Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Black Powder, if you please.

In last few months I have taken up the habit of shooting replica cap and ball guns. Being a very practice shooter in modern firearms, I decided to branch out and try something different. I had some experience with cap and ball before, shooting a friends guns from time to time, so I knew the basics of the loading and operation. Buying my first one was an adventure. I was at a sporting goods store buying a gift for my mother (a youth bow kit) and decided to also get my first cap and ball gun. After examining the selection, I chose the Pietta replica of the 1861 Colt Navy revolver (not the one pictured), mainly because it had good balance and pointed well. I was rather surprised that when purchasing the firearm that there was no paper work or background check, because apparently the feds don't consider these guns a threat to tyranny, err I mean national security. So there I was at the register guying a bow and cowboy pistol, looking like I was taking playing cowboys and Indians way too seriously.

So I take it out for the first time and had a blast (pun intended) As gun hobbies go, it is cheaper than most, and can be very relaxing.

I bought the 1858 Remington pictured above, mainly because after doing research I had discovered that it was easier to disassemble and clean. (The Confederate bill pictured with it is fake and is there only for artistic flair). Shortly after the purchase the 1861 Colt broke, due to a spent primer getting into the inner workings of the gun, so I get to learn how to fix an old style revolver. (replacement parts have been ordered).

When shooting, I have been using the pyrodex pellets, which are little cylinders of powder that are simply inserted into the chambers in the place of actual powder. A purist might complain, but I prefer pyrodex to actual black powder, and the pellets are really nice because there is much less mess, and is not all that different from the paper cartridges used in the civil war. The powder load is pretty much the high end of what the pistols are designed for, but since all of my guns are steel framed, they can withstand continued use of the pellets. I also used pre-greased wool patches, and regular .454 inch round ball bullets. Accuracy is pretty decent with these guns, especially when loaded correctly.

I am looking forward to learning more about these weapons. I might post some videos later or other tidbits about this later.


  1. I'll stick to woodworking. You say it's cheaper, but how can it be if you keep having to rebuild them. Have Fun!

  2. Good point. They don't break frequently, I had a spot of bad luck which can happen with any machine. Parts are not terribly expensive, in fact the one I am replacing is 8 dollars with 4 dollar shipping. Still, the whole gun cost under $250, and shooting supplies are fairly inexpensive, so compared to shooting most of my modern guns, it is a cheaper alternative. Cap and ball isn't everyone's cup of tea, takes a lot of patience and a little learning, but can be great fun. But then again, I like things that go boom, so I may be biased...

  3. Well, I think you did great! I saw you shoot and I think you could be great at competition shooting.

  4. Thanks. I am a bit slow at loading to do black powder shooting, however I still intend to do competition with my other guns here in the next few months.