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Old 08-06-2018, 05:21 PM
jrd1976 jrd1976 is offline
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Do you ever shoot an antique cap and ball revolver Do you ever shoot an antique cap and ball revolver Do you ever shoot an antique cap and ball revolver Do you ever shoot an antique cap and ball revolver Do you ever shoot an antique cap and ball revolver  
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Default Do you ever shoot an antique cap and ball revolver

I picked up a Savage Revolving Fire-Arms Navy Model 36 Cal cap and ball revolver for a reasonable price over the weekend. I have shot almost every other gun I own, including doing some hunting with a 45-70 Trapdoor Springfield made in 1884. It just seems so cool to shoot something 150 or so years old.

(And because of the age, extreme caution should be used)

I have replicas of an 1851 Navy and an 1860 Army that I have shot with black powder and with Triple 7.

Does shooting an antique of this age decrease the value?

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Old 08-06-2018, 05:25 PM
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Not unless you blow it up by using smokeless powder. If I had an original C&B in high condition, I probably would not shoot it. That is what the replicas are for. The only original C&B revolver I have is a .31 Colt Model 1849 in average condition. I don't shoot it much, but still do occasionally.
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Old 08-06-2018, 05:40 PM
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I would think not---right up until something breaks. At that point, both the value and the cost of ownership change. Value goes down (because it doesn't work)---and ownership cost goes up (because of the cost to fix it). At $75 to $100 per hour shop rate, the cost to fix it can get your attention----quickly.

I too shoot black powder guns---a Ruger Old Army. In the highly unlikely event anything breaks, the cost to repair/replace it is akin to lunch money. Added benefits (over originals or replicas) include vastly superior sights and extreme accuracy---pretty unbelievable accuracy actually.

Ralph Tremaine

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Old 08-06-2018, 05:45 PM
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I have several reproduction C&B revolvers that I shoot. I only have one original which is in shootable condition, but I will not shoot it due to the fact that if something breaks it will be almost impossible to fix. I also have an original 1863 Springfield Rifle Musket that I do not shoot for the same reason.
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Old 08-06-2018, 05:48 PM
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I think the OP is referring to original C&B revolvers of Civil War vintage. I used to occasionally shoot Colt 1860 Armies and Colt 1851 Navies way back before they became as valuable as they are today. The ones I remember shooting were in very good condition and I experienced no problems at all and only used black powder. Considering the value of originals; I'd probably confine my shooting to the inexpensive replicas available today.
Jim

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Old 08-07-2018, 08:30 AM
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When I get the need for blackpowder shooting I take out my 1862 Colt Police 36 cal. Amazingly accurate and wonderful action all steeped in shooting nostalgia. The replicas just don't do it for me...I want the real deal. Besides..they were built to SHOOT..not collect dust...
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Old 08-07-2018, 09:08 AM
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I have only 1 original C&B revolver, a early 1860 Colt Army shipped in April 1861. I won't shoot it although it is mechanically excellent.

I get a kick out of Pawn Stars when they buy a C&B rifle or pistol they always have to go shoot it as if THAT is the rule. I'll bet they had a few blow which we'd never see the footage of same on the show.

