Can a black powder firearm be used for home defense?


September 30, 2006, 01:01 PM
First let me say that my question is only being asked because the communist state I live in has forced me into a corner. Here is the reason for my question. My wife is not a US citizen. In my state (Massachusetts) it is not legal for her to have access to any of my firearms. However, it is legal for her to have access to black powder. In light of this could a black powder firearm be used for home defense?

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September 30, 2006, 01:14 PM
I did a little searching on the site and discovered that my question may not be as unusual as I originally thought. I have a few more questions that arise out of my total ignorance of BP firearms.

Can such a firearm be stored loaded for a period of about 2 weeks time?

I really need a recommendation on what to get. I would prefer to go with a revolver. What would you recommend?

September 30, 2006, 01:23 PM
It wouldn't be my first choice, but a black powder firearm could work for home defense. What paperwork (if any) is required in Massachusetts for her to have access to a shotgun?

September 30, 2006, 01:28 PM
For my wife to have access to a shotgun she would have to go through an application process of about 4 months, take a safety course ($100 application fee), and pay an annual fee of $100.

After all this she still would not be allowed access to any of the firearms I currently own.

September 30, 2006, 01:35 PM
$100 per year? Sounds like a nonresident LTC A. Isn't an FID sufficient for a non-large capacity rifle or shotgun?

September 30, 2006, 01:37 PM
Ouch. Double check all BP laws there, if Taxachussetts deems BP firearms as firearms, in regards to ownership, carry, or use.

September 30, 2006, 01:45 PM
I don't know about your laws but if that is your only choice, a well maintained and loaded right good quality black powder firearm, pistol, rifle or shotgun is pretty dependable and some are very powerful. Our forefathers did quite well with them.

September 30, 2006, 01:47 PM
I don't know about the legalities, but black powder firearms are no less lethal than they were a century and more ago.

September 30, 2006, 02:00 PM
Thank you for responding to my questions. The license I referred to is called a resident alien FID. The fees involved are the same as a non-resident LTC. However, such a license is very restrictive (she would not have access to my evil black rifle).

Black powder would be legal for her. Due to recent case law she would not be able to possess a bp handgun outside the home. But she is allowed access to such a firearm inside our home. Some day we will move our family to America...until then Massachusetts is our home.

I am going to see about picking up a .44 revolver this afternoon.

September 30, 2006, 02:18 PM
Get her a stainless Ruger Old Army. It's the most dependable BP revolver there is. You wouldn't want to keep it loaded with black powder for a real long time, because it's corrosive, but a substitute like Triple Seven wouldn't hurt it.

I use Remington #10 caps. They seem to fit better than CCI's and I think they burn a bit cleaner and hotter, these days. I would use as much Triple Seven as the chambers will hold. Any modern made BP revolver will handle a full chamber. You can use a .457 ball from Hornady or Speer, or conicals from Bigiron or Buffalo Bullet Co. Balls might be easier for your wife to load, and they will do the job. And get stainless steel. It's a lot easier to deal with.

If you want to save some $$$, you can get a good deal on the Old Army, new or used, at

I push the Old Army because of the overall quality vs. the Italian replicas, and more importantly, reliability. They have modern lockworks (coil springs, etc.) as they are based on the Blackhawk/Superblackhawk. The parts don't break. Nothing more annoying than a broken Cylinder bolt, and if your using it for home defense, it could be a lot worse than annoying.

Lastly, have fun! Black powder revolvers are a blast to shoot. Pun intended.

September 30, 2006, 02:18 PM
If the 1800s house intruders could be polled, I am certain that some, if not many, would assert to have been put in the grave by Granny's BP wheel gun, and perhaps even a few by end-pushed-type rifles, carbines and shotguns.

Seems to be that dead is dead. If it will drop a deer, what chance would a 2-legged critter (varmint) have? I know I'm mixing joke with serious, but it's an accurate statement. Check your laws for definition of a firearm.

By the way, firearms made before 1898 have some additional degree of freedom regarding shipping, sales, etc. Again, check your state's laws.


September 30, 2006, 03:30 PM
If you think MA is bad now, it will be worse if Deval Patrick is elected governor. He has already stated that he wants more gun control in MA.

September 30, 2006, 03:49 PM
Is MA unique in not allowing non-citizens the right to own guns? Do any states allow non-citizens to own firearms?

Nicky Santoro
September 30, 2006, 03:51 PM
Black powder was killing people half a millennium before smokeless powder was invented. No problem with two weeks. I suspect no problem with two years.

September 30, 2006, 04:16 PM
The license I referred to is called a resident alien FID. The fees involved are the same as a non-resident LTC.
Wow, that's really messed up. How about a nice double-barrel coach shotgun? :evil:

September 30, 2006, 04:30 PM
You're not going to believe this, but New Jersey allows non-citizens to own firearms. I had an Uncle from Denmark (He passed away recently) who had lived here for about fourteen years when he got his Firearms ID and Handgun Permit. He bought a Browning Hi-Power, because he liked the one he had in the Danish Army.

At least, they allowed them to own guns at that time. This was in the late 80's.

September 30, 2006, 04:40 PM
Very restrictive now, since both 9-11, and that Egyptian at the Empire State Building. Call a local gun shop, but when I sold guns, a resident alien had to jump through some hoops, non res could rent. Now, non res cannot touch a firearm.

September 30, 2006, 04:47 PM
If you look at 18 USC 922, there is no problem with aliens here on an immigrant visa. Aliens here on a nonimmigrant visa have to jump through some hoops.

September 30, 2006, 05:01 PM
I can see the logic in preventing non-citizens from owning firearms, but if an alien is legal, and their spouse is a citizen with a LTC (with the assumption that there are weapons in the house) it only makes sense to...ha, there's the answer. SENSE.

September 30, 2006, 05:16 PM
Here is what I purchased:

Euroarms of America, Rogers & Spencer .44

September 30, 2006, 05:30 PM
I don't know about your local laws, but the ATF considers them non guns for the purpose of transfer and regulation ONLY. They are still considered firearms in useage though. For example, carrying one concealed where it's not legal to carry a concealled handgun.

That said, it wouldn't be my first choice either, but they have been used for hundreds of years for self defense. I'd avoid pelleted anything as a load. Pellets are harder to ignite. I don't know how often you get out to the range, but I'd suggest rotating your carry load every couple of weeks. Make sure your caps are tight fitting and you have grease over the ball. This will help keep dampness from getting to the powder, and rotating it regularly will keep it fresh too.

As for load, I'd go max recommended charge, preferably with one of the hollowpoint conicals that Big Iron Barrels sells. A round ball will work fine though and people hunt with them regularly. In rifles they usually work better than sabots and conicals, and expand and flatten on impact. I don't know how much the lower pistol velocity would effect that though.

If it's all I could use, I wouldn't hesistate. Just keep your powder fresh!

September 30, 2006, 07:48 PM
pellets tend not to work too well in anything other than inlines...
I had a buddy who had a 1858 remington, loaded for 6 years +... we shot it one day... 1st shot; fired, 2nd, no-ingnition, 3rd, 4th, 5th, fired, 5th was a hang fire... but it went... 5 or of sixth, stored in a bureau dresser... not bad...
he had triple ff bp in it too, so go figure...

I'd go something stainless though...

Dave Markowitz
September 30, 2006, 09:22 PM
That Euroarms R&S should work well. I'd be interested in a range report on it.

If I was in your shoes I'd load the maximum recommended charge of 3Fg black powder, a .457 ball, and grease sealing the chambers. I'd use the correct size CCI or RWS caps (try No.10 and No.11 to see which fits best) slightly pinched to make sure they stay on the nipples. I'd lube cylinder base pin and wipe down the exterior of the gun with Ballistol.

I would avoid the pellet propellents, since they don't ignite as easily as black powder. If that's all you can get, use it but I'd really prefer BP.

I would also shoot, clean, and reload the thing at least once a month. Windex is a great, cheap BP solvent and really make short work of cleaning.

October 1, 2006, 12:20 AM
In CA State Laws say that anythng that is ingited with a porellant exploded forcing a projectile out the barrel is a firearm. Even the antique firearms and replica BP Revs or pistols. If capped and concealed or on person or in vehicle are concidered a loaded firearm. If cylinder is seperate or out of revolver or uncapped and in revolver it s not concidered loaded.
Go much for Federal Laws.

October 1, 2006, 10:45 AM
I used to keep a cap and ball revolver for home defense. It's not the best idea, but better than nothing. I was 17 and lived in a trailer by myself out in the middle of nowhere. I mainly used it to shoot at the stray dogs that would get into my trash.

If I were to ever have shot an intruder with it, I doubt I'd be in any less trouble with it being BP or not. If you ever shoot anyone the risks better be higher than all the litigation you will be subjected to.

