New Guy Here


TX Mudcat
July 27, 2014, 01:27 PM
Howdy Folks,
Just joined the forum...hoping to make some new friends, have some good discussions & learn some new stuff along the way.
Recently got into Black Powder shooting & really enjoying it so far.
On that note, anyone have any good recipes for a POTENT snake load? I'd rather load fewer larger balls than a bunch of tiny shot. Similar to a. 410 buck load...if at all possible. Any thoughts?
I currently carry a Pietta 1858 Remmy (5.5").

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todd haley
July 27, 2014, 02:01 PM
Hi Mudcat, This is my first post too! Saw this on youtube, brush hippie loading snakeshot.
The guys here are great and share their knowledge freely. I have fixed the short arbor on my uberti 1860 and the timing problem with my '51 Pietta all from reading and using the search option!

Willie Sutton
July 27, 2014, 02:05 PM
Welcome Pards... this subforum is likely the best part of THR and that's sayin' a lot.



TX Mudcat
July 27, 2014, 02:14 PM
Nice to meet yall. Watched Brush Hippie's video...pretty helpful. I'm interested in a way to load up Maybe, say...5-10 balls, tighter pattern. I'm a little nervous about the trial & error aspect though. HA!

July 27, 2014, 02:27 PM
Welcome in fellas. You found a gaggle of good folks and a herd of help. There are plenty of great write ups in the files so use that search function. Very few no-nos here so as long as you keep it clean, gun related, and not zombie or political your good to go. If you ever need help on anything there are a few on here who are their own encyclopediabritannica of gun, blade and ammo wisdom. A few names come to mind...rcmodel, old Fuff, ugaarguy, Sam Cade, sam1911...lots of good folks. Welcome to your newest addiction.

July 27, 2014, 03:20 PM
The first thing that leapt to mind is a Howdah pistol loaded with #4 buck. 20 gauge, two barrels. Works great.

Then I saw the 1858 part. Oh, well... I got nothin.

July 27, 2014, 03:47 PM
I've loaded a modest powder charge, a lubed wad, some #5 shot, another wad and using the loading lever put some pressure on it.

Pattern is generally poor so you'd have to be closer than I would like to be sure of killing a snake.

Load is held together by friction of the wad against the cylinder so it would not stand much rough handling.

midland man
July 27, 2014, 04:06 PM
wow this sounds good I could use a snake load this time of year! :)

TX Mudcat
July 27, 2014, 06:01 PM
Well I appreciate the enthusiastic welcome, fellas. Yeah...I may just have to try a few things out & see what works. I'm planning on doing some shooting tomorrow anyways, so I'll keep yall updated if I come up with a winning formula.
Still experimenting to find that perfect charge that allows good accuracy without sacrificing power. So far, for my '58...I like about 35g of FFFG with a .454 ball. Got pretty good grouping last time so tomorrow should be the clincher.
What do yall use/shoot?

July 27, 2014, 06:05 PM
Welcome to the forum. Keep in mind that shot loads out of a rifled barrel generally (always?) result in poor patterns, to the point that beyond about 10 yards they're not very effective.

TX Mudcat
July 27, 2014, 07:29 PM
That's a good point. Guess I hadn't given that much thought. I could always take the Judge out there (hunting), but like the idea of carrying a BP due to state/Fed regulations always changing in various places.

July 28, 2014, 12:23 AM
but like the idea of carrying a BP due to state/Fed regulations always changing in various places.

Welcome TX Mudcat!!!! And I agree there 100%. I grow tired of their constant BS and constant changing regulations regarding firearms so I bought black powder so they would leave me the H#LL alone.

July 28, 2014, 12:31 AM
I like about 35g of FFFG with a .454 ball. Got pretty good grouping last time so tomorrow should be the clincher.
What do yall use/shoot?

They all seem to be a little different, but for accuracy with .454 balls mine's a little more accurate with lighter charges - 25gr is perfect. With conicals I've had the best accuracy at more like 35gr.

TX Mudcat
July 28, 2014, 01:14 AM
Crawdad1 - Ain't that the truth! It's ALWAYS something. They sure don't make it easy for those of us who prefer to stay on the right side of the law. I figure carrying BP will eliminate some of the hassle of always having to research every place we set foot.

