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Ball diameter and weight

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EdRbls

32 Cal
Joined
May 18, 2024
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I'm looking for advice on ball and weight size for a .36 cal revolver. Would any diameter ball that is labeled .36 cal work? I've seen .375 and .350 available and is ball weight classified in grains like bullets are weighed?
 
Hello,
I moved this to General Muzzleloading

So a muzzleloading rifle may shoot a round ball with a cloth or leather "patch" which is a sort of gasket that grips the ball and at the same time engages the grooves in the rifle barrel. A thirty six caliber rifle often uses balls that are .350 diameter.

A cap-n-ball revolver may launch a round ball from the cylinder into the barrel, where the ball is forced onto the rifling in the revolver barrel, so doesn't use a patch, but the ball does need to be a bit larger at first, so a .36 caliber revolver often uses .375 balls.

Same thing for a a larger revolver or rifle. A .44 revolver will shoot .451 or .454 round ball, while a .45 rifle will shoot a patched .440 round ball.

LD
 
So if i get a .36 cal cap-n-ball revolver use the .375 diameter balls not the .350 balls. what about black powder lube to lubricate the ball as it travels down the barrel or use felt wads soaked and lubed behind the ball, would either work or necessary?
 
So if i get a .36 cal cap-n-ball revolver use the .375 diameter balls not the .350 balls. what about black powder lube to lubricate the ball as it travels down the barrel or use felt wads soaked and lubed behind the ball, would either work or necessary?
I'm not a big CNB shooter, but I have a couple. I started using Vaseline, but it's really messy. Many more use the lubed overpowder wad, no mess, easy to use. There's more who will chime in with their preferred use.

Welcome to the forum.
 
Cap and ball revolvers are a whole different game when compared to muzzle-loaders shooting patched round balls.

For a .36 caliber revolver, you will probably want balls of .375" to .378" diameter.

I'm inferring that you are relatively new to black powder shooting, or at least to percussion revolvers. Please consult the manual that should have come with your revolver. If you didn't get a manual with it, I would strongly recommend getting a general guide to blackpowder shooting. Johnny Bates and Mike Cumpston wrote a very good book entitled Percussion Pistols and Revolvers, which I think you will find very useful. Amazon had it, last time I checked.

I prefer books to videos, but will admit that videos are very popular these days. Some of the guys here on this forum may be able to recommend some videos for you, if that's what you prefer.

Good luck to you!

@Loyalist Dave, I would respectfully suggest that this thread be moved again, to the Handguns section. The OP specifically wanted to know about loading his .36 caliber revolver.

Notchy Bob
 
Cap and ball revolvers are a whole different game when compared to muzzle-loaders shooting patched round balls.

For a .36 caliber revolver, you will probably want balls of .375" to .378" diameter.

I'm inferring that you are relatively new to black powder shooting, or at least to percussion revolvers. Please consult the manual that should have come with your revolver. If you didn't get a manual with it, I would strongly recommend getting a general guide to blackpowder shooting. Johnny Bates and Mike Cumpston wrote a very good book entitled Percussion Pistols and Revolvers, which I think you will find very useful. Amazon had it, last time I checked.

I prefer books to videos, but will admit that videos are very popular these days. Some of the guys here on this forum may be able to recommend some videos for you, if that's what you prefer.

@Loyalist Dave, I would respectfully suggest that this thread be moved to the Handguns section.

Good luck to you!

Notchy Bob
Notchy Bob covered it pretty well. If you decide to try casting balls, be certain you use ONLY PURE LEAD for Revolvers. You can cheat on Patched Round Ball with harder material, but Revolver and conical bullets Must be pure soft lead.
Play ball!
 
A lot depends on the diameter of the hole in the cylinder. That needs to be sealed off. Some 36 caliber revolvers will need a 0.380 ball. @EdRbls might find that to get that ring of lead that indicates that the cylinder is sealed, he will need the soft lead ball of that size. Lubricant over the ball generally splatters lubricant over the revolver. A lubricated wad between the powder and the ball works best for me. He should measure the diameter at the mouth of the cylinder and select a pure lead ball that is slightly larger to get that ring.
 
