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Cap and ball revolver

CSI21CSI21 Member Posts: 1,206 ✭✭✭✭✭
How did folks load thier Colts back in the day? Did they use grease over the ball, or some other method. Also what did they clean thier guns with then. I know Hoppes wasn't around then and oil based products shouldnt be used. I am pretty sure they didnt make bore butter then either.
Thanks

Comments

  • bambambambambambam Member Posts: 4,810 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I think they used lard to cover their balls, and use as patch lube.

    Maybe lye soap to clean?
  • stegsteg Member Posts: 871 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    First of all, after 1850 until about 1880, very few people loaded their Colts with loose black powder and lead balls. The US Army and navy stopped purchasing powder flasks by 1855 and purchased millions of paper cartridges for Colts. Paper cartridges were available at every general store throughout the US. During the ACW, both sides issued paper cartridges for both long guns and for pistols. Only in the latter part of the war Confederates had to use powder and ball.
    It was a common practice of the time, to first cap all of the cylinders, then insert and ram a papercartridge into each cylinder and then top off each cylinder with axle grease. If this wasn't available, lard or suet was used. Axle grease was preferred because it didn't melt and get all over ones clothes like lard did.
    The reason for the grease or lard was to prevent cross firing of the cylinders.
    In the army, the common practice after a battle was to bring a large pot or a washtub of water and some lye soap to a boil and everyone would dis-assemble their Colts and boil them for a while. This would clean them of all the crud from battle. After boiling for a while, bore brushes and/or rags were passed through the barrel and cylinders, all parts were rinsed in clean water and then dried and oiled. The men re-assembled their pistols without paying attention to their serial numbers...the numbers really didn't matter in those days. The lye-soap cleaning and carrying the pistols in holsters is why most military Colts have mis-matched serial numbers and do not have any original bluing or case hardening left. Any period percussion Colt having much finish was not used very much.
  • CSI21CSI21 Member Posts: 1,206 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    That explains alot Steg, thanks. Always wondered about that, I wonder what a paper cart. for a .44 would consist of in powder weight and bullet design.
  • allen griggsallen griggs Member Posts: 34,024 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    In the Civil War they used conical bullets in the paper cartridges.

    Seasoned cavalry troops would load their pistols with round balls, for they were more effective than the conicals.
  • stegsteg Member Posts: 871 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    The paper .44 cal. Colt made paper cartridges used a conical bullet, exactly like the ones cast by their bullet molds and 26 grains of black powder for the Army model cartridges and 38 grains of black powder in the dragoon cartridges.
    The paper used in the cartridges was a 100% rag paper identical in weight and thickness to modern typing paper (still known as cartridge paper in Great Britain) that was nitrated- that is, soaked in a concentrated solution of Salt Peter and dried. Later, aboout 1858-59, Colt used nitrated animal gut for the outer skin of their cartridges. I have no idea as to how they nitrated animal gut.
    When fired, these cartridges burned completely away, leaving nothing behind.To my knowledge, no one is making these paper cartridges commercially today.
  • CSI21CSI21 Member Posts: 1,206 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Steg,
    Do you know the grain weight of the .44 conical, I am thinking of trying to load authentically as I can. Not sure I am up to nitrating paper tho.
    Thanks
  • hillbillehillbille Member Posts: 12,773 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    heard once about someone using what was called magicians paper, it is supposed to burn easily, don't know where or if you can still get it. it is used for magic tricks.
  • Spider7115Spider7115 Member, Moderator Posts: 29,703 ******
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by hillbille
    heard once about someone using what was called magicians paper, it is supposed to burn easily, don't know where or if you can still get it. it is used for magic tricks.

