View Full Version : 36 Cal Colt Revolver load

02-17-2008, 04:52 PM
What is the loading range for FFF in a 36 Cal Colt Revolver with rnd balls?

02-17-2008, 05:17 PM
Depends on your use. You can load a revolver until the lead is almost shaved off when you cock it to shoot or you can load down for light weight plinking. Some use about 15 grains of 3-f. One I had could take about 27 grains of 3f and still seat the ball. My Lyman BP handbook lists up to 29 grains, but it may be a tight fit. Some target shooters used to find the most accurate load, then mark one cylinder and shoot just that cylinder. Many ranges require that revolvers be loaded single shot only to prevent cross fire dangers. Other shooters would use a lighter load and fill the cylinder with cream of wheat to avoid too much gap. For just plain fun a 36 with a full load is not that hard of a pistol to handle. Just remember to grease the end of the cylinder if you do not already know that or use those wads under the ball if you want to spend more money on your shooting. If you use #11 caps you may find that pinching them slightly will hold them on better. Otherwise use #10 caps. Have fun good shooting.


02-17-2008, 07:04 PM
I like to use Jim Shockley gold 3 f 20 grains It shoots great and cleans up a lot nicer than Goex.

Baron von Trollwhack
02-17-2008, 10:22 PM
GREASE the cylinder pin to retard hard fouling build up. If you have to pinch the caps, THEY ARE THE WRONG SIZE. Turn down the nipple cone a bit to get a proper, snug fit with the smaller caps so they seat fully with just a bit of pressure. My '51 Navy Colt clone does well with 20 grains fffg and a well seated ball, sprue up, and a smear of beeswax/tallow grease over the cylinder mouth. A little smear of grease with your fingers where the gun fouls from shooting, before you start, makes cleanup easier too. BvT

02-17-2008, 11:01 PM
I bought a CVA 36 Navy from a friend of mine. He sold it cheap because he had shot the frame out from overloading it too much. The brass frames can't take the constant heavy loads or at least the VA's can't. I thought I could fix it but it was going to cost almost as much as a new one all said and done so now it's a wall hanger and I bought me a new(er) one!

02-18-2008, 08:49 AM
I have used caps that I have pinched slightly on revolvers for years instead of buying two sizes. It's no big deal. I used to buy caps by the 1000. One event we shot was a timed event at four blocks of wood, The winner knocked them off with the best time. I used a Colt New Army replica and won that event many times with pinched on caps. If you want to buy #10 go ahead, but the other method works also. If you try speed events the rangemaster has to check every revolver to make sure they are properly loaded.


02-20-2008, 09:23 AM
Thanks for the input guys. Now one more question. What grease do you recommend ,that is readily available, to grease the end of the cylinder to prevent crossfire?---dale

02-20-2008, 10:02 AM
Thanks for the input guys. Now one more question. What grease do you recommend ,that is readily available, to grease the end of the cylinder to prevent crossfire?---dale

Crisco works just fine. Cheap and easy to find. I use 50-50 beeswax and petroleum jelly just cuz I have it.


02-20-2008, 10:46 AM
Anything Petroleum will rust a Black powder.........USE "Bore Butter"! its the best there is. It can be hardened a little with bee's wax. I have a Walker that is never cleaned just the heavy fouling wiped off......There is not ANY rust on this gun and it lives loaded under the seat of the truck in a leather holster.

Baron von Trollwhack
02-20-2008, 04:57 PM
It just is not so that "anything petroleum will rust a black powder....." This is simply wrong.

The products of the combustion of the blackpowder and the humidity in the atmosphere combine to rust the metal.

Many things can be applied to a fired blackpowder gun to prevent rusting, even without cleaning. Many of those things are petroleum products.


02-21-2008, 10:45 AM
The petroleum jelly beeswax lube was a recomended bullet lube from the late 80's and early 90s. Personally I never had any problems with it, just found better lubes for keeping the fouling soft. I have lubed my Walker replica at the start of hunting season and left it loaded for several weeks and had absolutely no rusting problems with it. I used that instead of a real soft lube so it wouldn't get all over everthing and it made the front water tight. For shooting, the softer stuff was preferable and easier to apply.
I never even had problems with the petroleum jelly mixture turning into tar in the barrel of my BPCRs which is what is supposed to happen with petroleum based lubes. My guess is, that it is ultra refined so the offending chemicals are not there.


02-21-2008, 12:09 PM
bore butter is good, especially in revolvers with a top strap, where the cylinder tends to bind after a few shots, but less so with bore butter. I've run countless round balls and conicals covered with Crisco through revolvers as well. Great stuff--you can shoot round balls with it, grease rifle patches with it, fry chicken with it, grease threads with it in an emergency--a truly versatile product.

