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First BP Experience

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by JediJJJ, Sep 20, 2006.

  1. JediJJJ

    JediJJJ Well-Known Member

    Thought I'd share a few thoughts on my first BP experience last weekend.

    Actually, I guess it might by my second. My first is a TC .50 cal Hawken Percussion kit that has been sitting in the box since I talked my wife into buying it for Christmas about 20 years ago. After getting bitten by the bug again by a trip to Gettysburg this summer I looked around and settled on a Remington 1858 .44 cal New Army with brass frame (Pietta from Cabela's). (I've read the comments and I still like the look.)

    One thing I'd like to note is not to buy the starter kit from Cabela's. The flask is a cheap plastic POS without any sort of valve. The rest of the kit is reasonable but since you have to buy a real flask anyway it is probably a better buy to get the components you want.

    Anyway, back to the story.

    The first issue I found was with the documentation.:confused: The Pietta manual listed 12-15 gr of FFFg, while the manual from Cabela's listed 25-30 gr of FFFg. Quite a discrepancy. From my perusing of this forum and others it seemed that most people were in the higher range, but I really did not want to chance it. I e-mailed Pietta and they said you could go to 20-30 gr but that was really not necessary. I decided to start with 15 gr (using 777) and go from there.

    Went to a DNR range last weekend to try out my new Neos, my new 1858, and to let my son shoot the 10/22. We spent quite a bit of time on the 25yd range with the .22s, then I got to try the BP. First I fired two rounds of caps through all the chambers. I then loaded one chamber with 15 gr of 777, then 15 gr of whole wheat flour. Based on what I had read I thought this was necessary to keep the ball from not being seated directly on the powder because of the light load, it also gave me a use for the POS flask. (I know others have recommended corn meal or semolina, but we didn't have either of those. Do now.) On top of that I placed the wad from the kit and a ball from the kit, with the sprue mark up. I rotated this into place and rammed the ball down. The rammer went to its full extension, hmmm, not going to try and take it out now. Rotated the cylinder to load a cap, the rotated it to one off the firing position and returned the hammer. After taking a deep breath I cocked the hammer and squeezed off my first shot. Got a reasonable cloud of smoke and a respectable boom. Think I even hit the target, though I don't exactly remember. Emboldened by my "success" I decided to remove the cylinder and load 5 chambers at one time with everything but the ball. Replaced the cylinder and loaded the balls. Just as I was getting ready to load the caps they called to clear all guns for a target check. I placed the caps and fired all 5, I think the first hit the bull, but I'm not sure where the rest went.

    At that point I was informed by the range officer that all BP guns were restricted to single load only.:banghead: After the target check I loaded twice more with 20gr powder and 20gr flour but the ball still seemed to be way down and the ram fully extended. At that point I didn't want to keep single loading so I packed up and went home.:(

    Here are the things I learned and some questions.

    • I really need to find some place to shoot where I can load 5. The dealer where I bought my Neos has an indoor range and I think he said they allowed BP. I'll have to check that out, though it could get a bit expensive.
    • I need to get an idea of what the sight picture is supposed to be. This is quite a bit different from anything else I have shot (ok, I mean my 10/22) and when I try to reason out what it should be I can't come up with a picture that wouldn't seem to have the muzzle point way low.
    • Since I'll probably be sticking to the lighter loads I should order some of the thicker BigIron wads, and develop my loads around those. I was going to do that today but it seems they are closed for a week so I'll have to wait.

    Anyway, thanks for reading my excessive posting. Hope to be around here for a while.
  2. Smokin_Gun