EljaySL - I may try that load. Got pretty decent grouping with 35 but there's always room for improvement. I'll see if I can get a tighter group at 7 yards with 25g & see if I can work my way out to 14 yards, then 21, etc. Let you know how it goes.

Thanks for all the feedback fellas. Yall sure know how to make the new guy feel welcomed!

July 28, 2014, 11:06 AM
Maybe 2 years ago I was asking something similar, and a fellow who had done a lot of testing found that making something like a paper cup helped keep the group a little smaller, and I don't recall if it made the typical donut pattern.

One thing I thought quite interesting was that Brushhippie had a Remington '58 with a bad barrel (or some issue) and reamed it smooth. Not sure if I'd want a pistol permanently smooth, but I think it would be cool with a Colt where the barrel could easily be swapped.

I've been thinking that I'd like a Lyman's Plains Pistol with an extra barrel to smooth.

My Pietta '58 does it's best with 30 grns of 3F Olde Eynsford or Triple 7 with my 170 and 195 grn bullets.

July 29, 2014, 12:10 AM
I'd spend some time shooting at 25, 30, 35 and see if you can see any difference between the loads. Sometimes a 5gr change makes a big difference. Sometimes it doesn't.

July 29, 2014, 10:45 AM
I'd back off to around 25 grs.

TX Mudcat
July 30, 2014, 12:07 AM
Sounds good guys. Was planning on getting to the range today but got tied up. Gonna try to go Thursday. I'm taking yall's advice; Gonna start with 25gr & work my way up...see where it's most accurate. Looking around at possibly picking up another BP revolver in the next month or two, just to have a little variation. Any suggestions?
Hey...I really appreciate yall's feedback.

4v50 Gary
July 30, 2014, 01:29 AM

Ruger Old Army. Not historical, but the best.
Colt Walker or Dragoon. Horse pistols.

July 30, 2014, 11:48 AM
Here's some real nice Piettas;

Got to have a 51' Colt in Navy caliber, the REAL gun that won the west!!!!! :)

July 30, 2014, 12:53 PM
Ruger Old Army, Colt Walker, Howdah, LeMat, Colt Pocket Police/Navy

TX Mudcat
July 30, 2014, 04:20 PM
Boy...those Rugers sure are nice, but pricey!
Reliability wise, who would yall delivers the struggled & reliable revolvers?

July 30, 2014, 05:16 PM
The most reliable would be the Ruger or the Howdah or other muzzleloading pistols. I'm not familiar with the LeMat, but I have read about it's fragile loading lever.

Colt's often, but not always, seem to need a little work to keep cap jams from occurring frequently.

If a small pocket pistol is your thing you may want to consider the Remington .31 cal pocket pistol. Fairly weak and benefits from reaming the chambers a little larger as they are grossly undersized.

July 30, 2014, 10:01 PM
There are good and great Pietta revolvers, as in Uberti, but its a little more hit or miss with the Pietta though.

July 30, 2014, 10:58 PM
Welcome to both of you to one of the coziest spots for black powder folks out on the 'net.

Hey Mudcat, watch the minimums if you're not using anything to pack the chamber volume. I know that with 30gns and no wad or other filler my ram is very close to the end of its travel. To go with a lower charge I'd have to use a felt wad or a top layer of some filler such as Cream of Wheat over the powder so the ball sits up high enough for me to ram reliably.

Some of the guys have played with fillers with the idea being that if the ball is closer to the forcing cone it's not going as fast and might engrave the rifling a bit more cleanly for a little tighter accuracy. I've yet to try that since my guns already shoot better than I can. But if you're looking for that last little bit it's something to keep in mind.

You could also pick up and try some .457 and see if the gun likes a slightly wider riding band with the bigger amount of lead that gets shaved off during seating.

TX Mudcat
July 31, 2014, 12:06 AM
BCRider - That's good advice all the way around. I've been using the lubed felt wads between powder & ball, but when I try the smaller loads I'll bring some cornmeal or something...just in case.
I've also thought about the .457 ball. I usually get a very thin ring shaved off the 454 & it shoots pretty accurately, but I've been reading a lot lately & some folks are saying the same thing you are. I got about 150 454's left so it may be a week or 2 before I buy more, but next time I'll try the 457 & see how that works.
Are you recommending these so the ball is shaved somewhat evenly so it don't effect ballistics? Or is it another reason?

