Loading and Firing Cap and Ball Revolvers

Hi we’re out on the range today but it’s Snowy and crappy enough you probably Won’t have to bear with any gunfire in The background you may have seen a video That I did on an introduction to Black-powder guns in that video I Purposely left out cap and ball Revolvers loading shooting Troubleshooting cap and ball revolvers Is a complex enough subject I wanted to Talk about just this one all by itself This is a Ruger old army cap and ball Revolvers and I’ve had it for quite a While and today we’re going to load it Shoot it Demonstrate some of the ways of how it Works and I’ve got a couple other cap And ball revolvers from the shoot to all That having been said here’s the boring Part where I have to talk for a couple Of minutes bear with me recently I’ve Watched a few videos on YouTube about Cap and ball revolvers and I by no means Seen them all I’ve just seen a few and From those videos and even more so from The comments on them I’m seeing that There is a lot of misinformation out There there’s a lot of people advising Other people to do things that are just Plain wrong and I really felt the need To get some information out there that’s Right and yes I understand how Self-aggrandizing and condescending that Sounds and I don’t mean to be but I

Don’t want anybody to lose a finger or An eye while shooting their black-powder Gun in a lot of videos I do you’ll find That I don’t feel the need to go on and On about my accolades or my Accomplishments there’s some guy it was Made quite a few YouTube videos and I Can’t remember his name Bear with me it sounds like boos it’s uh Jagger Jagermeister no the other guy Anyway he has a habit of saying things I’ll compare my rosebud with everybody When you say something like that all I Do is turn the video off I find people Like that very tedious that’s one reason Why I don’t feel the need to do it However on this particular subject I do feel the need to say a little bit About my resume at least as it pertains To this I bought this revolver with my Paper route money when I was 12 years Old I’ve been doing this a while I have Been to well over a hundred black powder Shooting competitions and at least in Terms of pistol shooting I’ve won more Than I haven’t won I’ve been to a couple Of dozen not man Ronda boobs and in Terms of pistol shooting I’ve won more Than I haven’t in fact at one time I was The president of a black-powder Club I’ve shot this pistol recreationally I’ve shot it in competition I’ve used it In hunting I have killed quite a few Squirrels and rabbits with this gun in

Short this is a subject I happen to be Quite knowledgeable about okay all that Having been said let’s get to the Pertinent things I’ve showing you how This thing works this revolver is Stainless steel so when you shoot it Take it home clean it you don’t have to Lube it up really heavily but a lot of Them that are blued steel after you Shoot it and then clean it you store it With a lot of oil in it so when you Bring it out to the range if you load it That oil will foul your powder and the Gun won’t work right so a lot of times What you do is you start with just Putting caps on your nipples here Shooting just the caps and burning that Oil out this one I don’t have to put a Lot of oil on so I don’t feel a need to Burn it out oh and yes that’s right I Said nipple so okay let’s have her Beavis and butthead moment he said Nipple all right now let’s get on with It first thing you do when you load this Is you put the powder in now you’ll Notice my powder flask has a lot of duct Tape on it cheap flasks like this have Cheap welds that crack and you fix it by Wrapping it in duct tape yeah that looks Cheesy but what can you do powder flask Like this has this measurement it and This unscrews and you put different size Measures on it this one is 25 grains the Way this works is you press this with

Your thumb open a valve turn it upside Down fill that measure with powder close The valve Turn it right-side up again and you got 25 grains now you see I’m loading this Chamber directly from the flask even Though I said never do that I make an Exception for the cap-and-ball revolver Because the chances of having an ember Of course right now having shot at yet Today so the chances are zero but the Chances of having an ember in there even After you fired it are so remote but I’ll just go ahead and load this you’ll See some people when they load these Will load powder patch ball powder patch Ball that’s a slow way to do it just go Ahead and powder up all six chambers you Just have to make sure that you’ve been Look in there and that you don’t double Charge a chamber now I’m loading this With 25 grains this pistol is rated for A maximum of 40 grains but if you do That that’s generally not your most Accurate shooting now the next thing I Do is I put in this little belt wad in This particular gun you really don’t Have to use these but there’s a couple Of reasons that you can one of them is That when you load it less than the 40 Grains it’s it’s designed as a maximum The loading bar will only push the Bullet down so far and it’ll leave a Little gap between the ball and the

