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Thread: cap and ball revolvers

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
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    cap and ball revolvers

    Do you guys put crisco in front of modern cap and ball revolver cylinders to prevent the other cylinders from going off or is this a thing of the past? I'm thinking about cowboy action shooting here.

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    Quote Originally Posted by doc25
    Do you guys put crisco in front of modern cap and ball revolver cylinders to prevent the other cylinders from going off or is this a thing of the past? I'm thinking about cowboy action shooting here.
    Doc, you still need something to avaoid chain fires. I used to use a pinch of cornmeal between the powder and ball, making an inert filler. it seemed I could shoot more cylinders, before needing to clean. The grease tends to build up with the powder fouling fairly quickly, when putting it on the front of the cylinder.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master shooter575's Avatar
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    I think most chain fires come from ill fitting caps on the nipples.I just dont think the fire can get past a properly fitted ball into the powder charge. Some nipples take a #11 others like the #10,they must fit snugly.
    Some of revolver team guys I know do not any over the ball lube.They use a wonder wad under the ball.They all seat the ball out as far as they can and use reduced loads so a filler is needed.COW or gritts.
    I use a bit of musket lube on the chambers BW and olive oil mix. Crisco works but will make a mess on a warm day.
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  4. #4
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    I can't speak for other guns, but if you are using a proper .457 ball in the .452 cylinder of the Ruger Old Army it is physically impossible to get a chain fire from the cylinder face.

    OTOH, it is NOT impossible to get a chain fire from the cap side - assuming an ill-fitting (loose) cap.

    If you are using a proper sized, well cast ball (no wrinkles) you won't chain fire.

    With proper ball/bullet sizing (using a 200gr .45 REAL works really well too) the farina is only a filler to take up space so the ball doesn't have to jump as far to the forcing cone.
    Compromise = Only getting beaten "half as much"... In "Law" it's called a "Plea Bargain".
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by doc25
    Do you guys put crisco in front of modern cap and ball revolver cylinders to prevent the other cylinders from going off or is this a thing of the past? I'm thinking about cowboy action shooting here.
    I've used Crisco but not with very good results. In hot weather it's too soft and melts too easily and is generally messy to use. There are better options like "goop' made expressly for this purpose or even felt wads to be used under the ball....

    But you DO need something!

    Dennis

  6. #6
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    I agree Crisco is a poor choice. The first time you pull the trigger the cylinders shed the Crisco to the forward parts of the revolver. The felt wads however are clean to handle, do the job well and are not heat affected...Ray
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  7. #7
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    I make my own wads with window felt (FrostKing) - make sure it's real felt - dipped in liquid BP lube. I squeeze out the excess while it's still liquid (and hot!) and then punch out the wads with a wad punch.
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  8. #8
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    I tried some cut rate felt over powder wads in my Dixie .44 1858 clone once. Chain fired on me and now I just use Crisco. Probably the real thick pre-lubed Wonder Wads would work but for what little I shoot C&B I just use Crisco now.

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    I have a Ruger Old Army. I originally was shooting a hollow base conical out of it from an old Lyman mould. I lube these with Javelina in my lubersizer and load them as is. I've had this revolver many years and use to shoot is alot and I've never had a chainfire with it. Then I started using SWC's meant for 45acp's and even some 255 SWC's for the 45Colt , same lube, still no chain fires. I quit the Criso many years ago because of the mess.

    Joe

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    I figured it would be messy. In cowboy action shooting they mention loading 6 chambers but only capping 5 so ... the 6th chamber would be left uncapped and from what I have read here there could be a large chance of a chainfire.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master Four Fingers of Death's Avatar
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    I don't shoot bp, but find it interesting, so always check out what the guys use,etc. Over the years I have seen that all but a couple seem to use Vaseline. One used axle grease, one used a special BP lube, one used a secret home made formula and wouldn't tell me. I have only noticed two guys with unsealed cylinder mouths. One used an under boolit wad (this guy had shorter barrels on his ROAs, never seen them before or since). and the other used Lee TL on the ball and nothing else I queried the last guy and he said he tried everything over the years and read about TL not needing sealing according to Robert Lee (I'm sure I have read this in Modern Reloading) and left it at that. He has been using the TL alone in his Old Army for about 10-15 years and now has a pair of fixed sighted ones for cowboy action. I made a point of asking him as he seemed to handle the gun with his hand around the cylinder on the loading table and I couldn't see, so I asked him. He said he keeps quiet about it because he gats nagged about it and has given up trying to convince anybody else. I seem to remember someone on this board saying that Lee TL caused hard fouling though. Mick.
    Last edited by Four Fingers of Death; 07-06-2006 at 05:09 PM.
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  12. #12
    Boolit Master Four Fingers of Death's Avatar
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    PS I have never seen anyone use Crisco. That sort of fat is not that popular here, aussies seem to use liquid oils for cooking. I have seen it but it is generally not very obvious on the shelves. MIck.
    "I'll help you down the trail and proud to!" Rooster Cogburn.

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  13. #13
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    I shoot two Pietta 1858 Remington cap and ball revolvers in cowboy matches. Mind you, I dont shoot them every match because they are very labor intensive. With a properly fitted ball, wonder wad between the powder and ball, and properly fitted caps, you should not have any chain fires. I shoot 30 grains of black powder and use RWS caps with no problems. I have yet to have a misfire during a cowboy match. My secret is to use ballistol between stages to wipe off the face of the cylinders and inside of the frame and also clean off the cylinder pin and re lube with ballistol. This stuff is the best oil for black powder applications. If you mix it 50/50 with water it makes a great cleaning solution as it is water soluble. After shooting, I take the pistols completely apart and clean every nook and cranny. I have yet to have a problem using these methods.

