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Seating the ball

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by unforgiving Bob, Jun 2, 2021.

  1. unforgiving Bob

    unforgiving Bob Member

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    how deep is ball seated in cap and ball revolver? I have a 1851 .36 and an 1858 .44 I am brand new to BP and need some hepl
     
  2. MEHavey

    MEHavey Member

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    Flush (or very slightly) below cylinder face.
    In contact with/compressing power and/or filler material.
     
  3. unforgiving Bob

    unforgiving Bob Member

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    Thanks, will I feel it contact? is it possible too seat it to hard? I am concerned about not leaving a space between the ball and the charge
     
  4. Col. Harrumph

    Col. Harrumph Member

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    Don't worry. You can feel it hit bottom as long as you dumped in a reasonable powder charge.
     
    robhof likes this.
  5. MEHavey

    MEHavey Member

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    You really can't seat/compress BP too much.
    (It will simply come to hard stop/quit moving at that point -- so leave some room to start/experiment)
     
  6. unforgiving Bob

    unforgiving Bob Member

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    Thanks, I am just a bit nervous. I have shoot smokeless for years, this is my first exposure to BP
     
  7. MedWheeler

    MedWheeler Member

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    If you're new to black powder, there is a subforum here for that and quite a few active posters there that will be happy to share. I'm sure one of the moderators here will move this thread over there for you. It's early; give him time to wake up. ;)
     
  8. unforgiving Bob

    unforgiving Bob Member

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    I can use all the help I can get Lol Thanks
     
  9. blue32

    blue32 Member

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    Bob, as far as my 61 navy (just like your 51), the loading arbor will generally be at a right angle or slightly acute when I adequately compress the powder column in each chamber. If you cant compress it any more with hand pressure you're probably ok. If you want to post pictures of loaded chambers I'm sure others with more experience would be able to give you further guidance.

    If you loaded a dry ball I think that would be very evident to you.
     
  10. MEHavey

    MEHavey Member

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    You really can't over load w/ BP.
    Just don't put so much in that you can't get the ball flush.
    At that point,`ya gotta pull the cylinder and get out a (crisco/greased) hacksaw blade to very gently saw it flush as it won't rotate in the gun.*
    (Knife blade if not to badly proud above the cylinder)


    *(It's a 1-time lesson) :cuss:
     
    gobsauce, damoc and Pat Riot like this.
  11. unforgiving Bob

    unforgiving Bob Member

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    You all are GREAT! I am really appreciating all the feedback, I did not expect this kind of quick support!
     
  12. Ryden

    Ryden Member

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    In my Remington NMA I use a full 38 Spcl case of powder and the same amount of polenta under the ball for a good plinking load, seats the ball perfectly.

    See what your gun likes.
     
    Armored farmer likes this.
  13. Pat Riot
    • Contributing Member

    Pat Riot Contributing Member

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    The first time I loaded my 1861 I was also nervous about knowing how far to go in seating the ball. A friend told me “Press the loading lever firmly but not too firmly until you get a solid stop. No need to try and press further. You’re not punching holes with the lever, your just seating the bullet.”
     
  14. gobsauce

    gobsauce Member

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    It all depends on your load, in my experience. It'll seat at different depths depending on the amount of powder, if you use filler and/or wads.

    For example, the ball will be seated deeper of you use 15 grains of powder, no wad, and ball. However, it'll be closer to the cylinder face if you use 45 grains of powder.

    Anyways, I'd really suggest going to the black powder subforum. These folk really, and I mean really, helped me understand black powder. If it weren't for them, honest to God, I probably wouldn't have liked black powder at all.

    https://www.thehighroad.org/index.php?forums/blackpowder.12/
     
    Pat Riot likes this.
  15. Pat Riot
    • Contributing Member

    Pat Riot Contributing Member

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    Oh and Don’t seat your percussion caps with your thumb or fingers!

    Use a dowel rod or a capper or something besides your fingers.

    I tried to find a photo of an acquaintance of mine’s thumb after a cap ignited as he seated it with his thumb. I cannot find the photo, but I can guarantee you it would have grossed you out. He lost a chunk of his thumb and lost the use of his thumb for a couple of months.
     
  16. unforgiving Bob

    unforgiving Bob Member

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    Thanks to all keep it coming...Lol
     
  17. ApacheCoTodd

    ApacheCoTodd member

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    I like them low enough that when I throw some bear grease in there the ball is completely covered.

    But then too, I really like a messy firing iteration. Keeps the spectators and kibitzers at bay.:D

    Todd.
     
    J-Bar likes this.
  18. gtrgy888

    gtrgy888 Member

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    Don’t compress too hard or you can actually bend the loading lever and need to bend it back. Ask how I know.
     
  19. twarr1

    twarr1 Member

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    After you shoot a few cylinders you might want to get one of these;

    IMG_5008.JPG

    You should feel a bit of resistance as the ball enters the cylinder and a ring of lead gets shaved off, then as you lever it more you can feel it bottom out. You can see in the picture that the arbor physically won't go far enough down to over-compress the load. The pistol is the same.

    Somebody mentioned the ball will sit lower if you don't use a wad; don't do this, you should always use a wad.
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2021
    ApacheCoTodd and arcticap like this.
  20. ApacheCoTodd

    ApacheCoTodd member

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    ... can confirm!

    fullsizeoutput_130.jpeg

    Todd.
     
    twarr1 likes this.
  21. arcticap

    arcticap Member

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    The Traditions revolver loading manual lists the minimum powder charges for Pietta guns: --->>> https://www.traditionsfirearms.com/data/product_owner_manuals/BPRevolver_manual_1362674422.pdf

    Of course the ball should be seated on the powder.
    The loading manual lists maximum powder charges that are smaller than the actual chamber powder capacity for liability purposes.
    But the truth is that the cylinders won't explode with the relatively small powder charges that are used in revolvers as long as the guns are in good condition.
    Squib loads are more dangerous if they obstruct the barrel.
    It's better to seat the ball too deep than not deep enough.
    Using filler is more for target shooting and takes some time to develop the best loads.
    There are target loads and combat loads just like with center fire.
    The maximum ,44 load listed is more like a moderate combat load.
    Pick your load and gradually adjust it until you're satisfied with the performance.
    Just remember that the more powder that you load, the more powder residue that there will be that will need to be cleaned up.
    Substitute powders tend to compress more than black powder does.
    What kind of powder do you plan on using?
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2021
    robhof, damoc, PWC and 1 other person like this.
  22. unforgiving Bob

    unforgiving Bob Member

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    thanks guys I will be using Goex 3F
     
    robhof likes this.
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