Tuesday, June 13, 2006

An answer to one of my commenters

For this post.

Hi sig94,
I thought you might be someone I have on my blogroll with almost the same name, so I sent him an e-mail with the answers. He's from upstate NY and as friendly as you'd expect from someone up there.

Here's some answers for you about Black Powder revolvers.

There are two basic types the Colt like I have, and the Remington.
Loading both is the same. Here is a fast and dirty rundown.
  1. At the start of every shooting session you pop a cap on each cylinder to blow out any oil and cr@p that might be in them.
  2. Use a seperat powder measure to load the chambers- if there is an ember and the powder cooks off you don't want to be holding a BP hand gernade.
  3. I use wonder-wads and then the ball. Other methods are ball over the powder (I use Pyrodex)and then grease (non petrolium).
  4. Seat the ball. The balls are oversized to make a tight seal in the chamber. You should peel off a small ring of lead when you seat the ball.
  5. Pointing in a safe direction, place the primer caps. There are two basic sizes (not counting muskets) number 11 and my pistol likes number 10. You can use #11 but need to squeeze it alittle so it doesn't fall off. That is usually the cause of chain fire- the fire from the next chamber igniting the open hole of the nipple.
It's easier to load using a loading stand to keep the pistol upright.

As far as cleaning, I take it apart and drop it into boiling water for about 5 min. and clean it like any other pistol. BP is alot more corrosive than modern smokless so you HAVE to clean it ASAP after shooting. I've heard that Windex w/ ammonia makes a good stopgap untill you can do a good cleaning at home.

To fieldstrip a colt, simply knock out the barrel wedge and it'll be in three basic parts- the barrel, the cylinder and the reciever. Use a well fitting screwdriver to remove the handle screws and the handle. You are now ready to drop in your pot.

If you want more info, here is an in depth article about the care and feeding of a cap and ball revolver.
I have a gunsmith book that says a brass frame is good for 700- 1500 rounds- depending on how hot you load it. My colt seems to like about 23 grains. More or less and the accuracy suffers. It's also impossible to overload a (modern) BP revolver. just remember DO NOT use modern smokeless powder.

Now, go buy one and have fun! You can make BIG holes and lots of smoke with a good looking wall hanger.

(UPDATE) The rear site on a Colt is the hammer, but you shouldn't have much trouble getting used to it- since it'll disappear on it's own.

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