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Wads in Pietta 1858

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Stan, you probably did have a chain fire. I've had a few of them, and wasn't entirely sure of what happened either. It's not very noticable, but it does seem strange to think the ball could come out and would have to rub along the frame and not make more "commotion".
It was my dumba$$ fault because I was using CCI caps that were a loose fit on nipples that were turned down

My charges were relatively light with the 24 gr spout , which is more like 20 with my finger over it. I may have just gotten lucky I didn't put a ding on the frame.... Plus it's a .36 so maybe the extra meat on the cylinder kept the ball farther from the frame .

I fired 10 cylinders today through a different revolver with no mysterious disappearing balls so I guess I did well 😀
 
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Crisco keeps the guns running , in my opinion better than wads. I have a cloth to wipe my hand , not using my pants today.

It also makes the gun a lot easier to clean afterwards

Greasing chambers is definitely a reenactor-ism for the most part , that was used as a quick and dirty way to keep fouling soft. Despite the Rangers using Pork fat , I doubt it was often done in the period.

Felt Wads are mostly a Skeeter Skelton-ism from the 1920s, they may have been used prior to this but even Colt recommended not using any wad over the powder.

It's all personal preference, if any one persons way works, then go with it.

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12 cylinders through this Uberti .36, just Crisco over the chambers. No wiping, no taking the gun down, just shooting. It started getting a bit gummy but I probably could have gotten 1 or 2 more through it. For range use, it works, you won't be walking around with a greased gun in a holster but you can't keep a gun loaded with lubed wads for too long either. Our ancestors either had lubed bullets in their nitrate cartridges (depending on manufacturer) or just loaded and carried them "dry" because no one was shooting more than a few cylinders at best back then.
 
I just put a finger dab of Crisco or Tallow over the ball

It's easy and it keeps the gun running, and the bore from caking up
That works okay at the range, or shooting in the yard, but if you are going to be carrying the gun around in a holster the grease is a PITA. You end up with dirty grease in the holster to clean out, and carrying something around with you keep grease in and apply it is just more stuff to carry. A piece of rag is also needed to wipe the gun off before returning it to the holster after firing even one shot.
 
That works okay at the range, or shooting in the yard, but if you are going to be carrying the gun around in a holster the grease is a PITA. You end up with dirty grease in the holster to clean out, and carrying something around with you keep grease in and apply it is just more stuff to carry. A piece of rag is also needed to wipe the gun off before returning it to the holster after firing even one shot.
If I was carrying it, I'd go with dry
 
I've been shooting my ROA since March 3rd, 1986. Sometimes I put E45 over the ball after ramming it, and sometimes I don't. Sometimes it makes a difference to cleanup and other times it doesn't. There's no mention of using wads -r over ball goop anywhere in Mr Colt's original instructions, so I generally go by the advice of the original manufacturer.
 
I've been shooting my ROA since March 3rd, 1986. Sometimes I put E45 over the ball after ramming it, and sometimes I don't. Sometimes it makes a difference to cleanup and other times it doesn't. There's no mention of using wads -r over ball goop anywhere in Mr Colt's original instructions, so I generally go by the advice of the original manufacturer.
The "grease over the ball " has been the eternal and endless debate since probably the 1960s when the percussion revolver resurgence started.

Given that probably 100x the number of repros are currently in service as plinkers, reenactor pieces, Sunday afternoon poppers, CAS "frontier stage" match guns, etc. as there ever were originals in use.........

and the period of "reproduction percussion revolvers " of the 1950s- Current exceeds the "original percussion period" of 1836-1875 by a lot of years and counting......

shooters and reenactors began using the Goop over Ball method and it has become gospel. Old salty guys have beaten it into my head since I had my first cap and baller "ya gotta grease yer chambers!!"

Cutting wads out of felt was apparently, according to Skeeter Skelton, "used by Confederate Cavalrymen " who preferred round balls and I would guess they lubed these felt wads.....but it just seems odd but who knows. Skeeter says he shot his Colts all day with felt wads as a kid. So the felt wads became almost as hotly debated as grease over the balls and also, the blister pack starter kits contain wads, so for 40+ years people began to believe you "needed" them to shoot their cap and baller

We shoot many more rounds than people did back then, I fired 12 cylinders through a Navy yesterday. I highly doubt many people at all in the 1800s were stepping out into the back yard to shoot 60+ rounds for fun and this many rounds would very, very rarely be fired through these in combat

Lubing my chambers enabled me to be lazy and get a session in without having to break the gun down to wipe out. Crisco is a range day convenience although I shoot dry a lot too. Especially with Pyrodex

My theory is, the grease and wads are purely a "range day recreational-ism" that has crept it's way into our hobby as a "need"