  14. #14
    Boolit Bub Howdy Doody's Avatar
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    I am of the good fitting ball crowd. If you canshave a decent sized ring of lead when you ram the ball, then you should have a pretty durn good seal.
    I shoot a lot of C&B in cowboy action shooting. I have tried cookies and wads and all the other stuff, but these days I shoot a self lube making powder called Goex Pinnacle and I simply just ram a ball onto the powder. I use Treso nipples in my 58 Remmies and Colt navies and just the standard nipples in my ROAs. I use a good fitting cap, #10 Remingtons, and they stay put and lessen any chance of flash over from a cap falling off from recoil. Everything else seems like an awful lot of effort, so I like to KISS.
    My experience on the subject, your mileage may vary.
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    I don't think I could even get No 10 caps on my ROA, No 11 are tight on it as it is .

    Joe

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    Boolit Master DEVERS454's Avatar
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    I use ampco (sold locally as Treso) nipples on my 1860 Armys and 1858 NMA revolvers.

    CCI #11 caps, pinched just a tad, work quite well on my guns.

    I shoot 24gr of FFFg and use either a plain .454" round ball or Lee 200gr conicals. I smear on some rather soft BP lube over the bullets to keep things nice and soft down the barrel.

    The Colts crush the powder a bit more than the Rems do. Which is why I tend NOT to shoot conicals in the Colts. They work, but, you can tell you are shooting some power behind them. 30gr with Lee conicals just about makes you want to drop the gun. (and if you have any lube on your hands when you are shooting, you will notice right away)

    I have never had a chain fire from the front of the cylinder or from the nipples. I do not load the 6th chamber.

    As other have mentioned, poorly fitting caps will cause chainfires more often than not. Good caps that fit tight on the nipples with a reduced flash hole will prevent chain fires.

    Ampco nipples have a smaller hole, which reduces the chances of caps falling off at the wrong time and also reduced the likelyhood of chain fires.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by StarMetal
    I have a Ruger Old Army. I originally was shooting a hollow base conical out of it from an old Lyman mould. I lube these with Javelina in my lubersizer and load them as is. I've had this revolver many years and use to shoot is alot and I've never had a chainfire with it. Then I started using SWC's meant for 45acp's and even some 255 SWC's for the 45Colt , same lube, still no chain fires. I quit the Criso many years ago because of the mess.

    Joe
    IMO the only conical worth a durn in the ROA is the 200gr .45 REAL. It needs no lubes to seal either, though you may want to run one with a bore butter cap every now and again to help with fouling/leading.
    Compromise = Only getting beaten "half as much"... In "Law" it's called a "Plea Bargain".
    TEA: Black, Green, Red or White, Sweet, Bitter or Iced, it has to come to a boil first - & we're almost boiling...
    "You need only reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the great struggle for independence." C.A. Beard (1874-1948)
    מנא, מנא, תקל, ופרסין - Daniel 5:25-28


  18. #18
    Boolit Bub Howdy Doody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by StarMetal
    I don't think I could even get No 10 caps on my ROA, No 11 are tight on it as it is .

    Joe
    Well, the #10s fit the 3 pair of mine really well. The #11s do also. I just use a straight capper and push with that. I do carry a push stick a pard made for me in my gun belt loops and if I see that the caps are not going fully on after about 3 or 4 stages, I'll seat them with that. There isn't much difference between the sizes in Remington. I like the #10s and use them for all and that helps keep things straight for me. There must be as many combos to shooting BP as there is BP shooters and if it works for you it becomes your set up.
    I luckily have had only one chain fire. It was actually only that two went off at once. I had a cap fall off and as I fired the one chamber in battery, the one next to it went off too. The caps had stayed on the other nipples. I laid the 58 remmy down and took the misses and went on. After the stage was done, we went back to the pistol I laid down to assess what had happened. Fortunately, nothing much. The cause was obvious, right down to the cap laying on a sort of table I was shooting over. No damage, just some lead at the front of the frame. The remnants of the ball flew off to the left somewhere in front of the firing line. Not a good feeling to have that happen. I learned from that and make sure my caps fit tight, so tight in fact that I have to pick off the spent ones at the unloading table that aren't split and easy to pick off. ROAs don't tend to jam as much as other brands and models and my 51 Navies have been modified with what they call cap guards, filling the slot and narrowing the hammers. The Treso nipples, lessen the blowback from having a smaller hole and #10 Rem caps fit really well.
    Back to the chainfire. Anything you can do to lessen the chance of that happening is well worth doing. Though scary, nothing too much happens, since we use pure lead and of course always watch our muzzle direction.
    Now scary is to me is setting off a bunch of primers on a XL650 press and having a full measure of BP right next to the primer tube. Just the noise made me ruin some underwear.
    Yer pard,
    Howdy

  19. #19
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    The #11 CCI caps are so tight on my ROA that I have to push them on with a tool much like you do.

    Know a gun that had his Dillion auto press in the basement and it happen to be directly underneath the kitchen above. A full primer magazine let go and blew a one foot hole in the kitchen floor. Luckily nobody was injured, but sure made him a believe how powerful and dangerous those primers can be.

    Joe

  20. #20
    Boolit Master DEVERS454's Avatar
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    For all you folks with guns that tight, I would suggest having a look at the nipples and maybe file off a bit, as they may have mushroomed.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check