Black Powder & Bullseye ??

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Black Powder & Bullseye ??

Post by mikemyers on Wed May 30, 2018 1:10 pm

First topic message reminder :

The club I belong to has a group that shoots black powder guns once a month, on the same range we use for Bullseye shooting.
    http://www.hrpclub.info
I got to wondering if there is any Bullseye competition using these guns.  I'm guessing not, but am curious.

Years ago, I wanted to try it, but everything seemed way too complicated.  Then I got a black powder gun from a friend, but have never used it.  I keep thinking I'll go to one of those get-togethers, and see what it's like.  Getting together with people who know about something is the best way to learn.

Anybody else here do that?
Sounds like a low-key way to have an enjoyable day doing something very different......

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Re: Black Powder & Bullseye ??

Post by Wobbley on Wed Aug 29, 2018 11:32 am

You might also want to get an ultrasonic cleaner to drop your pistol in after your shoot it.
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Re: Black Powder & Bullseye ??

Post by mikemyers on Wed Aug 29, 2018 11:53 am

Thanks - I have an old ultrasonic cleaner, was for model railroad parts, but I would need a huge one for this gun.  I didn't even have a tray large enough to hold it - ended up just filling up the sink with soapy water.  

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Re: Black Powder & Bullseye ??

Post by Jon Math on Wed Aug 29, 2018 12:11 pm

If you don’t want to burn the “Holy Black” I’d strongly suggest looking at Triple Seven rather than Pryodex.  As long as you stay away from a flintlock you should be OK with the BP substitutes.
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Re: Black Powder & Bullseye ??

Post by Tim:H11 on Wed Aug 29, 2018 12:36 pm

There will be people that disagree with me but I don’t mind. I have a number of years shooting competitively and practicing and training long hours so I have the experiences to validate this: Pyrodex is the devil and should be cast back into the depths of hell from whence it came! More corrosive than black powder but it’s advertised as being not. If you’re an occasional shooter and not competitive ... fine. Do as you wish. But clean it directly after the shooting session. Left overnight will destroy a barrel’s bore. Highly corrosive. Garbage! 

I keep my black powder in an Ammo can locked in a gun cabinet bottom. Air conditioned house. It’s fine so long as it’s sealed and kept away from a spark as that’s the only thing that will ignite it. Not that static charge fairy tale, or too hot of a home. Nonesense! Some of my friends keep it in an ice chest. No ice obviously but it handles shift in temperature better. Dry and away from sparks is all that matters. 

Seating the ball on a revolver.... I do not measure filler. Again: I don’t measure filler. I measure powder. And my seat depth is fixed. So filler = as much as needed to fill the void. So I shoot what’s considered a compressed load though it’s a light charge so it puts out velocities of something more slightly than a light load. Like mild maybe. 18gr of Goex 3Fg. Flood the chamber with yellow corn meal (not that flour looking mix crap - the real stuff) and I mean flood it. In excess. Use your finger to swipe away the excess spillage from the top of the cylinder face. Then the chamber will be filled flush. Then seat the ball. It will be hard to seat the ball. Since the chamber is full it will likely only be able to seated at flush level or slightly below. The powder will compress. The cornmeal not so much.

DO NOT COMPRESS HEAVY CHARGES (the Ruger will more than likely handle it but a Pietta perhaps not)

Pictured is my loading kit and powder dispenser. 

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Re: Black Powder & Bullseye ??

Post by Tim:H11 on Wed Aug 29, 2018 12:45 pm

I’ll also add after re-reading your check list: Do not cap and fire one chamber at a time if multiple chambers are loaded. When you are about to commence shooting, ALL loaded chambers should be capped before firing the first shot no matter how many are loaded. Load one and cap it and fire it or load X amount of chambers, cap all loaded chambers, then commence firing.
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Re: Black Powder & Bullseye ??

Post by Jon Math on Wed Aug 29, 2018 12:46 pm

I assume you also know but just in case:  you want granulated powder not the pellets which are used for the inline hunting rifles.
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Re: Black Powder & Bullseye ??

Post by mikemyers on Wed Aug 29, 2018 12:58 pm

Tim:H11 wrote:........I keep my black powder in an Ammo can locked in a gun cabinet bottom. Air conditioned house. It’s fine so long as it’s sealed and kept away from a spark as that’s the only thing that will ignite it..............Seating the ball on a revolver.... I do not measure filler. Again: I don’t measure filler. I measure powder. And my seat depth is fixed. So filler = as much as needed to fill the void. ......yellow corn meal ........Then seat the ball.....
Tim, for now, maybe I should just get the brass powder flask from Cabelas, and just get enough powder from Bob to keep me going for a week or two.  I can store it in a box in the bottom of my gun cabinet, in an air conditioned room.  As to sealing, it will only be as well sealed as the powder flask allows - hope that's OK.

