Conversion For home Defense


July 15, 2006, 09:07 AM
Iam thinking seriously thinking about buying a R&D Cylinder 45LC for my dragoon.I read in the new issue of a Gun Magazine that the Author talks about using 225 grain Silvertips in these cylinders and not just for the Ruger either) He talks about 1858 army Revolvers For home Defense. Its that for real. I thought you couldnt exceed 850 fps. Now for my question could I use them in my Revolver safely (not all the time) Has anyone used Hollowpoints in this cylinders. I know someone will tell me to buy a Reg. hand gun. But I want something different.

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July 15, 2006, 09:18 AM
Think about bullet weight, ya cant expect a 100 grain bullet at 850 ta make tha same pressure asa 300 grainer would ya?

That winchester loads REAL soft an safe in 1873 peacemakers with tissue paper cylinder walls. I joke i kin read tha paper through a 1873 cylinder wall.

July 15, 2006, 09:50 AM
I'll stick with my .38 for such, but a .45 Colt is not a weak cartridge even in "cowboy" loadings. ;)

July 15, 2006, 10:14 AM
Hey Edggy, 850 FPS is not that bad really. Remember the good ole' 1911 cartridge? The .45 ACP shoots at 835 FPS according to Winchesters Data. It was a 230 gr. bullet FMJ.

Slow but massive!

Winchester .45 (

July 15, 2006, 10:33 AM
Aint nobody i know volunteerin ta stand in front o one!

July 15, 2006, 11:15 AM
Manyirons, I don't know very much about pressures on this kind of revolvers.
Would you by any chance know the safe pressure limitations on a 1848 Dragoon. And how would a Cowboy load compare to a 225 silvertip 45 L.C. as far as chamber pressures. I think the Silvertip goes out about 900 fps. Just curious.
Thank You

July 15, 2006, 11:24 AM
Anythin below 17500 psi jus fine, doubt those cowboy loads er winchesters go over 14000. Prolly less. Member theys ALL kinds o old guns out there an people that supply ammo load down to tha oldest weakest you're gonna find.

Old Fuff
July 15, 2006, 11:56 AM
If some poor thug invades a home, and finds the homeowner standing there with a Dragoon... :eek:

The cartridge won't matter... he'll faint on the spot... :evil:

July 15, 2006, 12:07 PM
Yup! An NICKEL PLATE that Dragoon and it'll look TWICE as big!

July 15, 2006, 12:36 PM
As far as threatening goes, it's what it looks like NOT what it is loaded with that counts.
"Smell it lady, I am standing in it!"

If you pull the trigger then dead is dead but I would prefer not to spread the inside of the intruder all over my carpets - just think of the cleaning bill! :evil: :evil:

July 15, 2006, 12:54 PM
Two words Duncan! SCOTCH GUARD. That an hints from Heloise'll get yer carpet clean! :)

BUT yer right, better they do tha search fer holy grail thing! RUN AWAY!!!!

July 16, 2006, 10:23 PM
My 38 Smith & Wesson has been a lonly guy since i got a conversion cylinder for my 1858 Remington .. 200 gr bullets and 37 grs of B/P expells a Boom complete with smoke and 3 foot of fire out the end of the barrel .. enough to make a home intruder pee his pants ..and beg forgiveness . Might have to call the fire dept to put him out ! hahaha

July 17, 2006, 12:04 PM
In my inexperienced opinion, the conversion would be fine for defense. Even the round ball is a good manstopper but you might have to wait for the cloud to clear before taking any follow up shots.:D

July 17, 2006, 12:57 PM
I keep an 1860 conversion in the bedroom and a dragoon in the living room. There's a 51 under my desk, and a remmie and a 5.7 in the safe.

I shot at a burglar with a 36 without trying to hit him, and it was sufficient. Just watch the mv's of the rounds you buy and keep the speed under 1000, you'll be fine.

The 44 has hollow points, the Dragoon and Remington uses 45 long colt and the 51 uses 38 long colt.

I take all these guns out and fire them when I can. No mechanical problems yet.

