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I've been watching Youtube videos about shooting my replica 1851 Navy pistol. It is 36 caliber. I watched several videos about loading the pistol and the sequence confuses me. They say pour the powder in the cylinder, seat a lubed wad, then seat the bullet. Question: If you seat the bullet AFTER the lubed wad how does the bullet get lubricated. The lubed wad goes down the barrel AFTER the bullet. Seems to me the lubed wad should go down the barrel before the bullet in order to lubricate it.

So, what is the proper sequence of events in loading the cylinders of a cap and ball revolver?
 

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Let me confuse you more. The minimal thing you need to do is put in the measured powder, seat the ball, cap the nipple and fire. The most important thing is no space between powder and ball and a little compression which is done ramming the ball down. Shooting light loads i'll use a wad between the powder and bullet. The lube is primarily to prevent chain fires, setting off the powder in other cylinders from the one you fired. It can happen and its nasty. Some ppl lube to soften the powder residue after shooting.
 

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Mad Trapper
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You really don't need to lube over the ball if you're using lubed wads. The powder burning will melt the lube in the wad enough to keep the fouling soft. Use a tight fitting ball and tight fitting caps and you'll never have a chain fire. 25 years shooting black powder natl match and I've yet to see a chain fire. Tight balls and caps. Over the ball lube is not needed and usually gets blasted away on the 1st shot anyway.

You can make your own wads or just buy wonderwads. But tight fitting soft lead balls or bullets are a must. No spark will get past a proper fitted ball. And if the ball is not properly fitted you run the bigger risk of the ball shifting forward under recoil which could cause bigger problems.
 

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I tend to shoot max loads in my BP revolvers so I rarely use wads anymore. Someone once told me that the old timers in the 1800's could not have used lube over seated balls. In a matter of hours the lube would have melted during the warm weather or indoors and ruined pants, coats and holsters. Using lube over seated balls is a modern invention. Bullets were probably lubed but not balls. There is much disagreement over chain fire cause and prevention. I espouse to the theory that messy loading leaves gun powder loaded around the balls or that poorly seated caps let flash in through the nipple. I use the chamber mouth swag technique now so all the balls are seated more tightly. I never use lube anymore and have never had a chain fire.
 

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Which bag? No way I'm carrying all this stuff, that's why I turned my F150 into a bugout truck.
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Master Rationalizer
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A chamber fitted ball seals against chain firing from the front end, lubing over the ball isn't necessary. I do lube the ball lightly just for the simple reason that dry lead in a dry bore means lead fouling in short order.
 

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Deus exsisto laus
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I load my .36 calibre Navy with .375 round balls. When I load, I drop the measured powder, then place a lubricated felt wad over the powder and crimp it down. Next, I seat the .375 round ball, making certain sure a small ring of lead is shaved from the ball. Next, I make sure the ball is seated deep enough to allow cylinder rotation with no binding.

After loading all the chambers,I cap the gun. If I'm using no. 11 caps I pinch them a little. Really the wad is a modern thing to prevent chain fires, but a well fitted ball and caps, in a safe firearm are all you need. I don't use wads if I'm shooting conicals out of the navy. I tried that grease over the chambers ONCE in 1993...never again! What a mess! TP
 

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You really don't need to lube over the ball if you're using lubed wads. The powder burning will melt the lube in the wad enough to keep the fouling soft. Use a tight fitting ball and tight fitting caps and you'll never have a chain fire. 25 years shooting black powder natl match and I've yet to see a chain fire. Tight balls and caps. Over the ball lube is not needed and usually gets blasted away on the 1st shot anyway.

You can make your own wads or just buy wonderwads. But tight fitting soft lead balls or bullets are a must. No spark will get past a proper fitted ball. And if the ball is not properly fitted you run the bigger risk of the ball shifting forward under recoil which could cause bigger problems.
Chain fire is a very big old wives tail that a lot of BP shooters like to talk about. If you have a loose fitting ball and no wad, there could be a chance of it happening but with the availability of information out there. everyone should know they need to use a properly tight fitting ball. You would need an enormous amount of pressure to get burning gasses past that seal.
 

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Just your average Joe
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Ruger old army shooter here. Never had a chain fire but all conical and ball were. 457 so there was always a shaved ring of lead after pressing the projectiles home. The trouble I have is when shooting max loads under the big conicals,the cap will sometimes distort or split, causing the cylinder to jam. I've learned to point the pistol up while cocking, and this usually let's the cap fall off. I love black powder!
 
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