Come to think of it I haven't seen the show lately to check if Chum-lee has all his fingers on both hands. Poor kid, he's the official, resident, comic relief / guinea pig of the show, laughing all the way to the way to the bank.
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Old 08-07-2018, 10:03 AM
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Just why Pawn Stars hasn't gone ahead and acquired a FFL is a mystery to me. The could set an arbitrary cut off of perhaps WW II for purchases or C&R status if the didn't want to handle modern guns but they would be IMO taking in a lot more interesting items.
Jim
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Old 08-07-2018, 11:01 AM
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I shoot my replica's , of modern manufacture ,from Italy.
I do not shoot the original 36 cal. Manhatten revolver made in 1872, the steel looks iffy .
Gary
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Old 08-07-2018, 12:35 PM
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As a child growing up in the Old West ( 1930s in Tombstone, etc ) money for cartridges was scarce, so my buddies & I made our own black powder from sulfur & charcoal, etc. , used smooth pebbles for bullets and shot my old cap & ball rifle at various dangerous wild game, like pack rats, jack rabbits, etc. Never seemed to have any adverse effect on the rifle. It says "S. Hawken St Louis" on the barrel. I still have it, but ran out of pebbles years ago. Ed.
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Old 08-07-2018, 01:14 PM
rct269 rct269 is offline
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As a child growing up in the Midwest (1950's in St. Louis), money was available, but nobody would sell black powder to us; so we made our own from sulfur & charcoal (and sundry other ingredients we thought might soup it up some). We used whatever would fit in the (rather large) barrels of our home made guns for projectiles (Ball bearings worked rather well.)-----think water pipe with handles. We also made some dandy bombs.

A bit later, but still a child, I too had a real, honest to God old time muzzle loading rifle (but alas, not a Hawken). I shot it for the first time in the back yard---into a vacant lot----just to satisfy my curiosity. (It went bang.) Later on that afternoon, the police arrived---inquiring as to the presence of any firearms in the house. Sure enough, there were firearms in the house. Had anybody fired one of those firearms today? Yep.

So anyhow, the 36 caliber round ball had gone into the vacant lot, ricocheted off something or other, continued on across the street---through the vertical portion of a window awning---through the screen----through the window---through a Chinese figurine (rendering it unto dust) sitting on a mantle---striking a VERY LARGE mirror over the mantle (producing a TINY, truly TINY, little chip---ricocheted off the mirror, striking the mate to the aforementioned Chinese figurine (rendering it also unto dust)--then striking the wall and falling on the floor---where it was found by the police---who were at a loss to say what sort of firearm might have launched it.

So anyhow (again), my father helped me repair the window---and then came lesson time when HE decided I was going to be picking up the tab for whatever there was a tab for. Being good neighbors, they deemed a new mirror would suffice---and let me tell you something: GREAT BIG MIRRORS COST GREAT BIG DOLLARS!!!---especially for a kid.

Ralph Tremaine, Marksman Extrodinaire

AND---in response to a nosy person, the police came to our house because they had stuck a hollow tube through the hole in the neighbor's (window) screen, on through the hole in the vertical part of the (metal) window awning---and peered through the tube---to pretty much the very spot in our back yard where I'd been standing---never mind the ricochet. It was close enough.

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Old 08-07-2018, 01:15 PM
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I generally avoid the youtube video "experts", but there's one guy who is very professional, and historically & technically well informed.
His channel is called "capandball".

YouTube

He's from Hungary, and is an active competitor with their national muzzleloading team. He also buys and sells originals and repros.
Many of his videos are range comparisons of things like, say, an original Remington 1858 revolver and a Uberti reproduction.

Check it out. He's very informative and entertaining.

Best Regards,
Jim

PS: international muzzleloading competition has "original only" categories for most of it's matches. Lots of folks only shoot the originals!
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Old 08-07-2018, 05:50 PM
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Quote:
As a child growing up in the Old West ( 1930s in Tombstone, etc ) money for cartridges was scarce, so my buddies & I made our own black powder from sulfur & charcoal, etc. , used smooth pebbles for bullets and shot my old cap & ball rifle at various dangerous wild game,
Ed, are you sure that you didn't mean 1830's???????
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Old 08-07-2018, 06:01 PM
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I would shoot the gun. If you use black powder and clean the gun thoroughly it should be fine. I own a Lancaster flintlock rifle that I built using a Jim Chambers kit. I shoot it every so often and occasionally hunt with it during BP deer season. I also own a Pendersoli Hawken BP rifle that I use more often because it is shorter and easier to maneuver in the woods. They are both 50 caliber so the balls can be used in either gun. I have a 50 caliber Rapine bullet mold that I carry in my possibles bag and hand cast all of my balls.

