This is what happend to me a few weeks ago, and the mistakes I made.
I had a .44 black powder revolver, an Italian copy of the 1851 model Colt. I had a mate over and he wanted to shoot the thing as they are great fun to shoot. I had the cal 44 lead balls, and the percussion caps, but had run out of black powder. As I don't shoot the revolver very often I never bothered to buy a new flask of black powder, but now my mate came up with the idea to shoot the revolver we went out in search of black powder.
Another mate of mine, a hunter, has a dad that has a collection of antique rifles and double barreled shot guns that still use the good old black powder, and he gave me a bottle of Pyroxylee. It's about the same as black powder, in any case it can be used in black powder revolvers.
So happy to be able to load the thing we went home, and I loaded the six shooter. Here is where the first mistake came in; because it gets dark fast in the winter periode we didn't have much daylight left, so I rushed into loading the revolver. Big mistake, always take your time when loading a weapon.
The second mistake was I never weighed the powder, just poured it in just leaving some space to press the ball in. I got away with this many times, but not this time.
The third mistake, and looking back this should have raised some red flags at the time, but it didn't; the balls would sink in much deeper than normal. It was like the gun powder was spongy. I know now why, but when loading the revolver fast in the kitchen I never gave it a second thought.
I later found out my mates dad had unloaded some modern shotgun casses and kept all the nitro powder in an empty Pyroxylee bottle! And that was the bottle they accidently gave me. So I'm now driving to a remote area with a 44 cal black powder revolver loaded with nitro in the boot of the car, together with a full bottle a nitro powder. To make things even worse I pinched the percussion caps a bit to make them fit tight (last thing you want is a percussion cap falling into the mechanism of the revolver).
Here is the film my mate made standing just behind me. Where all the pieces of the revolver went to we will never know, but are we lucky or what?
Exploding revolver - YouTube
This is what happens when you fire a black powder revolver loaded with modern nitro powder. I blew up three chambers at once. The revolver was completely jammed, which made it impossible to unload the other chambers in a safe manner. I ended up driving back home with a terrible pain in the ears and a revolver in the boot still loaded on three chambers. The dodgy thing was than to get the remaining percussion caps of the still loaded chambers using a screwdriver as I had pinched them thight. One slip of the screwdriver and the whole thing could explode again. After getting the caps off I had to drive a screw in every lead ball and pull them out with some pliers.
I put the revolver back together, its hanging on a wooden panel from a antique dynamite box, and thats where it will stay.
The gun shop where I should have bought the black powder in the first place, heard about the story, and they would like to have the gun in the store, as a sort of warning.
But was I lucky there or what? Thank god I didn't shoot from the hip!