    Smokin_Gun Well-Known Member

    JediJJJ, first off keep in mind that 777 is 15% more powerful than Black Powder. Second, especially with a brass frame Rev, or any BP Rev use 777 ffg as fffg is quite a bit hotter. Third if you use Black Powder the volume will be higher as you'll pour more powder. 22gr-28gr ffg BP is a very accurate load range. Using 15gr of 777 ffg would equal 17.25gr of BP, fffg would be about 20gr of BP.
    Why do you only load 5 shots and not 6? The safety notch on a 1858 rem is plenty safe. If you like wool wads the one's BigIron has are probly the best.
    The best thing I have found to use is the Lube Pills, or (grease patch). In my book the are the only thing I will use...I like to keep shootin' all day till I'm ready to quit. These do that with out cleanin'. See note in my signature below. Get some BP or Pyrodex, cause I'll tell you last Friday I shot 3 cylinders of 777 ffg in my 1860 Army and snapped the locating pins clean off. I won't shoot the stuff in a Colt ever again. Probly just won't shoot the stuff at all. That's my expiriance with 777 ...
    Hope you fond a place to shoot the Rev. Is that a Club? I'd contest that 1 shot for muzzleloaders thing, cause it's a BP Revolver not a Muzzleloader. Loaded in a cylinder not the muzzle. Look into that and let us know what you find out... Good Luck.
    Lube Pills Pic Below:
    click on Pic
  3. Plastic Cowboy

    Plastic Cowboy Well-Known Member

    You probably don't want to do it with a brass gun but I have a steel framed 58 New Army Remington and I always shoot it with the chambers filled right to the top (45 grains) of 777 (sometimes pyrodex cause its cheaper) and have never had a problem. Lots of smoke and noise but the steel frame has shown no stress and the fouling is not a problem because I smear a big gob of Bore Butter over each ball before firing. I load wads over the powder every once and a while to swab the bore out when accuracy starts to decline.
  4. RobW

    RobW Well-Known Member

    May be the State of Michigan should rather restrict the automobilists to use only the 1st gear. Safes a lot of lifes, and not to the least, ITS FOR THE CHIIIILDREN!

    Now serious. You should use either Prodex p or GOEX FFFg at 20 grains volume with a brass frame. I couldn't find any difference in accuracy with such loads plain or filled up with some filling material (but I'm a lousy shot, even from a bench).

    This brass thing looks good only for a short time. If shot a lot, you have to polish it also a lot to keep the brass nice. No more brass frames for me!

    If you get a "real" powder flask, look for a nice set of spouts. I've got a 15, 20, 22, 25, and 30 grain spout. Unfortunately, most of them are NOT marked, so you have to scratch the numbers in them yourself.

    Be careful, this black powder stuff is addictive and leads you to scientific based tests, meaning you use a LOT of time to find the pet-load for your gun.
  5. JediJJJ

    JediJJJ Well-Known Member

    2nd time out

    I just returned from the indoor range. They did let you shoot black powder so I spent 1/2 hour with the .22 and then 1/2 hour with the .44. By the time I switched everything around I was only able to load the .44 twice for a total of 12 shots. Think I have a handle on the sight picture now. I placed 8 shots in a 5" window at 10 yds and the other four were touching the outside. While that is not great it is better than I started out. Also determined that I need new eyeballs. I'm supposed to be wearing bi-focals (tried them, hated them, returned them) so I couldn't see the sights or the target, depending on whether I had the glasses on or off.

    Loaded with 15gr of 777 FFFg and 25 gr filler. The ball still seated way down and I don't know if it was fully compressed because I had the lever all the way down. Only about 10 more balls/wads to go from the starter kit and then I'll be into the "real" stuff.

    Guess I'll stick with the 777 for a while. As I recall there are 7000 grains in a pound, so I should have enough for about 440 more shots. According to the Hodgdon web site 777 is about 15% more powerful in similar granulations so I'm using the equivalent of 17.25 gr of true BP, which is within reason.

