to go. If that is what you want to use, that is your right and preference . . . the hell with whatever anybody else thinks. For myself . . . I want something that puts me on a level playing field. I'm in Arizona during the winters and every week on the news, there are stories of home invasions and shootings - most are drug related . . . some are not. It just isn't drugs that are coming across the border . . . it's also guns and even good old American dollars from the drug cartels being brought in to be "laundered". The druggies, the gangs and the cartels are not carrying black powder weapons - they are modern, high cartridge capacity and often times, full automatics. Like I said, HD is a personal choice and decision. I know of no cases where a criminal has done a home invasion where they are armed with a "51 Colt Navy. That's why I keep a loaded 9mm automatic with a 17 round clip handy. I am not a "cocky" individual nor do I have a "Wyatt Earp" syndrome - I am just being a realist. I pray to God that I never have to use the 9mm - I also have seen and had first hand experience with shooting deaths and injuries and regardless of some of the bravado about defending your property, etc. I know that if given a choice, if I could flee and avoid a deadly confrontation, I would flee. There is nothing material that is worth a person's life - theirs or mine. But, if I or a member of my family were faced with a "life or death" situation, I can guarantee you that I would do what is necessary to preserve their life or mine. That being said, I also want to state that in my case, there are no children in the house nor is the pistol ever where an authorized person can gain access to it. If we have company or any children are around, the pistol is unloaded and locked away. This is another aspect that a person has to consider when they take on the responsibility of having a weapon in the house - there are far too many accidental shootings and deaths from loaded guns left where they can fall into the worng hands of curious children and even teenagers (and adults). Just my 2 cents.

November 24, 2010, 10:02 AM
Gun on top shel of closet, capped cylinder in a seperate, but nearby place, the kids can't get to.
Thanks again!

November 26, 2010, 05:54 PM
Why would you leave the nipples uncapped? That's the equivalent of leaving a modern revolver unloaded. What use is an unloaded gun? You really think you're gonna put those caps on when somebody is kicking in your door at 2am?

Why a BP revolver for HD in the first place?

Buy a used revolver or modern design. Load it. If you have kids or other security issues stick it in a quick-access safe. Practice with it regularly.

If you ARE limited to a BP revolver for HD for some strange reason, load it completely and do the same as above.

the kids can't get to.

You DO realize you're betting their life on that, right? Betting their life against the cost of a $100 nightstand safe.

You Do realize you're betting your family's life you can properly assemble the gun half asleep while under stress and a strict time constraint, right?

November 27, 2010, 09:50 AM
I hate to spoil such a rousing debate, but if the OP wants to leave an HD cap & ball in a semi-usable condition that's his business.
As for capping the nipples without the imminent risk of being able to actually fire the HD non-weapon in an HD mode, why not just use one of those rubber nipple-capping thingies that the SASS guys use? (Kind of like a rubber ring with a set of covers that fit over all the nipples in a C&B revolver)

You should be able to strip off the rubber octopoid, fumble the can of caps out of an overcoat pocket & open the lid while half asleep & in total darkness, cap the nipples, reassemble the non-gun & blaze away 5 times ( 6 being wayyy too dangerous) before the intruder can actually lift the grand piano over his head, stagger across the living room, climb the stairs & pound the ever-loving snot out of you with it.:D

December 2, 2010, 11:00 AM

the charcoal attracts water vapor.....

buffalo bill changed out powder & caps daily.......

just a suggestion if you aren't living in dry climate or A/C.


December 2, 2010, 03:49 PM
The idea of fumbling caps onto nipples in the dark is right out - Cripes - I have enough trouble fumbling caps on with my fingers in broad daylight. :o

But the idea of fumbling a loaded and capped cylinder into the frame in the dark isn't that much more appealing to me. If it slips out of your grasp and falls to the floor and one (or more) of the caps hits something hard enough .... think about it.

If a BP revolver was my only choice, I'd leave it loaded and capped with the hammer resting on the safety notch or on an empty chamber.

