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How Do You Load Your 1858 Army ?

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by red rick, Apr 21, 2012.

  1. red rick

    red rick Well-Known Member

    I just ordered a Uberti 1858 Army.

    How do you load them?

    What caps, powder and balls do you use?

    Who do you buy from?

    Do you use a capper or your fingers?

    Do you use wads, grease, crisco, or nothing to prevent a chain fire?

    What powder measurer and or flask do you use?

    Can you use 777 or Blackhorn in it?

    I guess you can tell buy now this is my first BP revolver. I would like to shorten the learning curb and have what I need when it gets here next week.
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2012
  2. 4v50 Gary

    4v50 Gary Moderator Staff Member

    See Black powder essentials at the top of this forum.
  3. wittzo

    wittzo Well-Known Member

    I'm no expert compared to a lot of the guys here that have been shooting BP revolvers since before I was born, but I've been reading their advice to other people and myself and experimenting on my own with what limited local resources I have. If it wasn't for the Internet, I wouldn't be able to shoot blackpowder.

    It should come with an instruction manual that shows how to load it, but there are lots of Youtube videos that can demonstrate the process. Look up duelist1954 on Youtube, he's probably the best guy to watch. I think he's demonstrated and reviewed almost every BP revolver made.

    #11 caps from CCI or Remington. 3Fg black powder, 777 pistol powder, or Pyrodex P will work well. .454 round balls should work fine, just so they leaves a nice round ring of lead after it's pushed in to indicate they're tight in the cylinder.

    PowderInc.com has the best deals on black powder. They sell Goex, KIK, and Sheutzan Swiss which are all good. Dixiegunworks.com sells #11 caps, but there are several other sites that sell them and you might be able to find them at Walmart, Dick's or other stores during hunting season. Buying them locally helps you duck the hazmat fee.

    I don't think there's a capper made that will work with an unmodified Remington, you have to use your fingers to cap the nipples, then seat them firmly with a wooden dowel.

    If you use a round ball large enough to shave a lead ring off during the ramming stage and use properly seated nipples of the correct size, the cylinder is sealed against chainfires. Wads (lubed felt wads, dry felt wads, or wonder lube pills) over the powder or Crisco/Wonder Lube over the ball do more to soften fouling to make the gun easier to clean if you use the right balls and nipples.

    A flask with a safety valve and any powder measure that can handle up to 40 grains will work fine. Thompson Center and Ted Cash make some nice ones.

    For all practical purposes Blackhorn only works with #290 shotgun primers. #11 caps don't have enough oomph to ignite it by themselves.
  4. red rick

    red rick Well-Known Member

    You did good I think you hit on all of my questions.
  5. Hammerdown77

    Hammerdown77 Well-Known Member

    I'm a newbie to cap and ball myself (but not to reloading). I recently bought an 1860 Army by Pietta and shot it last weekend.

    I will say this on the #11 CCI caps. On the Pietta nipples, these caps are loose and required a little pinch to stay on the nipples while firing. Not a big deal, just an extra step required in loading. I didn't use a capper, nor would I have been able to, because of needing to pinch the caps to get them to fit. Your Uberti may have different size nipples, though.

    I used .454 Hornady round balls. They were perfect. Thin ring of lead shaved off when they were seated. Excellent accuracy. I loaded and seated the balls with the rammer on the gun (as opposed to removing the cylinder and loading on a loading stand).

    I used FFFg black powder from Goex. I have a flask with a nozzle that is sized to throw 30 grains. When I weighed the charge on the scale, it is not 30 grains, closer to 26.5, 27, but I used it anyway. I just poured in the powder, seated the bullet firmly, directly on the powder (no wad or anything), and put Wonder Lube down in the cylinder over the ball. This combination proved to be very very accurate for my gun, and the over ball lube kept all the fouling very soft. All fouling pushed right out of the bore with one wet patch.

    A word of warning though.......this stuff is addictive :D
  6. raubvogel

    raubvogel Well-Known Member

    I think the reason is that those flasks are measuring by volume. Since the powder is not uniform, specially at that amount, you are bound to get variations.
  7. mic214

    mic214 Well-Known Member

    Congratulations and welcome to the "Dark side"!

    I picked up my first Pietta New Army back in November from Cabela's for $179.00. Since then, I have added two more to my collection, so now I have two with 5-1/2" barrels and one with an 8" barrel....They are very addicting!

    I picked up a cylinder loading stand and that makes loading a breeze. I use a charge of 25-30 grains of fff black powder or pyrodex "P" powder, followed by a lubed wad and then topped off with a .457 round lead ball. I have been using Remington #10 caps and they seem to work pretty well.

    I cap with a straight line capper and then do a final seating of the cap with the eraser end of a pencil. I use an adjustable brass powder measure.

    The local gun shop here in town carries a good supply of black powder gear....

    Here is a pic of my loading setup:

  8. Ryden

    Ryden Well-Known Member

    I shoot an original NMA and I load with a .38 Special case (24gr) of either FFg or Pyrodex RS depending on what's in the can at the moment.
    Then I add an equal measure of polenta and a .457 RB covered with beeswax/tallow grease.

    I've got less and softer fouling if I put the grease under the bullet, but then you really need a wad over the powder as the grease will harm it if left for a while before shooting. If you put the grease over the bullet, the bullet will scrape it of the walls of the barrel and new fouling will be added to what's already there, with the grease under the bullet it will coat the barrel with atomized grease that will work wonders softening up the fouling and the next bullet with just push it out.

