Have a pound of FFFFg Goex, safe loads for 1860 Army and/or 45 Colt?


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Hammerdown77
April 4, 2012, 09:09 PM
Howdy fellers,

I've decided to throw myself into this black powder madness and ordered an 1860 Army from Cabela's today. Also, I picked up a pound of FFFg and another pound of FFFFg, both Goex. I have the rest of the necessary accessories coming from Dixie Gun Works.

I was hesitant to get the FFFFg powder, but the store owner thought that the one pound can of FFFg was "not completely full" so he gave me both cans for roughly the price of one. He also told me that yes, I could load revolvers with the FFFFg.

I have seen some loads for the 44 cal cap and ball guns using a .451" 138 grain ball with FFFFg in the Lyman book. Have any of you tried these loads? Do these loads require a felt wad between the ball and the powder? I did not purchase wads, I was just going to seat the ball on the powder and fill the space above the cylinder with lube.

I am also planning to load 45 Colt cartridges to shoot in a Ruger Vaquero and maybe my Cimarron. Can you use FFFFg in these, with a felt wad and filler (like Cream of Wheat) perhaps?

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FreddyKruger
April 4, 2012, 10:01 PM
FFFFg is usually only used for the pan in flintlocks or even those little .22 pocket pistols. itd be a good excuse to get one ;)

not saying you cant, its just not the norm. you get increased pressure and velocity, but i wouldnt use it since its FFg and FFFg is what everyone uses and its the easiest to get round here too.

are you reading the Lyman BP Handbook? i had a quick squizz thru mine and didnt see any FFFFg load data at all, even for the .32 cals...?

Pete D.
April 4, 2012, 10:05 PM
FFFFg powder is most often used to prime flintlocks. Despite the Lyman data, 4Fg is not normally used as a main charge in any firearm.
I just checked through another BP load book and there was not a single load using 4Fg.
The good news is that if you use it with a flintlock, you will have enough priming powder for a looong time.

Hammerdown77
April 4, 2012, 10:09 PM
This is from the 10th printing, 1994.


=================================================
44 Cal. Pistol with 8" bbl.
-------------------------------------------------
.451 Round Ball, 138 grains, no patch, G-O powder
FFFg FFFFg
19 gr. 706 fps 772 fps
22 gr. 752 797
25 gr. 805 868
28 gr. 885 881
31 gr. 933 859
33 gr. 979 940

Busyhands94
April 4, 2012, 10:21 PM
I think if you wanted to use it you should start with small loads. For .45 Colt I think you'll be fine, especially in a Ruger. From what I've heard Ruger revolvers are built to be very strong. You shouldn't be hurting anything with blackpowder, probably the worst that can happen is you could get it dirty.

Levi

Pulp
April 4, 2012, 10:43 PM
Interesting that the velocities reversed as the loads increased.

Skinny 1950
April 5, 2012, 12:55 AM
I was loading .45 Colt with Goex FFFG and tried filling the case enough that the bullet just compressed the powder a bit when seated. This load produced a lot of smoke and flame but used a lot of powder so I trimmed it back to 25 grains and filled the rest of the case with nitro cards from Track of the Wolf.. so the the bullet compressed the cards and powder. This load was almost the same power as the full case.
You could mix the 3F and the 4F to use it up then stick to 3F after all the 4F is gone.

BCRider
April 5, 2012, 01:00 AM
You don't really NEED any felt or CoW or anything. But it does help fill the back with smaller loads. I know that with my own .44's I settled in on 30 grains of FFFg and nothing but powder ball and some lube. On the Remington 1858 Uberti clones this makes for a pretty deeply seated bullet. But then so far I've only used them for some cowboy action days. When I actually get around to doing a day for accuracy shooting I'll likely try some felt wads and filler to seat the ball out further and closer to the end face.

To both lube and seal the ball since they do seat so deep I use a drop of Canola cooking oil. It wicks around the outer edge and stays in place long enough to seal the chamber and lube the bore and avoid any chainfire leaks. And it keeps the fouling very soft and goopy when I look in the bore with the cylinder out.

As the others suggest I think I'd save all or most of the FFFFg until you go completely mad and buy a flintlock.... which if my own experience is anything to go by won't be all that long.... :D Having the big POOFBANG! send up a fireball and cloud of smoke in your face is just way over the top and totally unique. HUGE fun.

