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Question for CW ReEnactors - C&B Blanks


Black Angus McPherson

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A friend of mine wants a revolver he can 1) carry in public while portraying a historical character and (hopefully) not cause said public and any LEO present to freak and 2) have the capability to fire blanks when appropriate.

 

His choices seem to be either a replica blank gun (the only one I've ever seen looked really cheap and cheezy) or a cap and ball revolver.

 

IIRC the blanks for the replica blank guns are in the area of $25 for a box of 25. I figure caps and BP should be cheaper.

 

The question: How do you load a C&B revolver with a blank so that it doesn't flash fire all chambers at the same time or fire some type of projectile?

 

I thought some of you Civil War Re-enactors would know the answer. How do you guys load your C&B revolvers? Or do you just make sure you shoot well over the head of the "enemy"?

 

Thanks,

 

Angus

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With a cap & ball, use a wad and then seal with a 50/50 lube. Works well, but you still don't want to shoot directly at anyone because wads at close range can be projectiles

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We loaded some black powder and filled the chambers with cream of tartar. Pack it down and do it again. Try it until you get the noise you like. The packed cream of tartar will remain in the chambers and hold the load in place. Nothing comes out of the barrel except a little dust.

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In CWR we load our C&B revolvers with black powder covered with cream of wheat. We always aim above the head of all reenactors with revolvers, carbines and muskets.

Scout

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My God I must be getting old. Not cream of tarter. Cornstarch.

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Hows about the blanks they use for mounted shooting?

 

Just a thought.

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Hows about the blanks they use for mounted shooting?

 

Just a thought.

Those are cartridge blanks, not percussion. You can buy them commercial ly.

Cowtown Scout and others are correct about cornstarch. It's the safest. Wads are usually prohibited in re-enactments.

But back to the OP. When you say "carry in public and not cause the public and any LEO to freak out" makes me curious as to the venue you're talking about.

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Pietta makes a nice 1851 Navy "Blank" conversion with labyrinth chambers. Uses 38spcl blanks - good option.

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Are you are looking for a Western style gun or a Civil War style gun? If CW then you have your answer. If you want a Western style gun then you should go to this post on the Reenactors Guild of America. I started a thread there about the Pietta Great Western 2 Blank gun. It’s a high quality gun with a corresponding price tag, but well worth the money.

http://reenactorswire.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=947&sid=c79a72a6e952267346449eb7b4adfeb5

GreatWesternBlankgun.jpg

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Thanks everybody for the info. I like the cream of wheat/cornstarch idea. I'll pass that on. I think I might have to try it myself just for the heck of it. :-)

 

Utah, I'm not exactly sure of the venues he has in mind. I think one might be Old Town St. Charles that occasionaly has events with people portraying characters in historical costume. He'd like to be able to quickly show folks that the gun was a blank gun and/or unloaded. He does not want to carry a live fire cartridge gun.

 

Nickle City Dude, I'm sure the Pietta's are nice but he also wants to keep it cheap.

 

I told him it's not too hard to find a used C&B for ~$150. If it looks rough it just adds character.

The two or three times I was playing a cowboy for an event I just carried one of my C&B guns. Once I even took the nipples off just for ease to "show safe".

 

Right now he's using one of those pot-metal look alikes he bought for $25. OK by the 20' rule, but obviously fake if you get a close look at it.

 

Angus

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Okay, there are a couple of issues here as I see it.

He does not want the public or police to freak out over an apparently real gun. If that's the case then an obviously fake gun that nobody will get bervous about is the only answer.

But he doesn't want a fake looking gun. So........?

 

If he's going to carry a blank firing realistic looking gun, I would suggest it stays in the holster rather than pul it out to show people it's a blank shooter. Pulling it out in public is pretty much guaranteed to freak some people out. If it gets pulled out in the course of a performance then the public and police need to be well aware that it's a scheduled performance. We have seen incidents of film students using replica or airsoft guns doing fake robberies or assaults without the proper notifications with near tragic results when the police or an armed citizen responds.

 

I'm not sure where these performances are taking place but they need to be tightly controlled, the proper authorities need to be notified and coordinated with in advance, the public needs to be aware of what's going on. I have done battle and gunfight re-enactments and living history presentations in the past and that's the way it needs to be handled.

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............error

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Nickle City Dude, I'm sure the Pietta's are nice but he also wants to keep it cheap.

 

 

Right now he's using one of those pot-metal look alikes he bought for $25. OK by the 20' rule, but obviously fake if you get a close look at it.

 

Angus

 

Black Angus McPherson

 

I know that every one wants to get of as cheap as possible but sometimes going cheap only cost you more. I have one of the ME Ranger blank guns made out of pot metal and it has been nothing but trouble. That is why when I found this gun I was ecstatic. It looks great and works without any hang ups. I am able to make my own blanks using cut down .38 Spl. cases and black powder. They are more than loud enough and the black powder smoke adds to the visual effect. Using a C&B revolver is also a solution but this Pietta Great Western 2 gun really adds a great deal to the overall visual effect and ease of use.

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A C&B revolver will work well for both Civil War and Frontier West use, as C&B guns continued in use well into the cartridge era. A Peacemaker type will be OK for Frontier Era, but not for Civil War use. I'd go with a good Pietta Remington .44 C&B clone.

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Before your friend does this in public, have him take the gun to a range, load it with his preferred blank charge and fire it at a coke can just a few inches in front of the muzzle. That should impress him enough that you just can't be too careful, even if they are "just blanks". You can pop a balloon from 20 feet with a BP blank, so you could conceivably hurt someone from that range. I've seen a silver dollar sized 1/4 inch deep hole in a fellow re-enactor's back from a mistake with "just blanks."

 

I'm not trying to discourage anyone, just a friendly reminder that "just blanks" need to be treated the same as live loads from a safety standpoint, and I hope I haven't insulted anyone's intelligence.

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If he's just carrying it and needs to make a little noise for the crowd, why not a percussion revolver (C&B) and just fire caps with empty chambers. While not as loud as a blank or real charge, they will probably get a startled jump reactin from the children and people in the crowd.

 

GS

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My dad and his group would buy styrofoam coolers, and use an empty case about the same caliber as their C&B guns to cut a small "bullet" from the cooler.

 

Then load powder-styrofoam-a dab of grease over the styrofoam.

 

The styrofoam disintegrates as soon as the powder ignites. And even if it didn't, it's not heavy enough to hurt anyone.

 

Seals really well, so you get a good boom.

 

They did a lot of "close range" shooting, and that was the only approved way to load.

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