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View Full Version : Blackpowder Pistol Shooting: Cost per round?


maxmiller
09-19-2009, 4:44 AM
I am just curious in regard to about how much it costs per round to shoot a .44cal cap n' ball revolver. Anyone with some experience in this area have any estimates?

Thanks.

pretz
09-19-2009, 6:01 PM
I am just curious in regard to about how much it costs per round to shoot a .44cal cap n' ball revolver. Anyone with some experience in this area have any estimates?

Thanks.

I never added up the cost. It isn't dirt cheap, but not super-expensive, either.

The cost was never a concern for me. I really like the hobby!

There are some who cast their own bullets, make their own powder, caps, wadding, etc., but they do all that for love of the hobby, rather than for economy.

One area of cost savings is that you will not be lighting off nearly the same number of rounds as you would with a modern firearm. Rapid firing isn't possible, and reloading takes much more time.

Scarecrow Repair
09-19-2009, 8:33 PM
One area of cost savings is that you will not be lighting off nearly the same number of rounds as you would with a modern firearm. Rapid firing isn't possible, and reloading takes much more time.

This is very true. Muzzleloading is much more neighborly, in a way. When you shoot muzzle loaders with a friend, you can swap the rifle back and forth, take a couple of minutes to swab out and reload, quite unlike cartridge guns. Plus the noise is so different from smokeless that you don't need hearing protection. It is a strange thing to call it friendly shooting or sociable shooting, but it does feel like that when you are with someone else. 20 rounds seems like a full day. A friend once went thru 100 shots, a full pound of powder, in one sitting, and I just can't imagine doing that, but that's nothing with a pistol, and almost as easy with a rifle.

Sabot
09-19-2009, 10:19 PM
When I first got into blackpowder shooting 20 years ago it was dirt cheap compared to smokeless cartridge shooting, now it isn't as much of a savings. But, if you look around on the internet and do some smart shopping you can still come out ahead.

Per 100 ct.

Round Balls $11.00
Powder $15.00
Caps $ 4.00

About .30 per round, add more if you use a wad or over the ball lubricant/sealer.

maxmiller
09-21-2009, 3:50 AM
Thanks for the info gents.

I have been shooting my Tokarev a lot lately, because ammo is super cheap and more readily available than any other pistol caliber that I own. There seems to be no shortage of blackpowder supplies, however. Moreover, I like the fact that I can ship an 1858 New Army to my front door....

CSACANNONEER
09-21-2009, 6:13 AM
When I first got into blackpowder shooting 20 years ago it was dirt cheap compared to smokeless cartridge shooting, now it isn't as much of a savings. But, if you look around on the internet and do some smart shopping you can still come out ahead.

Per 100 ct.

Round Balls $11.00
Powder $15.00
Caps $ 4.00

About .30 per round, add more if you use a wad or over the ball lubricant/sealer.

Close but, I don't think that $15 for powder is even close. I bet it's more like $3 worth of powder for 100 rounds. I cast my own roundballs from free lead and I would NEVER consider shooting without using wonderwads or some other sealer. So, I figure my cost is about .10/round.

sd_shooter
09-21-2009, 6:33 AM
Close but, I don't think that $15 for powder is even close. I bet it's more like $3 worth of powder for 100 rounds. I cast my own roundballs from free lead and I would NEVER consider shooting without using wonderwads or some other sealer. So, I figure my cost is about .10/round.

Where do you get the lead? One of my next projects is going to be a black powder pistol kit.

Scarecrow Repair
09-21-2009, 9:23 AM
There are 7000 grains in a pound. 100 shots would be 70 grains per shot. That happens to be what I use in my rifles, but I could get by with less at the distances I shoot, and contrariwise, the rifles would take probably double, but don't quote me on that. I think my pistols use about 20 grains but could go up to 30-40.

Last time I bought power, some cannon fg a couple of months ago, it was $23, which would be 23 cents a rifle shot and 6.5 cents a pistol shot.

CHS
09-21-2009, 10:52 AM
I use black powder substitutes (pyrodex and others) and most of them you're paying by the pound, but pouring volumetrically.

So while you're only getting 7000 grains, your not actually using say 30 grains for a pistol load. You're using less and only using the volume of 30. With the substitutes you get more shots per pound.

I've never really estimated what it costs to shoot, but caps are dirt cheap, balls are pretty cheap and powder can be kinda pricey but you get tons of shots per pound.

