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Need Help Getting Started ...

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by pokaslop, Aug 25, 2011.

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  1. pokaslop

    pokaslop Member

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    Hey Everyone,

    I have been thinking about getting a .44 caliber black powder pistol but I am completely new to all of it and it's pretty confusing. I'm just trying to find out exactly what I need to get started. I see different diameter bullets, lubed and non lubed wads, powder measures, flasks, and all kinds of stuff and I don't want to get the wrong thing or blow my hand off. I would really appreciate any help!
     
  2. arcticap

    arcticap Member

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    Central Connecticut
    Here's a list with some accessories to consider:

    http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=608328

    A nipple wrench is a necessity.
    A powder measure, a powder flask and a nipple pick are very important to have.
    Wool wads and a capper are useful but are optional.
    A revolver loading stand is definitely good to have.
    And remember to keep both hands behind the front of the cylinder after it's capped and when firing.
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2011
  3. pokaslop

    pokaslop Member

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    Okay cool thanks. Couple more questions though:

    1) Do I need the wrench and powder measure even if I have this flask with a built in 30 grain spout? (http://www.midwayusa.com/viewProduct/?productNumber=711044)

    2) What is a nipple pick and capper?

    3) Do you need wads and or lube?

    4) Is the Pyrox P powder good?

    5) Do you need a loading stand?

    I have a few more too but I'll start with that :D ...

    Basically I'm just looking for a list of everything that I'll need. I'm trying to keep the cost down as much as possible, so for now I only want to get things that are a necessity.
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2011
  4. BCRider

    BCRider Member

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    For a .44 steel framed gun the 30 grain spout horn from Midway will do nicely.

    A nipple pick is no more than a thin wire which you can use to ensure that the firing holes in the nipples are not plugged. A set of welding torch tip cleaners will do nicely. You can get them from any welding supply house or you can get a small bit of wire from any number of places. Hobby shops have music wire in a variety of sizes which when cut down, bent on one end to make a handle and with the sharp edge filed, ground or stoned off would be an excellent nipple pick.

    A capper is a tool which you can use to hold and dispense the percussion caps onto the nipples. A lot of us just use our fingers. But there's no doubt that the capper makes things go faster. But it means that your caps must fit the nipples to perfection since you can't pinch them to grab if needed. Either way I recomend a stick of soft wood as a cap pusher to firmly seat the caps. Much easier than using a finger tip.

    I've not yet used any wads at all. And I've shot about 300 rounds from my BP revolvers during my Cowboy Action shooting days. But something to put over the balls to seal and lube them is a good idea. Some just use "raw" Crisco shortening with good results and others use any number of mixtures of various things. And a few, like me, found that with no wads or lube pills or other stuff behind the ball that the ball sits so far back with "just" 30 grains of powder that I'd need a great big slug o' lard to fill the void. So I found that just putting a drop of vegtable oil (I actually use Canola oil) on the gap between the nose of the ball and the chamber wicks around and seals off the ball nicely and provides enough lubrication to keep the fouling soft and greasy for a typical day of 30 rounds of shooting from each pistol. That's 6 stages of 5 shots each for a typical club event day.

    If you can't get the proper black powder then Pyrodex is OK. But the smoke it makes is more brown then white and just doesn't smell right... :D

    I made a loading stand and then promptly packed it up and it's in a box still stored in my garage. So all my club days this summer have been shot using my guns loaded without a stand.

    Besides, the folks back in the old west didn't need no steenkin' stands.... :D Eventually it will be nice to get or make stands. But you don't NEED them.

    To get started out and still have a bucket o' fun the only things you need are;

    1. A pistol
    2. Lead balls sized to suit.
    3. Powder. It can be proper black, Pyrodex or 777. But it's far more fun when it's the proper stuff. The others will do in a pinch until you find the proper black stuff though.
    4. Percussion caps sized to fit the nipples.
    5. A powder measure or horn. My first year saw me using a short wide mouth glass jar with the powder in it and a measure made from an old cut down .44Mag casing with a wire handle soldered onto it. So you don't need to get super fancy.
    6. A range to shoot it where you can smoke out the rest of the firing line. To ensure proper coverage always test for the wind and move to the extreme upwind side of the line. Bonus points if it's an enclosed firing line and there's a wind coming back off the range.
     
  5. pokaslop

    pokaslop Member

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    Haha, thanks for the reply BCRider. A couple more things that are bothering me:

    1. I will probably end up getting a brass framed pistol just to keep the cost down. Are they okay? Also, it looks like I would probably get the Pyrodex stuff for now. Would ~30 grains of Pyrodex in a brass framed pistol be a bad idea?

    2. I've heard that a 38 special shell is like 24 grains and can be used as a powder measure, is that true?

    3. Is it better to get the swaged balls?

    4. Should I get #10, #11, or #11 magnum caps? What do you use?

    5. Can a paper clip be used as a nipple pick?

    6. So you just pour powder, seat the ball, and put a drop of vegetable oil on the seated ball? Have you ever had a chain fire or anything like that?

    Like I said, I'm just trying to keep the cost down for now. If I love it and it seems like I'll be doing it a lot, I'll probably spring for the good/proper stuff later on. I appreciate the help!
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2011
  6. arcticap

    arcticap Member

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    That's a personal decision that each person makes based on which model they own and their experience. Not all brass frame pistols and powders are the same. Many people limit their loads to 25 grains or less in their brass frame Colts. 777 powder loads need to be reduced by 15% to be equivalent to any amount of black or sub. powder.

    Here's a list of cartridge case capacities in grains:

    Cartridge Grains
    .22 LR = 5
    .320 ACP = 7
    .380 ACP = 10
    .30 cal Carbine = 20
    .38 Special = 23
    .357 Mag = 27
    .45 Auto = 26
    .44 Colt = 35
    .45 Colt = 41
    .38-40 = 40
    .30-30 = 42
    .30-06 = 70
    .45-70 = 83

    9mm – 13.3
    40 S&W – 19.3

    Generally yes, since they don't have voids (air pockets) and are more consistent in size and lead purity. However cast lead balls of the proper size will usually work just fine.

    The Remington #10 caps seem to fit the Pietta Remington factory nipples the best. However which model isn't mentioned.

    Maybe, it depends on the size of the paper clip. The nipple hole is relatively small, many sizes of sewing needles would work of a piece of piano wire.

    Some folks don't apply any oil to the loaded balls and they haven't experienced any chainfires. The place to put the oil is where the ball meets the chamber wall. Chainfires often originate at the nipple due to loose fitting caps.
    Besides over powder wads and cards, some folks use a drop of oil, while others use a dab of Bore Butter, Crisco, Vaseline, homemade lube or wax pills.
    And some use a combination of more than one of the above items.

    Most models need to have some kind of lubricant applied to the cylinder pin or arbor, at least intermittently. Bore Butter can be used. And most folks will apply some lube, breech plug grease or anti-sieze to the nipple threads.

    The loading stand is helpful for holding the gun upright during loading the powder and ball and when ramming. It allows for the use of 2 hands instead of only one hand to do everything. It isn't necessary but it is helpful.
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2011
    TriggerMonkey likes this.
  7. col.lemat

    col.lemat Member

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    BCRIder I like #6. One of the best parts of shooting. My uncle & I use the LeMat so the smoke just keeps comming.
     
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