Getting my first BP gun Uberti 1860 Army


July 25, 2008, 12:47 AM
So as stated in the title I'm going to get my first BP gun tommorow. Here's the link to the order page on Cabela's website:

The starter kit that it comes with includes the following:

nipple wrench
powder measure
2-oz. bottle of Cabela's Black Powder Pistol Lube
powder flask
30 lead roundballs
30 felt powder wads

So after doing a bit of reading around here, that seems like a pretty decent deal, and that it's got all the extras covered except a nipple pick. A loading block/stand seems like a decent investment too. Anything else I'll be wanting?

Powder recommendations? From my reading here 3F seems to be more accurate? I'm mainly after something that's going to shoot well, and not break the bank. Also anyone know what size caps for the this particular firearm?

Once I get the sucker home, what's the process to get it range ready? With a new modern pistol, it's patch the bore/cylinders if applicable, wipe out any crud in the gun, a bit of oil and off you go. Is that basically the same here?

I know one can pre-load cylinders (hence why you can get spare cylinders, which are on the list later down the road). What's the process to transport a loaded cylinder? I'm assuming uncapped, and something over the end to keep everything where it's supposed to be. Is it better if you're going to pre-load to transport it in the gun, or off the gun?

Next the helpfull video on Cabela's website on how to load the pistol has nothing on what to do with the wadding. Over the charge, over the bullet, both?

Lastly cleaning, do most of you guys just go soap and hot water? I'm going to get an old stock pot from Goodwill and use it to boil water for cleaning. Are there better options?

Finally I've been using wax bullets in my modern wheel guns for practice, is that possible in a BP revolver?

Thanks for all the help, realised I should have posted this sooner, but got the bug and found a good deal.


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July 25, 2008, 12:54 AM
One quick thing, Cabela's black powder revolvers are Piettas, not Ubertis, except for their Colt 1849. You may do some searches in this forum regarding Pietta vs Uberti, you can read many opinions.

July 25, 2008, 01:02 AM
Now to try and help out a little, I too am a begginer and here's all I can add:

I use 777 FFFg powder, which is more powerful than regular BP so you have to reduce loads 15% according to the manufacturer. The good thing is that so far is really seems to be very clean. That may be because I use lubed felt wads, which go over the powder, under the ball. I pour the powder in, then seat the wad with my finger, then seat the ball and ram it in.

On your "shopping list" I would add the bore brushes, but perhaps you have some of those already?

And reguarding cleaning, complete takedown and washing with a little soap seems to be the common advice.

Hope that helps some!

July 25, 2008, 01:23 AM
Hmm interesting, the tag when I went there today said Uberti. Regardless it's a good looking pistol and felt good in my hand :)

Check on 15% lower if using 777. What's a good baseline load to start with?


July 25, 2008, 01:39 AM
You're right! it IS very interesting. As far as I've seen Ubertis are closer to the $300 price tag without any accessories (just look at that 1849 pocket).

If you want you could find a way to double check the maker and I'm sure a more seasoned member can help.

Oh and make sure to double check the sticky posts at the top of the page.

July 25, 2008, 02:02 AM
I wouldn't waste my $ on the starter kit, every bit of it is junk. I would take the extra $40 and buy the spare cyl. ( or spend it on a good powder measure ( with a funnel, a couple of nipple wrenches (, box of 100 balls (, pack of 100 wads (, and a .45 cal. brush.

Mike 56
July 25, 2008, 03:04 AM
If you want to save some money on the starter kit here's what you need to get started.

Nipple wrench

funnel cap for powder

powder i like real black if they don't have it try Pyrodex it measures the same as black powder by volume.

Buy one tin #10 caps one tin of #11 caps the #10 caps will probably be tight the problem with caps being too tight and not seating down far enough on nipple the cap can be touching or to close to the cylinder backing plate which can cause a chain fire on recoil and the #11s will probably fit loose if you give the #11s a good squeeze you can make them fit.

A box of .454 balls

Gun oil and a can of W-D 40

can of Crisco

357 mag bore brush for a patch jag and a 45bore brush

small paper clip makes a good nipple pick

a small paint brush and tooth brush for cleaning

powder measures 38sp case 23gr, 357mag case 26gr, 7.62x39 case 32gr

tube of antisease

cleaning, i like to clean with Windex or windshield fluid and rinse in hot water dish soap and water is also fine. dry well then blow dry. spray W-D 40 to displace water wipe down and re oil with gun oil. Just be sure to remove the oil from the inside of the barrel and cylinder with rubbing alcohol before shooting again. use pipe cleaners to clean nipples and put antisease on the threads before putting the nipples back in the cylinder.