October 1, 2006, 12:04 PM
If you want to store a loaded black powder revolver for a long period of time and have confidence it will fire normally years later, clean the cylinder well with rubbing alcohol or lacquer thinner to completely de-grease the chambers and nipples. Dry it well with a blow dryer if you want to proceed immediately or wait until it's dry before you load with powder and a bare ball, no grease or greased wad. After the nipples are capped,fill the chamber mouths with melted beeswax and fill the cap recesses with it as well. Scrape the beeswax off of the rear of the cap so it doesn't cushion the hammer strike and you are finished. You may lubricate the rest of the pistol normally. I would only lightly lubricate the outside of the cylinder and cylinder pin with a vegetable oil, nothing petroleum based.

I think beeswax is essential to getting a proper adhesion to the metal. Parrafin wax won't last through much temperature change.

I wouldn't worry about corrosion in the chambers. Black powder corrodes by drawing moisture from the air. There should be no moisture in the chambers when the gun is freshly loaded and, properly sealed, none can enter.

I've posted about this several times already but it still may interest some. I loaded an old .44 Italian replica as above in 1992 I believe it was. Two chambers were fired early this year. Both functioned normally, no weakness apparent and no hanging fire. There are still 4 loaded chambers to be tested on down the road some day.


October 1, 2006, 12:36 PM
Remember the story about General Lee loading up his Navy Colt at the beginning of the 'War of Northern Agression' and carrying it, unfired, through the entire conflict.

After he died, it was handed down to his son who fired it many years later (maybe 20?) to commemorate his father. It worked flawlessly.

As others have suggested, load 'er up with black and ball and tuck it away. Unless it is in a flood, it should work just fine if you ever need it.

Low Key
October 1, 2006, 07:26 PM
I recently fired out six shots from a cylinder that I loaded about six months hangfire, just as big a boom as a freshly loaded cylinder. As Steve says, seal with beeswax around the caps and your good to go for the long haul. Oh, and don't underestimate the bp revolver, properly loaded it'll kill you just as dead as a 44 magnum will...these are not toys.

Ed Ames
October 1, 2006, 07:41 PM
I used to, each time I finished cleaning my BP revolvers, dry and load the cylinders so that next time I needed them they'd be ready to fire without the 5-minute "collect the supplies and pour the powder" dance. Of course, this is a fairly dry climate, but I've never seen any corrosion issues with this practice and the only failure to fire (singular) was when I got some grease into the nipple passage on one chamber. That took three primers to ignite.

777 (or, if you can find it, good old fashioned black) is probably a better choice than the pellets, though there are pellets marketed for revolvers. Just fill the cylinders to the top with powder, carefully put a ball on (trying not to have powder come out of the chamber because you fiddled with the ball too much), and ram it down hard. Then, if you can find it, dribble some low-shrink wax on each ball to seal the chambers up extra tight and prevent crossfires if they really happen. That's optional though.

October 1, 2006, 10:15 PM
You wouldn't want to keep it loaded with black powder for a real long time, because it's corrosive, but a substitute like Triple Seven wouldn't hurt it.

I've got cans of real BP dating back to the beginning of the 20th century, tin and steel. They've no rust in them, and I've run some of the powder in my .44 Special, .44 C&B Remington, and .45-70 with nary a misfire. BP is just fine carried in capped and bullet-seated gun chambers, just like it is in the cans.

BP substitutes like 777, Pyrodex, Black Canyon, etc. have by nature a higher ignition temperature and are harder to ignite - that's how they get around DOT BP shipping and storage regulations, as well as fire department storage rules. If you cannot find Holy Black, be judicious in your selection of propellant for defensive use. :o

October 1, 2006, 11:36 PM
In your wonderful state, you may be able to have a BP gun without a license, however according to the Fish and Wildlife Regulation abstracts that I got from Mass Wildlife a year or two ago, you still need to be licensed for powder (BP or Pyro/subs). Keep that in mind.

October 1, 2006, 11:48 PM
Thank you for all the info. I have a license that allows me to purchase the bp. The issue for my wife is one of access. According to Mass law it is a felony for her to have access to firearms. The bp gets around this because according to Mass law bp is not a firearm. Therefore, while she cannot purchase bp she can have access to it. As I said earlier...someday we will move to the United States.

October 2, 2006, 07:12 AM
massnee, two questions...
Where (what state) is it different?
How would you change the laws in MA?
I live in MA, and MA has a reputation of treating aliens very well.

October 2, 2006, 07:43 AM
I'm also interested in a range report on your R&S, massnee.

October 2, 2006, 07:43 AM
Just an FYI: Blackpowder in its un-fired form is not the problem,the residue left after fireing is the corrosive part.

October 2, 2006, 08:12 AM
"someday we will move to the United States."
70 Congressional Medal of Honor recipients recently held their convention in Boston; they chose the location. There was a ceremony in their honor aboard the USS Constitution. Doesn't get much more "American" than that...

October 2, 2006, 09:47 AM

Folks from free states could answer your questions better. For example I believe my wife could have access to my AR-15 if we lived in New Hampshire. In Vermont you do not even need a license to carry. I live in the Boston area so it was only by the grace of God that I was able to get a license to carry at all.

Because of the AG's restrictions there are many firearms we can not own here. Recently I paid $750 for a 10 year old used handgun. In any other state I could have purchased it new for $450! Ouch!!!

Concerning Massachusetts being part of the United States…I understand that other states will accept my citizenship…so I suppose I am an American…I just do not enjoy all of the rights the constitution afford (i.e 2nd Amendment, taxation without representation…Kennedy is my senator…he does not represent me :) )

October 2, 2006, 10:17 AM
Massnee, I'm with ya on most of your statements. I believe that your wife should have access to whatever weapons you have, simply because she is your wife. Like I said, that is common sense. What are you supposed to do, have a secure room in your home where your wife is banned from entering? Who would vac it? (just kidding). The other side of the issue is whether non-citizens should be able to have firearms. In general, except for cases like yours, I don't support their right to own firearms. Why should non-citizens have the rights that I have? They can't vote - why should they be allowed to own firearms? At my gym, non-members can't use the treadmills and weight machines - citizenship is like a membership. I doubt even the NRA would argue for the rights of non-citizens. You are caught in a web whose intent is to keep firearms away from non-citizens. It's too bad exceptions can't be made on an individual basis. Is she working on becoming a citizen?
As far as Kennedy representing me...I can't get into that discussion simply because of blood pressure issues.
In regards to VT and NH - have you checked into their non-citizen firearms laws? NH is becoming MASS-asized quickly. I know little about VT.
But to say MA isn't part of America - I crossed a bridge today that was recently dedicated to a young local man who died in Iraq. His father is a State Trooper. I don't think I'd throw the non-American statement around him right about now.

October 2, 2006, 10:29 AM

From your last post I recognize that I am being slightly misunderstood. I am not advocating that my wife should be allowed an LTC ALP as a non-citizen. I am not opposed to the idea of legal non-citizens having the right of owning and carrying firearms. My problem is that my wife cannot have access to my weapons for the defense of both her and my children. I am excited to begin shooting BP (I will post a range report). However, it is very frustrating that the only line of protection for my family (when I am absent) is a bp firearm. Especially when she could have access to this:

October 2, 2006, 10:37 AM
That longterm BP solution looks a lot like what I've read riverboat gamblers and such used to do with their pepperboxes and derringers, so I've no doubt that's good advice. If it worked back then...!

In regards to VT and NH - have you checked into their non-citizen firearms laws? NH is becoming MASS-asized quickly. I know little about VT.

No, it's not. They're night and day, West and East Germany.

There are no state licensing requirements in New Hampshire for the possession of any rifle, shotgun or handgun.

It is unlawful for any person who has been convicted of a felony to own, possess or control any firearm.
Persons who are the subject of a court protective order may be required to surrender all firearms and ammunition.

And that's it. All else that's required is licensing for concealed carry.

October 2, 2006, 11:14 AM
massnee - seriously, is that a good home defense weapon? Believe me, I understand what you're saying and I am with you as far as your wife having access to whatever firearms you have.

Manedwolf - I have a NH pistol permit. All I did was send them a copy of my MA permit and they mailed it to me for $20. Concerning the NH laws, I meant how do they pertain to non-citizens?
You say "There are no state licensing requirements in New Hampshire for the possession of any rifle, shotgun or handgun."
Then... "It is unlawful for any person who has been convicted of a felony to own, possess or control any firearm.
Persons who are the subject of a court protective order may be required to surrender all firearms and ammunition."
There's two licensing requirements right there.

October 2, 2006, 11:34 AM
To Manedwolf,
To me, NH is the best state in the entire country. If things had been different, I'd be a life long resident of NH. I shoot in NH, bike, hike, ski, camp, etc.
I just hope it doesn't get Mass-asized.

October 2, 2006, 12:36 PM
That's as good a home defense weapon as anything else.

Theory laden perceptions in some people would have them question it as an assalt weapon. They aren't in control of their minds/fears. The mental worm virus "bad" has gotten to them.