July 17, 2006, 01:37 PM
Thank You) all Very much for the excellent information on this topic. I have
order everything I need to convert my revolver from Midway. The Author
of this excellent article does not recommend Cap and Ball for home Defense
because if the cap or caps happen to slip off the nipples. Well I hate to think
what can happen.

July 17, 2006, 07:03 PM
and if using actual black powder cartridges you can still set the house on fire trying to blast a burgler.

This is one area in which mini blinds are better than drapes.

The cartridge conversions are interesting but most are very expensive.

A Navy in .38 Special would be at least as effective as a J-frame.

The Sicilian
July 17, 2006, 08:56 PM
I've shot out of one of those coverted revolvers, it was excellent and very, very accurate. Like someone earlier in the thread said, a .45 APC is moving around 850 FPS and has way more knock down power then a measly little 9mm. I'd choose a converted 58' over other revolvers in a heart beat! They look very intimidating and are strait shooting guns. A Dragoon or a Walker would definitely be a serious conversion, you could probably load it with smokeless over the 1000 FPS maximum that R&D recommends. Anyone have any opinions if the larger revolvers could take more powder? I think a .36 could take more powder than the .44's because of the thicker chamber walls. Besides, the brass from a modern centerfire cartridge takes quite a lot of the pressures to begin with. I think one of the converted Navies might be able to go beyond 1000 FPS, maybe even up to 1200 FPS, anyone have any real data on this or another opinion?


July 17, 2006, 11:12 PM
I'm pretty sure most of the cartridge conversions are only rated to handle the very light cowboy ammo. The higher power stuff, though still mild, may be a bit much. Also, the stuff that the barrel is made of can barely be called steel, for most reproductions. Even a very soft jacket like what's used on the Silvertips would be much harder on the bore than pure lead ball.

The Sicilian
July 18, 2006, 01:40 AM
I think that saying "barely called steel" is kind of wrong. I've heard the same thing also, and it may be true for some of the cheaper quality BP makers, but Uberti and maybe even Pietta, make pretty good guns out of good steel. This is only an opinion, of course, and I would really like to know the truth of the matter. Like I said, I've heard the same thing about the steel they use, I just don't think thats true, at least not when it comes to the better manufacturers. Remember though, the brass case takes a lot of the higher pressures associated with smokeless powders, but I don't know how much pressures exactly. It would be nice to know. Does anyone have any data on these things? I've heard of people loading them a little heavier, but how much more I don't know. I guess it's best to stay within the recommended pressures, to be on the safe side.

July 18, 2006, 12:19 PM
Brass is significantly weaker than even the crappiest steel, thus the brass case adds next to no strength compared to a steel chamber.

The Sicilian
July 18, 2006, 12:45 PM
Hello Ryan,

I did get the chance to speak to an Old Cowboy type who has a lot of knowledge about the steel they use. You and I were both right...the truth lies somewhere in the middle. The steel is fine for the application but not up to par to the steel used in the United States. So it is softer steel after all but no so soft that you couldn't call it steel.:D

Uberti uses two diffeent grades of steel, one for BP guns and another for cartridge guns, the latter being the stronger (of course). I guess it's cost effective and keeps the price down on these revolvers. If they used better steel I imagine we'd be paying another hndred dollars or so per revolver. The stainless steeel models are most likely the strongest ( at least that's what I would think, anyway) but I really don't know enough about the properties of stainless steel to say for sure.

It should be stronger than the regular steel they are using.


July 18, 2006, 02:12 PM
So you're thinkin' you need an elephant gun for home defense?
When I think home defense, I think about shooting a perp from 3 feet to 20 feet. A 45LC will certainly pulverize the target from that distance. He won't be getting up. If he's wearing body armor, he won't be getting up quickly.

a 38 LC in the face will stop brain function.

I think a lot of people equate "cowboy loads" with "something that punches holes in paper". And somehow this translates into a lack of power and performance. 960 fps is nothing to laugh at. Especially pushing a round the size of the tip of most people's pinky finger.

You have to remember that the 45 auto was the main pistol for the military for many years until they went to that girl gun.

