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Thread: Adams Patent Cal 50...need a bt of advice

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    Senior Member papazulu's Avatar
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    Default Adams Patent Cal 50...need a bt of advice

    Hi, I have an Adams Cal 50 Percussion Revolver, is it a problem to find caps for these? I suppose I would have to make my own lead balls, as I wouldn't know where to buy them here in Germany. Is anybody into this kind of weapon?
    Apparently, mine is a fairly rare piece to find, especially in this condition...
    I found a bit of information on Adams, but a little different to mine...here;
    http://www.collegehillarsenal.com/sh...?productid=916
    http://www.collegehillarsenal.com/sh...?productid=138

    And a very good write up here; https://www.ortnergraphics.com/servi...-revolver.html

    I also saw a couple for sale here;
    http://www.oldguns.co.uk/2.html

    This one went for 1400€ + 22% auctioneers fees....http://www.invaluable.com/auction-lo...0-c-95aaf766aa




    Mine;






    Sure would like to hear your thoughts

    Jimmy
    Don't talk to me about naval tradition. It's nothing but rum, sodomy and the lash.
    Sir Winston Churchill

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    Senior Member river rat's Avatar
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    They still sell those caps for some black powder guns today you mite get lucky and find some that will work for that. If you do make sure you grease the hole in the cylinder around the holes after you load it or all the cylinders will go off at the same time all six rounds had a friend learn the hard way. Cool looking gun looks like it would be fun to shoot.

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    Administrator ianp's Avatar
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    In the US it should be fairly easy I would have thought as there is a living cowboy/black powder movement and there will be many sources of information online. Try to see if there are such reenactment groups in your area and seek their advice as to if it is safe to shoot your revolver and what percussion cap, amount of powder and projectile would be safe. Safety is obviously a major thing here, so only seek advice from someone who knows what they are talking about and seek out reference materials that indicate safe loads and don't ever venture into hot loads.

    All components for shooting black powder guns will be available for sale in the US, you will obviously have to find equivalent places in the EU.

    http://www.basspro.com/Shooting-Blac...ts/_/N-1z0usuj

    http://www.basspro.com/Shooting-Blac...es/_/N-1z0usui

    http://www.grafs.com/retail/catalog/...tegoryId/3511?

    IAP
    Order of the Invisible Ethereal Electron with Crossed Wizard's Wands

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    Senior Member DaveH's Avatar
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    Pistol caps come in two sizes that I remember, 10 and 11 IIRC. Do not order rifle military caps as they are way too large. The larger caps (11) can be pinched a bit and they will stay put. Order FFFG black powder as it is fine for pistols and FFG is very course. Since you have the bullet mold, you can make your own bullets. I'd recommend using pure lead and not wheel weights as they are too hard. A pure lead projectile will expand to fit the bore. The grooves on the bullet can be filled with some type of wax lubricant (we used a car product called "door eze" which was a wax like substance that came in a stick for lubricating squeaky door hinges. If you use a round ball, you must put some lubricant over the ball after it is loaded. Vasoline works well but is messy. If you don't all of the cylinders can go off at once. DO NOT EVER use any smokeless powder. That revolver is a Rolls Royce firearm, much better than any US made Colt or Remington. After you shoot it, make sure to clean it with hot soapy water and rinse well. The hot water will evaporate if you miss any. This is essential as if you just use a solvent like Hoppies 9 the salts will remain. Ballistol will probably work. Water is cheaper. It is very hard to overload a blackpowder gun as what isn't used usually blows out the front with the projectile. I'd start this pistol at about 30 gr and see how it shoots. That is one fine pistol.

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    Senior Member papazulu's Avatar
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    Now that's what I call good friendly advice, exactly what I needed from someone in the know, just what I was looking for, good comprimated advice.Thanks Dave.
    Don't talk to me about naval tradition. It's nothing but rum, sodomy and the lash.
    Sir Winston Churchill

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    Senior Member DaveH's Avatar
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    I just noticed that you have the powder flask, that should be set for the correct load of FFFG. If you can't find any "Door ease" I still have a few sticks, I'll send you one. I think that paraffin might work well too if it isn't too hard. It is an essential step in loading these pistols. One of my buddies had a Colt discharge all six at once and it blew the barrel off the frame.

