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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just purchased a reproduction Colt 1860 Army, made by Pietta and marketed by Traditions.
This .44-caliber revolver seems very well made. Well-polished, no tool marks, wood is tight against the steel backstrap and brass trigger guard and so on.
Action is smooth. Trigger is a little creepy and doesn't break cleanly, but I think some careful stoning (taking care to avoid the engagement surfaces twixt trigger and hammer) will eliminate or lessen that.
The price was right: $154, new in the box.
I didn't plan to buy this revolver, but when I looked it over and saw its craftsmanship I bit. I didn't have a thing to tap out the wedge, which was very tight, and peer down the barrel.
Had I done that, I might not have purchased it.
The rifling seems very shallow compared to my Colt, Uberti and other Pietta revolvers. The Dixie Gun Works catalog lists the Pietta-made 1860 Colt as having .006 inch deep rifling in the standard model, and .003 inch in the model with the aged patina finish (wonder why?).
Anyone have experience with the Traditions 1860 Army? Good, bad or indifferent?
I won't be able to get out and fire this until Sunday. Just wondering if anyone out there had a Traditions 1860 Army and how they liked it.
 

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Just bought: Traditions 1860 Army .44 - any

Well, my daughter picked up the Traditions M1860 because she wanted to spend some time with the old man, and the only time available was at the range, and I wasn't comin' inside.
Anyhow, she got the M1860 that's all over nickel or chrome or something, except for the cylinder and grip frame (and maybe the trigger), which are brass-plated, and the grips which are white plastic. She likes gaudy. It seems to shoot well enough, and cleans up OK.
Of course it can't hold a candle to my COLT M1861 all-steel. Especially in the action, which feels like it's set in ice in the Colt, but the Colt cost 3 times as much. I couldn't resist. Gun-haters say "Wow! What a beautiful gun!" when I pull it out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Just bought: Traditions 1860 Army .44 - any

Just got back from the range with the Colt 1860 in question.
Shot from a benchrest at 25 yards (measured, not paced or guessed).
Load was:
30 grs. GOEX FFFG black powder.
.457 inch Speer ball
Felt wad seated on powder. The wad was greased by me in an authentic 19th century black powder bullet lubricant formula composed of 1 part paraffin, 1 part mutton tallow and 1/2 part beeswax (all parts by weight and blended by melting).
Wad seated firmly on powder, followed by .457 ball seated firmly.
CCI No. 11 cap, standard, not percussion.
Before firing, the bore was scrubbed with a brush, followed by patches moist with soapy water. Bore was then dried with clean patches.
First group: first three shots hit 10 inches above the point of aim, in about an 8-inch group. Remaining three shots settled into a 4-inch group 8 inches above the point of aim.
Second group:Six balls into 9-inch group. Center of group was about 8 inches above point of aim.
Third and fourth group: All 12 balls into about a five-inch circle, still centered about 8 inches above point of aim. I'm satisfied with this group, for now.
Experience has shown me that repro cap and ball revolvers usually require at least 100 balls before they settle in and produce decent groups.
My concerns about the rifling were, apparently, unfounded.
The heavily greased wads really remove fouling, just as they do in my other cap and ball revolvers. I have long suspected that that the paraffin, which stiffens the wad considerably, is responsible for the excellent scraping effect on the fouling.
Colt cap and ball revolvers, whether original or repro, usually shoot six to eight inches high at 25 yards. So the high group is not unexpected.
I think this revolver will be just fine. It will never be a tack-driver, nor as accurate as my Uberti-made Remington .44, but it will be just fine for plinking.
I'm thinking of cutting off a section of an old Indian Head penny and making a taller, half-round front sight so the Colt hits to point of aim. I could use a modern penny, but a cheap Indian Head would seem more appropriate.
 

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Just bought: Traditions 1860 Army .44 - any

Gatofeo, your range work is impressive. When I have a new one I usually can't control myself and I just go out and bang away... for the joy of banging away! If you do make a new front sight for your colt will you solder it on? I like the idea and would be interested in your input.