December 2, 2010, 11:20 PM
It's pretty obvious that people have their own perceptions of home defense. Here are my thoughts:
Any weapon that fires a cartridge is likely to be more reliable than a cap and ball revolver. Any weapon that fires a shotgun load is more suited to home defense than those which don't. A homeowner who knows the layout of his own house; and is armed with a shotgun is a home invaders worst nightmare. See where I'm going with this? :D

December 3, 2010, 08:15 AM

Good insight and I agree 100%.

December 3, 2010, 09:19 AM
I would take the cylinder out only when the grandchild is there. If you need to use the gun it would be difficult to load the cylinder in the dark when you are frightened. I load cylinders in my 58 all of the time but it is not completely straight forward. You need to rotate the cylinder some and sometimes fiddle with it to get the pin to slide in. You then have to determine the orientation of the caps to the hammer if you are not ready to shoot at that instant. I have to look to see where the notch is when I am at the range. It would be easy to drop the hammer onto a cap when inserting the cylinder or hit a cap on the frame. In the Civil war during the daytime this would have been convienent (for the times) but cumbersome at night. If I was going to keep a c&b pistol for HD I would keep it loaded and capped on a safety notch. All you would need to do then would be to cock the hammer. Of course you would have to keep it in stable & reachable position (when the children are not around) I would recomend putting it in a holster with a flap when keeping it loaded.

December 5, 2010, 04:11 PM
It is 2am and you hear glass breaking, then you hear footsteps downstairs.
Do you really think that this is the time to put caps on the nipples?

It is not!
Go ahead and load that gun right so that it is ready when the time comes.

I keep two of them loaded, one upstairs, one downstairs.

In this configuration you can keep them loaded for 3 years and they will fire fine.
This is with black powder, I am not sure how long you can stay loaded with Pyrodex.

December 5, 2010, 04:18 PM

the charcoal attracts water vapor.....

buffalo bill changed out powder & caps daily.......

Unfired powder as long as it's sealed off isn't. Fired powder residue is. If it was there wouldn't be loaded guns found with good powder left in them. I found a loaded 58 Remington in a barn once. The outside was pretty rough but once the loads were removed the chambers looked like new.

Wild Bill Hickok

roy reali
December 5, 2010, 10:32 PM
I don't want to debate weather a BP gun is good choice or not. I just have one question, just out of plain curiosity.

If someone were defend themselves with a blackpowder revolver, how effective would it be? Would one of these weapons slow someone down? How would it compare to cartridge firing handguns?

December 6, 2010, 12:02 AM
Midway USA has their 45 Colt conversion cylinder on sale. Check to see if it's a Pietta or other brand and order one. Then you get to leave your cartridge loaded pistol and not worry about misfires. Uses BP loaded 'cowboy' .45 Long Colt. product #292-272 [for the Pietta] YMMV some states restrict use of, IANAL, etc.

December 6, 2010, 04:35 PM
The 44 Remington pencils out to about 38 Special in ballistic comparison. The power factor (IPSC) is about the same. with a 30gr powder charge and a ball, it would hit plenty hard maybe like a +P load.

December 6, 2010, 05:28 PM
They dropped plenty of men when they were state of the art. I don't think anything has really changed in that respect.
Reliability & accuracy have improved but a .44RB at 850 FPS is plenty lethal still.

Doc Hoy
December 6, 2010, 05:39 PM
I would not steer clear of BP revolvers as a tool for defense because of a lack of lethality. The lethality of the BP revolvers is proven.

December 8, 2010, 10:21 PM
Cap all six and place cylinder in safety so balls can't move into barrel through compacted pressure--- and keep gun angled, hopefully in a holster, downward so no oils will drip back into caps. Every few days remove caps and insert a nicol wrapped guitar string in nipple holes or something similar to clear. Examine caps and if look fouled put on new ones. Um, I would think if you fired one in self protection the noise and smoke would scare them to death before the bullet did. Be safe. I keep one like that and I live in the country. Fortunately never had to use it on no one.

