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Brrrrrr ... though it's sunny here in the Utah desert, it's 0 degrees Fahrenheit (-18 Celsius) out there!
Too cold to shoot my cap and ball revolvers at the local gravel pit.
So, I thoght of a few indoor things I could do while the mercury shivers:
1. Cut felt wads to be used as a greased wad twixt ball and powder. I use the felt sold as weather stripping around windows. A 17-foot long (5.18 meter) length provides hundreds of wads in .36 or .44 caliber. Use a 3/8-inch wad punch for .36 caliber, or a .45-caliber wad punch for .44-caliber revolvers.
2. Make old-time bullet, wad and patch lubricant, composed of:
1 part paraffin
1 part mutton tallow
1/2 part beeswax
All parts are by weight, not volume.
I weigh the ingredients on a kitchen scale. A mix of 200/200/100 grams nearly fills a quart Mason jar, which is then placed in three or four inches of boiling water for a double-boiler effect, to melt the ingredients.
Blend well with a clean stick or disposable chopstick, then allow to harden at room temperature. Hastening hardening by placing the jar in the refrigerator may cause the ingredients to separate. Store in a cool, dry place with the lid tightly screwed.
3. Pinch No. 10 and No. 11 caps together, into an elliptical shape, so they cling more steadfastly to the nipple. I usually do this at the range but it's a task that may easily be done in front of the TV.
4. Organize the cap and ball revolver shooting box (a large fishing box with numerous drawers) for the upteenth time. Don't forget to throw in some tacks for targets!
5. Pop the barrel off my Colt reproductions, coat the bore liberally with the above lubricant, and place on a small pan. Then put the pan in the oven at its lowest setting, with the door slightly open. This will heat the barrel, melt the lubricant into the steel, and season the bore a bit to reduce fouling.
Remington revolvers, with the barrel intregral with the frame, can have their barrels heated with a hair blow dryer. Then run patches with ample lubricant down the bore
6. Cut out cleaning patches of the proper size from old, 100% cotton T-shirts.
7. Grab an empty computer paper box. Cut three or four pieces of scrap plywood to just fit inside the box. Place a piece of plywood at the bottom, then add a four-inch layer of newspapers (not crumpled, but flat). Add another piece of plywood. Add more newspapers. Continue, finishing with a piece of plywood on the top of the pile.
Now, slide the top over the box and tape it securely shut, all the way around, with duct tape.
Voila'! a box that will stop and contain cap and ball revolver balls and bullets! This will stop a ball from my Remington .44 with a full load of 40 grs. and last for hundreds of shots.
You can even get "fancy" with it and tape four paper clamps at the appropriate location on the front, to hold paper targets, but tacks or staples work just as well .
Later, when the box gets too shot up, it can be disassembled and the lead reclaimed and melted back into balls or bullets. Also, take the opportunity to study your projectiles with a magnifying glass.
8. Tap an oversized ball flush into each chamber, remove the nipple, and tap each ball back out of the chamber with a short brass rod through the nipple hole.
Measuring each ball with calipers as it emerges, to determine the diameter of your chamber mouths. This is important when buying the right ball size.
You may also tap an oversized ball through the (clean) bore to determine bore size. Use a length of 3/8-inch (for .36) or 7/16-inch (for .44) wooden dowel to tap the bullet through the barrel. NEVER use metal or a cleaning rod.
9. Replace that old, nasty cleaning rag in your cap and revolver shooting kit. And you thought YOU were the only one who had one, huh?
10. Gather together your black powder loading books and magazines, mark the applicable pages with a sticky note, and photocopy the pages. Assemble them into a paper binder, for quick reference.
Now, you'll have ballistics, history, loading procedures, cap sizes, projectile weights and other information all in one, handy source. This makes fine reading and, at the range, can prove or disprove an assertion.
Hmmm ... think I'll go cut some wads for my .44 as a start.
 
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