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Newbie with alot of questions, loading, safety, etc

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by PunkDude812, Jan 24, 2011.

  1. PunkDude812

    PunkDude812 Member

    I have a .44 caliber confederate navy model I bought from cabelas almost 10 years ago. I've never shot it, and really dont have the slight clue how.

    How do i measure grains of powder? How much do I use? What kind of powder is recomended?

    Could I just fill the cylinder 3/4 full of powder insert a wad and ball and be good?

    Would the balls and wads still be good after sitting for so long? What size caps should I use? And is it safe to keep it loaded.

    I'm already planning on getting ox-yoke wonder seals the seal the chambers, anyone have experience with this?

    I appreciate any help, I know these have been asked before and i've searched I just havent been able to find it put in a way I could understand. (I'm not the brightest)

    Thanks guys.
  2. BHP FAN

    BHP FAN Well-Known Member

    A volume measure is what you need. Cabelas has them. they measure in 10 grain increments. For a brass frame .44, I would not recommend over twenty grains. in fact, twenty is a good, accurate charge even in steel frames.your wads are going to be a little dry, which is ok. you won't have lube contaminated powder that way. also, it will give your charge compression, which is a good thing. you must never, ever, have air space in a black powder gun. the caps should be ok, but get more just in case. use the oldest, first. have fun!
  3. andrewstorm

    andrewstorm member

    new smoker

    Easy does it .the 30 grain pyrodex pistol pellets,are easy,and powerful,seat a 180 grain buffalo ballet.454 diameter,or hornady 454 ball no wad nessesary seal all chambers with bore butter and cap with cci mag 11 caps,dont crush the pellets, you should get about 950 fps mv,with the conical and lots of smoke ;)
  4. BHP FAN

    BHP FAN Well-Known Member

    A 30 gr. pistol pellet and a 180 grain bullet are a bit of a strain for a brass frame revolver, and only really nessesary if you are hunting velociraptors.
  5. higene

    higene Well-Known Member


    You have a lot of questions as we all do.

    Most of yours are covered in a postit approved by the safety committee or the owners manual of the gun you buy (or online or by mail from the producers of most guns). BP is really dangerous stuff and you really do need to be careful with it in addition to all gun handling safety issues.


    1. BP is measured by volume Not by weight. It is usually transferred from cans or plastic jugs to secondary metering devices - powder horns or flasks. Many of the secondary metering devices have removable spouts of a specific volume. I will use your example of a 44 revolver loading sequence. So one fills the flask with an appropriate powder. Most pistols shoot fff, a granulation or coarseness measure. You have selected Pyrodex Pistol because it is available and that is what the clerk at the sporting goods store recommended. I am going to assume that you have a brass cylindrical flask with a spout. You have read your manual and have a 20 grain spout on the flask. Then charge all cylinders that you plan to shoot. To charge a cylinder, one holds the flask down with your finger over the open end of the spout. You then activate the fill or release lever and charge the spout. Next I lift the spout up, remove finger, and make sure that the spout is full. I repeat this process for all cylinders that you plan to shoot. Then put a wad in each cylinder and next seat each wad. I do the wad and then seat it so that I don't skip or double wad any cylinders. Next one selects the proper size ball, a matter of much controversy. Since your manual says .454 we will go with that (yes 44s are really 45s - sorta like 44 mags are really 43s - but I digress). Next I peek and make sure the cylinder that I am going to put the ball in has powder and a wad. Next position the cylinder that you are loading in the Next up position and place the ball on it. Rotate the ball under the rammer, release the ram arm, and seat the ball. It should shave a neat little ring which insures a correct fit. I have a pick handy and make sure that I remove all shavings - less crud flying around when the gun goes off - I have had the unremoved lead shavings jam the gun. Repeat for all charged cylinders. When I am done I check the depth of each cylinder with the ram. If I have left a cylinder unloaded I make sure it is the one without powder in it. (the ram test should have alerted you to this condition but not always). Last a wad goes over the loaded ball. Many people just use grease (Crisco - Bore butter - Whatever) over the ball.

    This is how I do it. some people do the sequence differently. I have seen people completely charge and load each individual cylinder. I believe that slow and methodical are the most important. Get a sequence. If you change the sequence, change one thing at a time. Slow and the same every time are important.

    2. 3/4 full by eyeball will work (go bang) but your accuracy will suffer.

    3. Leaving a gun charged - opinions vary. I live in a very moist climate. BP substitutes are hygroscopic - draw or attract moisture. I tried the "leave your gun loaded" test with a ROA and an 1862 Sheriffs model. I ruined the Sheriffs model and took 2 hours to straighten out the ROA. I do not leave my guns Loaded. I clean my BP guns three times. Once the day I shoot them, Once the next day and the third time a week later. I also clean all of my BP Guns once a month weather they have been fired or not. (Remember I live in a climate with extreme moisture issues.)

    4. Ox-yoke wadding is great stuff albeit expensive. Many people make their own wads, leave out the over powder wads and just put a wad over the ball, use Crisco over the ball or just use powder and ball. I am sure that people will have comments on my even mentioning some of these options. There are many threads about all of these options - complete with pictures of chain fire results.

    My recommendations are get and read an owner's manual. Read Postits on this site and watch what other folks do. Remember all of the many safety rules of BP guns are in addition to the safe gun handling practices for all guns.

    It is never OK to be looking at the muzzle of a gun. Always recap and remove All powder from the line before fireing any muzzle loaders. Ears and EYES - always.

    Welcome and do have FUN.

