Pietta 1851 Loads

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My owners manual states for .44 (454 ball) "Suggested Grains" FFFG - Min-max = 12-15. The next Table states Maximum Grains BP for .44 revolver w/ .454 ball = 35 FFFG and Maximum Grains Pyrodex .44 .454 ball = 28 FFFG although I suppose they mean RS and/or Select. Maybe something lost in Italian to English?
I have always used 20 - 22 Grains FFFG. I have not tried Pyrodex yet but will be soon given my propellant supply. I am curious as to what more experienced 1851 shooters load/use....and by more experienced I mean just about everyone...! and preferred over load "grease"...
 
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I use Goex fffg powder in my pistols. I haven't used pyrodex in a few decades. Just prefer holy black. Now if it came down to it...I'd go with triple 7. It gets wonderful reviews and fouls less than black they say.

My typical .44 (.454) pistol load is 25 grains of 3f, an over powder wad and the .454 roundball on top. Shoots well with the current .44 pistol I have.
I do use over ball grease, but not for chain fire reasons, most chain fires are loose cap issues. I use it to soften fouling and my revolvers tend to sit loaded for a long spell.
Now I have had .44's that preferred 20 grains and one that demanded 30. Never shot less than 20 grains 3f in my .44's but some go as low as 15 grains. I could see that for plinking if you get good groups.
 
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I use Goex fffg powder in my pistols. I haven't used pyrodex in a few decades. Just prefer holy black. Now if it came down to it...I'd go with triple 7. It gets wonderful reviews and fouls less than black they say.

My typical .44 (.454) pistol load is 25 grains of 3f, an over powder wad and the .454 roundball on top. Shoots well with the current .44 pistol I have.
I do use over ball grease, but not for chain fire reasons, most chain fires are loose cap issues. I use it to soften fouling and my revolvers tend to sit loaded for a long spell.
Now I have had .44's that preferred 20 grains and one that demanded 30. Never shot less than 20 grains 3f in my .44's but some go as low as 15 grains. I could see that for plinking if you get good groups.
Thanks for the info. I'd use black if I could get it. What you are using is pretty much my plan...
 

Steel Hayes

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I’ve loaded both Pyrodex and Goex3f in my homemade cartridges for both the .44 and .36 Navy’s (25grn 3f and 20 grn Pyrodex), not much discernible difference.
49398115-E954-4692-8F44-2A78934D8477.jpeg
96B656CD-FBAC-4162-AE68-F7C25664D35B.jpeg
 
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I’ve loaded both Pyrodex and Goex3f in my homemade cartridges for both the .44 and .36 Navy’s (25grn 3f and 20 grn Pyrodex), not much discernible difference.
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Ironically, I have spent the last few days reading about such cartridges and just a couple days ago ordered a .44 kit from Guns of the West. Looking forward to learning this skill. The kit comes with cigarette papers and I've read of others using hair curling papers. Do you use one of those or something else? And any preference for over top grease or do you not use that?
Awesome set of pistols!!
 

Steel Hayes

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@BlackRock52
I tried several types of paper, I found the best so far is rice paper. It’s very thin, yet strong enough to stay together and leaves no residue when fired.
I’ve never used any sort of over cylinder covering, as long as I have a lead ball that shaves a slight ring of lead off when rammed into the cylinder, I’m good.
The shave ring means the ball sealed the cylinder.
 
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@BlackRock52
I tried several types of paper, I found the best so far is rice paper. It’s very thin, yet strong enough to stay together and leaves no residue when fired.
I’ve never used any sort of over cylinder covering, as long as I have a lead ball that shaves a slight ring of lead off when rammed into the cylinder, I’m good.
The shave ring means the ball sealed the cylinder.
Is the rice paper the kind for calligraphy or the kind for eating?
 

PastorB

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Really, any powder you use will be fine, and if you can seat the ball, your load is safe. Not necessarily accurate, but using any black powder or black powder substitute it is nearly impossible to overload unless you are just intentionally trying to blow your gun up. This includes Triple 7, which I really like! You only need to reduce loads by 15% with 777 to get Goex performance, a full load compressed (another tale that gets reported, that you can't compress 777, it only is not to be compressed for METALLIC cartridge reloading). I prefer at least a .454 ball to get a better seal, and more "grip" on the rifling. A .451 works OK, but gets less velocity, and in my guns, is less accurate. I use regular old Crisco or off-brand shortening for my over ball lube. In a .44, I like to use at least 28 grains (always measure by volume), anything less and I get inconsistent results due to a lack of compression. I could use a filler, but that is just another step I don't want to hassle with. A full house load will wear your gun out more quickly, and the wedge pin will show wear if you are always using max loads. I use 28 grains of whatever for target shooting, and 35 grains, usually 777 to get maximum velocity for hunting. If using bullets, I do reduce my powder charges, but 98% of my shooting is with round balls. I never have made cartridges, I know fellas who do, but just another thing I don't want to mess with. Here is some velocity data from my .44's. This data is compiled from a lot of shooting over a chronograph.

