Gun Lust

I can’t explain it. I really don’t much like Single Action Revolvers, and I rarely cock the hammer on my DA revolvers. I have little interest in black powder guns (Tho Howdah Pistols are wicked cool), but there is SOMETHING about cap and ball revolvers that really gets my juices flowing and puts me in a mad fever for a gun that you spend 2 minuets shooting, and 10 minuets loading, and 2 hours cleaning. Not a lick of sense, but just watching this video puts me all in a lather.

Also another thing that really gets me is how different they are from shooting the smokeless guns I butter my bread with. Even as a handloader, I really don’t know too much about greasing the ball, or patching, or wadding. I certainly have no idea about cap sizes, and hearing “Number 10 vs Number 11” is totally alien from somebody who stocks large rifle, large pistol, and small pistol magnum primers.

Also I’m quite curious about ball size. I always read in the catalogs that the Dragoon and Colt Navy are “.44 Caliber” tho he’s stuffing 0.454″ balls into that hog leg and getting VERY good results (2 for 3 on the 80 yard Gong! Have you seen how suck-tastic the sights are on those guns??)

Part of me wants one just so I can become proficient in loading, shooting, and cleaning it.

Some day.

Oh also what’s cool is by ATF rules those are NOT guns, so you can buy them no different than buying a knife or a power drill. So it would also be kind of neat to buy a pistol that would be 100% off paper and not apply to any of the Massachusetts stupid rules.

(FYI Mass Rules a Black powder gun is considered “Unloaded” if there are no caps on the nipples)

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0 Responses to Gun Lust

  1. ZerCool says:

    Well, baby sister, that’ll get the job done… if you can find a fence post to rest it on!

  2. Dwight Brown says:

    I know whereof you speak, my friend. I have personally been considering picking up one of the Uberti Walker Colt reproductions, just for the fun of it.

    But it is kind of pricy for a “just for fun” gun.

    • Weerd Beard says:

      I too have some lust for the Uberti Walker. That being said Hickok45 makes a damn good selling point for the Dragoon which while also not cheap is a hair more reasonable.

      It may be “The One”.

      Also for a little less authentic Ruger makes a stainless cap-and-ball which is easier to clean and a little more forgiving with the corrosive nature of the black stuff.

  3. Sailorcurt says:

    I know you weren’t really asking for pointers, but I do so love to share my experiences and pretend like other people actually care.

    To that end, a couple of things:

    I’ve got a replica of an 1858 Remington that my dad bought as a kit and put together back in the ’70s. Both of my kids enjoyed (and would still enjoy, if we actually had time to go to the range together any more) shooting that one more than any other gun I own because of the loading.

    And the smoke and flames.

    First, .45 caliber ball in a .44 caliber cap and ball pistol is normal. As he said in the video, you want it to shave lead off the ball as it goes in. That means it’s sealed and the ball won’t move around in the chamber. The typical ball sizes for a .44 pistol are .451, .454 or .457, depending on what your gun likes. My Remington likes the .454 balls. Apparently Hickock45’s will need the .457 variant.

    As far as the caps, there are only two sizes for pistols (as far as I know)…#10 and #11. #11 works with most guns in my experience. Get them first. If they are too loose on the nipple and don’t stay put, then get some #10’s and try them. You can also pinch the #11s into an oval to make them fit tighter. Basically, use whatever works best on your gun.

    You don’t have to use a wad between the powder and the ball, but it’s a good idea. The “wonder wads” he used in the video are a good choice. They are pre-lubricated and pre-sized…just drop them in.

    The wads keep the powder tightly packed, helps seal the chamber to prevent “chain firing” where a spark from the chamber you just shot causes one or more of the other chambers to ignite – Not fun – and the lubrication in the wad helps cut down on powder fouling.

    You’ll notice that he didn’t use grease. He trusts the wonder wads to do the job. That’s fine and many people do the same.

    Some don’t use wonder wads between the bullet and the powder and use grease on top of the bullet instead.

    I use both. My loading routine is: Powder, wonder wad, bullet, load each chamber completely one at a time. After all cylinders are loaded , pack the remaining space in each chamber with animal or plant grease (crisco works just fine…don’t use petroleum greases unless you enjoy trying to clean tar out of your guns), then cap each chamber.

    You’re ready to go.

    There are various flavors of loading stands out there to make loading faster. With my Remington knock-off, the cylinder is easy to remove, so I prefer the kind where you load the cylinder off the gun and then put it on after it’s loaded.

    A word about charges.

    He was using almost 50 grains of powder…and then wondering why it was shooting high.

    If I put 50 grains in my faux Remington, I don’t think I could get the bullets seated all the way into the chamber.

    In general, smaller loads are better for accuracy in black powder pistols. I typically use 25 grains which seems to work well in my gun. When I go over that, the point of impact starts to creep up…which is exactly what Hickock45 experienced using the load he was cramming in there.

    Some people use such small loads that they mix an inert “filler” with their powder to have enough volume so that the bullet isn’t seated too deeply in the chamber.

    Unless you’re planning on using your cap and ball gun for self-defense or bear hunting, I’d say accuracy is more important than muzzle velocity or power, so a lighter load is king for range use.

    Not to mention that some of the modern “black powder replacements” pack a bit more punch than actual black powder, so a big charge like that might be more than the gun can handle.

    Cleaning: A little bit of grease cutting dish soap like dawn and hot water. Rinse, oil it up and you’re good to go. Granted, messier and a little more difficult than cleaning a modern pistol…and you have to clean black powder guns every time you shoot them, unlike modern guns…but not that difficult and no smelly, toxic chemicals required.

    In sum: cap and ball pistols are a bit more effort than cartridge guns, but they are a lot of fun and, for recreational shooting, the smoke and flames created by a cap and ball gun are very satisfying.

    • Weerd Beard says:

      I was too asking for pointers, just not directly per-se. I’d be more direct once I finally drop the hammer on a hog leg of my own.

      Thanks for the pointers. I’ll probably come back to it when I have the funds to grab one of my own.

      Right now I have an assload of irons in the fire that need attention first. šŸ™‚

  4. mike w. says:

    “Also Iā€™m quite curious about ball size.”

    Mine are big and hang a little to the left…. Hey, you asked šŸ˜›

  5. One thing to point out, the 1970s reproduction “Colt” that he’s taking pride in shooting is still made with Uberti parts from Italy. The “Colts” are just being assembled and finished by Colt or a Colt subcontractor (depending on the series). Take pride in it being a Colt if you want, but the Colt mystique is literally as deep as the rollmarks and proprietary bluing.

  6. DaddyBear says:

    SailorCurt –

    Have you ever used 777 powder in your BP revolvers? I use the pellets in my muzzleloader rifle and it makes cleanup a lot less messy and stinky. When I buy a blackpowder pistol, I’d like to standardize on the same powder I’m used to using in my rifle. But if your experience is negative, maybe I need to consider diversifying my stores.



  7. Sailorcurt says:

    I’ve tried Pyrodex, but not triple seven…that’s one of the powders I was talking about that you have to be careful with because it’s more energetic than Black and so requires less propellant to get the same muzzle velocity.

    One of the reasons I’ve never tried it is because it supposedly makes less smoke than Black or Pyrodex. That would be a great thing in battle, but for just playing around at the range, the great big cloud of smoke is half the fun.

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