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Guide a C&B Newbie


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Just ordered my first C&B revolvers - a pair of Pietta 1851 Navy Marshals.

 

How about pointing me toward some articles/posts that cover the basics of getting ready to shoot, supplies, cleaning, loading, etc?

 

I've already spoken to John at Trail of the Wolf about new nipples.....other tips greatly appreciated!!

 

LL

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Are they brass or steel ?

 

These will tell you how much powder to use.

 

I use the full combat loads that where used during the civil war, but most use far less.

 

Ask Noz………he's the "expert".

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Load: if brass framed, no more than 20 grains. You may need filler over the powder to take up space. If steel framed 30 grains is a good load, but really more than necessary for SASS.

 

Caps: Remington #10

 

Nipples: Tresso or SlixShot

 

Powder: I prefer black, but any of the subs will work just fine.

 

Bullets: Round ball

 

Wonder Wads: some folks swear by them, I've used them and to me it's 50/50 'twixt them and Bore Butter over the ball. Bore Butter gets really runny in hot weather though. I made some wads from 1/4 inch wool felt and a mixture of bee's wax and Crisco.

 

Cleaning: I use hot water and Murphy's Oil Soap. Then swab them down with Ballistol after they are dry.

 

This is good reading: http://www.curtrich.com/frontiersmen.html

 

Some more good reading here: http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=238769

 

Note: some of what you'll read may seem contradictory. It really isn't. There is more than one way to skin a cat, and there is more than one way to feed and care for cap and ball revolvers.

 

BTW, I haven't had any modifications done to my guns. Either I'm just lucky, or stock guns are not as bad as some folks lead you to believe. As long as I do my part, my guns will do their part more reliably than a lot of cartridge guns.

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Nope. I just sleep at the Holiday Inn.

 

http://www.cascity.com/forumhall/index.php?board=19.0 Lots of folks that have lots of information.

 

Pretty broad question.

Ask us some specifics.

 

44s? 454 balls and 22to 30 grs of FFg, FFFg. I don't like any of the subs. Powderinc.com is a good source for BP.

36s 375/380 balls and 12-20 grs of same.

Tuning: http://www.cascity.com/forumhall/index.php/topic,25009.0.html, Best information on the web

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There is a lot of good information here from Captain Baylor. http://www.curtrich.com/frontiersmen.html He recommends Rugers but your 51s should serve you well.

 

And here from Pettifogger. http://www.theopenrange.net/articles/Tuning_the_Pietta_Part_One.pdf

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I'm only a couple of months ahead of you on the learning curve, but I have shot 2 successful matches. I think my experience to date can be broken down into 2 categories. The first is getting the guns in shape to be reliable and fire every time. They are crude out of the box. First thing, and something I feel is mandatory is replacement cones. I'm using Slix Shot. From there, you go to smoothing the actions. And I quickly became involved in the search for the best way to prevent cap jams. They are a gun that invites tinkerin'.

The second thing is learning how to manage the loading and firing part. I spent many hours on my porch learning how to load and cap the guns. I didn't bother taking them down to the range, because at first I was always going back into the house for something I needed (such as reading glasses). Finally I got to the point where I was counting shots to see if I would get through a 6 stage match without a breakdown. You will find that you'll need a bag stuff to get started, but after awhile you'll get it whittled down to just what you need. I'm very glad I did a lot of firing and loading before taking them to a match.

Some of the other guys will see this and guide you to some sites at Open Prairie that cover mods to the guns. Mr Pettifoger and Mr Prairie Dawg have been a large help to myself. I consider the guns to be cheap enough for me to practice my rather shade tree gunsmithing skills on. So much so that I just cut down the barrel and rammer on my 1860 to 6" with just files and hand tools.

Take this over to the Wire and ask what you need to know, you're gonna get some help!

 

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.44

 

All steel, in the white

 

5" barrels

 

LL

I know these well...Seem to have gotten 5 of them...I think they are breeding...I did change three of them to Army grips...Like the feel better...Those three will be going to Rowdy Yates for some work...I will be following this thread for info also...

 

Texas Lizard

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Monsieur Pettfogger's tips on tuning them up is great. And even a caveman can do it.;)

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Another vote for Pettifogger's guidelines. Read them and check the bolt to notch fit even before you cycle them in order to prevent buggering the notches. Consider these guns as kits...you gotta do some stuff before shooting them in a match.

