1858 remington modification


BP Hunter
May 26, 2006, 01:24 PM
I have an 1858 SS target by Pietta and am thinking of shortening the barrel to 5 1/2 inches from its lengthy 8 inch. I'm not a big guy and want to carry it when I go into the woods with my ATV. Would this shortening off the barrel affect accuracy at all?:)

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May 26, 2006, 02:15 PM
Shortening any barrel will reduce accuracy as there is less time the bullet/ball spends in the rifling.

I believe (correct me if wrong) that the Target models have gain twist rifling. This style of rifling employs a method of speeding up the spin of the bullet/ball the further it travels down the barrel. Therefore, the longer it remains in the barrel, the more spin the rifling will impart on it, and therefore the greater the stability and accuracy of the projectile.

If I am wrong and this model doesnt have the gain twist rifling, you will still lose accuracy due to the ball/bullet having less time in the barrel. This loss of accuracy should be marginal though and you shouldnt notice it unless you are shooting past 40-50yard ranges.

May 26, 2006, 02:28 PM
You won't lose much accuracy by shortening the barrel. Your Remington 1858 revolver is not designed as a target gun and its "battlefield accuracy" won't be compromised.

You will lose some muzzle velocity. Changing your powder charge can help to compensate.

You might want to put a better front sight on the gun after you cut the barrel. Good luck.

May 26, 2006, 02:46 PM
Done right NO loss of accuracy. Now yer ABILITY ta shoot it as well may be affected sighting errors will be magnified.

Note that BENCH REST guns, where they measure groups in thousands of inchs aint got long barrels fact is, most are pretty short. Barrel LENGTH aint got nothin ta do with accuracy.

And gain twist? Another NICE idea, sounds like it should work out but reality says otherwise, those bench boys aint shootin gain twist either.

And tha MANN who makes barrels, been there, done that, and nope, only in tha mind does it produce anythin.

May 26, 2006, 03:25 PM
I have always believed that the barrel length related to accuracy (up to a point), but, if Da Mann states otherwise, I will bow to his (and your) superior knowledge. Hows he holding up now?

May 26, 2006, 03:40 PM

Thanks fer askin, hes hurtin, will be a little while afor anythin gets done ta fix it.

Now then, i shoulda added WITHIN REASON cause ifin ya goes from 8 inch ta 1 inch its a WHOLE different subject!

Thing is, MOST of tha blame on less accuracy is put on tha gun, barrel, load, ANYTHIN but tha guy behind tha tha muzzle.

May 26, 2006, 03:53 PM
One of my primary rules with any gun is.....
... if there is a problem with your accuracy, blame yourself unless you can proove for sure that its something else.

Never gone wrong with that statement yet. Working on your form, grip, stance, sight picture, etc. etc. will near always improve your accuracy.

May 26, 2006, 05:23 PM
Shortened my Remmies barrel to 6 1/2" yesterday and I think it's lookin' pretty good at that lenght. Making that dovetail for front sight isn't easy, maybe I practise few more and then cut the barrel to 5 1/2 (even if it might look a little unbalanced then). Could someone give some advice on the dovetail cutting/filing? Filing the slanting? part of the dovetail is the difficult part.

May 26, 2006, 06:50 PM
Manyirons is right yet again, done right, no loss in accuracy. The barrel crown is quite important and must be cut square and proper.

Clamp a 2" snubby .38, say a M60 Smith and Wesson up in a Ransom Rest sometime and shoot some hollow base wad cutters out of it for group and then tell me a short barreled gun can't be accurate. :D Oh, your sight radius will limit your ability as a human to shoot it as accurately as a 4" or 6" gun, but the gun itself is quite accurate. I personally saw a M60 out of a ransom rest shoot a 1 1/4" 50 yard five shot group with said wadcutters. It wasn't my gun, but I did try to buy it right then and there.:D Those little snubbies can be simply amazing. People that say they're only good for "belly guns" are just so full of it. I can hit a rabbits head at 25 yards with mine if I concentrate. I don't think a large frame 8" gun is going to be hampered by a professional properly lopping off 3" of barrel. Jule is a barrel maker, he'd be da man for da job. Please don't just take a hack saw to it. :D

Old Fuff
May 26, 2006, 08:37 PM
Before you shorten the barrel, pull out the cylinder base pin and be sure that you leave enough length between the frame and rammer latch so that you can remove the cylinder pin if you need to. This feature isn't necessary, but it is nice to have on occasion.

