BFR revolver for Blackpowder?


October 13, 2006, 08:29 PM
The BFR revolver, by Magnum Research, comes in a whole series of chamberings and among those is the classic 45-70 cartridge.
This gun is made for smokeless powder but I wonder, since I am a serious blackpowder enthousiast, if I could shoot the 45-70 loaded with blackpowder as well in this revolver. As far as I understood the rifling in the barrels of blackpowder guns is cut deeper to leave space for blackpowder deposits?
Would shooting blackpowder in this gun present any problem?

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October 13, 2006, 08:34 PM
Welcome to THR :)

Interesting question!! I have a BFR in 45-70 and love it! But load only smokeless loads.

Now, a member here, Gewehr98 is very well versed in loading BP loads of 45-70 for his Ruger #1 IIRC and could maybe comment re some aspects.

I would think however - that BP loads should be at very least perfectly safe from a pressures POV - but then comes the question of multiple shots and fouling effects on pressures.

I would be inclined to get advice from Magnum Research probably.

Plastic Cowboy
October 15, 2006, 12:07 PM
Thats an interesting question, I have also wondered if you could for instance, shoot BP loaded .45 long colts in something like a Smith and Wesson 460 XVR. I wonder if the fouling would quickly turn this modern revolver into a very expensive billy club??

Burt Blade
October 15, 2006, 08:48 PM
Black powder cleaning is totally different thant modern powder cleaning. Hoppe's #9 will barely touch BP fouling. Hot soapy water works wonders.

Almost any modern revolver will fire six BP rounds. If you know what you are doing, that number goes up quite a bit. If you do not understand the method of BP cleaning, and the need to do it right away, do not bother trying BP.

For those of you who have a pile of old corrosive "modern" ammunition, the BP cleaning method will remove all the corrosive residue in your firearm. You might need to follow up with Hoppe's #9 to get out the nitro fouling.

Tom Bri
October 15, 2006, 09:32 PM
Interesting. Just a week or two ago my brother and I loaded up some .38 specials with pyrodex. No problems with the 20 or 30 we shot. He had the cleanup job though, and reported that it was pretty nasty.

A while back we tried a 1911 .45 with pyrodex, shot about 50 with no failures. I did the cleaning and really had to go at it. But it worked no problem. We shot at night, and the flame was spectacular.

The .38 special I believe was originally a BP round. By the way, penetration was increadible. Poor that is. It penetrated an empty plastic bottle and about one inch of rotten wood. Flat-nosed solids, don't know how many grains.

My feeling is that just about any gun will 'work' with BP, for a while. Just do BP cleanup afterwards!

We didn't measure powder except by eye, enough to seat the bullet with a bit of compression, not much.

I would like to know, is there any risk of overpressure with BP? Don't know and would like to.

highlander 5
October 15, 2006, 11:25 PM
if you got a SS revolver and shoot BP remove grips use dish washer nice VERY hot water should do a good job of cleaning pistol Just don't tell the wife:what: :what: :cuss: :cuss: :cuss: :cuss:

October 15, 2006, 11:30 PM
Shooting BP is not a big deal..........until you forget to clean it.:banghead:

October 16, 2006, 12:09 AM
It was dirty, sooty, and a kick in the pants. Accuracy wasn't really bad, all things considered. Lots of flash and smoke, which tended to get me sideways looks from the indoor shooting range. (My bad) I don't know what the cylinder/forcing cone gap is like on a BFR, but I didn't have too many problems with my stainless 696 and cylinder binding from the fouling. It was fairly soft and scraped off the cylinder face against the forcing cone as I fired each round.

Cleanup wasn't as bad as I expected, but it was easy to see where the BP fouling was against the stainless steel, so hot soapy water was the order of the day... ;)

Just remember, no air space between the bullet and black powder. Use a wad or lube cookie, between the BP and bullet. BP doesn't like any gaps, and you risk a ringed chamber or worse if you don't pack things full.

October 16, 2006, 12:49 AM
I have a small .22 short revolver that I shot some .22 black powder blanks with and I really ended up wishing that I didn't because of the BP fouling that was left behind. The double action cylinder isn't removable and it took way too long to clean it up. I don't think that I will ever do it again even if it was a single action revolver, especially because I came across an Italian starter pistol at a gun show. That piece already had an accumulation of black powder fouling present in the barrel from the previous owner, but because it's made out of an alloy other than steel, BP shouldn't be as harmful to it. I bought it so my kids would be able to shoot some blanks out of it like a cap gun...:D

October 16, 2006, 02:28 PM
Thanks for all the reactions.
A guy at my shooting club has let me shoot his Ruger single action Super Blackhawk on BP, it worked well actually. Guess one can say shooting BP loads in any modern revolver or pistol is not a problem. The long cleaning sessions afterwards are identical to regular BP guns. All have to be cleaned, rather quickly after the shooting session, to prevent corrosion.
The pressure build-up of BP is slower and not as high as smokeless so I do not believe there would be any problem in that regards either.
My choice is made and, if all goes well, I will own a BFR in 45-70 somewhere next year :D

Plastic Cowboy
October 16, 2006, 04:08 PM
Well when you do put some full house smokeless handloads into that BFR make sure you double up on the ear protection and hang on tight....that thing will really be a handful!!!

October 16, 2006, 04:29 PM
A few more month's to go before I can get my (modern) gun license. Gun ownership is quite a bit more restrictive here than in the U.S.
At the moment have a model 1848 Dragoon and a M1777 .69 flintlock musket. I'm just a sucker for big BP guns.
As far as I know the BFR is the biggest single action revolver available and chambered in 45-70 it is the most logical next step in a big BP flash and kaboom.
It is nice it'll do smokeless as well since I shoot on an indoor range...

Gaucho Gringo
October 17, 2006, 11:17 PM
I believe the .38 was one of the cartridges that were designed to sold as a smokeless powder load and reloaded with black powder if one wished to. There were several other cartridges during the black-smokeless transition period that this is true of.

Tom Bri
October 20, 2006, 12:37 AM
Gauch Gringo, that is really interesting, about the .38 Special being designed as a compromise smokeless/BP round. I wonder what marketing genius came up with that? And the bastard round is still around today.

I remember the first time I handled 9mm and .38 together. I asked why such similar rounds were so different in case volume. The answer I got was that .38 was a holdover from late BP days.

Now I need to get me a stainless .38, so I can go to town with bp .38s.

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