Buckshot Liam
 

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Just bought: Traditions 1860 Army .44 - any

Felt wad seated on powder. The wad was greased by me in an authentic 19th century black powder bullet lubricant formula composed of 1 part paraffin, 1 part mutton tallow and 1/2 part beeswax (all parts by weight and blended by melting).
First of all, where in blazes do you get mutton tallow in this day and age? I haven't seen mutton in probably 50 years, and even then, we had to special-order it, from a real butchershop, too, not some supermarket meat department. I loved it as a kid. My mom really knew how to cook it; where she learned, I can't say.
Your loading procedure is just about like mine except I use Wonder Wads™ instead of the homemade goop you use, which is probably better. I have to use a lube over the ball, usually Hodgdon's Spit Patch™ but I'm thinking of trying T/C's Bore Butter™ because it's not so runny. I get really nice groups, though. If I remember to bring a towel...otherwise my hand and the gun get so blame greasy I can't hang on to it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Just bought: Traditions 1860 Army .44 - any

Dixie Gun Works sells mutton tallow. A medium-sized tub is $3.50.
The authentic 19th century lube I use is composed of:
1 part paraffin ( I use canning paraffin sold at grocery stores)
1 part mutton tallow
1/2 part beeswax
All measure are by weight, not volume. I use a kitchen scale to measure 200/200/100 grams of ingredients then place these in a quart Mason jar.
Place the jar in three or four inches of boiling water, for a double boiler effect, which is the safest way to melt these ingredients.
When all ingredients are melted, mix thoroughly with a clean stick or disposable chopstick. Allow to solidify at room temperature. Placing it in the refrigerator to speed solidification may result in the ingredients separating.
I use Wonder Wads too, at times, but find they don't contain enough lubricant. Fouling builds up in my barrels if I use the Wonder Wads as-is.
So, I liberally soak the Wonder Wads in the above lubricant. This works great.
The "acid test" that shows you have enough lubricant with black powder comes from looking at your muzzle. If there's a noticeable ring of lubricant on your muzzle after firing a cylinderful, then you've got enough lubricant.
The Wonder Wads barely show any lubricant at the muzzle, and sometimes don't show any. That's why I augment their lubricant by soaking them.
I load a wad in each chamber, on the powder, as a separate operation. This way, if I forget to charge a chamber it's easier to remove a wad than it is a stuck lead ball. Also, trying to seat a ball against the resistance of powder and wad is more difficult and may deform the soft, lead ball.
With a well-greased wad, my revolvers display little fouling. I've amazed friends by popping off the barrel of my Colt and showing them the fouling after a cylinderful. Much of the time, it appears no more than smokeless powder generates.
As for cooking with mutton tallow, I haven't tried that. Hmmmmm ... perhaps I'll fry some fish in it sometime.
More than 30 years ago, when I was a teenager, I had a cheap, brass-framed .44 revolver. My father watched me load it at the range, noting that I smeared Crisco over the balls.
"Boy, I'd hate to get hit in the ass with a deep-fried lead ball," Dad remarked.
Me too! :)
 

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Just bought: Traditions 1860 Army .44 - any

No, No! You don't cook with the tallow! You cook the mutton itself! Chops, mostly, but a leg (like a leg of lamb [geez! my mom used to cook that, too! this is makin' me all nostalgicky!]) once in a while. The meat is (I s'pose you know this, but anyway...) is from a sheep, a mature sheep, not a lamb. It's strongly-flavored, and some people find it unpleasant, but it's really not bad at all. If you've ever had a REAL mulligan stew, you've tasted it.
 

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Just bought: Traditions 1860 Army .44 - any

Oh yeah ... I've eaten mutton. In a curry, it was. Mmmmm... good stuff.
Guess I misread your post, and assumed you were talking about using mutton tallow for cooking. But come to think of it, don't know why not.
I'll have to try that tallow for frying someday, though. Got my curiosity piqued.
Some shooters specify mutton tallow in their bullet lubricant, over deer, elk, beef or bear tallow. I've heard claims that mutton tallow contains lanolin (found in sheep's wool, but I don't know about tallow).
All I know is that mutton tallow works well, so I don't second-guess it.
 
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