In my Pietta 44 I've loaded 451, 454 and 457. All seemed to work just fine. My own criteria is if the ball cuts any lead when loaded it's good to go. But, I'm not much into shooting it. Probably been ten years since I've it's been shot.
 
Try to find the manual ..many are available to download for free ..to find the exact size needed. Otherwise, you'll end up like me with several boxes of balls that fit nothing I own. Same with molds but those cost more money and can't be melted down. We have some expert pistolmen on this forum who can add sound advice.
 
I have a .36 cal revolver that takes a 0.375 ball and a .36 cal pistol that takes a 0.350 ball. So, I guess, as discussed above, "it depends", and it sure is confusing!! 😄

That said, some damn good advice given above specific to your .36 cal revolver. :thumb:
 
I have a .36 cal revolver that takes a 0.375 ball and a .36 cal pistol that takes a 0.350 ball. So, I guess, as discussed above, "it depends", and it sure is confusing!! 😄

That said, some damn good advice given above specific to your .36 cal revolver. :thumb:
To clear the air, All Cap and Ball Revolvers will use a Larger ball than the caliber. This is required; as the larger ball helps seal the chamber. You Need to see a ring of lead shaved off the chamber mouth when you load, or you could have chainfires. The chamber is smooth and accepts the oversize soft lead ball/conical.

With a single shot pistol, as in rifles, the barrel is rifled. You CAN use an oversize ball, in fact, very early rifles did, but a Mallett came with it for loading.
It was later leaned an undersized ball can be used, with a patching material to take up space.

So ALL Revolvers spoken on this site SHOULD use an oversize boolit. You can use what you choose with a rifle or single shot, but most use undersize.
 
Keep in mind that .36 caliber percussion revovers measure closer to .38 caliber.
Modern .38 and .357 mag revolvers measure closer to .36 caliber.
There are historical reasons for this.
 
My Pieta’s seem to work okay with a 451, but I generally use a 454. I have an old replica Rogers&Spencer and it needs a 457. Don’t ask how I found out.
 
Balls may show a weight in grains depending on source - Hornady etc label the boxes but if you are using bulk 00 buck in a 32 etc then probably not

As far as what diameter you need it needs to be 001-003 over the diameter of the chamber mouths in your cylinder. You want it to shave a tiny lead ring when seating the ball.
What? you copy/pasted somone elses response to the same question on the modern ML site.

Are you a bot or spammer or scammer ? Reported!
 
It's a Pietta 1836 Texas Paterson, no box, manual or tool. Going in blind as it's my 1st black powder revolver and getting a bit overwhelmed on proper loading it like the percussion cap size #10 or #11 and the correct amount and type of black powder to use. Found this starter kit but not too sure if buying everything as a bundle is good or buying the tools separate.


starter_kit_2351_detail.jpg
 
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With revolvers, there are some things we don't know until we try something or measure something. In the case of @EdRbls's Patterson revolver, we have to do some speculation or better yet, some measurements. I will recommend that first one should have or have access to a digital vernier caliper. Acceptable ones can be found for about $25. With the calipers EdRbls can measure the inside diameter of the chamber mouth of the cylinder. A lead ball the is 0.005" larger than the diameter of the chamber mouth is needed for a good seal. The tip of the nipple cone can be measured to get the diameter of the tip of the nipple. A #11 cap is needed if the tip is about 0.160" and a #10 cap is needed if the tip is less than 0.156". Pietta revolvers will have nipple sizes that vary. While it is often said that one can always squeeze the #11 caps to fit on the #10 nipples, it is best to have the proper sized caps.

As for that bundled package, I see that it has wads and balls for a 44 caliber revolver. These are of no use in the 36 Patterson. It does have the pistol sized volumetric measure, the powder flask to dispense powder into the measure, the cap loader that should fit the Patterson revolver, and the pistol sized nipple wrench. You might find the wads useful to separate powder from the ball. There may be better bundles than the one EdRbls shows. I prefer the plastic star cappers to the inline capper in the package. I would use a dispensing nozzle on a powder can to dispense powder into the measure. I prefer getting the proper sized swaged soft lead balls than whatever is in that bundle.

Do you have the loading tool to push the soft lead balls into the chamber? You will have to learn how to insert balls on top of the powder.

Revolvers can be a lot of fun to shoot when you have the right equipment.
 

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