Spiller&Burr


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Bluehawk
May 29, 2006, 03:48 PM
Has anyone owned and shot the Pietta copy of the Spiller&Burr and if so what was your impresssion of it? I have one that functions fine but cant hit anything with it at 7 yards with roundball loads!

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mec
May 29, 2006, 06:03 PM
havent shot one. had a friend who shot one into frame stretch ragged distruction a few decades ago. It took longer to do it than with a lot of brass framed revolvers but it finally stretched out. He never did say much about accuracy and I belive this might have been before he really became a competent shot.

Yankee John
May 29, 2006, 06:46 PM
I bought one a few month ago at a gun show, but I haven't shot it yet.

Mine was made in 1991 and seems to have decent fit & finish. The cylinders line up perfectly with the barrel and it indexes well. VERY comfortable in the hand.

I have heard that with 20-22 gr. of powder, that they will shoot forever without stretching the frame.

mec
May 29, 2006, 07:31 PM
that would be a good strategy. If the rammer will set the ball down on top of the powder charge, you should be good to go. If not, you may need a wonder wad or some sort of filler. some remington types will allow you to seat the ball on top of that volumn of powder. the ball will be pretty far down in the chambers but I severely doubt that the resulting jump will detract from the accuracy. Most Piettas have tight chambers and will get a perfect seal with .451 bullets and balls. If this is the case with yours, it would be best to use those balls or the smallest diameter that will completely seal he chambers. this will reduce the amount of force you have to use on the rammer - an important source of frame stretch and occasional colapse with the brass framed revolvers.
Your revolver seems to have all the prerequisits for good accuracy. It would be kind of nice to experience this confederate version of the Beals/Eli whitney type revolver. From what I've read, the south contracted for a significant number of them (15,000) and when S&B couldn't make the numbers, the confederacy took over the factory.

pohill
May 29, 2006, 08:18 PM
I have an old old Spiller & Burr that I've tried to, but cannot, trace its maker. The only markings on it are CSA on the frame and the serial number 82. No proof marks, nothing. Might be an old kit gun. Anyways, it's very solid, well made, and shoots very high with 18 grs black powder, higher than any other revolver I have.
How do you post pics on the forum?

Smokin_Gun
May 29, 2006, 09:13 PM
Pohill you can use the selection on Tinypic. Just copy and paste it. Or just copy the hyper text to click on.

example: [IMG] http://i4.tinypic.com/1128m03.jpg

Starter52
May 29, 2006, 10:47 PM
I bought a Spiller & Burr from Dixie Gun Works in 1976 and ran at least 300 rounds through it that year. It was my first BP revolver. It was still shooting just fine when I sold it in 1980.

And yes, it did shoot high. I blamed the very low front sight.

I bought another one a few years back, but I've never fired it. The 21st Century model doesn't seem as well made as my earlier gun.

Niner
May 29, 2006, 10:50 PM
It was made for Dixie Gun Works by Fllipietta. 36 Cal. I think I could throw it at a target and get about as good a results as shooting at the same target. If this were the first BP pistol I had owned, I would have never bought another. However, results could be different with yours. Maybe it was the way I loaded it or my eyesight or something. :D

Smokin_Gun
May 30, 2006, 01:38 AM
Niner... are you givin it away? HeHe! Does it just shoot high or just left or just right?
Have you checked cylinder alignment with the barrel. At full cocked look down the barrel with shining a lite or flashlite from the side.(at forcing cone and cylinder) If you see a fullmoon(chamber)it's timed or clock correctly, if not and you see a 3/4 moon or 1/2 moon...there's the accuracy problem. If it is good then all you have to play with is the sites. Does it shoot good groups maybe not on the X but does it keep the shots together?
I'm tryin' to help ya but also thinkin' of getting one, maybe, now maybe not. Unless you sell yours cheap...
:O)

Bluehawk
May 30, 2006, 02:22 AM
Niner...
Not to sound like an expert or anything and unless your pic of the revolver is mirrored then your takedown "key" is in backwards...the T-shaped head should be on the left side of the frame with the round slotted head over the spring washer on the right.