A note about the ball sizing. The ".44" size balls come in three sizes. The .451 you already found, .454 and .457. Which you go with depends on how big your chamber mouths are. I find that my Ubertis like the .457's which take a firm but not overly heavy press with the loading lever and shave off a nice ring of lead as they seat. If I tried to do this with .451's I doubt I'd get a consistent ring shaved off. I likely could get away with .454 which my 1860 and 1851 would prefer but so far I haven't found any in that size.

1858remington
April 5, 2012, 04:29 AM
you could always invest in a 32cal rifle or pistol. 4f workes as a main charge for them due to their small caliber size. Besides, it give you another good reason to buy another gun.

Hammerdown77
April 5, 2012, 08:11 AM
A note about the ball sizing. The ".44" size balls come in three sizes. The .451 you already found, .454 and .457. Which you go with depends on how big your chamber mouths are. I find that my Ubertis like the .457's which take a firm but not overly heavy press with the loading lever and shave off a nice ring of lead as they seat. If I tried to do this with .451's I doubt I'd get a consistent ring shaved off. I likely could get away with .454 which my 1860 and 1851 would prefer but so far I haven't found any in that size.

According to what I've read, the Pietta guns like a .454 round ball. That size gives you a nice shaved lead ring after seating the ball, without being excessively hard to seat. Hornady makes .454 pure lead balls, which I ordered.

Hammerdown77
April 5, 2012, 08:14 AM
you could always invest in a 32cal rifle or pistol. 4f workes as a main charge for them due to their small caliber size. Besides, it give you another good reason to buy another gun.

Now why'd you have to go and do that? :p

I was actually thinking about getting a Navy (.36 cal), maybe one of the "London" models. Cabela's also has their Confederate brassy model for $179 right now.

towboat_er
April 5, 2012, 08:52 AM
36's are great fun. I highly recommend them. Cheaper to shoot too.

Mike OTDP
April 5, 2012, 10:30 AM
A bunch of points....

First, you can use 4Fg in a revolver. I'd try to keep the loads below 20 grains, but I do that with 3F as well. Using it in a smaller bore gun is better - my .36 Baumkircher-Billinghurst loves Swiss 4F.

Second, use a filler. Cream of Wheat is the standard. I've been using it for over thirty years, with excellent competitive results. Most other competitors at the international level do, as well.

Third, while 4F is usually touted as priming powder, I would not buy it for that purpose. Swiss Null B is about 7F, and far superior. That stuff you do not use as anything but priming powder.

Hammerdown77
April 5, 2012, 10:32 AM
Thanks Mike.

Question on the filler. Do you put a wad or something over the compressed powder, THEN ad the filler? Or do you compress the powder, then just pour in the CoW straight on the powder and compress that with the ball/bullet?

fdf
April 5, 2012, 11:32 AM
Powder (3F), filler (COW) and ball and compress, then top off the cylinder with lube.

fdf

Mike OTDP
April 5, 2012, 12:36 PM
Yup. Powder, filler, bullet, and ram home. Put a dab of lube on top.

1KPerDay
April 5, 2012, 02:07 PM
how much filler? do you just fill until the chamber is full?

sorry noob cap/ball guy here.

Mike OTDP
April 5, 2012, 05:00 PM
Leave about 3/8ths of an inch, maybe a full 1/2 inch. You want the ball as far forward in the chamber as possible.

1KPerDay
April 5, 2012, 06:07 PM
thanks

andrewstorm
April 6, 2012, 07:31 PM
a good thing to do is use a shell casing from a 38 short or long colt for a measure for 36 cal, 44 colt for a 44 cal,works great with b p or pyrodex.

faustopph
April 7, 2012, 11:28 AM
I know of someone that uses 4f in his .31 Remmington Pocket pistol and a 85gr Big Lube bullet . Packs it full of powder and has at it .
I would use 4f about the same as 777 , maybe a little more depending on the firearm . That should be safe in MOST firearms .

Driftwood Johnson
April 7, 2012, 03:07 PM
Howdy

Your 1860 Army from Cabelas is made by Pietta. I have two of them. I have used both .451 and .454 balls in mine. I prefer .454 because it shaves a bit more lead off the ball to give a better seal in the chamber.

When I first started shooting Cap & Ball in 1968 it was clearly understood that FFFFg was for the pans of flintlocks only. I wouldn't dream of using it in the chamber of a 44. How much is a pound of powder worth vs the investment in your new gun? I suppose with a light enough charge it would be OK, but what fun is that? Buy a pound of FFFg and be done with it.