Powder if you’re only using 20 or 25 Grains this wad fills in that gap you’ll See some people will do that with Cornmeal or multi meal or what’s that Cream wheat you can do that but wow That’s just a hassle next thing you do If you get your wads in there is to put Your ball in there now this gun is 44 Caliber and it’s designed to use it for 5-7 round ball and as soon as I say that People want to say that I’m wrong no It’s not a 44 caliber the literature That came with this revolver said 44 Caliber used for 5-7 ball many years After I got this colleague of mine Bought the exact same revolver and it Said use four five seven ball but it Said that the revolver was a 45 caliber What can I tell you if you buy Commercially made balls they are sure if You mold them yourself like I do there’s A flat spot on the top called a sprue And you generally want to have that flat Spot facing up There’s people that’ll say face down Well you have to face this down then you Can’t see where it is and then you just Load these in place with the loading bar And you see what I mean how it’ll only Go down so far the felt wads have Another purpose besides just as a filler And get into that a minute you’ll also Notice that I’m not using a loading Stand I’m just doing this all by hand I

Don’t mean to sound condescending or Insulting but if you need a loading Stand load one of these you’re really Lacking in muscular coordination and if You knew how uncoordinated I am that’s Saying something so if you need a Loading stand as you can’t manage to get This ball in there and keep the screw up Go see your neurologist and November Neurologist not urologist okay and You’ve got your six balls in here and You’ll notice that they’ll actually have A little shave of lead that comes off That when you load it next is you put on Your percussion caps and these are in my Capper which is tied to me loading caps By hand especially when it’s really cold Out is a hassle get a capper not all Campers fit all guns so make sure you Get one that fits your gun and you just Stick your six caps on here And there you go so what you’ve done is You got propellant projectile primer all In this you’ve actually built six Cartridges in the gun now if you have Not been paying any attention up till Now pay attention to this this is a Crucial thing I put the caps on here the Caps have to be seated and sit tight on There these aren’t really tight you have To press the caps into place by lowering The hammer on there and then pressing it With your thumb you can see the safety Concern of doing this if your thumb

Slips off it could go off also even While you’re pressing it like this you May press hard enough to set it off I’ve Actually seen that happen somebody was Seating his caps just like I’m doing Pressed on it and back it went off Luckily he was on the range on the Firing line pointed downrange everything Was fine when you load this you must Understand there will come a day when as You see caps it goes off and you must do So in a place and in a direction where It’s okay that it does downrange in the In the clearing barrel whatever you’ll Also see that between the chambers there Are notches not all guns have these but This one does and you rest the hammer Down between two chambers now if it gets Hit it won’t go off and now at long last We’re ready to fire one of the things About these guns is that a lot of people Will tell you cap and ball revolvers are Not accurate well I’ve got a target down There at 25 yards so let’s shoot this And see how we do Well there’s your six shots see this one That’s a little out I don’t know if you Could hear that in the audio of the tape But that was a hang fire where the cap Goes off a microsecond before the powder Goes off and that’s the result But anyway bottom line are these Accurate yes they are the assertion that Cap and ball revolvers are not accurate

Is well not accurate and remember this Doesn’t just measure the gun but my Ability to shoot it reality is if you Took my shakiness out of the equation These bullets probably all be touching Each other except of course that one so Cap and ball revolvers accurate okay Let’s talk about how powerful the cap And ball revolver is now the first thing You might notice is I’m not in the same Place I was before That was yesterday we ran out of light Today not only is it the next day but I’m also three hundred miles away at one Of our training facilities so I’ve Traded in the snow for mud anyway cap And ball revolvers how powerful are they I don’t want to get into velocities and All that kind of thing because there are So many variables a very big one being Barrel length barrel length is a big Thing on any gun but on black-powder Guns it’s paramount there’s also the Amount of powder that you use can vary So greatly not just in the amount but in The kind are you using 2 F 3 F 4 F or Pyro decks or some other kind of black Powder substitute so I figured a good Way to do it take our favorite target Soda jugs shoot the cap and ball Revolvers and compare it to a couple Other guns like a 38 and a 45 colt so Let’s see what we do 38 special Okay that was pretty cool and no those

Weren’t hollow points they’re just round Nose lead bullets trying to keep things As consistent as I can 45 colt okay 44 caliber cap-and-ball Revolt That wasn’t bad at all now granted That’s loaded up a little greater than The 25 grains I was using yesterday but You can see what it can do in reality Ballistically is it that powerful not Really and because you’re using an Almost pure led ball when it comes to Penetrating things like cinder blocks And car doors you’re not going to get Much out of it But believe me talking about shooting Game like deer or rabbits or what have You These have more umph than you might Think now here’s a neat cap and ball Revolvers it’s a 5 shot 31 caliber and You load it with 12 grains of powder out Of this itty bitty cute little flask the Projectile it uses is this 0.32 Oh ball Which is actually slightly smaller than A double lot buck shot pellet let’s Shoot a soda jug with this and see what Kind of effect we get a little bitty Guns like this were popular with gold Panners and those kind of people because They could just put it in their pocket And do whatever work they needed to do And they still had a gun let’s see how Powerful