Bluehawk
May 30, 2006, 02:26 AM
Yankee....
The instruction book I got from Navy Arms warned not to load more than 12-15 grains of 3FG. I did work up to 15 grains useing a .375 round ball and got a healthy "crack" sounding report but was unable to hit anything...I'm supposing it has to do with its high front sight!

Smokin_Gun
May 30, 2006, 03:32 AM
Bluehawk, put a big ol' shiney bean can(paper removed) against a dirt bank or burm at 10-20 paces to see where the ball is going. CSA elevation and windage from there...shootin' high build up the front sight or hold low. That's how I start out sightin' in a C&B Rev anyhow.

pohill
May 30, 2006, 06:33 AM
The take down knob is on the right on mine, too. I've done some research, looking at pics of originals, etc and found that it can be, and often is, on either side. On mine, it actually fits better on the right side, and since I'm right handed, it's easier to turn on the right side.

Niner
May 30, 2006, 07:43 PM
I think the more or less official way is to have the pin handle on the left side. But.... it works from either side and has no affect on the way the gun shoots....as long as you have the pin turned to the locking part of its rotation. By the way, I reversed the way I had the pin in the pistol at your suggestion. Thanks for making the comment.

gmatov
May 30, 2006, 11:55 PM
pohill,

According to "The Confederate Brass-Framed Colt and Whitney", the author, at that time, did not know of a serial number 82. He has an 81, then goes to 86. The book says they were marked "CS", does not mention "CSA".

The "CS" could be stamped on either side of the frame.

Also, it says there were fewer than 1500 made, in total. The highest KNOWN serial # is 1234.

The book was originally copyrighted in 1955, then again in 1993. I do not know if there were any additions to the reissue.

Look further, you might find you got something there.

Cheers,

George

BTW, pics in the book show the wedge entering from the right side, not the left, and the retaining screw on the right. So, depending on which side the screw is on, that is the side the wedge enters.

pohill
May 31, 2006, 01:11 AM
I bought that book on ebay last year. Good book. Some of the pics show the knob on the right, some on the left (look at the pics of the Harry Brooks collection). Mine was on the right when I got it, but I changed it to the left, then back to the right. It works best when the knob is on the right (the frame hole is configured to take it from the right side). Loading IS easier when it enters from the left, though, but turning it for take-down is easier when it's on the right. I saw the list of known serial numbers...#77, #81, #86 etc. Like I said, mine is #82. Interesting. If it was a kit gun, maybe the owner (or de-farber) knew of these serial numbers and stamped #82 for authenticity. Or...OR...it's an original. Actually, the originals had iron cylinders - mine is steel. But that #82 is a puzzle, as is the maker.

Smokin_Gun
May 31, 2006, 01:19 AM
Damn Pohill that's almost as thrilling as the Rem I got that was mark with "U.S." markings, date, s/n, and the letter Mark "P". Even had England checkin' on it and he's a Colt man... found it to be DDG Armi San Paolo...

pohill
May 31, 2006, 01:19 AM
http://i2.tinypic.com/118njuu.jpg

pohill
May 31, 2006, 01:29 AM
http://i3.tinypic.com/118o9if.jpg

gmatov
May 31, 2006, 01:50 AM
Pohill,

How come the pics, first and second, show the wedge in the vertical plane on one pic, and horizontal in the other? Mine show it to be horizontal, as a Colt wedge normally is

Also, as per my pic, the barrel latch post on the barrel is wrong, your's is slanted/curved to the rear, my pics show it to be more like a Colt post, more or less vertyical. Also the hammer spur is more erect, more like a Colt.

