How to Load a Black Powder Revolver

By eHow Hobbies, Games & Toys Editor

Shooting a traditional cap-and-ball, black powder revolver is both an exciting and historical experience. The loading, however, must be done carefully, with close attention paid to safety. By following a few simple instructions, the pistol can be correctly loaded and safely fired. Always wear eye protection when loading or shooting any firearm.

Check to see that the firearm is unloaded and in the half-cock position. In addition, make sure that there are no percussion caps on the nipples.

Do a quick test for nipple obstructions. With the pistol unloaded, in the half-cock position and the barrel pointed in a safe direction, place a percussion cap on each nipple. Bring the pistol to full-cock. Fire all six caps down range. This clears the nipples of any excess oil or residue.

Load the powder. Use only black powder or Pyrodex. See the instruction manual for the recommended load. Do not use a charge greater that the maximum recommended load. Never load powder directly from a flask or powder horn. A spark from a previous load could cause an explosion.

Pour the appropriate amount of powder into a calibrated powder measure. With the pistol in a loading stand or securely held between the knees, pour the powder into the first chamber. Push a lubricated felt buffer wad into the chamber and set the ball in place on top of the wad. See warning below.

Rotate the cylinder until the ball is aligned with the plunger on the loading lever. Use the lever to seat the ball and wad firmly onto the powder charge. If desired a small amount of lubricating grease can be place over the ball. Any good quality grease will work. Repeat this loading procedure for each chamber. It is advisable to load only five chambers and let the hammer rest on the empty one.

Fire the pistol. With the pistol pointed down range and in the half-cock position, place a percussion cap onto each nipple. The pistol is now charged and ready to fire. Place the pistol in the full-cock position, aim and fire.