Long term storage of loaded revolver

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by Running Man, Sep 19, 2021.

  1. Armored farmer

    Armored farmer Member

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    No lube touching powder or caps.
    Keep it dry...
    Cap it with good fitting quality caps.
    Should keep a looong time.
     
  2. Cowhide Cliff

    Cowhide Cliff Member

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    Chain fires can come from either end, know how to diagnose the issue and don't clutter the discussion by sticking to one theory which doesn't fit the description of the OPs issue.
     
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  3. drobs

    drobs Member

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    What make and model is your C&B revolver?
    What caliber is your revolver?
    Is the frame (part that holds the cylinder) brass?
    What diameter balls are you using?
    What size / # caps are you using?
    Post a pic of it.

    I have bunch of Wonder Wads bought from another forum member. All of them are dry and I doubt they would leach lube into the powder.

    I've been trying (not very hard) to get one of my C&B revolvers to chainfire. Haven't done it yet. Even loading messily - can't get it to chainfire with properly sized ball, wad or no wad, lube over ball or no lube over ball. I may have to get some wrong sized caps or leave caps off of loaded chambers.

    A correct sized lead ball will shave a ring of lead when loaded into the chamber.

    The revolver on the left has a brass frame. The revolver on the right has a steel frame.

    Brass Frame vs Steel Frame.JPG

    This is also a brass frame:
    Brass Frame.JPG
    This is a steel frame:
    Steel Frame.JPG
    Brass frame Colt style revolvers (1st pic above) when fired with too much powder have a tendency to bend their arbors (AKA cylinder pins). This will result in a chainfire situation where the caps on the cylinder hit the recoil shield and ignite their chambers when the cylinder is rotated. IIRC brass frame 44 cal Colts should be limited to 10 to 15grs of powder. Even less for 36 cal Colts.

    I haven't read of any evidence of brass frame Remington NMA 1858's having this problem.

    Hawg or Hawgy (banned here?) who posts on the Remington and Colt Forum IIRC has a steel frame 1960's era open top colt style revolver who's chambers are oddly shaped. The mouth of the chamber is tighter than the chamber itself, resulting in all balls loaded into it being undersized. He can get that pistol to chainfire easily.

    I've read of instances where chambers were incorrectly drilled. These chambers had a void with missing metal between it and surrounding chambers. Those would chainfire all the time. There was some absolute crap out there in C&B revolvers back in the day.

    Currently Uberti and Pietta have C&B revolvers pretty well figured out. Both use CNC machining.
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2021
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  4. gtrgy888

    gtrgy888 Member

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    I’ve experimented and posted on this issue for the past year. I used to ruin the powder after a month loaded. Not for the past 4 months. Check the chamber angles to make sure there isn’t a sharp inward “lip” on the chambers. Chambers should have a slight funnel shape to swage the projectiles tighter as they’re loaded. When you wash your revolver, use lye soap to leave a thin soap layer to prevent rust, and do NOT lubricate the cones or chambers. I lubricate only the cylinder stop notches and naval scene with a finger rub. I carefully avoid lubricating even the threads of the cones. Using lye soap prevents any rust, even with bare metal. It leaves a thin layer of grease anyway, since it is made with lard. Load oversized lead balls or conicals that shave a ring of lead on each chamber. Consider loading the projectiles cold so they expand after seating. Use undersized caps and press them onto the cones pointed downrange until they form a tight friction fit and cannot be removed without pliers. If this doesn’t solve your chainfire issues, examine the rear of the cylinder to ensure no caps can touch the frame. If they can, shorten the cones. If you suspect chain fire from the front, use a thin layer of rice flour or corn meal to form a thin desiccant layer (1-3 grains) between the powder and ball which will absorb moisture and keep it from touching the powder. If this still doesn’t seem to help, melt beeswax over the balls, since it stays solid at even the hottest outdoor temperatures. I never keep my .36 loaded longer than a month, but I can vouch that rounds loaded that way will punch through at least 4 boards of pine a month later.
     
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  5. Running Man

    Running Man Member

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    I didn't notice if the cap went off with the chain fires. I didn't notice if it was the same chamber. I had a chain fire with a paper cartridge, although there was no card between the ball and the powder. The projectile is a Hornady .454 ball. The caps are CCI #11 (which is all I can find). I seal the caps with a piece of vinyl tubing cut to a length of about 3/32 inch. I seal the nipples with a with a piece of vinyl tubing that I cut about 3/32 of an inch long. This holds the caps on after firing and reduces (not eliminates) cap jams.

    The gun is a Pietta Colt 1860 Sheriff's model. I bought it new early this year. I am the original owner. It is unmodified. There are no apparent defects.