December 8, 2010, 10:31 PM
Cap all six and place cylinder in safety so balls can't move into barrel through compacted pressure--- and keep gun angled, hopefully in a holster, downward so no oils will drip back into caps. Every few days remove caps and insert a nicol wrapped guitar string in nipple holes or something similar to clear. Examine caps and if look fouled put on new ones. Um,

I think hardy is right about this too=I would think if you fired one in self protection the noise and smoke would scare them to death before the bullet did.
When the grandkids come over, I take the cylinder out and lock it up.
None of my grandchildren can get to the 7' shelf in my closet anyway, but still-can't take any chances!
Thanks everyone! :D

January 14, 2012, 08:48 AM
Like the pistol, it can be shipped to you and not a FFL dealer! However, when it is assembled to the revolver, it then does become a controled firearm! If you can legaly own a firearm, your fine but if not, don't get caught with it! As a HD weapon, and you are a "FELON", you are in violation of federal law. So if succesfully defending you home, and kill the intruder, you are in violation of a second federal law, but at least you and the family are safe! You will be going away, but alive!
R&D converters are fine and sorta appear like a Percussion C&B, The Kurst converter with a loading gate (the weapon will need modification) will look like the converted ones of the 1800's. As of 2012, they cost between $200 to $350, plus modification cost (not needed on the R&D)
Check Taylor's & Company, Kurst Cartridge Conversions, Howell's Old West Conversions, Midwayusa, and many others. Good Luck! Brian

January 15, 2012, 08:19 PM
Personal defense =='s 12g, pump, semi auto, s x s, o/u eh, makes
no difference. Job gets done.

Just my .02:)

Grant D
January 15, 2012, 08:40 PM
If you going to use a BP pistol you better practice a lot with it,cause after the first shot you won't see anything through the SMOKE!

January 16, 2012, 09:11 PM
Hey, I'm the dunce hat boy on this thread. That's ok. Even dummies can offer something. I load a revolver/cap it and set it at an angle with barrel pointing downward. That way, no oil or residue backs up in the nipples. I change out the caps every two days. Of course I put the old ones in a tin to fire at range. Most of them fire.


January 16, 2012, 09:25 PM
Oh---I have found that using a nickel wrapped 016 electric guitar string is the best for clearing out nipples. You can but Ernie Ball at music stores for next to nothing.:D

January 17, 2012, 12:15 AM
A Remington is a better choice over a Colt until the Colt is tricked out to prevent cap jams.

How would one go about tricking out the Colt to prevent cap jams?

January 17, 2012, 05:33 AM
Hardy, you have the thaught correct! with the barrel pointed down for that reason! As for the nickel plated wire, just buy a nipple pick, they will last a long time and only cost $6-$7 dollers, check Cabellas!

Sandman, the main reason for a cap jam is useing #11 caps on #10 nipples, you can replace the nipples with #11 nipples, I would also suggest stainless steel ones due to they are easy to clean and are harder so the won't disform from hamer strikes!

January 17, 2012, 06:20 AM
Sir, I must ask a question....

...and I am doing so from as objective a point of view as I can.

Without trying to sound too empirical, it is sufficient to say:

a. I grew up in one of the most crime ridden areas in the United States.
b. I also, during that time period, was a victim of violent crime. MULTIPLE times.
c. Two of those occasions involved waking up in my own bed, in my own home, (as a teenager) and finding strange people standing less than a foot from me.
d. Trust me on this: If you have ANY notions of being able to go through the complex functions required to partially or completely load a firearm--much less place caps on a BP revolver, or assembling the gun--lose those notions NOW. I can tell you from hard experience that you will NOT be able to do it. In the worst case scenario, YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE TO GET TO IT, UNLESS IT IS WITHIN ARM'S REACH.

Thus, my question...

Is there ANY reason why you can not use a modern firearm--pistol, revolver, carbine, rifle, shotgun--for your home defense arm?