As far as your wife goes, if a situation developed that necessitated that your wife defend her and the kids lives, I doubt that any court would hold her at fault. At least it doesn't make sense. Perhaps some histrionic idiot would beat the drum of cowardice, but a jury ought shelter her in the case of an actual emergency.

October 2, 2006, 01:35 PM
I don't question it because of its perception as an assault weapon, but, being unfamiliar with it, I wonder about it's ease of use under stress. How long is the barrel? How easy is it to disengage the safety? What about loading, or would you keep it loaded (with kids around)? I'd rather have a shorter barrelled shotgun myself.

October 2, 2006, 02:03 PM

The Ar-15 in the pic has a 16" barrel, holds 30 rounds of 5.56mm ammo with little recoil. Strangely enough there are many who believe the AR platform makes a good home defense choice. The 5.56mm round has a tendency to quickly degrade as it penetrates through barriers. The round was designed to kill people as opposed to penetrate hard targets.

However, the two most important reasons to use an AR-15 are:

1. It looks scary.

2. It irritates liberals.

However, since an AR is not an option...this will have to be the view for those who seek to hurt my family:

October 2, 2006, 02:04 PM
good point pohill, I was second guessing again.

October 2, 2006, 03:29 PM
If I were to get a BP for defense, I'd want one of the new LeMats. Nine .44 cylinders plus a 20ga shotgun barrel under? :evil:

Plastic Cowboy
October 3, 2006, 03:52 PM
.....and if the bad guy is close the BP revolver will set his shirt on fire!!!!:evil:

highlander 5
October 3, 2006, 05:01 PM
IANAL but if god forbid she had to use deadly force with a firearm INSIDE the home there should be no problem you have a licence your legal.
If you take your wife to the rifle range she can shoot with you EVEN though she has no permit. I take freinds with me to the range to shoot and they have no permit. If you havn't talked to a lawyer do so you should be able to get a straight answer from him . BTW even though BP guns are not firearms to the feds you have to have a LTC or FID card to have them here in our glorious state

October 3, 2006, 05:47 PM
Highlander 5, this is a tricky issue in MA. You can receive a BP revolver in the mail without a license of any kind, but to own it and buy powder you need at least an FID card. To carry it concealed you need a LTC. I got my first permit to carry in Lynn...WEST Lynn that is.
As far as getting an answer from a lawyer...good luck.

October 4, 2006, 01:38 AM
Massnee, I'm impressed that you wish to comply with the law, as screwy as that law is. That is truly good citizenship. I recently purchased a black powder revolver. I have six children with the seventh on the way, and affordability was a big issue. Next was the fact that it is probably too complicated for a child to figure out in the unlikely event that they could get their hands on it. I keep it dismantled when not in possession, and locked up. It can be retrieved and assembled in about 20 seconds if the need arises.

Some would call that an excessive amount of time, but that is the compromise I personally choose between child safety and bad guy suppression. My younger children get into everything, are intensely busy and curious, and if you take your eyes off them for five seconds, nothing is safe. It would only be a matter of time before they got ahold it. The alternative would be to break the child abuse laws and beat their intelligence and curiousity out of them. Really. And that's not going to happen.

I think you have made an outstanding choice. I applaud your adherence to laws that are difficult to bear and discriminatory in nature. That is the mark of a true citizen, in the democratic ideal. Civil disobedience has its place, but not if there can be a realistic work-around like you have found, at least until better laws can be put in place. That is what separates us from countries where corruption and disregard for the law is the norm, which is much of the world. You have my admiration.


October 4, 2006, 08:03 AM
massnee, is that law preventing your wife access to your firearms a city, state or federal law? On this NRA website, it lists and compares the laws from all the states. Once I figured out how to read the chart, it was pretty interesting.

Amazingly, there are some states more restrictive than MA, and then some cities take it further than state and federal laws.

Look at #20: (off topic a little)
Arkansas prohibits carrying a firearm "with a purpose to employ it as a weapon against a person." Tennessee prohibits carrying "with the intent to go armed." Vermont prohibits carrying a firearm "with the intent or purpose of injuring another." In VT, is self defense considered as an "intent or purpose of injuring another?" If you carry a gun in Arkansas for self defense, are you violating the clause "with a purpose to employ it as a weapon against a person."

I know it's expensive and time consuming for the resident alien FID (safety course, $100 application fee, annual fee of $100) but that FID would provide you and your wife with some legal protection at least, and some options.

October 4, 2006, 09:15 AM
I just called and asked about my wife's access to my handguns in my house...
My wife, a citizen, does not have a LTC or FID card. If she were to use one of my legally owned handguns in my own house, even for self defense, she COULD be prosecuted for not having a permit and handling a gun, AND I could be prosecuted for allowing an unlicensed person to have access to a handgun. I have to keep the guns locked and secured from my wife in her own home. Friggin' WOW...
Interestingly, when I was a cop, I did not need any type of permit to own a firearm, but the moment I stopped being a cop, if I didn't have a LTC, I was "illegal" in regards to those firearms.

October 4, 2006, 10:12 AM
If you find yourself really restricted to BP think about a mini revolver as well I've got an FA original but I believe the NAA companion copy of it ain't to shabby....;)

And for HD, there's nothing quite like a nose spray from hell!!

October 4, 2006, 12:18 PM
besides focusing on the legality of owning or using a BP revolver, you need to think of the legality of your wife having or using black powder or substitute and percussion caps!!!

It could very well be that a black powder revolver is legal to own and use. But, how do you load it LEGALLY!!!??? Can you buy back powder in without a license for home defense?

To me, the use of a defensive gun, weather black powder or not is a two part question. Can I have the gun AND can I have the ammo??

October 4, 2006, 12:39 PM
Thank you again for all your input. Massachusetts’s laws were never intended to make sense. However, it does appear that it is legal for my wife to have access to a loaded BP firearm, as long as she does not remove the firearm from the house. Her access is defined by her having the key to the locked case the pistol is stored in.

Range report

WOW...what a fun handgun to shoot! I loaded 30g of pyrodex-p with Hornady .454 lead balls. Shooting at about 25ft I was surprised by the accuracy. Two of my five shots actually touched each other (almost the same hole). There was almost no recoil. In my excitement to shoot the pistol I forgot to put hearing protection ears did not even ring.

I would like to try to pack some more powder in there...would you recommend it? (Please also leave your billing info so I can call you from the hospital :) )

October 4, 2006, 01:43 PM
massnee, glad you like your new gun. I will suggest using .457 round balls. I found that I get better accuracy using them in my 1858 rem. Also I have found that 777 shoots well in my 1858 and cleans up easy. I shoot 30 gr. of it, and it does have more of a punch. Loads are reduced by 15%.

Gaucho Gringo
October 4, 2006, 08:01 PM

You can shoot 30 gr of 777 in an 44 cal 1858 Remington? The reason I ask is I have one but have not shot it yet. I went to the Hodgdon website and from what I could gather 25 gr was about the max or did I read it wrong? I have everything including the 777 in hand, I just need the time to go shoot it.

October 4, 2006, 08:55 PM
I never read the website on it, but it says to reduce loads by 15%. My manual says 35 gr as the max load in the revolver if I remember right (even if I don't I use 35 anyways :). For safty follow your manual. Course do what you want, I won't be responsible. :)) , so 35 x .15 = 5.25. Thats how I got the 30 gr. max.

The Deer Hunter
October 4, 2006, 10:34 PM
Cabelas has a .22 blackpowder revolver. ITs small and concealable

October 4, 2006, 11:13 PM
Gaucho Gringo "You can shoot 30 gr of 777 in an 44 cal 1858 Remington?"
You can if you like 30gr 777 ffg + 15%= 34.5gr by volume of Goex BP. I'd stay away from fffg as it is ever more potent.
I don't use 777 anymore as a 28gr load sheared the locating pins off on my 1860 Pietta. 28gr777ffg +15%= 32.2gr BP
777 ffg never hurt my 1858 Rems though...but I'm still back to Black Powder only. (

October 5, 2006, 01:46 AM
The first thing some of you guys, like MASSNET, should consider is if you would rather be carried by 6 or tried by 12.

IE, if you NEED protection, and we all do, do you say well, the LAW says,,,,so we can't do it.

My kids live in the country. The boy's dad always had and shot pistols off the back deck at his house. The kids refuse to have a firing weapon in the house, depend on Guardian Protective. A SIGN, f'r Chri'sake.

Grab the damned C&B'er and blast away if you are attacked. Worry about the legalities after you emerge alive.



October 5, 2006, 08:39 AM
Staying alive has my vote every time ! Some of our Laws written in this country are to keep honest people honest ... The bad guys don`t read so well ...and surely aren`t honest ..and what could have been will never be .

October 5, 2006, 08:58 AM

I have been a lifelong Massachusetts resident who is somewhat familiar with the state's odd gun laws.

You do not need a License to Carry( class A,B,C or D) for a black powder long arm such as a shotgun or rifle. You do need one to buy the components.