You don't need both filler and a wad. I used to cover the ball with Crisco when I first started out, but that was before Wonder Wads were available. These days, I put about 30 grains of FFFg into the chamber, followed by a felt wad. Use the bullet ram to seat the wad. Then seat the ball down on top of the wad. Just ram it in until the ball stops moving, that's all there is to it. Recoil will be very mild. Thirty grains is a relatively hefty charge, but felt recoil is dependent on the size of the powder charge and the weight of the projectile. A 44 caliber ball is so light that the recoil is about the same as a 38 Special, and the 1860 Colt is heavy enough to absorb that just fine.

chute2thrill
April 8, 2012, 01:46 AM
Sorry to thread hijack. I may not be the strongest person out there, but I have a Pietta 1858 and it does take quite a bit of pressure to seat the balls. I'm thinking about trying the .451 caliber balls because I'm honestly a little worried about the charge going off while i'm seating the bullet. Is this problem even possible? I'm also pretty much a newbie to C&B.

mykeal
April 8, 2012, 06:36 AM
I'm honestly a little worried about the charge going off while i'm seating the bullet. Is this problem even possible?
No.

Driftwood Johnson
April 8, 2012, 02:51 PM
Sorry to thread hijack. I may not be the strongest person out there, but I have a Pietta 1858 and it does take quite a bit of pressure to seat the balls. I'm thinking about trying the .451 caliber balls because I'm honestly a little worried about the charge going off while i'm seating the bullet. Is this problem even possible? I'm also pretty much a newbie to C&B.

Howdy

No, you are encountering resistance to the ball shaving as it goes into the chamber. This does not mean the ball is slamming down onto the powder. In any event, you are not going to set off the powder that way.

However it is possible to damage the loading lever mechanism if you apply too much force to it. It is not unheard of for the pivot screw or one of the pins to shear. First, make sure you are using pure lead balls. No tin, no antimony, just pure lead. Adding tin or antimony to the alloy will harden the alloy and make it more difficult to seat a ball. You want to be sure the ball is dead soft, pure lead. That way there will be the least resistance to it seating. As for diameter, you want the diameter that shaves off a thin ring of lead as the ball clears the chamber mouth. It is supposed to be an interference fit, the ball is not supposed to slide in without shaving off a ring. Use whatever size pure lead ball you need to shave a thin ring of lead. If a .451 ball slides in without shaving any lead, it is too small. The ring you shave off should be continuous. In case there are any dents or dings on the surface of the ball, you want the ring shaved to be thick enough so that there is 100% contact for the entire circumference of the ball with the chamber.

chute2thrill
April 8, 2012, 11:23 PM
Ok thank you for verifying that, I had a little bit of worry the first few times I loaded it. I'm just buying balls from cabelas right now haven't gotten into casting my own yet. The ring of lead that .454 shaves off is always the exact same, and its plenty accurate. Just glad to know that I'm not gonna blow my arm off seating the ball. Also I wish someone would make a decent cylinder loading tool as the reviews on the one from traditions arent good at all.

arcticap
April 8, 2012, 11:41 PM
Also I wish someone would make a decent cylinder loading tool

There are some fine cylinder loading presses available.
One is the Big Lube Tower of Power:

http://www.biglube.com/BulletMolds.aspx?ItemID=1302742a-9e12-41e5-881f-f99340c6d9e6

http://www.biglube.com/

Another is from Powder, Inc. & Black Dawg cartridge:

http://www.blackdawgecartridge.com/catalog/bd_cyl_loader.html

http://www.powderinc.com/catalog/index.html

Yet another less expensive press that hasn't been reviewed is made by Rydon Corp. (RMC) and sold by Buffalo Arms:

http://www.buffaloarms.com/Loading_stand_for_black_powder_revolvers_pr-3814.aspx

chute2thrill
April 8, 2012, 11:54 PM
Well thank you arcticap! Which one do you prefer? I've never bought anything from any of those companies, are the reputable?

arcticap
April 9, 2012, 12:54 AM
I have a Triple P press that's no longer available for purchase. But the first two that I listed are sold by reputable companies and both are very similar to each other. I believe that the Tower of Power press is the updated version of what are basically the same presses. That model has 2 flat support structures instead of one round support structure, but they have similar bases. Both presses have received good reviews from users here.