January 17, 2012, 06:52 AM
Powderman, I share your experiance! After my first occasion of a home intrusion, I was so passive. At that time I had very little experiance with firearms at all, and is one reason I got into them! I don't have any reason not to use any other home protection weapon, infact I have a .40 semi auto on my headboard, and a shotgun at both doors! I also took some hand to hand self-defence classes! I'm 6'2" and 280 lbs. so I know I don't move too fast, but if I get a grip on an intruder (and I have), they will be going to a hospitol first before jail! I know if I didn't do anything I would have been the one going to the ER, or Morgue!
Since then, I moved from El Paso to the woods of Wisconsin, I still keep the protection around, just in case!
As for whomever started this thread, if they are restricted from having a regular firearm, I don't blaim them! Its something, if atleast a heavy piece of iron with a handel they can use as a club, that a "Glock" could never compair to! (weight wise)

January 17, 2012, 09:06 AM
Yeah I've been reading this thread from the start. I alway figured the OP wasn't eligible to own a modern firearm ( I could be wrong). Because even if someone has done something wrong in the past (and you don't have to be a murderer to be ineligible to own a firearm) they still have a right to defend themselves IMHO. Heck if I would have been convicted of Criminal Domestic Violence 12 years ago when my ex wife filed an erroneous charge against me, then I wouldn't be eligible to own a modern firearm either. So for someone who for one reason or another can't buy a modern firearm the by all means BP will do. I for one would not want to be hit by that .45 cal slow moving chunk of soft lead I tell you that much. And it will most definately do the job, I believe.

January 17, 2012, 11:48 AM
So for someone who for one reason or another can't buy a modern firearm the by all means BP will do. I for one would not want to be hit by that .45 cal slow moving chunk of soft lead I tell you that much. And it will most definately do the job, I believe.

Not saying that the OP is or isn't eligible to buy a modern firearm. That hasn't been disclosed and I assume the OP is eligible but has decided to go for a BP firearm for some reason only known to him. That said, for a person not eligible to buy a modern firearm (prior felony conviction, etc.), it still isn't lawful for them to have a BP firearm. They certainly could buy one since they aren't considered firearms by the BATFE and aren't restricted as such, but they could get into big trouble after they used it (or if it was discovered that they even had it). One has to make up their own mind regarding lawful possession/use versus self defense, and be ready to face the consequences. Being alive to face consequences could arguably be a positive consequence. ;)

January 17, 2012, 12:29 PM
[quote]I partly bought this gun for home invasion protection. So, I have loaded it with 30 grains of Pyrodex {Gun is handy on top shelf of bedroom closet, caps are in a nearby suit jacket pocket } - no wads, just powder & ball- and put Cabelas Black Powder Pistol Lube on all the balls= a small amount on the sides as I loaded [tried not to get a bit that would contact powder] and some brushed on the loaded balls with a tiny artist brush.
I don't want the powder to obsorb moisture and fail, so should I seal the nipple holes with a tine bit of the Cabelas lube too?[/b]

Firstly, let me say that a black powder revolver would not be my first choice for a self-defense firearm. For the same price you could easily buy a modern pump-action shotgun that would be far more reliable and powerful.

One of the biggest problems with BP revolvers is cap fragments can and do easily jam the mechanism and prevent the cylinder from turning, which prevents you from firing the weapon.

That said, if I absolutely had to rely on a BP revolver for home defense, I would absolutely place caps on the nipples.

Under no circumstances would I put grease or anything else over the nipples in an attempt to "seal" the chambers. All this is going to do is increase the likelihood of a missfire if the gunk fouls the powder or blocks the gasses from the cap.

My understanding is that unfired black powder and/or Pyrodex does not absorb moisture. It is the fired residue that has issues. In any case if you live in a modern air-conditioned home you aren't likely to have any problems anyway.

But the last thing you want to be trying to do is cap a revolver in an emergency situation.

If the issue is children in the home, I suggest a lockbox of some type to keep the firearm away from little hands. I understand the hesitation to "lock up your guns" but the truth is most of us are unlikely to be victims of crime but if you have children in the house you are very likely to have curious kids fooling around with things they are not supposed to. Once I had kids I put all the guns in a gun "safe". It's not really a safe, just a StackOn gun cabinet, but it keeps the firearms out of kids' reach.

