Field/Farm Use of Cap & Ball Revolver

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nick_1

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whatever the reason is it is. My paper cartridges turn to mush in july even if they are in a sandwich baggie but they shoot just fine in january when they have dried out again...
 

M. De Land

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whatever the reason is it is. My paper cartridges turn to mush in july even if they are in a sandwich baggie but they shoot just fine in january when they have dried out again...
I've read that black powder can be dried out and used if gotten wet but does loose some of it's potency. I have not tested this over my chronograph to see if true, has anyone else done so so I won't have to? 😄
 

Andreas Jager

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That is an old saw that is simply not correct. Bp, by itself will not "suck up" moisture. If the gun is clean and completely free of residue it can remain loaded for generations and still shoot. It is the by-product of shooting bp that attracts moisture. And it does it quitel effectively, as any flint shooter can tell you when shooting during humid weather.
Sorry, sir, black powder is hydroscopic. Humidity will, over time, affect the performance of black powder as the powder will absorb the moisture. Having said that, a tight fitting ball and cap will certainly slow down the absorbtion of moisture.
 

nick_1

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humidity in July in the north east will kill Bp in 24hours. is what it is and caps on the nipples are not enough. the only place it is safe is in the jar it came in or an air tight powder flask. that same charge will dry out and shoot just fine in the fall. On a different note I had 3 cylinders loaded up just overnight and had two misfires due to oil contaminated caps. humidity is not a problem this time of year but with the price of caps i was too cheap to snap caps on the cylinders before loading them hence my oil contamination and misfires...
 
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with the price of caps i was too cheap to snap caps on the cylinders before loading them hence my oil contamination and misfires...

Instead of popping caps to clear the flash channels, try using a pipe cleaner with rubbing alcohol on it to swab out the inside of the nipples, and then give each nipple a blast from a can of compressed air sold at office supply stores for use in dusting electronics. (For example, this stuff.)
 
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I HAVE carried C&B revolvers on my hip around the place, but normally switch to something more modern... maybe a century old Cold Police Positive or Police Positive Special when going out into the world. My only remaining C&B revolver is a Pietta 1860 Army... kind of a large gun to carry around all day.

As I will not live too many more years, I am considering getting rid of all my "modern" guns and perhaps acquiring a Uberti 1862 Police in either a 4" or 5 1/2". It would be unlikely to ever be used in combat, but I do encounter coons and other pests around the farm on a regular basis. .36 caliber would be enough for varmints both four-legged and two-legged.

If I make this switch, I will likely load at the beginning of the day, then shoot and clean at the end of the day. It is one way to get some actual practice and six rounds a day isn't all that pricey really.
 
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I carried a Ruger Old Army whilst maintaining the horse fence. Shot a couple snakes and an odd groundhog. Today I pack a ‘62 Pocket Police when fishing. Does a number on snakes and always goes bang.

I have left my revolvers loaded for as long as a month and had no issues.
I have left a revolver loaded for 5 years and it went bang on every chamber the first try.

You do your part to be 100% sure you loaded it right and didn't miss a step and you will never worry it will fail. Even if called on years after it was loaded.
 

Malamute

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I sometimes grab the holstered 1860 from the nail beside the door for morning bird feeding in my yard, or for sprinkler rotation duty outside the dog fenced part of the yard. This is mostly in long johns and slippers for the bird feeding duty, or shorts for sprinkler duty. There are interesting critters around, up to and including grizzlies nearby, but they are pretty unusual right where Im at, and unlikely to encounter at the times id be doing those chores. Im more likely to encounter snakes or a random skunk at these times and places.

I did utilize the 1851 for reducing the rampaging bunny hoards a few years ago, Id walk out the door and it was like a stampede of bunnies heading out of the immediate area. I survived the event despite the obvious disadvantages of the antiquated weapon type. I refer to it as the yard safari.

IMG_2612.jpg
 

zimmerstutzen

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I kept my Ruger old army cylinder loaded, but out of the gun in a cabinet high up over the sink for instances around the farm, but I only carried it with me once or twice that wasn't hunting season. Dispatched a few skunks, raccoons, cats and the like. Also a sheep that was hit by a drunk that rammed through a fence. However, that was mostly because I did not have another revolver. I did have a cool single shot centerfire pistol from brazil, but I usually wanted the fast second shot if needed.
 

Pukka Bundook

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I carry my one and only on occasion. a Tranter in .44. The safety works in such a way that all five chambers can be safely loaded.
I don't know if anyone has covered this, but in Canada it is Ok to use and carry these (farm, or anywhere in public that firearms can be legally discharged) where normal modern handguns are very restricted.

Mine stays loaded when in use. If a shot or two were fired, the chambers and barrel can be swabbed out with a damp cloth to remove salts, then dried and cleaned for reloading them. No worries at all.
Think mine was made about 1860, and is still more accurate than a lot of new handguns.
It Looks rough, but that's how it came!
 
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Sorry, sir, black powder is hydroscopic.
Must disagree. It is the residue from shooting bp that is hydroscopic. But, let us hope a genuine scientist can jump in here and clarify. BTW, I have powder that is 50 years old and has not absorbed moisture. Good as new.
 

zimmerstutzen

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Must disagree. It is the residue from shooting bp that is hydroscopic. But, let us hope a genuine scientist can jump in here and clarify. BTW, I have powder that is 50 years old and has not absorbed moisture. Good as new.
No scientist, but I purchased a few dozen 45-70 balloon head cartridges in a box dated 1874. I pulled several of the bullets and dumped the powder into a saucer. I totally forgot about the saucer of powder and it sat on top my workshop cabinet for a few years. So it sat open to the air in a damp basement for 3 maybe 4 years. I put the powder in a couple plastic film canisters and took them along to the range one afternoon. My shooting buddies all looked and we figured the granulation was about 1.5 fg. Loaded it in a percussion rifle and seemed to fire just fine. I noticed no additional drop from which I assumed there was no loss in velocity. In fairness, I will say, that I read about a pendulum test of some 1840's black powder some of the same lot was tested with a chronograph about 1985 and the old 2 fg powder did demonstrate noticeably more oomph and velocity than modern made Goex 2fg. The conclusion drawn from that latter test was that the 1840's powder was somehow better than the modern stuff. IIRC, a comparison of chemical composition was to be run, but I don't believe I ever saw the results..
 

