New to black powder.


July 16, 2008, 07:15 PM
Okay, so I just got myself an 1851 Navy in .44 cal

I also got a Lee mould for .451 ball.

What I am wondering, is what what are the maximum grains of blackpowder, and pyrodex that I can use in this? It's a Pietta.

And what are the best sources of lead for lead balls? I don't think wheel weights would be soft enough.


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July 16, 2008, 07:49 PM
As far as Lead goes, you can used Adhesive wheel weights, they are 98% Pure Lead with only .25% Antimony & 1.75% trace elements like Tin, copper, silver & although a little harder than store bought Swaged Lead balls they work just fine.

The amount of powder depends on the material of the frame that you have.

Brass Frame: 20-25gr. FFFG Maximum
Steel Frame: 30-35gr. FFFG Maximum

A brass framed revolver will tend to stretch over time with prolonged use of heavy loads that is why it is suggested that you stick with 25gr. & less to keep it shootable for many years, but if you have a Steel frame then the maximum loads can safely be loaded with not issues.

July 16, 2008, 07:57 PM
Oh, man, are you gonna get bit bad. You're going to love shooting the Holy Black Powder.

Okay, I think 35 grains is the max. recommended charge for your .44 (someone will come along and correct me if it isn't). I confess I don't measure for my revolvers. I fill up a small scoop and pour the powder in up to about 3/16" from the top of the cylinder, put the ball on and ram it down.

Best sources of lead is plumber's lead or roof flashing. You want dead soft, i.e., pure lead.

How the caps fit on the cones (the tapered part of the nipples) is important. Get No. 10 and No. 11 size caps, preferably RWS (German) ones. Figure out which ones fit best when you gently push it down onto the cone. You want a tight fit that needs a bit of encouragement.

Once you know which size is closer to a tight fit, remove the nipples and chuck the threaded part into a variable-speed drill. Slowly grind down the cones with fine sandpaper, emery cloth or a fine file. Remove very little at a time, just a bit more than if you were polishing it. Try a cap on it. You want the fit to be snug, not tight. Keep polishing it until you get the cap to fit snugly. Rinse and repeat for all the nipples.

If you're going to shoot it a lot, I recommend getting a set of Treso beryllium alloy nipples.

July 16, 2008, 08:57 PM
OK. First, you need pure lead for round balls. Wheel weights are usually too hard. Try a plumbing supply house or a scrap metal dealer.

As to loads, you can't overload a percussion revolver unless you use smokeless powder or (maybe) Null B priming powder. But you will find 15-20 grains of powder, topped by Cream of Wheat, more pleasant.

I'd stay away from the current supply of RWS caps. They work fine, but the caps being imported today are very hot...and put out a flash that is distracting. I wish they would import the standard-strength caps again.

July 16, 2008, 09:44 PM
Please let me clear something up that I said.

I agree that Pure Lead should be used & if you can acquire it, it would make loading a little easier but like I mentioned, Adhesive Wheel Weights can be used because it is the closest to pure Lead & they are more redily available at every auto repair shop that sells tires not Clip on Wheel Weights because they are only 96% Lead & the rest is junk that'll make them nearly impossible to load in a C&B revolver.

July 16, 2008, 09:49 PM
Get No. 10 and No. 11 size caps, preferably RWS (German) ones.
The only RWS caps I've ever seen are numbered '1075'. Is that No. 10 or No. 11? And what's the number on the other size?

July 16, 2008, 09:54 PM
if its the cabelas brass frame confederate '51, i would under charge it so it doesnt break so quickly. I went through 4 of them before cabelas let me pick something else out.
i was using 20g fffg pyrodex p.

July 16, 2008, 11:28 PM
I think the first thing you should do is not to open the smelter box. You may need to return it. The reason I'm saying this is I own several Pietta and all in .44 caliber. They all take a 454 round ball. Id try to find someone with a .454 and try it and a .451. If loading wont shave a ring its to small. 20-25 grains is plenty for a brass frame. If you find an old brass frame and look at the recoil shield just beyind the cylinder you may see the imprint of the cylinder in the brass. That is what hot loads does for you.

July 17, 2008, 04:56 AM
First off congrads on the New Rev...and shootin' The Holy Black. If you can get it easily buy FFFg Black powder rather than a substitute. For me it ain't the same without it:O)
On the lead I just bought 40 lbs of Soft Lead Ingots to my door $50. Amounts and prices very...Go to eBay, type in search soft lead.
Oh and the Lee mold .451 ball...makes .452" balls and this is a good thing work great in my 1860 Army Pietta, and 1858 Rem Target Pietta. .454" balls also work in both.

