View Full Version : Black Powder Revolvers-do you use Cream Of Wheat as a filler or nothing?

January 22, 2011, 09:25 PM
I just did a bunch of "Searching" and I read pros and cons on using cream of wheat as a filler, to bring the ball up, when using light loads of say 15-25 grains of powder.
Anyway, after all I read, I feel uncertain as to if it's a good idea or not?
When I shoot in my back yard at 15-20 yard targets and neighbors all over, I prefer to use the lightest loads I can. It's perfectly legal to shoot in your yard in a residential neighborhood here in Florida-I had the Sheriffs Dept come and look at my shooting area and they said No Problem!
Anyway, I have read that it's best to bring the ball up with cream of wheat as a filler. But I also read it's not a good idea?
What experience do you all have with this?
Thanks a lot!!!! :)

the rifleer
January 22, 2011, 09:29 PM
I don't know about cream of wheat, but corn meal works well.

January 22, 2011, 09:54 PM
I shoot with the Big Boys at the Nationals and I can tell you when accuracy
is the name of the game we all use either Creme-of-Wheat or Cornmeal. Most
use Creme-of-Wheat. This is a fact period!

January 22, 2011, 10:20 PM
I don't use many light loads but when I do I don't use a filler. I don't see the necessity for back yard plinking. if you're shooting in the nationals then maybe.

January 22, 2011, 11:08 PM
I shoot blanks when I shoot at gun fights. I use Cream of Wheat over the powder and it does the job and doesn't blow flaming particles or wads out. I've heard corn meal is also very good as its more compressible. I don't see anything wrong with cream of wheat, but then again I am pretty new to see whole black powder world.

Fingers McGee
January 22, 2011, 11:34 PM
I don't use filler in my C&Bs unless I'm shooting blanks.

January 23, 2011, 07:03 AM
I haven't used filler but it's appropriate to use some with light loads to insure that the ball is seated right on top of the powder.
Some folks prefer grits for how well it scrubs the barrel while shooting, or wads.

January 23, 2011, 09:52 AM
I have read both ways. That it's best to use the Cream Of Wheat to bring the ball up top, but I also read that that's harmful-but I don't recall what that person said the harm was to?
I would say that if [email protected] shoots with competition shooters, that all use Cream of Wheat type fillers, it must improve accuracy. Thanks [email protected] :)

Foto Joe
January 23, 2011, 12:10 PM
I've been meaning to do an experiment for the last couple of months and maybe this thread will motivate me, here's my unproven opinion on this:

Filler, be it CoW or Cornmeal serves a couple of purposes. The first (again in my unproven opinion) would be as a "Gas-Check". If you've ever watched a high-speed video of Black Powder being fired, you will see a LOT of gas leaving the muzzle quite a bit in front of the projectile. You would think that the escaping gas would be better used behind the bullet instead of in front of it. By using a filler, theoretically you are keeping more of that expanding gas on the correct side of the bullet because the filler doesn't burn and will basically form around the round ball as it pushes it down the barrel. You might loose filler, but you most certainly should keep more gas where it belongs.

I will have to remember to take the Chrony out and test the theory. I'll post whether I was right or wrong when I get it done.

The other reason I like the filler is: It gives me a slightly warm fuzzy feeling to know that there is just a little bit of inert material between the ball and powder providing just a bit more of a safety margin against chain-fire. This isn't to start a discussion of which end the chain-fire originates, that's too much like Remmie vs. Colt.

One last reason for filler is indeed the "light load". Consider the much maligned "Confederate" Navy. A 15gr load will not allow the ram to push the ball down far enough to reach the powder reliably. You're gonna have to either put more powder in (not a good idea) or use inert filler.

January 23, 2011, 05:28 PM
I'm not a good enough pistol shooter to say that based on my own experience moving the ball closer to the chamber mouth improves accuracy. I can say that certainly the majority of highly accomplished pistol shooters use it, and they're very, very accurate. They are also, with respect, a bit obsessive about accuracy, so if they're doing something, they're doing it for a good reason.

As regards the efficacy of corn meal or Cream of Wheat as a gas check, I have my doubts. The majority if bp revolvers I've come in contact with have a serious flaw: their chambers are smaller in diameter than the grooves in the barrel. This leads to a projectile that allows gas to leak from behind it in the barrel, thus producing the effect seen in the video.

Loose powder won't provide a seal against such a leak; the pressure is simply too great for loose granules to support. The filler may, and I repeat, may, provide a small increase in pressure, and thus muzzle velocity, simply by requiring the gas to move a slightly greater mass (not weight) of material before it starts leaking. While that would be an improvement it's far from a gas check.

I do like the use of filler as chain fire insurance; while I still don't like it as a seal, that little bit of extra distance and added mass will do a lot to additionally cool hot gases, which is in turn effective chain fire prevention.

January 23, 2011, 08:12 PM
I no longer use fillers but do use a lube wad under the ball. In some of my guns the ball would not reach the powder during seating without the wad. When I did use a filler it was CoW. I put it in a cheap plastic powder flask and it dispensed about 15grs volume. One thing I did notice is the bore tended to stay scrubbed out from an all day's shooting session. The CoW seemed to have a scowering effect. I'm not sure I would want to do a lot of shooting into the wind as the CoW could get into your eyes. Can't comment on wear & tear but the lower powder charge probably compensates for ant wear on the bore or gas cutting on the cylinder pin from the CoW.

January 27, 2011, 10:30 PM
I think the rule of thumb is Cream of Wheat, grits or cornmeal in American made revolvers like your basic Ruger Old Army..

but in them Italian Piettas and Ubertis and the like, yer better off using semolina or polenta.

January 28, 2011, 04:20 AM

I use polenta for my Uberti 1858 New Navy .36


January 28, 2011, 09:51 AM
Filler is not required. I use a lubed wad but not for the purpose of raising the ball higher in the chamber.

February 4, 2011, 07:33 PM
I thought the filler was used basically in reanactments where no projectiles are used---But, I have been told that accuracy comes from making sure that your replicas don't have any bluin inside barrel. Some older colt manuals say you can put as much powder in your chambers as long as you can still seat the ball inside. I don't know. Some manuals say 12 to 15 grains in a 36C and that don't pop too good. I know that most substitutes require more than the real stuff. Pyrodex has proven to me the best substitute over Goex. But here we go again, everyone has their own recipe for chili no matter!:) But I'm gonna put more than 15 grains of powder in an 1851 Navy.