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Discussion Starter #1
:D If'n I wanted to xperience cap 'n ball pistola shootin', what would be the cheapist (my middle name) way ta give it a try? Air them Cabalas $89 dollar navies worth foolin with? Is there an even cheaper way??? Should I get a better pistola to start with, if I don't enjoy this I could probably some nearer selling a better gun???



Butler Cheap Ford
 

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cheap start

Cabela's guns are usually Pietta, They are OK for the price, which is about as low as you can get, new. Don't go so cheap as to get a brass frame, however. The Pietta's fit and finish isn't as good as an Uberti, but they function fine. If you want a 44, get an 1860, leave the Navies as 36 caliber and it's easier to keep straight. (There never were 44 Navies).
Actually, beyond the guns which are cheaper than cartridge guns, the rest isn't cheaper. (Unless you're shooting Black Powder cartridges). They use lots of powder, and caps and Wonder Wads and the balls, if you don't cast your own. But they're so much fun!!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
If I were looking at used revolvers, what in particular should I be looking for? I understand pitted barrels and broken pieces, but beyond that any suggestions appreciated.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I forgot to ask what's the problem with the brass frames?
 

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Yeah I was wondering about that myself. I like the looks of the brass frames much better myself. Why avoid them?

Got a friend in PA who has been thinking REAL seriously about getting him a cap and ball revolver. Can't seem to get him to post but bet he'll be over reading what you guys have to say on this subject. Ya'll might even talk me into one some day but I'm not much of a BP shooter. Heck I've never dropped a hammer on a load of BP in my first nearly 58 years on earth. Have shot some Pyrodex however.

GB
 

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:agree:

Guys:

I have been shooting a Ruger Old Army in SS for years now...and I have run literally thosands of balls through this gun. I have NEVER had a problem with this revolver and the clean-up is simple. Remove the grips, turn on the hot water, clean it up with liquid dish soap and a tooth brush...your done. The hardest parts is cleaning in/around the nipple pockets. Hit the dried parts with a little spray lube and your done. The best part is you don't have to worry about rust.

Don't normally remove the cylinder once loaded...but it doesn't seem to be any more hazardous than handling cartridges. Most range officeres consider a capped cylinder, removed from the firearm, as safe. Regardless, I suppose there is some danger if you dropped a loaded cylinder. From my perspective the gun is more hazardous WITHOUT nipples in place on loaded cylinders...an ignition source from any direction could ruin your day, if it found an uncapped cylinder. Sends a shiver up my spine just thinking about it.

I know the Rugers are a bit higher that the Italian/Spanish imports...but for a few bucks more, spread over the years, their worth it. Incredibly acccurate too. Regardless, their all fun to shoot.

That's my two cents...

Be Safe! ...Chris :D
 

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I'm fairly new at shooting percussion revolvers. I own two Pietta 1860 .44 caliber replicas and have had a ball with them. Yes, they take a little more time to load, and don't let anyone tell you it's a breeze to clean them after a shooting session, but they are accurate and powerful. On a positive note, I feel that by loading all the components each in their own turn and then completely dismantling the revolver after each session for a thorough cleaning provides more confidence and familiarity with your firearm.
 

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brass frames

The main problem with brass framed revolvers is the softness, and with a Remington, some possible stretch. With normal loads, a Navy 36 will probably last a long time, but I've seen them with the recoil ring battered back far enough to cause a giant cylinder gap, and flame spitting. In the Colt design, there is a ring surrounding the groove the hand is in, around the base of the cylinder pin. This is the surface the cylinder hits upon recoil, and brass is soft enough to move the metal. Also, the threads are very short on the cylinder Base pin, so the cylinder pin will get loose sooner than a steel frame. They are indeed pretty though. A 44 Army will beat faster, of course. The Remington will probably last longer, even in 44, but R&D says not to use their conversion 45Colt cylinder in a brass framed '58.
 

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Butler "cheap" Ford

I know, I'm a Yankee, LOML is Scotch/English, parsominous doesn't describe us.

As to what to look for in a used gun, same as any other single action revolver. Check for cylinder wear around the hands and notches, timing, lockup, cylinder gap, general condition, and probably other things I ain't thinking of this morning. Not that much different than any other SA revolver, though.

Onlyest thing I can think of that I'd check different is to get a nipple wrench and make sure the nipples aren't frozen in. Removing the nipples and replacing them with oil on the threads is a routine part of my cleaning process with these guns. Frozen nipples may not cause me to not buy an otherwise perfect gun, but would significantly lower my offering price. I'm taking a chance that I may have to replace the cylinder, after all.