    I have put hundreds of rounds through it using both Pyrodex P and Goex FFFG. I have had zero chain fires with Pyrodex, lubed or dry. I have had zero chain fires with real BP if I used lube, either wonder wads behind the ball or bore butter on top of the ball. Given that I have never had a chain fire with lube, and that I seal the nipples with the vinyl tube, I am inclined to think that the chain fires are from the front of the cylinder.
     
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  6. Running Man

    Running Man Member

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    I am shooting Hornady .454 balls. I shave a ring of lead when I seat them.
     
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  7. robhof

    robhof Member

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    I use antiseize from autoparts store, tiny amount applied with tooth pick, good for 1 yr or when really used alot..been doing it that way for 6 yrs with no problem or binding.
     
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  8. drobs

    drobs Member

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    Is your Pietta 1860 Sheriff a steel frame or brass frame?

    Try firing a couple cylinders of just caps. This is a good test to see if the caps are hitting the recoil shield when the cylinder is turned. That's usually a sign of a bent arbor.

    It could also be that, one of your nipples needs to be tightened down. Figure a nipple that is not screwed down all the way - too tall could result in it's cap hitting the frame / recoil shield & firing.

    Pietta's nipples work best with Remington #10 caps, which I know are hard to find.
     
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  9. AntiqueSledMan

    AntiqueSledMan Member

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    Hello Running Man,

    Do you have a Caliper?
    I'd measure all six chamber diameters & check for roundness, and measure the length of the nipples for starters.
    If your getting a chain fire with a paper cartridges, I'm really stumped now.
    Personally I'm not a fan of CCI caps, maybe search for some Remington #10's.
    Is the chain fire is just the next chamber or multiple?
    I'm sure you will find out what is causing it.

    AntiqueSledMan.
     
  10. LaneP

    LaneP Member

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    I've never had a problem leaving a C&B loaded for a few weeks at a time, ensuring chambers were thoroughly dried before loading.

    The longest I've ever left a C&B loaded was 30 years. It was the Lyman NMA on top in the pic. Loaded it in Aug 1989, never got around to shooting it, then put it in my safe (decapped) and forgot about it. In 2019 I dug it out, capped it up and 3 out of 6 fired first try, the other 3 went off with a second cap.

    MFoajGfsi7DO6uIVoA7U0fD-BBtO8IeC2c0FDUJI3xbfO-XgairHDOZwl1uA4ukuDLzD_sQ=w1178-h883-no?authuser=0.jpg
     
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  11. Eyrie G. Dogg

    Eyrie G. Dogg Member

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    Thirty years! That could be a world's record.

    I went 16 months, once. That was with a .44 Pietta Remington, 30 grains Pyro-P, .454 and lube over ball, Shot just fine.
     
  12. Dave Markowitz

    Dave Markowitz Member

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    Maybe try .457 balls.
     
  13. Running Man

    Running Man Member

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    I think I found a solution.
    https://gunsoftheweststore.com/products/black-powder-bullet-lube-4-oz
    I loaded the revolver with Geox FFFG, a Hornady .454 ball sealed with this lube on top of the ball. I left it loaded for two weeks. When I shot it, there was no noticeable loss of power. I don't think that the lube seeps into the powder like Bore Butter or Wonder Wads.
     
  14. hawg

    hawg Member

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    I'm not banned yet. It's actually a Rigarmi 58 Remington made in 1969. I bought it new and it has chained from day one. I don't think the mouth of the chambers is smaller than the rest of the chambers. They cut a good ring but don't feel like they get looser as they're seated. If I don't use wads or over ball lube it will chain. I can leave off all the caps except the one under the hammer and if I use wads or over ball lube it will not chain. There's no way I'll ever believe a chain can occur from the nipple end.[/QUOTE]
     
  15. SomebodyMakeRiderRepro

    SomebodyMakeRiderRepro Member

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    Howdy,

    I kept my 1858 Remington loaded & capped for close to 2 years.
    You can see that it fired just fine with no noticeable loss of power here:


    The click you see on the video is my - not gun's - fault. Silly me, I cocked the hammer on an empty chamber. Atleast now I can see that minor flinch - something to work on :D
    The rest five chambers (I recorded last two only) went just fine (I only load five when I intend to keep my gun capped for safety reasons - hammer obviously rests on an empty chamber).