Pukka Bundook

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As Zimmer and Rifleman say above, powder can be kept a long time even in a not so tightly sealed flask and still work just the same.
In the UK, we had much more humidity than here in western Canada, but I never had bother with powder going off.
I still have some I brought with me in 1984, and it works just the same.

Tests with Curtis' and Harvey's powder from the mid to late 19th C show it too had more ooomph than modern powder.
This I believe was a result of the use of superior charcoal in the old powder.

The Only time I had powder squib off, was in a birding piece when loaded using green ivy leaves as wadding, and if left overnight. The powder absorbed the moisture and went off half throttle.
Reason for green leaf wadding, was to ensure we didn't set tinder dry country alight when shooting.
If fired off within a few hours, the green leaves worked as well as "proper" wadding.
 

Walkabout

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I intentionally bought a non historic brass frame Pietta NMA and I even made a crude non historic holster for it. This is strictly a cheap, low maintenance field gun. I also tried the lube only method of cleaning I read about in an article here, and it appears to be working well for now. I guess I'll see how it holds up long term. Thanks
 
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I live in a unique place where while I'm rural I'm also on the outskirts of my small town with a car wash next door and a couple trailer parks near me, all of which attract sketchy animals, both 4 and 2 legged.

When I'm working on my place I usually have one of those unmentionable black rifles close by.
 

JRL1164

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I did try this for a few weeks and found that its doable but with some notes.

First I tried an 1851, 1860 and an 1860 Sheriff model. My overall preference was the 1851 but my biggest issues as was the same with the 1860 was the barrel length. I found it uncomfortable to wear for long periods of time. The long barreled holster would rub my leg consistently in the same spot just above the knee on the outside and I truly realized how long of a draw those 7 1/2" & 8" barrels really have. Overall comfort wise I found the 1860 sheriff to be more suited to my carry and size. The draw was much quicker and was more comfortable to carry. Though with the shorter rammer it did hurt my palm to load.

I personally was not as accurate with the 1860 sheriff as I was with the standard 1851 and 1860. I suspect some of it may have been due to the shorter barrel but most likely all of it was my lack of range time with this shorter barrel.

I did clean in between discharged rounds. I did not discharge all rounds before cleaning though I did decap all the nipples. The barrel I cleaned as I normally would do same with the frame. The only difference in my routine was the cylinder obviously due to the other 4 chambers being loaded (I cowboy loaded these for safety, my preference.) Cleaning was just more tedious to focus on the one chamber and surrounding to get them clean to my standards.

I carried each one for two weeks for a total of six weeks. Shots ranged from 7-20 per revolver. Most not critter or nuisance related but rather me just wanting to shoot or target practice. Totally doable and fun. I didn't have any misfires or issues through my practices. Any my only real concern was decaping the cylinders to clean after firing. My CCI #11 fit quite snug on my slixshot nipples.

Ultimately I did go back to an unmentionable for my everyday farm/ranch carry, basically for the comfort really but wouldn't hesitate to carry a cap and ball for a day or so to relive the nostalgic. I live in the Southeast where our biggest threat is a coyote or black bear, both of which will normally flight when seeing a human rather than fight. For those who live out west I can see the need for a more powerful/modern carry.
 

smoothshooter

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I'm like you, if I shoot it I have to clean it or it will not let me rest. Black powder kept dry is not very corrosive but black powder fouling is so it cannot be left in a fouled condition especially where humid.

Unfired black powder is not corrosive AT ALL.
When BP came in steel cans, did you ever see one rusted through from the INSIDE?
Even on cans that still had the original powder in them for over a hundred years?

I have a lot of experience with farm use of BP revolvers.
If only shooting up to three or four shots ( or even one ) I would give the gun a quick wipe-down within 24 hours or so. Same with the bore and outside of the gun, reload the empty chambers after making sure they are totally clean and dry on the inside. Leaving the freshly cleaned cylinder out in the hot sun for a while, or on top a pretty warm but not hot wood stove evaporates any remaining moisture away. After a few more daysI would shoot the chambers empty in target practice, and do a thorough cleaning.
Only removed the nipples about every other full cleaning. Added more anti-seize to to the threads if needed before reassembly.
My guns have fired many hundreds os rounds over the years ( my .36 Navy has fired something over 2,000 ), and they still look and function great.
 
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Pukka Bundook

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JR,
I carry my Tranter high on my waist at the left side, butt forward.
The barrel never rubs anywhere, but is six inches, not 7 1/2".
very comfortable, as long as holster attached to the belt so it cant move around the waist.
 

JRL1164

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JR,
I carry my Tranter high on my waist at the left side, butt forward.
The barrel never rubs anywhere, but is six inches, not 7 1/2".
very comfortable, as long as holster attached to the belt so it cant move around the waist.
You know I never did try a left sided carry. Didn't even cross my mind. I carried on my right hip from my belt, I wonder if it would have been more comfortable on the left with butt to the rear. Will definately have to try it out next time. Thanks!
 
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