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    Senior Member papazulu's Avatar
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    Hi Dave, I haven't got anything apart from the gun, the other pictures belong to the gun sold here; http://www.invaluable.com/auction-lo...0-c-95aaf766aa So, I am looking for caps, bullet mold, and anything else I might need
    I've also found this which I might need; http://www.ebay.de/itm/201116780203?...84.m1423.l2649

    What kind of bullets are better to use, round or these? http://www.ebay.de/itm/Lyman-50-Cal-...item4ad7b5d5e5
    Don't talk to me about naval tradition. It's nothing but rum, sodomy and the lash.
    Sir Winston Churchill

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    Senior Member papazulu's Avatar
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    One of my buddies had a Colt discharge all six at once and it blew the barrel off the frame.
    I read through a thread, where it was speculated where the simultaneous barrel discharge came from:;
    http://britishmilitariaforums.yuku.c...d#.U7Um47Gqfqd

    Don't talk to me about naval tradition. It's nothing but rum, sodomy and the lash.
    Sir Winston Churchill

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    Senior Member DaveH's Avatar
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    Default The round ball is the best choice

    50 cal is an odd size for pistols. I would try and obtain 50 cal pure lead balls if possible. 50 cal is a regular size for rifles so there may be a commercial source already. Don't buy a large amount at first as they may be a bit too small. You want a ball that fits tight and maybe even cuts a bit of lead when it is rammed home. A loose ball is not desirable in a pistol as there is no patch. After you determine what is the correct size you can order the correct mold from Lee or whomever. Casting new balls is a cinch. Preheat the mold by dipping a corner of it into the molten lead and start filling the mold. They make multiple molds that make several bullets at once, but they are not worth the extra money. You can "slug" the bore by pushing a ball through with a wooden dowel. Then you mic it and it gives you a good measurement of the mold that you need. Lee molds are made of aluminum and work better than steel Lyman molds and they are cheaper as well.

    The multiple discharge is a very real issue. It is hard to imagine that the fire will get past the tight fitting ball and into the powder, but I guarantee that it does. Some guys just hit the front end of the loaded chambers with a shot of WD40 which in theory will kill any exposed powder, but when you cover the ball with some wax it always works well. The wax also lubricates the bullet which reduces leading in the bore.

    If you think that all of this isn't worth the effort, think again as these things are just a blast to shoot. I used to have a 44 Remington 1858 and it was accurate as any modern pistol. I once blew away a ground squirrel from about 75 ft away and he was hit so hard that it knocked him about 30 ft away. These are not toys believe me. They shoot a ball at about 1000 fps. Yours should be even more fun as it is heavy and probably has a great grip and trigger pull. As I said, yours is a Rolls Royce and the American pistols are Chevrolets. Feel free to contact me anytime with questions.

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    Senior Member papazulu's Avatar
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    Thanks Dave, you're a gent
    Don't talk to me about naval tradition. It's nothing but rum, sodomy and the lash.
    Sir Winston Churchill

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    Junior Member Machetero's Avatar
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    I've got one of those too, not nearly as nice though. I shoot 454 round ball out of mine to great effect. Mine came equipped with a sad set of homemade nipples and I'm looking here for a new set when I get around to it: https://www.peterdyson.co.uk/acatalog/NIPPLES.html
    I am not affiliated in any way to this firm, just thought I'd spread the word. Also, Dixiegunworks http://www.dixiegun.com/ carry a lot of powder flasks and bullet molds etc.

    On the topic of chain fires, they are very real. I have shot no less than three simultaneous balls out of my Remington on more than one occasion before I wizened up and took to covering each ball in grease. At that time, on the range, the only thing I had in my car was a can of Duke Hair pomade (anything greasy goes, a friend of mine uses Ghee). Worked like a charm, but the whole range smelled like a hair salon!

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    I know no one who has any experience with the Adams. I live in the US, and this is the land of Colts and Remingtons, or at least Italian copies of them.

    (1) The nipples, also known as cones or vents, are a wear item. I would find replacements if possible, as gas erosion and battering from the hammer damages them in normal use.

    (2) I have no idea if the Italian made caps are still available in Europe. When I was shooting black powder every week 30+ years back, the Italian caps were a lot cheaper, and seemed actually better than the American made caps.

    (3) Conventional wisdom on this side of the Atlantic is that 3F powder is for general use below .50 caliber, and 2F for .50 and above.

    (4) I used Crisco vegetable shortening for a lube. It's cheap. it works. It melts on really hot days, and has a weird-to-nasty aroma mixed with black powder ash, but if you are afraid of odor, perhaps black powder shooting is not for you. PS, if you go with modern guns, Unique powder and Alox lubricant smell pretty nasty, too.

    Learn how to completely disassemble the thing, and COMPLETELY clean it the day you shoot it. And then repeat the cleaning process the next day. Black powder is highly corrosive. Really highly corrosive.

    Mike Cumpston and Johnny Bates have written a book on percussion revolvers, which I recommend. I know Mike, and was consulted in a very minor way when his books were written.

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    Senior Member lysander's Avatar
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    Is it a .50 caliber or a 54 bore, or a 38 bore?

    Generally British firearms of that era were sized by "bore", which is the number of lead spherical balls per pound. A 54 bore Adams has a .442 inch diameter barrel. The more powerful 38 bore had a .479 inch diameter barrel.

    I would measure the diameter of the cylinder holes and get a ball bullet mold that is 0.015-0.020 inch larger in diameter. When loading a ring of lead should be sheared off the ball. This makes a good seal in the cylinder (to prevent chain firing) and good rifling engagement in the bore.

    EDIT, Yeah you still need grease on top of the ball, it also helps keep the bore from leading.

