Loaded Revolver ?


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Skipper
July 16, 2008, 04:54 PM
Question guys. My grandson wants to know if it's ok to leave a percussion revolver loaded with black powder for a couple of days at a time with no ill effects, assuming the revolver is clean otherwise.
I told him I guessed it was alright cause I know Josie Wales didn't have to load up every time he ran into a yankee.
Is it ok or not?
Thanks,
Skip

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mykeal
July 16, 2008, 04:56 PM
Yes.

Voodoochile
July 16, 2008, 05:35 PM
Yup, Even though I have a nice .45 I tend to keep one of my Pietta 58' loaded for going out to the hunt club for scouting or what ever & if I see a mean looking stump or Yote out there I'd have it ready to shoot "sometimes I may not get to shoot it for maybe a month or so but she's never failed me yet." :D

GNLaFrance
July 16, 2008, 07:35 PM
Loaded black powder percussion guns that were stowed away in an attic for decades have been pulled out, capped and fired. BP is very stable as long as it's kept dry. If I loaded and capped one of my revolvers and let it sit in the locker for a year, I'd expect it to go BOOM when I took it out and dropped the hammer.

Snaggletooth
July 16, 2008, 11:36 PM
It wil shoot and doesnt erode the metal. I leave them loaded for six months at a time. I havent fired my "House Gun" in a couple of years but Im sure it will go boom.

mtngunr
July 16, 2008, 11:53 PM
The residue/fouling from BURNED powder is what's corrosive....salts are formed during combustion....and even those need moisture to cause corrosion....

.50cal
July 17, 2008, 01:05 AM
I shot the 1860 army snub that has been loaded and stored in my closet for 3 years.. all 5 went as expected, cleaned and reloaded:)

Smokin_Gun
July 17, 2008, 04:27 AM
Yes, Left my last one loaded over a year..No Problemo...

SG

Skipper
July 17, 2008, 10:11 AM
Thanks a lot fellows. I've been a shooter for 50 years (yike!), but since my grandson got into re-enacting I'm getting my first exposure to this nasty black stuff. He eats and sleeps BP, just like I do smokeless rifle and handgun.
The old apple don't fall far from the tree.

Skip

sundance44s
July 17, 2008, 10:28 AM
Careful Skipper ..he`ll out shoot ya with them old Black Powder pistols ..LOL.. you`ll be supprised at how well they shoot.

mainmech48
July 17, 2008, 10:37 AM
The biggest thing to take into consideration is the relative humidity. Genuine BP and most substitutes are very "hygoscopic", which means that they will readily absorb moisture from the air.

Given the degree of climate control in modern housing, if the chamber is adequately sealed at both ends by the projectile/wad and cap the chances are relatively small of having the charge rendered inert by moisture, but some degree of chance is there.

Back in the day, it's said the many "serious" C&B pistoleros, eg: J.B Hickok, fired all chambers, cleaned and reloaded their revolvers with fresh charges every morning - just in case.

mtngunr
July 17, 2008, 11:12 AM
Only the fouling is of concern....don't believe fresh powder is more hygroscopic than smokeless....the fouling salts readily absorb moisture and begin corrosion....dry, fouling won't do a thing, but you'd have to live in a very dry climate to have that of any help, then the fouling is very hard/caked-on.

dogrunner
July 17, 2008, 11:29 AM
Short periods of time outta be ok...........but if you live in an area of high relative humidity it's probably not wise to keep it stoked for an extended period.
I once left my '58 Army in that condition for over a year...when I decided to reload it in prep for a hunting trip I shot both cylinders and found that each had traces of light corrosion!
Now I'm pretty particular about my guns and always keep 'em in top notch shape, but prior to loading I also always clean the cylinder chambers with alcohol and apparently that's the problem in a humid climate, temperature changes will 'sweat' metal. Think about it, a week long hunting trip with high and low temp's & south eastern coastal humidity, then storing that piece in an ac'd home.........Anyway, I solved my problem by doing a really good clean out and not leaving the gun in that condition again.

B00SS
July 17, 2008, 11:35 AM
Someone should do the usual disclaimers here. This is why we treat every firearm as if it were loaded, in this case, it is. Keep these loaded firearms out of reach of the young'uns. Remember, they're very curious. Don't leave the hammer down on a loaded chamber. And just generally use some common sense here. Ya' hear?

scrat
July 17, 2008, 04:16 PM
heck i have two of my revolvers loaded now. no caps on them. find it makes it a lot quicker when im at the range for the first go around. i have had them for as long as a month. never longer than that as im always going to the range. never had any problems

mtngunr
July 18, 2008, 12:43 AM
"Now I'm pretty particular about my guns and always keep 'em in top notch shape, but prior to loading I also always clean the cylinder chambers with alcohol and apparently that's the problem in a humid climate, temperature changes will 'sweat' metal. Think about it, a week long hunting trip with high and low temp's & south eastern coastal humidity, then storing that piece in an ac'd home"

Alcohol is EXTREMELY hygroscopic, absorbing atmospheric moisture like nobody's business...by using alcohol, you're putting the sweat into the gun.

