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Pure lead .454 round balls OR Alloy ? .

StradivariusStradivarius Member Posts: 51 ✭✭
Hello guys Sweden here again [:)]. I have a new problem i need help to solve before i cast my .454 round balls for my ORIGINAL 1858 Remington New Model Army. I have been reading on the different forums about the pros and Cons of using " Pure Lead " to cast my .454 round balls. EVERYBODY seems to have there own opinion [:(]. What do you guys think ( I consider you guys on here as the TRU EXPERTS on the subject [:D] ).

I have read about " Flame cutting " becouse of to hard bullits, and " Leading the barrel " becouse of to soft bullits = Pure Lead.

What did they use in the American Civil War, was it not pure " soft " lead ? - Will pure lead fill up the rifling inside the barrel with lead so that the groves/rifling becomes non existent ? -

Will " Hard " .454 round balls " Flame cut " the bullits ( what dose FLAME GUTTING mean ? ).

Mabey the barrel/rifling on my very old/ORIGINAL 1858 Remington New Model Army can not take as much a beating ( thinking of " hard bullits ) as a new replika Uberti/Pietta wich is made of HARDER steel ?

Thank you in advance for the help guys.


  • Chief ShawayChief Shaway Member, Moderator Posts: 6,185 ******
    edited November -1
    I've never used anything other than pure lead in any of my muzzle loaders.
  • 11b6r11b6r Member Posts: 16,588 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Typically the very shallow rifling of a muzzleloader needs a very soft bullet. Go with the pure lead.
  • CapnMidnightCapnMidnight Member Posts: 8,520
    edited November -1
    I agree, I've always gotten best results with pure lead. That is what they where originaly designed for.
    BTW i have a very nice Remington on the auction side.
  • 44caliberkid44caliberkid Member Posts: 925 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    Pure lead. I've never had leading problems shooting pure lead. I lube over the seated ball. Put 100 rounds thru a pistol in one day, without cleaning except to wipe off the melted lube, and no leading .
  • StradivariusStradivarius Member Posts: 51 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    Thank you guys, i feel a lot better now [:)] - I knew i could rely on you guys [:D]
  • stegsteg Member Posts: 871 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Use pure lead. It is what your pistol was designed to you.
    One of the major complaints about the Italian reproductions as well as the 2nd and 3rd generation Colt cap and ball revolvers is that their barrels were ofter shot out after a few hundred rounds.
    In almost all cases, it was found that the owners were shooting bullets they cast from melted down wheel weights, lead pipes, and other lead alloy items. These alloys are much harder than un-alloyed, pure, soft lead.
    You must remember that the steel used "in the period" is not as strong as that used in modern gun barrels. Neither is the steel used in reproduction cap and ball barrels.
    As little as 5% tin or antimony added to pure lead will increase the hardness to lead to the extent that bullets made from it will ruin an antique barrel and seriously damage replica barrels.
  • flyingcollieflyingcollie Member Posts: 197 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    There's another factor to pure lead bullets for a cap-and-ball revolver: when you ram a bullet into a chamber, it needs to be soft enough for the ram to slightly deform the ball at the perimeter, which creates a positive seal for the charges in the cylinder.

    Re/ Italian repros and the Colt re-issues: a friend whose research on many other topics I've found to be meticulously reliable claims the components for the Colt re-issues were made in Italy by Uberti, and shipped "rough", in the white to Colt for final fit, finish and assembly. Of course, as components they weren't required to carry European proof-mark stamps, or other "tattoos". Colt added their own "authentic" imprints stateside. Seems reasonable to me, but I'd be interested to know if this is incorrect.
  • RRConductorRRConductor Member Posts: 37 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    Flying Collie....your friend is partially correct. The parts of the so-called "2nd generation" percussion revolvers were indeed made by Uberti and shipped "in the white" to the US for assembly and finishing. But that work was done by Iver Johnson, not Colt. The only time the guns saw the inside of the Colt factory was after they had been completed and were awaiting shipment.

    And by the way, Strad: I got much better accuracy with my 1858 Remington using .457 round balls. You might give then a try.
  • flyingcollieflyingcollie Member Posts: 197 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    RRConductor, thank you for jogging my "remembry". I quoted wrong, I recall now that he did say Iver-Johnson did the work for Colt.

