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1860 Colt Army

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by Crawdad1, Apr 19, 2013.

  1. Crawdad1

    Crawdad1 Well-Known Member

    What loads have you guys worked up for your 1860 Colt Armys? Are you getting good accuracy and penetration?

    Pics to follow.
  2. towboat_er

    towboat_er Well-Known Member

    I use 35 - 40 g of goex fff. Most 1860 shoot high left.
  3. EljaySL

    EljaySL Well-Known Member

    You'll have to play with it a bit to see what your gun likes. My Pietta copy likes 30 grains 777 powder (equal to more like 35 real black).

    Don't be shocked if it shoots high.
  4. Hellgate

    Hellgate Well-Known Member

    20-30 grains FFFg plus a lube wad works for me. I ground down the tip of the hammer and deepened the notch to make it hit POA but you need enough clearence above the barrel to do that. I also installed a taller front sight when I ran out of hammer to "lower".
  5. BlackNet

    BlackNet Well-Known Member

    When using the 1860's I was told aim for the horse and it will shoot the rider. A.k.a. six o clock hold.

    This is buffalo bullets .457 and 30 grains of Swiss FFFg in cigarette paper. :) The only downside to this is getting these now is harder and I wish I had bought gobs of these when I had the chance.
  6. drjohn

    drjohn Member

    I’m new to c and b revolvers, my history is cap Kentucky and flint tower musket pistol. But my ASM 1860 brass frame (along with my arthritic hand) seems to like a short 20 grains of pyrodex p, two homemade lubed patch wads, and a home cast .457 round ball. And mine seems to shoot about 2 or 3 inches high and the same to the right at about 15 plus yards.
  7. Crawdad1

    Crawdad1 Well-Known Member

    How good is the penetration with 30 to 40 grains? That's a nice sized load of powder. :)
  8. EljaySL

    EljaySL Well-Known Member

    Penetration's a tricky word. The soft lead tends to flatten when it hits something, especially something solid, and since it's not exactly pointy it tends to dump a lot of energy into whatever it hits. So I don't know exactly what the ballistics gel numbers are but there are apparently people who hunt deer with cap and ball revolvers with 40 grains or so. Not the way I'd do it, but there's no question cap and ball revolvers have killed a lot of things over the years.
  9. Crawdad1

    Crawdad1 Well-Known Member

    Exactly what I was thinking Eljay!!! That load is great for hunting. I'll take some phone books out with me when sighting in to see the penetration.
  10. J-Bar

    J-Bar Well-Known Member

    If you are using factory original nipples, the larger powder charges will be more likely to blow cap fragments back into the action, jamming things up. Even with Slix-Shot or Treso nipples, you might get some blowback jams with 40 grain charges. You can shoot all day with 24 grains of powder...I just never could understand the need to make every gun a magnum, I guess.
  11. towboat_er

    towboat_er Well-Known Member

    24 grain in my 36 cal's.
  12. madcratebuilder

    madcratebuilder Well-Known Member

    Colt called for 25-30 grains of 3f with 25 recommended for the 1860 Army .44.. At 30grs you well start to see incomplete powder burn.

    Rule of thumb is the start with half the caliber size in grains. A .44 would start at 22grs, a .36 at 18 grs. The half caliber load is a max load for brassers.
  13. Foto Joe

    Foto Joe Well-Known Member

    I'll 1+ MCB and add my own thoughts...

    If you're looking for penetration then a CB pistol probably shouldn't be your first choice, there's better things than an 1860 for hunting and especially for self-defense. If on the other hand you're interested in accuracy then the load has everything to do with it. Although I don't have a pet load finalized for either of my '60's I do for my "Fake .44 Navy", 16gr 3f, 20gr cornmeal and an off the shelf round ball. That load will penetrate a golf ball about .5" at 15 yards but more impressively it will drive the ball a good 50 yards if you hit it just below the equator.