For seating the ball, Bob uses 20 grains of powder.  The Ruger manual says "It is safe to use as much black powder as the chamber will hold, leaving room for the bullet.  This maximum loading is not usually the most accurate loading however".   Not that I would ever do that, but it means using less powder than that is fine.  Not sure yet - where to get "yellow corn meal"....     As to seating depth, if I just use the ram to push the ball in until I feel resistance, is that acceptable for now?  

Your advice is certainly making things easier for me, and from what you write, I should not have any issues.  As to cleaning, I'll do that every day I shoot, even if it's not required.
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Re: Black Powder & Bullseye ??

Post by LenV on Wed Aug 29, 2018 1:07 pm

Your advice is certainly making things easier for me, and from what you write, I should not have any issues.  As to cleaning, I'll do that every day I shoot, even if it's not required.

Uh Mike I think you missed a biggie here. There is no such thing as "even if it's not required" You shoot it you clean it. Or throw it away....
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Re: Black Powder & Bullseye ??

Post by mikemyers on Wed Aug 29, 2018 1:09 pm

Tim:H11 wrote:I’ll also add after re-reading your check list: Do not cap and fire one chamber at a time if multiple chambers are loaded. When you are about to commence shooting, ALL loaded chambers should be capped before firing the first shot no matter how many are loaded. Load one and cap it and fire it or load X amount of chambers, cap all loaded chambers, then commence firing.
For now, I will be using the Ruger as if it only has one chamber.  I need to get experience at doing this, and doing one shot at a time is fine with me.  Thanks for posting the other information - I didn't know that.  It makes perfect sense though.  Any loaded chamber will have a cap in place, and grease on the end.  (I used to think the grease was to prevent a cross-fire; now I know it's for lubrication.  Is white Lithium grease good for this?  If the purpose is to lubricate the ball as it goes through the barrel, is this appropriate?

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Re: Black Powder & Bullseye ??

Post by mikemyers on Wed Aug 29, 2018 1:17 pm

LenV wrote:Your advice is certainly making things easier for me, and from what you write, I should not have any issues.  As to cleaning, I'll do that every day I shoot, even if it's not required.

Uh Mike I think you missed a biggie here. There is no such thing as "even if it's not required" You shoot it you clean it. Or throw it away....
Sorry, wrong choice of wording.  

What I meant, is even if I only take six shots in a day, when I get home it will be cleaned, regardless of whether it's black powder, pyrodex, or anything else.  No excuses, no delays, period.

(I can't say that about the guns I regularly shoot with - if I go to the range with one of my other guns, and shoot 50 rounds, and I know I'm going back the next day, leaving the gun in my shooting bag, I don't clean the gun.  If I go several times in a week, then it comes apart for cleaning.  I usually clean several guns at a time, one after another.  However, if I'm not planning on shooting the gun in the next few days, that's different.  I clean it so it's done, then put it away.)
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Re: Black Powder & Bullseye ??

Post by Tim:H11 on Wed Aug 29, 2018 1:22 pm

That can of grease will work fine. But messy without an applicator so keep a popsicle stick handy. That’s why I use the tube. 

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Re: Black Powder & Bullseye ??

Post by mikemyers on Wed Aug 29, 2018 1:24 pm

Jon Math wrote:I assume you also know but just in case:  you want granulated powder not the pellets which are used for the inline hunting rifles.
Jon, interesting timing - while you posted this, I was just reading this:  (https://www.chuckhawks.com/difference_black_powders.htm ).  I knew nothing about this - the only black powder I have any experience with is what Bob brought to the range yesterday, which looked like black salt.  

I'll discuss all this with Bob next Tuesday, when I meet him at the range again.  

Hey, please don't assume I know anything......    I feel like I'm in the first grade.    :-)     My brain is combining what Bob said yesterday, with what Tim and others have written here, and what I've read in the Ruger forum.
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Re: Black Powder & Bullseye ??

Post by mikemyers on Wed Aug 29, 2018 1:32 pm

Tim:H11 wrote:That can of grease will work fine. But messy without an applicator so keep a popsicle stick handy. That’s why I use the tube.....
Agreed.  I will use this for now, and buy a tube of white lithium grease like what's in your photo.
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Re: Black Powder & Bullseye ??

Post by mikemyers on Wed Aug 29, 2018 2:11 pm

Flask and capper are now on order.

Does anyone sell a nice stand for holding the gun up vertically during the reloading process?  I've seen photos of ones that are hand made; was wondering if anyone sells them?

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Re: Black Powder & Bullseye ??

