Preloaded spare cylinders...thoughts?

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by DMShag514, Jan 8, 2020.

  1. DMShag514

    DMShag514 Member

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    I may be coming into a couple of spare cylinders for my Pietta NMA. What are the pros and cons to pre-loading cylinders? Can loaded, un-capped cylinders be safely stored in a controlled environment for any length of time? I’m considering a black powder revolver, along with powder, caps, balls, and a mold as part of a bug out kit. Not as a primary firearm, mind you, but as backup for a back up of a back up. And I like the idea of have two three cylinders pre-loaded. But if I’m creating more trouble than I want, I’ll simple load them as needed.
     
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  2. troy fairweather

    troy fairweather Member

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    It's more safe then a loaded cartridge. The only thing I can think of is make sure the ball says against the powder when stored.
     
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  3. damoc

    damoc Member

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    I suspect loaded and uncapped will keep a very very long time if kept in some sort of sealed container but if you are going to use pyrodex instead of real BP that may not be true.
     
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  4. rodwha

    rodwha Member

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    Old, old guns not well kept have fired just fine...
     
  5. J-Bar

    J-Bar Member

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    Six cartridges for a modern handgun weigh a heckuva lot less and take up less space than six shots in a spare cylinder.

    If you are serious about surviving in a SHTF scenario, in my opinion you would be better served with a cartridge revolver and a couple boxes of ammo.

    I compete with percussion revolvers in Cowboy Action matches and enjoy shooting them immensely, but if my life or my family's life were on the line it's going to be cartridge guns all the way.

    Buy the extra cylinders and use them to put more lead downrange in less time for grins. I don't know of any armed forces or government agency that issues blackpowder guns and extra cylinders for survival.
     
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  6. DMShag514

    DMShag514 Member

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    I wholeheartedly agree wit you. A BP firearm is not the ideal solution for a SHTF scenario. And I'm not a die hard prepper, though I do keep a bug out bag on hand and a couple of boxes stashed in safe areas. However, the idea of a BP firearm appeals to me in a situation where long term survival may be necessary. Being able to keep materials like a mold and a few pounds of lead, a case of caps and a few pounds of FFFg stashed away will feed a BP firearm for years. And well stored, BP materials will keep for decades. Yes, the same is true for cartridge ammo and firearms, but resupplying those in a post societal collapse might be difficult. And reloading metallic cartridges requires a lot of extra equipment that would be difficult to pack around. Just a thought.
     
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  7. damoc

    damoc Member

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    This could quickly degenerate into a SHTF fantasy thread which are not permitted here so mods please feel free to delete if I go there.
    But IMO BP firearms have a place in SHTF preps. Propelant (BP) is easily made from easily available materials projectiles are the same even the caps are easier to make than primers. So long term as a back up to other better choices or as just another useful handgun the BP firearm is well worth consideration.
     
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  8. DMShag514

    DMShag514 Member

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    Yes, lets not let this devolve, and instead bring it back to the basic question. What are the advantages or disadvantages of trying to maintain pre-loaded BP cylinders?
     
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  9. damoc

    damoc Member

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    The quick answer is A BP cylinder will keep a very very long time if kept sealed from air and moisture caps on nipples and grease over the ball do this very well. But caps on nipples in a loaded cylinder are a major safety issue.

    THE END
     
  10. rodwha

    rodwha Member

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    Old, old guns didn’t have grease and worked...
     
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  11. Trunk Monkey

    Trunk Monkey member

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    That's how they did it back in the day. I know it's a movie but there's a scene in How The West Was Won in which Gregory Peck reloads his revolver by switching his empty cylinder for a loaded one.
     
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  12. damoc

    damoc Member

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    Sure whatever gives a good seal a tight fitting bullet that just shaved a ring of lead would be ok too.Also some powders back in the old days were made from a different mix using sodium nitrate/chile saltpeter instead of salt peter these powders were highly hygroscopic and any air moisture would quickly ruin them I think there was some talk about these powders being used in an emergency by the south during civil war.
     
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  13. LaneP

    LaneP Member

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    No reason you can't if that's what you want to do. I've never seen evidence of the practice from historical records. Most shootists of the era seemed to rely on carrying multiple revolvers.
     
  14. damoc

    damoc Member

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    I don't know if there is any good evidence but a lot of talk about Texas rangers using extra cylinders in their colt pattersons .
     
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  15. .38 Special

    .38 Special Member

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    A loaded and uncapped cylinder will be good for the lifetime of the owner, in my experience.

    Also in my experience, loading and capping a cylinder with paper cartridges is significantly faster than replacing and capping a cylinder, at least with Colt pattern guns.

    Also in my experience, pretty much everything is faster than reloading a percussion revolver. My backup for a backup for a backup would be a whole other gun. Under stress, trying to reload a percussion revolver is about the equivalent of trying to change cylinders on a percussion revolver, and in my world I would forget about both options in exchange for, well, almost anything else.
     
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  16. Jack Ryan

    Jack Ryan Member

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    If you are buying cylinders for that, just get the conversion cylinders that fire 45 colt.

    You get several more options that way and just switching out cylinders to reload, it is the same for those as it is for just more all the same.
     