July 25, 2008, 04:04 AM
Jenrick, First off do it right and get some fffg Black Powder the real stuff...will save you alot of trouble. Use wads , Lube Pills , Crisco , olive oil and beeswax, mixed with Parafin(Lube Pills).
If you do use Hogdon 777 use the ffg it is 15% hotter than fffg Black Powder by volume...fffg 777 is hotter still and per Hogdons intructions DO NOT use any filler or wads between Powder(777)and Ball...look it up on the Hogdon site. Says it's a potential hazard. Broke my 1860 using 28gr of 777 ffg.
Get Powder, the right size balls .454 if your not sure, make sure they are tight and shave a ring a lead when loaded. Seat the ball tight on the powder. Get the caps that stay on the cones. A good fit. Then let er go and have fun...oh yeah have a real small screw driver in your pocket to get spent caps off sometimes.


July 25, 2008, 09:35 AM
Let's see, loading, try some 454 balls, Goex FFF 30grns. will be a good place to start. Caps, I like Remington #10, if not Remington try CCI #11, the CCI #10 will probally be too small. Use either a lubepill or feltwad between the powder and ball.

Cleaning, I don't think you need to boil water, just use it hot out of the fauscet with dish detergent. Oil, use TC borebutter or olive oil, stay away from regular gun oil in the cylinder and barrel. After washing in the sink, just dry it down with a cloth and then use a blowdryer.

The first thing you need to do is get some screwdrivers made to use on gun screws. If you don't you will mess the screws up and it looks like hell. Don't over tighten the screws and the nipples, it is not neccesary, just snug them down. Use some anti-seize grease on the nipples and just snug them in the cylinder. You can find some screw drivers that are shaped right at the auto parts store, I picked up one there that I use on most of the screws in all my revolvers.

Before you start shooting, take the gun apart, and clean the factory gunk and grease out of it, learn how it goes together. Take it apart and put it together 2 or 3 times.

The 1860 is going to be 9 to 12 inches high at 25 yds. so don't freak out, I think they are made to be dead on at 75 yds. Safety first, then have fun!

July 25, 2008, 11:41 AM
Nothing I can add to the very good advice above. Welcome to the wonderful world of percussion revolvers!

July 25, 2008, 03:00 PM
Thanks for all the advice. My wife's great grandmother passed on this morning, so I have to put this on hold for the moment. I will post pictures and a range report when I do get back to it though :)


Mike 56
July 25, 2008, 03:05 PM
Jenrick, sorry for your loss.


July 26, 2008, 12:22 AM
Congratulations on the 1860 Army. Cabela's mail order 1860's are Pietta's, but their Stores may also carry the UBERTI. I've heard rumors anyway. I lilke them both.

Sorry to hear of the passing of a loved one.

July 26, 2008, 11:51 AM
I was in a Cabela's in Austin last weekend...all theirs were Piettas except for the Walker, which of course Pietta doesn't offer.

They did have a lot of the models that are "out of stock" on the web site, though.

July 26, 2008, 11:17 PM
Sorry for your loss.

I do hope you enjoy your '60 as much as the rest of enjoy ours. Everyelse has given excellent advice, but here's something no one else has mentioned.
Get a length of aquarium tubing at a pet supply store. Cut pieces a bit longer than the nipples, and place over them. Then you can dry fire to your heart's content without possible damaging nipples.
Cut pieces just a hair shorter than your percussion caps, and place caps in the tubing. It makes great cap keepers. Spent caps will not fall off and jam your gun, or fall down between the grip and your palm. OUCH! That's happened to me at a couple of cowboy shoots.

July 31, 2008, 01:55 PM
Well got back to it today, and picked up my 1860 Army, and I was incorrect it is a Pietta. Going to be out in the garage giving it a good first cleaning, and going to the range with it tonight :)

One question, they were out of FFFg pyrodex, so I went ahead and got FFg. The sales guy said it wouldn't make a major difference, and from what I read it shouldn't cause any problems. That sound right or do I need to get a can of FFFG tonight before I hit the range. They also only had #11 caps, so we'll make those work, fortunately as the wife used to be a professional candle maker I've got more bees wax then a bee keeper.

If anyone has any suggestions or hints for the range let me know I'll check back by before I head out tonight.

Thanks to everyone for the condolences, things like that make me glad this was the first firearms board I ever got into.


Mike 56
July 31, 2008, 02:46 PM
Give the caps a good squeeze and they will work fine. When using Pyrodex RS in a revolver start out with 30gr on you black powder measure or a 7.62x39 case.


July 31, 2008, 03:11 PM
If anyone has any suggestions or hints for the range let me know I'll check back by before I head out tonight.

Safety Glasses! - spent caps are sharp and nasty little buggers! … usually they just ‘pancake’ but occasionally can fly off the nipple.