    I think that's the same as "flash paper". Ask your local bookie. [;)]
  • CSI21CSI21 Member Posts: 1,206 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I dont know any bookies around here, Spider. Can you ask yours for some and mail them to me?
  • stegsteg Member Posts: 871 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Making Flash or nitrated cartridge paper is easy. First, you will need three things: 19 to 24 lb. 100% rag drawing paper - available at most large art supply stores or on line art supply stores, If that is not available, use erasable typing paper. Next, you will need 2" wide brown manilla tape- the type used to seal packages without the strings,(masking tape will not work); and some salt peter (Potassium Nitrate) available at most drug stores. Tape a sheet of paper to a wall or other painted surface, with 1/2 of the tape on the paper, the other 1/2 on the wall. Use a sponge to wet the tape because the glue tastes terrible. Allow the tape to dry thoroughly ( the tape will return to its normal, dry color). Put 2 tbs of salt peter into a tall water glass. Run a hot water tap until the water is as hot as it gets and then fill the glass with the salt peter to about 1" from the top. Stir until the salt peter is dissolved. Let cool to room temp. then using a small brush or a sponge, wet the paper inside of the tape with the solution. When the paper is wet it will bulge up, but will dry perfectly flat. When the paper is dry, you can cut it from the tape to use in making cartridges. The tape can be removed from the wall with a wet sponge so your wife won't kill you.
    In making paper cartridges you will want to use Water Glass (Sodium Silicate) as an adhesive because, like the nitrated paper it burns completely away without ash. contact cement and other glues leaves a gummy residue. Water glue is what was originally used "in the period".
  • krazy4kragskrazy4krags Member Posts: 39 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    I understand that the use of punched felt wads under the round ball was fairly common. These were lubricated with animal grease and placed over the charge, then the ball rammed home and then on top of the ball was placed more grease. The grease softened fouling quite well as well as sealing the powder charge from hangfires. I have tried this method with great success on calibers from 31 to 44.
    Keeping the gun 'wet' or greased was very beneficial and though it seems counterintuitive it works well. Cleaning afterwards is noticeably different. The drier the charges were the more heavily the fouling caked and the more difficult it was to clean later.

    Military contracts during the war and the necessity to protect ammo stores from weather and humidity made the use of pre-wrapped and sealed packages of paper cartridges popular and they remained in production for some time after the war, but in many places west of the Mississippi were not as common as loose powder in a container/flask/horn. Pre-packaged paper cartridges have been collected and few have been torn apart to examine the contents for fear of devaluing the cartridge. Though I have not done this I wonder if there were any people out there who had a sacrificial paper round and were curious to see just how the contents were situated. It may not tell us much as different procedures likely took place at different armories and even during different times at the same armory. Still interesting to think about.
  • stegsteg Member Posts: 871 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Paper cartridges for long guns pre-date the American Revolution. At the time of the Am. Revolution paper cartridges were already in common use by the British army. The colonists, on the other hand had to use loose powder and ball because they did not have access to pre-made cartridges.
    By the time of the War of 1812, the US army was using a combination of paper cartridges with loose powder and ball regulated to local militia troops. Bear in mind this was for smooth bore muskets. By the time of the Mexican War, paper cartridges were in common use by the Army.
    When the Walker Colt was supplied to the Army, the contract included a single cavity bullet mold and one powder flask for each pair of revolvers, and one 6 cavity gang mold for each 100 revolvers. A similar provision of accoutrements was contracted for with the 1st and 2nd model Colt Dragoons. By the time of the 3rd Model Dragoon and the M1851 Navy, the Army and Navy no longer purchased powder flasks, although they still demanded a bullet mold for each pistol.
    The Army went to paper cartridges for all long arms around 1845, and for revolvers around 1850/51. The government manufactured these cartridges at the Springfield and Harpers Ferry Armories.
    When Sam Colt built his Hartford factory, he also built several small buildings several hundred yards down-river from his main factory buillding. These were for his cartridge factoroy. He first started making cartridges from tinfoil, which he touted as being waterproof. However because of cost, he soon went to nitrated paper.
    These carttridges were made out of a paper cylender about the diameter of the bullet to be used. This conical or round ball was glued into one end of the tube with water glass (Sodium Silicate).
    Then the powder charge was placed in tube and the back end of the tube was flattened and folded over. No wads of any sort were used in pre-made revolver cartridges.
    Paper cartridges for long guns were constructed and used differently from revolver cartridges, in that the user, ripped open the back end of the musket cartridge with his teeth, poured the powder from the cartridge down the barrel and then stuffed the empty end of the cartridge into the barrel with the ball on top. The paper cartridge formed the wadding for the ball.
    Paper cartridges for revolvers were stuffed whole into each cylinder compartment and rammed home. There was no need for wadding because the diameter of the ball or conical bullet was slightly larger than the hole in the cylinder. When rammed in by the loading lever, a small ring of excess lead is pared off the projectile and the bullet forms a pressure seal to the sides of the cylinder. The flame from the percussion cap was sufficient to burn through the paper to ignite the charge.
    The use of lubricated felt wads in Colt revolvers is a modern thing, a developement by modern shooters to make cap and ball revolvers more efficient. This practice was all but unknown during "the period" of original use. There is no reverence to it in any of the Colt literature.
    Bearing Grease was used during "the period" on top of the bullet to lessen the danger of a chain fire in which all of the cylinders went off at the same time. Another common practice of "the period" one doesn't see with modern shootists is that after the revolver was loaded and the grease installed, the loader would bring the rear end of the cylinder and blow sharply at each capped nipple to remove any loose powder that may have come through the nipples during loading. This loose powder could also be a cause of chain fire.
  • CSI21CSI21 Member Posts: 1,206 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Thank you Steg,
    I know you got more to tell, that was very enlightening to me. I knew there had to be more, just didnt have the resources or know how to find it. I have never even heard of water glue before this discussion. I will see if its available also.
  • GatofeoGatofeo Member Posts: 230 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I've seen references to evidence of what appeared to be beeswax on conical bullets assembled with paper cartridges. The late Elmer Keith wrote of factories dipping the conical bullet in melted beeswax after the paper cartridge was assembled.
    Whether this was done to reduce fouling, or for purposes of waterproofing, remains unknown. I've seen a few original paper cartridges over the years but have seen scant evidence of any kind of wax or grease on the conical bullet of vintage paper cartridges.
    Keith was known to exaggerate or misremember, so perhaps this is one instance of that.

