Black Powder Revolvers - Starting up

#1
I left the TA last year, and whilst I don't miss most of it, the all too occasional range day was something I knew I'd still have a hankering for. So I joined my local shooting club, and for the last 8 months have enjoyed rifle shooting, both .22 and full bore. In the past few weeks I've started playing around with black powder revolvers. Prior to this I had not been interested as I've had a lot of experience shooting "real" pistols in the mob, and felt that muzzle loading / cap and ball would be a poor substitute for playing with automatics. How wrong I was! At long last, I've found a shooting discipline that (a) I've never really done before, and (b) is sufficiently complex to keep my interest. The whole process of reloading etc really flicks my switch, and the pleasure of producing a decent grouping with 150 year old technology is not to be underrated! (I'm not interested in the chamber loading modern designs with sights on, I prefer the older looking cap and ball kit - at the moment).

Up until now I've been shooting a Ruger Old Army .44" which is a club gun, but I'd like to get my own. I've been asking the old and bold in the club about what to get as a first pistol, but the messages have been mixed, and sometimes patently bollocks. Funds being limited for shooting (I want to get a .22" and a 308" / 303" rifle as well), I have looked around the lower end of the pistol market on GunTrader, Gunstar and the like, and there appear to be a fair few Uberti and other revolvers which are between £80 and £250. Considering the ancillary loading kit I'll also need to buy, this is my preferred price range, but I am curious to others' experience of the cheap and cheerful end of the gun market. As an experienced Armourer, I'm not worried by buying a fixer-upper, I just don't fancy blowing my fingers off.

What do The ARRSE shooters recommend?
 
#2
I'd get a Rogers & Spencer or a Remington 1858 repro. None of these Ruger fakety fake things.

And how to do without the massive box of kit / ancillary loading gubbins:

 
#4
In my experience most cylinders can, right up until they don’t. The best way of ensuring that you’re not holding the gun when it fails is not to double charge it in the first place, but each to their own...
 
#5
In my experience most cylinders can, right up until they don’t. The best way of ensuring that you’re not holding the gun when it fails is not to double charge it in the first place, but each to their own...
You can get away with it using BP but definitely not with nitro.
 
#6
Pietta .36 Cap n' Ball, a clone, of the confederate clone, of the Colt 1851 .36 Navy.

This cost me £100 quid 6 years ago, and the only firearm I play with more is the .22lr semi auto.

Its not all about getting a tight group, I just love the whole aspect of black powder shooting, Its a much overlooked part and art of shooting sports.
Due to the methodical loading process. I find the setting up and loading routines are both restful and help to concentration, I always start off shooting this first on a range day, it helps to relax and slow down my metabolism for the days shooting.

Cheap as chips, common as muck, lots of fun................. and I like my guns the same way.


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#7
I'd get a Rogers & Spencer or a Remington 1858 repro. None of these Ruger fakety fake things.

And how to do without the massive box of kit / ancillary loading gubbins:

Ruger stopped making the Old Army in 2008 and spares that are specific to the OA (cylinder pin, rammer bits) hard to come by although here are some aftermarket bits available from the US. That alone should be enough to make you think twice!

Single shot target pistols such as the Pedersoli Le Page quite fun. The overall ROF is similar because it is really just powder, patched ball, ram, cap and fire.

Need to wipe out as well but using Swiss No 2 BP found that once every three shots is OK.

Clean up is a doddle because of hook breech barrel which lifts out
 
#8
1858 Remy & Rodger & Spencer copies seem to take most of the trophies home.

Swiss No.1 seems to be the powder of choice where I am. I just switched to it from No.2 and honestly can't really see a huge difference in accuracy. It's also very expensive, but I do believe it's worth it even though you can still be beaten by folks shooting lesser powders.

I am shooting a considerable amount of Semolina and only about 15 grains of powder so it is quite cheap to shoot and it keeps the birds happy.

Make a loading stand, they are wonderful things and obviously give the powder flask a wide berth, you can't use them in competitions anyhow so get the little glass or plastic tubes.

Swaged balls are great but I've had similar results if not better at times with my own hand cast offerings.

Don't listen to the old wives tales about how difficult they are to clean. All you need is a bowl of hot soapy water and a few patches. Common practice here seems to be complete disassembly once a year, other wise just cylinder out and the job's a good 'un.

I have a Feinwerkbau Rodgers & Spencer which are reasonably expensive compared to the Italian copies but have been hammered into the ground many times by said copies. Most annoyingly by my significant other who shoots a Pedersoli Remington Pattern & is rather smug when she does.
 
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