KiltedClaymore
July 18, 2008, 12:50 AM
well, i had mine loaded for about 6 months. took it out, all 6 went bang. seemed to hesitate before they went though. not long, just noticable. thing along the lines of :click: blink :BANG:

dstorm1911
July 18, 2008, 04:28 AM
I bought some Civil war guns in Joplin Missouri a few years ago that had been discovered hidden in the barn of an old family farm when it was being dismantled, one was an 1851 Colt, they had been hidden hastily as Union troops advanced into the area, wrapped in greased rags and stuck under a floor, 140 years and all cyl. fired no corrosion in cylinders, bores were a lil rough but not too bad, used to be pictures on the old Gunboards.com from back when I first got the guns before they moved.... I lost those pics on my old puter hard drive when it crashed but somebody may still have em around....

scrat
July 18, 2008, 08:09 PM
take some new pics thats worth seeing

Pulp
July 18, 2008, 09:03 PM
On a bet, a friend of mine dropped a loaded '51 Navy into a bucket of water and let it soak all night. All six fired the next morning. He won the bet.

I don't recommend the above, but it's nice to know you could.

mykeal
July 18, 2008, 09:10 PM
Shudder. That hurt.

scrat
July 18, 2008, 09:13 PM
ya i dont think i would be putting any of my guns in a bucket of water all night long

Voodoochile
July 18, 2008, 09:34 PM
ya i dont think i would be putting any of my guns in a bucket of water all night long

Agreed but on a serious note on the subject of being loaded & then happen to get wet.
Think it was 12 years ago, had my 60' Army with me on my dad's property working on the fence line when God decided that I needed a shower, my rig was on the ATV & since it wasn't too bad of a rain we kept going to finish the day, well evening fell & ofcorse realizing that I had forgotten about my trusty 60', before we left I shot off the 5 rounds in it to give it a good cleaning & it gave me BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM.

So yes I've had mine wet once & it still fired but again I wouldn't want to put it in a bucket of water to see if it'll get water logged.

Artigas
July 18, 2008, 10:43 PM
So how about keeping them loaded AND capped? I mean, Hickock didn't cap his guns every morning before firing them off.

dogrunner
July 18, 2008, 11:26 PM
When I said mine were loaded a year I guess I should have included the fact that they were also capped for the entire period.

Mtngnr: I know that, my purpose was to REMOVE all trace of oil so as to ensure proper ignition. Each chamber and nipple was wiped totally dry after the alcohol degrease.......my point was and is that temperature change alone can cause major rust problems. I remember when I was in Alaska that we used to leave our rifles outside because when you brought them in from multi sub zero temps they immediately bathed themselves in 'sweat' and those guns were oiled!

By the way, both cylinders I mentioned fired without a hitch.

Voodoochile
July 18, 2008, 11:28 PM
So how about keeping them loaded AND capped? I mean, Hickock didn't cap his guns every morning before firing them off.

Hickock Kept his 51 Navies ready to fire at a moments notice as did any one of that time period because with it not capped it'd be like it wasn't loaded at all "useless in a life or death situation of the time."

Whith my 58' or any that I keep loaded for club duties is allways capped on the chambers that are loaded, that's how you keep moisture from entering the nipple area of the chamber.

Artigas
July 19, 2008, 04:58 PM
There you go. Thanks for answering my question, guys.

PRM
July 28, 2008, 08:13 PM
The powder will not degrade any faster in the cylinder than it does in the factory container. I am very meticulous in cleaning my revolvers as well as loading them. I keep 2 loaded in the house all the time. I usually fire, clean and reload them at least every 6 months or so. I have gone longer at times. Been doing this for over 30 years now, and I can honestly say I cannot remember a misfire on the initial charges at the range. I have had the typical problems (not often though) of a cap dropping in the action after firing. But a failure to fire due to powder - never.

Having said that, I will add my guns are pretty much kept in ideal conditions.
Exposure of the powder to dampness would be my only concern, more so prior to loading (that will be obvious). Your powder is not going to fail unless it is exposed to moisture.

I dug a can of powder out of a locker that I had forgotten about, been close to a year ago now. It had to date back to the early 90's. Still shot good.

I also shoot black powder cartridges. I have some of those that are several years old and they are as reliable as any smokeless cartridge.

The residue after firing is what is really corrosive. Never have had a problem with the unfired powder.

Short of fording creeks or going swimming with your gun, you most likely will be wanting to go to the range long before the load components go bad.

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