July 18, 2006, 02:47 PM
Never thought about catchin' the drapes on fire. Bwaaa, ha, ha!:D

I usually just lay down the gun I'm carryin' by the bed when I go to bed at night. I carry a 9 or a .38 mostly. I don't really have a "home defense" gun other than my PDW. There's a shotgun in the corner if I have time. I keep the bedroom door locked to try to give me some time. If I got a chance, he could be walkin in the door starin' at a side by side 12 gauge. Now THAT'S intimidation factor. :D

July 18, 2006, 03:15 PM
The great state of Mississippi is under the Castle law now in effect .. so i ordered a Uberti 1858 5 1/2 in barrel for a carry gun in the truck complete with R&D drop in 45lc cylinder .. i load these cartrages full stoke black powder 37 grs 3f goex ... under a 200 gr bullet .. it`s a stout load , i don`t shoot these loads much at paper targets ..don`t want to wear me out or my Remmies .. just makes me feel more at ease useing the same guns for home defence that i do so much shooting with .. and i never have been a fan of auto loaders the puney 9mm spray and pray guns.. ya just can`t beat the intemidation factor of these large pistols .. after all we aren`t looking for a gun fight .. i just want to be able to stop one . I feel like showing a bad guy the business end of a 1858 remmie ... is gonna be the great equalizer . After all if the bad guy has been watching the tv westerns he`ll think i can shoot 50 times with out reloading

The Sicilian
July 18, 2006, 06:57 PM
The Military is finially getting rid of the girl guns (Hehehe) and going back to the .45 APC because of it's stopping power. You get hit with a .45 and you ain't gonna be runnig forward anymore. If you get hit with a 9mm or a .38 you'll still be able to breach a defensive position. But if you get hit by a .357 or .45 you ain't getting up, period! The .45 was intoduced primarily because of its stopping power, same with the .357. Back in WWI there were some crazy little Muslim fanatics with machetes that would keep on coming after being shot multiple times by a .38 cal and the soldiers were getting cut up pretty badly. After switching to the .45 APC they weren't getting cut up anymore, one shot from a .45 and those little suckers would drop like a lead sinker! I imagine they will switch to a double action .45 instead of the 1911 (they should stay with the 1911).


July 19, 2006, 01:58 AM
Now that's a fat load if I've ever heard one. No offense. But it was still very common for Filipino juramentados, among others, to keep right on fighting after being shot multiple times with .45 LC as well as .30-40 Krag. In one case, a juramentado was shot something along the lines of 5 times in the face and neck with a .45 and 3 times in the chest with a .30-40, and didn't expire for quite some time.

There are no magic bullets, and there are no magic calibers. Non-expanding .45 caliber only makes about a 56% larger wound volume than 9mm. Hollowpoints create about a 45% larger wound. Given the incredibly small amount of tissue which pistol bullets crush, the difference is insignificant. Half an ounce for 9mm/.38, three quarters of an ounce for .45... who's counting? The only thing that really matters is where the hole goes. A 9mm hole in the heart beats a .45 caliber hole in just the lung, every time.

July 19, 2006, 02:19 AM
you left out the part about the flipper being on opium.
but of course we don't want to generalize on anecdotal incidents and make them seem like the general rule.

the truth is as you say that well placed rounds do the trick. A 22 mag would be fine to shoot a home invader in the fore head with. The average joe doesn't shoot well though. Add the pressure of an immediate incident ...and a good body shot with a large caliber will do the trick as the originator of this thread was asking.

July 19, 2006, 06:39 AM
Regards to Big old guns, I once had a fellow threaten to cut my head off whilst pulling a large knife from under his coat.

I responded by sticking a .450 Eley chambered Webley RIC "Bull-dog" under his nose and thumbing the hamer back.:what:

Yes, it is possible for a man's eyebrows to climb over his forehead, seen it that night. Head and shoulders still firmly attached, 450 Webley was er. uhm.....sold to a bloke in Queensland about twenty years ago (gotta say that due to the gun laws in this country):neener:

Don't forget, if you don't get the bad guy with the bullet, you can always burn him to death with th muzzle flash!

July 19, 2006, 09:11 AM
I once witness two men break into my neighbor's house. With in minutes they
were inside. The retired couple had gone for their daily walk. One of this men had one very strong leg because he had no trouble kicking the door open. I called the police and was told they were both gang members and one had been in prison. Now imagine yourself napping in your home. (my point) All your Marksmanship goes out the window. You just don't have time.

