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Last week I was wandering through some black powder stuff online.  I found a 'closeout' for a "Pocket Powder Flask" from "Track of the Wolf."  Then I looked through the offered sizes of black powder Round Balls just out of curiosity.  And at something else I have not been able to find-- a card wad to fit a 45 Long Colt case.

I found Round Balls,  Hornady no less---  in .433.  I have a Derringer,  a kit I bought by mail order back in the 1970's because it was cheap.  I think it was called a "New Orleans Derringer;"  is nominally a .44 caliber that takes .430 patched balls and ~20 grains of powder.  I have not had round balls in this size in decades nor been able to find any.  The .433 is fine.  I only bought one box,  a hundred,  and may regret not having bought more someday.  But for now it's all OK.

For black powder cartridges,  Track of the Wolf offers sizes and thicknesses of wads to fit a variety of cases for a variety of purposes.  I bought one package,  a thousand in .455 diameter and .025 thick,  to try. 

I had to know how the little flask would do as an accessory for the Derringer. So I submitted my order.

Three or four days and it was all in my mailbox.

The card wads fit inside the 45 Colt case tightly and perfectly.  They are to keep melted crisco & beeswax homemade lube out of the powder when loaded ammo is sitting around.  I now have a new supply of balls for the Derringer and the little Powder Flask is perfect.  It is adjustable in Drams of powder.  The big setting is 5/16 Dram;  if the numbers I found were right,  two throws from the spout will give ~17.6 grains of Black Powder or equivalent in Pyrodex (Pistol).  Perfect!

The pictures attached are comparisons. 

The Derringer:  there were minimal and mostly no instructions with the kit.  In ~1975 +/- I had no tools and did what I could.  It shoots fine.  Maybe someday I will try to do more for the shape of the wood.  No promises.  The original ramrod got lost while out shooting the gun on private land at a private range.  I used a broken end of a rifle ramrod for years that was a piece only a foot or so long.  A year or two ago I bought a length of brass rod in a hardware store that happens to be close enough to the diameter of the original ramrod.  A file and a few minutes created a new ramrod shaft.  The tip is a (Hornady ??) ramrod tip for loading long pointed sabot bullets into BP rifles (bought at Cabela's).  I filed the outside to suit and now need drill out a hole in its base for the new ramrod shaft.  That will take away the threaded stem,  too.  Then tin the inside of the hole and the sized tip of the shaft and put them together hot with a drop of additional Silver Solder.  The Silver Solder is a kit:  a foot or so of solder and a tiny bottle of flux;  sold in some hardware stores and some model airplane shops.  A propane torch for heat.  Needs a comfortable day to work outside and some time so as not to feel rushed.

The (Colt) Replica 3rd Model Dragoon:  is a cap & ball revolver,  do not remember the official vintage year but near 1851 (?) and this one is modified (common after the American Civil  War) to accept 45 Colt cartridges.  This revolver can use both the original Cap & Ball  cylinder with .452 balls or the modified cylinder with 45 Colt (or,  Long Colt) black powder cartridges.  I have a small supply of GOEX Black Dawge 45 LC cartridges that are factory loaded with black powder.  Note that an individual under applicable law can modify these originally cap & ball revolvers to accept and fire a cylinder that uses cartridges.  Usually it is necessary to fire black powder or published light loadings of a few specific smokeless powders and soft lead lighter-weight bullets than the classic loadings;  all to specs appropriate to the standards of the Cowboy Action Shooter's requirements.  Heavier loads and bullets or bullets too large in diameter or too solid (like copper clad or tin-lead alloy bullets) for the gun can cause extreme grief.  As in guns that explode in the hand when fired. If these modified revolvers are ever sold they are subject to the requirements of selling/transfer of any other cartridge gun and not to the simpler requirements for a front-stuffer;  whether or not the cartridge cylinder is included in the sale/transfer.  In the attached pic the tell-tale gleam of cartridges in the cylinders is obvious.  Five new empty shell casings for effect,  loaded with an empty chamber aligned with the barrel. 

The Ruger New Vaquero:  is dimensionally within a few thousandths of an inch  identical to the 1873 Colt "Peacemaker" six-gun.  It is there for size comparison,  only.  It is .357 Magnum.  The gleam of brass in the chambers shows the 5 new empty casings loaded for effect and the chamber aligned with the barrel is empty. 

The big powder flask is standard size and pattern for the Civil War Era.  The spout throws 40 grains of Black Powder which is correct for the Dragoon Cap & Ball cylinder.  The 40 grains gave a very satisfying blast,  recoil,  made the ram latch come loose and drop the ram handle jamming the gun,  and fragmented the cap on the nipple spraying tiny fragments into the mechanism around the hammer solidly jamming the gun.  Real world it was a single shot firearm.  It took a half-hour to load and an hour and a half to shoot 6 rounds while cleaning the fragments of cap copper out of the mechanism so the next round could be fired.  And the movements of the gun to do all that made a private range and solitary shooting essential.  It is possible that 'back when' there was a common use of a grease around the cap to keep those fragments from spraying everywhere or the copper was thick enough to tolerate the blast.  I dunno.  I have seen a very few references that can only make me wonder.  A "bit of leather" was commonly used to hold the ram handle in place.  I had some baby girls at home and used a hair scrunchie doubled to hold it.  With the new cartridge cylinder I need a place to go shoot and see how it is ???

The little Powder Flask:  is just right for the Derringer.  Perfect companions.  The little flask is historically accurate to the 1830's and 1840's and the Derringer is a "would be,  could be" for that era,  too.

The guns and the flasks would be appropriate armament anytime in the 1875 to 1890 era.  There would be the Cap & Ball cylinder for the Dragoon and a front-stuffer rifle that is not shown and a knife or knives.  A hunting knife and a small patch knife that might also be a skinning knife.  Black Powder was known and trusted to as late as the 1930's,  often preferred to smokeless powder with good reason.  The technology from WW-1 began to change minds and after WW-2 we all prefer smokeless powder when the chips are down.  But Black Powder was King Of The Hill for most of a thousand years.

Click on the pics to embiggen.



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