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Sniper03 07-01-2013 01:53 AM

Percusion Black Powder Weapon Questions
I am looking for one of our members that is pretty much a garue in the field since one of the questions below will require some knowledge about Black Powder.

I have a reproduction of the 44 Cal Army Model Percussion Revolver that was give to me several years ago for my Birthday. I am wanting to shoot it in the near future. It has been years since I have shot black powder revolvers.
My question is I watched a black powder Youtube video by Beliveau which was good. I noticed he used some white looked like fabric round wafer looking gas checks or whatever he used after putting the powder in the cylinder. He loaded the ball and compressed it on top of the white wafer type material. What did he use and where do you get them. I think he stated he made them. My question do these keep the cylinders from cross firing as I have had that experience years ago. I also had used grease on the front of my cylinders back then but still had crossfires on occasion. In the video he used NO Grease just those wafers.

Then for the question I am concerned about. I have an antique metal DuPont Supreme Red Black Powder Can full of fff Black Powder. I have had this metal can for over 30 years. It has a metal screw off lid on it. I have been thinking about emptying the can for several years since it sets on a shelf in the living room. My question is! Is there any danger that unscrewing the cap could be a danger. Obviously concerned about any spark or friction. I want to keep the can and possibly use the fff powder if it adaptable to the Cap and Ball Pistol or my Thompson 50 Cal Hawken rifle. The label is paper so I can not soak the can.

Also I am planning on shooting the 50 Cal. Thompson Hawken for the first time and would appreciate any loading information or hints for it including round ball other bullets, caps and propellant recomendations.

Thanks 03

hiwall 07-01-2013 03:46 AM

here are some Revolver Sealer Wads.................
personally I would likely use that old powder you have.

c3shooter 07-01-2013 03:56 AM

Yep- greased felt wads.

No problem unscrewing cap. Sniff powder, if it smells like cat pee, sprinkle it on the lawn, water it in. Good for grass.

On the T/C Hawken, it may prefer Maxi balls to round balls. read the directions. Snap a cap on the EMPTY rifle before starting loading (clear any oil from nipple) Powder, THEN ball! I use fffG black or Pyrodex R, there are other good substitutes.

BVAL 07-01-2013 05:52 AM

Yes, by all means read the owners manuals on what is safe to shoot.

I also have quite of few BP firearms. With my T/C Hawkin, 80g of FFgwith a .490 round ball/patched. In my T/C Firehawk, 90g of FFg with a .490 round ball/patched.These loads have taken many a deer and hogs for me. Here is something to remember, black powder is measured by volume not by weight, you need to get a brass powder measure to work with this stuff.
Watch the loads that are in the manual and don't go over them, but here is another little trick that I have used in the past to find a load that the rifle likes to eat.
Start with a powder charge the same calib. of the rifle. When the rifle fires, there is a boom, now bring the load up another 5g, another boom is heard, keep doing this 5g increase until (or are at max. in the manual) that when the rifle report sound becomes a CRACK,,,,,,,, that becomes the load that the rifle likes to eat!
On my handguns, I don't use the wads, T/C bore butter between powder and ball,,,,,,,bore butter or vasaline over ball at cylinder mouth.
Last tip but very, very important,,,,,, do not use a powder flask directly to load handgun or rifle, always use a separate measure device. If by chance there is still a hot spark in the bore or cylinder,,,,,,,, you have about 1/2 pounds of powder in your hand,,,,,,,,don't think the out come would be called a happy day!
With regular black powder here are the basic gradings
Fg ,,,,,,, very course, mostly used in large bore rifles .69 and above, also in cannons
FFg ,,,,,, rifle
FFFg,,,,,,,, pistol,,,,,.45 calib. or smaller rifles
FFFFg,,,,,,,, very fine, used only as a priming powder for the flash pans on flintlock firearms

Sniper03 07-01-2013 02:44 PM


Thanks for the very valuable and worthwhile information. It has been years since I shot any black powder and I have the two guns that need to be shot. And I have forgotten how much fun and enjoyment I got out of shooting the black powder guns. I use to go to Friendship IN. to the big black powder shoots there. Never competed but loved to go see the vendor displays and watch the competition. The 44 Army that I was given as the Birthday present is in a wooden presentation box with bullet mold, flask. wrench and an extra cylinder. Anyway I took your advice and ordered some of the patches today and butter for my 44 Army. I also have some Maxi-balls for the 50 Hawken. Is there any recommendation on the size of the balls for the 44 or are they all the same? Getting excited about getting them out and smoking up the air~! :D Thanks Again great info!


c3shooter 07-01-2013 03:33 PM

For a ball and cap revolver, the balls should be slightly larger than the charge hole in the cylinder. When you ram them home, it trims off a thin ring of lead, and sizes them to the charge hole. Also reduces chance of chain fire.

Hawg 07-01-2013 08:48 PM

.454 balls and do not put lube between the powder and ball. If you use wads you don't need to use over ball lube. Loads should run between 25-35 grains for a steel frame, no more than 20 for brass but you can use less as long as the ball is seated firmly on the powder. Cleanup is with hot soapy water and use no petroleum based lubes in the bore and chambers.

orangello 07-01-2013 09:16 PM

You may have to try a couple different sizes of caps to find the ones that stay put on the nipples. I have to squeeze one size I have a bit to make them stay put.

I use "wonder wads" that come with a bit of lube in them between the powder and ball in my revolver (different model replica). I use lubed patches on my Traditions Hawken Rifle and similar single-shot pistol. I don't do the overball grease. I don't do the cream of wheat thing either.

It should be a fun time! As always, if the opportunity presents itself, stuff one up a bear's nose. ;)

sniper762 07-02-2013 12:46 AM

.50 cal rifle...........490 round ball patched with .010 thick patch over 110 grains of fffg or rifle pyrodex

or 240gr. jhp .44 mag saboted projo over 110 gr. of fffg or rifle pyrodex

can use 2-50gr. pyrodex pellets in place of loose powder on either

mdauben 07-02-2013 12:26 PM


Originally Posted by sniper762
.50 cal rifle...........490 round ball patched with .010 thick patch over 110 grains of fffg or rifle pyrodex

IMO that's a bit high for a starting load. I'd probably begin as low as 50 grains and work my way up from there. Most BP guns have a powder load that will give you the most accuracy and its seldom the same as the maximum load.

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