1858 Bison

Discussion in 'Black Powder Shooting / Muzzleloaders / Handguns' started by JLA, Apr 2, 2009.

  1. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

    Feb 26, 2007
    Heart Of Texas
    My wife bought me an 1858 Bison model from Traditions, Its a really neeet revolver but im brand new to the world of cap n' ball reolvers and am requesting sort of a crash course in the proper use, break in, cleaning, and what you more seasoned cap n' ballers might preferr when it comes to powder, bullets, percussion caps, grease, solvents, etc. etc. etc. I can tell im gonna have alot of fun with this. I just dont wanna ruin it before i learn to use it...


  2. olyinaz

    olyinaz New Member

    Feb 24, 2009
    Others are more seasoned than I but I'll suggest .454 balls (whatever ball you use check to make sure that the cylinder shaves off a nice neat ring all around the ball when it's stuffed into the cylinder by the loading ram).

    FFFg black powder is the best if you can get it (start with 25 gr and then season to taste) but Pyrodex "P" (for Pistols) or another black powder substitute will work. All of the substitutes are a bit harder to ignite than black powder but they work. All of the substitutes (that are suitable for pistols) will go bad if they get a lot of humidity (they absorb water) whereas real black powder will last pretty much forever. Some of the substitutes like 777 do not have much (or any) sulpher in them so they stink less.

    Most folks would suggest that you use either a lubed wad on top of the powder between the ball and powder or put some bore butter or other lube on top of the balls to prevent cross chamber ignition and possible multiple chambers firing at the same time. In a brass framed revolver it will often destroy the pistol and of course you could get hurt. I use pre-lubbed wads available in the shops and check for a good ring shaved off the ball and I've never had a problem.

    I seem to get the best service from Remington #10 caps and most guys seem to agree but if your caps aren't working try another size or brand - they're all a bit different. Before you shoot on each outting it seems to help to run a cylinder full of just caps through the gun to make sure the nipples are blasted clear of any cleaning gunk etc.

    For cleaning use warm soapy water and just make sure that you brush/clean out (in a non-destructive way of course) as much of the black powder residue as possible. The problem with the residue is that it's corrosive, unlike smokeless powder residue which is much more harmless, so you need to get the guns clean. After cleaning well with soapy water (which breaks down the black powder residue really well) you need to get the water back off the gun and then get it protected with an oil film to prevent rust. I use a polymer and finish safe gun cleaning spray like the sort available from Birchwood Casey at many sporting goods stores or Wal-Mart to hose down my guns after cleaning because it displaces any leftover water. This "poly/finish" safe cleaning spray is very much like a kind of alcohol (ether etc. that is used in engine starter fluid if you know what that stuff is) so it drys clean off the gun very quickly. The short of it's that it's harmless to the gun and it displaces water and leaves the guy dry and ready for oiling down. Another way to dry the gun is to put it in the oven at a VERY low temp like 140 deg (similar to a hot summer day in the sun in other words) and bake the water off but that sort of gives me the heebie jeebies so I use the gun cleaning spray and rest easy.

    Hopefully that's the basics (what to shoot it with and how to clean it)! For a bit more traffic you might try this forum on for size:


    It seems to be a bit more active than this one.

    Have fun!

    Last edited: Apr 4, 2009

  3. Oneida Steve

    Oneida Steve Well-Known Member

    Sep 28, 2006
    Upstate NY
    +1 to Oly. I've been shooting cap-and-ball revolvers for 25+ years and I can't think of anything he missed.
  4. armedandsafe

    armedandsafe Guest

    I agree with Oneida. Oly pretty much nailed it.

    I have been using Ballistol for a number of years, now and I really love it. Use it diluted with water for an in-field swab or wipedown, pour a dollop in the hot water basin when you are washing up after shooting and wipe it on straight after cleaning.

    Go here and scroll down to the lube effectiveness tests. The second set of tests include Ballistol.


  5. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

    Feb 26, 2007
    Heart Of Texas
    much appreciated guys, i still have yet to shoot, I wanna get some real black powder to shoot it with. (because i like the smoke and the smell) i miss it from when i was a kid, my grandad had a 58 cal muzzle loader he used to shoot deer with, that thing was a smokepole that would shoot marble sized lead balls clean through a buck at 50 yds. man the good ol' days...
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