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    Senior Member lysander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nepman View Post
    Learn how to completely disassemble the thing, and COMPLETELY clean it the day you shoot it. And then repeat the cleaning process the next day. Black powder is highly corrosive. Really highly corrosive.
    It's not the powder, it's the caps that are corosive.

    The best stuff to clean black powder is still soapy water, so make sure you get it completely water free after cleaning....

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    Senior Member lysander's Avatar
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    My error. I was thinking of smokeless propellant. Disregard last post....

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    Senior Member DaveH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lysander View Post
    It's not the powder, it's the caps that are corosive.

    The best stuff to clean black powder is still soapy water, so make sure you get it completely water free after cleaning....
    The best results are with VERY hot soapy water followed by VERY hot clean water. It will surprise you how the piece will dry itself because of the heat. You would think that there would be a great deal of drying and getting into nooks and crannies, but that is not the case, the heat just evaporates the water. I had a friend that would just scrub out the bore and chambers with hot soapy water, run a patch through it and shoot WD40 on it. Something I would never do, but he never had any rust associated with the powder or caps. The best protection from rust and corrosion is polishing the metal and most of these fine arms had a nice finish. I shot an 1858 Remington and a Remington .58 cal Zouave rifle for years and never had any rust on either. The rifle would use huge amounts of powder and caps the size of shotgun primers.

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    Senior Member papazulu's Avatar
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    Hi all, thanks for the multiple answers to my questions, and I am sure we are getting to the core ;-)
    I took it for granted that I had a Cal 50, as the seller told me so ...Well I just got my camera out and the calipers, and here's what I got :
    I measured the bore ... 1.15cm = 0.45inch

    Here the pictures:




    Maybe I can get some sense out of this after all

  18. #18
    Senior Member lysander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by papazulu View Post
    Hi all, thanks for the multiple answers to my questions, and I am sure we are getting to the core ;-)
    I took it for granted that I had a Cal 50, as the seller told me so ...Well I just got my camera out and the calipers, and here's what I got :
    I measured the bore ... 1.15cm = 0.45inch
    I think you have a 54 bore pistol...

    Bullet mold (original): https://www.peterdyson.co.uk/acatalo...ET_MOULDS.html

    Kinda pricy, but you probably can get a regular modern mold. The diameter of the bullet should be a maximum of .462 inch down to a minimum of .442 inch. Standard .451-.454 lead balls or bullets for Colt Army re-pros should work.

    I think the suggested charge is 25 grains of FFFg.

    As to the corrosiveness of black powder:

    From my rather quick internet search, black powder combusts leaving as solid residue:

    potassium carbonate
    potassium sulfate
    potassium sulfide
    sulfur
    potassium nitrate
    potassium thiocyanate
    carbon
    ammonium carbonate

    Most of that stuff is relatively benign when dry, but readily absorbs water from the atmosphere, and then become highly corrosive. Fortunately, all of it desolves readily in water, so it washes out rather easily with soapy water.

    (All that solid stuff accounts for about 50% of the original powder mass, so only 50% was converted to gas to propel the projectile out the bore. Black powder is rather inefficient as a propellant.)

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    Senior Member DaveH's Avatar
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    Just reading "War! What is it good for" by Ian Morris He talks about the British adoption of "corned" black powder which greatly increased its potency. Used less powder for the same or better results. I wonder if modern BP is just corned powder that is re-crushed? Any thoughts on the subject?
    D

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    Senior Member lysander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveH View Post
    Just reading "War! What is it good for" by Ian Morris He talks about the British adoption of "corned" black powder which greatly increased its potency. Used less powder for the same or better results. I wonder if modern BP is just corned powder that is re-crushed? Any thoughts on the subject?
    D
    All black powder is "corned".

    "Corning" is just the process of mixing water, or other liquid, with the ingredients during the grinding and mixing, the principle reason is to make the grinding a mixing process safer. Then the wet "mud" is then formed into small cakes, pressed to increase the density, and allowed to thoroughly dry. Then, with a copper, bronze (or other non-sparking material), mortar and pestle, or mill wheel, the small cakes are crushed into "corns". The crumbs are then sifted with screens to segregate the grades. Later, tumbling was introduces to knock the sharp edges off the grains. This was done to improve the consistency, as shipping in a barrel would knock the sharp edges off the grain, but the dust created during this process would settle to the botton of the barrel, and as you used the powder there would be more and more of the fine grade dust in the powder charge, making the powder faster.

    In addition to making the mixing process safer, corning allows the ingredients to stay closely packed together (individual sulfur, potassium nitrate, and charcoal dust, tend to separate, due to differing densities, when agitated, such as during transportation) and it helps resist absorption of water.

    The corning process was invented for the improvement of powder production, but has found widespread use in the pharmaceutical industry, allowing the making of pills. In the pill business, pills have the same basic problems as powder: water absorbtion, ingredient cohesion, and safety (remember, any airborn dust can explode...)

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