The Sicilian
July 19, 2006, 10:33 AM
Excellent point. Marksmenship tends to go down when the average person is in a conflict. It's a proven fact that a .45 has way more stopping power than a 9mm or a .38. Ask any soldier who's been in combat and had to use his sidearm. I wonder why the military just decided to go back to the .45? Could it be that the measly little 9mm is not putting the enemy down? And yes, those little suckers were all hopped up on opium, and the .45 did put them down compared to the .38. Our guys were getting cut to hell until the change was made. It may have still taken a few shots but the stopping power was a serious improvement. Guys stopped getting all cut to **** after they switched to the .45.

Can't argue that any well placed shot will do the job (within reason). The problem is exactly what sjohns said, people just don't aim so good under pressure. And a 50% increase in a wound channel is a serious increase! Sometimes it only takes a few percentage points to change things drastically, whether it be an election or the penetration of a bullet. As for a magic bullet...what about the S&W .460? If that ain't a magic bullet I'm goldie locks! :D I've shot one and they are massive and accurate, but fairly useless (most likely) in the event of a surprise like a break-in or an attempted car jacking. Try pulling a .460 out of your pocket! You'd have to ask the the bad guy to help you pull it out! :D 9mm's are popular and that's about as good as it gets with them, easy to find ammo and cheap. I'd rather have a .45 anyday, especially if I'm defending my life or my family's well being. I just wouldn't take the chance with a 9mm unless I had to.


Cap n Ball
July 19, 2006, 10:38 AM
When we first moved into our house it wasn't the best of neighborhoods. About three months after we moved in I was downstairs in the kitchen cleaning my 1858. I had just finished when I heard some scratching at the back door. Looking through a side window I saw this scrawny little guy with a hopelessly outdated afro trying to pry the door. I went back to the kitchen and loaded two chambers. One full of just powder and wad and the other with a ball just in case. I waited until I heard the door pop and there he was screwdriver in hand not more than three feet away staring at that nasty muzzel with eyes that looked like eggs. I fired once over his face and he went up like a flash bulb. Screaming like a banshee he turned and fled jumping the privacy fence leaving a vapor trail of hair and pomade. I called the police and told them what I'd done and to check all the nearby hospitals for a guy with bad powder burns all over his head. They found him in an emergency room about four blocks away. The cops just laughed when they called me to come and identify him. Man! was he a mess. Just glad I didn't have to kill him. I don't ever want to have to do that again...not that I wouldn't, I just don't want to. I have a conscience and even though it was war and either them or me I still think about it.

Jim Watson
July 19, 2006, 11:01 AM
I don't think there is any doubt that a cartridge conversion will work for home defense. They did ok 130 years ago, they will do ok now. You would have to do enough shooting to be assured of their reliability. Then they were serious weapons, now they are made as toys.

Couple of things though.
Edggy, why would you want "something different" for self defense?
I want something real familiar at hand for trouble so I can think about the problem, not operating "something different" as a weapon. The oddballs can go to the range for fun.
Sundance44s shoots them regularly and presumably knows his guns well enough to be confident in their reliability and his ability to get hits.

If "all your marksmanship goes out the window" you need some hard training and maybe some competitive shooting to get used to performing under stress.

The Sicilian
July 19, 2006, 11:16 AM
No offense Jim, but these revolvers are not "toys". They are made for the hobbiest and shooting enthusiast, but toys they are not. I never heard of a "toy" making a criminal piss his pants and run faster than a speeding bullet to get away from one of these old flame throwers! They are replicas of old west and civil war arms that were used in the heat of battle, a war that produced more casulties and deaths than any other in U.S history. I've seen the real thing, the old originals and these replicas are made very well, probably a little better then the originals. My "toy" shoots better than a lot of modern semi-autos that I've fired (could be that a lot of the guys that own the semis just can't shoot fer sh*t!).

The Sicilian.