Even Cpt Walkers Rangers with their Walkers , originally wrote that they basically fired their 12 rounds, found somewhere to dismount and reload and fired 12 more. Beyond that was probably never needed
 
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I dont even use felt wads, I use veggie wads because I have millions of them.
The wad against the powder will stop any wondering sparks.
Mic your cylinders and get a ball bigger than your biggest cylinder.
I bought a .454 mould before I measured mine of I would have bought .457.
My biggest cylinder is .453.
Still not worried, the wad will do its job. Slix Shot cones also will prevent flash from the other end.
Dear Sir,
What are 'veggie wads'? I have used wonder wads, but never heard of the other.
Thank you, David
 
I always laugh whenever, at least once a month, one of my gun guy coworkers buys a $250 brasser blister pack and asks me what he needs to "run a few 100 rounds through it" every weekend

I'm like you ain't "running" anything close to that unless you're really, really dedicated and take all the expectations you have of using that thing as a cheaper alternative to center fire pistols and forget them......you're going to find out why the ATF (thankfully for us) lets you just buy them .......because you have a gun you're going to need to bring a bag full of gear and find a table to spread it all out on if you want to shoot more than 18 rounds 😀 saddle up buckaroo you just went down the percussion revolver rabbit hole 🤠🤠
 
I use the rod to gently guide and lightly pack the powder with the .44 wad. Then after wad holds powder I set .454 ball leaving a sliver of lead. So I do not know how the wad is after ball is set but before ball the wad touches chamber walls. I try not to pack the powder to much. Very interesting. Might be that after ball is seated it does move wad but either way, a spark would have to go past lead ball, then wad. Interesting... never had chain fire yet. If I do I'm pretty sure would be from nipple end.
 
Lol @ black powder rabbit hole. Yeah, there's a process and couple tools but it's nothing that can't be overcome with a small belt setup or cargo pants. I can do it all with a piece of wood, needle nose plyers and belt knife. My field cleaning kit fits in a tampon sized handle. EVERYTHING fits in my camo pants. Heavy though with 100 lead round balls and the powder measure/flask though. Having said that I wouldn't want to walk all day loaded down but doable. "Rabbit hole" lol!
 
What is controversial?

Flame impingement cannot enter the cylinder from the front if a proper sized ball is used.
And it's difficult to imagine how flame can get in behind a proper size and seated cap on nipple. Yet folks still report chain fires. I wonder if there's ever been good video of such actually happening???
 
Lol @ black powder rabbit hole. Yeah, there's a process and couple tools but it's nothing that can't be overcome with a small belt setup or cargo pants. I can do it all with a piece of wood, needle nose plyers and belt knife. My field cleaning kit fits in a tampon sized handle. EVERYTHING fits in my camo pants. Heavy though with 100 lead round balls and the powder measure/flask though. Having said that I wouldn't want to walk all day loaded down but doable. "Rabbit hole" lol!
I buy the cheap little Indian made leather "messenger bags" off Ebay that kinda look 1800s period . And they can hold enough that you can wear the bag like a cartridge box and it has compartments for enough stuff for a couple hundred rounds worth of shooting , plus some light cleaning gear and tools for wiping out and keeping screws tight

My ranges "pistol pits" are CAS match stage areas and the only table is usually at the top of the pit. So it's either carry what you need on your person or walk 25+ yards to a table to reload every time . I usually have a holster for carrying the gun because I can't always put it down somewhere either

It's easy to see the difference when I go with an "unmentionable " revolver and I can put a couple fistfuls of cartridges in my pocket

I could always make nitrate cartridges but I honestly just don't want to bother
 
And it's difficult to imagine how flame can get in behind a proper size and seated cap on nipple. Yet folks still report chain fires. I wonder if there's ever been good video of such actually happening???
The theory of spilled powder igniting on top of the ball and making a flame that gets past the small area of contact of the ball and chamber wall seems plausible
 
Dear Sir,
What are 'veggie wads'? I have used wonder wads, but never heard of the other.
Thank you, David

Vegetable fiber wads are not lubed as far as I know.
They are intended for use in black powder cartridge guns shooting black powder.
I have never seen any but my guess is that they are some kind of compressed natural fiber material without lubricant. Possibly non-absorbent. They are something modern, not used 8n the 1800’s as far as I know.
Imdo not know their exact purpose, but a lot of serious modern shooters consider them indispensable. Maybe they protect the base of the bullets from hot gasses, or help keep fouling down in the bore.

I’m sure someone on this site will come along with more information.
 