    Last edited: Jan 24, 2011
  6. mykeal

    mykeal Well-Known Member

    Typically people use a volumetric powder measure, available from any sporting goods dealer who handles muzzleloading supplies. Using the spout on a flask or powder horn is occasionally done but not recommended for a new user. You can also just eyeball the chamber, but that's inconsistent and can be unsafe.
    In a brass frame revolver I'd recommend 20 grains by volume, no more.
    Goex real black powder, FFFg. Pyrodex P is a good substitute if Goex is not available. 777 can also be used, but reduce the load to 15 grains as it's more powerful; that can result in difficulty seating the ball on the powder, which is mandatory, so it's not recommended until you're more familiar with black powder shooting. Pyrodex or 777 pellets are NOT recommended for a new user. They are convenient but can be very tricky in a revolver.

    Yes, but as I mentioned above that will result in inconsistent results, and you won't know if it's you, the gun or the powder. Also, a 3/4 full chamber is a heavy load for a brass framed revolver; you can damage the gun over time if that's done repeatedly.

    Unfortunately, cap sizes are a total crap shoot, especially with an older gun. In the end you're going to have to go by trial and error. The issue will be convenience; too small and they won't fire on the first strike, too large and they'll tend to fall off. I wish there was a simple answer to this but there isn't. What someone else uses won't necessarily work for your gun even if it's the same make and model.
    It's as safe as it is to keep any gun loaded. The issue of humidity can be important as mentioned above.
    Personally, I do not. I have heard good things about them, but I question whether the expense is justified. Using a dry lubed felt wad between ball and powder is sufficient.

    There is a sticky thread at the top of this forum list entitled "Black Powder Essentials". Read it several times; it contains a wealth of information.
  7. junkman_01

    junkman_01 member

  8. PunkDude812

    PunkDude812 Member

    Thanks for all the help guess. Higene, thanks for those loading insturctions. I do have the flask like you mentioned, and now I know how to properly use it lol.

    The ox-yoke's I was reffering to, are the ones ment to go on top of the ball to seal the chamber. I figured that'd be easer than crisco etc. to seal each chamber. Anyone tried that yet?
  9. mykeal

    mykeal Well-Known Member

    As I said, I've not used them, so consider these remarks in that context. I just don't see the purpose. I also don't see the purpose of using grease over the chamber mouth, either. You're free to do so if you wish - I'm not saying it's a bad thing, but, well, I've been shooting these things for 35 years and I haven't had the need yet.
  10. Noz

    Noz Well-Known Member

    When you load a 44 chamber with 20gs of black or 15 grs of 777 you run the risk of not getting any compression on the powder. When you fire an uncomprressed load you will get a double report. Similar to bang-BANG. Solve by 1. adding more powder, 2. loading on a loading machine rather than the on board loading lever(plunger goes deeper into the chamber allowing compression), 3. adding a filler between ball and powder to allow the compression. Wads or cereal(grits, Cream of Wheat, cornmeal) will work.
  11. BHP FAN

    BHP FAN Well-Known Member

    Note: Wads or grits go under the ball.
  12. BHP FAN

    BHP FAN Well-Known Member

    Instructions on Track of the Wolf state:

    Ox-Yoke® Wonder Wads or dry felt wads for percussion revolvers & cartridges. High density 100% wool felt wads come lubed with wonder lube, or dry. When used in a percussion revolver, the wad is used over the powder and under the round lead ball. No messy grease is needed with Wonder Wads. They safely seal each chamber and prevent chain-firing. Black powder cartridge reloaders have discovered that dry wads reduce leading and prevent melting the base of the bullet. We don’t recommend wonder lube in cartridges, since the lube can wet the powder charge, in time.
  13. mykeal

    mykeal Well-Known Member

  14. arcticap

    arcticap Well-Known Member

    But most folks do use the Wonder Wads under the ball instead of Wonder Seals over the ball because Wonder Seals are a relatively new and expensive product. Not that Wonder Seals don't work to seal the chambers or aren't effective, it's just that not very many folks have reported about how they like using them or their high cost.
    However both products do share the similar function of sealing the chambers from chainfire with an option for the Wonder Wads to also lubricate.
    If the powder loads in the .44 brass Confederate are light, then the Wonder Wads might actually provide an advantage or two.
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2011
  15. BHP FAN

    BHP FAN Well-Known Member

    Wonder wads bring the reduced load closer to the rammer to insure proper compression. I can't speak as to the usefullness of this ''Wonder Seal'', as I've never used it. It does seem a bit much of a muchness though. Looking at the link that mykeal provided, I can't see that it's nessesary.
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2011
  16. Shoot The Moon

    Shoot The Moon Well-Known Member

    Interesting point... surely if the ball fits correctly (ie produces a ring of lead when rammed unless revo has chamfered chambers like Euroarms) it will create a gastight seal and preclude the dreaded 'chain fire'.
  17. BHP FAN

    BHP FAN Well-Known Member

    I have seen chainfires only three or four times in almost forty years of muzzleloading...oblong home cast balls [probably from the mold not closeing tightly] and no lube over the chambers caused at least one, [mine] but I suspect loose caps caused another.
  18. skipjack

    skipjack Well-Known Member

    You can make your own "wonderseals" by mixing crisco and beeswax
    and cutting out a "grease cookie" to go over the ball. Use a 45 acp
    case as a cookie cutter. If you go that route, you may be able to
    omit the wonder wads...using both is redundant, in my opinion.
  19. Capt. Redbeard

    Capt. Redbeard Active Member


    You suspect loose caps. I've been curious about this, and so I've started "sealing" my caps onto the nipples. Basically, I slather bore butter around the cap and nipple. I've found this also helps blowing caps off into the action and jamming the gun. I also put a seal of bore butter around the ball once seated in the chamber. How so the rest of you seal the cap/nipple, if you do at all?

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