July 31, 2014, 02:25 AM
The larger ball will leave more bearing surface to contact the riflings, but it also increases the pressures a little too as there's more friction.

TX Mudcat
July 31, 2014, 03:35 PM
Hmmm...alright. I'm sold. I'm gonna pick up some Hornady .457 balls this weekend & give EM a day in court. I'm assuming the extra pressure won't be enough to negatively effect accuracy. What about conicals? Those any good?

July 31, 2014, 04:09 PM
Conicals seem to behave differently in different guns and by different people, but it's certainly going to depend on the twist of your barrel.

I get similar accuracy from RB's as I have with every other bullet from my Ruger. And my Remington does just as well with RB's as the 170 and 195 grn bullets I have for it.

TX Mudcat
July 31, 2014, 07:17 PM
Interesting. I guess I don't see too much point trying conicals then. Just looking at different options.
I also haven't been putting any grease or Crisco over my cylinders. I reckon the ball makes a tight enough seal & haven't had any misfires or chain fires. I'm thinking when I take my pistol out on a hot day...I don't want all that grease leaking everywhere. So I've been doing powder, lubes felt & then ball. I did pick up some wonder seals (mostly for snake loads) but ain't used them yet.
What's your experience?

July 31, 2014, 10:49 PM
A couple of thoughts about your BP snake pistol.
Snake shots are usually taken at close range measured in feet instead of yards so I'd think holding tight patterns should be easier.
Walking in the thickets can get rough and keeping a shot load tightly loaded can be a problem. I'd consider topping off your round with some melted beeswax.

July 31, 2014, 10:52 PM
Welcome to our family Todd and Mudcat. Sit by our fire and tell us what you know and let's talk about what you don't know.

TX Mudcat
July 31, 2014, 11:08 PM
Howdy Pancho. Well, I've just recently started shooting BP & love it! Just trying to learn as much as I can about it, as it relates to my hobbies & such; hunting, fishing, hiking, shooting stuff, etc. HA!

July 31, 2014, 11:32 PM
I bought a custom wad punch from a retired machinist from another forum. He sells precisely the size you request for only $10 + shipping (assuming his price didn't go up as it's been nearly 2 years).

I also bought a length of hard felt from Durofelt.

I make my own wads, and I also make what's known as Gatofeo's #1 lube. He found in a gun magazine dating back to the 40's IIRC, and it was a formula for outside lubed BP bullets. I use it for most everything (rifle and pistol excluding patches for RB's in my rifle).

Adding some melted beeswax sounds like a wise move to me.

And I certainly like the idea of a snake shot load in a pistol. Considered it, but never pursued it.

July 31, 2014, 11:35 PM
Unless you are hunting with it I don't see conicals as being all that worthwhile unless it's just something you fancy.

Mr. Beliveau, in his testing with a particular gun, found the conical more accurate, but that doesn't seem to be the norm.

TX Mudcat
July 31, 2014, 11:44 PM
Nah...I reckon I'm gonna stay with the round balls. If it ain't broke, right?
That beeswax sounds like a pretty good idea though. I bow-hunt here in Texas & there's a lot of snakes & a lot of hogs. Wouldn't mind having maybe 2 cylinders loaded with snake-shot & 3 with the round balls, for the pigs.
I've also heard of people soaking felt in olive oil & such for their lubed wads. I still have a bunch from Cabela's. Smell like Bore Butter.

August 1, 2014, 01:32 AM
re: conicals - Lee makes a set of molds for the various cap and ball calibers that are designed to seat straight - being beveled or thinner or something on the base - but still thick enough in the middle to seal everything up. I shoot them occasionally just for the novelty of it all, and I have one cap and ball revolver that is just insanely accurate with them for whatever reason. But if you don't cast I wouldn't bother going out and hunting down some pre-made.

August 1, 2014, 12:24 PM
It's because of pigs that I use bullets as I'd much prefer the sectional density to help with penetration. Those that hunt hogs with pistols always recommend very heavy non expanding bullets.

And that's not to say a RB cannot do so as there's a fellow who runs with a group that use mostly percussion pistols to hunt hogs. Most use the Kaido bullets (240 or 255 grn which is a custom version of the Lee 255 grn .45 Colt bullet), but one fellow prefers 66 grns of 2F Triple 7 with a ball saying that the wound is much more devastating within 25 yds. Note he's using about twice as much powder as the rest of us (Colt Walker).