Back in the 19th century the "best" rifles had gain twist, the idea being that the soft lead bullet was less likely to slip in the rifling when the twist was slowly acellerated. Of the handgun makers, only Colt went to the expense and trouble to use gain twist rifling. Marksmen of that day said it made a difference, and I have an original 1851 Navy that has shot one-hole groups at 25 yards.

These old-time barrel makers also tapered the bore (tighter at the muzzle then at the breech) before they cut the rifling, and that could have made a difference too.

May 26, 2006, 09:44 PM

Happy ta have yer input! Yup, can/may/might on tha gain twist, even some upper end airguns are choke bored and tha smith choke bores/laps his barrels.

Tha non gainies shoot inta one hole at twenty five yards. Even tha navies he did fer me'll do that from his ransom rest at twenty five yards, non gain, but DEFINATEly lapped, choked and aligned to tha chambers and tha chambers about a thousand a half over tha groove diameter of tha barrel.

Right about those two inch .38s, smith usta shark shoot like hustlin pool when he was a kid with em. Says ya just gotta know HOW ta shoot!

Says in THEORY, ifin ya gotta PERFECTLY round ball No lead shaved off, basically almost NO bearin surface, tha gain MIGHT show an advantage, buts not tha reality we're dealin with.

May 26, 2006, 10:25 PM
BP Hunter

"I have an 1858 SS target by Pietta"

Is that the one with the adjustable sights?

BP Hunter
May 26, 2006, 11:13 PM
Yes, it has the adjustable sight.

How exactly did you shorten the barrel? I was thinking of using a dremel.

Everybody else,
Thanks for your inputs.

May 26, 2006, 11:45 PM

To cut the dovetail with a file. Once you have the notch filed in and the bottom perfectly flat. Take a small triangular file and safe one side of it. That is you erase the teeth from one side. Easy to do if you have a belt sander with a platen if not use a coarse flat stone to take off the teeth. The safe side then goes to the bottom of the notch and you file in the angles. Complete one side first then carefully fit the other side trying the sight for a tap in fit. Not traditional but the best way is to file a slip fit then drill and tap the sight for a small set screw that bears on the bottom of the dovetail. That gives you some ready windage adjustment. Of course if you have a friend who has a small lathe with a mililng attachment or a small milling machine he can cut the notch and dovetail in a heartbeat to perfection as well as square up the end of the barrel. Hope this helps.

Old Fuff
May 27, 2006, 01:07 AM

Happy ta have yer input!

This dag-blasted place is an addiction... :cuss: :D

4v50 Gary
May 27, 2006, 01:27 AM
denster described the technique correctly & that's how dovetails were cut into barrels for lugs & sights of blackpowder rifles (before the modern milling machine came about).

BTW, welcome back Old Fuff! :D

Old Fuff
May 27, 2006, 02:07 AM
Because of my current medical problem I will be on and off, as I can sit and type (with 2 fingers) for short preiods only. But rest assured I will be around. :D

May 27, 2006, 08:56 AM
How exactly did you shorten the barrel? I was thinking of using a dremel.

I used hacksaw for that.

May 27, 2006, 05:02 PM
I saw Bottom Dealin Mike's Ultimate Remington article at SCORRS web page and I'm interested on the finish of the frame of the Remington he has modified.The frame's color is different from the barrel's. Do you know what the finish is or what it may be?

Interested I am because my Remington has same looking finish on the frame.

May 27, 2006, 05:16 PM
I had thought about doing this myself. Only diffrence was I want to do it to a hlaf frame colt. What did you do about the loading lever? Did you just take it out? Load it in another revolver or shorten the clamp? Just Curuious.

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