Black Powder shooting

This thread got me thinking about black powder shooting – so much so, that I’ve just ordered an Uberti Remington New Army Model 1858 from a nearby sporting goods store.

Here is a picture of my Colt Walker and one of my Colt Navies, showing combustible cartridges I made.

Here is a loading chart I put together about a decade ago.

Most of my black powder revolvers are Uberti. The others are 2nd- and 3rd-generation (the latter being the ‘Signature’ series) Colts.

Anyone else like ‘charcoal burners’?

I had a .44 Navy revolver (forget the brand) that was fun to shoot, though very messy.

I have a muzzle loader too that I enjoy. I like that I can tinker with the load on the spot. I read once that putting a piece of wasp nest between patch and powder keeps the patch from burning. Neat fact that appears true from my trials.

When I lived in LA, my then-boyfriend and I used to go up to some black powder range out there and shoot. I’ve no idea where it is. Anyway, he had a rifle and at first I just amused myself learning how to throw knives. Then, on a lark, I got a kit and put together a black powder derringer.

I think my first husband still has it.

Frankly, I’m afraid of black powder.

I’m a good shot, but I know what happens when a gun blows up in my hands, and I am not fan. I do not feel comfortable taking on the additional risk of a Black Powder firearm, considering the additional training I’d need to use it.

Cartridge-firearms are (relatively) easy. Load, fire. Make sure unloaded, safely store. Clean & lube frequently. Failture to fire, point down range for a minute, eject the round, put it in the little metal “DUD” box.

Black Powder is corrosive, which means you need to clean it after every range trip, if there’s a misfire/Failure-to-fire, there are special stuff I don’t want to learn, etc.

I have a pair of those. Nice shooters. Messy, but nice. Never been a fan of black powder rifle shooting, but the pistols are fun.

Yeah, I thought it was about time to get something other than a Colt.

Todderbob: I don’t think you need to worry about one blowing up in your hand – even with the Walker, the originals of which had a tendency to explode. Modern steel is better than that of 150 years ago, and if you look at my chart you’ll see that you can load them light. I’ll bet that Colt included a ‘safety factor’ when they published the information, too. I don’t see any reason for a maximum load. It makes a lot of smoke, but doesn’t do anything else for target shooting. And I don’t intend to shoot anyone. :wink:

I had a POS lock on my great plains flintlock. I was holding it at half cock with my hand on the frizzen. It came loose sparked the frizzen and moved it enough to ignite the pan. Nearly shat myself. I had unburned powder in my hand for a week.

I went to Jim Chamber’s flintlocks.com and got a REAL lock.

Oh you young whippersnappers! If you really want to have fun, get a flintlock. All sorts of stuff happens when you pull the trigger - a big puff of fire and smoke out of the side of the lock, a perceptible delay (about 1/16 of a second), then the main BOOM. Quite exciting.

I have a flintlock pistol made from a kit, and it is very reliable and accurate. At least if it’s not raining, and for the one shot you get before the reloading process begins again. But still a lot of fun.

I’m reminded of a saying: Alle Kunst ist umsonst wenn ein Engel in das Zündloch brünst.

Meaning: All skill is in vain, if an angel pisses in your flintlock.

I used to want a flintlock rifle, but I’m really partial to percussion. Some day I’d like to get a .50 caliber Hawken.

I’ve got an Ethan Allen Pepperbox kit that I started years ago. I need to do some filing so the mechanism works, and sand and stain the stock.
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The real ones were notorious for blowing up in your hands or firing from multiple chambers simultaneously. Have they managed to fix that in the reproductions?

I have a firing replica of a Griswold & Gunnison revolver that I’ve yet to fire. The originals were basically reverse engineered Colt Navy revolvers manufactured for the Confederacy at a converted cotton gin factory in Griswoldville, Georgia and I got this one from an artisan who lives near that location (he’s a gunsmith but specializes in armor- interesting guy- rich as Croesus from his career as an engineer- he’s about 75 and his wife is about 30). Having never made combustible cartridges before I want to go with somebody more experienced to make R-E-A-L sure I did it right (and to apply first aid and go for help if it blows up in my hand).

I’ve heard the safest place to be around a pepperbox is directly in front of it. I think modern repros have better/more consistent steel than the originals. I suspect modern shooters are more careful about the amount of powder they use. Flashing over should be prevented easily enough by A) making sure there’s no powder forward of the ball; and B) putting a nice glob of lube in the fore end of the chamber.

I’d never used a combustible cartridge before I made some. I used rolling papers (which I think are nitrated) and soaked them in KNO[sub]3[/sub]. When they were dry I brushed off the excess saltpetre and used a glue stick to glue them together. To form them I bought a brass tube from a hobby shop, which had an OD slightly smaller than the ball. I put the ball on top and put glue around its circumference, wrapping the nitrated paper around the tube and ball. Then I dumped a measured amount of powder down the tube, inverted it, and pulled the tube out. Trim it, glue the flap down, and Bob’s your auntie’s live-in lover.