For anything you are intending on using on hogs I'd suggest 3F of Olde Eynsford by Goex, Swiss, or Triple 7. They are the only ones reliably set off in a percussion pistol that has a great amount go oomph. Many have stated these guns are no more powerful than a .38 Spl, and if you use any of the other powders they are likely right, but with the powders I mention you can easily obtain .44 Spl-.45 Colt levels.

Have you looked at Gatofeo's #1 lube? It's quite simple. All measured by weight it is 1 part mutton tallow, 1 part paraffin was (Gulf wax), and 1/2 part of beeswax. You use the double boiler method, which is to use a small sauce pan with a jar in it. You place your ingredients in the jar and heat it until it all melts. Stir well and use it for what you need. It hardens a bit once cooled.

I poured that into a little plastic food storage container and dropped my home cut wads, and with the tremendous amount I had left over I poured that into SWMBO's soap mold which gave me small bars that I cut into 6 chunks to use on my bullets by "coloring" in the lube grooves of my bullets (slow process but I enjoy it).

With as hard as it is once cooled (not quite as hard as beeswax) it may very well work as a means to hold your shot charges under recoil.

The wads you use for shot charges may need to be a little oversized so as to produce a bit more friction. For my .44/.45 cal pistols I use a punch that drops them at ~.457" IIRC.

TX Mudcat
August 1, 2014, 02:43 PM
Well...I bow hunt hogs. I'm just thinking if I get a squealer that gets the others coming toward me. Just a few rounds to keep them discouraged from charging too much. I don't believe I'd ever actually hunt Texas hogs with a BP revolver.
Rodwah...that's good advice. I'll look into those seals & give em a shot. So that Old Eynsford packs quite a punch, huh? Very interesting. Still load 25-30gr?

August 1, 2014, 03:53 PM
Check this out:

From people's chronograph results Triple 7, Swiss, and Olde Eynsford give similar results when compared by volume. It always trumps any of the other powders by a fair margin.

Especially if I'm being charged I'd want superior penetration capabilities, and even more so were it a big one. A 250 lb hog may need some real discouraging! And maybe it's not necessary, but it certainly makes me feel better. Not to mention if there is no expansion a WFN design will certainly do more permanent damage than a RN/RB design. Of course one through the ear and it doesn't matter so much...

TX Mudcat
August 1, 2014, 04:29 PM
Okay...what is "WFN"?
I currently load with Hodgdon Triple 7 fffg.
Any advice you can give to pack a bigger punch is much appreciated.

August 1, 2014, 04:39 PM
Wide Flat Nose. In a bullet that does not expand the wider the nose the larger the permanent wound channel. Flash can stretch, but a flat nose will cut that portion out.

And if my pure lead WFN does expand it will begin at that point unlike the smaller "point" of a RN/RB design.

Many claim Triple 7 is finicky. It may be, but I don't notice problems, though I do what they say you shouldn't do, which is to compress it heavily. It's the only way I know mine are all loaded with the same consistency.

To avoid any potential problems you could use Olde Eynsford instead, which is much cheaper. I found that it doesn't compress as well as T7 or Pyrodex.

August 1, 2014, 04:42 PM
There's a fella on this forum (DD4lifeusmc) who has a custom made mold that drops a 195 grn SWC that may do fairly well. They are rather inexpensive and worth trying out. He has a few different bullets.

TX Mudcat
August 1, 2014, 04:43 PM
Wide Flat Nose...duh. Just caught myself. So a wfn conical may be a better way to go then? I suppose I could always carry my Judge & load the 45LC, but I like the idea of packing my BP pistol...especially on federal land.

August 1, 2014, 04:49 PM
I worked with Accurate Molds to design my own bullets in which my main hunting bullet weighs 195 grns with a WFN that is only .460" long so as not to use up powder capacity. I did this will all 3 of my designs.

August 1, 2014, 04:52 PM
In my opinion a WFN is the best design as it's what those who hunt hogs with handguns use, and for good reason. But others will say they've used the RN Lee conicals with great results. Bullet placement no doubt trumps everything, but bullet design is a fairly important factor too. If something means me harm I want to be able to harm it as much as possible.

August 1, 2014, 04:55 PM
Check out Mr. Beliveau's 6 part video in which he tests Ruger Old Armies with a RB, Lee conical, and the 255 grn Kaido conical using both standard Goex and Triple 7 with reduced loads.