Let us know how you get on. I’m about to order another BP Revolver (I have a 51 Navy in .36 and a beautiful Dragoon) and I just can’t decide between a Remmie 58 and a 60 Army so I’ll look forward to your range report.

Have fun and sorry for your loss.

July 31, 2008, 03:19 PM
You got some good info on the thread - some are personal preference some are pretty general. I would add a couple of points.

30 ball and 30 wads, save yourself some postage and buy larger quantities. You start shooting, you will wear the delivery guy out.

You might want to consider casting your own. Cabelas is going to charge you $13.99 per hundred on the balls. You can buy cast balls from Dixie Gun Works for $8.50 per hundred. Or cast them yourself for a couple of bucks. Leaves more money for powder, caps and wads.

Have fun and welcome to the world of black powder.

July 31, 2008, 03:19 PM
You were told correctly - there won't be a MAJOR difference using ffg instead of fffg. Just don't load full chambers and you'll be fine.

July 31, 2008, 06:48 PM
All right after helping the wife out with a side project, I finally got it all cleaned up and ready. Took a bit to figure out exactly how to get the barrel off to take the cylinder off, the instruction to "remove the wedge and then barrel," leaves a bit to be desired.

Things went fine getting it taken down to major groups, didn't go all the way down with. Figure I'll save that for the cleaning tonight.

Got my powder flask loaded, my powder measure calibrated, and my capper filled with caps. I'm grinning like an idiot and I'm going to have to force myself to shoot my SD gun first just so I do it rather then burn powder all night :)


July 31, 2008, 11:56 PM
Okay, anyone selling a cap lock rifle? Gonna need one of those now. Also going to need a SAA style something or other in BP, a couple of flintlocks, a Walker of course... I'm gonna need a bigger safe.

Had a blast. Started out with 25grs of Pyrodex FFG/RS, almost no recoil. Shoots about 1' to 1.25' high at 15 yds, about what I expected. Went up to 30, then 35 which seemed to be about right. Nice righteous boom when the trigger is pull, big cloud of smoke, gout of flame from the muzzle, and a good grouping. Moved back to 25 yds from there. Put about 15 balls down range, and had way to much fun doing it. I'll try and post a pic of the group later, but shot about as well as I can hold with any other pistol at those ranges. Shoots high and about 6" right.

Only problem was a spent cap sticking to the hammer, and the hammer not popping the next cap. Suggestions? Also I'm guessing I need to file the hammer notch to get the POA shifter horizontally to get it match POI?

Off to do some cleaning now, doesn't look like it's going to be to big of an ordeal. Not nearly as bad as Uncle Sams M16A2 from the look of it (and no armorer handing it back to me telling me that there is carbon in the gas tube).

Overall way to much fun. Now to do some research on making my own balls, wads, lube etc.


August 1, 2008, 01:05 AM
jenrick, this might have been said but I'll repeat it. Remove all of the nipples clean and check that they are clear and then re-install them using an anti-sieze compound sparingly. The best time to do this is before you ever shoot the gun.

August 1, 2008, 01:06 AM
Did both Pancho, first time I've ever used a "nipple wrench" :)


August 1, 2008, 09:20 AM
Jenrick wrote: Only problem was a spent cap sticking to the hammer, and the hammer not popping the next cap. Suggestions? Also I'm guessing I need to file the hammer notch to get the POA shifter horizontally to get it match POI?

Sorry - forgot to mention to take a good pair of small long-nosed pliers to pull off stubborn caps from nipples and ‘crevasses’

Great to see that you had such a good time.

August 3, 2008, 11:24 AM
Glad you didnt use 777...........It will ruin a Colt type percussion revolver quick if you use too much............I shot the equivilent of 22 grns in a 36 Pietta Colt for just 2 cylinders and was elated with the 1100 fps velocity until I took the gun apart and the cylinder pin was wobbling in the frame. So if you ever do use 777 in your 44 . Use a reduced load..........................Bob

August 3, 2008, 12:34 PM
Yeah you dont want to use 777 but if you do, reduce about 15%

August 7, 2008, 08:57 PM
Well after I did a take down and cleaning, I managed to lose one screw. Anyone know exactly who/where to contact to get a replacement screw. It's the screw that just fits into the frame over the hand, doesn't appear to hold anything in place, just fill a hole in the frame. I'm going to go scour my garage some more, wish me luck.


August 7, 2008, 10:52 PM
Here's a link, but I don't think you'll like the cost (it's item 42 at the bottom of the page):
VTI Gun Parts - Pietta 1860 Army (
$3 for the screw and $4.75 for shipping. Total $7.75:what:

For a screw that does absolutely nothing, and you won't be able to find it in your miscellaneous box.

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