8" barrel .454 round ball

28 gr. Pyrodex RS 800 fps
35 gr. Pyrodex RS 980 fps

28 gr. Pyrodex P 860 fps
35 gr. Pyrodex P 990 fps

28 gr. Goex fffg 820 fps. (very consistent shot to shot)
35 grain Giex fffg. 959 fps (same)

28 gr. Swiss fffg. 880fps
35 gr. Swiss fffg. 1020 fps

28 grain 777 900fps
35 grain 777 1080fps

The 5" "Sheriff's Models" get about 150 fps less with the same loads. I often use Pyrodex RS, not for performance, but because years ago I got a bunch of it (40 some bottles) for $1 a pound at Walmart end of season clearance. Those days are long gone!
 
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Really, any powder you use will be fine, and if you can seat the ball, your load is safe. Not necessarily accurate, but using any black powder or black powder substitute it is nearly impossible to overload unless you are just intentionally trying to blow your gun up. This includes Triple 7, which I really like! You only need to reduce loads by 15% with 777 to get Goex performance, a full load compressed (another tale that gets reported, that you can't compress 777, it only is not to be compressed for METALLIC cartridge reloading). I prefer at least a .454 ball to get a better seal, and more "grip" on the rifling. A .451 works OK, but gets less velocity, and in my guns, is less accurate. I use regular old Crisco or off-brand shortening for my over ball lube. In a .44, I like to use at least 28 grains (always measure by volume), anything less and I get inconsistent results due to a lack of compression. I could use a filler, but that is just another step I don't want to hassle with. A full house load will wear your gun out more quickly, and the wedge pin will show wear if you are always using max loads. I use 28 grains of whatever for target shooting, and 35 grains, usually 777 to get maximum velocity for hunting. If using bullets, I do reduce my powder charges, but 98% of my shooting is with round balls. I never have made cartridges, I know fellas who do, but just another thing I don't want to mess with. Here is some velocity data from my .44's. This data is compiled from a lot of shooting over a chronograph.

8" barrel .454 round ball

28 gr. Pyrodex RS 800 fps
35 gr. Pyrodex RS 980 fps

28 gr. Pyrodex P 860 fps
35 gr. Pyrodex P 990 fps

28 gr. Goex fffg 820 fps. (very consistent shot to shot)
35 grain Giex fffg. 959 fps (same)

28 gr. Swiss fffg. 880fps
35 gr. Swiss fffg. 1020 fps

28 grain 777 900fps
35 grain 777 1080fps

The 5" "Sheriff's Models" get about 150 fps less with the same loads. I often use Pyrodex RS, not for performance, but because years ago I got a bunch of it (40 some bottles) for $1 a pound at Walmart end of season clearance. Those days are long gone!
Incredibly awesome...thank you!!
 

Jason60chev

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On YouTube videos, Mark Hubbs, Dustin Wineger, Duelist1954, CapnBall and others, have used a variety of papers with similar results, using different paper cartridge formers. Coffee filters (Nitrated and un-Nitrated); cig paper, curling papers have been the most common. Also, everyone is using mostly the Johnston & Dow and Kerr 44 conical bullets and the Richmond Lad/Colt Cartg Works 36 cal conical bullets, in these cartridges. I have made up nearly 100, myself, but haven;t had opportunity to try them.
 
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On YouTube videos, Mark Hubbs, Dustin Wineger, Duelist1954, CapnBall and others, have used a variety of papers with similar results, using different paper cartridge formers. Coffee filters (Nitrated and un-Nitrated); cig paper, curling papers have been the most common. Also, everyone is using mostly the Johnston & Dow and Kerr 44 conical bullets and the Richmond Lad/Colt Cartg Works 36 cal conical bullets, in these cartridges. I have made up nearly 100, myself, but haven;t had opportunity to try them.
I looked up the Kerr 44 and first hit was the following article about won't work in 1851 Pietta. Here's the link: The 44 Kerr Bullet – It doesn't like the '51 Navy or black powder?
 