Post by Tim:H11 on Wed Aug 29, 2018 2:22 pm

https://www.dixiegunworks.com/index/page/product/product_id/2115/category_id/329/category_chain/578,348,329/product_name/GA1206+Revolver+Stand

This might help. The shooters I know make their own. And the capper you bought may not be the best thing to use. I have one. More of an annoyance than anything else. Especially since I pinch my caps partly inward so they grip the nipples so they don’t fly off in recoil from another shot Incase they fit too loosely on the nipple. Sorry. Some people I’ve seen use them though. I just cap by hand. Or if you must have a capper I’ve used the teardrop looking one with good success.
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Re: Black Powder & Bullseye ??

Post by Jon Math on Wed Aug 29, 2018 3:13 pm

What ever you do don’t double charge a cylinder and don’t load the ball before the powder.  They sell a few tools to remove a dry ball (one loaded before the powder).  One is little more than a wood screw you mount on a rod others use a CO2 cylinder to blow the ball out.  In a pistol or rifle with a ram rod you’ll know that something is off because the rod will not stick out enough or too much from the muzzle, with a revolver you will not get that visual cue.  BP is fun, but you need to pay attention all the time, and remember it might be old school technology, and the law may not treat the firearm as a fire arm, but it is just as dangerous as any modern weapon so all safety rules still apply.
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Re: Black Powder & Bullseye ??

Post by mikemyers on Wed Aug 29, 2018 3:44 pm

Jon Math wrote:What ever you do don’t double charge a cylinder and don’t load the ball before the powder.....
I agree with the second thing you wrote, but for the Ruger, as per the Ruger instruction manual:  "It is safe to use as much Black Powder as the chamber will hold, leaving room for the bullet.  This maximum loading is not usually the most accurate loading however."
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Re: Black Powder & Bullseye ??

Post by mikemyers on Wed Aug 29, 2018 4:28 pm

Tim:H11 wrote:https://www.dixiegunworks.com/index/page/product/product_id/2115/category_id/329/category_chain/578,348,329/product_name/GA1206+Revolver+Stand

This might help. The shooters I know make their own. And the capper you bought may not be the best thing to use. I have one. More of an annoyance than anything else. Especially since I pinch my caps partly inward so they grip the nipples so they don’t fly off in recoil from another shot Incase they fit too loosely on the nipple. Sorry. Some people I’ve seen use them though. I just cap by hand. Or if you must have a capper I’ve used the teardrop looking one with good success.
Thanks - I ordered the stand.  From what I experienced yesterday, especially when I load 5 at a time, this will be handy.

Regarding the "teardrop looking capper", did you mean this one, which Bob gave me?

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Re: Black Powder & Bullseye ??

Post by Tim:H11 on Wed Aug 29, 2018 4:44 pm

Yup. That’ll do. I have one and it’s better in my opinion than the straight ones.
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Re: Black Powder & Bullseye ??

Post by mikemyers on Wed Aug 29, 2018 6:27 pm

I was looking around for a book I bought in the early 1980's when I was thinking of buying a brand new Ruger Old Army.  Found it!  A wealth of information.  In hindsight, I should have also bought the gun.

Back then, the book sold for $9.50.

I just checked - Amazon has it on sale for $37.50 used !
Amazon also has it for sale for $342.73 for a new copy !!!!
https://www.amazon.com/Black-Powder-Handgun-Sam-Fadala/dp/0910676224

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What if something goes wrong?

Post by mikemyers on Wed Aug 29, 2018 10:40 pm

Jon Math wrote:........They sell a few tools to remove a dry ball (one loaded before the powder).  One is little more than a wood screw you mount on a rod others use a CO2 cylinder to blow the ball out. .........BP is fun, but you need to pay attention all the time, and remember it might be old school technology, and the law may not treat the firearm as a fire arm, but it is just as dangerous as any modern weapon so all safety rules still apply.
I haven't read the book enough to find "what to do if..." information, but I just finished watching this video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UjWAoXyinAY
That got me wondering what one would do when something goes amiss...

  • Apparently this fellow didn't put powder in one chamber, so the gun didn't fire - but if that happens, how to get the ball out of the chamber?
  • What to do if there is a mis-fire?  Try again?  ....and if still no-go, put on a new cap?  ...and if still no-go ????


Maybe I'm not yet ready to go shooting this gun by myself.  I remember years ago struggling with problems, but there was always someone around to ask for assistance.  Tim, can you point me to a web sight that might include some of this information?  I'll also ask Bob next Tuesday.
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Re: Black Powder & Bullseye ??

Post by Jack H on Wed Aug 29, 2018 11:10 pm

Jason
are the wad discs (hard felt looking) advisable for a filler?
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Re: Black Powder & Bullseye ??

