View Full Version : Does anyone here shoot black powder?

12-22-2005, 2:40 PM
Curious as to how involved a process/how steep the learn curve is?

Also curious about the rough cost per shot for one of these revolvers listed below.


12-22-2005, 4:41 PM
I am an occasional shooter of a Ruger Old Army. I'm using Pyrodex pellets so I guess I'm not really a black powder shooter. :p It isn't difficult - there is a black powder forum over at The High Road that has a lot of good info for a beginner.

Per hundred, the pellets are $15, Wonder Wads are $5, caps are about $5, and round balls are about $9. So I guess I'm spending about 34 cents a round. Regular black powder purchased a pound at a time is probably a lot cheaper per round.

I'd like to try one of the cartridge conversions and load up some black powder .45 Colt rounds. I think that'd be really cool.

12-22-2005, 5:12 PM
I've got a New Model Army I got from the Sportsman's guide a number of years ago (It was only about $70 then). I went to a specialty blackpowder store in Buena Park's Hobby City (still there??) to get powder, balls, and measures etc.

They were out of measures, but they said a .38 special case was just as good.

I've only put about 100 balls down the barrel. Lots of fun with the smoke and flash at nite.

A pound of powder goes a long way.

As far as learning curve, just to get it to shoot is not much - to be very accurate might be.

I'm thinking about getting a rifle to try some blackpowder hunting.

12-22-2005, 6:36 PM
I have both a stainless Ruger Old Army and a Colt 51 copy in .44 cal.

The Colt copy is real pointable (reminds me of a 1911, pointability-wise) but I went cheap with a brass frame and I'm really afraid to shoot it much (it has stretched slightly in the 6 or 8 shoots that I've had with it). The front sight is too short on the Colt copies too, BTW.

The Ruger is much heavier/bulkier, but has an adjustable rear sight. I had heard rumors that you can clean a stainless Old Army in a dishwash if you remove the wood grips. I actually tried this (after spraying the magic black powder residue cleaner of: H2O2, Isopropanol, and Murphy Oil Soap) it actually works.

Learning curve is actually pretty low. What you need: Black powder (fine 'FFF' for handguns), Lead Round Balls (.454 for the Colt, and .457 for the Ruger), Primer caps (#10 or 11 size), cap holder / applicator (looks like a brass snail), powder measure (looks like a brass syringe with marks in 'grains'), powder flask (some have premeasuring tips, so the powder measure would not be needed), and a nipple wrench. You'll also want to either use Wonder Wads in .45 or get some grease to seat over the balls.

The order of loading: 1) half cock gun to rotate cylinder freely, measure powder, put in cylinder, 2) put ball on cylinder with powder, 3) use lever built into gun to press ball down into cylinder, 4) put grease or Wonder Wad into cylinder with powder/ball (use lever to press wonder wad, but not grease), 5) Repeat until all cylinders are loaded, 6) step up to the firing line, 7) use snail-like capping tool to cap the 6 nipples on the cylinder with gun at half cock position while the barrel is pointed in a safe direction, so that the cylinder can turn freely, 8) fully cock the gun, 9) shoot, fully cock with gun turned slightly to the side (with the capping indentation pointed towards the ground) to facilitate spent caps to fall on the ground instead of falling into the cylinder mechanism.

I also find it necessary to completely disassemble the Colt copy for cleaning because black powder residue is corrosive when it absorbs moisture from the air. The SS of the Ruger is easier to clean.

Mix up some Hydrogen peroxide, rubbing alcohol, and Murphy's Soap Oil (4 oz, 4oz, 1oz) and put it in a spray bottle (for cleaning). This will magically dissolve all bp residue on contact.

That's all I can think of now. Oh, yeah, did I mention it's alot of fun to shoot?


12-23-2005, 5:03 AM

I have been shooting black powder for years, both percussion and flintlock (also miquelets and doglocks!). Give me a call if you still have my number, or PM me, and I will bend your ear for you.

I also happen to have a NIB Ruger Old Army for sale, stainless, adjustable sights, 7.5" barrel. I can give you a smokin' deal for the season:)


12-23-2005, 8:56 AM
be advised shooting with grease can be quite messy. fun to be sure, but i was surprised at the grease.

12-23-2005, 9:08 AM
Been shooting BP for years Not as into it as I used to be but it's lots of fun:)
When you take your BP guns out it realy dosen't matter about the cost per shot because of the slow pace of the shooting. To me part of the fun of BP is the history and the procedure. You become very close to every aspect of the loading procedure. It will give you a new insite on modern guns and you will be amazed at how accurate the BP guns can be after you develop your loads.

If you want I can send you the name of a NRA BP instructor you can talk to.

12-23-2005, 10:04 AM
i've been thinking of delving into black powder as well. another question: just how many shots do you tend to get off in a cylinder before it's too dirty to shoot?

and with all the extra special effects you're making, is there any particular sense of etiquette to follow at the range?

and when the range master calls time, do you have to quickly somehow empty the cylinder of its contents, or just pull the cylinder out altogether?