That may be because it IS # 82, an unknown, it could also be that it is a fake. There are other discrepancies. As I said, the book says they were stamped "CS", for Confederate States , not CSA, for Confederate States of America, which was actually Confederate States Armoury.

Nah, if you want to sell it, reduce your price, don't think you have a real antique. Could be wrong, but....

Cheers,

George

Smokin_Gun
May 31, 2006, 02:03 AM
She sure looks like a good un no matter what the out come.

pohill
May 31, 2006, 07:33 AM
George, I'm not sure if we're talking about the same part - that knob (that looks like a wedge) turns to allow you to slide the rammer/cylinder pin out; it locks the the pin in place. I've tried it on both sides - I like it best on the right, which is where it was and according to the wear marks, where it has been.
I know it's not an original (and I am not selling it anyways) though one BP shooter at my club said he thought it was an original. It is well made, easy to shoot (shoots very high), sits well in my hand (smaller than a Remington NMA), looks great...great conversation piece. But, with my luck, a month after I die they'll declare it an original.

pohill
May 31, 2006, 07:38 AM
George, if you look at the stamped CSA, the A is different from the CS, as if it was not stamped at the same time.

Bluehawk
May 31, 2006, 03:58 PM
After doing some on-line research I found that the takedown "key" can be found on both sides according to pictures of the very rare remaining Spiller&Burrs although the original specs called for it to be on the left side since it was to be copied from the Whitney revolver.
I'm guessing soldiers or civilians switched them to whatever side they preferred but it seems like it would make loading more difficult when placed on the right side...it would for me!
Anyway...what I'm interested in is, those who do own them...how do they shoot for you and what charges and bullets are you useing...balls or conicals??

pohill
May 31, 2006, 04:44 PM
I use .375 round balls with 15 - 18 grs of black powder, keeping the charge low since the frame is brass.

You said "the original specs called for it to be on the left side since it was to be copied from the Whitney revolver." Have you found any listings of original specs? I have a copy of THE CONFEDERATE BRASS-FRAMED COLT AND WHITNEY by William Albaugh III and I cannot find anything dealing with the location of the takedown key/knob. The Whitney was a model for the S&B - were all the keys on Whitneys on the left side?

Bluehawk
June 1, 2006, 03:05 AM
Pohill
The specs concerning the "key" was a written passage contained in an excerpt in some book that was for sale I was reading late last night while researching the Spiller&Burr online...unfortunatly I didn't bookmark the page or remember the name of the book but I should have. :banghead:

Bluehawk
June 1, 2006, 03:54 AM
Pohill
Ok I found it...from Colonel Burtons Spiller&Burr book:

"Burton selected the Whitney revolver, Second Model, First Type as a model arm for Spiller & Burr. Burton based his decision on the merits of the arm's performance, stability, design, and ease of construction. The arm was a descendant of Eli Whitney, Jr.'s .36 caliber, single action, percussion revolver, which was patented in 1854 as U.S. Patent No. 11,447. This model was in production at the Whitneyville factory outside of New Haven, Connecticut in 1861."

"The Whitney revolvers were probably the first solid frame pistols to go into full production. The gun had a 7-5/8 inch, blued steel, octagonal barrel that was screwed into the frame. A portion of the thread of the barrel was exposed at the breech as a result of an opening in the frame. A brass pin was attached as a sight. The barrel was rifled with seven lands and grooves. The loading lever was held adjacent to the barrel with a spring and ball type catch. The rammer entered the frame, which had been angle cut to allow insertion of powder and ball. The grip straps were integral with the frame and held black walnut grips. An oval capping groove was cut out of the right recoil shield. A rearsight groove was cut in the top strap. A thumb bolt was located on the left side, which when turned properly would allow the removal of the cylinder axis-pin. The hammer, cylinder axis-pin, and trigger were all rotated on axes created by individual frame screws. The cylinder axis-pin, which was inserted into both ends of the frame, held the 1-3/4 inch long, six shot, steel cylinder suspended in its proper position. The nipples, or cones, were set at a slight angle to the chambers. The oval trigger guard was made of brass. The pistol's length from the end of the backstarp to the muzzle was slightly more than thirteen inches, and each weighed about 2-1/2 pounds."