    Though both the U.S. and Confederacy had a specification for conical bullet weight, and powder charge:

    UNION MANUAL - 1860 COLT .44-caliber
    Union Army ordnance manuals of 1861 specify a load of 30 grs of powder with a .46-caliber, 216 gr. conical ball in Colt M1860 revolvers.
    In the 1860s an average load for the Colt M1860 .44 revolver was 25 grs. of powder with a 146 gr. (about 460" diameter) round ball or a conical bullet of about 230 grs.

    UNION MANUAL - 1851 COLT .36 caliber
    The same manual specifies a .39-caliber conical bullet of 145 grs., over 17 grs. of powder.
    The average load for the Colt Navy was 15 grs. of powder with an 81 gr. (about .380" diameter) round ball or a conical bullet of about 146 grs.

    Old loadings will occasionally list a 218 gr. conical bullet with a 40 to 50 gr. powder charge. This is intended for the Colt Model 1847 Walker or the later Dragoons, which have a larger capacity than the Colt M1860 .44 revolver.

    CONFEDERATE MANUAL -- .36 and .44 caliber
    An official Confederate States publication specifies a 250 gr. conical bullet over 30 grs. of powder for the Colt M1860 revolver.
    The Confederate specification for the Colt Navy is the same as the Union (.39 caliber conical of 145 grs. over 17 grs. powder).

    HOWEVER ...

    What the factories actually produced, for both U.S. and CSA troops, varied greatly.

    The February 1975 American Rifleman has an excellent article on vintage paper cartridges that were dissected and had their bullets and powder charge weighed.
    Conical bullets for the Colt M1860 Army .44-caliber revolver ranged from 207 grs. to 260 grs. Powder charges ranged from 17 to 36 grains of black powder.
    Conical bullets for the Colt .36 Navy ranged from 139 to 155 grs. Charges were from 12 to 21 grains.

    Clearly, though a standard existed, it was not followed.
    Most of the paper cartridges were assembled by government contractors, and not government arsenals. Children and women assembled the cartridges, on both sides. Men were at war or did more laborious work.