02-21-2008, 06:53 PM
If you're going for accuracy with your .36, you may want to go Elmer Keith style, which is a card wad on the powder, a thick lube cookie (TC 1000+ or Bore Butter or Crisco mixed 1/1 with beeswax) about 1/8" thick and then the RB and no grease in front of the ball. Each shot leaves a layer of soft lube in the bore for the next shot and side blast from each shot can't blow away the lube for the next. From his writings, he was able to get surprising accuracy out of even Colt revolvers, though they weren't his choice for fine accuracy. Cross-ignition will not be a problem. I used the beeswax/vaseline stuff hunting with my .50 cal and found I couldn't hit a house from the inside. Vaseline is a petroleum jelly (grease) rather than a petroleum wax which seem to not have that fouling-like-cured-concrete-in-the-bore problem. Other folks seem to get good results with it. Balistol is a liquid petrolem wax that works rather well as a patch lube and in my long range ML slug rifle. A felt wad wetted with it could work well, but I haven't tried that yet. Anyway, I stay away from vaseline.

Another interesting trick is to use GOEX Pinnacle 3F or Pioneer Powder 3F, which are compressible, thus much more forgiving of attempts to use a bigger charge. Nothing like getting the ball 3/4 of the way in and not being able to go further. Neither are in the least bit corrosive that I've been able to find and foul very little. I have a '58 Rem and a '51 Navy which have not been detail cleaned in three years and there's no rust on either. What fouling accumulates is water soluble and bores clean up with a wet bore brush and a dry patch. I use real BP in my rifles, but these two are great in revolvers.

If your .36 is a modern repro, you may want to slug the barrel AND check the diameters of your chambers. On my Pietta .36 Navy, the groove dia is .378 while the largest chamber dia is .367. This immediately explained the dismal accuracy with a round ball. I haven't had a chance to line-bore it yet, so I've found an acceptable conpromise by using a dead-soft lead conical that will obturate to full groove depth and seal up. A hollow-base would probably work better, but I don't have one yet. The condition of undersize chambers in late repro cap-and-ball revolvers is universal in my experience. I can't imagine why they would do it that way, since it pretty much guarantees mediocre accuracy. If someone plans to line-bore their revolver, it's a good thing - there's plenty of material for cleaning up any location error and enlarging to the proper diameter. If not, obturation is the only other alternative.

Good luck on your efforts.

02-21-2008, 10:30 PM
One of the most difficult "issues" to deal with with repro cap & ball revolvers is the chamber/bore diameters. With most of the .36s Navy revolvers you will be well served with .380 diameter chambers since most bores are .373-378. Once you ream chambers to .380 use .385 diameter round balls for best accuracy. I have reamed many revolvers using this "system" and found excellent accuracy to be the result. The same thing with revolvers with .447 chambers and .452 groove diamter. Reaming the chambers to .453 and using .455-457 round balls made significant accuracy improvements regardless of velocity. What a surprise, cap & ball revolvers respond to the same chamber/bore diameter bullet diameters as cartridge revolvers!

02-28-2008, 01:27 AM
My Uberti 1851's have 0.378" cylinders, .375" balls cast from wheel weights and range lead load without shaving a ring but make a ring farther down in the cylinder. Accuracy is fine for what I do with them.

My Pietta 1860 has .445" cylinders and a Pietta "1858" has .447" cylinders. Wheel weight and range lead balls cast from a Lee .451" mold are too hard to shave the ring. I use commercial .457" or .454" balls, both shave the ring and give good accuracy. I'll get a .445 mold pretty soon and try casting balls for these again.

I used lard for a while and now use Crisco. Eventually I'll melt down some beeswax to mix with Crisco but there's no hurry.

The Pietta's love Remington 10's and will work with CCI 10's too. Treso nipples on the Uberti's love Remington 10's but CCI 10's won't fit. The CCI 10's won't fit on the Uberti nipples either but Remington 10's will. 11's work on all of them. I always pinch the caps a bit be they 10's or 11's. Seating the cap all the way is important.

Charge: I use enough powder so the balls will seat down into the cylinder holes quite a bit.

Accuracy: these guns get good one hand hits on silhouettes at 40 yards and they hit the 2 liter soda bottles filled with water at closer ranges just fine. All are most excellent for point shooting. They love bowling pins too.

They are cleaned with hot water and dish detergent. Lube and wipedown is with CLP.