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Another vote for Pettifogger's guidelines. Read them and check the bolt to notch fit even before you cycle them in order to prevent buggering the notches. Consider these guns as kits...you gotta do some stuff before shooting them in a match.

Yup. Don't even consider cycling the guns until the bolt has been fitted. The cylinder notches on my new 1860 Army Sheriffs were beginning to peen after just two rotations.

 

Two items you'll definitely need are a revolver stand and length of copper or plastic pipe to slip over the loading lever for leverage. On mine, that stubby little lever just can't do the job by itself. I use a piece of copper plumbing which has flared and cracked at one end, but it does the job without marring the gun. Been meaning to see if a piece of PVC pipe will hold up for the job. The stand holds the pistol in a muzzle up position.

 

Some use a loading stand, but you have to remove the cylinder each time you load. I'm too cheap to buy one so I've no experience with them.

 

Welcome to C&B!

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I feel blessed...so many hints, so much to read....

 

Thank you all. Look for me in the middle of the cloud of smoke......

 

LL

 

Many of us love talking about cap guns. I'm sure you'll have more questions after you read the articles and get started so feel free to ask.

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Loophole, pm me and I'll tell you step by step what I use with my 1858 Confederate Navies.

 

(much to long to list here)

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NOZ and J-Bar are quite good , with C&B revolvers

 

Noz gave me , some suggestions on setting up the 60s , I used for a match

 

must have done something right , as NOZ wanted em , if I was to part with em

 

CB

CB has a really sweet pair of 1860 Army Sheriffs, and yeah, I get first choice if they come up for sale.

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NOZ

 

ya AIN'T holdin your breath , waitin on em , is ya ? :huh:

 

that may be a long wait

 

CB

 

ya think I should set up the 58s ?

Sure, go ahead, but you already have the best of the best.

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+ 1 on the loading stand......... works wonders!

Whilst ya have the gun apart, wipe it down a bit, helps keep it working slick during the match ;)

Knarley

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Multiple cylinders. Have my '51s clean and switched at the ULT by the second shooter after me.

More free time for posse chores or socializing - works expecially good if you shoot in windy conditions often.

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No stand, leave cylinder in the gun. Now the rest is more than you want to know, but...

 

I lay out an 18" X 18" piece of sheepskin suede on the surface where I will be loading (unloading table while I act as Unloading Table Officer, or a table on a vacant unused stage, or the top of the box on my guncart if neither of those are available.). The leather keeps stuff from sliding around. I pinch up a few wrinkles in the leather and make two piles of 5 balls each, a powder flask, Altoids box with chunks of beeswax/Crisco lube in it. I carry everything I need in a leather possibles bag.

 

I'm right handed. I hold the revolver muzzle up with my left hand around the frame, thumb on the cylinder so I can rotate the cylinder one-handed, muzzle canted slightly downrange, butt on the leather. I never take the gun out of my left hand, never take the butt off the table. Ensures muzzle control, don't you know... Drop the rammer into the chamber that WILL NOT be charged to prevent the cylinder from moving. Throw a charge of powder with the flask, drop a ball on top of the chamber, raise the loading lever, rotate the ball under the rammer, and seat the ball on the powder. Don't rotate it too far or you might have to take the barrel off to bring it around again...some models won't let you rotate the cylinder backwards. Leave the rammer down on the ball you just seated while you throw a powder charge into the next chamber. Again, it keeps the cylinder from moving around.

 

After seating 5 balls, secure the rammer (make sure it is secure and won't drop during firing). Wipe lube over the balls.. Drop hammer on empty chamber. Repeat for second revolver. I can usually load both revolvers in the time it takes two shooters to move through the stage, so you should have plenty of time to help with posse chores.

 

All you have to do at the loading table is cap the nipples. Most of us use a wooden dowel to push the cap all the way down on the nipple so it will fire the first time around.

 

A lot of guys use a lube wad between the powder and the ball rather than lube over the ball. See what works best for you.

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What J-bar says and I use the lubed wad instead of grease over the ball.