    For a full report on vintage loads for ball and conicals, find my posting on the internet: "Found: Original Loads for Cap and Ball Revolvers" posted by Gatofeo.
    This will give you a wealth of information on the topic.
  • andrewsw16andrewsw16 Member Posts: 10,729 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I also found a source of cheap commercial nitrated paper, cigarette rolling paper. It is a bit more delicate than typing paper, but it is nitrated and has the added benefit of already having an adhesive strip along one edge. I've used these many times to make paper cartridges for my Kentucky and Hawken rifles. If one paper isn't big enough it is a simple matter to stick two together. Give it a try. [:D]
  • stegsteg Member Posts: 871 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    The only problem in making paper cartridges with Cigarette paper is that the paper is very thin and delicate. Paper cartridges made from cigarette paper may hold up on the shooting range, but are too delicate to be handled "in the field". Let's say you are going out in the woods or in the countryside on foot to do some shooting. No matter how carefully you pack such cartridges, most of them will come apart and leave you with a very dangerous mess of powder, paper and loose bullets.
    That is why you would do better by using typing paper made from 100% rag. It is dimensionally very strong, and when properly nitrated (by soaking it in a concentrated solution of salt peter and allowing it to dry before using it for cartridges) it completely burns away when ignited during firing.
    I have read where some people use elmers or other white glues in making their cartridges. DON'T do it. The glue does not burn away completely and will leave behind a hard to clean gunk. You would do better to seek out a source of Water Glass- Sodium Silicate solution on the internet. That is what was used by all manufacturers of paper cartridges because it burns completely away and adds nothing to the normal black powder fouling.
    By the way, felt wads, lubricated or not, were never a part of paper cartridges for revolvers.
    There are two ways of loading paper cartridges into the cylinder. The usual way is to load the cartridge, intact into the cylinder, using the loading lever to ram it home. If you are worried that the paper is too thick for instant ignition from the cap, you always can prick the cartridge with a needle or straightened out paper clip through the nipple before capping and shooting.
    The second way is to tear away the rear of the cartridge with your teeth, pour the powder from the cartridge into the cylinder then load the bullet with the paper attached on top of the powder, ramming home with the loading lever. The paper will form a wad over the powder behind the bullet.
    Incidentally, not having teeth or missing ones front teeth gave you a medical draft exemption during the Civil War, because soldiers needed their teeth to rip open the paper cartridges used to load their weapons.
  • v35v35 Member Posts: 13,200
    edited November -1
    As I recall from "Arms and Ammunition in the U.S. Service" the Walker Dragoon took 60 gr of powder and later Dragoons having shorter cylinders took 50 grains.
    In the late '50s I made some bullet lube from an original formula in the DGW catalog . It was 50/50 whale oil and beeswax.
    As I recall it was a mess and didn't solidify very well but I used it in a Yaeger Tanner flintlock.
    I had one crossfire from a doggy beat up Colt Army cylinder but never from a good one with tight fitting caps and bullets.
    Nitrated paper conceivably can get trapped between ball and chamber wall and be a source of crossfire if grease isn't applied.
    I've used .45 ACP 185 gr SWC bullets lubed and sized for a tight fit with very good accuracy and bore cleanliness.
  • v35v35 Member Posts: 13,200
    edited November -1
    I wish I read this information 50 years ago when I sold a Starr Revolver in exc+ condition.
    I lost interest in it because the cylinder s/n was a mismatch.
    It's a consolation that I recently read the Union Army disliked the Starr. It may have been too gadgety and didn't come apart as readily for cleaning like the Colt.
  • Old hickoryOld hickory Member Posts: 1,368 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Steg - many thanks for the sharing of knowledge. I can only add that knowing, human nature, after a long day of risking your life a lot of guys probably said the hell with it and skipped the cleaning. Especially the losers who were in retreat and worried about another attack as the South was as they headed back to Corinth MS after Shiloh. You sure didn't want your pistol in a pot of lye when you didn't know where the enemy was!
  • Old hickoryOld hickory Member Posts: 1,368 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    And least I forget ..... long live my matched set of 1851 Navies!!!
  • Old hickoryOld hickory Member Posts: 1,368 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Steg - many thanks for the sharing of knowledge. I can only add that knowing, human nature, after a long day of risking your life a lot of guys probably said the hell with it and skipped the cleaning. Especially the losers who were in retreat and worried about another attack as the South was as they headed back to Corinth MS after Shiloh. You sure didn't want your pistol in a pot of lye when you didn't know where the enemy was!
  • flyingcollieflyingcollie Member Posts: 197 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Hoping to revive this thread . . . I found the discussion on paper cartridges for cap 'n' ball revolvers very interesting. Ancillary to info on this thread, I found a discussion on an S&W forum, the subscriber suggested using telephone book paper.

    Not being able to find a light-weight (i.e. under 24#) all-rag drawing paper, I decded to experiment with phone-book newsprint.

    First issue (for me) was to determine the difference, whether the paper was nitrated or not (the S&W guy did not mention treating the paper with a saltpetre solution). Interesting. Burned in a metal dish, phonebook newsprint burns with a yellow flame, and leaves a considerable amount of ash. Comparatively, the same paper treated in a nitrate solution burns like a fuse, without visible flame, and leaves . . . soot.

    Treated or not, the phone-book paper posed no problems for ignition - no delays, or "hang fire". My question is, what becomes of unburned paper residues ? Seems like they would rapidly foul the cylinder against re-loading. Several test-shots using the nitrated paper all left fairly sizeable fragments of un-burned paper clinging to cylinder walls. Would using rag paper cure this ??

