HGR 052 - One Year Anniversary & Blackpowder Handguns

Hello and welcome to Handgun Radio! I’m your host Ryan Michad from the wilds of Central Maine, and this is your home for all the news, information and discussion in the handgunning world. This week, it is the one year anniversary of Handgun Radio! Weerd Beard and I will be discussing some of what we enjoyed this past year, and we will also discuss blackpowder shooting with handguns!

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Week in Review:


  • Shot the MP5SD out at the range, really awesome shooting firearm. Look for a video on the YouTube channel soon.
  • Got to shoot some blackpowder mortars. They shot cans filled with sand, and it was really cool to work with those and see how far they would launch the cans!
  • Saw the new Ruger 9E and the H&K VP9 handguns. Really interesting to see the companies looking to break into the budget but quality pistol market. I am excited to see how they both perform.

Weerd-  Bought an Uberti Walker Colt Replica, and have been getting the nessisary equipment together so I can shoot it.   Hence why I suggested this show topic.

See pictures and some helpful advice here.

One Year Anniversary!:

  • Handgun Radio has been posting for 52 weeks as of this coming Tuesday, I just want to say thank you to EVERYONE who has helped make this possible. The support from the Firearms Radio Network, Jake and everyone there, and my family, friends and listeners (who are my friends, just not ones I see!) make this show possible and I really enjoy putting it out there each week and trying to get great information and guests.
  • When I started doing Handgun Radio, my goal was to have you come away each episode knowing something you didn’t know when the episode started. I hope I have been able to do that and continue to do so in the future.
  • When the show started out, I had very few guests. The first guest was my friend the Mad Aussie, discussing his firearms journey after leaving Australia. The next time I had guests on was the Listener Roundtable (Episode 20) and since then, I have tried to get some great guests as well as listeners on the show. I really appreciate the time that people have taken out of their busy schedules to be on the show!

Thank you for a GREAT year, and I hope there are many, many more to come!

Main Topic: Blackpowder Shooting Handguns

Difference between Blackpowder & Smokeless Powder:

Blackpowder, for lack of a better term, “explodes” compared to the burning action of smokeless powder. Blackpowder is a mixture of several things including sulfur and it is also corrosive. Smokeless Powder is nitrocellulose based and has more of a “controlled burning” action. Different powders burn at different rates and intensities. Smokeless powder usually has a pretty quick pressure curve, reaching a given peak pressure really fast. With blackpowder, there isn’t such a variation. You have blackpowder, and it comes in four different grain sizes: Fg, FFg, FFFg and FFFFg. The different grain sizes that you use depend upon what firearm you are shooting. Fg and FFg are appropriate for cannons, mortars & larger caliber rifles. FFFg is typically used in the smaller bore rifles and the cap-and-ball revolvers. FFFFg is usually only used to prime the pan on flintlocks. Using ANY smokeless powder in a blackpowder firearm will typically result in the gun being destroyed and potential injury to yourself. If you shoot your firearm with real blackpowder, a thorough cleaning regimen is required to prevent damage, as it is corrosive. I shoot blackpowder substitute and it works perfectly fine for me.

What do I need to shoot BP revolvers without pulling my hair out?:

-First, you need the proper sized caps. Most revolvers take #10 caps. Some revolver require the #11 caps, which are slightly larger. Some people use #11 caps on a nipple that is meant for #10 caps and they pinch it to make it fit. I do not recommend this, as some people believe it can lead to a chain fire if the caps don’t fit properly. You can also replace the nipples on the gun to fit the cap size that is most readily available to you.

-Second, you need powder. I recommend a blackpowder substitute, simply for ease of cleaning. I use American Pioneer powder, and I could only find it in the FFg granulation around my area. I definitely recommend finding FFFg granulation if you can though.

-The most important thing when loading is your powder measure. Most of the new blackpowder kits have a brass adjustable powder measure that comes with the gun. THIS IS AN ESSENTIAL PIECE OF EQUIPMENT. I have heard people say just stuff the chambers full and seat the ball. NO! That kind of advice makes me tear my hair out. You need to measure each charge so that way you know what you're shooting. Some powder flasks have a set measure built into the nozzle. I do not like these because it can allow the unknowing to pour powder directly from the flask into the chamber. DON’T DO THIS! The gun could have an ember still smoldering in the chamber which can ignite your charge and your flask, turning it into a hand grenade.

-Chain fires are a concern of many new blackpowder revolver shooters. There are two methods of preventing this. One is to use one of the many lube products that are out there on the market today. These prevent the ignition from one chamber reaching the other chambers. Another really effective way is to use roundballs that are slightly oversized. When you seat the ball, it shaves a ring of lead, signifying that a good seal has been achieved.


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Until next week, have fun and SAFE SHOOTING!!!!