Black powder 44 cal Navy mod 1851 question

I had it for a long time but fired it with a friend’s help for the first time today. When he swaged the ball in, a small ring of lead appeared indicating, in my mind, that the seal was perfect. Then he proceeded to seal the outside of the ball with some goop, saying that it would prevent chain firing. Was not the seal to the black powder chamber perfect? Is this goop necessary? And what would actually happen if chain firing occured?

Hey Vlad

Re: the chain fire.
First, it’s loud! Tends to result in a bit more recoil. Dangerous to say the least. Have had chain fires even after a good seal and the “goop” treatment. Takes the fun out of shootin’ blackpowder revolvers, fer sure.


The gloop as you call it also serves as a lubricant and prevents leading in the barrel.
I have never seen a double discharge but it is a real possibility because the flame goes all round the other cylinders.

No, the “seal” isn’t perfect even if you do see the ring, but what’s worse, is that the balls have a tendency to move under recoil, so better safe than sorry. A chain-fire in a BP revolver isn’t quite as dangerous as something like an overcharged reload in a cartridge gun, but it’s definitely something you want to avoid if possible.

The classic method was to use a greased felt wad as a seal between the powder charge and the lead ball. Many an old hat was sacrificed as a source for cutting these wads (hence the name ‘wad cutter’, b.t.w.).

This didn’t only prevent an unwanted discharge of the powder in the other cylinders, but also added as an effective seal against outside (outdoor) influences, like the weather.

The oldtimers would carry several loaded cylinders and swap them out if needed, reloading the empty cylinders in the evenings.

All that lube also makes cleaning the barrel a breeze compared to cartridge handguns. The cylinder, however, is another matter…

Vlad, one small correction Navy cap and ball pistols were 36 caliber. The “goop” application applys to all cap and ball revolvers. I have used Crisco for years without a multiple discharge. Another cause is damaged nipples or ill fitting caps that can cause the same problem at the rear of the cylinder from flash over from cap to cap. Civil War soldiers hated the Colt 56 caliber revolving rifles. If the rifle was held normally with the left hand forward of the cylinder a multiple discharge had a tendency to take fingers and hands with it!!


Good question, I don’t know which model it is for sure. It says “black powder only 44 cal” on it. Someone told me it was NAVY. By the way, I married it to this holster by the looks and size only. Is this a correct holster to whatever this pistol model is?

It’s a sort of hybrid semi-replica that doesn’t duplicate any production Colt C&B revolver. It is a .36 Navy with the barrel bored out to .44 caliber and fitted with an 1860 Army-type .44 caliber cylinder. JG


The holster is a fair replica of those in use during the Second War for Independance.


Ray, so this is a replica of an Italian holster?


Good one. Did Italy have two wars for independance too??

How about if I call it The War of the Rebellion.

That particular style of holster was still in use up until almost 1880. Custer’s 7th Cavalry used it with the new Colt Cal 45 and those still in good condition were later altered for the wide cartridge belt and the belt loop was altered to a swivel style to better accomodate cavalry.

That was a different time. The Army used old equipment until it fell apart from old age.


I need help here, what is The War of the Rebellion?


So as not to pi$$ off anybody I call it the War of the Rebellion for all those Yankees and the Second War for Independance for the Rebs.

AKA, the American Civil War. A misnomer if there ever was one.


Vlad and repliers, Little off cartridges. My holster is a replica set made by Bianchi. Includes belt, cast buckle (marked replica on hook) and cap box. No rivets like original all sewed. Good thing this came up have not had it out for a couple of years. Time for a saddle soaping and application of Huberd’s oil. Touch of green swamp monster on it.