"Burton adapted this pattern in its entirety except for a few minor substitutions. Due to material shortages, the Southern Whitney differed in two ways. Brass was to be substituted for iron in the fabrication of the lock frame, and iron was to be substituted for steel in the fabrication of the cylinder. Strength was added to the iron cylinders by heating and then twisting the round bars of iron. This process prevented any single chamber from being in parallel alignment with any fault lines in the bar iron. Even though brass was the metal used for the lock frame, the Southern Whitney was to be electroplated in silver. This electroplating made the Confederate copy look very similar to the original Whitney Navy revolver. Also, Burton proposed to round off the muzzle of the barrel instead of manufacturing sharp edges like the model. An example of a first model Spiller and Burr shows a striking resemblance to the Whitney model." (picture not uploaded here)
*note* according to the article the plating was done away with after the samples were shown to the Government as they said brass was more pleasing!

pohill
June 1, 2006, 06:44 AM
Ahh haa! Great find there, Bluehawk. Now we have something definitive to point to as to its location (and name - thumb bolt). In reading about how many S&Bs flunked the proofing and exploded or cracked, I'm glad I have a repo...well, a repo of a repo (mine was listed at the store as a "Whitney repo", when it's actually a "Whitney repo repo"). I'll probably keep the thumb bolt on the right side so I won't have to make any new wear marks - plus it's easier to turn with my right hand. Thanks again, Bluehawk.

Smokin_Gun
June 1, 2006, 08:37 AM
Pohill, I wouldn't mind repoing that S&B Repro from you myself. Not only do I like it's design, the history behind it is xlint...very cool. And the strength of that brass frame compared to a Colts I would not worry one bit shooting standard 18-22gr loads in it... my guess is it would out last me. Good find on that one.
Dixie(DGW) still sells the Spiller&Burr kit @ $155.00. Would make a fun project to place original type markings on. If you find a pic of original markings save it and let me know.

pohill
June 1, 2006, 09:36 AM
SG, trade for...let's see...I dunno...how about maybe a Uberti Remington?
Just kidding. The S&B gives me my Remmie Fix.

Bluehawk
June 1, 2006, 10:51 AM
Pohill
I agree...the S&B gives me my Remington fix also...it appears to be a cross between a Remmie and a Colt...Remmie on the outside with Colt innards! And it's just plain pretty!!!!!
Can ya believe the prices they go for today?? DGW wants around $200 and Marstars in Canada asks about $245 (US dollars) for the Pietta model. Just a few years ago I paid just under $100 for mine, new in the box, with Navy Arms paperwork. (bought it from a private individual)
So how do these things group anyway??????

pohill
June 1, 2006, 12:55 PM
I paid a little over $100 last winter for mine. As far as grouping - I cannot hit paper targets for beans, but I like the bang and the boom and the smoke and the dirt or snow jumping next to whatever I'm shooting at on the hill. I used to be a Poleece Man and at the academy they told us that the average cop scores a 96% on the range, and 18% on the street. So much for accuracy.
Anyways, back to your question...my S&B is not that accurate (or maybe it's me). Shoots very high.

pohill
June 1, 2006, 01:01 PM
http://i2.tinypic.com/11blm5k.jpg

Smokin_Gun
June 1, 2006, 01:22 PM
Now I might trade the Uberti 1858 .44 for that Colt/Colt 1861:evil: :evil: :evil:

:O)

pohill
June 1, 2006, 01:25 PM
I had to post that pic. Actually, it was my Bday present, even though I put it on hold 2 months ago. My son gave me 10 lbs of lead, my daughter gave me a can of BP and a tin of caps. Gotta train 'em right...he he

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