The theory of spilled powder igniting on top of the ball and making a flame that gets past the small area of contact of the ball and chamber wall seems plausible

There's a recent movie on YT that shows just how widespread the flame of ignition from a cap actually is - amazingly large, AND covering ALL the adjacent nipples, too. Figure that loose caps on worn nipples can allow that flame to spread much more than any in good condition and I can easily see how ignition from the rear can happen.
 
Vegetable fiber wads are not lubed as far as I know.
They are intended for use in black powder cartridge guns shooting black powder.
I have never seen any but my guess is that they are some kind of compressed natural fiber material without lubricant. Possibly non-absorbent. They are something modern, not used 8n the 1800’s as far as I know.
Imdo not know their exact purpose, but a lot of serious modern shooters consider them indispensable. Maybe they protect the base of the bullets from hot gasses, or help keep fouling down in the bore.

I’m sure someone on this site will come along with more information.
I bought a 1000 bag of veggie wads in the .454 sized variety. They are dry and these are thin but tough. I don't use lube on them due to possibly filling filling powder the wads are sitting on. So far as I can tell they really are just dry filler to help keep chainfire possibility at zero. But after shooting for awhile I've noticed my nipple end is the weak part of the whole setup. Pour powder, set dry wad gently with rod to get consistency, then .454 ball with lead sliver THEN touch chamber wide with grease (use any really, more for ez cleanup, imo). That's the chamber end. Affix cap in place and done. Now I left it this way for over a month and it fired fine with only 1 cap not igniting powder. I use 777 3f and ignition temp is MUCH higher then BP. 770ish degrees compared to 450 for BP (so says hodgon website). I attribute almost all my misfire to caps not hot enough (so far). Powder stays dry from both ends. Definitely from chamber end. No modifications on 1860 colt at all.
I used to put a dry wad covering bullet lube for long term storage and so the lube wouldn't get blown off during firing but I think the chamber pressure increased dangerously. Hodgons states no wads or fillers using 777. But I still dry wad over 777 and get great velocity. Here's a pic of 40 grain 777 w/.454 ball and dry wad. Had a 6' muzzle flash.
 

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Here the first shot is 40 grain 777 3f, dry wad on powder w/.454 and lube over ball. Remainder were 30 grains 777. U can see difference in first shot. Im Practicing my opposite thumb hammer cock for faster shooting. Been trying to get down the left thumb cock for faster shooting (I'm right handed). It's much faster and I can do this twice as fast now. I practice this with two person sized cutout targets at only 15-20 feet. Try to put 3 shots in chest of each target semi quick. My accuracy is bad but getting better. Practice makes perfect. Also 1860 colt was loaded for 3 weeks before shot it. Was fun. This time I had a cap not ignite so I only fired semi fast at 1 target, checking load and firing last round with better accuracy. Fun.
 

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There's a recent movie on YT that shows just how widespread the flame of ignition from a cap actually is - amazingly large, AND covering ALL the adjacent nipples, too. Figure that loose caps on worn nipples can allow that flame to spread much more than any in good condition and I can easily see how ignition from the rear can happen.
The chain fire I just had was likely from the nipple end , it was my fault. No harm done

Both ends have caused chain fires , as another member said he had an old brasser with oval shaped chambers that chain fired all 6, and he just threw it away

In all my reading I haven't seen much at all in period writings about chain fires, besides the Mark Twain pepperbox thing. They probably happened and it wasn't noteworthy enough to write home about.

People ask me what people did to stop chain fires back in the day and I respond with =

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An advancement of technology stopped chain fires. Otherwise people lived with the quirks of percussion revolvers until if/when they were able to use newer firearms.

Excuse the "unmentionable " I just figured it was historically relevant as it being a "former" cap and baller that was updated
 
I apologize much of that didn't pertain to the subject of OP. I suppose you could take from it one dry wad works well for sealing and storage fully loaded as well as for preventing chainfires. 777 is a beast but hard to ignite. Btw I make my own caps. I highly recommend dry veggie wads regardless of hogdons statement. They state that the wads will build up to much pressure using 777 (not reg BP) and cause a catastrophic failure (grenade chamber). I do not think one 1/16 inch veggie wad would build that much more pressure but I only use one as I used to use two. Again my revolver also sits at least 2 weeks loaded before I shoot almost every time. So, I endorse 1 dry wad with no lube on it over powder, then optional lube end of chamber over bullet. Pends how long u gonna store loaded. Definitely lube chamber end if long term loaded (for me). Moisture is our enemy. Final note. i use a touch of tacky glue on caps/nipple just to make sure they stay seated and hopefully seal nipple end from moisture. Tacky glue blows off with caps firing. No cap jams yet. Attribute that more to my homemade caps. So far not bad firing consistency for 1 month loaded tests.
God bless.
 

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