Articles, Blog

Cowboy Action Shooting Tips & Techniques : How to Load a Cap & Ball Black Powder Pistol


Hi. I’m William Watty for Expert Village.
In cowboy action shooting, most people shoot cartridges in their rifles and pistols. But
we are also allowed in pistols to use these older style caps and ball pistols. These came
out during the Civil War and were really one of the first inventions of a more rapid-fire
kind of a gun. They are a little bit more work but it’s rewarding too. This particular
gun is a Ruger old Army model, which isn’t an authentic old west gun but it’s based on
those designs. A lot of people prefer other brands like the old Colts or Remington?s.
I’m going to show you a little bit about and explain to you a little bit about what these
cap and ball revolvers are all about and how to load them. Okay, here?s the basic of how
I load a cap and ball revolver. Well, let me first say that these things are made to
be independent of any kind of machines. You will notice up here it’s got its own ramming
device to ram the ball in. But, let me show you how I do it. First of all, I remove the
cylinder and then I load the cylinder off the gun, I find it to be a little bit faster.
You will notice the cylinder on a cap and ball gun, there is no place to put in cartridges,
like you would with a cartridge gun. Instead these are called nipples and I’ll put caps
on them in the end. The cap will generate a fire or a spark that will go through a small
hole, into the cylinders which will have black powder in them and a lead ball or projectile
on top. So I’m going to put this on my little reloading machine. The first thing to go in
will be the black powder. I have a little funnel here, and actually as Wolf explained,
with the cartridge guns we only load five. So even though there are six cylinders, I
have one marked and that one I am not going to load, so I will start with the next one.
Some shooters use some of the substitute black powders, they are maybe a little less dangerous
to handle, but I still kind of prefer the good old-fashioned genuine black powder, makes
a little bit nicer noise, has a nice smell and I prefer it. Okay, so I’ve got five cylinders
loaded up with powder, so I will close up my little powder box. Most cap and ball shooters
use just a round ball. I started casting what’s more what you might call a sabot, it’s not
perfectly round but more like a little bullet, and this particular one carries a lot of black
powder lube on it, which helps prevent any fire from jumping between the cylinders and
accidently igniting a cylinders. It also keeps the gun working well. So I just start out
by tapping those in a little bit
and then I will want to ram them down. Black powder needs to be compressed a little bit
so I’m going to push that right down on top of the black powder, now I have the projectiles
in the end, the powder underneath. I can reassemble my gun. Now technically, this is still considered
an unloaded gun because it doesn’t have the primers or the caps on them yet. When I am
ready to go to the loading table, then I will put the caps on.

32 thoughts on “Cowboy Action Shooting Tips & Techniques : How to Load a Cap & Ball Black Powder Pistol

  1. In my opinion it is a waist of time removing the cylinder and why not load all 6 ? you cant reload in the field the way he does, just use a normal powder loader with full load nozzel instead of pouring 2 loads the way he does is waisting more time and as he did not use wadds where was the advice on greasing the top of each bullet to prevent the flash getting into other chambers ? do it his way and you will be there all day loading your Black powder pistol.

  2. first of all, this is for cowboy action shooting so there is no "reloading in the field." second, its a rule for cowboy action shooting to load only 5 leaving the hammer down on an empty chamber. third, he did need to grease the top of each bullet because as he explains the bullets he uses already have lube on them. and finally, this is the way he loads because its fast for HIM. if you can load faster a different way then good for you.

  3. idk about him, but the recommended loads are:
    36 cal= 13-25
    44 cal= 19-30

    remember that conical bullets use the like the lower half of these recommendations. more powder will have a negative effect on their accuracy which is usually what you have spent the extra money on these bullets for…

  4. yeah.. this cowboy looks like he actually works outdoors all day… looks more like he works quality control at the local bakery

  5. I would think that cowboy action with a blackpower round would be more accident prone… slower burning round… just saying… but yeah…. cowboy shootin is fun!

  6. minie balls are hollow on the back part flaring out the back end so less chance of gas escaping before the bullet exits the chamber

  7. This is the one of the only thing i love about the US

    cowboys still live

    wish it was the same in the UK

  8. @nicko978 it was started when the cowboys were riding they didnt want it to accidently go off and shoot thier horse, and when u pull the trigger it rotates to the next cylinder

  9. @ThePurcy cowboys arnt as much alive as you would think here in the US, i like in a city founded by cowboys and theres nothing to comemerate them or anything, people just forgot them

  10. question, where do you buy the accessorie, true gun powder, bullets, and etc. I can't find any of that stuff online. Also how do you make your bullets shaped differently?

  11. its part of their rules. if u watch the other vids it shows that some people use older guns that do not have the safetys the new ones have

  12. my question is how he lubed the bullets. Does anyone who actually know how to do this( like has their own black powder pistol and shoots it with the method of lubing). Please if you have an answer with this experience please send me a link that would show this method. thanks!

  13. You can safely load 6 cylinders on Ruger old army"s. they have a slot between each cylinder, to rest the hammer….. But I suppose at the club , you go by the rule book.

  14. I own a few black powder revolvers, and I always load six shots. After loading, when I drop the hammer back down, I first rotate the cylinder to rest the hammer between the percussion caps. Since the cylinder is highly unlikely to rotate on its own like this, the danger of an accidental discharge is virtually negligible. Also, if you would prefer, after loading, you can simply leave the hammer at half-cock.

  15. Interesting loading procedure, I can see how this is optimized for speed. Not many people understand that a CAS stage is a busy place and cap and ball shooters tend to be rushed. The pre-lubed conicals is an interesting idea.

  16. I just load all six on the gun and use .45 conicals which I make. No wad but squirt a bit of lard on the bullet after loading with a syringe.Takes me 2 minutes! This seem laborious in this video.

  17. Since my preference is snub nose revolvers a loading press is a necessity. It is faster so much so that my full size gun cylinders are loaded off the gun.
    A lubed felt wad between the powder and ball is less messy that lube over the ball. Good video and thank you for using real black GUN POWDER but I am puzzled about the lube sabot thing.

  18. Not one mention of how many grains of black powder used …. or if the powder is FF , FFF powder . Sabot is not pronounced " suh bow" . It is pronounced Sab ut  This guy will get you killed . LMAO

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *