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Can a blackpowder revolver be left loaded indefinitely?

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by andy_cc, Aug 15, 2008.

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  1. andy_cc

    andy_cc Member

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    Hi all,

    I need you expertise on this question. Can a blackpowder firearm be left loaded indefinitely? I don’t plan on doing this myself of course, its just I was wondering whether it was possible, and if not, how often would soldiers carrying these weapons would have to unload and clean their firearms before any damage was done?


    Thanks all,

    Andrew
     
  2. dirty dave

    dirty dave Member

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    loaded revolver

    Had a 1858 remington copy I left loaded for over a year once.Fired every shot
     
  3. Prepster

    Prepster Member

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    I'd say yes if it's stored in a dry place with tight fitting caps. I know a guy who keeps one loaded for home defense (he isn't a felon or anything like that, I haven't the slightest idea why he doesn't get something more practical), and he keeps it in a drawer with a large desiccant (spelling?) pack that he changes out every so often. Seems to work well enough when he gets to the range.
     
  4. DavidVanVorous

    DavidVanVorous Member

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    Makes perfect sense, even iffen he misses the flash is enough to scare someone into submission, particularly in the dark. Then theres the smoke screen effect... :D

    D.
     
  5. mykeal

    mykeal Member

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    Yes. There are many instances of Civil War weapons found loaded that were viable and successfully shot.
     
  6. PRM

    PRM Member

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    Black Powder Longevity

    The powder will not degrade any faster in the cylinder than it does in the factory container. I am very meticulous in cleaning my revolvers as well as loading them. I keep 2 loaded in the house all the time. I usually fire, clean and reload them at least every 6 months or so. I have gone longer at times. Sometimes not long at all, depending on what I am taking to the range. Been doing this for over 30 years now, and I can honestly say I cannot remember a misfire on the initial charges at the range. I have had the typical problems (not often though) of a cap dropping in the action after firing. But a failure to fire - never.

    Having said that, I will add my guns are pretty much kept in ideal conditions.
    Exposure of the powder to dampness would be my only concern, more so prior to loading (that will be obvious). Your powder is not going to fail unless it is exposed to moisture.

    I dug a can of powder out of a locker that I had forgotten about, been close to a year ago now. It had to date back to the early 90's. Still shot good.

    I also shoot black powder cartridges. I have some of those that are several years old and they are as reliable as any smokeless cartridge.

    Short of fording creeks or going swimming with your gun, you most likely will be wanting to go to the range long before the load componets go bad.

    The problem with black powder firearms is not so much leaving them loaded, but not cleaning them after they are fired. Once fired, the powder residue is extremely corrosive.
     
  7. StrawHat

    StrawHat Member

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    In another thread, I mentioned leaving one loaded for over three years with no noticable affect on the charges. All went off with the same recoil and point of impact I experience with fresh charges.

    At no point in the three years did I pamper the revolver. It was a daily companion in my vehicle and on my person. Rain, snow, heat, humidity etc. No problems.
     
  8. andy_cc

    andy_cc Member

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    Thanks for all the replies guys, its interesting to know it can be done.

    But seriously, a blackpowder firearm for home defense??? Well I guess the sheer size of it, (in comparison to most modern handguns) would deter most people. :)


    Andrew
     
  9. the-ghost

    the-ghost Member

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    you clean right, load it right, store it right you can bet your butt it'll fire. folks relied on black powder for home protection for allot longer than smokless has been around. if i load my remmie or roa you can bet it will kill you just as dead as my 1911 or glock 36. only difference is the 45's won't burn your shirt and eyebrows off if your too close.:neener:
     
  10. PRM

    PRM Member

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    BP Firearms

    Anywhere outside of a Black powder forum you would be asking to be flamed for saying they were an adequate firearm for defensive purposes. Even on the forum, I think most would agree that a modern gun generally reloads faster. As far as being effective - major wars and smaller skirmishes were fought using these guns. Families were fed, livestock was protected, and the peace was kept. During the time of Westward expansion and most of the settling of this country, they were the state of the art weaponry. Has technology improved, you bet ya. Do the older guns still work - absolutely!
     
  11. andy_cc

    andy_cc Member

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    Well its definitely true that its easier and quicker in the vast majority of cases to reload modern firearms,

    ………but if one did need to use a blackpowder firearm to defend their home, (Im asking myself) would a full cylinder really be needed, I mean its not the kind of firearm that you can just empty quickly, you'd be taking fairly slow (and hence presumably, better aimed) shots, and I don’t think these engagements normally end up in a lengthy firefight.

    I sense a debate coming on :)


    Andrew
     
  12. rondog

    rondog Member

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    I'll say this - I loaded mine, and put some of that lube grease over the balls in each chamber, and that grease leached down into the powder and ruined all the charges.

    Had to strip the pistol down, remove the nipples, and poke the bullets out. I've since changed to using the lubricated felt patches over the powder, but I don't know if those would ruin the powder or not.

    I don't leave it loaded anymore, that's what my 1911's are for.
     
  13. AdmiralB

    AdmiralB Member

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    Don't know why you'd need to do that on a 'home defense' piece. The grease makes the fouling soft, easier to clean, and probably keeps the gun shooting precisely for a longer period of time...but none of these things are requirements for an armed-response scenario.
     
  14. rondog

    rondog Member

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    I didn't do that for home-defense reasons, the pistol was still pretty new and I'd loaded it up for "practice" a few days before I actually went to the range with it.