    Inquiring minds want to know.
  • stegsteg Member Posts: 871 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    For all of you making paper cartridges for your cap and ball revolvers: DO NOT USE either telephone book or newspaper for your cartridges. These papers are made from wood pulp. Even if you properly nitrate these papers, they do not burn completely away in the cylinder, and leaves a lot of crud behind....and the likelyhood of them leaving a burning ember behind in the chamber is very large-as well as dangerous.
    Properly nitrated 100% rag paper burns completely away. Yes, one must check the cylinder for burning embers, but they are less likely with paper made from rags.
    If you don't have an art supply store near you, you certainly have a stationary store, or the stationary section of a Walmart or similar store. Just buy 100% rag Bond Typing paper. It is usually sold by the ream (500 sheets). And, for what it's worth, there are numerous reliable Art Supply sites on the internet that sell 100% Rag drawing paper. Simply enter Artists supplies on Google or other search engine.
  • flyingcollieflyingcollie Member Posts: 197 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Steg, thanks much for the response . . . any thoughts about how light or heavy the paper weight can be and still be usable ? (I did note you said to use 19# to 24# papers). Best I could come up with on short notice is a 28# 100% rag paper with a laid finish.

    Besides being "the wrong stuff", I'm thinking the phonebook paper was too light to make a reasonably durable cartridge anyway. I had to mail-order water-glass to "glue" the cartridges, I may as well order paper, too, and just draw on the 28# stuff . . . ?

    BTW - do you have any anecdotes you'd care to share about making and shooting paper cartridges in C&B revolvers ? Have you done this extensively ?
  • stegsteg Member Posts: 871 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    28# laid finish paper will be too stiff when nitrated for cartridges. A laid paper has a ladder like grain to it. The paper you need is a bond paper, which is smooth and has a matte finish.
    Call New York Central Supply 1-800-950-6111 and ask for their paper department. Be patient when you are put on hold, they are usually very busy (they are in NYC). Order Bordon and Reilly number 30 Boond. It comes in 15 yard rolls in a variety of widths starting at 15 inches. It is just what you want for nitrating to make combustable cartridges.
    Good luck with your project.
  • flyingcollieflyingcollie Member Posts: 197 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Steg, thank you again. I really appreciate your patience, and a "spec" for a paper that will work. NYC art supply it is !
  • GatofeoGatofeo Member Posts: 230 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Steg, you make a number of statements that I've never heard before. What are your sources? What books or sites do you recommend?

    It's long been my understanding that while soldiers were issued paper cartridges for their cap and ball revolvers, civilians often loaded them with loose ball and powder.
    While I can't cite specific sources, I've read a number of times that paper cartridges were not readily available in frontier towns because of the difficulty and cost of shipping them. A small box of five or six cartridges was expensive, whereas loose powder, caps and bar lead was more available.
    I've yet to learn how one obtained balls and conical bullets to go with the loose powder. Presumably, shopkeepers stocked them or perhaps the local blacksmith cast them in his forge upon request.

    Similarly, I've read very few references to any kind of lubricant being placed over the seated projectile. Yet, some examples of this exist. It is said that when Gen. Robert E. Lee's pistol was examined some years after his death, the projectiles were covered in a black substance.
    I've also read of soldiers covering the balls and caps with tallow candle wax or beeswax, presumably more for waterproofing than for lubrication.
    Interestingly, Colt's contemporary instructions for loading cap and ball revolvers don't mention using any lubricant with or over the projectiles.
    However, Colt's bullet moulds of late manufacture clearly show a groove around the conical bullet to hold bullet lubricant, so the benefits must have been recognized. A curious thing.

    The mass cleaning of revolvers, as you describe it, is very interesting. Never heard of such a thing. I would have thought that cleaning would have been something done on an individual basis. I wonder if the larger units did it as you describe, but the smaller units relied on individual maintenance?
    Any ideas where I might learn more about this practice?

    I agree that the use of lubricated felt wads between ball and powder is a modern invention. Or, it appears to be. The earliest reference I've found to the practice is a 1928 American Rifleman magazine.
    The late gun writer Elmer Keith began carrying an 1851 Navy about 1910, when he was 12. He wrote in, "Keith: An Autobiography" that Civil War veterans showed him how to load the old revolver. In his 1955 book, "Sixguns" he suggests using a greased felt wad. But he stops short of ever saying that the Civil War veterans ever showed him this trick.
    Keith died in 1984. It would have been interesting to learn where he learned about using greased felt wads.
    Yet, lubricated wads were well known by target rifle shooters of the mid 19th century, so perhaps the practice carried over from there. I suspect we will never know.

    So many unanswered questions about practices that may have been so commonplace at the time that no one bothered to document them then or later.

