In order to participate in the GunBroker Member forums, you must be logged in with your GunBroker.com account. Click the sign-in button at the top right of the forums page to get connected.

Original .44 cap & ball loadings

PA ShootistPA Shootist Member Posts: 669 ✭✭
I was wondering about the original back-in-the-day loading for the .44 cap & ball revolvers. I can't imagine the routine use of a wad over the powder then, but rather: the powder charge, then the ball or sometimes a conical bullet, and grease over it all to keep from chain firing. And especially never a wad under a hollow-base conical bullet. Is that correct?

Comments

  • allen griggsallen griggs Member Posts: 34,333 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Nein!

    Troopers in the Civil War used a lubed felt wad over the powder, and the ball on top of that. They did not grease the top of the cylinder up.

    Although they were issued conical bullets, knowledgable troopers loaded up with round balls before battle, they learned that the round ball killed better than the conical.

    Whether they used the wad under the conical, I don't know.
  • ken44-40ken44-40 Member Posts: 201 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Transcribed from a Colt Instruction label.

    First explode a cap on each nipple to clear them from oil and dust, then draw back the hammer to half-cock, which allows the cylinder to be rotated. A charge of powder is then placed in one of the chambers, keeping the barrel up, and a ball with the pointed end upwards, without wadding or patch, is put in the mouth of the chamber, turned under the rammer, and forced down with the lever below the surface of the cylinder, so that it can not bind in rotation. (care should be used when ramming down the ball not to shake out the powder from the chamber thereby reducing the charge). This is repeated until all the chambers are loaded. Percussion-caps are then placed on the nipples on the right of the lock-frame. When by drawing back the hammer to the full-cock, the arm is in condition for a discharge by pulling the trigger; a repetition of the same motion produces the like results with six shots without reloading.
    NiB-It will be safe to use all the Powder the chambers will hold, when loading with the flask, leaving room for the Ball whether the Powder is strong or weak. Fine grain Powder is the best. Soft lead must be used for the balls. The cylinder is not to be taken off when loading. The hammer, when at full cock, forms the height by which aim is taken.
    To carry the arm safely when loaded, let down the hammer on one of the pins between each nipple, on the end of the cylinder
    >The arm should be thoroughly cleaned and oiled after firing, particularly the home pin in which the cylinder turns.
    DIRECTIONS FOR LOADING WITH COLTS FOIL CARTRIDGE Strip the white case off the Cartridge, by holding the bullet end and tearing it down with the black tape. Place the Cartridge in the mouth of the chamber of the cylinder, with the pointed end of the bullet uppermost, one at a time, and turns them under the rammer, forcing them down with the lever below the surface of the cylinder, so they can not hinder the rotation.
    To ensure certainty of ignition, it is advisable to puncture the end of the Cartridge so that a small portion of gunpowder may escape into the chamber while loading the pistol.

    No wads, no grease. Powder, Ball, Cap & fire.
  • PA ShootistPA Shootist Member Posts: 669 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    I thank you gentlemen for the replies so far, however they are at some odds. I haven't been able to read anywhere about the use of greased wads between powder and ball back in the day. I was thinking that practice, and/or the practice of greasing the front of the chamber, came along after a few chainfire mishaps. I would think a very tight-fit bullet to the chamber wouldn't allow a chainfire. But there must have been a few not-quite-right fits and resultant ignition of adjacent cylinder(s) to bring about later and current practices. The Colt instructions would seem to verify that supposition.
  • 220combat220combat Member Posts: 122 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Grease is not necessary, If you use the right size ball, you should "shave" a ring of lead of it when you seat it. There is no rifling in the chamber, so a flame cannot get behind the other balls. Chain fires only happen when the ball is too small.
  • ken44-40ken44-40 Member Posts: 201 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    quote: Chain fires only happen when the ball is too small.
    Not exactly. Loose, missing caps also cause chainfires.
  • challenger_ichallenger_i Member Posts: 50 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    And, that having been said, no amount of grease, or wadding, will stop a chain fire from the cap end...

    Tight fitting balls, if you please. Grease is a "belt and suspenders" option.


    quote:Originally posted by ken44-40
    quote: Chain fires only happen when the ball is too small.
    Not exactly. Loose, missing caps also cause chainfires.
Sign In or Register to comment.