Watch: Loading and Firing Cap and Ball Revolvers
Russ Chastain 05.25.18
Paul Harrell decided to take on this topic due to a massive amount of information and advice that was, in his words, “just plain wrong.” And that’s a good thing, because there are many misinformed people out there who tend to believe that they actually know what they’re doing.
If you crave accurate advice from someone who’s been at it for decades, this is the CBR video for you. (CBR being my late father’s acronym for “cap & ball revolver”). Paul bought one when he was 12 years of age, and he’s been at it for quite a long time.
Some of his pearls of wisdom:
Corn meal? Cream of wheat? “Wow, that’s just a hassle.”
“If you need a loading stand to load one of these, you’re really lacking in muscular coordination.
“If you need a loading stand ’cause you can’t manage to get this ball in there and keep the sprue up, go see your neurologist.”
I’ve loaded and fired many a CBR in my time, and I have never seated caps using the hammer, so here’s where I have to say Paul is wrong. If you can’t seat a cap with your thumb, there’s something wrong.
But he’s absolutely correct when he talks about chain fires and what causes them. I’d never even heard the nipple theory before, it’s so asinine.
His carbine looks mighty familiar, because as near as I can tell it’s identical to one I used in the late 1990s to slay a whitetail buck. And when he talks about his face burning, I am thrust back to a windy day at the range when the breeze consistently blew the embers of black powder into my face as I zeroed that popper, and I ended up with a speckling of black powder tattoo on my face (anybody remember the more dramatic black powder facial mark from the original True Grit movie?).
And yeah… I too have kept CBRs loaded for a mighty long time without any problems.