Do you use a patch in your revolver?


November 13, 2006, 02:07 PM
I am new to black powder pistol shooting and I've heard some say to use a patch, and more then a few have said they just put ball directly on top of powder. What do you do?

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Jacobus Rex
November 13, 2006, 02:16 PM
I like to charge each chamber, follow up with a filler material like "cream of wheat" and then seat the ball. Being a little cautious, I then grease over each ball as well.

Having said that, a lot of people like to use the "wonder wad" type wads between the powder and ball.

Oldtimers often just seated the ball over the powder and then greased over it. I never liked having only the grease, even if the ball is tight.

November 13, 2006, 02:21 PM
I've shot a grand total of 36 rounds out of my .36 cal 1851 Navy-Uberti, but in my vast exerience I have not used a patch. I put about 16gr of 777 in the cylinder, squeeze a ball down tight on it, cap it and let her rip. Ball always leaves a lead ring that shaves on the cylinder, indicating a tight fit.

Feels like a mousefart when it goes off. Fun little gun. Will be funner when I really learn where it shoots... Right now it flies all over the place, 18" groups at 25 yards. I may try conical bullets instead of balls once I use up the remainder of my 200 I currently have. Increasing the load a bit may help with accuracy as well, as most data I have indicates I can take the 777 up to 20gr with RoundBall.

Maybe a patch should be used, but I haven't gotten any yet. Maybe with my next Midway order I will get some. From what I understand, lots of folks back in the day never patched their loads.

Jim K
November 13, 2006, 02:26 PM
Patches are not used with revolvers or with military type rifle muskets. Patches are used with rifles of the "Kentucky" type. For modern guns, if in doubt, consult the maker.


November 13, 2006, 03:17 PM
I shoot an 1858 Pietta Remington and load with Powder....Lube Felt Wad ( Felt soaked in 40% Bees Wax, 40% Preserving Paraffin Wax and 20% Mutton Tallow.)
I then load a .457 lead ball. There is NO NEED for grease over the ball - there will not be any danger of a chain fire. Grease over the ball only leaves you with a messy gun!
Chain fires will only come from the back of the chambers and then only once a flood! DON'T WORRY ABOUT THEM - YOU HAVE MORE CHANCE OF WINNING THE LOTTERY!!!!!!!!!!!!

November 13, 2006, 03:27 PM
I cannot agree with Duncan about chainfires. I had one once with a Walker. It occurred when I loaded powder+ball and no filler or grease.

I agree that grease is not the way to go. I use a Wonder Wad under the ball and have never had another chainfire.

Wonder Wads are great. I recommend them.

FYI a wonder wad is not a patch. A patch wraps around the ball. The WW goes under the ball.

November 13, 2006, 03:45 PM
A patch such as is used in a single shot pistol or rifle will surely not work well in a revolver. The patch wrapped ball may not make it through the forcing cone of barrel in the same condition it was forced into the chamber. The smaller ball required by using the patch wil not engrave the barrel rifling well.
A wad as is described above is commonly (but not universally) used between the ball or conical and powder. The difference between a "patch" and a "wad" would be the patch covers the ball and engages the rifling where a wad is nominally bore diameter and follows the projectile out the barrel.
I think the use of grease over the ball serves more to lubricate the barrel than to protect against chain fire (although it would serve in that regard as well if firing an undersized or misshapened ball).
A wad is a much less messy way to carry a loaded revolver than one with over-ball grease but your lubricant is following the ball rather than preceding it.

November 13, 2006, 05:14 PM
I have shot over 100 rounds without lube, filler, or a wad as a test and didn't have a chainfire. The only chainfire I ever had came from the back, not the front. Using proper sized balls and quality ones that are truly round there shouldn't be a problem. One of my caps came off and let flame hit from the rear. Course if you are worried or want to be extra safe.

November 13, 2006, 06:22 PM
some people have tried patching the balls in their revolver chambers and found that it doesn't work well. Understandable why the do it. the instructions that come with Italian revolvers are not very good at all . the felt wads as discussed by Duncan of France work very well and will keep the barrel virtually free of fouling . Wonder wads help but are not nearly as effective as the stiff felt wads with the type of lubricant he mentions. I believe that over ball grease actually gums things up quicker than no lubricant at all. the bore fouls just as fast and a dry crust accumulates on the external surfaces of the revolver. balls that fit the chambers are not prone to chain firing. Not saying it will never happen as it may initiate from the rear of the chamber as mentioned above.-but it is uncommon, with the ball usually ( but maybe not always) departing the chamber at low speed.

4v50 Gary
November 13, 2006, 07:29 PM
Don't patch the ball. Use a filler or wad if you must, but don't patch (I use farina because it's old rancid stuff good only for filler).

Agree with DuncaninFrance regarding chain-fires. Elmer Keith suggested years ago that it was due to loose primers that moved when the gun recoiled that caused chain-fires. On another forum someone loaded his cylinders with powder (no balls) and then ran a torch over the mouth of the cylinder in an attempt to get them to chain-fire. No ka-bloom.

November 17, 2006, 09:53 PM
Speaking of primers, they are not all are the same. CCI tends to run slightly smaller than Remington but Remington has never failed me. I've had several misfires with the CCI. I use a #10 primer but pinch the skirt slightly so it won't slip on the nipple.

November 18, 2006, 08:17 AM
I'm a newbie when it comes to cap and ball pistols but from all I've read I'm using a wad. Plus I found the mother load of Frost King wool felt weatherstripping at the local Big Lots. A buck a pack for a 17FT roll. I bought all 20 packs they had. Slap cleaned em out for sure:eek: . I figured it would be better to let the other customers use the "other plastic weather stripping stuff":D

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