Well that’s kind of neat but no not all That powerful however in the world of Guns it’s a whole lot more than nothing This is a different cap in ball Revolvers it’s a modern replica Remington model 1858 now earlier we use Those wads and i told you they act as a Spacer but they also have a different Purpose that purpose is to prevent chain Fires this doesn’t have any wads or any Grease it’s just powder and ball let’s See if we get a chain fire did you hear That That was a chain fire two went off at Once all right now I’ve got the revolver Completely cleared and I can explain What a chain fire is you saw all that Extra smoke and what sounded like a lot Louder percussion when it went off Because two chambers went off at once What happens in a chain fire is the Chamber lined up with the barrel goes Off and then flame gets out of there and Ignites adjacent chambers and sometimes Two sometimes three sometimes all of Them go off in a chain Hence chain fire over the years I’ve Heard a lot of people try to explain What causes chain fires and how to Prevent them one of the popular notions Is that the flame of the cap you intend To set off goes to adjacent chambers and Goes around the loose cap and sets off That powder I hear a lot of people say

That that is not true I’ve actually done several experiments With several revolvers where I loaded All six chambers but only cap one Then wired that rotate reload cap the Adjacent chamber fire that so you’re not Using the same chamber all the time I Did that 50 rounds of this particular Revolver got zero chain fires I repeated It 50 rounds of two other revolvers got The same results zero chain fires even When there were no caps on adjacent Chambers that is not what causes a chain Fire what causes a chain fire is the Space between the cylinder and the Barrel flame shoots out of that goes Around the ball of the adjacent chamber And sets that powder off you’ll hear People say that if you use an under Sized ball that because it’s loose Powder will go around and cause a chain Fire that’s correct This revolver calls for a four or five Four ball some require four or five one If you put a four or five one in this It’ll be loose and you’ll have more Chain fires however that does not mean That an oversized ball will prevent a Chain fire this calls for four or five Four I loaded it with four or five Sevens and still got a chain fire in Fact with this particular revolver I rarely can get through all six rounds Without a chain fire so how do you

Prevent them remember I said the wads Act as a filler and they have another Purpose that’s their purpose to prevent Chain fires if I used wads in this Revolver I’ve shot hundreds of rounds Through it never had a chain fire wads Will prevent that you’ll see people put Big globs of grease on here that’s the Other way to do it grease is a great way To prevent chain fires I don’t use it Because it’s so messy in the wads do the Same thing just as easily the bottom Line to the whole thing is chain fires Are caused by flame going around the Ball in the adjacent chamber and they Are prevented by using wads or grease or If you want to get really you know Belt-and-suspenders about it use both That is what causes them that’s how to Prevent them okay I’ve got one more cap And ball revolvers I want to show you an It’s kind of a neat one the revolving Carbine this is based on Remington 1858 But it’s not a revolver that’s been Modified this is a rifle with a stock And a 20-inch barrel these kind of guns Were give or take popular around the 1860s and they fell out of favor fairly Quick now this is a new one its This has an advantage over the pistol of Course with the longer barrel in the Longer sighting plane you can get a Little more power and more accuracy That’s axiomatic the downside of it is

That when you’re trying to shoot a Cap-and-ball Firearm and your face is right up here There’s a lot of stuff that splatters Back Hence the safety glasses the other Problem is that even with wads or grease Or both there’s always that slight Chance of the chain fire and you don’t Want to have your arm out here like this Knowing that a ball might come out and Fly who knows what direction so you end Up shooting it in this kind of position An interesting thing about this Particular gun is this is not mine I Just picked it up from a colleague this Morning he tells me that this particular Gun has been sitting in his gun safe Loaded for over four years so this would Be an interesting time to test and see If your powder in the chambers would Draw moisture so let’s see how it shoots Even with the glasses my face still get Splattered with some stuff and even Though we’ve got the same powder charge That you do with the revolver with the Pistol you can really feel there’s more Power in this and my face is starting to Hate it right about now If you want to reinforce bad habits like Flinching this is a good one to do that All six no hang fires no chain fires no Duds You can keep your black powder gun

Loaded as long as you want pretty neat So I hope that cleared up some things About black powder revolvers and as Always don’t try this at home I’m what You call a professional and thanks for Watching Paul’s cap and ball revolvers Video


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