    These guns can be kept as long as priming mixture in a cap does not degrade over time which is probably decades, with no loss in either power or reliability provided you strictly follow few rules:
    1. You must degrease (preferably with acetone or 100% alcohol) and thoroughly dry your chambers (for example with a hairdryer) before loading. Excess - not cleared - oil in the chamber will most likely cause a complete failure to fire while minor oil remnants will most likely cause your gun to hangfire and have low velocity.
    2. Only use real black powder - this stuff does not degrade unless moisture is present.
    3. Use a tight fitting, good quality projectile that will provide 100% seal from the front. You might add grease for extra seal (can't be too soft though or it might do more harm than good).
    4. You must keep the gun capped or otherwise limited moisture will get to your powder through the nipple and spoil the charge. It will take from days to years (depedning on air humidity) but at some point it will hangfire or misfire due to that humidity buildup.
    5. NEVER use any greased wads or grease under the projectile.
    6.If you intend to store your gun for more than a year and still expect decent reliability, sealing the cap is a must or otherwise moisture will ruin priming compound at some point . I use beeswax the way it is presented in this video:


    Also from my observations, it seems priming compound is much more vulnerable to moisture than black powder itself and it is the most common failure point - seal your caps guys.

    If you follow these steps, your powder charge will be as well sealed from the environment as it would be in any modern cartridge. The bonus of black powder is that it will not degrade in your lifetime which might be the case with certain smokeless powders. You might anticipate near 100% reliability this way.

    I hope my contribution will be useful for ya guys.

    -Mike
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2021
  16. SomebodyMakeRiderRepro

    SomebodyMakeRiderRepro Member

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    Cool guns, especially the one Remington at the top!

    If my understanding is correct, Lyman was the importer but who was the manufacturer of that beauty right there?
     
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  17. whughett

    whughett Member

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    Back to the Running Mans Question.
    I don’t keep my percussion revolvers loaded, they are only loaded on the firing line. I do however load 45C cartridges for use in the conversion cylinders for several of them. I load the cartridges pretty much the way I load the percussion chambers. Powder wad ball. The only difference is in the cartridges there’s a waxed card cut from a milk carton.
    A number of years ago I did an experiment to see if I could store these cartridges. A box of 50 were left in a Florida garage for 7 months June to January. The summer months that garage can get up into the 100 teens in temperature. When I returned in early January the rounds all fired. The rounds are nose down in the plastic box. The majority of my black powder rounds are now loaded that way. 28 grains 3F, waxed card, lubed wad 200 to 250 grain bullets.
    My point is if I can store black powder cartridges with a lubed wad one could surely store a percussion cylinder loaded the same way.
    The wads are self made from felt and a 50/50 mixture of beeswax and crisco. Bees wax has a melting temperature of 150f so at temps below that the lube isn’t fluid.
     
  18. LaneP

    LaneP Member

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    Thanks and sorry it took so long to get back here. According to my research, the maker was Armi San Paolo. It is marked with date code of AB which indicates 1976 as the year of manufacture.
     
  19. Ethan Verity

    Ethan Verity Member

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    I keep my 1851 Navy loaded long term with conical bullets. The reason is that you can lube up the grease grooves in the conical bullets, while keeping the bullet base that contacts the powder bone dry. Best of both worlds!

    I shot it recently after being loaded for over a year. All rounds went off strong!
     
  20. Malachi Leviticus Blue

    Malachi Leviticus Blue Member

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    Folks keep Black Powder cartridges for years
     
  21. Onty

    Onty Member

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    That's the reason I came up with this idea:

    Z4UKTW2.jpg

    I am confident that this O-ring will effectively seal chamber from moisture and flame coming from font end. However, as usual, "the proof will be in the pudding". I am in contact with Miha from MP-Molds https://www.mp-molds.com/ , and hopefully, beginning of next year we will have a first mold made, and will be able to test new bullet. Will keep you posted.
     
  22. hawg

    hawg Member

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    Good luck with it but really all you need is wide lube grooves filled with a vegetable based lube. In a revolver the grooves don't have to be wide but they do out of a rifle or the bullet won't have enough lube to make the entire trip through the bore.
     
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  23. 44 Dave

    44 Dave Member

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    I keep a bp revolver loaded at all times. Powder, correct fitting bullet or ball and proper caps. No grease or lube only lube for "range shooting", and never have any flash over chain fire worry.
     
  24. armoredman

    armoredman Member

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    I never thought of keeping one of my revolvers loaded that long, usually just loaded on the range for now, until I get my "accouterments" for going on walkabout. Usually I have slightly more modern firearms loaded long term, but I might try this with the 1851 just for grins and giggles. I also really need to not overstress it - the last time I fired it I was loading 25 grains of BP under a 454 ball, and she's a brasser. The 1860 is steel, and can take the job of "thumper".
     
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  25. 44 Dave

    44 Dave Member

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    Fired off my '51 Navy yesterday, had been loaded for several months. Now it is an Army's turn to be loaded.
     
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