patches or lube in BP revolver ??


September 2, 2003, 11:15 AM
I am new to BP revolvers I have fired BP long guns but not revolvers. my question is can I use a patch with my .44 cal BP revolver it is a remake of a colt navy. I have talked with a very good friend that has built alot of BP weapons and he told me that I could use a lubed patch instead of greese. How would that effect the chance of chain fire? Just by the amount of greese that gets put into a cylender I thank that I would be cleaner to use a patch. But That is why I am posting the question here to get others points of view and experanices (sp??)


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Old Fuff
September 2, 2003, 01:53 PM
No! Don't use a patched ball in a revolver. Loading them is entirely different then a single-shot rifle or pistol.

The ball should be made out of "pure" lead and not alloyed with anything. It must be soft, and slightly larger then the chamber. You must also "seal the chamber" to prevent chain-fires (more then one chamber going off at one time). Too do this you may: (1) Put a lubricated wad (not patch) between the ball and the powder. Such wads are sold by black powder suppliers. (2) Wipe a little grease on top of the ball rather then use a wad. Crisco and pump grease will work, and commercial products are sold for this purpose.

Also be sure that any and all loaded chamber are capped. Otherwise firing one chamber off may ignite the other one(s). It is also a good idea to fire a cap on each nipple before you start loading at the start of a shooting session to clear out any oil or dirt that may be in the nipple.

September 2, 2003, 02:04 PM
Thnak you Old Fuff... thats is what I wanted to know. I am sorry for not using the correct termanology of a wad instead of patch. That was exactly what I was looking for. I thank that a lubed wad will be cleaner than grease. I went to the range sunday and thought that there had to be a better way to shoot it without getting all that grease on me and the smell was horrid. I did not remember my BP riffel smelling like that did. So should be able to pick-up pre-sized/lubed wads for my .44 and any BP shop?

oh.... when I load the rounds it will shave off a slight bit of the ball when I ram it into the cylender. I am told that it will do that to size the ball completely. if no shaveings are present that the ball may be too small. right ??

thanks for the help


September 2, 2003, 03:56 PM
Yep, the wads are the way to go! has Ox Yoke Wonder Wads for a very good price.

I don't think the grease over the bullet prevents "chain-fires", because nobody could explain to me how a spark could go behind a VERY tight fitting ball. I rather think that the caps are the problem, they don't fit too tight and often, I have to tweak them a bit to make them staying on the nipple (10's are to small, 11's are to large, RWS 1075 are a little loose but good for a nice price of over $ 5.00 for 100!!!).

The main reason for an oversized ball is to prevent a movement forwards during recoil and thus creating a dangerous gap between powder and ball.

The last owner's manuals for Uberti .44 and .36 calibers advise to use .454 resp. .380 balls for a tight fit. I used also .451 and .375 sizes without a problem.

I don't use caps to clear nipples or chambers, they are darn too expensive in comparison to the very much more complicated design of center fire primers. Before I go to the range, I clean the nipples and the chambers with rubbing alcohol. It works fine for me.

Good shooting! This stuff is addictive!

4v50 Gary
September 2, 2003, 05:17 PM
Concur with Rob W. Make sure your caps fit and pinch them just a tad when applying them onto the nipple.

BTW, I use corn meal to fill the gap between the ball & powder. With a proper sized ball (that leaves a shaved ring when compressed into the cylinder), it should be "airtight" and leave no space for a "spark" to jump in. Why lube? Makes cleaning easier and keeps fouling down.

Navy joe
September 2, 2003, 05:27 PM
I dunno, I've heard the cap theory of chain fire, but all I know is that during my first Bp range session I decided grease was too messy and stopped using it, promptly getting a chain fire. My guess is that there has to be an imperfection in the ball and some powder smeared down the side of the chamber. Never had a chainfire since, caps all fit very tightly.

Now I use Bore Butter and am throughly convinced on this stuff, that and Ballistol wipedowns have taken the mess out of cleaning for me.

However, Don't do what I did last week. 95+ degrees out and with a rather hot gun I decided I'd put some bore butter behind the ball to ease seating. Stuff was running out the nipples in about .2 second on the two chambers I tried. Capped 'em, popped 'em, waited 30 seconds and removed cylinder, filled the nipple with Bp and repeated the sequence, one chamber took six gos of this to clear, what a moron!

Old Fuff
September 2, 2003, 11:44 PM
Well I see I'm late ..... Again.

But anyway, you have most of the answers you need. Be aware that one of the biggest and best suppliers of black powder "everything" is located in Union City, TN. Go to: A super-thick catalog is only $5.00

The nipples are in grooves in the back of the cylinder to prevent cross-flash, but don't bet on it. You do want the caps to be snug. Experiment with some different brands and sizes and you'll soon know what's best on you're gun. Dixie Gun Works also has a full selection of extra nipples that will fit you're particular cylinder and they can tell you what caps to buy.

September 3, 2003, 12:48 PM
So just to make things a little more clear. does the grease and the caps fitten tight keep you from having a chain fire, or can you do one without the other. for exp: use a lubbed wad and no grease, or no wad and use just grease to fill the rest of the cylenrder. by the way do you have to fill the cylender to the top with grease or just enough to cover the ball? I was just woundering. in all exp above it is assumed that the caps are all tight i know from what that I have read here that I need to make sure of that from the start. I was having a descussion wih a friend that is going to start shooting a BP revolver and couldn't really tell him either way about what the grease did. I know that it will help in the cleaning but what other services does it provide. Does the lubed wad also help in the cleaning process. Sorry if I am asking to many questions but I have this flaw in me that I have to understand every aspect of my hobbbies sometimes to the extent of an obsession (sp??) :)

Old Fuff
September 3, 2003, 07:16 PM
A chain-fire may be caused by:

Loading the chambers, but leaving some uncapped, or using very lose-fitting caps. This is unusual, but it does happen. Therefore a cap should be "pushed" onto the nipple. If the cap is too small it will crack when you push it on to the nipple. If it's too lose it will go on with little or no resistance.

To insure that powder flash doesn't get around a ball on a second chamber something has to be used to seal the ball. You can put a wad between the powder charge and the ball, or you can put a little smear of grease over the front of the chamber after the ball has been seated. However you don't have too do both, just one or the other.

A correct powder charge is one where the ball will be positioned about a 1/16 to 3/32 inch below the face of the cylinder. Be sure to ram the ball down so it's against the powder, or wad if you use one. If you use a wad you have to subtract some powder so the ball will be correctly seated.

You may have to experiment a bit, but once you know the correct amount of powder for you're method of loading you can modify a powder flask to throw this exact charge. So long a you use black powder you can't overload the chamber because it will only hold so much.

September 8, 2003, 01:12 PM
I've got a copy of Colt's original instructions. The ring of lead by itself was supposed to be the seal that prevented chain fire. I use wads, ring of lead shaved off, and then grease on top of ball. Colt's original guns and the lead balls available then may have been made such that no other precautions were necessary then. After having owned a Pietta copy with the mouth of a couple of chambers narrower than inside the chamber, where the ball could roll (hence no tight seal inside with the lead), the more means of safety the better.

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