    For some reason my country club membership was revoked.:cuss:
  14. kituwa

    kituwa Well-Known Member

    I agree that when you get up to 30 grains in an 1851 or 1860 that you are not gaining anything but flash and smoke.I think T7 gets you a bit more than you can get with black powder though. I tried some of those pyrodex P pellets,30gr. and those things are scary powerfull.I dont have a crono but they were very noticably loud , a very sharp crack and the recoil was way past any T7 or black powder load i have ever shot.Someone posted here a while back that they had blown up a walker by shooting two of those pellets in it.I have no doubt that it would. Whatever they did with those pellets i dont know but it for sure is not the same thing as loose pyrodex. As far as a cap n ball killing a deer,i have shot a good many with one over the years and they work just fine.I dont care what paper ballistics say,,they do work and work well even with round balls.Almost every deer i have shot with one went clear thru. Granted they were close shots but that is the whole point in hunting with any handgun.The thrill is in hunting skills,getting close and an accurate well placed shot.
  15. Crawdad1

    Crawdad1 Well-Known Member

    Great information guys. I'll start working up a load for it this summer. I just hope she ain't a real picky stinker like my '61 Navy was.

    That's a good one FotoJoe, I guess there is no need to ask which country club!!:)
  16. EljaySL

    EljaySL Well-Known Member

    I definitely found a lot of references to hunting deer with a cap and ball but nice to have somebody on the forum with personal experience.

    re: the power tailing off over about 30 grains - I suspect you're losing "bang for your buck" at around that point but I do have some revolvers that are more accurate at 25 and some that are more accurate at 30, although again I do use 777 powder in the revolvers.

    That being said I think if I were working up a hunting/defense load I'd just go with whatever was the most accurate rather than trying to max it out. As always you'll have to experiment a bit, and that might include running both real BP and a substitute or two and seeing what works for you. Personally I find that 777 works very well in the revolvers and it takes the pressure off my real black, which I try to reserve for the flintlocks (I'd love to just stock up, can't, state law.)

    I'd also point out that if you really feel like you don't get enough power out of your 1860 for your intended purpose that my Walker really runs great at 40 grains 777. Very accurate, not a lot of recoil, very shootable load.
  17. kituwa

    kituwa Well-Known Member

    Real black is near impossible to get around where i live. Even caps are very hard to come by now.I did find a small mom n pop sporting goods here today that had 8 tins of 1075 caps but they were $10.99 a 100 and even though that is awfull i bout two of them. I can get T7 pretty easy so far but i suspect that wont stay that way for long and the last can of that i bought was $29.00. I would like to have some black mostly to experiment some more with,its been a long time since i have had any but i like the T7 very well.I used to think that when hunting i needed to load up as much powder as i could fit in but i have changed my thinking on that a good bit.As you know, how a bullet/load performs on game is a tricky thing a lot of times.Some of you may have noticed that for squirrle hunting a .22 short hollow point knocks one out of a tree much better than a long rifle does.The bullet is moving slower and i think the squirrel aborbs more of the impact or something.Of coarse there are limitations with that. I also think it is a possibilty that with a soft round ball that there comes a point when if the ball is moving fast enough that it will not penitrate a deer size animal well anymore.Since a cap n ball is not going to have a tremedous amount of energy to start with penetration and a well aimed shot are the most important things to think about.But really,,that same thing applies to just about any type gun you hunt with. We all know a .308 has far more energy than a .44 mag or a .45 colt, but the pistol rounds with a 300gr cast bullet will take a buffalo down very well but the .308is marginal at best.Then there are a few rounds that do things that just do not add up at all. The .22mag is the one i have in mind.There are a good many guys i know that use them to deer hunt with and i have personally seen the damage they do to a deer.They look like they were shot with a 30-30.I understand that in some states the .22mag is the gun of choice for game depts to use for deer population control and for hog control.I dont know what makes a .44 cap n ball work as good as it does, i can only say that it has never let me down.Some may say that if you hit a shoulder bone it may not work but i have seen that happen with high powered rifles too so there are never any sure fire things when hunting big game. All things said, i fell like the ROA has the most going for it asa deer gun as far as cap n ball because it has big enough chambers to allow you more leewayto play with diffrent loads and the right twist in the barrel to allow you to shoot either balls or conicals.Also it has better sites to start with and is much easier to change the sights to something you can see in less than ideal lighting.The 1860 and others work,,you just dont have as many options unless you have a gunsmith do some work on them. Oh and dont forget,,a bow with a sharp broadhead can kill ANY size game and does it very efficiantly with no bang or smoke and very very little energy,,just something to think about.

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