I know a number of people who had lost their LTC's several years back when then State Senator Cheryl Jacques added more reasons for LTC ( License to Carry) revokations. Some friends have had more than two or three DWI's and guess what. Their LTC is now history. They have gone into black powder to hunt. When it comes to components such as powder, caps and bullets, they go over to nearby Rhode Island and buy it over the counter.

You do need an LTC for a black powder handgun though. I know it is in the home but you can still have a problem if there is an incident. I don't know of any case in which someone was prosecuted for a home invasion shooting that hasn't had the proper license but if Deval Patrick gets it, that may very well change.

I will have to explore this in greater detail. The problem with Massachusetts laws is that there are so many contradictions. You almost have to be a lawyer to understand all of them.

October 5, 2006, 09:09 AM
From what I've learned, you need at least an FID card to buy and possess powder and caps, and a LTC only if you conceal a BP revolver or convert it to cartridge. I'm pretty sure you can own the BP revolver in your home without an FID or LTC if you just plan to display it as an antique (which also means you can receive a BP revolver without powder or caps though the mail without an FID card).

October 5, 2006, 09:33 AM
Smokin_gun, that sucks about your gun, crazy too. I don't worry too much about the Remington because it is a stronger design than the colts. I do shoot fffg myself and have never had a problem using 30 gr of it in my revolver. I don't shoot it in my colt navy because it doesn't shoot well in it anyways. I use American Pioneer Powder or BP in it. Using APP I don't have to worry about much in my colt, that stuff is weak compaired to all the other powders, but it shoots with decent accuracy in it.

Plastic Cowboy
October 5, 2006, 11:57 AM
By powder measure I fill the chambers on my Pietta 58 Remington with 45 grains of 777 and mash a .454 ball down on top. I have shot 600 rounds this way with no problems or signs of stress in the frame. These things are pretty well built.
You may not want to do this much with a colt or brass framed Remmie though because the stress will probably distort the frame over time.

(by the way--- very impressive roar and fireball)

You can hit a bad guy at 50 yards with this-- up close it will drop him in his tracks god forbid you ever had to!!

I dug one of the roundballs out of the dirt once and it had expanded to twice its original size- thats why these guns are so lethal at close range.

October 5, 2006, 12:19 PM
First, move out of Taxachuessets. Its probably the best thing you could ever do for you and your wife.

Second, I seem to recall an article in Guns and Ammo within the last couple of months on this precise subject. might want to try and dig it up. It was at least from this summer - may have been the august or september issue.

October 5, 2006, 02:58 PM
Gotta love that solution - just move out of Massachusetts.
Because of gun laws? I have all the guns I want. And go where? Any suggestions?
Gotta love it...

October 5, 2006, 03:11 PM
I didn't like living in MA, but I didn't leave just because of the gun laws....

October 5, 2006, 03:41 PM
Look what's around MA - RI, CT, NY...all very restrictive as far as gun laws. VT is visit. NH is my first choice, but you buy property in NH, especially up north, and you're stuck with it. You can still buy a house in Berlin, NH (for example) for under $100,000 but you'll never sell it. I lived in Utah for awhile and couldn't wait to leave, but it's one of my first choices for a vacation. No, these gun laws have to change, somehow. People have to get educated, but as long as they keep reading papers like The Boston Globe it's gonna be tough.

October 5, 2006, 04:17 PM
That's certainly true!

October 5, 2006, 06:45 PM
Things would have to get really bad for common citizens in order for the gun laws to be vacated.

It would probably be more of a "Realease the KraKon!" kinda thing.

October 5, 2006, 07:08 PM
Many a outlaw, soldier, and indian have been put in the ground by an old BP gun. They are just as deadly today as they were 150 years ago. I would leave it loaded for long periods of time however. Try reloading every week or so. And yes I would not like to be the recipiant of a .50cal lead ball.

October 6, 2006, 04:06 PM
About black powder and reliability: I had a pretty discouraging experiement. Last year I loaded my small BP companion revolver with Pyrodex, put on cap and carefully sealed the chambers with borebutter. My plan was to carry it concealed for a while to see if it would still work. So I started putting it in my pocket and kept it on me for about 3 weeks or so. Took it to the range and tried shooting. Guess what, NOTHING! Not one would go off! Now mind you this was in the Texas / Florida fall / winter. Kind of wet/ humid but the powder was dry.

I may try this with another powder or sub again but sure would have been embarrasing if I had actually needed it :uhoh:

October 6, 2006, 04:19 PM
drdirk, try it again but follow my directions at the top of page 2 on this thread. Carry it another 3 weeks and let us know what happened.


Low Key
October 6, 2006, 04:20 PM
Next time try sealing around the cap itself with beeswax instead of bore butter. Moisture may have worked itself into the percussion cap.

October 6, 2006, 08:21 PM
Thanks guys, will try again according to the instructions. Looks like the weak part were the caps since nothing went off. Since these are "long term" experiments feedback will be a while ;)

On a related note, sometimes I load it with 1gr of bullseye. Works great in the small bp. If interested, there is a discussion in another thread.

Happy shooting to all!

October 19, 2006, 01:03 PM
I would like to shift the responses a little from the legal aspects more towards accuracy/threat/lethality/intimidation factor. I have both Colt, Remington, and a 1911 .45 and while I used to feel the 1911 posed the best response to someone rattling around downstairs, I have recently started to re-think. My thinking is changing mostly due to the speed with which I can respond to any threat. For the 1911 I need to pull down the case, fidget with the trigger lock key in the dark, then pull the slide back and slam in a magazine that has 6 hydra shock and two full metal jackets. By contrast, I can pull down the presentation case, Unlock (a bigger easier key) drop the rammer, slide in a R&D cylinder loaded with 6 Long Colt .45's and I'm good to go. All that iron on the Remmy has a pretty good intimidation factor. The Plus is that I have a hunk of iron that can be used fairly defensively. Now from the home defense position, anyone down stairs can steal as much as they can haul out the front door before the Police show up, however coming up the stairs to where my wife and kids are they will be taking some lead back down if they continue up after I tell them to halt. My local Police officer said to be sure and put the 12" turkey carving knife in his hand before calling. I think this is pretty much the way I have instructed my wife, but for her, I want the weapon to be my 12 guage, which she doesn't have to aim and is fairly easy to drop two in, point and shoot under the same circumstances.

I think you need to evaluate the whole defensive nature of your individual layout, and then, just like a practice Family Fire Drill, do a Family defense drill.

One final note... About 20 years ago, we were living in a darkly lit surburban area in Maryland. Two men awoke me in the middle of the night when they used a long screwdriver to pop open the back door of a screened in back porch. I reached under the bed pulled the 12 guage Baretta out and went to the laundry room/kitchen entrance about 12 feet from the back door. I crouched alongside the washer dryer, leveled the gun and called out while flippin on the back porch light.. As soon as they saw the barrels, they dropped the screwdriver and ran, and a few minutes later the police rolled up. I can tell you from my personal experience that you couldn't have pounded a tooth pick up my back side with a sledge hammer I was so scared, but I'm pretty sure both barrels would have gone off had they charged me. I don't think anyone knows how they will react under threatening circumstances.

As for the two would be assailants, they were not found that night, but about 3 weeks later in a small tavern, just down the street two guys of the same description were involved in a ruckus where they shot a waitress(not fatally) while trying to rob the place, both were on drugs at the time. They were arrested in the attempted hold up and eventually tried and convicted.


October 19, 2006, 01:38 PM
Yes. But then again, so can a rock or 2x4.

October 19, 2006, 06:50 PM
Dirk, there are tiny, stretchy, silicone bands that go over the caps to seal them watertight for hunting. I bought a bag of them years ago, I believe from Cabelas. You might check there anyway. They were cheap and if they will fit a revolver cylinder, would seal the ignition end well. The ball end is easy to seal, but the caps are harder. I haven't tried them on a revolver, but I used them a couple times on my sidelocks just to see if they'd work.

October 19, 2006, 11:20 PM
My local Police officer said to be sure and put the 12" turkey carving knife in his hand before calling.

Please do NOT do this. Ever.

If you need to defend yourself in your home or anywhere and you end up killing someone do NOT alter the crime scene. Leave it like it happened, with the exception of tending to wounded friendlies.

Do not shoot someone outside and drag them inside.

Do not leave the scene. Unless there are safety concerns.

Do not hide the weapon.

Do not lie to investegators about how things went down. Instead clam up and get a lawyer.

If it happens you knew the dead person, don't lie about it. Instead clam up and get a lawyer.

Just get a lawyer, regardless.

You must have all the credibilty you can muster. If you start messing with things to make it look better for you, you will instead make it a LOT worse for you. If a DA can point at you and call you a liar or someone who disturbed a crime scene how will that play with a jury?

October 19, 2006, 11:23 PM
Oh, great thread BTW.

One day I'm going to get a BP revo.

Having a bunch of these types of threads around is a great resource.