January 17, 2012, 07:24 PM
An 016 nickel wrap guitar string is the best. It cost a dollar or 2 and you can snap it in many short lengths. The inner sting is steel and the outer is nickel wrapped which helps scrub. Make sure you do it gently:) The nickel wrapping should prevent widening out the gauged nipple holes. I used them because I was a guitar plyer and found some in my case. Just by hap--i tried one when cleaning. I was happy:)


January 17, 2012, 07:32 PM
Now i understand about the guitar string method! I was thinking about a single filiment piece, thats why I figured the commercial nipple pick would be the way to go! Great advise!!!

January 17, 2012, 08:00 PM
Yeah, In my opinion--which is worth less than 1 red cent-- I have solds c/b pistols for over two years in a retail store and I wish I had a tape recording of all the conversations and advise. But-I don't-- the clearing of nipples is the foremost of having your gun fire!!!! And the 016 guitar string is the best. Try it out on your plinkers before you think it might bugger your good guns. I do not want you coming after me with a rope!

And also--check the Possible Shop out for their nipples. I do not work for or get paid endosements from them. They are great folks to deal with---Amco nipples-I buy from them

And again/ it costs more to buy from Taylors/ Possible Shop and some others than a large internet site that buy in mass quantaties-w/little or no quality control. Buy from them:)
WBH agaion

January 17, 2012, 08:04 PM
I mean to clarify---support Taylor & Co/ Traditions and the Possible shop. We DO!


January 17, 2012, 09:46 PM
Wild Bill Hickok had a procedure he followed every day:

First thing in the morning he went out and shot his '51 Navy Revolvers. This did two things [A] Kept him proficient, which, because of his 'Old West' lifestyle, was a necessity & [B] Allowed him to then clean his guns and re-load them with FRESH LOADS. Got it-He reloaded EVERY DAY.

IF I ONLY had a percussion revolver to defend life and homestead, then that would be the procedure I would follow EVERY DAY.

I am fairly good with a pistol but everyone seems to forget what a pistol REALLY IS: A last ditch, personal defense weapon that is used WHEN NO OTHER WEAPON IS AVAILABLE.

IF I ever have a Home Invasion, the criminals are going to meet MR. SHOTGUN !!!


January 17, 2012, 11:28 PM
Bmanowske, thanks for that information. A .44 cal '58 Remmy with a Howell conversion cylinder is my current fave, but I have a couple of other pistols that use the caps.

January 17, 2012, 11:39 PM
The last post by Southron regarding "Mr. Shotgun" made me think and wonder...

Anybody out there name their weapons? I was thinking of naming mine "Victoria" after my wife. :D

Also, would a woman be honored or upset to have a weapon named after them?

Was just wondering...

January 18, 2012, 03:49 PM
That said, for a person not eligible to buy a modern firearm (prior felony conviction, etc.), it still isn't lawful for them to have a BP firearm. They certainly could buy one since they aren't considered firearms by the BATFE and aren't restricted as such, but they could get into big trouble after they used it (or if it was discovered that they even had it).

I think this varies by jurisdiction. In TN, the state appears to follow the feds description of a "firearm". I believe it is the same in MS.

January 18, 2012, 08:41 PM
No BP arms for convicted felons in Oregon. They can be bought over the counter tho, and no background check. I was surprised while living in the peoples republic of CA that I could (and did) have Pietta 1858 brought right to the house by the brown truck of happiness.

January 18, 2012, 09:34 PM
I think Southran is right about having a shotgun weapon for home invasion. A B/P arm might misfire no matter how much you love them/know about them ETC ETC> But most misfires are caused by cap failure and nipple clearance. I think the Wild Bill Hickock shootin his guns everyday is correct. I heard he shot cards on his fence post and then sold them in town. But-even in those days, there were no glocks etc and what is ironic he was using navy c/bs when cartridges were available but cartridges were relatively expensive and people in the west didn't have a whole lot of money. A pound of lead/ caps/ and powder was fairly cheap. I bet more people in the late 1870's still carried percussion guns than GUNSMOKE/Bonanza might lead you not to believe


January 18, 2012, 11:23 PM
How would one go about tricking out the Colt to prevent cap jams?

