Walrilla's Wonderings

WALrus+goRILLA=Walrilla! What's not to love?

25 March, 2006

Shootin' stuff

Well, KurtP over at A Trainwreck in Maxwell is posting about making a decision on a new smokepole.

If he goes with the 1851 Colt Navy, I hope he goes with the steel frame over the brass if he intends to shoot more than cornmeal through it. He emailed me and asked if I could share some secrets about black powder and asked if there were any solvents to use to get the highly corrosive blackpowder residue out of the barrel and how expensive they were. I told him I would tell all I knew about smokepoles and their care and feeding, but then I told him the best solvent was thermally excited DiHydrogen Monoxide. I also told him he should be able to find it conveniently near him.

Now that happens to be true, but I just failed to tell him that it was simply plain old hot water. Yep, that's right, simple boiling hot water, with just a bit of dish soap to cut the bullet lube, poured through the barrel and scrubbed and patched until clean. I've even been known to field strip my '51 Navy .44 and boil the barrel and cylinder, although Dear Wife gives me hell for using her good pots. Finally, a little gun oil on all action surfaces and even less in the barrel and chambers, and you're good to go.

Since I'm a Confederate reenactor, I never shoot lead through my pistol. Only 30 grains of FFF black powder, topped off with cornmeal, in each chamber. The cornmeal compacts down when you run the loading lever into it, and keeps the black powder in the chamber. When you fire the pistol, the cornmeal just kind of forms a cloud in the smoke from the powder burning, and falls within 5 feet. No one ever sees it.

Black Powder comes in four grades: F, FF, FFF, and FFFF. F is the coarsest ground, used for cannons, and rifles over .75 caliber. FF and FFF are used for rifles and pistols, and FFFF, being very finely ground, is used for the priming pan on flintlocks.

Well, that's all I can think of right now. If you have any questions, leave a comment or email me. I'll do my best to answer your question.



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