Post by Jon Math on Thu Aug 30, 2018 6:31 am

mikemyers wrote:
Jon Math wrote:........They sell a few tools to remove a dry ball (one loaded before the powder).  One is little more than a wood screw you mount on a rod others use a CO2 cylinder to blow the ball out. .........BP is fun, but you need to pay attention all the time, and remember it might be old school technology, and the law may not treat the firearm as a fire arm, but it is just as dangerous as any modern weapon so all safety rules still apply.
I haven't read the book enough to find "what to do if..." information, but I just finished watching this video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UjWAoXyinAY
That got me wondering what one would do when something goes amiss...

  • Apparently this fellow didn't put powder in one chamber, so the gun didn't fire - but if that happens, how to get the ball out of the chamber?
  • What to do if there is a mis-fire?  Try again?  ....and if still no-go, put on a new cap?  ...and if still no-go ????


Maybe I'm not yet ready to go shooting this gun by myself.  I remember years ago struggling with problems, but there was always someone around to ask for assistance.  Tim, can you point me to a web sight that might include some of this information?  I'll also ask Bob next Tuesday.

It might be safe in the Ruger but it’s not in all firearms, and never a good practice either way. 

If the chamber does not fire, maybe you forgot the powder, but you need to assume you have a hang fire / slow burn and keep the muzzle down range and keep a firm hold in the expectation that it might go off in the next few seconds. If it does not, still keeping it down range I recap and try again, if it still does not go off I have a nipple primer which is a small powder devise that will put a tiny charge of powder down the nipple opening, recap and try again.  If it still will not go off keep the muzzle in a safe direction for a quarter of an hour, or longer, and then follow the instructions on pulling a bullet.

If the grease is something you don’t want to use OxBow sells revolver seals.  They are little plugs of waxy lube that seal the open ends of the cylinders of the revolver to provide some lube when the chamber is fired and hopefully prevent a chain fire.  They are nice if you are going to carry the revolver holstered as in hunting, but they are expensive to be using just at the range target shooting.
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Re: Black Powder & Bullseye ??

Post by Tim:H11 on Thu Aug 30, 2018 7:35 am

Jack H wrote:Jason
are the wad discs (hard felt looking) advisable for a filler?

Wonder wads! I don’t use them. A gimmick to get you to buy more crap. Some people say “they’re to help prevent a chain fire”. If that were true (which it is silly) that would mean a spark has to travel out the chamber it was fired from, make two 90 degree turns, find a gap between the ball and the chamber wall, if it makes it past any damp grease, then hit the powder if there is no filler being used. The wad is intended to lubricate the chamber and bore so the fouling coming next can stay soft. Without the librication the fouling can harden making a layer of crap build up and point of impact goes nutty. I don’t use them because I need a filler because of my seat depth. I would use too many wads trying to use them as a filler instead of corn meal. I suppose if I wanted to I could measure my filler and still use the wad but it’s not needed because I apply grease over the chambers in the end. Which! Is NOT to prevent a chain fire. It’s to lubricate the lead ball as it travels down the bore and add softener to any fouling coming forward. If you’re going to shoot a lot, then maybe after every 10, 15 or 20 shots, pull the cylinder and run a couple of patches down the bore and clear it out. 

To prevent a chain fire, make sure you’re using the correct size ball for your guns chambers, and make sure your caps stay on their nipples while other chambers are fired. Keep both ends sealed and there is no chance of a chain fire. A properly sized ball should cut a perfect ring of lead as it enters the chamber. An unbroken ring. A broken ring means an incomplete seal.
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Re: Black Powder & Bullseye ??

Post by mikemyers on Thu Aug 30, 2018 8:35 am

Tim, when you first wrote this, it sounded infinitely more plausible than the idea that something coming out of the gun was going to make a u-turn, and get behind the ball/bullet in another chamber.  Still, it seems like a HUGE number of people think it's for the chain fire prevention.  

When you get time, maybe you can say more about loading, and seating depth.  The Ruger Old Army manual says you CAN fill the chamber with powder, and then press in the ball - and that this is NOT a good idea for accuracy.  Is 20 grains of powder a good starting point, or what would you recommend?  Regarding filler, do we want the chamber "filled" to the end after the ball is pressed in place?  And while I'm asking that, should the ball be pressed in until it reaches the powder/filler and just starts to compress the mix, or should it be pressed in much harder?  

Since this is Bullseye (as I see it), I'd like to follow whatever you recommend.

(The only thing I will continue to do differently than anyone else, is use just one chamber, until I feel more confident about everything.)
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Re: Black Powder & Bullseye ??

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