July 19, 2006, 11:47 AM
Sorry Jim, But alot of people like myself have jobs that don't have the luxury
of time for Competitive shooting. As Stated I chose my preference ( My Dragoon) Oh yes and Bear my dog. And (No) Iam not that bad of shot before anyone says anything. Thank You

Jim Watson
July 19, 2006, 12:33 PM
If the replicas are better than the originals, it is a wonder any of us are here today, our ancestors would have been scalped if they had to depend on the quality of guns I see at CAS, especially the cap & ball and conversion revolvers. If you have a good one, treasure it.

July 19, 2006, 12:46 PM
Ok, those seriuos weapons of 130 yrs. ago were 1st generation. They have since made 2nd and 3rd generation reproduction revolvers. And any gun collector that knows his stuff wil tell you that the steel and methods today are a heck of alot stronger steel than any of the Old cast iron guns were. For God's sake they are shooting smokeless powder out of the conversions.
Below is a picture of a so called toy during ignition. (

And Revolver is only as good as the shooter/owner of it...if the owner can't make it work or can't maintain it go by a .54 cal Single shot Dragoon.
C&B revolver owners are I believe 1/3 kitchen table gunsmith and 2/3 gunslingers. How do you think our ancesters got there guns fixed? Why do you think they got to depend on there revs? Cause they tuned and fixed them themselves.
In a perfect world one may be able to asume a rev should be perfect, I don't live in a perfect world and I'm a surviver...and got alot of dependable BP C&B revs...HeHe!

Jim Watson
July 19, 2006, 01:03 PM
I agree that modern materials are better... if you let the engineer and not the bookkeeper pick them. Modern machine tools are more precise if operated right, but when one gets out of whack it can turn out scrap faster than ever before. And there are people who will sell you scrap.

I repeat, if you have a good one, treasure it and hang on to it. You might not be able to replace it with one as good. Seen it happen.

And if you depend on an antique or reproduction, be darn sure it works and you are well practiced. They were designed when it was assumed that the owner would learn what it took to use it right, and do not have the modern attempts at foolproofing. Not every crook will be intimidated by the mere sight of a gun.

I happen to own one of the first modern cartridge conversions, made before Cowboy shooting was a gleam in the eye of the Wild Bunch.
It is the Legal Defender, openly advertised in the 1970s as a way to evade gun laws. Buy an unregulated .36 cap & ball and install the Legal Defender to shoot .38 S&W at intruders on your Park Avenue pad.
So this is not a new concept. It ain't a whole lot of gun, though.

July 19, 2006, 01:18 PM
Heck Jim I have bought used $75-$100 guns on auction and turned um into my bedside defender. Like I said ya gotta know what you are doing ... all you need is a screwdriver, file, a stone, and maybe a scale. Last of all you fit spare parts or order them. Most people keep at least two fireable weapons handy. I trade off and give them all a chance...LoL! It's luck of the draw what ever you buy...not just BP Revs. Ever have a stovepipe on an Auto? Who's fault is that...was it ramped and throated, was in a proper load? If I gotta a good one I made or kept it that way. Wasn't luck...

Old Dragoon
July 19, 2006, 10:00 PM
I have worked on, cut down, disassembled, assembled, swapped 5 C&B and 2 Kirst Conversion cylinders in and out of all my '58 Remington Eruoarms clones. I can do it in the dark if need be.

I keep the 2 conversions loaded with 5 grns Trail Boss with the Old West Moulds 248 Grn. 44 Rem C.F.(this 44 Rem C.F. load is equivalent to a 45LC load) bullets for home defense.

I hope I never need to use either, but would rather have them and not need them, than need them and not have them.

Oh!, and the Uberti '58 Carbine loaded with 40 Grns FFFG .454 ball is in easy reach if need be.

The Sicilian
July 19, 2006, 10:22 PM
Right on Old Dragoon, same goes for me Smoke, these guns aren't toys, and if they don't fire properly then that is on the owner. I've got mine shooting pretty good. Jim is right about a few of the things he said though, but you can get a lemon .45 ACP too. If these guns are properly maintained and cared for they will not fail you when the need arises. If they are all a person has then they shouldn't feel naked or out gunned. They may not have as many shots as a semi but all you need is one or two well placed rounds to take out a person. The other rounds are just for suppresion and manuvering if need be. And if you got a Remmy you can keep a few extra cylinders on hand and reload as fast as any modern gun.

