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Cap and ball rules


Regular Member
Oct 25, 2011
Eastpointe Michigan
Since ammunition and reloading components no longer exist and the shortage appears likely to last for at least the next 2 years if not longer (that’s how long the backorders alone are for at the distributer level from what I hear) I have taken alternative measures to continue shooting. Since I cannot get primers and refuse to pay a piece of crap scalper a single penny, let alone 5 to 10 times the price, I must now reload primers, a tedious and dangerous task. I must cast my own bullets and I must rely on any brass I recover or can salvage from the range, I can still get gun powder but I am not sure for how much longer. Loaded ammunition is in the pen with my pet unicorn, right next to the Loch Ness Monster and is being guarded by Big Foot and a Lepricon (I.E. it now exists only in the realm of myth and legend). Any modern ammunition I have remaining is now in reserve in case of emergency, I no longer go to the range as to not waste irreplaceable ammo.

Unfortunately though brass can only be reloaded so many times and likewise there is a limit to how many times I can reload a primer. I also cannot make smokeless powder.

This has gotten me interested in cap and ball revolvers. Cap and ball revolvers do not require a shell casing and I can make new percussion caps from empty pop cans (or I will once I finally receive the tool I ordered, however it seems to be on an indefinite backorder and the supplier does not communicate so I do not anticipate receiving it for months, I may have it by summer, maybe), and I can also make my own black powder and cast my own projectiles so theoretically I can keep shooting. Making percussion caps is still tedious and dangerous but at least I can make them new, I also wont have to mess with an anvil or having to clean them to be reused.

Unfortunately though percussion caps are just as impossible to find as primers so until my tool arrives even my cap and ball revolvers will be paperweights. I actually considered a flint lock for this reason. I really do think the ammunition issue is at that point now. But while I am waiting for my cap maker to arrive I have questions relating to Michigan law:

My understanding is that cap and ball revolvers do not require registration, is that correct?

If it came down to it would the carry laws for a cap and ball revolver be the same as a modern handgun in terms of Open Carry? I don’t see why they wouldn’t be, but still thought it prudent to ask.

Could I carry a cap and ball revolver under my CPL if need be?

If I installed a drop in conversion cylinder (assuming I somehow found conventional ammunition or reloading components) which does not require modifying the revolver would any of the above change?

What about a conversion cylinder which does require modification?

What if I switched back to the cap and ball cylinder?

Fun fact, I was in Dunhams a few days ago and the ONLY ammunition they had was .416 Rigby at over $220 for 20 rounds, and some .475 Winchester. That was it. Didn’t know there was much African big game hunting in Michigan.


Sep 7, 2019
Darkside, AZ
Stop shooting and keep what you have. It doesn't matter if you have 10 million rounds in the closet or 100 rounds. If you don't have someone to reload at a moments notice(zombie apocalypse).... game over.
I have X number of rounds, I stopped shooting/buying supplies a year ago. I purchased 1000 rd of 5.56 and 1000 rd of 9mm for $650. If you are shooting today's ammo. Shame on you for your ignorance.