    The consensus among shooters seems to be that round balls fly more accurately from percussion revolvers than conical ones.
  • machine gun moranmachine gun moran Member Posts: 5,198
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by flyingcollie
    RRConductor, thank you for jogging my "remembry". I quoted wrong, I recall now that he did say Iver-Johnson did the work for Colt.

    ...And I believe the whole thing was coordinated by a guy named Lou Imperato, who would have the low-down.

    Stradivarius, I'm another one who has never used anything but pure lead in percussion revolvers, never with any over-powder wads, and always with lard over the balls. I've had the experience of shooting a single revolver 150 rounds in one session (Uberti 1861 Navy copy), and the bore cleaned up to a fouling-free shine with two or three passes of a dry patch. I had to periodically wipe the revolver free of the lube that was being blown around, but nobody ever said that shooting these things should be done while wearing white, LOL.
  • GatofeoGatofeo Member Posts: 230 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Definitely pure lead.
    Those who claim that pure lead will cause leading are thinking about pure lead's use with smokeless powder. Black powder and its copycats are a different matter entirely.
    Soft lead bullets + smokeless powder = heavy leading, most of the time.
    Hard lead bullets + black powder = heavy leading.
    Soft lead bullets + black powder = no or very little leading.
    Hard lead bullets + smokeless powder = no or very little leading.

    Also, when using black powder and its clones, you must also use a suitable lubricant: non-petroleum, natural oil or grease.
    An exception to the "no petroleum" caveat is canning paraffin, the paraffin poured into the tops of jars to seal off fruit preserves. This paraffin is very pure, unlike scrap candles.
    Petroleum products, except canning paraffin, when coupled with black powder or its clones (Pyrodex, 777, etc.) create a hard, tarry fouling.
    Natural lubricants from plant or animal do not create this stubbon fouling.
    Most shooters melt together natural greases, waxes and oils to create the proper lubricant. One popular blend is a mix of 50:50 olive oil and beeswax.
    My personal favorite is a based upon a very old factory recipe once used for lubricating bullets in black powder ammunition:
    1 part canning paraffin
    1 part mutton tallow
    1/2 part beeswax
    All measurements are by weight, not volume. Measure and melt these together at very low heat, mix well, then allow to solidify again at room temperature.
    Long ago, others named this lubricant after me because I was such a strong proponent of it (and still am): Gatofeo No. 1 Lubricant.
    As mixed above, with the precise ingredients listed above, it's the best black powder lubricant I've found for patches, felt wads, bullets, shotgun wads, etc.

    Pure lead is best for your cap and ball revolver. Lubricate the felt wads or conical bullets with Gatofeo No. 1 Lubricant and you'll have an excellent combination.
    But use ONLY Pyrodex P or real black powder in your old Remington revolver. Hodgdon 777 is too powerful for such an old gun.
  • stegsteg Member Posts: 871 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    For flying collie: The 3rd generation, Signature Series Colts were, like the 2nd generation Colt percussion revolvers, made from Uberti made castings, shipped unfinished in the white to the US and finished by Lou Imperato's company. Only this time the company was not Iver Johnson in New Jersey, but Colt Blackpowder in Brooklyn, NY.
    The story as to how this came to be is interesting, but too long to go into here.
    On an other subject: For all of you who do not know what sheep tallow, or any other kind of tallow is, or how to make it, here:
    Go to any large butcher that sells lamb or mutton. Ask him to save you his trimmed sheep and lamb fat. Offer to buy it. After he has amassed several pounds, take it home and refridgerate it until you are ready to render it.
    To render any animal fat into tallow, first trim off all meat from the fat and discard it or feed it to your dog. Then, fill a large pot (the size you usually cook spaghetti in) about 1/3 to 1/2 full with water and bring it to a rolling boil. When the water is boiling
    turn the heat off and put enough of the fat in so that the pot is 3/4 full. Then turn the heat on about medium so that you have a low rolling boil. Occasionally fish out a piece of fat to see if it is completely rendered - when done, it will be kind of wrinkled up and look like an opalescent piece of gristle. Then pour out the contents of the pot into another pot using a sieve or collander to catch the rendered pieces of fat. Let the liquid drain and when cool, put in the fridge to solidify it. It can then be scraped off the water and put into a jar for storage. I recommend you keep the tallow refridgerated until you use it....without chilling, it can become rancid and stink you out of the house!
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