    Please let me know where you learned of the practices you cite. It would make fascinating reading.
  • stegsteg Member Posts: 871 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I come to the knowledge of what kind of paper was used for combustable cartridges from a professional knowledge about paper. Paper made from wood pulp did not become common until just after the American Civil War, by which time cap and ball firearms were obsolescent.
    As far as the bullets were concerned, All manufacturers of cap and ball revolvers provided a free bullet mold with each new revolver. Pure soft lead was a common commodity and sold by almost every general store, gun shop, and trading post in the U.S.A.
    The most common lube for bullets and for the top of a loaded cylinder was axle grease, of which both sides had a plentiful supply, considering the cannons and wagons of the day. Tallow and bees wax was only used in dire emergencies because they fouled the gun something terrible.
    For a plethera of information about cap and ball revolvers, apart from the books by "He whose name is not mentioned in polite society" (W*l**n) I recommend "Percussion Pistols and Revolvers, History, Performance, and Practical Use"by Johnny Bates and Mike Cumpston, published by iUniverse, Inc. in 2005 and "How the Colt Navy .36 Cal. was Gunsmithed and Fired in the Field During the Civil Warby D.L. Rhea, published by Emonds Publishing Company, 1985.
  • stegsteg Member Posts: 871 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I come to the knowledge of what kind of paper was used for combustable cartridges from a professional knowledge about paper. Paper made from wood pulp did not become common until just after the American Civil War, by which time cap and ball firearms were obsolescent.
    As far as the bullets were concerned, All manufacturers of cap and ball revolvers provided a free bullet mold with each new revolver. Pure soft lead was a common commodity and sold by almost every general store, gun shop, and trading post in the U.S.A.
    The most common lube for bullets and for the top of a loaded cylinder was axle grease, of which both sides had a plentiful supply, considering the cannons and wagons of the day. Tallow and bees wax was only used in dire emergencies because they fouled the gun something terrible.
    For a plethera of information about cap and ball revolvers, apart from the books by "He whose name is not mentioned in polite society" (W*l**n) I recommend "Percussion Pistols and Revolvers, History, Performance, and Practical Use" by Johnny Bates and Mike Cumpston, published by iUniverse, Inc. in 2005 and "How the Colt Navy .36 Cal. was Gunsmithed and Fired in the Field During the Civil War" by D.L. Rhea, published by Emonds Publishing Company, 1985.
  • GatofeoGatofeo Member Posts: 230 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Interesting.
    The Bates/Cumpston book uses information I've been posting on the internet for some time. In fact, "the ugly cat" is in the Acknowledgements.
    But it remains an excellent book for anyone interested in purchasing a percussion pistol of single-shot or revolver design. So much of the information found in reloading books today still dates to the 1970s, even the 1950s.
    Bates & Cumpston have done modern shooters a great service with this book, with the latest info -- based on infomation that has surfaced in the interim, or upon personal experience.
    I'll have to search for that book on the 1851 Navy. Sounds fascinating.

    I must admit, I'm very wary of what people post on the internet as truth. Some years ago, I postulated that a larger ball would create a wider bearing band for the rifling to grip, and increase accuracy.
    I believe I'm the first to post that idea, as I hadn't seen such a thought expressed before, on the net or in any publication.
    Yet, within a year it was being stated as fact and even reported that the old timers used a larger ball because its wider bearing band gave more area for the rifling to grip, etc.
    I own every American Rifleman from 1929 to last month's issue. In those 900+ issues, and a number of black powder books, I've never seen this idea reported.

    I should have majored in history, because I am adept at research. Hemingway observed that the prime requirement for a writer is, "A built-in, shockproof s**t detector."
    Historians should have such a detector as well, I think we agree.

    Thanks for the sources, Steg. I'll look for that 1851 book. And I'll plunge into the Bates/Cumpston book. It's been years since I read it; I'm overdue for a re-read.
  • 1hawkeye1hawkeye Member Posts: 5 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    Hi, thanks, Gatefeo, you have done so much for our sport.
    I have been using a tapered dowel, two cigarette papers glued together in a fan shape, overlapping 1/2 or so , varied as you wish, folded together in the middle to create a "band" of 3 layers, biting off the end of the the powder can be spilled in with the "wad" of paper stuffed in between the powder and the round ball.
    I don't at all mind the procedure during football season, one can use
    the plastic cartridge boxes to carry them with room for a capper.
    Blessings,
    SS
  • BergtrefferBergtreffer Member Posts: 629 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Steg, this is a load of great information. Thanks a lot.
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