$.30 or less definitely sounds right.

I use the pre-lubed and cut wonder wads. The convenience is worth the price.

11Z50
09-21-2009, 11:58 AM
One of the things I like about BP revolver shooting is that it slows the process down and you actually get more enjoyment per shot. When I shoot my semi-auto pistols I have great fun, but in a half hour I've went thru a couple hundred rounds and I'm looking for more. With my BP stuff, in a half hour I will have fired a dozen or so shots and enjoyed each shot more.

With the ammo shortage, it make sense to stockpile ammo for your "serious" weapons and conserve. Shooting BP is a bit cheaper, and if you buy in quantity, you will have plenty of caps, balls and powder to last you a long time.

CSACANNONEER
09-21-2009, 4:43 PM
Where do you get the lead? One of my next projects is going to be a black powder pistol kit.

Where ever I can scrounge it up from. For muzzleloading and C&B revolvers, I recommend using very soft (pure) lead. Another Calgunner dropped off a bunch of sheet lead for me and I've used stained glass lead too. For catridge stuff and to make roundballs for 3" canister rounds, I use wheel weights or whatever I can find.


Last time I bought power, some cannon fg a couple of months ago, it was $23, which would be 23 cents a rifle shot and 6.5 cents a pistol shot.

Ouch! That's a little on the high side! Then again, finding BP locally at a retail store isn't that easy. I try to get my powder from my re-enacting unit. sometimes we order over 200lbs at a time so, we get it at a decent price.

I use black powder substitutes (pyrodex and others)



SINNER!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Without the smell and taste of real BP, you're missing out! Yea, it doesn't foul the same but, that's part of it! Well, my frontstuffers are more traditional and I try to be traditional while shooting them. I guess if you have one of those modern inline things with fancy glass mounted on top, BP substitutes would just complete the concept and image of modern muzzleloading.

CHS
09-21-2009, 5:32 PM
SINNER!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Without the smell and taste of real BP, you're missing out! Yea, it doesn't foul the same but, that's part of it! Well, my frontstuffers are more traditional and I try to be traditional while shooting them. I guess if you have one of those modern inline things with fancy glass mounted on top, BP substitutes would just complete the concept and image of modern muzzleloading.

Honestly, I just like shooting.

With true black powder I have to constantly clean my cap and ball pistol or it stops working. The fowling just prevents the cylinder from rotating after about 12 rounds or so.

With pyrodex I can shoot all day long and just clean it up when I get home.

While I do prefer the smell and smoke of real Black Powder, I like convenience and shooting a lot more :)

I've got an 1858 Remington New Model Army in Stainless (again, for ease of cleaning) and I love the hell out of it. I've also got a .54cal Cabela's "sporterized" Hawken Carbine. It's short and fun!

smle-man
09-21-2009, 7:07 PM
I use the pyrodex pellets for my Old Army. I had the dickens of a time trying to load an Old Army in high wind conditions and switched over to the pellets. so much easier to load.

CHS
09-21-2009, 7:12 PM
I use the pyrodex pellets for my Old Army. I had the dickens of a time trying to load an Old Army in high wind conditions and switched over to the pellets. so much easier to load.

I've thought about using the pellets, and even bought a can of them, but haven't had any range time with them yet.

Care to expand a bit? I'd like to hear more about them.

11Z50
09-21-2009, 7:16 PM
I've thought about using the pellets, and even bought a can of them, but haven't had any range time with them yet.

Care to expand a bit? I'd like to hear more about them.

Yes, me too.....

Sabot
09-21-2009, 8:56 PM
There are 7000 grains in a pound. 100 shots would be 70 grains per shot. That happens to be what I use in my rifles, but I could get by with less at the distances I shoot, and contrariwise, the rifles would take probably double, but don't quote me on that. I think my pistols use about 20 grains but could go up to 30-40.

Last time I bought power, some cannon fg a couple of months ago, it was $23, which would be 23 cents a rifle shot and 6.5 cents a pistol shot.

OK, its been about 20 years since I shot black powder so I forgot how far a pound would go. I used to shoot 30 grains, and sometimes 40 grains in my Ruger Old Army, so a pound would yield about 200 shots.

smle-man
09-21-2009, 9:08 PM
Yes, me too.....

