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Old 02-26-2020, 10:02 AM
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Originally Posted by AlphaSierraCharlie View Post
Outstanding info! Thank you very much! Now I just need to find a suitable holster at a reasonable price.
Sorry for the slow response.

I bought the below holster from FC Sutler for my Pietta 1858 New Model Army Remington, 20 years ago. Not good for quick draw but it has held up well (mostly stored) over that time.


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Old 02-26-2020, 06:09 PM
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All good, thanks!
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Old 05-05-2020, 12:37 PM
Outpost75 Outpost75 is offline
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Cartridge conversions for common cap & ball revolvers are designated by ATF as "parts" and can be similarly shipped direct by US mail in most US states. Some state laws are more restrictive than the Feds, so if you live in HI, NY, NJ, IL, etc. you better check if they are legal. But if you already had the C&B revolver and had the conversion unit shipped to your condo in Florida how is anyone going to know?

A neighbor who is not a gun hobbyist wanted a handgun for farm use but didn't want to appear on "the radar." He bought a Pietta .36 Remington cap & ball revolver and separately a Howell .38 Special conversion cylinder for it. This combo shows promise.

As long as you keep the gun in its original configuration and just swap the cartridge cylinder for the cap & ball one, all is supposedly "Kosher" and you don't have a "firearm" according to ATF. But once you remove the cap & ball loading lever and modify the frame to cut a loading gate in the frame and install a rod ejector to make a rapid-reloading cowboy gun, then have then manufactured "a firearm," which is still OK for your personal use only, but further transfer then requires a Form 4473.

Using the cartridge conversion requires unlatching and pivoting the loading lever down, pulling the cylinder pin out, removing the cap & ball cylinder, then substituting the cartridge conversion cylinder, loading it and installing it in the gun. To reload the cylinder must be removed, the backplate removed and fired cases poked out with a BIC pen or similar object. So it is a bit slow to reload, but you can shoot either cap & ball or cartridges in the same gun.

These conversions should be used in steel frame guns only, (no brass frames) and with factory "Cowboy" loads. The reason is product liability because C&B guns are marked for "Black Powder Only" and they don't want to be sued if anyone gets stupid shooting handloads, etc.

Groove diameter of the Pietta .36 cap & ball barrel is .375" vs. .358" for a .38 Special. To get anything resembling "normal" target accuracy you MUST use soft lead, hollow-based bullets such as factory-loaded 148-grain HBWC (target wadcutters). Factory wadcutter loads are typically loaded to a lower pressure about 13,000 psi, which are fine in these cap & ball conversions.

I fired the gun at 25 yards with Western Super Match wadcutters from the 1960s as well as some Rem-UMC 158-grain lead round nose and 200-grain lead loads of the same period. The 60-year-old ammo all went BANG~!

Best grouping was with the wadcutters, but point of impact was about 6 inches low at 25 yards relative to the sights. It is MUCH easier to cut down a front sight to correct zero than to install a higher one. I cut down the front sight until it measured exactly one inch high as measured from the bottom flat of the octagon barrel to the top of the front sight, removing 0.055"

Firing test rounds into water-filled gallon plastic jugs the wadcutters penetrated four jugs, denting the far side of the last one. The hollow-based bullet had upset to take the rifling nicely and was fully engraved. The old 158-grain and 200-grain LRN service loads had a shallow cup-base and upset to take the rifling OK, but their accuracy was poor with group size double that of the wadcutters and bullets tipping in the slow "round-ball" twist barrels. Extraction of fired cases from the 200-grain Super Police loads was difficult using the BIC pen, which is a clue they are a bit warm for this gun so that I don't recommend them.

While point of impact with wadcutters was about 6" low at 25 yards, it was well centered for right and left. To correct zero of fixed sight guns use the expression: X = RE/D where "X" is the amount of sight correction required, "R" is the sight radius. "E" is the error in Point of Impact relative to point of aim and "D" is the target distance, ALL DIMENSIONS IN INCHES!!

I have since cut down the front sight and next range trip will soon try the revolver again with old WW2-era Western .38 Long Colt 150-grain LRN loads having a deep hollow base like the wadcutter and see how they do.

A fellow living in a place which restricts modern handguns could do lots worse than to get one of these, with the cartridge conversion and lay back a case of factory hollow-based wadcutter target loads for his general-purpose farm utlity and small game foraging gun, which could serve the home defense role also if pressed into duty.

I like the idea of retaining the ability to use the black powder cap & ball cylinder too. For the non-hobbyist on a tight budget who wants only one basic utiitarian handgun, this combo has lots going for it. Firing 20 grains of 3Fg black powder and a .380" diameter cast pure lead round ball you have striking energy which compares to a .380 Auto firing 95-grain FMJs.

That was good enough for Wild Bill Hickcok.

Bottom line, don't neglect a sturdy, steel-frame cap & ball revolver with a cartridge conversion in your preps. It may be the only one "they" don't know you have. In the worst extreme any handgun that works is better than none at all. And the long-barrelled old time revolvers also make great impact weapons when they are empty, just sayin'...
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Old 05-05-2020, 06:22 PM
Bob in St. Louis Bob in St. Louis is offline
Oh. Hello.
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There's a lot of knowledge backing those words. A rare sight online these days.
Thank you for taking the time to share.
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Old 05-06-2020, 05:32 AM
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Couple months ago EMF had a sale on 36 cal steel frame Pietta 1851 Navy revolvers. IIRC it was $220 + shipping. I grabbed a 2nd one.

EMF requires that they talk to you in person on the phone before shipping. Odd little requirement. Thinking it's way to prevent shipping their guns to children.

Shipping was high $30 something.

EMF is located in California and Pietta is located in Italy. Thought to myself, I'm probably going to receive a COVID-19 laced BP revolver.

No issue there, that I know of. My newest 1851 from EMF was made in 2019.

I wiped off the factory lube, lubed the arbor with bore butter, loaded it up and shot it - about 6 cylinders worth. Probably should've snapped some caps 1st but didn't and had no issues.

Normally I'd completely disassemble it and check the bolt for fit in the locking notches of the cylinder. I didn't do that this time and had no issues at all.

Seems the timing on this one, is better.

Here she is:
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Old 05-15-2020, 02:56 PM
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Good , sounds like a good shooting pistol. Friend of mine several years ago bought a Replica of a Walker from EMF . Tough , well built big ol pistol. Sounds like EMF is good outfit .
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