Note the velocity/energy differences despite a reduced load (which is questionable if it's necessary at all in any reproduction gun and much less so in a Ruger) and the penetration differences.

August 1, 2014, 05:01 PM
Do you cast projectiles? It certainly opens up your choices and reduces your cost (eventually).

TX Mudcat
August 1, 2014, 05:05 PM
I actually found that video last night. I've been hearing lots of different things from different folks regarding bullets/balls.
No, I don't cast my own. I'm pretty new at the world of BP, which is why I'm so full of questions. I like the idea of casting my own though. Do you sell those bullets you're talking about? I shoot a Pietta 1858 Remmy 5.5 for now. Am looking at some others to grab soon though too.

August 1, 2014, 05:09 PM
This is my 195 grn WFN:

This is Lee's 255 grn .45 Colt bullet that Kaido has had customized to work in cap n ball pistols.

These are Lee's RN conicals:

August 1, 2014, 05:11 PM
Talk to DD4 as he has a few options and his prices are excellent. He and Kaido are the only ones I know of that cast and sell other than Lee RN conicals, and Kaido's are just too pricey and why I learned to cast myself ($50/100 + shipping).

TX Mudcat
August 1, 2014, 05:14 PM
Nice! So does yours fit in the 1858 cylinder pretty well?

August 1, 2014, 05:15 PM
Yes, but a fellow reamed my chambers to .449" from .446". It's slightly easier I suppose, but the idea was to get it closer to groove diameter so as to make a better bore seal.

August 1, 2014, 05:18 PM
Casting is relatively easy. The good thing is that you can melt back down any of your mistakes.

I went with cheap Lee casting equipment and spent about $100, which got me a small pot, ladle, 2 RB molds, gloves, eye protection and a small fan (too small it seems). My custom mold cost twice that, but it has 3 different designs in a 5 cavity mold.

TX Mudcat
August 1, 2014, 05:19 PM
I'll contact him. Much obliged for all your help.

August 1, 2014, 05:21 PM
Yes sir!

August 1, 2014, 05:25 PM
I've been considering having another mold made for my Pietta '58 that drop a heavier bullet than the 195 grn one I have as my 285 grn bullet is rather long and it would likely reduce the powder charge too much. Maybe something between 240-260 grns.

TX Mudcat
August 1, 2014, 05:29 PM
You let me know & I'll go in with ya on supply costs.

August 1, 2014, 05:32 PM
I strongly urge you to look into casting. It's well worth it I believe. And it gives one the ability to do for themselves and not be tied to any issues other than maybe lead availability.

August 1, 2014, 05:36 PM
Regardless a 195 grn bullet is still likely to be a better penetrator than a 140 something grn RB.

I'm not sure how the perfectly round frontal section of a ball compares to a RN which is often oblong and more pointy than round. But I doubt a ball is close enough to a WFN or wadcutter. I'd still think it closer to a WFN than a RN though judging by the holes in paper.

And I've read of an account in which a ball shot from a pistol made a complete passthrough of a deer's chest. It astounds me what a ball is capable of as it defies what's "known."

August 1, 2014, 05:40 PM
Do you have a chronograph?

TX Mudcat
August 1, 2014, 07:08 PM
I dont. Maybe I should get one in the future. Yeah, I'd love to learn how to cast. The more self reliant the better, I think. Now, these v probably seem like silly questions, but like I said, I'm new to BP, but what would the difference be between a WFN & a wadcutter Be. Are there hollow pints available? Basically, what would do the most damage to a hog (not a man)?

August 2, 2014, 11:53 AM
A WFN has a slight taper to it whereas a WC does not.

Here is a WC:

I'm not aware of any HP's, but have contemplated it myself. But it would likely require a modified loading ram as the pressure would likely deform the hollow point cavity. I think you would need to tap the ram so as to be able to screw on a pointy attachment the same dimensions as the hollow point cavity. This way it can't deform it.

Though a hollow point will certainly cause a larger wound, it will also have a more shallow penetration. A .45 cal hole isn't small per se, and those that hunt hogs with pistols use hard cast bullets that won't expand, and this from magnums.

TX Mudcat
August 2, 2014, 07:02 PM
Alright then, I'm sold. WFN it is.
Thanks for your help.

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