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I have 12 cylinders for my Remingtons and do as Harvey said. I only have 4 cylinders for my '61s so I have to load them every other stage. I pre-measure powder into spent SKS shells that I collected at the range and plug them with foam earplugs. When it's time to reload I remove the cylinders from the gun, empty one SKS shell into each chamber, drop a ball on each chamber and seat each of them with a cylinder press. Then I spray the guns and the front of the cylinders with water and soluble oil and wipe down the outside. Reassemble and it's ready to go. APP and/or 777 along with the soluble oil lube the chambers and bore enough that there's no need for any lube or wad for 6 stages. Real black powder, on the other hand, requires a lube to prevent leading and keep the fouling manageable.

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No stand, leave cylinder in the gun. Now the rest is more than you want to know, but...

J-Bar:

 

No, no....it's EXACTLY what I need to know.

 

I've been reading voraciously, but there seem to be a couple dozen different ways to do this; it's great to hear from real shooters, not the You Tube wannabees. MUCH appreciated.

 

Bud:

 

12 cylinders?????? That's $600 or more on top of the cost of the guns! I admire your style! That's a black powder Lamborghini!

 

Thanks, guys.

 

LL

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If you shoot C&B colts (or replicas) you already have 2 cylinders. As with any other pitsol in this game, you will need a spare (or two). That makes three cylinders you already have.

 

As you go along, just add a couple cylinders each time you can afford it on sale at Cabela's (or here on the wire - even cheaper). If you normally shoot 6 stage monthlies, a comfortable place is adding 3 more cyls ($150) so you only have to reload the cyls once each to make the 6 stages.

 

Cylinder loading is easier on you and the gun (especially a brass frame), and it allows you to very quickly clean and lube the area in front of the cyl that will tend to drag and possibly lock up before 6 stages are done (cost me my first clean match on the last stage - that's how I know ;) ).

 

The dragging causes increased tesnion and loading on the revolvers hand and the connecting pieces as it builds up, as well. You will of course, need to slim down the wedges just a bit with a file (then re-blue) to make them a finger tight fit and release - I have done so, but carry a tiny brass and plastic head hammer for a stubborn one.

 

I tried it both ways before going this direction. The peace of mind regarding consistent loads in any weather conditions, loaded at your lesiure, clean and proper advancing or the cylinder, and the extra time available to me at the match made the difference.

 

The choice is indeed yours. ;)

 

Harvey

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J-Bar, you've been luckier than I have, but it sure is great to have the variety of experiences we share with this historic replication (and competition).

 

uWe are privileged to share a passion for the BP era and to have a place to indilge in it with a lot of like minded folks!

 

We are all pretty close in this! Hope to make smoke (and fire) with ya someday!

Harvey

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If you do the Pettifogger conversions on your 1860/51/61s, use TRESO or SLIX nipple and #10 Remington caps you will have a firearm that is quite reliable. On a 10/12 stage match, I pull the cylinders after the first day. I wipe the face of the cylinder, pull a bore snake through the barrel, wipe off and re-lube the arbor and re-assemble. I generally re-charge at this time so I am ready for the first stage tomorrow.

I have seen folks with the multiple cylinders and was not interested. That's a lot of iron to carry around,

I also tried the cylinder loader where you remove the cylinder, load it and return it to the gun. I got that out of my system early.

I load with the loading lever Sam Colt put on his guns. I do use a period correct piece of plastic hose to protect my hand from the loading lever because I use the 5.5" barreled guns. The short lever will really bite you.

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I should add , I also have a revolver stand , that I RAREY use ,

 

I am slow enough on reloadin , with out extra stuff to move around

 

I also have not done the coil spring conversion for the hands , I might when the hair spring breaks

 

I like the normal flat, trigger /bolt springs , over the wire type , they seem to hold up better for me

 

CB

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J-Bar:

 

No, no....it's EXACTLY what I need to know.

 

I've been reading voraciously, but there seem to be a couple dozen different ways to do this; it's great to hear from real shooters, not the You Tube wannabees. MUCH appreciated.

 

Bud:

 

12 cylinders?????? That's $600 or more on top of the cost of the guns! I admire your style! That's a black powder Lamborghini!

 

Thanks, guys.

 

LL

 

It took me a couple of years to acquire all 12 cylinders. The guns came with 4 when I bought them, used, which allowed me to go two stages before reloading. Then I bought two more and was able to only reload once during a match after stage 3. A while later I bought two more which allowed me flexibility to decide when I would reload the 4 cylinders for the last two stages. Then last Christmas Ball & Chain (who doesn't live up to her alias) gave me 4 more cylinders to complete the set.

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