    Well, gotta get cleaning. Thanks for your input.
  6. Smokin_Gun

    Smokin_Gun Well-Known Member

    What make 1858 do you have that holds 45gr of anything by volume?
    Pietta and Uberti just hold 40gr of BP ffg or 777 ffg. ASP and Euroarms hold 35gr.
    A Colt Dragoon only holds 50gr by volume ... soI'm a little confused with a 1858shooting 45gr 777 and holding it in a chamber let alone withstanding a 51.71gr BP equivalent charge and staying together.(777/45gr + 15% = BP/51.75)
    Unless it's a Ruger Old Army they may hold 45gr I don't know.
    Good Luck, stay safe...
  7. Smokin_Gun

    Smokin_Gun Well-Known Member

    JediJJJ keep up the good work sounds like you're havin' fun now.
    It has just been my expiriance that the ball up to the top of the chamber does not matter as much as does the fouling caused by "cereal fillers".
    Get the Black Powder and try 22gr -28gr of fffg, will raise the ball height. Use a wad, a lube pill, will raise it more, press it down on the powder and grease the top of the ball if you want. Accuracy will improve. Fillers work if you card the powder first mainly used in BP cartidges like .45LC.
    Just tryin to share some of what I have found out.
  8. .38 Special

    .38 Special Well-Known Member

    Another vote for real black powder. I've tried most of the replacements and never really got the point. And I could never get past the idea that I might be offending the gods.

    If you're dead set on using smaller-than-normal charges, I'd ad a couple of extra wads on top of the powder. Air space between powder and ball is never a good idea.
  9. sundance44s

    sundance44s Well-Known Member


    I use a cylinder loading stand to elimate the air space ..with a good cylinder stand you can seat the ball on 5 grs of powder . Might be alot of trouble with a Colt though .
  10. JediJJJ

    JediJJJ Well-Known Member

    Cylinder Loading Stand

    I had ordered a cylinder loading stand and it was waiting for me after I got home last night. That will allow me to make sure everything is compressed. Guess from what I'm seeing here it doesn't matter how far down the ball is. I thought it needed to be near the top of the chamber.
  11. rifle

    rifle Well-Known Member

    Well, I think I read on the Hodgdon site that fillers and wads aren't recommended with 777 powder. It probably has something to do with the sharp pressure curve of 777 and the possibility of detonation when using fillers or wads that can compress when the powder ignites and let the powder start to move and then hit the ball that is stationary and can then act as an obstruction. Blackpowder doesn't have the same pressure curve but detonation can happen even with it when using long compressable load chains with wads and fillers in them. Case in point...a Sharps rifle was blown with a normal amount of powder ,in theory, because of the use of a load chain that contained too many wads and filler in the form of lube and detontion occured. Detonation is where a small load can blow a gun wide open. Not only heavy loads blow guns. Anyway better stop with the filler with the 777 powder. Also heed Smokin-Guns warning about FFFg 777 since it is hot and FFg 777 is better suited to cap&ball revolvers. Brass frame -light loads? Yep, fer the Colts with that skinny ring of brass on the recoil shield that keeps the caps off the recoil shield. The cylinder wacks that ring everytime the gun fires and the six spots of the cylinder between the nipples that hit the recoil shields ring dents it with six dents. Ask Smokin-Gun about his really old Belgium Colt that had a steel frame. It had the dents on the recoil shield and that opens the cylinder gap a good bit oversize. Ok but the gun mentioned is a brass Remington right? Well, it has a totally different construction as we all know when comparing it to a Colt. The Remington doesn't have the skinny ring on the recoil shiels to keep caps from hitting it and chainfiring. The recoil shield of the Remington is flat. The back of the cylinder is flat. The force of the cylinder wacking the recoil shield is distributed over a widder area and is absorbed by the frame unlike a Colt that has the six "points of force" emitted on a skinny brass ring by the cylinder. Well with the flat cylinder rear wacking a flat frame with the Remington my opinion is....that it is not affected in the same way a Colt is with the softer brass frame. Brass frame Remingtons hold up much much better simply because of the mechanical construction of them where the areas of recoil absorption are concerned. That difference in mechanical construction makes the Remington in brass hold up well with normal standard loads like 25gr.-30gr. FFFg blackpowder. The Remington also has an arbor that is not screwed to the frame so the threads are not a concern as with the Colt. The Colt brass frame arbor threads can be pulled out with the arbor after awhile even with standard loads. It takes a good while but it can happen with a brass Colt that is old and used a lot. Usually the cylinder of a Colt developes so much cylinder gap and end play that problems arise concerning the hammer being able to reliably ignite caps. Anyway.....my opinion is that a brass frame Remington doesn't really have to be babied with the light charges. The brass may not last as long as the steel Remington but I think it would take a long time and a lot of shots fired to loosen up a brass Remington to the point it was unreliable or unsafe or just place too loose to work properly. One thing to watch for with the brass frame Remington is the enlarging of the arbor holes in the frame especially the rear arbor hole. That's true about the steel frames also. The brass frame Remington can get a loose rear arbor hole in the frame but it takes a good long time. Personally I say," load the dang revolver up with a proper load of at least 25gr. FFFg blackpowder and have a ball with it until it gets too loose, if ever. If the gun gets too loose it will take a long time and then sell the danged thing to Smokin-Gun for a few dollars and let him deal with the stretched frame and loose arbor holes. He's a budding "Kitchen Table Gunsmith" and has done well in the "fix it" department so far. :neener: :what:
  12. sundance44s