Jason60chev

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I looked up the Kerr 44 and first hit was the following article about won't work in 1851 Pietta. Here's the link: The 44 Kerr Bullet – It doesn't like the '51 Navy or black powder?
I have a Kerr mold and I would like to buy some bullets, to start with. As for the bullet not fitting.......there may be some manufacturing variances in these revolvers. I know that we shouldn't have to or you could just shoot round balls (which seems what these italian guns are made for), you could ream the mouths of your chambers, ever slightly or rework your rammer and even the loading port, to more readily accept the bullet. Unfortunately, I have not had opportunity to load nor fire any of these bullets, yet. I have steel framed Remington and 1860 Army revolvers. Also remember that the Kerr was a British bullet, so the chamber specs of the Kerr revolver may be slightly different.
 
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I have a Kerr mold and I would like to buy some bullets, to start with. As for the bullet not fitting.......there may be some manufacturing variances in these revolvers. I know that we shouldn't have to or you could just shoot round balls (which seems what these italian guns are made for), you could ream the mouths of your chambers, ever slightly or rework your rammer and even the loading port, to more readily accept the bullet. Unfortunately, I have not had opportunity to load nor fire any of these bullets, yet. I have steel framed Remington and 1860 Army revolvers. Also remember that the Kerr was a British bullet, so the chamber specs of the Kerr revolver may be slightly different.
The article did mention that the Kerr 44's were a tad too tall and that the ram was different in newer vs older Pietta's. The author also mentioned reaming out the chamber mouth. I'd like to buy some to try but I can only find $18.50 for 36 which seems a bit steep if they don't work. EMF is a place I can't try as they are closed until 4/4/22
 

smoothshooter

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My owners manual states for .44 (454 ball) "Suggested Grains" FFFG - Min-max = 12-15. The next Table states Maximum Grains BP for .44 revolver w/ .454 ball = 35 FFFG and Maximum Grains Pyrodex .44 .454 ball = 28 FFFG although I suppose they mean RS and/or Select. Maybe something lost in Italian to English?
I have always used 20 - 22 Grains FFFG. I have not tried Pyrodex yet but will be soon given my propellant supply. I am curious as to what more experienced 1851 shooters load/use....and by more experienced I mean just about everyone...! and preferred over load "grease"...
Grease over ball does nothing for chain-fires, makes a big mess, and is a waste of time for me. Make my own lubed wads with excellent fouling softening and no mess. Saves a lot of money over pre-lubed wads. With my wads and my lube I get up to 75 or 90 shots with no cleaning except for wiping the face of the cylinder with a little spit on my thumb every fourth cylinder fired or so. I use the same ljbe on the cylinder pin / yoke. BTW, my lube is a combination of olive oil or any cooking oil and bee’s wax mixed hot about 50/50. I vary the ratio for hot or cold temperatures.
It is not possible to blow your gun up by overloading as long as you are using real BP or Pyrodex.
For load development I always start with the maximum and work my way down.
Most of my revolvers give good accuracy with maximum loads or close to it. However, I am not a competitive bullseye shooter. If I was, I might put more effort into chasing down the best accuracy I could.
 
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In my two Ruger old army’s for targets I load 20 gr or 3F and 20 grain of cream of wheat. The attached target is what I shot with my old army this week from a rest at 25 yards. In my Pietta navy it doesn’t shoot well with smaller loads. It is a 36 and likes 25 grains of 3F. No fillers. No wads. I never use an over ball grease. Chain fires are from caps falling off. If your gun shaves lead when you seat it and your caps are tight you don’t need grease.
 

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In my two Ruger old army’s for targets I load 20 gr or 3F and 20 grain of cream of wheat. The attached target is what I shot with my old army this week from a rest at 25 yards. In my Pietta navy it doesn’t shoot well with smaller loads. It is a 36 and likes 25 grains of 3F. No fillers. No wads. I never use an over ball grease. Chain fires are from caps falling off. If your gun shaves lead when you seat it and your caps are tight you don’t need grease.
Good to know..thx
 
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Grease over ball does nothing for chain-fires, makes a big mess, and is a waste of time for me. Make my own lubed wads with excellent fouling softening and no mess. Saves a lot of money over pre-lubed wads. With my wads and my lube I get up to 75 or 90 shots with no cleaning except for wiping the face of the cylinder with a little spit on my thumb every fourth cylinder fired or so. I use the same ljbe on the cylinder pin / yoke. BTW, my lube is a combination of olive oil or any cooking oil and bee’s wax mixed hot about 50/50. I vary the ratio for hot or cold temperatures.
It is not possible to blow your gun up by overloading as long as you are using real BP or Pyrodex.
For load development I always start with the maximum and work my way down.
Most of my revolvers give good accuracy with maximum loads or close to it. However, I am not a competitive bullseye shooter. If I was, I might put more effort into chasing down the best accuracy I could.
Great! Thx. I'm still trying to figure out what lube recipe I want to use. Just received some pure lanolin to try with the beeswax. I assume the your lube wad is over powder. May I ask what material and what thickness?
 

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