Who makes a good LeMat? And doesn't that shorty shotgun run afoul of certain laws?

October 19, 2006, 11:50 PM
As far as I know the only company that makes a Le Mat is Pietta. Different companies might distribute it in America, though. I have one I got from Navy Arms years ago; it's very nicely made, though I find it isn't as ergonomic to load as the Colts and Remmingtons.

Low Key
October 20, 2006, 07:55 AM
Deleted...misunderstood context in the post I was replying to

October 20, 2006, 08:33 AM
I just want to reiterate, how totally scared I was. I could not give an accurate description of their faces, but could only recall their approximate height in the doorway. Not too surprising since it was dark until I flipped the light switch on and then I suppose I blinked, and they saw the double barrels and were gone in an instant.
The troubling memory for me was the time it took for local police to show up, and I'm not necessarily blaming them. It just seemed an eternity. Its the same if you are ever in a car accident. Its like you are trapped in slow motion and seconds seem like minutes. I have friends that think if they hear someone breaking in that the good guys will arrive in a split second and take care of them. That's not been my experience.

I suppose your advice is sound, but I know clear thinking when under duress is not commonplace, least it wasn't for me, wasn't for Wild Bill either if historical accounts are correct in his shooting of his deputy..(saw that last nite and couldn't pass up including it)


October 20, 2006, 11:24 AM
it's not a "crime scene" if it's self defense in your own home. Don't think of self defense in your home or anywhere else as a crime.

Sorry, that's BS. It certainly IS a crime scene. If the guy you just shot didn't commit a crime, why did you shoot him? If HE didn't commit a crime, YOU COMMITED A CRIME when you shot him! The police will absolutly consider it a crime scene. Even if it is blatantly painfully absolutly obvious to them that you were the victim and were defending yourself, then the crime they're investigating is a crime against you.
And sorry, this applies everywhere, in your home, or in public.
Simply because self defense is not a crime doesn't mean a crime hasn't been commited. Just not by "you."

Low Key
October 20, 2006, 11:52 AM
good point, and you're right...i took the term crime scene the wrong way as if it was referring to self defense. I read through that post too quickly...:o

October 28, 2006, 07:24 PM
I left my BP revolver loaded for about a month and a half. I carried it twice while hunting. I pulled out the cylinder and put it all in a safe during the day when I went to work, put it in my dresser at night.

Today after hunting, I decided to empty it. The results were discouraging. If I had to rely on it to save my family, we would be dead. Each cap took two hits to fire, ignition was delayed and incomplete on the caps and delayed on the powder. One cap failed to discharge at all. I had to pry four of the spent caps off the nipples when normally they fall off on their own. The cap that failed to discharge had seriously degraded when I pulled it off, with the primer crumbling and coming out of the cap. They were #10 CCI caps. The Pyrodex seemed fine. I will try this again, only this time I will try changing out the caps weekly, as condensation from temperature variation and humidity seems to have affected them.


November 23, 2006, 11:11 PM
I have a report to give...

I loaded my revolver with five rounds using butter flavored crisco as a sealer (that is all I had) and about 33 grains of pyrodex. I placed the revolver in a locked hard plastic case with a foam interior (I even threw pennies in with it thinking it might keep humidity down). 34 days later I took the handgun to the range. It fired flawlessly!

I really enjoy shooting the revolver. I probably will not have another opportunity to let the pistol sit for so long. My normal practice is to shoot it ever two weeks.

November 24, 2006, 10:52 PM
I left my C&B loaded for two weeks. Rather than fire it, though, I unloaded it manually. I was curious whether there were any observable changes to the components. One of the percussion caps looked different than when I had loaded it, slightly discolored like it had absorbed moisture. The others were fine. I removed the nipples and pushed the bullets out with a nail. The pyrodex had compressed together, and came out in the shape of the cylinder. From what I have read about the pyrodex pellets, they have a bit of black powder on them in order to help them ignite. Next, I hit the caps with a hammer on the garage floor. They required persistent pounding to set them off.

I live in a wet climate. It appears this may be affecting the caps and the powder. I re-loaded my revolver and left it for two weeks with the same routine. It stays in the bedroom, in a safe during the day, and in the dresser at night. I pulled the caps off again, and they all seemed fine. I anticipate the Pyrodex will be compressed together again. I'll see if it fires.


November 25, 2006, 08:22 PM
Well, it turns out it's definitely the percussion caps. It made no difference whether the revolver was sitting there two weeks or was just loaded. One out of every three caps needed two strikes to go off. This is a serious reliability issue if I'm going to use it for home defense. A fresh can of caps goes off every time. After it has been open a while, reliability goes out the window.



Low Key
November 27, 2006, 06:43 PM
Simple low tech solution...

stick the whole gun...loaded up and ready to go...into a large ziplock freezer bag and mash out most of the air when you seal the bag. Very little moisture is left in there to mess up your caps. Try that for two weeks, test fire and give us the results.


Oh and keep your caps in another ziplock bag full time to keep them out of the humid air.

November 27, 2006, 07:58 PM
Would a dessicant pack in the bag help out?

November 27, 2006, 09:04 PM
stick the whole gun...loaded up and ready to go...into a large ziplock freezer bag and mash out most of the air when you seal the bag.

I knew a guy who did that to his 1911 hoping he wouldn't have to clean it when he came in from a field training exercise back during my time in the National Guard. He came back with a very rusty weapon. I don't care to repeat his mistake. It's gotta be able to breathe.

I think I need to get ahold of some better caps. A dessicant in the can with the caps would be a good idea. If that doesn't fix it, perhaps an upgrade on the nipples and perhaps the main spring for the hammer.


November 27, 2006, 11:13 PM
I just left my 51 colt loaded for 3 weeks and all cylinders fired with no problems at all. I had it loaded with 20 grs 777 and #10 CCIs.

November 28, 2006, 09:46 AM
Thought i`d share this ... i use only remington caps ...and i drop a a few caps around the table where i load ... one day for poping caps on the oily cylinder ..i picked up some caps that had been out in the weather for a month or so ..through rain ..then heat .. and damp ... couldn`t beleive it they all poped good as new .

Cincinnati Slim
November 28, 2006, 04:13 PM
Howdy All,

Yes indeed, the caps are the weak link here.

I have had much better results with Remington caps versus CCI.

With Thunder Ridge Muzzloading stainless nipples and Reminton #11 caps
I get very reliable ignition with either Tripple Seven or real black powder.

If the caps are seated properly I get 99.9 % first strike ignition. The rare misfires ALWAYS go off on the second strike. The CCI caps are louder and hotter than the Remingtons but not as reliable or consistent. I use CCI caps for fast draw practice and to clean out oily chambers. The CCI cap fragments are also more prone to cause jams.

I'd like to try some of the European brands of caps. I have heard that they are more like authentic "old-time" caps from pre 1899 days. Can't find 'em locally but welcome anyone with experiances to share. So far the Remington #11s from my local Bass Pro Shop works fine.

Decided to test this so I've loaded up a clean dry spare cylinder and put 'er in a capped jar with a dessicant pack. I'll wait three or four weeks and try it out at range.

I'll let y'all know then...:rolleyes:


November 28, 2006, 06:20 PM
I like the Remmy caps myself, but believe it or not, I can't get them in this area, nobody around here sells them consistently. One of the local shops gets them every now and then leaving me stuck with CCIs.

November 29, 2006, 08:40 AM
Same here only one store sells the remington caps ..Bass Pro ..and its a 2 hour there and back ride for me ...i buy 2 cases at a time when i make the trip ...have a new Sportsman warehouse real close to me but they say they won`t sell remington caps ...some problem they had years ago with them ...
I couldn`t even get them to special order them for ,me.

Cap n Ball
November 29, 2006, 10:35 AM
I have a .58 cal smoothbore flintlock horse pistol. The barrel is 14 inches long. I keep it loaded with 40 grains of 3f, soft buckshot and five or six .25 cal round balls on top and under two wads of pillow ticking. I seal the flash pan with beeswax and plug the touch hole with a waxed feather quill. I cap the barrel with a disc of thin cardboard seated about an inch deep from the muzzel with a glob of borebutter on top. It produces the same nasty pattern as a sawed-off shotgun. Very effective within 15 feet. No kids in my house so I keep it handy and ready. I fire it and reload it about every three weeks. With a well tuned flint I've never had a misfire. I know it sounds a bit old timey to have such a weapon for home defense but I know this gun and its reliable as any other.I don't think anyone would want to be looking down the business end betting that it wouldn't fire. Its not the only firearm I have for such purposes but it would be my first responder to an intruder. Can't you just imagine the story in the paper about a guy stopping a purp with a flinter!

November 29, 2006, 03:42 PM
I'm a bit ignorant when it comes to BP firearms but I find this discussion fascinating. Anyhow with the quill in the touchhole, do you remove it before firing or can the pistol be used with it in place? Also why not use 2 full size balls? If I recall Robinson Crusoe correctly he used muskets like that, or is that just fiction?

