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Old October 25, 2008, 01:05 PM   #1
Senior Member
Join Date: July 23, 2007
Location: Virginia
Posts: 719
Keeping a Cap & Ball Revolver loaded.

In the thread Thinking of buying a 1858 bp. I see where it could turn a different direction & sort of hijacking "SORRY" so I thought to use my 30 years experience in these fine pieces to explain a little if some like myself wish to keep a C&B revolver loaded for an extended time without possibly high jacking someone else thread.

I grew up like many from my generation & prior around different firearms & was taught at a young age to only touch them when given permission to but have respect of them and all around us especially when a firearm was present & later I learned how to shoot & possibly hunt using these firearms where I believe is almost entirely lost to many in today’s generation.

With that said, I learned how to load & fire my Great Great Grandfathers 1851 Colt Navy .36 caliber back in 1977 & as many in that time would keep a pistol, rifle or shotgun loaded for just in case purposes & my home was no different including sometime keeping that '51 loaded from time to time so here is what I had learned in keeping these old pistols loaded & reliable for even months at a time possibly years.

First off is to find a load that works best for your particular firearm because each has its own quirks & dislikes just like their modern brethren, if your piece likes the wads under the bullet see if it'll like the wad with no lube "you'll understand in a moment."

Once you have the load pinned down then here is what I learned will make your C&B Revolver reliable & as weather resistant as today’s modern center fire cartridge weapons.

After you have thoroughly cleaned your piece & have it dry, take the assembled cylinder "cones installed" & have a cleaning patch soaked in 91% rubbing alcohol & run it through each chamber like you would when you were cleaning it, this will eliminate any oils & water that may be still in there, now dry it with another patch & then again with Q-Tips, be sure to dry the Cones "nipples" as well.

Either in a loading tool or in the revolver load your measured powder & then a dry wad & bullet or just a Ball or Conical into the chambers except one, this will be the chamber that your hammer will be lowered down on for safety’s sake.
Then after capping the cones of the loaded chambers use some candle or bees wax to cover the percussion caps & if you want some lube at the bullet use a 50/50 Wax & Crisco "or your preferred lube over the bullets, now your loaded cylinder will withstand the elements short of going swimming with it.

Here is the reason I suggest a unlubed wad "if your piece likes the wads," lube over time can possibly leach into the powder charge from these wads & maybe even the lube pills rendering the weapon at best a slightly less effective load or at worse a failure to fire & what I mean by over time is if the firearm is left in this state for more than say a week or so.

My loads for 3 of my revolvers that from time to time may be loaded for as long as a year "in one case."

Pietta 1858 NMA 5.5" barrel
29gr. FFFG Goex.
220gr. .456 Lee cast Conical lubed with 50/50 Beeswax & Crisco.
Remington #11 caps
Candle Wax melted over the caps to seal
Very effective & quite accurate from this little piece, mostly has been my companion on the club checking traps & stand locations for almost a year now.

Uberti 1858 NMA 8" barrel
29gr. FFFG Goex.
Dry Wool wad.
142gr. .457 Cast Ball
lubed over the ball with 50/50 Beeswax & Crisco.
Remington #11 caps
Candle Wax melted over the caps to seal
My most accurate load & pistol out to 25 yards.

Pietta 1860 Army 8" barrel
25gr. FFFG Goex.
142gr. .457 Cast Ball
lubed over the ball with 50/50 Beeswax & Crisco.
Remington #11 caps
Candle Wax melted over the caps to seal
Been with me for over 25 years & has never failed to fire even after being loaded for over a year including being caught in the rain while working the fields.

So yes with some patience & knowledge you can keep one of these pieces loaded for a long time but just be safe in doing it.
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