I use the 30 gr pellets for the Old Army. Just drop in a pellet, mash a ball firmy down on top of it, smear some grease over each chamber, cap and shoot. I'm going to make some combustable cartridges one of these days using magician's flash paper - also available from Dixie gun works. The flash paper holds the ball and powder (pellet) together for quick loading and completely combusts when fired. The pellets still give plenty of white smoke and that 'woomph' sound of black powder detonating, even though it isn't black powder.

CSACANNONEER
09-23-2009, 5:43 PM
I use the pyrodex pellets for my Old Army. I had the dickens of a time trying to load an Old Army in high wind conditions and switched over to the pellets. so much easier to load.

Oh, someone please help get me out of the fetal position.

Yea, I've loaded in high winds too. In fact, I took my first buck ever with a second shot from my .54. I had to reload it in +30 mile winds. There was powder blowning all over so, I know exactly what you mean. Also, my ramrod broke in two while seating the follow up ball. I got lucky and judged the wind and the reduced powder charge right because, I dropped the little buck at about 125 yards. I will never forget that experience and it just would not have been the same if I had used all the modern frontloading crap that's available today. Lucky for me, Pyrodex did not make pellets back in '86 or my story might not have been as good as it is. I guess I just embrace traditional muzzleloading and don't have any real interest in all the modern stuff. But, to each his own. If the convience of using substitutes is worth more to someone than experiencing the real thing, it's their call to make. Either way, I will agree that shooting BP substitutes is better than not shooting at all. At least, I think it is. I've only let off one round of Pyrodex and that was at sea.

steelrain82
09-23-2009, 6:28 PM
where do you guys buy all the powder and stuff. this sounds like it would be fun to do. is it cheap to buy a gun?

Sabot
09-23-2009, 7:27 PM
where do you guys buy all the powder and stuff. this sounds like it would be fun to do. is it cheap to buy a gun?

I just placed a large order for Pyrodex and round balls from Graf & Sons, I get good prices there because I have a dealer account with them. My next trip out shooting black powder will be the first time in 20 tears and I plan on making up for lost time. I also won an auction on Gunbroker last night for an EIG 1851 Navy .36 caliber revolver, unfired for $96.00. What's EIG?, never heard of them I hope it's decent quality, I took a chance because of the price.

CSACANNONEER
09-23-2009, 7:36 PM
I just placed a large order for Pyrodex and round balls from Graf & Sons, I get good prices there because I have a dealer account with them. My next trip out shooting black powder will be the first time in 20 tears and I plan on making up for lost time. I also won an auction on Gunbroker last night for an EIG 1851 Navy .36 caliber revolver, unfired for $96.00. What's EIG?, never heard of them I hope it's decent quality, I took a chance because of the price.

Cool! My first C&B was a .36. If you ever decide to cast your own roundball, you're more than welcome to stop by and use my molds, leadpots, etc. Also, if and when you decide that there is no substitute for the smell of burning sulpher, let me know. I've got a can or two of Goex FFFg around here somewhere.

11Z50
09-23-2009, 8:20 PM
where do you guys buy all the powder and stuff. this sounds like it would be fun to do. is it cheap to buy a gun?

For me, part of the fun is the hunt. Same thing when I collected Finnish Mosin-Nagants and Carcanos. Back then (late 90's) they were cheap and the were very historical. When I got on the BP kick, I found some really good deals ranging from free (from a buddy) to about half price on a Cabela's sporting Hawken. I recently scored a genuine Colt 1851 .36 (produced in the 1970's) for $300 in Portland. You can also find powder and ball cheap in gun shops where it has been sitting for a few years. If you look around you can score some great deals. Luckily, my job has me traveling frequently so I get a lot of good opportunities.

The main appeal is shooting them of course, and I really enjoy cranking off some shots with the Ruger Old Army loaded to max, or the .50 Hawken withh 100 grains of powder and a roundball.

You should be able to find a decent cap and ball revolver for less than $200. The stuff to feed it will be less than another $100.

pretz
09-24-2009, 1:37 PM
where do you guys buy all the powder and stuff. this sounds like it would be fun to do. is it cheap to buy a gun?

Usually, yes. I have bought used pistols for $50 from people who thought it was a neat idea, then found it wasn't quite for them. Loading is slow and exacting, and maintenance is a must.

I like to think of powder guns as the Zen style of shooting.