There is real satisfaction in taking a deer with a ball that you cast yourself.
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Old 08-07-2018, 07:03 PM
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Default Fired a 1861 Savage Navy

Long Long ago i shot a genuine vintage Savage 1861 Navy as a favor to an old gunsmith.
He had MADE and INSTALLED some proper replacement nipples and wanted them "fire aged" with at least four shots each.
I got the request because I did have black powder and some 3/8 lead balls.
The 3/8 soft lead sheared a ring nicely when rammed into the 36 caliber cylinder. Well sealed against flash over.

I remember well the confusion at the range when I did not VISIBLY cock between shots.
That pistol had a "ring" below the trigger that your second finger could pull back to advance cylinder and cock the hammer.
Two observers noticed that I did not cock this one like other black power revolvers.
They were quite impressed with the uniqueness of the action when I showed, explained and demonstrated how it worked.

That was the only time I fired a genuine vintage black powder firearm.
I have fired my 1911 Heavy Frame Target with Low Velocity rounds, but it is not black powder.

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Old 08-07-2018, 08:09 PM
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James, I'm pretty sure it was 1930s. 1830s were mostly only Apaches around. No Tombstone yet. The 1930s were wild enough in southern Arizona for a young boy. Still had hitching racks on the streets as half the traffic was still horse and wagons. ( Watch where you stepped crossing the streets ) Lots of the old timers still were around. Jeff Milton showed us how much black powder to use for each load ( put the ball in your palm and enough powder over it to cover the ball , that was safe load that wouldn't blow up a gun ) For a good read, get the book " Jeff Milton, A Good Man With a Gun" When Jeff came to town, Wyatt Earp made sure he had business elsewhere! Ed.
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Old 08-07-2018, 08:44 PM
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The only C&B revolver I fired is a Ruger Old Army in Stainless Steel, once, 25 years ago. The Ruger is big and heavy, closer to the size of a Colt Dragoon or Walker and heavy Stainless. I felt sure I couldn't get hurt loading the Ruger to specified loads and it functioned excellently.

I still have the Ruger Old Army (fired once) but don't use it. This solved my curiosity. The billowing smoke was a blast for an experience of a life time. I had to step over to the side to see if I hit the target. After a few rounds I set up the spotting scope from 2 lanes over while my buddy spotted and reported as I shot. All great fun but the grit, grease and clean up is something I'd swore I'd never do again as long as my cartridge firing Model 3s worked with stepped down / Phillip Sharpe specified, smokeless loads, I'm good.

Drifting a little off specific topic of vintage C&B, to comment on Black Powder (including Cartridge loads) ...

I had not fired any of my Model 3s until about 20 years ago when member Tom Blair (RIP) gave me his "recipe" on the .44 Russian, .45 Schofield, .44 American, my first Phillip Sharpe book with 44 Russian and .45 Schofield dies.

Tom Blair was a good friend and mentor. I already owned quite a few Model 3s when I purchased Tom's 8" New Model 3 Target in partnership with another member / friend back in about 1998. When the other member / friend passed, I discovered the 8" (and several other premium revolvers) had been put up as collateral on a loan his "girlfriend" took in another State, 1000 miles away. I had to bid on that gun and some of this others at a public auction (after he passed) to get it back. Of them all I bid on, I was partners only in the 8" NM3 44 Target. When it seemed I was not ever going to see my half of that 8", I purchased another, even nicer but the sentimental part was, it was Tom Blair's since either just before or just after WWII.