  17. arcticap

    arcticap Member

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    I agree about keeping them sealed but not about the lube.
    I once bought a used gun from a fellow that stored his gun for about a year loaded with .454 balls and covered with Bore Butter, and the powder became weak enough to essentially turn the charges into squib loads.
    They were so weak they barely made it through the target paper and got stuck in the foam target backing of the target holder.
    I surmised that the lube migrated past the ball and affected the powder.
    I don't remember if the cylinders were capped or not but I doubt it.
    But that's the reason why RMC sells their plastic cylinder and cap seals.
    And it's also a reason why people have discussed weatherizing their loaded chambers from moisture by using wax to seal their chamber mouths, and putting nail polish or wax around the capped nipples of their C&B revolver when used for carry or hunting.
    There's a reason why Bill Hickok would shoot and reload his revolvers on an almost daily basis which is s pretty well documented.
    Anyway, below are the RMC nipple and cylinder seal products.

    https://rmcoxyoke.com/product/rmc-revolver-cylinder-cap-seal/

    ML1087-600x600.jpg

    https://rmcoxyoke.com/product/revolver-cylinder-safety-seal/

    ml1086.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2020
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  18. Malachi Leviticus Blue

    Malachi Leviticus Blue Member

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    As Arcticap mentioned, I would be concerned with the lube for long term storage.
    If the seal around the ball isn't good enough to keep moisture out on it's own then the oil is going to make its way in eventually and compromise the powder.
     
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  19. arcticap

    arcticap Member

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    It occured to me that there might be ways to protect the powder from the lube whether it can cause the charges to weaken or not.
    A few ways might be to put wax paper under the ball or a tight fitting card or wad.
    I make over powder cards from wax board juice containers and ram them on top of the powder before ramming the ball.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2020
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  20. dickydalton

    dickydalton Member

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    I've had loaded cylinders that weren't shot for over a year and they fired fine.
     
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  21. Tommygunn

    Tommygunn Member

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    Couldn't you just wrap the cylinder in a plastic baggie and tie the end down? ? ? ?
     
  22. rodwha

    rodwha Member

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    While I lived in San Antonio I went to the range at least once a month and reloaded my revolver after it was cleaned up. Moved out by Lakeway and no outdoor range within an hour so it sat for about 6 years before I just made the hour and some drive to Lockhart. All six fired with what seemed the same authority and I use Gatofeo’s #1 lube in the lube grooves. All chambers were capped with Rem #10’s that fit snug.
     
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  23. Loyalist Dave

    Loyalist Dave Member

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    When I was doing Cowboy Action Shooting, I got into the cap-n-ball subclass, and used Colt style .44 revolvers. Swapping the wedge back and forth for each of the two revolvers, six times as we normally shot 6 courses of fire in a match, was tedious. Not to mention the matching "short barrel" revolver that I used on side matches. So I got five spare cylinders for each revolver, and loaded them up the Friday night before the match. They were stored, uncapped, in groups of three in Rubbermade food containers.

    Pro: I used a solid brass wedge and a little wooden mallet instead of the stock wedge to hole the barrel and cylinders in place. It really made for an easy day of shooting, by simply dropping in a fresh cylinder at the loading bench, then capping.

    Con: If for some reason moisture had gotten into the container(s) then getting the ball out and cleaning the cylinders would be a real tedious afternoon...depending on how many cylinders were kaput.

    I'd really think hard about making a BP revolver part of your "bugout bag". (imho) you'd do better to use a Baker 20 gauge SxS shotgun,

    BAKER SHOTGUN.JPG

    Or a 20 gauge Howda hunter in 20 gauge and .50 caliber, pistol:

    HOWDAH.JPG

    Although copies of Remington 1858 revolvers swap out cylinders faster than Colt style repros, it's still not a very viable system even if it's plan C of three plans. You have omitted the need for a Tap-o-Cap tool, to be able to make your own caps, since caps are fragile. Simply because in a "bugout bag" such a revolver takes up space better used (again imho) for other stuff. Even a "takedown" Ruger 10-22 (perhaps even converted to an SBR) is a better choice. The pair that I mention above do dual duty as they work for SD and for harvesting large and small game, and with the 10-22 suggestion you have small game alone, AND a great many rounds for very little space and weight, and magazine options of more than 10 rounds. They aren't called the "KMart AK" for nuthin'

    Now AT a location where you will bug-out to reach and fort up...., where they will be awaiting your arrival, they might have a purpose. I'd definitely find and pair the revolver with a used .45 rifle and have the bore reamed to .475 so I could use pistol ball in it out to 50 yards for deer, and to use shot for small game.

    LD
     
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  24. damoc

    damoc Member

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    IMO the lube I use is not a issue its generally firmer than crisco,lard or bore butter if it gets so hot that it will melt it would generally just leak out the front of the cylinder not back past the ball because I dont store my BP firearms standing upright.But what everyone has said about oil fouling the powder can be true I had a little oil in the bottom of a cylinder after a cleaning and that necesitated pulling the balls. Yes a beginner mistake.
     
  25. Old Stumpy

    Old Stumpy Member

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    This scene and the one in Pale Rider are simply Hollywood.
    During the civil war Quantrill's Raiders carried several C&B sixguns apiece to avoid the business of reloading.
    Also, bear in mind that swapping out cylinders was only a practical possibility with Remington C&B revolvers.
    With a Colt you would have needed to drive out the wedge and pull off the barrel.
    So, a few individuals might have opted to carry a spare loaded cylinder for their Remington, but the history books make no mention of the practice.
     
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