Rambo types will not take well to it.

11Z50
09-24-2009, 11:41 PM
Usually, yes. I have bought used pistols for $50 from people who thought it was a neat idea, then found it wasn't quite for them. Loading is slow and exacting, and maintenance is a must.

I like to think of powder guns as the Zen style of shooting.

Rambo types will not take well to it.

Indeed! I have shot so many thousands of full-auto rounds it became boring to me!

scrat
09-25-2009, 5:59 PM
Depends on what if
1. is it the powder i made that i am using
2. is it the round balls that i casted
3. is it the tap o cap caps that i made

if the answer is yes to all of them then i would say about .02 cents a shot or less

that is to say IF i made those things. Now you know i would not do that here in Kalifornia

11Z50
09-25-2009, 8:18 PM
While it is a bit far-fetched (I hope), if there ever is a time when the gun laws get real bad, a BP revolver may be something one might want to own and get familiar with. You can still buy one with no paper, tuck it away with some caps, powder, and ball, and nobody would know. It's better than not having a weapon at all, and certainly will get the job done.

CHS
09-25-2009, 10:14 PM
While it is a bit far-fetched (I hope), if there ever is a time when the gun laws get real bad, a BP revolver may be something one might want to own and get familiar with. You can still buy one with no paper, tuck it away with some caps, powder, and ball, and nobody would know. It's better than not having a weapon at all, and certainly will get the job done.

You know, a friend of mine always jokes about the gangbangers discovering the "Blackpowder loophole" and when the media finds out about it the FIELD DAY they'll have.

NEXT ON CNN: "DID YOU KNOW YOU CAN BUY A GUN AND HAVE IT MAILED STRAIGHT TO YOUR HOUSE?!??"

11Z50
09-25-2009, 11:04 PM
Oh no!!!!!!!!

11Z50
09-26-2009, 8:18 PM
I found some 30 grain pyrodex at Bass Pro today......will be trying it out soon

TheBlackPowderGuy
10-11-2009, 4:52 AM
where do you guys buy all the powder and stuff. this sounds like it would be fun to do. is it cheap to buy a gun?

take a look at www.dixiegunworks.com and www.cabelas.com for the largest selection of pistols and rifles - neither sell real black powder though.

for that, look at www.grafs.com, or www.powderinc.com.. remember, there's a $20 hazmat fee for mail order powder so get as much as you can each time you order.. there's also the same fee for the precussion caps (if you need them) so it helps to get powder and caps from the same source. (the fee is per *shipment* not per item.)

the selection of weapons is so wide that it would take an entire page to list them all.. most are either .44 or .36 caliber revolvers while single shot pistols can go from .50 to .60 caliber and rifles up to .72 (single shot).. and there are shotguns as well usually between 12-16 gauge.

for starters you need: 1 (or more) guns + lead bullets (100/box) + either flint or percusssion caps (100/tin, flint is sold by the piece) + lubricants (#1 is called 'bore butter' made by thompson/center) and cleaning equipment (plain ol' soap and hot water will do but you might need a ramrod and attachments)..

i got a great starter gun (6 shot 'confederate' 1851 .44cal) with brass frame from cabela's for only $129 plus shipping.. they have the bullets and caps and cleaning stuff as well plus lots of other stuff for blackpowder shooting.

if you are really interested, stop by the #1 forum for bp: www.muzzleloadingforum.com and ask questions.. there are about 15,000 members there some with 30+ years experience..

once you go black, you'll never go back.... ha!

~d~

maxmiller
10-23-2009, 3:57 AM
Thanks for all the info, gents. My 1858 New Army arrive from Cabela's this past Tuesday, and I can't wait to shoot it. Got it on sale for $229 w/ starter kit plus promotional $5 shipping: can't beat that!

It's nice to have a gun shipped to your front door with no hassle or paperwork....

pretz
10-23-2009, 1:20 PM
Enjoy!

joelberg
10-26-2009, 1:32 PM
If you're using Crisco as a lube, the price for that becomes negligible. It's what I use. Buy a huge vat of the stuff for 5 bucks and you're set for several thousand rounds worth of lube. 30 bucks will get you a pound of 777 3Fg locally and that will shoot you at least a few hundred rounds out of a pistol (its much hotter than Pyrodex or real black, so you use less). Caps are dirt cheap and the price is typically 2 to 5 cents per.