    I use RWS 1075 and cap with my fingers, I dont seat them extra or anything, just put them on. Never had a misfire or a lost cap.
    I just bought a Ted Cash inline capper and that seems to work great, mainly to stop fiddling around with those pesky sub-miniature caps. The rifle takes musket caps and that's a blessing.

    The key element to easy capping is the fit of the nipple, If you have to seat your caps with a stick or similar then you should get better nipples.
    The secret for the original guns is to buy the long Colt version and cut them down to the correct length, if you buy the short Colt nipples they are to wide and won't fit standard caps.
  9. scrat

    scrat Well-Known Member

    very easy pointed down range. put the gun in half cock. Open the loading gate slide in a 45colt, turn the cylinder, repeat 4 more times. Then place hammer in safe area. Now ready to fire.
  10. Ryden

    Ryden Well-Known Member

    So, do you cap with your fingers or do you use an eraserhead?:D
  11. scrat

    scrat Well-Known Member

    well if your talking about the loading gate. yep forgot when done i close the gate no tools needed just push with my pinkie :neener:
  12. red rick

    red rick Well-Known Member

    What cap fits the Uberti 1858 the best?
  13. scrat

    scrat Well-Known Member

    Depends on where you are. IN CA cant find remington caps so we settle for #11 CCI. they are pretty cheap in price though. If you find a shooting range that has them on hand you can try them both.
  14. Kaeto

    Kaeto Well-Known Member

    BP should only be measured by volume not weight.
  15. hogshead

    hogshead Well-Known Member

    Thats cheating Scrat.
  16. mykeal

    mykeal Well-Known Member

    Real black powder can be measured either way. The largest part of the difference between the weight and volume results attained by Hammerdown77 is probably due to inaccuracies in the volume measure. I've compared results from four volume measures and found as much as a 13% disagreement. And since grains by volume is not supported by any official standard, it's impossible to say what the 'right' answer is when using volume. And I doubt if anyone could really tell the difference in 2 grains.
  17. junkman_01

    junkman_01 member

    Mykeal wrote
    This is true. Folks who don't know or never tried weighing black powder, always spout the myth that you can ONLY measure BP by volume. I guess they have never witnessed a real BP match!
  18. Hammerdown77

    Hammerdown77 Well-Known Member

    I need to weigh the charges thrown again; after a day of shooting, the nozzle got a nice layer of soot built up on the inside of it, and the powder charges seemed to be more consistent. No flakes of powder left in the spout. I still don't think it's 30 grains (weight), though.

    Yesterday I loaded up some 45 Colt rounds using 35 grains (weighed) of FFg Goex. My friend loaned me his adjustable powder measure, the one with the sliding scale marked in graduations of 10 grains (looks kinda like a tire pressure gauge). That one seems pretty accurate with FFg Goex powder. The scale is about midway between the 30 grain mark and the 40 grain mark, and it weighs out 35 grains on my Dillon scale.
  19. scrat

    scrat Well-Known Member

    When working with Black powder you should only and always go by volume not weight. Regardless of what your scales show or if you have differences between one manufacture and the other. Remember real black powder is hygroscopic. Meaning it will absorb moisture this will effect the weight of the powder. In revolvers like the 1858 it is important that you stick with proper loading volumes not weight. WHY because the loading lever only goes so far for one. So if you weigh out your charges and think you are going to go with 25-30 grains of powder on a powder scale on a humid day in the south of florida or texas. Guess what go ahead and drop that charge. Then put your ball in when you ram down that ball you will have a huge gap between the powder charge and the ball. You will feel no resistance when you push down that ball. You just created a black powder hand grenade.

    Now think about it when shooting you are looking for consistancy. Knowing this you go by 35 grains of powder by volume using what ever brand powder adjustable powder volume measure. I dont care if its different from others. USE IT. then shoot. now measure your results then adjust accordingly to find the best charge level for your gun using that powder measure.
  20. Hammerdown77

    Hammerdown77 Well-Known Member

    I agree with you on the moisture absorption issue, but I disagree that you can't weigh out the charges on a NEW can of powder and calibrate your measure accordingly. You do the same thing with smokeless powder, too. Granted, it won't absorb moisture as fast as black powder, but it still happens. Even if it didn't happen, you still have VMD variations between different lots of powder. So, if you want to be especially precise, you crack open a new jug of smokeless powder, weigh out several different charges, and then calibrate your powder drop (which meters out powder by VOLUME) accordingly.

    For example, I've had a lot of smokeless powder that threw X grains out of cavity Y in my Lee Pro Autodisk. When I ran out and bought a new jug of that same powder, I tried throwing that same charge with cavity Y and the weighed charge was actually X + .2 grains. It threw this variation consistently. Now, given that this was a slower powder where .2 grains increase or decrease didn't really make much difference, I didn't worry about it. If it had been a fast powder like Clays, and I was near max, I would have used a different cavity, or used the adjustable charge bar.

    Don't see why you can't use this same method on a fresh, unopened can of black powder. Adjust your measure to throw the charge you want, measured on a scale. Now, that measure's VOLUME will be set to throw a certain weight of that type (FF, FFF, whatever) of powder. As long as you don't adjust that volume to account for changes in weight of the powder later on, as it absorbs moisture, you will be fine.

    Or at least that's my take on it. Makes the most sense, when you think about it.

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