WTK: Best Powder & Minnie Ball for Colt 1863 Repro
This is a discussion on WTK: Best Powder & Minnie Ball for Colt 1863 Repro within the Steel and Wood forums, part of the Rifle Forum category; I bought a Colt Reproduction 1863 Springfield Rifle way back when Colt first produced their Series of Reproduction Black Powder Firearms. I finally decided to ...
WTK: Best Powder & Minnie Ball for Colt 1863 Repro
I bought a Colt Reproduction 1863 Springfield Rifle way back when Colt first produced their Series of Reproduction Black Powder Firearms. I finally decided to try to shoot my 1863 rifle. I have zero knowledge of black powder. I have watch Hitchcock on youtube load and shoot his 1863 Springfield.
I am looking to get information from members who have experience with Black Powder Rifles and the 1861/1863 Springfield rifle.
Your advice and suggestions will Greatly be Appreciated.
1st thing I do is to fire a few caps with no load in the rifle to clear any oil from the nipple/s. [revolver]
Is a smooth bore or is it rifled? smooth bore I would use a flat base Minnie in the 500gn range, rifled I would use a hollow base Minnie in 450 to 500gn range and start with 50gn of FF black powder and I believe it use musket caps but it may use a #10 or 11 cap.
Make sure to seat the Minnie ball down the bore to slightly compress the powder, if there is a air gap between the powder and the bullet it can increase the pressure and may cause problems! It helps to make a mark on the ram rod where the bottom of the chamber is and another mark for the charge and ball, using Minnie balls you should not need a ball starter but some times they help when the bore is dirty. If you plan to shoot it much I would invest in a fiberglass ram rod.
Clean up is the biggest problem with black powder firearms, you should clean them after shooting or the can rust quickly, I swab the barrel with Hoppe's after every other shot to make loading easier and cleaning up is easier as well, I remove the nipple from the breach plug and swab the barrel with hot water in a bucket on my rifles using a tight fitting patch on a cleaning rod and clean my pistols in the sink. Make sure to dry every thing really well, I use a compressor and a heat gun and oil it all liberally. There are tons of YouTube videos on black powder shooting that may help you on your way.
Assume its .58 caliber? I don't have the Colt but Navy Arms made millions of repros of that rifle. I have the short version called the Buffalo Hunter which is basically the same rifle. In those rifles huge doses of 2 or 3F are OK, but as you are looking for CW type loads then the charges mentioned would be appropriate. As to which slug, try a few of the period types out there, one will probably shine. Don't ignore the patched round ball, lots of good shooting can be had with that. BP is lots of fun, the clean up is less onerous than some would have us believe. Hot water is best to start with then follow up with any number of available BP cleaning products, main thing is be thorough and keep it all well oiled or coated in some type of BP lube after drying. The caveat above about not letting there be air space between powder and bullet is important, because it can lead to a bulged barrel. Black powder unlike smokeless is actually an explosive and behaves a bit differently and needs compression to behave well.
I use both black powder and pyrodex. First thing to remember is when you measure do it with a powder measure or scoop don't weigh it on a scale most all data is published that way.
Example 50gr of xx black powder by volume will weight more than 50gr of RS pyrodex and the same for x,,and xxxx black powder.
This is because the size of the kernels of black powder by type is different same for pyrodex it also comes in different types p,RS, ctg .
I have never tried any of the new black powder substitutes some claim no cleaning like modern powders non corrosive etc.
Now your rifle was designed for minne' ball so I would get a mould for that .
I use a homemade lube for bullets it consists of TC bore butter,beeswax and used wax tarts(the ones your wife\girlfriend uses to make the house smell good) I mix 1( tube bore butter 2" cube bees wax and enough of the tarts to make a lube a little harder than chapstick. Cheap chapstick works good also pouring the lube in empty chapstick tubes makes it convenient too.
get the lyman book best advice so far.
"lyman black powder handbook and loading manual"
i built my 1st soot burner at age 8 and many after.
i have a patch cutter do not know if they make them still.
i make and use silk patches. retired boxer shorts lol
i use only real black powder. i use ffff in everything.
packs better and cleans faster. others will say use either
ff or fff and they could be right. i use TC bore butter as lube.
mark your ram rod. 1 mark on empty bore. next line loaded
round ball. next line loaded mini ball. then pet loads in between.
then remember to look at it. tells you of empty or loaded or over loaded.
the kick of the rifle will be different more of a push.
lag time there will be a sec between pulling trigger and rifle firing.
hang fire.. if gun does not fire keep pointed down range at least a minute..
then check gun out with out it pointing at you....
a lot of the time round patched balls shoot better than mini balls.
after you pour powder into bore give rifle a tap on side then load.
reason is that it puts some powder closer to nipple. less chance of a
hang fire. if gun does not go off give some time. first try a new cap if it
does not fire. next take nipple off clean it and put a little black powder
into hole and screw nipple back in. if that fails take home and remove ball.
clean in a bucket of soapy hot water then heat to dry. barrel does
fit into a 250º oven. then oil well after dry.
hope this helps
Last edited by Lruss; February 3rd, 2017 at 06:04 PM.