November 29, 2006, 05:27 PM
Regarding Cinncinnati Slim's question about Euro caps, I have a can of RWS #11 that are about 5-6 years old. I just finished with some CCI's the same approximate age. Never gave me any trouble in my Renegade or H&A underhammer but I just bought a ROA and both brands were stupidly unreliable even when seated with the handle of an old toothbrush. (Always seemed to fire on the second hammer strike though.) I thought it was the gun until I began reading this post. Just bought 1K #11 CCIs and have 100% ignition over the last 30+/- shots, even without seating the caps on the nipples. I say caps get old even here in Colorado where it's pretty dry. I suspect Remy caps suffer similar degradation.
/Kinda sucks
//Not relying on my ROA for SD, thank God

November 29, 2006, 07:06 PM
I just bought this tin of caps for $1.00. They have maybe 10 tins left at the store. They seem to be smaller than even #10s. Anyone ever hear of them?

November 30, 2006, 12:29 AM
Same with this store too Sundance44s, they won't special order them for me. They will order Conical Bullets for my pistols and round balls, but not caps. Go figure

November 30, 2006, 03:34 PM
Pohill, I'm thinking that Italy might have had their own cap size standard for a while. I own a Corsair Jager double barrel pistol made in Italy and even a #10 is loose on the nipples. It sounds like those caps are sized perfectly. I don't know why they'd do that, unless shooting was popular locally and they made them for the local market before realizing there was such a large export one.

November 30, 2006, 05:01 PM
So, how is it, was it common in 17th-18th centuries to load muskets and pistols with two or even more round balls?

Burt Blade
November 30, 2006, 09:10 PM
Multi projectile loads were commonly used in the 19th century. The war between the states was fought with a great deal of "buck and ball" loads in the numerous smoothbore weapons used. Cannon fired against Infantry were typically loaded with canister rounds that made them behave like giant shotguns.

December 1, 2006, 09:45 AM
Thats true , they crammed nails, chains ,glass,rocks and anything else they could get down the barrels of smooth bore guns and cannons ...and when the barrels got hot and melted down they loaded up a gator and fired another round ..gotta love that song .( the battel of New Orleans )

December 1, 2006, 10:59 AM
We fired our guns, and the British kept a-commin',
there wasn't as many as there was a while ago
We fired once more, and they all began a-runnin',
down the Mississipi to the Gulf of Mexico.
but when we touched the powder off the gator lost his mind!

Cap n Ball
December 4, 2006, 08:57 AM
Longwatch, the quill is dyed red and about three inches long. Its tied with a string to the triggerguard. Its purpose is to keep moisture out of the breech and to indicate that the gun is loaded. Thats the way most loaded flintlocks were kept when at sea or overnight in the woods.

December 5, 2006, 02:19 PM
Appreciate you clearing that up for me.

December 11, 2006, 01:01 AM
from "The American Rifleman" July 1996

Patrick Tansy walked into the kitchen of his Klamath County,
Oregon, home to investigate some noises when somebody clubbed him
with a large flashlight. Finding himself in a fierce struggle
with two burglars, Tansy, his scalp gashed and bleeding, managed
to break free and make it to a .50 cal muzzleloader he kept
loaded in another room. He fired, shattering the arm of one of
the intruders, both of whom fled the property. The two men were
quickly apprehended after Tansy, on the way to the hospital, saw
the suspects and called police from his cellular phone. (The
Bulletin, Bend, OR, 3/27/96)

March 2, 2008, 01:47 AM
Deleted.Meant to start new topic

March 4, 2008, 10:52 PM
Black powder weapons are actually very easy to maintain.

That is, one, if you love cleaning your guns, which I am certainly. Two, depends on what type of powder you use.

For holy black and Pyrodex, cleaning is essentially the same. For H777, you'll get more shots in between cleanings. I sometimes use "smokeless black powder" that I make myself. That is black powder without the sulfur. Just charcoal and saltpetre. Somebody even talks about making it on another site, I forgot what it's called, but it has something to do with "musketeer" or something like that.

Sulfur compounds are the main culprit for the fouling in the barrel and the chambers. Without the brimstone, you still have to clean your piece but it would be much smoother shooting.

March 5, 2008, 01:18 AM
Wow, I read the first page of that olde thread, and I don't think I recognized a single poster in it!

March 5, 2008, 06:40 AM
I use blackpowder substitute. (Triple Seven) [3fff]..
I don't own any modern firearms. Don't want any. Had enough of that s*** in the Marine Corps. Like building my own load the way it's been done for over 100 years. It serve's me well.
I don't want any trouble with anyone about anything, but if someone get's the idea to break in on me, then by all means I encourage them to do so.
I can flat guarantee them ahead of time that when they do I'll give them 6 feet of Wyoming that no one will ever take away from them....

March 5, 2008, 06:54 AM

In brass or cap lock?

I don't think I would bet my life on on a percussion cap.

March 5, 2008, 05:18 PM
I think we need to put a topic this significant into perspective. Can a BP firearm be used for home defense? Yes. Can a quality sword be used for HD also? Yes. What about a baseball bat? Again, the answer is yes. Now, would any of these items prove superior to a modern double-action revolver or pump action shotgun? No. Why? Modern firearms are more reliable. If this was not true, then why are they used by militaries and police forces worldwide?

Remember, I am not saying that BP firearms can not kill, nor that they can not incapacitate someone immediately. History shows otherwise. The point I am making is one of reliability. If someone wishes to rely upon a BP firearm for self-defense after reading this, then that is their business. I just believe people should make their decisions after receiving accurate and reliable information. Hopefully, the last sentence is one all of us subcribe to. That is all anyone can ask.


March 5, 2008, 05:34 PM
as the op of this thread i will give an update concerning my original question. I have decided against the idea of using a bp firearm for home defense. There is no question that bp firearms are deadly. However, they are not as reliable as modern firearms. We understand that Murphy is always a factor (even with modern firearms)...however with bp firearms Murphy brings his whole family...

I use a 16” ar-15 with a 20 round mag as my primary home defense tool.

March 5, 2008, 05:41 PM
Well, I'll be keepin' my .38 and 20 gauge coach gun by the bed until Obama outlaws 'em. I do have BP revolvers for back up in case of socialistic political agendas that force me to bury....uh....have my modern guns stolen or lost at sea.

March 5, 2008, 05:56 PM
No matter what gun you have, there will always be bigger and badder guns, that is Murphy's law lol..

I would have to contend that bp firearms are just as reliable as modern firearms. I've seen modern revolvers misfire, that just goes "click"... I've see modern semi autos jam "stovepipe"... That being said, it really comes down to understanding your gun and reacting in HD situation. It's not what you use.. it's how you use it! :P

March 5, 2008, 07:06 PM

March 5, 2008, 07:33 PM

Jamie C.
March 5, 2008, 11:55 PM
I think we need to put a topic this significant into perspective. Can a BP firearm be used for home defense? Yes. Can a quality sword be used for HD also? Yes. What about a baseball bat? Again, the answer is yes. Now, would any of these items prove superior to a modern double-action revolver or pump action shotgun? No. Why? Modern firearms are more reliable. If this was not true, then why are they used by militaries and police forces worldwide?

The main advantage modern firearms have over BP firearms is speed of reload. I doubt very seriously that there's anything that you can do with 5 or 6 shots from a S&W, Colt, Ruger, or any other modern revolver that a well-maintained Remington or Colt BP gun can't do. Provided the person firing it knows how to shoot, that is.

A 30 round mag in a Glock will not save your ass if you don't know how to use it. 1 well-placed round from a "front-stuffer" just might, if you apply it properly, and know how to get the most out of it.


March 6, 2008, 01:21 AM
Jamie, modern firearms possess several obvious advantages over "front stuffers". The greater reliability of metallic cartridges is one clear advantage. Reloading speed is another. In addition, modern firearms have a higher rate of fire as well. No civil war "front stuffer" ( I really like that term) can compete with M-16s or AK-47s in firepower. Indeed, the 1892 Krag rifle surpasses its civil war predecessors in this regard also. I think all of us are in agreement concerning these issues.

In a self-defense situation, it seems that a quality single-action caplock revolver is less desirable than a good double-action revolver or semi-auto pistol. True, skill and proper mindset are important factors in self-defense with a firearm or any other weapon. Yet, relying on a muzzleloader seems more of a handicap than depending upon a modern firearm. That is the point I attempted to make earlier. I hope this clearifies my position.


March 6, 2008, 09:55 AM
GOTC Nice pictures

March 6, 2008, 10:12 AM
I`ve come to really like the 45 LC as my main stay black powder or smokeless loading ..I enjoy shooting single action revolvers more than any pistols I`ve ever owned , They are very dependable ..I`m not looking for a gun fight nor intend to start one ..but if I have to use a gun to defend myself ..If me produceing a single action Colt doesn`t make the bad guy think twice , I do want to have a one shot drop ..the 45 is a big slow moveing hunk of lead that will take down a man , as quick or quicker than most calibers on the market .after all the best part of a gun fight would be liveing to tell your side of the story . Quick reloads are for fighting wars , and cops I can see where the need would be in those cases . In any case use what you shoot the most often with , and can handle under pressure safely .