Driftwood Johnson
April 9, 2012, 03:11 PM
Howdy Again

I have been shooting Cap & Ball revolver since 1968. I never saw the need for a separate press to load the cylinders. That's what the loading lever under the barrel is for.

chute2thrill
April 9, 2012, 11:21 PM
Well like you stated yourself theres a possiblity of damaging the loading lever itself from the loading process. Also I think it would be easier to load the cylinder with a longer handle.

Driftwood Johnson
April 10, 2012, 12:11 AM
Well like you stated yourself theres a possiblity of damaging the loading lever itself from the loading process.

Not when you use the correct size ball. Been doing it a long time without needing a separate loading dohicky. A lot faster when you just use the built in loading lever too. You don't have to remove the cylinder.

If you practice it for a while, you will see how quick and easy it can be to load a C&B revolver just with what came built into the gun.

arcticap
April 10, 2012, 01:23 AM
I really enjoy loading my Remington off the frame using a loading press. It's much easier to drop in the pre-measured powder charges, place over powder cards/wads/filler/balls/bullets or grease into each chamber and to ram with the chamber mouths being wide open and accessible.
With extra cylinders, I can load more rounds quicker and easier so that my kids and I have more time for shooting.
Since each model has different loading difficulties, a loading press may not be for everyone. But it sure does help to make loading my Remington .44 and the extra cylinders to be more fun and expedient.
Even a loading stand to simply hold the gun upright during loading would serve a useful purpose at the shooting range. :)

fdf
April 10, 2012, 09:45 AM
I use the loading press from PowderInc and really like it.

Articap sums things up very well.

If you are using Cream Of Wheat as filler, a press is really needed as COW does not compress. If you use a touch too much COW it's nearly impossible to seat the ball with the pistol loading lever. I know my hand appreciates the round ball on the press over the loading lever.

A loading stand is required in some matches as the rules state "all pistols must be benched" after cease fire is called.

Mike OTDP
April 10, 2012, 10:22 AM
Driftwood's right. You almost always have a perfectly good loading lever attached to the gun, and it's no particular trick to use it. I've been shooting percussion revolvers since 1976...never used one of those presses, nor felt rushed for time. And they are not permitted at all in International competition - and the 10-shot groups it takes to win a World Championship are about 2 inches at 25 meters.

mykeal
April 10, 2012, 03:47 PM
I'm not sure anyone said there was a trick to using the gun's loading lever. Nor did anyone claim any particular accuracy advantage, so I'm not sure I understand the point about 10 shot 2 1/2 inch groups. And as far as 'needing a separate loading doohicky': it's not a matter of 'need'. Nor is anyone necessarily 'right' about using the loading lever or a loading press.

It's really just a matter of personal choice, like individual preferences for open top or top strap revolvers. I believe I can be more consistent with applying compression using the loading press - perhaps that's not true but I believe it is. It certainly is easier on my hand on those long shooting days when I'm working up a load.

That said, I don't turn around and go back home if the press isn't with me when I get to the range. The press is just a useful tool; I can and often do use the gun's lever when the situation calls for it.

I suppose I could call up the graybeard card too: I've been shooting c&b revolvers over 35 years. I have learned how to use a loading lever, and I've learned how to use a loading press. And I still do both.

Driftwood Johnson
April 10, 2012, 04:08 PM
Well, I guess that's the difference between us. I don't do much load development with a C&B. I shoot them in CAS, and I want to be able to load them quickly and then get back to keeping up with my posse duties. So I go to my cart, charge the chambers with powder, seat some wads, and then seat some balls. I really don't care a whole lot if I have used the exact same amount of compression on each ball, it really doesn't matter for what I'm doing. I simply pull on the loading lever to seat the ball. Once the ball enters it slides in more easily. I simply load by feel, pulling the lever until the ball seats all the way on the wad.

I load two revolvers at a time. Much quicker for me to just use what came on the gun, not bother with one more piece of equipment, I'm already dealing with a carload full of stuff, and not bother taking the cylinders out. When I go to the loading table I seat my caps while everybody else is loading cartridges.

squirrel44
April 10, 2012, 05:38 PM
I use 4-f in my flash pan on my flintlock,,,3-f in my pistols,also i use Crisco grease for a ball sealer,,,so far its all good,441 Rb gives a tighter seal

chute2thrill
April 10, 2012, 10:58 PM
I can drop the cylinder pretty fast so thats not much of a problem. Also I'm not doing competitive shooting so thats a non issue. I already take the cylinder off to load the powder anyways, I just personally think its easier. Having a separate loading lever would just save wear and tear on the loading arm. Plus its not like I have a genuine made in the USA gun.

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