They aren't state of the art anymore but they are beautiful and fine working revolvers. A person has to know how to shoot in order to make them sing! they aren't as easy to shoot them other guns, but when you learn how to tame them they are damn nice at what they do! I hit a small water bottle at fifty yards without any problems at all while a guy with a 9mm couldn't even come close!:evil: Goes to show you that it matters not on the weapon (at least to a degree) as much as it matters on the person weilding it. I am a little skeptical about buying a Pietta 1862 pocket pistol, my last attempt at buying a Pietta went pretty bad. I guess I should be fair and give them another try, huh? Oh yeah, would a used Navy Arms 1851 in excellent condition be worth $240.00 bucks? I heard thet the older Navy Arms Bp revolvers were some of the best you could get, is this true guys?

the sicilian.

July 20, 2006, 01:06 AM
I wouldn't pay $240 for an 1851 anything myself. But yes Navy arms had some good early import starting around 1956-58. Even Belguim made ones.
If I were gonna buy another 1851 Navy it would be from Cabelas and a Pietta.
Pietta has it together now(new tooling)especially good barrels...they shoot tight. They always have though. Barrelgrooves are smaller and chamber size closer to the groove size.
I have a Uberti 1851 Navy and love it. But I didn't pay $240 for it and it was NIB.
Hope that helps Sicilian...

The Sicilian
July 20, 2006, 01:29 AM
Sure does Smoke, by the way...Do you know for sure that Pietta has new tooling and that the barrels are as tight as you say? The last one I bought was pretty bad...the barrel latch popped off after only a few shots (under 30 or so shots) so I returned it and got my cash back. The Pietta I got was one of the models made for traditions, i.e, supposedly the worst of Pietta's guns (the ones that don't pass QC) go to Traditions, that's why traditions sells them cheaper. I don't know if this is true or not but the one I got seemed to verify this story. And Cabela's sells them cheaper than others also, so this makes me wonder a little. When I was at Cabela's the other week their BP guns actually looked very good, and since you back them up I guess I'll give them one more try. If I get another bad one I'll probably stay away for life.

I'm thinking on either an 1851 or a 1861/1862. What would you recommend, either the 1861 pocket model or the 1862 police model? Both are the smaller versions that sport a 5 1/2 inch barrel. I also want to get them in .36 cal (I think they come like this and are historically .36 cals). I know the 1861 is just a smaller version of a an 1860 Army and the 1862 is a smaller version of a 1851 Navy. After I get one of these I'm probably going to get one of the Dragoon models, probably the second model Dragoon, they are big, ugly, bastards and I love them! If they misfire you can just club your enemy to death! :D


July 20, 2006, 02:17 AM
Well, all I know is what I have heard about the tooling with Pietta. And for Cabelas, if you can get to their store I envy you, just have them pull one out and inspect it. Cabelas will exchange a bad one or any and as many as you do not like and pay the shipping or reinberse back. For $164.99 I'llpay that instead of gambling with $240. Ya know? It's luck a the draw whereever or what ever brand you get. Hopefully you get a good one you can tune up to suite you.
As far as 1851 or 1861 goes it's $239.99 for a 1861 Navy, $199.99 for an 1862 Colt Army Police. Where as the 1858 Navy .36 is $179.99 and most all Remingtons usually have no problems.
I'm not a pocket pistol fan although they are good as pocket guns. I like full size I tuck my 51 in my pants and it can't be seen...LoL! I've done it with my Dragoon...HeHe!
I guess I'd say 1851 Navy ifin ya want a Colt, 1858 Navy if ya want a Rem.
My best choices.

July 20, 2006, 07:05 AM
I wouldn't call a BP revolver a toy, even though they are used mainly for fun. I surely would not want to get shot by one - that toy will kill ya. But for home defense I want something that will go bang when I want it to, every time. 9 out of 10 times the BP revolver will do that, but that 10th time...
Remember, back in "the day", the field was pretty level simply because everyone had the same weapon(s). If bad guys today carried BP revolvers instead of Glocks, I'd still have the semi-auto to be one step ahead of them. Using a BP revolver when the bad guys have semi-autos puts you one step behind them. Cops don't carry the 1862 Pocket Police for a reason.
But, these Colts and Remingtons are works of art. Beautiful to look at, well balanced, as accurate as any modern handgun - but it's not their accuracy that I question, and certainly not their stopping power -it's the inevitable malfunction (bad caps, spent caps jamming, etc).