Increasing the hammer tension is the action which proved to be most effective for me. I added a second hammer spring, piggyback style, made from an old wind up alarm clock mainspring taped to the original spring. My cap jams stopped almost completely after that.

At the moment of ignition, the fired cap can become a piston which propels itself off the nipple, moving the hammer back enough so the cap can come off the nipple and be diverted downward by the inner arc on the hammer to become one of those jams which require breaking the gun down to clear. If the hammer spring is strong enough to resist being pushed rearward, the cap has to remain on the nipple until the gun is cocked for the next shot.

New nipples can be important as erosion of the orifices increases the thrust on the fired cap.

Having a groove or trough on the front of the frame between the hammer channel and the capping notch provides a path for fragments to escape once the hammer is cocked and the fired cap is no longer held captive by the hammer.

As far as home defense goes, BP revolvers can be loaded and stored indefinitely IF, again, IF they are loaded properly!
The chambers must be totally dry, no lube of any kind involved. After all chambers are loaded and capped, in place of lubricant on the balls, melt real beeswax and pour the front of the chambers level full, then drip beeswax over the caps. After the wax cools, scrape any wax off of the back flat of the cap so it doesn't cushion the hammer blow and you're set! I have a cylinder I loaded like that in the late 1980s. I fired one chamber around 1995 and another chamber around 2000. Both worked fine. I still have 4 loaded chambers in that pistol. Hadn't thought about it even, for a few years, but I think it's time to shoot another one! I might just do that tomorrow!

January 18, 2012, 11:49 PM
Another very simple trick to prevent cap jams is to fill in the safety notch on the hammer face. I have had many cap jams result from the cap getting blown into the safety notch just enough for the hammer to grab it and as the gun is cocked the cap is pulled off the nipple and gets tipped off the hammer face by the recoil shield and it falls into the hammer cutout in the frame preventing the hammer from reaching the nipple on the next strike.

Here's the technique: I thoroughly clean off the hammer face, put the cocked (unloaded) gun in a padded vise hammer face up, make a dam around the hammer face with a bit of masking tape, then daub J B Weld into the hammer notch and let it set overnight. Be sure to use a toothbrush, Dremel SS wire brush or some means of getting the surface clean & shiny. I also hose it with degreaser and then canned air to get the hammer face pristine before taping & applying the J B Weld. After it is set, remove the tape and carefully file away the weld. I clean it off flush with the hammer face and then create a very shallow concavity in the notch keeping all edges smooth. Now you have a smooth flat face of the hammer where the cap can't stick to it, will be held down onto the nipple by the hammer and rotated out of the way when recocked. It takes about 10 minutes and 5 cents worth of materials and has stopped my cap jams. If I knew how to weld or braze I would have filled the safety notch more solidly. Sometimes the weld falls out but it is easy to replace.

The reason for the very slight concavity is to minimize contact with the weld and the nipple so it doesn't get knocked out so easily. If you inspect your fired caps you will see the imprint of the hammer face on the spent cap. Any sharp edges on the notch will catch the caps. I used to think it was always heavy loads & big flash holes causing blowback of the hammer and the cap jam but a couple times I found the cap sticking to the hammer face and filled in the notch and problem solved. The Piettas have too wide of notches and are worse for jams than the ASM Colts. The first guys to suggest filling in the notch were Fingers McGee & Noz.

January 19, 2012, 11:18 PM
Thanks Steve and Hellgate.

Good information!

January 21, 2012, 05:44 PM
Here is a good recipe for chamber lube if not using wads.:

Buy a big can of crisco or a brand cheaper. Buy one tube of T17 lube. It comes in a brown toothpaste sqeezable and it is dark blue and thick. Much better than CVA lube.Mix just enough of it with crisco until it looks light SKY blue. Go to Walmart and buy some plastic ketchup /sauce bottles with spout and fill em up.On the range just sqeeze it on top of your loaded bullets. On hot days/ keep it in an ice cooler.Cheap but smells good and probably lubes barrel a bit better than just plain lard!