Now go Make Smoke,


July 17, 2008, 07:36 AM
It's a steel frame. 1851 Navy Civilian model. I went out and shot it, used a 25 grain load.

I wonder if it would take a 30 grain charge from the preformed pyrodex pellets?

I don't know how the BP to Pyrodex thing works. Is one hotter then the other?

I checked while shooting it, and the .451 balls had a thin ring of lead shaved off when loaded.

Here it is, a picture I took, with my other guns of course.

July 17, 2008, 10:19 AM
Go to hodgdon powders site they have info for loading all their powders on there.

July 17, 2008, 10:25 AM
Pyrodex P is hotter than real black goex 3f ..powder ..The pyrodex RS is closer to real black ..The swiss powder is hotter than Goex , I haven`t tried shulzen powder ..I have tried the KIK 3f and it`s hotter than Goex . Those pyrodex pellets ..leave them on the shelves for the inline shooters won`t like them in your pistols .

July 17, 2008, 10:50 AM
The only RWS caps I've ever seen are numbered '1075'. Is that No. 10 or No. 11? And what's the number on the other size?

Those RWS numbered '1075' are #11's.
I never seen RWS #10's available for sale anywhere.

These are their newer '1075 Plus' which are their hotter #11's.
It's hard to find the standard RWS 1075's anymore.

Mike 56
July 17, 2008, 11:46 AM
Pyrodex measures the same as black powder by Volume but not by weight Pyrodex is lighter by weight. So if you are weighing your chagres 25gr of Pyrodex would be too much.


July 17, 2008, 12:01 PM
Weight vs. volume ..some sites list Black powder and subs weight instead of volume ..I beleive the manufactures do also on these Itilian made pistols ...It`s just confuseing on the loading data , I called one of the powder manfactures a few years ago , because the data they were showing just didn`t figure right to my loads , this is what I was told by them . I`ve always used a good volume measure for my cartridge loading and loose powder in cap and ball ....

July 17, 2008, 12:14 PM
I generally load as much powder as will fit in the cylinder, and allow for a lube pill and ball.

Generally use swiss powder. Havent had any issues. Also I tend to shoot the 1860 and Remington at 50 Meters, and the walker at 100. Makes things interesting. :D

July 17, 2008, 12:42 PM
If your new to BP or not new this site is handy...I'm usin' right now to explain and also refresh my memory.

Cool Site:cool:


July 17, 2008, 12:58 PM
It`s a good site Smokin ..I used it alot when I first started loading my 45`s with black powder and subs ....I even called 777 and told them ,look your site says no fillers ...what the heck is a guy to do ..a 45 colt case full of 777 is a bit much to my likeing ...They said okok you can use a filler.. BUT ..don`t use a loose filler like cornmeal and such , use something firm and more solid like cardboard . I tried it and it worked fine ..but alot of trouble reloading . I`m through with the subs now .:banghead:

July 17, 2008, 04:12 PM
First of all welcome to the addiction. i have an 1851 .44. One of the best shooters i have. Shoots really good. i usually shoot 24 grains of Goex. As far as being brass. Well i probably have around 500 + rounds through mine. When i got it i measured the chambers. Figured out .452 was good. I have been using .452 ever since without any problems.

Voodoochile is correct stick out wheel weights is almost pure lead. I have also purchased Pure lead off of ebay. i usually buy in 50-60lbs bulk. You just need to test the lead when you get it. Pure lead should pretty much dent if you stick your finger nail in it. Should be able to scratch it too. If you cant run your finger across it making a scratch or a slight dent then its usually not pure lead. Any how again welcome to the addiction

July 17, 2008, 06:49 PM
Sundance I used that 777 ffg, not the fffg much hotter..and broke that 1860 off at the frame pins w/ 28gr. in a C&B...but for a filler that is loose and worked for me is somnething Wayne/Rifle sent to me called Puff-Lon. Looks like fffg BP but if I remember correctly is a granular graphite filler. Can use that and or card or not card.
Anyway jus' passin' that along,


July 18, 2008, 08:40 AM
Smokin I was useing the 2f 777 in them 45 `s I loaded what a kick a 44 mag ...The heavy 250 bullets just made it that much worse ...Last week I stuffed the rest of the 777 in some Schofield rounds still under the 250 gr bullets ..25 grs of the 777 and they still are too stout ...hurt my hands to shoot them .

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