    It's an 1851 Navy clone from Bass Pro Shops, and I hate that gun. I've never seen where any of the shots have hit. I'm going to need a target in the center of a 4x8 sheet of plywood to figure out where it's hitting.

    With 7 autos to shoot, plus numerous rifles, that BP revolver just isn't worth the time. I only bought it because they were on sale and I've always wanted one. Waste of money, IMO.
     
  15. AdmiralB

    AdmiralB Member

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    Gotcha.

    Having said that, if I were loading a piece that I knew might have to sit for a long time, I'd use no lube or felt. Yeah, it'll foul harder and after six shots might not be as accurate/work as smoothly...but I could live with that.

    If you only lubed it a few days prior to shooting, I'd say you had undersized balls (huhuhuheheheh), and/or the cylinder bores are eccentric. No way you should have any kind of significant bleed-through in that small an interval.
     
  16. mykeal

    mykeal Member

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    There's a big problem with what some of you are saying about the gun you use for home defense - for some reason you think it's ok to load it and just leave it loaded for long periods of time.

    That's just wrong, but not because the load might deteriorate. It's wrong because you need to be proficient with that gun - you're depending on it to save your life or defend your family. How can you NOT practice with it frequently to stay proficient?
     
  17. PRM

    PRM Member

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    Practice

    Some of mine stay loaded for awhile because some trips to the range I shoot:

    My Walker
    My 51 Navies
    My Pocket Police
    My Pocket Navy
    My Howdah...

    Then there are the long guns...

    I'm with ya on the practice - I just don't shoot all my guns everytime I go to the range.
     
  18. 4v50 Gary

    4v50 Gary Moderator Staff Member

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    Yes, provided the humidity doesn't affect the powder. Kept in a warm, dry place, it'll last indefinitely.
     
  19. mykeal

    mykeal Member

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    Nor do I. But IF I'm going to count on one gun for defending my family I'm going to shoot at least THAT gun every chance I get. And you should count on one gun - one that you know as well as you know your own hand, one that does exactly what you want it to do without having to think about it. You know the sight picture, the feel of the grips, the trigger pull, everything.

    I just don't understand these people who keep a loaded bp gun around for self defense and then go long periods of time without shooting it.
     
  20. DixieTexian

    DixieTexian Member

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    The BP for self defense debate has been revisited many times here. Now, as far as the OP goes, yeah, you can leave it loaded as long as you want as long as it is not submerged in water the whole time or left to rot in the rain forest.
     
  21. crstrode

    crstrode Member

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    Wild Bill Did This:

    According to several books I have read about Wild Bill Hickok, he fired off each of his Colt 1851 Navy revolvers each day and reloaded them anew.

    FYI, the best and most respected Wild Bill biographer is a fellow named Joseph G. Rosa.
     
  22. andy_cc

    andy_cc Member

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    such different rules.....

    These issues on self defence with firearms are something Ill never have to face unless I move country. My guns are and have to be unloaded, made safe, and locked away, unless im going to the range. Over here in Britain you could get put away for a very long time for just having a gun out of the gun cabinet for self defence, let alone a loaded one.


    Over here the rule seems to go, if someone enters your home for malicious purposes, then if they do something to you then you can do it back. So if im stabbed, only then can I stab someone back?!?!?!


    Andrew
     
  23. Voodoochile

    Voodoochile Member

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    I've heard about the "sorry to say this" funky laws of the UK & other European countries, but that is a subject for another discussion.

    I've said this on here & on the Firing Line forums.

    About 20 years ago while I was in College my only home defence firearm was my Pietta 1860 Army, I would load the first chamber in line to fire with 20gr. FFFG & 30 pieces of Lead BB's & the other 4 chambers with 30gr. FFFG & a .457 ball keeping the hammer on an empty chamber.
    Now being in College & working at the time I may have had time once every 3-6 months to go to a range & like was mentioned it fired as reliably as if I had loaded it that day but my knowledge of those weapons were far superior to any other weapon I had put my hands on at the time so I knew what I was doing with it as well.

    I agree 100% that your defence weapon should be used to the point that proficiency is second nature but like many today where thay may get to the range once a year with a modern firearm I would think that with them instead of a plinking session a perfect prectice session during that time should be in order.

    Today I still keep a loaded C&B Revolver but mostly because I can & I usually opt to take it to the club property for trapping, scouting & what not instead of my trusty M1911A1 mostly because they are a bit more fun to shoot than my modern weapons & who knows I may find a onry stump that needs my attention, but I usually shoot that piece within a month & most times within a week or two.
     
  24. andy_cc

    andy_cc Member

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    re - voodoochile

    Sorry, I wasnt starting a new debate or topic, I was just stating in a round about way that I wish I could contribute to the self defense posts cropping up, but with the situation here, I dont have enough experience with those matters to give a good contribution.

    Again though, thanks for the replies on this everyone, a definate answer has come up which is always nice to get.


    Andrew
     
  25. Voodoochile

    Voodoochile Member

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    Oh no I understand your point exactly, I was just pointing out for my own reference that this discussion is for another time because I'm a firm believer of the right to defend ones self with any means necessary and available but your government wants it where that right does not exist.

    I sometimes think that the government makes rules & advice in it's populaces intrest but not really knowing what the citizens really want or need.
     
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