View Full Version : C&B revolver

Ken O
05-11-2005, 10:39 PM
A friend has a .45 cap and ball revolver, he bought a Lee .450 miniball mold and is using wheel weights to cast. He was looking for a swagging die and cant find one.
I know nothing about BP revolvers, I cast roundballs and miniballs for my BP MLers, and use pure lead and never thought about swagging.
Should he be using pure lead? If its OK to use WW, is there a swagging die?

05-11-2005, 11:12 PM
Ken O, Problem using hard lead in a revolter is you swage the oversized ball into the undersized cylinder with the loading lever.Takes a LOT of force and can bust the lever or screw. Now shooting hard lead will not hurt anything.Just loading it. Typicaly a oversize soft lead ball cuts a ring of lead as lever seats it.
I have seen guys shoot conicals in em that were sized just at cylinder chamber dia. Some shooters have their cylinders honed for this.Comp shooters will spend a lot of money.

Easyest way is to use soft lead balls.
Also be sure to use a grease /lube over loaded balls.And use good tight fitting caps.Loose caps can cause chainfires.

05-12-2005, 02:16 AM
.............Ken, do you mean a swage die or just a size die? I had a Ruger Old Army revolver (got stolen) and bought a Lee .456" mould they advertised for the Old Army. Cast a 225gr RN conical IIRC. It was a rat mother to get started straight into the cylinder. I've seen conicals designed for C&B's that have a little heel on'em to get them started straight.

I'd also think that a mild taper to the boolits' side, with the base just under chamber mouth ID could help. And if it had a HB that might be the best. BTW, I did give up on conicals in C&B revolvers. Too much fussing.


05-12-2005, 06:43 AM

Dick Lee talks of a bullet mold like you describe for the 45 Old Army, I have one I bought 25 years ago and the rear band is smaller so it starts right in. And not knowing back then that 50-50 is bad for blackpowder I happily lube sized them in Dad's lyman lube sizer and went to shooting.

The gun with all the black powder that would fit and whatever lead I could get my hands on would usually run 5 out of 6 soda (adult soda) cans full of water at 50 yards sitting down with gun over knees, all dad's buddies couldnt hit that many with their fancy 357's hehe.

I still have the pistol and the mold, I will warm it up and see what dia the bands cast. I have shot them in 45 acp too and from lino they shot clear thru a telephone pole over 7.0 unique.


Wayne Smith
05-12-2005, 07:09 AM
As stated above, pure lead is easier to use, roundballs are easier to load straight, and the guns can be amazingly accurate. I have replicas of the LeMat and the Rogers and Spencer, both can shoot straighter than I.

Have him try loading a lubed wad under the ball. You can buy them or make them from BP bullet lube and wool strips. I use Frost King wool weather stripping, soak them in my BP lube, and cut them with a cutter I got from Buffalo Arms (buffaloarms.com).

This ends any possiblility of chain fires from the front - highly unlikely anyway - and removes the mess of top lubing the ball. The gun can be carried in a holster in hot weather without soaking th holster in Crisco.

Ballistics in Scotland
05-12-2005, 08:11 AM
Buckshot, that wouldn't by any chance have been the mould they make for the traditional .44 cap and ball revolvers? I've never had any problems with Lee moulds, but based on the criticisms some people make, it doesn't even seem impossible that one was misstamped. I have always assumed that the Old Army mould was made on the same design as the others, so that the rear band would enter the cylinder to align it for the forcible insertion of the others. The only expeerience I have of these Lee moulds was the .36 version, and that worked just as described.

Quite a few people, though, seem to think that round ball works at least as well in a cap and ball revolver. It will certainly permit higher velocity and a flatter trajectory at conventional pistol ranges. There is another reason besides protection from chainfires (which grease should take care of) for the bullets to be a really tight fit in the chambers. If they aren't, they may creep forward under recoil, and prevent the cylinder from rotating.

05-12-2005, 08:55 AM
Another consideration to shooting conicals in a C and B revolver is: what twist does the gun have? Some of the ASM's and Pietta's have a 1-48 twist and you wont get good accuracy from a bullet. On the other hand Ruger and the Uberti's have a 1-22 twist and if you start them straight the bullets will shoot fine. I have shot a bevel base 45 bullet sized to 454 in my 1860 army with good results, but I load on a cylinder stand and not in the gun. Loding with the lever into the cylinder i just stick with round balls. I do use wheel weight balls in the gun though. They don't seem to be that much harder to ram and it lets me save the pure lead for my target rifles.
Dixie Gun works use to have push through sizing dies for various minnie bullets and may still have them.

05-12-2005, 10:10 AM
KO: I shoot a brass frame Pietta 1860 rep in 44 cal(451 dia) with pure lead round balls and 25 gr pyro P it does pretty good. I bought the Lee .450" 200 gr conical mold for it, they are cast of pure lead and are tapered, .450 at the base and .457 on the top band, they are pure hell to load in the gun, just barely clear the frame and load crooked! They are so hard to load last time out I ended up loading them upside down, that is fired base first, I couldn't tell any difference in accuracy.Lee advertises them as easy to load straight, not for me. All sizing is done by the clylinder,when the projectile is rammed home by the loading lever.The 138 gr RB-25 gr pyro P=681 fps, 200 gr con-25 gr pyroP=648 fps, power advantage goes to the conical. The 25 grs is a volume load, 25 gr spout on on flask. I must admit it is fun to shoot, especially at dusk or dawn, SAY CHEESE.

05-12-2005, 10:14 AM
I've mentioned this before about having a hollowbase conial bullet mould for cap n ball. I bought it clean back in the 70's. It was listed by Lyman as a conial for the 1858 Remington New Army. I have shot this bullet in many cap n ball replica from the Remington replicas on up and through the 1860 Colts. In addition I've shot it out of quite a few Ruger Old Armies and plus, I've shot it out of a few of my 1911 45 acp's. It's accurate out of all of them. In fact it makes my Ruger Old Army one of the most accurate revolvers I have ever shot of any type. Lyman doesn't sell the mould anymore. Being that it's a hollowbase it's not a heavy bullet. So a solid conial may or may not shoot as good as this Lyman I have.


05-12-2005, 10:28 AM
Joe;That "minie" should be tapered also, do you have trouble loading it straight? The Lee's I make probably would do fine if I used a cylinder loading stand. Just can't get them started straight in the cylinder, I'm sure leaning on the loading lever is destroying any hopes of good accuracy.

05-12-2005, 10:31 AM
I forgot to mention that this hollowbase conical bullet is short and I believe that is so you can start them easier. I don't have any trouble starting it in my Ruger. I size them and lube them with Javelina and it makes them easier to start and being hollowbased they blow out to seat the bore very effectively. I shoot these exclusively and don't even have a round ball mould for the Ruger.


05-12-2005, 10:35 AM

I don't believe they are tapered but I will measure and find out for sure as I have some cast up.


05-12-2005, 10:35 AM
Joe; yes "short" I believe is the answer! The Lee's will JUST barely clear the frame, sometimes touch enough to tip a little.