1. Which kit fits my gun?
ANSWER: The 36 and 44 kits are general kits for those caliber guns. All Italian replica firearms that are marked as 36 or 44 will fit them. Even if your pistol is not marked Pietta, Uberti, or Army San Marco, it was most likely made by one of them. You will see import marks on the gun.
This is true of all Colt and Remington pattern guns, as well as Spiller & Burr, Starr pistols, and the Lematt. Many of those guns come in calibers for which they were not originally released, but if the gun says 36 or 44, our kit will work, even if all conical bullets do not clear the loading lever. Just use balls.
They will also fit all 1st, 2nd and 3rd gen Colts, as well as any other original period gun in those calibers.
Our instructions explain how to use our dippers to fill your chamber so that the bullet sits at the top under compression. This includes specific instructions for balls.
We do make kits also for specific guns, even though those guns are officially 44 caliber.
A standard 44 kit, will make paper cartridges for the Walker, Dragoon, and Ruger Old Army, but the bullet will not be at the top of the cylinder. Those specific kits have a longer die so that more powder can be compressed into the cartridge, to fit the full length of the cylinder.
2. Should I just buy the Master Kit, or is the Basic Kit enough?
ANSWER: We created the Master Kit so you didn't have to go try to find a cutter mostly, but also so you didn't have to make your own lube. It comes with everything you need except powder and bullets, and we sell the bullets.
With the Basic Kit, you are going to have to cut your own circles. This can be done by hand, and it isn't so hard to do even with scissors. Just do a lot at one time as the rolling papers are very thin. There are circle cutters available at Michaels and other craft or hobby stores.
Black powder lube is easy to make, and we sell it separately as well.
For rolling papers, we found what appears to be the thinnest and most combustible out there. Rarely is there anything left in the chamber, and even when there is a small shred, it is not smoldering. They are available on Amazon and eBay.
But that does not mean that other rolling papers don't work. They actually ALL work, and some of them appear to be made by the same company in Spain. Regular L&M papers, and all the other papers at the gas station work just fine. Just don't buy the tubes.
So if you are budget strapped, the Basic Kit is fine. We did make our Master Kit a crazy good buy with all the stuff you get though.
3. How much do the dippers hold?
ANSWER: The dippers can be filled to a variety of heights depending on which bullet you are using. We suggest
you start with a smaller measurement to make sure that the powder fits with your bullet.
The lower measurement here will be where you can see the plastic edges of the dipper. The higher measurement is overfilling the dipper with a little on the handle.
If you find yourself with a bullet sticking out of the cylinder after seating, we either use our brass tapping rod to seat it deeper, or remove your cylinder and cut the top off with a hacksaw.
These are not recommendations for your guns. This is us sharing our experience. Grain measurements with black powder are always volumetric, not weighed. Therefore all powders are the same, volumetrically, but will weigh different.
36 Dipper: 20 to 23grs.
44 Dipper: 30 to 35grs.
ROA Dipper 33 to 36grs.
44D Dipper 36 to 39grs.
44W Dipper 40 to 45grs.
4. What is the tapping rod for in your kits?
ANSWER: There are some guns that don't fit the historical bullets. The Johnson & Dow bullet does not fit any 1851 pattern pistol at all. So if you want to shoot them in your gun, you will have to tap the bullet in before you turn it under the loading lever. There are also Walkers and Dragoons that do not fit the Walker bullet, and they can likewise be tapped in first. There are even '58 Remingtons from the 1980s that do not fit the J&D bullet. So the brass tapping rod is not a bad tool to have. Brass is softer than steel so it will not scratch your gun.
5. Can I use your kit to make paper cartridges for my muzzleloader?
ANSWER: Technically the 44 kit will fit a 45 caliber muzzleloader, but we have not tested them whatsoever. And we have no 50 cal. kit yet, which is the most common size for 209 muzzleloaders, which would most likely show the most promise for paper cartridges.
For sidelocks, to some degree the gun counts on some powder falling into the little chamber on the side, and a paper cartridge would prevent that. So if you want to experiment, our advice would be to tear the paper cartridge and pour the powder in. This would work equally well for flintlocks as for cap guns.