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Black Powder problem day

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by au_prospector, Mar 8, 2012.

  1. au_prospector

    au_prospector Well-Known Member

    Okay, today was only about the 5th time I have ever shot ball and cap revolvers. My dad left me 4, I unpacked 2 of them last night in anticipation of today's day at the range. They are both Italian replicas. One is a model of 1860 Army .44 cal and the other us a model of 1851 Navy .36 cal (marked imported by LYMAN Middlefield CT)

    So I had minor problems with the Navy. The #11 percussion caps kept falling off the nipples. The spent caps also either jammed the action or sometimes only came off the nipple with a great deal of prying. I used 19 grains of pyrodex for each charge. Couldnt hit a thing at 25 yards. Increased the charge to 25 grains and hit consistently high. Seemed to be more accurate at 25 grains. The ammunition was .375 Speer round balls and they seated snugly in the chambers.

    Next I broke out the .44 Army. Needed to open a new container of caps, luckily I had bought some the day before. The new container is marked Magnum Percussion Caps #11 made by CCI. The first 3 failed to fire. I checked the caps and they were inconsistent with the amount of red stuff in them. The older container visually had an even uniform amount of charge in the cap, this one does not. The ammunition I used is marked .440 round balls 127 grains. They did not seat correctly. They dropped loose in each chamber. I assume this is the wrong size?

    So I have bad CCI #11 caps and the round balls I am using are too small for .44 cal? Maybe I need .441 or .442?
  2. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    CCI #10 caps — for some imported revolvers having smaller nipples.

    The Lyman .36 Navy uses .375" balls.

    Probably need .451" or .454" balls for a 1860 .44 Army.

  3. Ultravox

    Ultravox Well-Known Member

    .44 caliber black powder revolvers are actually .45s.

    You need .454 balls for them. Some people use .451 and some go as large as .457.
  4. jphendren

    jphendren Well-Known Member

    I normally slightly pinch #11 caps, that seems to keep them from falling off. In my experience #10's seem to fit better.

    On my Colt 2nd generation 1860 Army, .451" will work, but barely shave. On my Uberti Walker, .454" will work, but barely shave. So I imagine that .454" would be ideal for the 1860 Army.

  5. au_prospector

    au_prospector Well-Known Member

    Thanks, that makes sense. Cant figure out why my dad had these.440 balls in his kit. Are they specific to anything or garbage? There is a reproduction Walker he has, but that is marked Whitneyville Walker .44 cal. Also are CCI caps known to be problem? I seem to have an inconsistent tin of them.

    Maybe the Walker repro takes #11s? It seems to have larger nipples. Definitely longer, maybe wider cant tell.

    Lastly there is a long rifle (cap/ball I believe) marked Richland Arms Co "MICHIGAN" CAL 45. What size ammunition would that take? It is marked Black Powder Only Cal 4? where the ? isnt legible. The nipple appears to be corroded with rust, where might I get a replacement? Richland arms must be out of business. I have never shot it. Any help in a suggested load for this gun would be appreciated. Does it need a patch? For the revolvers, I was seating the balls directly on the powder with no patch.
  6. bubba15301

    bubba15301 Well-Known Member

    .440rb are for rifles
  7. rdstrain49

    rdstrain49 Well-Known Member

    for 45 cal. rifle or single shot pistol
  8. mykeal

    mykeal Well-Known Member

    Cap and ball revolvers are loaded with projectiles that are oversize to ensure a tight fit in the chamber and to engage the rifling in the barrel. Thus your .44 cal revolver uses .451, .454 or .457 diameter balls; the exact size is determined by experiment. No patch is used. You should expect the ball to be 'swaged' in place; that is, it will shave off a small ring of lead when the ball is forced into the chamber. This seal is important to help prevent a phenomenon known as 'chain firing' in which the chamber being fired ignites the powder in an adjacent chamber. The caps may be either No. 10 or No. 11, and the brand matters as well, as CCI No. 10's are not the same size as Remington No. 10's; likewise with No. 11's. Some experimentation will be necessary here also.

    Single shot pistols and long guns use an undersize ball supplemented by a cloth patch; the patch engages the rifling (if any). The ball size is typically (but not always) 0.010" smaller in diameter than the rifle caliber; a cotton patch varying in thickness from 0.010" to as much as 0.020" (again, exact sizes are determined by experiment) is placed over the muzzle and the ball is then forced into the bore with the patch sealing the space between it and the bore walls.

    Your rifle is likely a .45 caliber and uses the .440 balls you found. Richland Arms is indeed out of business. Replacement nipples are available from a wide variety of sutlers including Cabelas and Bass Pro Shops. It is necessary to remove the old nipple and determine the thread size; no other dimensions are necessary as the sizes are standard. You will likely need No. 11 caps, although that's by no means certain. As stated above, experimentation will be necessary.

    I suggest starting with a powder load of 50 grains by volume in your rifle; it will take significantly more but stay with mild loads as you learn about loading and shooting it.
  9. au_prospector

    au_prospector Well-Known Member

    Okay to clarify... All this sound good?

    1) I need to try #10 caps
    2) .375 ball is for .36 cal revolver
    3) .454 ball is for .44 revolvers Army and Walker
    4) .440 ball is for the .45 rifle and the .45 single shot pistol
    5) I might be able to find replacement nipples where I buy BP shooting supplies?

    Lastly just for grins, my dog seems to like the taste of TC Bore Butter!
  10. mykeal

    mykeal Well-Known Member

    Yes to all of the above, and while Bore Butter isn't known to be poisonous, it's probably not good for his digestive system. You may be in for a 'fragrant' evening.
  11. SleazyRider

    SleazyRider Well-Known Member

    My compliments! That is about as fine and concise an explanation as I've ever read about fitting the ammo to the gun!
  12. mykeal

    mykeal Well-Known Member

    SleazyRider - thanks.

    au_prospector - I made an assumption about your long gun, that it's likely a .45, based on the fact that your dad had .440 balls. It's possible the gun is a .40, in which case you'll need .390 balls. I don't have any information that says Richland sold any .40's, but it is a popular small game caliber.
  13. hang fire

    hang fire Well-Known Member

    What black powder problem? You used assub, not BP.

    But with that said, methinks the real problem was behind the trigger. Understand what you are attempting to do, before you try to do it.
  14. au_prospector

    au_prospector Well-Known Member

    Last edited: Mar 9, 2012
  15. hogshead

    hogshead Well-Known Member

    A man needs a program to keep up with this stuff. Glad your shooting the bp. Warning it can be habbitforming.

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