Just bought a Model 1860 Colt Army, .44 cal, AT DIXIE GUN WORKS. You ought to see the place – the retail space probably isn’t much bigger that the standard three car garage but the staff is friendly and helpful. At any rate, it’s a kit so there is a fair amount of smoothing, filling, sanding and finishing to do before I can take it out in the back pasture and blow the daylights out of milk jugs. The anticipation is just about overwhelming.

I still need a Colt 1860 Army. And a Dragoon, though I don’t know which ‘generation’ I want. I’m still waiting to hear from that sporting goods store about the inter-store transfer of the Remington.

It’s weird. Back in the late-'90s or early-2000s, I ordered five Colt revolvers directly from Uberti and they were shipped right to me. (Well, the shipped them to my address. Bloody UPS slugs couldn’t figure out that when I say I’m taking the day off work to wait for delivery, it means that I took the day off work and I’m waiting for delivery. But they couldn’t be bothered to ring me from the gate, or to come to my door or the manager’s door, or to leave a call notice. I had to go to downtown L.A. to pick them up.) Nowadays it seems that even dealers can’t get Ubertis.

I mostly shoot a reproduction 1853 Enfield rifle-musket. It’s a .58 cal percussion lock rifle firing Minie Balls, and I have a lot of fun with it. It’s accurate to within a couple of inches at 100 yards, though with my crappy eyesight I can’t get anywhere close to that these days.

I’ve got a 1756 English Long Land Infantry Musket (aka 1st model Brown Bess) on order, which should be here in about a week. It’s a .75 cal smooth bore flintlock. Smooth bore muskets are only good to somewhere around 50 to 75 yards. After that the ball curves off in some random direction. They used to say back in the day that you could stand 200 yards from a single musketeer and not fear being shot by him. I can’t wait to shoot it to see how well it matches up to its reputation.

The range I go to only allows you to shoot at paper targets. I wished I lived somewhere out in the countryside where I could shoot at milk jugs or tin cans or other things like that.

Oh, I’m well aware it’s an irrational fear.

But they scare the living daylights out of me. I don’t know why, but all I can think about every time one of those things is loaded is “Metal tube, explosive, stopper… BOOM… what if it all goes terribly, terribly wrong?”

Even before I had a gun explode in my hand. I’m quite confident that I could fire one safely, I’ve seen it done a million times. I’m also quite confident that if I got into a private plane I could hold the controls while the pilot went to take a piss (perhaps a hyperbole, but you get the jist).

Doesn’t mean I want to, but I think I could…

I know it’s irrational, and I know it’s goofy… but I don’t wanna hold the pipe bomb!

I picked up the Uberti Remington yesterday. Like all Ubertis, it’s beautiful. If you’re getting into black powder shooting, I can recommend an Uberti revolver. There’s only one minor problem… and it’s my problem, not the gun’s. To disassemble a Colt, you put in in half-cock, knock out the wedge, rotate the cylinder so that one of the webs is under the ramrod, and work the lever so the ramrod pushes the barrel off of the cylinder mount. Then you can pull the cylinder out. To reassemble, put the cylinder back on, put the barrel back on, and push the wedge in. One feature of the Remington is that you can remove the cylinder without taking the gun apart. Put it in half-cock, partially lower the charging lever, pull out the captive cylinder pin, and roll the cylinder out. You could have spare cylinder for fast reloads in a desperate situation. Neat, yeah?

Only you have to be able to get the cylinder back in. Supposedly, it rolls in just like it rolled out. I haven’t been able to get that part. I just can’t get the cylinder back in. Of course, I’ve just got out of bed. I’ll try it again when I wake up a little.

And of course, a couple of minutes after I poster that I got the cylinder back in. :stuck_out_tongue:

To remove the cylinder, roll it out to the right. I’d been trying to simply reverse the procedure. Turns out it goes in if you roll it in from the left.

I had an 1858 replica chain fire on me. It sounded like the end of the world, but the gun and I both survived. Chain fires aren’t always initiated from the chamber mouth is the thing. They can also happen from the nipples if caps are even a little loose. When it happened to me, I was the owner of a pair of 1858’s. The mess, tedious reloading procedure, and risk of chainfire became too much. I gave both revolvers away. I still own and shoot a T/C flintlock rifle and hunt with an in-line, but I haven’t picked up a bp revolver in decades. Every once in a while, I get the urge to buy one of those cute little .31 Colts, but it passes.

One of the reasons why I’d want a smooth bore, like the Bess, is that you can use it for shot. I’d like a fusil de chasse or a traditional fowler

See colonial fowler for an example. Plus they aren’t as prone to be a fouler.

I have an Uberti .31 Colt 1849 Pocket Pistol, and also a Colt 3rd Generation one (pic from an auction). The Colt will never be fired.

I haven’t the balls to fire the Uberti. No, really. I don’t have any .31 caliber projectiles. I’ve only fired the Navies, which are .36 caliber. (So why haven’t I fired the 1862 Pocket Navy? Just lazy, I guess.)