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  1. #1
    Contributing Member soonerfan66's Avatar
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    filler in black powder revolvers

    Do you use filler in your cap and ball revolvers ? I don't with my Navy and Army but sometimes do with my Dragoon and Walker . I don't see much differance in my accuracy either way but I am not the best shot anyway .


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    Advisory Panel Patrick Chadwick's Avatar
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    In a word: Yes.

    - But I must qualify that with "more or less, depending on the exact size of the ball" - i.e. the seating depth.

    The ball should be seated so that it is just below the chamber mouth. If necessary, experiment with different sizes until you have a good fit. Seating it deeper than that merely means that it will be rattling about until it exits the chamber and is rammed into the forcing cone. Where it is then swaged down to fit the rifling in the bore. - A revolver bullet has a short, hard life!

    Now the original way of loading percussion revolvers was simply to fill them up so that the ball sat on the powder. This results in a very hard load for target shooting - could be around 40gn in a Walker - and will feel as if you were shooting a rifle with no shoulder contact. Not pleasant at all.

    the best load for accuracy (and comfort) is going to be considerably less. For example, in my original .44 Remington New Army 18gn is enough for 25yd target shooting.

    So, in order to avoid a large air space between powder and ball, some kind of filler is usually necessary. I have seen semolina recommended, but that is another substance that has to be metered out and can clog up the grooves. I simply use thick, round felt wads, which have the advantage of seeping out some of the fouling.

    Safety regulations over here require that the mouth of the chamber be filled with grease - ostensibly to prevent a chain-fire. Hoever, there is a quite different benefit:
    the greasing of BP bullets is not just for lubrication, but to ensure that the powder fouling remains soft. There is a wide range of BP "lubes" available on the market, but they all need to provide some moisture to keep the fouling soft, which is why mineral greases are not suitable.

    Forget all the claims for XYZ's Amazing Wonder Lube. Just use Nivea cream. A tin will last a very long time, and it is much more pleasant for your hands than all the various animal-fat greases. Cheaper too!

    Finally, there are plenty of YouTube videos available on percussion revolvers, especially Colts and Remingtons. I recommend that you search out the contributions by Balázs Németh, the Hungarianicon representative of the MLAIC, as he is an expert shot with more types of BP firearms than most of us are ever going to get our hands on.

    (search for) Balázs Németh Remington 1858

    His videos show how the oldies actually perform. Unlike those videos where someone waves a gun around while talking, and then shoots a couple of shots freehanded, which might tell one something about the shooter, but not much about the accuracy of the gun.

    Anyway, my Remington loaded with 18gn Swissicon No.2 (fffg) and a felt pad to seat the ball just under the chamber mouth, well covered with Nivea, will shoot as long as my wrist can stand it.
    Last edited by Patrick Chadwick; 08-08-2020 at 02:29 PM.

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    Contributing Member Aragorn243's Avatar
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    How in the world did you discover Nivea cream works for this? I forget what I used the last time but I had a heck of a time getting it. I imagine this in a tin would be very nice to take to the range.

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    Contributing Member soonerfan66's Avatar
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    Haven't used Nivea , I keep honey bees and use crisco 50/50 just cause I can and fun . And agree Cap and Ball Channel by Balazs is top notch .

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    Advisory Panel Patrick Chadwick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aragorn243 View Post
    How in the world did you discover Nivea cream works for this?
    I have no shares in Nivea, but acqueous cream from the dispensing chemist was too fluid! Any moisturizing cream should work.

    It's the water content that matters. And of course it smells nicer on your hands than the rancid fat smell of some BP lubes after firing.

    Taking the water idea to its logical extreme: in the 1840s a gentleman by the name of Johann Wild developed a method of adding a small dose of water down the barrel to create a uniform degree of wetness of the patch. It worked, but was not the sort of activity one would want to fiddle with in the middle of a firefight.

    Moistening the patch before loading is common practice for patched-ball shooters. Some swear by various detergents - I just wet it in my mouth and don't have to worry about whether I left the dispenser at home or what the mix has to be.
    Last edited by Patrick Chadwick; 08-10-2020 at 10:43 AM.

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    Really Senior Member jamie5070's Avatar
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    Udder cream also works

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    Contributing Member soonerfan66's Avatar
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    Never thought of Udder Cream for revolvers . I have been using it for years in my black powder cartridge rifles . Martini Henry , Trapdoor , Snider , 71/84 Mauser and others . Will give it a shot next time eye shoot . How does it hold up in the heat over the cylinders , does it stay put when firing or does it splatter under recoil ? I used a commercial lube long time ago and being about 100`+ and after first shot I noticed the rounds were uncovered from the recoil .

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    Contributing Member Doco overboard's Avatar
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    I use corn meal as a filler with lighter loads and smear the front of the cylinder with hi-temp wheel bearing grease.
    It'll stay relatively put when it's hot out and not readily migrate downwards into the holster.

    I like to use a loading stand I made from scrap wood and dowels to keep my hands free from gunk while loading for plinking.
    From the repetition of loading you can quickly learn to judge just the right amount filler and grease to use while avoiding unnecessary excess and mess.
    An extra small pistol measure and tiny knife are helpful to wipe the front of the cylinder clear.

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    Contributing Member soonerfan66's Avatar
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    Tried Udder Cream with my revolvers . I love it when shooting cartridges but think will stick with my bees wax/Crisco on cap and ball . I use a popsicle stick to put it on top of cylinders and can do it with out getting it every were . When tried the Udder Cream I had it all over the place smells good tho !!!

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    Contributing Member soonerfan66's Avatar
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    Got out past couple of days and did a lot of shooting. For me best can tell all of my revolvers shot about the same with or without filler . Low powder charges worked the best . My Pietta 1860 Army was the odd ball . It shot the best with only 15 gr. XXX Goex with no filler , but with filler it opened way up . My Pietta 1859 Navy has never shot good no matter what . Have used .375 and .380 balls and conicals . My Uberti Dragoon and ASM Walker were best with 20-25 gr. didn't matter on filler . My Paterson and Remington 1859 shot same 15-18 gr . It all comes down to trial and error and day of the week . But heck was a good way to spend the day .

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