(popping caps prior to loading clears the oil, by the way)
 

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used

Butlerford, the common problem with Italian percussions is timing and action. Look for damaged cylinder notches and excessive looseness in lockup. Other than that, as mentioned by others, same as a cartridge gun, but more susceptible to corrosion damage by careless cleaning. In a Colt open top clone, make sure the barrel wedge is tight and the barrel can't move. Actually as long as the barrel and frame parts are OK, wedges are cheap from DGW or Uberti.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Ok, let's say that I decided that I could skip a few lunches, and the baby could wear the same diaper till stuff started running out the edges, and bought an 1861 navy in 36 cal. I don't have the pistol yet, but want to be ready to shoot when it gets here. I know that I need to be able to despence some particular amount of powder. What size powder measure, do I need? What size caps? What size balls? Is there anything else I need just to go out and shoot it?
 

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Getting Started!

Butler;

I'm gonna break from some here as I've tried a few things over the last 35 years. First off: The brass framed guns are pretty to look at, but not necessarily the one to buy for a lifetime of shooting. Second: Cabela's pistols are the absolute best buy going - though they are raising their prices regularly. Third: The .36 Navy is the perfect C&B revolver!!!

Okay, it's explanation time. I'd say "read my book" but it ain't written yet. Although Handguns Mag did print a rather nice article of mine back in August (mom framed it...ain't she sweet?)

I have several guns. 1860 Army (Uberti), 1858 Remington (Pietta) and an 1851 Navy (Pietta). I won't mention all the ones I've had and sold.

The Pietta guns are well made and an excellent value! The 1858 and 1851 are as nicely finished as any gun I've seen or owned from other manufacturers. Pietta's quality is better now and old standards are still being written about as if they are absolutely true today. They are not! One can get a poorly fitted gun from Uberti (I have) or Cimarron (I have) or Armi San Marco.

The 1851 is the perfect starting gun. Cabela's sells them for $139. They are perfectly balanced, they point like lasers, they are easy to feed and very accurate (once you determine where they are hitting - normally with good windage but a tad high). The rear sight on the hammer knotch can be slightly widened in the direction you want your bullet to strike, and deepened to bring your point of impact down. After that, you can hunt squirrel and rabbits with them as I do. I took a red fox with one this fall. 10 yards, full chest penetration!

The 1858 Remington is the perfect long term investment. With the Colt's open top design, the cylinder pin screwed into the frame is not the best design for a gun that's going to be shot for a lifetime. They carry well, and point more naturally, but this is their greatest weakness. The Remington is heck for strong and if you take care of it, your great grand children will be cutting their shooting teeth on it someday.

You can get the target version in 1858 Remington. The sights are fairly good, but even at their lowest setting, are often still too high. Having said that, if you aren't afraid of a file, you can regulate them. Mine shoots 2" groups at 25 yards all day long! That, my friends, is squirrel hunting accuracy! This fall I took two while hunting with my long rifle. They were too close to really use the long rifle so I used the pistol.

Shooting? You know, I don't believe early handgunners really used the sights all that much. My shooting has convinced me that when shooting at people sized targets, one simply brought the gun to eye level and sighted down the barrel like shooting a shotgun. Try it. I think you will find that for barroom brawl distances, it is quick and fun and accurate. I've been able to keep six shots into coffe mug groups at rapid fire out to 15 yards! It's a blast!

Now, do you know the duelist pose? Where you are standing sideways to the target with the gun pointed at the sky? That's the position your gun should be in when you are cocking the hammer. This allows expended cap fragments to drop free of the action when you cock the hammer. This pose was not an accident! There was an ergonomical reason for it and it's valid today. Either elevate your muzzle, or suffer occasional jams when the fragments fall into the hammer recess! Those are a bear!!!

Get or make a loading stand! They are simple to make. Look at the one Cabela's sells, and then make your own! Also, invest in a $20 loading tool. Yes, you can use the underbarrel rammer, but your gun will wear out faster from loading (particularly if it's an open top) than it ever will from shooting!

Dan C
 

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I can't rightly say that I ever saw i "loading tool", other than the device used on Patersons...enlighten me, please.
 

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Loading tool

It's a platform with a center pin that stands up. The cylinder is removed from the gun and placed over the pin, through the center hole of the cylinder. All chambers are exposed for loading and there is a lever that is used to seat the balls. The cylinder is then replaced onto the gun. This saves a great deal of wear and tear on the loading lever and associated pins and screws. Cabela's sells them as an accessory.

Dan C
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Dan you're making this sound like fun, I had a couple of Walker reproductions back in the early 80's but after they left my posession, I pretty much forgot about purcussion revolvers. I'm starting to remember enjoying playing with them, but would you refresh my memory on the loading procedure. Any other hints to make'em shoot 5 for 5?
 