March 6, 2008, 10:18 AM
Can it? Yes.

Should it? No.

I'm sorry, but I want to see what's going on. After one shot indoors, you're not going to be able to see anything for a while. Unless you have really good ventilation.

March 6, 2008, 02:02 PM
Ohioan, smoke is not the only "issue" black powder raises indoors or outdoors. At point blank ranges, a black powder discharge can ignite someone's clothes. I recall reading about such an incident in the Old West. That is something I never considered before reading about that account.


March 6, 2008, 04:01 PM
Don’t wish to throw further argument at a perfectly good discussion. Well, okay, I do.

When it comes to the legals of having to defend one’s self, in one’s own home, questions seem to arrive to what level of threat was met by what level of force. Am guessing, that: “I even had to use gran’pa’s ol’ antique wall-hanger, in order to defend myself…” is likely to go over better than: “Well, at least, I didn’t use the whole clip.” Juries (when it comes to such), seem to be more sympathetic to the underdog.

Not that one would, necessarily, have really been the underdog. From what I’ve come across, very few break-ins seem to turn into protracted gun battles (outside of Mexico, anyway). Five ready shots (one chamber empty, for safety’s sake, mind you), should, generally, seem to be enough to get the job done. If there’s six of ‘em, chances are it’s more than a simple burglary. Hint: Get one of ‘em to stand behind another.

Also, given the nature of powder weapons, one must build a relationship with them, to a greater degree than one might otherwise have to with a cartridge weapon. Not meaning that one has to talk to the durned thing. But, they do take more care and attention than simply making sure the cartridge is going in, head-first. So, if you’ve been shooting the thing at all, you’ve probably gotten to know Mr. BP Arm.

Suppose requirements for a self defense weapon come down to what one is comfortable and familiar with. My own gauge for paranoia is my gal. Over twenty years ago, she felt we might best sleep, with only a couple of good, stout, pillows. These days, she agrees that something a tad more proactive be kept on my side of the bed.

March 6, 2008, 06:12 PM
It's kind of nice to think you could set your assailant on fire, and the smoke would be great for cover. Your going to know your house better than your assailant.

March 6, 2008, 06:25 PM
The fire thing is also possible with smokeless, just not as likely.

And along those same lines, when your thug is rolling on your carpet in flames, what keeps your house from catching fire? Nothing.

So, shoot wisely.

March 6, 2008, 06:28 PM
I don't think putting out a possible fire is going to be big deal after putting out an assailant, also... wonder if anyone knows of any house fires started from a BP shoot out in the old days?

House fire is possible, but not very likely.

Phantom Captain
March 6, 2008, 06:30 PM
There are plenty of dead Civil War Soldiers, Cavalry soldiers and Cowboys and Indians buried all over this country that would tell you a BP .36 or .44 will kill you just as dead as a modern cartridge.

If they could talk that is, but they can't because they're dead.

Just my $.02

I do agree a modern cartridge weapon is better for the times but a BP pistol WILL do the job if that's all you have. My Dad for years kept nothing but his loaded .36 Navy nearby. It was all he wanted or needed. Again, in his own words, "If it was good enough for Hickock, it's good enough for the old man."

Jamie C.
March 6, 2008, 07:15 PM
Got a question for ya... Would anybody out there feel safer if they were standing in front of me, and I was pointing my Uberti Remington at 'em ( loaded of course ), instead of a Ruger Vaquero, or a S&W mod. 66? :evil:


March 6, 2008, 07:47 PM
Since so many criminals seem to only be familiar with small 9mm autos, I think the mere sight of something like a Walker would make them faint.
When you use up your 6 shots in the walker and there's no time for a reload, it doubles as a 5lb rock, which will surely crack a skull if thrown properly.

March 6, 2008, 07:49 PM
yes but I have 2 and that has never crossed my mind I would rather use my 10/22 or a bassball bat

March 6, 2008, 10:28 PM
Excuse me, Mister bad guy, would you mind very much, please, leaving? Now?

March 6, 2008, 10:37 PM
Hell yeah,

I love Black powder, see my user name BP44=black powder 44 but I use smokeless powder weapons for defense work to limit the liability as well as it has a ballistic advantage over a BP revolver.

if you only have a black powder revolver and or a rifle load it up and put it in/beside the night stand, but if you have something else that will work I would suggest using that. never forget black powder has killed many more than smokeless powder can claim

Jamie C.
March 6, 2008, 10:44 PM
NO, use a regular gun like everybody else

But BP44..... I ain't everybody else. :p

Oh, and Mykeal... if you have to tell 'em to leave, you're probably doing it all wrong. ;)


March 6, 2008, 11:56 PM
I'm sure you'd raise a few eyebrows in the courtroom when they say you used a black powder rifle for home defense. Since it is unwise to leave a black powder firearm loaded the jury may question your intent. "You heard the noise then took the time to load a black powder rifle, then shot the intruder?"

So in answer to your question, yes, you can use a black powder firearm in home defense. However, I would not advise anyone to use a black powder firearm in home defense (for the above reason along with the obvious ones).

Jamie C.
March 7, 2008, 12:22 AM
WayaX, do you have any idea how many BP rifles get loaded near the end of hunting season, then don't get unloaded until the next, or even the one after that?

I doubt there's too many jury members here in TN that would even question why a muzzle loader was loaded. Especially when it was explained to them that once loaded, it would have to either be fired or a far more complicated method than just extracting a cartridge would need to be used to unload it.

Seriously, I think y'all are worrying far too much about what a court would say or think. It's either a case of you defending your life, and therefore a "good shoot", or it's not. And if it's not... well, I doubt what kind of gun you used is going to be your biggest worry. :uhoh:


March 7, 2008, 12:36 AM
It's also unwise to have a gun for defense and not keep it loaded. You might as well keep a paperweight by the bed.
Cartridge's are "loaded" and ready to go, having a BP firearm loaded is only logical if it's your self defense choice.
The last thing on my mind if I were in a life or death defensive situation would be " will the jury be ok with what I'm doing? "

March 7, 2008, 12:53 AM
WayaX, if you kept a loaded BP revolver stored in something like a quick access gun safe, then I really do not see a major problem. After all, you were keeping it safely locked away from minors. Now, if the home invader posed a threat to your life and had a long rap sheet, then that would aid your case as well from a criminal perspective.


March 7, 2008, 01:26 AM
One of the lessons learned in our Consealed Carry course was how to properly defend yourself during a home invasion at night. 1) position your bedroom furniture so your bed is between you and the door. 2) Use one of those plug in night lights in the hall to backlight anyone coming into your bedroom. 3)Keep a wireless or cellphone next to your bed. 4)Don't leave the bedroom looking for the intruders.Make them come to you. 5) call 911 arm yourself and get on the floor on the opposite side of the bed from the door. 6)Cock and lock and aim at the door. 7) Announce loudly that you are armed and have the cops on the phone. 8) If it's your kid coming home late he better know to identify himself. 9) If someone shows himself at your door Kill the SOB. If there is someone else in the house that would be their single to get out cause you ain't bluffin.
All this being said with all the adrenaline flowing and I had the choice between a Glock auto and a 44 colt bp revolver I'd take the revolver for the simplicity assuming I'd shot the revolver enough to know what it needs to shoot reliably.
On top of all this preparation I made sure that the drawer I keep my gun in is my sock drawer nearest to hand. Those socks keep that drawer nice and dry.

