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Wad or...?

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by LivewireBlanco, Apr 18, 2013.


What's your preferred method of chain fire protection?

Poll closed May 18, 2013.
  1. Over ball grease

    13 vote(s)
  2. Lubed wad

    30 vote(s)
  3. Grease and wad both

    7 vote(s)
  4. Nothing, over sized lead is good enough!

    13 vote(s)
  5. Doesn't matter to me as long as I use something!

    4 vote(s)
  1. drjohn

    drjohn Member

    I’m new to c p revolvers, my history is cap Kentucky and flint tower musket pistol. So I’ve been playing with a recipe for lubed wads. I read a lot of ya all’s posted recipes and am liking one using two parts Manteca lard, one part paraffin wax and enough colored candle wax to tag the recipe, and good measure of hand soap shaved up with a cheese grater. All this pourd melted over cotton cosmetic pads from the dollar store, 88 for a buck and I get 12 .50 cal was out of each pad. The soap shavings do seem to make cleaning easier later and also seems to keep the wads firm. All this is by eye ball measurement. I guess that after 30 years with that musket I figure that often times consistency doesn’t necessarily mean exact.

    By the way Blacknet is right the charge does burn back to front. The burning sludge you spit out the muzzle is overcharge ie wasted powder, no good just mess, and dammed hard on your frizzen spring too.
  2. Hellgate

    Hellgate Well-Known Member

    That first you tube vid shows the hammer jump back after first hitting the cap indicating early pressure buildup pushing the hammer back. That is where a lot of cap jams occur when the cap is forced back with the hammer and then jams up the works especially in open tops.
  3. BlackNet

    BlackNet Well-Known Member

  4. madcratebuilder

    madcratebuilder Well-Known Member

    Correct answer!

    Chain fires are most often a result of improperly fitted caps. Colt wrote about this 160 years ago... I know cause he borrowed my pen;)

    The chamber is sealed when you shave lead seating the ball. Out of round chambers or chambers with wall imperfections may cause a chain fire.

    Lube is to keep fouling soft.
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2013
  5. ClemBert

    ClemBert Well-Known Member

    Here's the recipe for cheap felt wads: Do-It-Yourself Felt Wad Making

    Why use grease over the ball. Grease is fer the wimmens to do their cookin' fer me. :neener:
  6. GCBurner

    GCBurner Well-Known Member

    Crisco Vegetable Shortening actually works as well as any of the expensive, special-purpose lubes for use over the ball.
  7. kituwa

    kituwa Well-Known Member

    I am convinced that most chain fires do not come from lack of grease or wad.They come from nipples that are too long and alow the caps to slam back into the recoil shield or from caps that do not fit right and fall off without you knowing it.Even if you have the proper size nipples for your gun if they have been peened from dry fireing then the caps may not be able to seat on them right causeing them to again be slammed into the recoil shield.Most of the imports we buy today are a lot better put together than they used to be.In the past i have seen brand new guns come with diffrent sized nipples on the same gun.
  8. damoc

    damoc Well-Known Member

    So question if you have a bad chamber or out of round ball or load up some balls that dont shave a good ring is there a chance that you could get a chainfire through the front of the cyl?

    answer = yes

    a little note as an aside most purchased balls are amazingly perfect but i bet there is
    more than few casters here who have had flat spots or even cracks (from too cool lead or bad mix) and im sure some of these find there way into our revolvers.

    so now if you agree with the first part im telling you 100% that grease over the ball WILL prevent at least this cause of chain fire.

    And i dont care what Colt wrote with your pen LOL :D the colt design seems at least to me to be more problematic with caps anyway.:neener:
  9. BlackNet

    BlackNet Well-Known Member

    A few things worth of note here.

    A) If you pack the cylinder with grease then each and every time you fire that will cause other slots to heat up and it WILL vaporize the grease.

    B) The purpose of firing caps ONLY is to CLEAN grease, oil and the like from the nipples and cylinder. <<<-----

    C) Chain fires, Misfires, Cross fires whatever you call them can and will happen on BOTH ends of the cylinder. Just watch one of the video's I posted to see why that is the case. The #1 cause on the nipple side is poor fit; on the other side is because the cylinder WALLS = DIRTY. If you are crunching powder between the ball and the walls then guess what will happen.

    D) Using grease/oil/lube/what not you have a GREATER chance of it attracting powder. Do this, put some dye in the lube. One cylinder put it UNDER the ball, the next cylinder put it OVER the lube. Fire the other cylinders first and save those 2 for last. Then look for the dye marks on the revolver.
  10. damoc

    damoc Well-Known Member

    There may be a small amount vaporised but it is inconsequencial a larger amount is moved from the blast leaking from the cyl gap but this is also of little concern you can
    fire 5 out of 6 shots and still have plenty of grease left over in the final chamber.
    (unless maybee you are using a bad choice of lube/grease)

    UMM why bother to clean grease out of the nipples and chambers if it does not inhibit
    the burning of the power???

    There is no argument from me about there being other causes of chain fire/cross fire
    my only argument is that grease over the ball does prevent chain fire starting from the front of the cyl.

    I have not noticed any large amounts of powder buildup in the grease and even if it does
    that is good because powder lodged in grease has had its burning inhibited even completely stopped in many cases.
  11. kituwa

    kituwa Well-Known Member

    I can see that there are good arguments both for and against useing grease on top of the ball. I have stopped useing it on top, i only use it on a felt wad under the ball now mostly because it works well for me and is not nearly as messy.Has anyone ever read that grease was used over the ball or conicals back in the 1800's?Did the paper cartridges even use lube in the bullet grooves used in the civil war?I have always just assumed the conicals were lubed only because they did have lube grooves but i dont know one way or the other.
  12. Lunie

    Lunie Well-Known Member

    I prefer to use air on top of the balls. Much less messy, and infinitely less expensive than even Crisco.

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