Tom Blair had previously loaned me his American dies that were his own mixture of components a .41 Magnum case press and flaring tool with the bullet pressed inside the cartridge with a very tight roll crimp. Midway has a great video on the S&W American here:

The darn Model 3s got to be worth so much money I only fire a select few and then ONLY, if " I " or Tom loaded the ammo. This way if something dumb happens like I blow out the cylinder on a near irreplaceable Model 3 (never mind losing a few fingers or an eye, I'd feel worse about damaging the Model 3) it is NOBODY'S fault but my own. Thank the Lord, I have been very careful loading, all these years as I am not a "quantity" loader. I don't load every week but perhaps once per year for a few days, only for the specialty or target rounds, old style and newer .45 ACP (Giles loads) and S&W Model 52, .38 mid-range loads that I use on ALL .38 Specials just not the 52s.

The Americans I load one by one, hand measuring the powder. The .44 Russians I'll do on the Dillon 650 but weigh them individually when finished.
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Old 08-07-2018, 08:54 PM
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I shoot this old fella once in a while. 68 caliber (as I recall) and made in Suhl, Germany in the 1830's...
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Old 08-07-2018, 09:43 PM
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I have shot several originals, but I didn't own them. I have always thought that if it was good enough to shoot, don't shoot
it. I had a teacher in high school who was into old black powder
guns. He had among several Colts & Remingtons a Savage &
North and I got to shoot it. He ended up being a high end
collector and very knowledgable not only of the gun but the history behind it. I had a family 1849 Colt .31. I kept it in my
locker at school. When me and buddies weren't in the mood for
chemistry I would take it in class and lay it on his desk. That
was Chem class for that day , he would fondle it whole class.
He wanted it bad, kept him on the hook for 2 years. Graduated
and went home with my pistol.
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Old 08-10-2018, 02:11 PM
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Thank you for all the replies.

From all the videos on Utube about this and other antique firearms, I've decided to shoot it the next time I take my replicas to the range.
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Old 08-11-2018, 04:25 PM
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Howdy

Funny you should ask.

I shot my first Black Powder Cap & Ball revolver when I bought my Navy Arms 44 caliber, brass framed 'Navy' in 1968. No, I did not know back then that the Navy was only a 36 caliber revolver, and they were never made with a brass frame. But I had a lot of fun with it until I discovered that the brass frame had stretched and it was shooting really high. Nobody was warning us back then not to load up the chambers of a brass framed revolver with powder. I still have it, but now it is just a wall hanger.




A few years later I bought an 1858 Remington. I have not fired it as a C&B for years now, as I bought a conversion cylinder for it and now only shoot it with my Black Powder 45 Colt loads.

I bought a couple of Pietta 1860 Army Colts a few years ago, just for fun, but to tell you the truth I don't shoot C&B anymore because they are a pain to clean.

I do shoot Black Powder in cartridge guns all the time, but that is a different story.

Anyway, just this year I was able to pick up this 1861 Savage North 36 caliber revolver. Everything seems to function correctly, pulling the lower trigger cocks the hammer and rotates the cylinder, pulling the upper trigger drops the hammer. I have not fired it yet, but I intend to. First I have to tear it apart and do my routine set up for Black Powder. I also have to find out if the nipples are OK after all these years. If they are not, I will have to have some custom nipples made up.








I also have this lovely little Bacon 31 caliber pocket pistol. I bought it last year because it caught my eye. Somebody had polished away all the blue, and it looks like a Stainless gun, but of course it is not. Anyway, I intend to fire this one too.





By the way, I agree that fellow from Hungary is an excellent resource. He really does know his stuff. He even has a video about the Savage North revolver, including how to take it apart.
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Old 08-11-2018, 10:25 PM
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I also have been shooting Black Powder for many years and am still the Chairman of the Black Powder Group at my club. Currently we hold the honour of being the North American champions in the Postal Leagues the last 3 years in a row. Just love both my BP pistols and my Hawkens style sennaca 45cal made by Thompson Center. Got real lucky on the wood lottery on it as well.
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Old 08-11-2018, 11:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Driftwood Johnson View Post
...that fellow from Hungary is an excellent resource. He really does know his stuff.
By the way, that fellow from Massachusetts is an excellent resource. He really does know his stuff.
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