How to start with black powder?

Discussion in 'Black Powder Shooting / Muzzleloaders / Handguns' started by Albtraum, Dec 14, 2011.

  1. Albtraum

    Albtraum Member

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    After watching duelist1954's videos, I think I want a black powder revolver. I have seen them in Cabela's catalogs, and they are surprisingly cheap, and many (if not all) of the ranges here in So-Cal have special Cowboy shooting events. However, I am overwhelmed by all the accessories that go along with the black powder firearm itself. (from glancing through those Cabela's catalogs) What else is needed? I understand you need the percussion caps, lead balls, black powder, and the foam wads, and something to measure and pour the powder right?

    What is a good firearm (and caliber) to start with? The only pistols/revolvers I've shot were .22LR, .380 and .357. Not a fan of big recoil. Should I consider used? (pawn shops)
  2. jim brady

    jim brady Active Member

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    Took me a long time to recover after being bitten by the blackpowder pistol bug. You really don't NEED that much - just the revolver, powder, caps, powder flask with a proper measuring spout and round lead balls of the proper size. Maybe a squeeze tube of crisco or that store-bought grease to seal the ends of the loaded chambers with.

    I started with a copy of a Remington 1858 in .44 caliber. Really accurate and strong piece. Easy to shoot and maintain, too. I think you will find that Remington as accurate - or more so - than most modern revolvers. As with almost any blackpowder weapon, the recoil will be very managable. The Colt's revolvers are really cool, but the rear sight is a notch milled into the hammer spur - while the Remington's rear sight is a groove in the revolver's top strap. The Remington is much easier to break down for cleaning than the Colt, in my humble opinion.

    After that you can get crazy and find a $20-30 civil war type flap holster, a cap pouch and a pistol belt. Don't need much more than that to get started.
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2011
  3. whirley

    whirley New Member

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    Ruger made an excellent old army reproduction. Grease or crisco, in my opinion, is better than the foam plugs to prevent flashover in the cylinder.
  4. 01brian

    01brian New Member

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    .
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2012
  5. dustydog

    dustydog New Member

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    Would suggest you find a copy of Sam Fadala's book on black powder handguns.Old Sam seems to be forgotten nowadays,but wrote the best general purpose book on black powder handguns in the last 50 years.My vote would be to start with a simple caplock single shot,such as the Crockett .32 cal. pistol,move on to a revolver(I favor the old 1851 Colt Navy,can shoot longer without field stripping,and the .36 ball packs a good punch),then maybe get into some of the more exotic,such as match grade pistols,flinters,and wheel locks.
  6. jack404

    jack404 Former Guest

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    theres foam plugs ? never seen em , oh well doing fine just here without em
  7. reynolds357

    reynolds357 Former Guest

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    I did not know you had to have foam plugs or grease. I thought when the cylinder shaved that tiny ring of lead from around the ball that it sealed it just fine. I learn something new everyday.:)
    Would Crisco not be a dirt magnet?
  8. Hawg

    Hawg Active Member

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    The Ruger isn't a reproduction of anything used in the era. It's a totally modern fabrication. Those "foam" plugs are felt wads. They go between the powder and ball and are less messy than lube over the balls.
  9. Little Rooster

    Little Rooster New Member

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    I am like you about shaving the ring of lead,If you shave a ring the ball is tight enough to stop any ignition from the front. I still put a smear of crisco over the ball. Aren't bullets lubed with something either moly or some home concocted lube? I smear a little crisco over my .32 cartridges I load with Blackpowder. It does not all melt off when you fire the gun the first round. Can't guarentee that after 3 or 4 shots
  10. ofitg

    ofitg New Member

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    Found this online Manual of Arms from 1861 -

    http://ehistory.osu.edu/uscw/library/books/carbine.cfm

    It also includes the drill for loading percussion revolvers - there is no mention of adding lube over the top of the ball - so for what it's worth, the old-timers weren't really too worried about it.
  11. Hawg

    Hawg Active Member

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    Those instructions were for paper cartridge conicals. Robert E. Lee coated the balls in his 51 Navy. You do need the lube whether the gun is prone to chain fires or not. Either over ball lube or lubed wads.
  12. Albtraum

    Albtraum Member

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    Thanks everyone for the help. I am going to look for a replica 1858 Remington New Model Army in .44. Another question, do you have to be 21 to buy a black powder handgun? In California?
  13. Buffalochip

    Buffalochip Member

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    google your state laws.
  14. ofitg

    ofitg New Member

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    Hawg, were those conicals (used in paper cartridges) lubed? Do any records exist? I cannot find a definitive answer in any of my books.

    Looking around online, "Gatofeo" posted on other forums that he has spent a lot of time researching this - he states that some contractors dipped the bullet noses in beeswax before sealing up the cartridge packs, but other contractors did not.
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2011
  15. jim brady

    jim brady Active Member

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    Albtraum - I think you are making a good choice on the .44 Remington copy. As far as a 'dirt magnet' using crisco, after shooting a BP pistol you are going to look a lot like a coal miner anyway. Those felt wads are supposed to help in preventing 'chain-fires', and that's great, but the crisco has always been my choice. Have fun!
  16. Rhuga

    Rhuga New Member

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    The manufactured cartridge sure was a boon to firearms.
  17. brad87

    brad87 Former Guest

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    And smell like you just took a bath in a sulphur spring too.

    Makes it all the more better :D
  18. dodge

    dodge New Member

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    have'nt shot mine in a while, ruger old army, but it depended on the amout of powder you use ,i liked to keep my ball as close to the end of the chamber as possible, so for just target shooting and a small load, i used the lubed felt wad or wads to make up the differance instead of the corn meal or what ever else they used to suggest using. as far as heavy loads , if i could fit a wad in i used it if not as long as i got a lead ring after loading ,good enough for me. never had a chain fire! my 2 cents
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