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C&B Revolvers

Loading'em up?

Well, let's see. The chambers and nipples need to be dry while the cylinder pin needs to be lubed...well lubed.

Fire 12 caps (you don't have to elevate the muzzle as the caps will not fragment without powder, but you might want to invert the gun while cocking).

Pour your powder into each chamber (pour into a measure first to avoid setting off that hand grenade in your palm called a flask.)

If you are using over the powder wads, now is the time to seat them(use the under barrel ramrod.)

Seat the balls (no need to become the incredible hulk. After meeting the initial resistence, the ball will seat easily the first couple of cylinder fulls.)

After the ball is seated you can use more lube if you'd like. For target work I like to forego the over the powder wads and stick to lube. For field expedience, the wads work well.

Now you can cap. A capper will save your fingers, unless you have to pinch the cap ends to keep them seated (a real possibility)

Note: The Colt style pistols have a recoil shield that is very close to the caps and prevents them from falling off during recoil. The Remingtons on the other hand, have a recoil shield that is set back some, and unless your caps fit tightly, you will lose some of them during firing. #11s work well, but pinch them before seating.

Contrary to what I've read in another post, I'd have to say it was very foolish to try and replace a loaded cylinder on a pistol when the nipples have been capped! No matter how careful you are, there is a danger of having a cap bump part of the frame while inserting and that might be a bad thing.

I like black powder. But then, I like pyrodex as well and Dan Johnson who writes for Guns and Ammo as well as Handguns magazine has an article this month in Handguns where he gives tripple seven a work out. He told me that the burnt residue simply vanishes with a little water! It produces higher velocities with equal weights, so it is best to reduce your loads by about 10%!

I like these guns! Back in 1866 a civilian who was riding with a cavalry company which had gone to the rescue of a wood cutting patrol was forced to escape on horseback through a bunch of Indians. Two regular army soldiers riding with him were pulled from their horses and killed. The civilian using his 1860 Colt killed an Indian on either side of his horse as they tried to pull him down. His name was Donovan. He escaped!

I like these guns!

Dan C
 

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ButlerFord

I have three C&B REVOLVERS. A Rogers & Spencer (Pedersoli), a Lemat and a "1851 Navy Yank Sheriff's .44 Hartford" (both Pietta). The Rogers and Spencer and the Lemat like #10 caps and the 1851 oxymoron likes #11 caps (10's won't fit).

The 1851 is an oxymoron because the "Navy" caliber was .36 while the "Army" caliber was .44. There were no "Navy .44's" made in the US - only in Italy!

I've got to get or make a loading stand. The Oxymoron is a 5.5" barrel, and that loading lever is just too short. I can't load it without adding some leverage, i.e. the edge of the shooting bench, which isn't good.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Shrink, I'm a poor Colt historian, but in the Cabela's catalog I found the '61 navy in, has what they refer to as an English made '51, and it has the square back trigger guard and is in 44 cal. Is this a fictious cal. combination or did the folks in London make them in 44?
 

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English .44s

Butler;

The Colt 1851 Navy was manufactured in England for a while. They were known as the London models. There never was a comercially made 1851 in .44 caliber. The 1861 Navy was still .36 caliber, but had a round barrel and loading lever ala the 1860 Army .44!

There is no reason that a custom smith couldn't have chambered an 1851 or 1861 in .44 as the frames were exactly the same size. All that is required would be the rebated cylinder and a corresponding relief on the frame. Was it done? Possibly. My first published western short story had such a gun as the Hero's sidearm. More than likely, it was not done. A more likely scenario would be that parts such as the grip frames might have been interchanged. An 1851/1861 Navy grip frame fits the 1860 Army frame and feels much better to my hand. Also, I have seen pictures of 1962 revolvers that had been customized with neat birdshead grips.

Now, as for Cabela's .44 caliber navy pistol. It sure looks neat, and it would probably be a ton of fun to shoot, but it has no historical correlation. Regards;

Dan C
 

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English Navy

As Dan C said, there were no 44 Navies. That is an Italian invention. Must be for people who don't like the look of an 1860. Why anyone in the 19th century would get a Navy gunsmithed to 44, when an 1860 Army was available, and the cheaper alternative would mystify me. The London Navies were distinguished by their steel grip frames, as well as the London address on the barrel. All were 36's. All the 1851/60/61 gripframes are interchangable. So are the barrels and cylinder, one-way. You can mount a either 36 Navy barrel and cylinder on an 1860 Army frame. Gives you an unnecessary rebate in the frame, but it does hook up and would be functional..
 
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