    sundance44s Well-Known Member


    I started with a brass framed remington 1858 and shot 25 grs of black out of it for 3 years ..and i shoot alot .. never hurt it .. only reason i switched to the steel frame is besause i read the South never did really produce the brass frome remmie .. so it isn`t historically correct .. made me fall out of love with it real quick ..lol . now i have 4 steel frame remmies and life on the farm is grand and i can use the conversion cylinders in them . Steel frame guns are only a few bucks difference in price and well worth it .
    And only the eyetilians ever made a brass frame Remmie .. not my Southern heros .
  13. Smokin_Gun

    Smokin_Gun Well-Known Member

    Rifle thanks for the compliment, and yes for a few bucks I might take a deal such as that. LoL!
    All kidding aside what Rifle said is right on the money. With 1858 Brassers you don't have much toworry about. But heed the warning of using too much 777 ffg, or any fffg in any revlover steel or brass. Sheered the locating pins off my 1860 Army with 28gr 777 ffg. And don't use fillers or wooly wads, it tells you on the Hogdon site not to, under warnings.
    Get some real stuff BP fffg and have fun with out worry.
  14. Tommygunn

    Tommygunn Well-Known Member

    It's true the South never made brass frame Remmies, but the "Eyetalians" weren't the only ones.
    Remington did make a small .31 pocket revolver, of which there are generally considered to be 4 major variations. 2 of these were in brass. The others were steel, and 1 of those had a brass trigger spur sheath.
    And yes, this is the one that's reproduced by Pietta and sold by Cabela's (and others).
    Not that this is overwhelmingly relevant to 1858s in .44 caliber...but just an extra tidbit of info for the interested.
  15. pohill

    pohill Well-Known Member

    "And only the eyetilians ever made a brass frame Remmie .. not my Southern heros ".

    The southern Spiller & Burr revolvers were brass framed and pretty close in design to a Remington NMA.
  16. sundance44s

    sundance44s Well-Known Member


    Only thing i don`t like about the Spiller & Burr is the fact it`s a 36 cal .. wins no cigar with me . Pretty close to a Remington in the looks dept .. and if i had a use for a 36 i`d own at least 1 . And the South did do some copying and casting with brass .. possibly church bells from Macon GA. Times was tough . Recon a 36 would be better than a sling shot .
  17. Tommygunn

    Tommygunn Well-Known Member

    The Spiller & Burr revolvers themselves were copies of the North's Whitney Revolver. They changed the frame on it a little, adding more brass along the front. On original Whitneys the barrel threads are bare in between the cylinder front and the frame. Spiller & Burr replicated this at first but the brass design was too soft, so they added a thicker portion there. Palmetto makes repros of the Whitneys and they're sold by Dixie Gun Works, if you're interested. They're pricey. I have one, and it's pretty nice, though Palmetto has yet to learn how to make metal finishes as nice as Pietta or Uberti.
  18. pohill

    pohill Well-Known Member

    My older Spiller & Burr - unknown make

  19. AirForceShooter

    AirForceShooter Well-Known Member

    Fun ain't it?
    And that's what it's about.
    Gets peoples attention.


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