March 7, 2008, 05:13 AM
Well, I woke up this morning and started reading some of this. Some of it is good. Some of it remind's me of a bunch of turkey gobbling.
Oh, anyone want a cup of coffee? I do make a good pot of coffee.
I'm sure that if someone break's into your house that most any gun would be better than no gun at all, Ie- shotgun, M-14, or maybe a Mini-14, or an M-16 A1, or A2, or A3, or perhaps an M-203, or an M-79 grenade launcher, or an M-60, or hell, maybe a quad 50.... I shoot a '58 and a Walker.
Oh, did I happen to mention that I have shot these guns almost exclusively for years, and that I have practiced a lot, even down to taking the pieces apart (field strip, not detail strip) and putting them back together and reloading them in the dark? Working by feel just to see if I could do it?
I hope I didn't forget to mention that I'm a damn good shot...a real damn good shot.
If I'm in my home and someone breaks in on me, well, I don't care if he come's in the door or in the window or down the chimney like Santa Claus, he will drop like a stone in the killing zone which is anywhere in my home. I will then lay the gun on the table, pour myself a cup of coffee and call the law and tell them to come drag his ass out of my home.
As far as the muzzle blast catching his clothes on fire, I'll throw a bucket of water on his dead ass if it look's like the fire may be endangering my home. Other than that I don't care if it burns off his hair and scorches out both of his eyeballs. The sonofab**** should have thought of that before he broke into my home with whatever on his mind, which probably included hurting or killing me since he would have known from the start that I was at home. If he didn't know anyone was at home, oh well, just another fatal miscalculation on his part.
I can't speak about a .36 caliber because I'vd never shot one. I understand that Wild Bill carried them but I also know it's a matter of public record that he had small, almost womanish hands.
Anyone out there that think's a Remington 1858 New Model Army .44 loaded up with 30 grains of Triple Seven 3fff, setting behind a .451 lead ball with a Remington #10 cap on the nipple won't kill a man dead in his tracks at the crack of the gun is living in some sort of fantasy world and need's to get some mental therapy. That .44 will knock his ass piss winding and if you done your job right then no one will ever have to worry about that piece of s*** breaking in and hurting somone else later on down the road.
I don't think I need to mention very much here about the .44 Colt Walker....
Well, let's drink another cup of coffee. I'm gonna smoke a Marlboro with mine but I'll blow the smoke away from you....
I hope to God I never get caught up in anything like that, but if I do I sure as hell won't hesitate because my life is way more important to me than his life is to me....

March 7, 2008, 08:20 AM
Somewhere around here is (I think) a thread or a "post-it-note" style message that speaks to loading BP handguns with shot instead of ball.
Doesn't seem like it would be difficult and I have to wonder if maybe two scoops of shot from a Walker possibly followed by a wee .457 ball wouldn't simply wreck one's entire evening.


March 7, 2008, 10:36 AM
I think the Texas Ranger load was 2 or 3 buckshot followed by a .457 ball.

March 7, 2008, 12:09 PM
Ok now Im gonna chime in here real fast.I have a couple modern guns like my 12 gauge semi auto and my 1911 a1 both of which are loaded at all times. I have more BP guns than modern. I also leave the Walker loaded 50 grains .454 ball and a #11 cap. The Walker is on the night stand the .45 is in the living room and the shotgun sits behind the bedroom door. I live in south Florida people get stupid from time to time down here. But the way the law states in florida if you feel your life is in danger do what you need to do. I believe they call it (SELF PRESERVATION). And if you are in my house uninvited then I feel my life and or the life of my family is in danger so I am gonna do what I have to do. I have a great little dog that is the alarm he dont bark he just growls. He aint never been wrong.
Here is a little story that happened not to long ago. It was 3am I hadent slept for 2 days (it happens from time to time) this drunk ass idiot was pounding on the door let me in let me in. I told him to get the hell away from the door. I told the wife to call the cops. I grabbed the Walker and went around out the back. Well when I opened the door this dumb ass was on the back patio. He came face to face with the business end of Mr. Walker. Needless to say he soiled himself I still get a chuckle over that. I held him there until the cops showed up. Almost 15 minutes.
I had no clue what he wanted I reacted to make sure my house and my family were safe. The cop took the Walker from me then gave it back so I could make it safe. when I handed him the cylinder he looked at me like I had 3 heads. But thats another story. The cop was maybe 23, 24 years old didnt know nothin. Turned out the dumb ass lived 3 streets over in the same place on the block and the houses were the same color.
So yes a BP revolver CAN be used for home defense.

March 7, 2008, 03:33 PM
A black powder revolver didn't really cross my mine. I guess because I'm not really familiar with them. I guess it would resolve any quickness and legal issues. It doesn't change the point that I would still rather have a centerfire firearm. But you gotta do what you gotta do.

Jamie C.
March 7, 2008, 06:04 PM
Oh it don't have to be a revolver...

One'a these should convince uninvited "guests" that they need to be elsewhere without a single word being spoken:

Middlesex Village "Howda" (

And yes, sooner or later, I've gotta get one'a those.


March 7, 2008, 06:47 PM
Obviously, some of our black powder enthusiasts have strong opinions about the self-defense utility of their "front stuffers". With this in mind, consider a few common sense recommendations for those who wish to use BP firearms for self-defense. Make sure you use a multi-shot gun such as a revolver. A misfire or multiple opponents makes this a good idea. Select a quality piece that is reliable. This, again, is common sense. And choose something of adequate caliber. A .44 caliber or larger satisfies my comfort zone in terms of BP handguns. Finally, know how to use your weapon in a stressful situation. Your life may depend upon it. Hopefully, we can all agree upon these suggestions.


Phantom Captain
March 7, 2008, 06:49 PM
Oh yeah Jamie C,

Those howdahs are definitely something! I would like one one day as well. Make mine a double flintlock though!! Although for the Howdah the percussion would probably be more sensible.

Still, one day I would love to have a double barrel flintlock shotgun. They are just too cool. Don't see too many of them too much these days. :cool:

Jamie C.
March 7, 2008, 09:12 PM
Obviously, some of our black powder enthusiasts have strong opinions about the self-defense utility of their "front stuffers".

What gave us away? :scrutiny: :D :p

Oh, one other thing to add to Tim's list: Consider having two or more BP guns handy. It virtually eliminates any reloading/firepower advantage a modern gun may have. ;)
( Remember, we're talking about a self-defense situation here, not a war or protracted battle. Stick to using belt-fed, artillery, and close air support for that stuff. ;) )


March 8, 2008, 03:14 AM
Timthinker, I agree with the last post you just made.
While I certainly hope I'm never involved in that type of situation, with all the stuff happening out there nowadays one just never knows. It sort of come's down to the luck of the draw. Hell, you can be sitting in a public place ordering a sausage and biscuit and a crazy idiot will come in and start killing people for no apparent reason.
A .44 has adequate stopping power. I would say more stopping power than one actually need's except that again, nowadays, they are all drugged up and half crazy to start with and sometimes you almost have to hit a major bone to decisively stop them.
I don't want to shoot anybody but by God I don't want anybody shooting me either.
I feel strongly that one should take care of his piece. By that I don't mean just boil it in a pan of water, dry it down and oil it and say: "Well, I'm ready"!!
Now, I agree to each his own and every man has the right to make his own decisions and every man has the right to his own opinions, and that include's me to.
I personally don't agree in the slightest with these people who spend their time and money trying to buy as many guns as they can, but it is their right.
I would rather have one gun that I can trust and depend on than to have 8 or 9 or 10 or 12 different guns that I really know nothing about.
For instance: "Hey man! I just got me a Pietta Remington .44! Damn! Now I got to get me one of those Colt 1851's! I think I want it in .36 caliber"!
Well, that's fine.. I just don't see it like that. First things first.
Okay, you bought a '58. Good, you'vd got a '58. It's look's nice and you really like the design and it feel's good in your hand. Now get the internal parts hardened up. Change barrels on it and get you one that's real accurate. Learn to take it apart and put it back together in all kind's of weather in daylight and darkness. Learn how to shoot it and load it under all conditions and in all kind's of positions. Practice, and then practice some more. The damn football game can wait. Someone will give you the score and there'll be re-play's all over television for the next 2 weeks anyway. Take the money you were going to put on the other gun and buy plenty of spare parts for the '58.
Now you'vd got something. Now you're getting your head and your ass wired together.
There's a world of difference between taking a 60 and hosing lead at a swarm of gooks trying to get over the wire at Con Thien as opposed to protecting your home against an unwelcome intruder. There's no real common ground between the two.
Make sure you have properly fitting caps. Make sure your powder is in good shape.
That .44 will fire. It will do it's part if you'vd done your part. That's a foregone fact that just can't be argued with and it will knock the living hell out of anybody it hits. It will hurt people. It will kill people. That's why it's called a gun.
After you'vd taken care of all of that then if you still want a '51 then go get it.
NOTE!! It's also a hell of a lot of fun for shooting tin cans and getting yourself a hog or a whitetail now and then....

Phantom Captain
March 8, 2008, 09:04 AM

Obviously Gentleman of the Charcoal you have never shot a '51 or '61 Navy in .36 because if you had you would definitely want one. More than wanting it you would HAVE one.

No sweeter pistol out there in my opinion. I understand your love of your Walker and your '58 but I'm telling you, that "little" .36 is just fine as can be. I love my .44's too but for me the .36 is the bees knees. They are the most naturally pointing pistols I've ever held.

All your points stand true of course and one can easily substitute .36 instead of .44 into your post above and it still is the truth. That .36 will kill you just as dead as I stated earlier too. Hehehe, let's all have a black powder caliber war now. Practice with any pistol, get good with it, hit where you aim and it WILL do the job. Granted the .44 is more powerful but don't knock the .36 too much. Lot's of dead men underground put there by Sam Colt's little .36.

It has a lot more pop than you would think too. And I ONLY use real black powder, Goex. Using your triple 7 would make it only more powerful. Not for me though, I have to stick to the real Holy Black.

Try one, you just might fall in love all over again.

And as Jamie C said, keep two handy, no need for reloads.


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