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Old March 29, 2009, 08:04 PM   #4
Fingers McGee
Senior Member
Join Date: March 19, 2008
Location: High & Dry in Missouri Ozarks
Posts: 2,084
I'd like to share with other CAS shooters some practical knowledge that I have picked up over the last several years. All comments are for replica arms and do not pertain to Ruger Old Armys.
If some of the items are useful for you, good.
If you don't agree with me that's certainly your option.

1. Black Powder revolver main springs cannot be successfully lightened. The spring weight gives positive ignition AND holds any cap debris in place on the nipple.

2. All blackpowder revolvers will profit with TRESO nipples on the cylinder.

3. Most TRESO nipples mate nicely with #10 Remingtons. Better than any other combination.

After installing TRESOs, you must regulate your powder charge so that the blowback through the nipple hole will not blow the cap off of the nipple or in extreme overloads blow the hammer back to half cock. There is no penile improvement gained by shooting ultra heavy charges in a black powder revolver. 25 grs in a 44 will give a satisfying boom/clang and in most cases very little cap problems.
The idea of raising the gun and rolling it to the right between shots to remove cap debris will work but is only necessitated by poor loading techniques.

4. Most black powder revolvers will have hammer face/nipple issues. Some revolvers will have to have the hammer face faced off a bit to obtain proper clearance. The hammer should come to within the thickness of a cap from the nipple without striking the nipple. If the hammer strikes the nipple hard enough to deform the face of the hammer or the nose of the nipple then nipple life is drastically reduced.

5. If you notice that the nipples are starting to be "beaten down" then remove enough metal from the hammerface to solve the problem.

6. Mildly deformed nipples can be removed from the cylinder, chucked thread end in the chuck of a cordless drill and the nose of the nipple allowed to turn against a fine file or a stone to bring the shape back to usable. I specified a cordless drill because of the slower turning speed and lesser chance of making a mess by removing too much metal.

7. Popular theories will tell you that chain fires only occur because of ill fitting or missing caps on charged chambers. Not so. (Personal experience) This may be the case on some chain fires but not all. I think more occur from home cast balls with casting flaws in the ball its self. A ball that has a surface flaw will allow flash from a firing chamber to enter and ignite the power charge, causing a chain fire. This can be prevented by using dead soft lead that obdurates on loading to fill the chamber, making sure that all balls are perfectly cast with no surface flaws or placing a felt wad between the ball and the powder. The wad can be lubed/waxed/wax dipped etc or simply used dry. An option also is to place a layer of grease over the face of the ball in the chamber.

8. Colt clones can have the rear sight notch in the hammer enlarged but it seems to me that there is not enough metal to work with to allow large changes in POI. (again personal experience)

9. .451 round balls will work. .457s will work. .454s will work in almost all guns.

10. The idea that you should not load from a flask because of possibility of burning embers remaining in the chambers is a hold over from the true muzzle loaders where you are burning a large amount of powder and using fiber wads or patches and are trying for a quick second shot.
The revolvers will not be cycled that quickly in CAS shooting for the "burning ember" to be a problem. If you are holstering your revolvers and moving to the unloading table to have them checked then going to a loading area to re-charge, any ember, other than nuclear, will have gone out. Use a loading flask.

11. All black powder revolvers do not feel the same in your hand. 1851s have the smallest grips, 1860s are about a quarter of an inch longer and Remingtons are different from all Colts. You must try them to see what fits you before settling on a CAS main match revolver. To make this even more difficult, the two major manufacturers, Pietta and Uberti, make their guns to slightly different measurements.
I cannot shoot Remingtons, I don't like 1851s or 1861s but get along fine with the 1860s.
If you are simply putting together a collection then this is not a problem.
You have learned well, my apprentice.

Fingers (Show Me MO smoke) McGee - AKA Man of Many Colts - Alter ego of Diabolical Ken; SASS Regulator 28564-L-TG; Rangemaster and stage writer extraordinaire; Frontiersman, Pistoleer, NRA Endowment Life, NMLRA, SAF, CCRKBA, STORM 327, SV115; Charter member, Central Ozarks Western Shooters
Cynic: A blackguard whose faulty vision see things as they are, not as they should be. Ambrose Bierce
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