July 20, 2006, 08:02 AM
My second 1858 (the Stainless Steel one I bought recently for $175) ... is a Traditions Pietta SECOND! The only thing wrong with it, other than easily polished out tool marks, an overly wide hand cutout in the frame, and a scratch all the way around the cylinder that's in line with the trigger and bolt screw, is the front post sight is a boogered up. Looks like someone clamped onto it with a vice grips plier. I'm not going to bother with cleaning it up, just going to try to find a semi-teardrop dovetail front sight for it. If I find one, great! If I don't, no big deal, the revolver can shoot better than I can aim it. All I had to do was a teeny bit of file/stone/emery cloth work to it, and most of that was to the mainspring retaining slot in the grip portion of the frame. I am convinced that most any ball and cap revolver you buy, regardless of manufacturer, will require some sort of tuning. I should also mention that I've got a "thing" for Piettas ... all the ball and cap revolvers I've ever owned were Piettas, and I've got a line on a CHEAP ($50) 1858 Brass Frame Target Model Pietta that I will probably buy.

The Sicilian
July 20, 2006, 09:04 AM
Thanks for the advice Smoke. I do own a Colt styled Bp 1860 third Generation Signature series, it's a really beautiful gun and I just had a new hammer and trigger put in it. I'm gonna take it for a spin in an hour or so. I'll tell you how she fires when I get home.:D

I specifically want a pocket pistol for my next revolver, then I'll probably go for an 1851 or a Dragoon. I migh even convert a .36 cal 1858 into a pocket pistol, that might just be the way to go.

I'd have to agree wth you Pohill, ther is always the chance of getting a bad cap or a jam, regardless of how well you take care of your gun. You can't control a percussion cap manufacturers quality control and there really isn't a way to find out whether you got good cap or a bad cap. You can, however, take as many variables out of the picutre as possible, i.e., get treso nipples, install cap guards on all of the Colt style revolvers you have, get bushings installed on them, etc. But I'd still rather depend on a centerfire cartridge gun in a bad situation, even a converted Bp revolver would be suitable for home defense purposes, especially if you install the optional loading gate for quicker reloading.


Jim Watson
July 20, 2006, 09:28 AM
Back when Ray Ordorica wrote for Gun Tests, every time they came up with a repro something or another to test, he would round up a sound original for comparison. The repros tended toward better accuracy due to better modern ammo, but the original nearly always beat out the repro for reliability and ease of operation. In the day, they were making serious weapons, not novelties, and they did not expect you to have to do a "little tuning" to make them shoot.
Only exception I know of was a John Gren conversion at about six times the price of a Uberti.

July 20, 2006, 09:28 AM
Sicilian, I have an 1862 Pocket Police .36 by Uberti. I hear that the Uberti models are more historically accurate than the Pietta, but I haven't seen a Pietta to compare. It's a great little gun, great looking, shoots high but packs a punch. Loading is a little annoying because of the short, small loading lever. It shoots .380 roundballs, which aren't that common (.375 is a little loose, but they are easier to find. I bought .380 moulds)
Apparently the Pocket Police were more popular than the same sized, same caliber Pocket Navy, but that looks like a great gun, too. I bought mine from Midway for a good price (it went on sale a week after I bought it and Midway refunded me the difference, about $62.00).
Jim Watson: I have a Colt Colt Signature Series 1861 .36 Navy that is definitely a step up in quality from Pietta and Uberti (I know, it was made by Uberti). I can't see an original being of better quality. My point is that for a few hundred (?) bucks more we can have original quality. I gotta admit I like "working" on my Piettas and Ubertis but it's also good to have, and good to know they exist, quality revolvers.

July 20, 2006, 09:37 AM

Ya AINT gonna wear them guns out with 37 grains! Tha BOSS jus did a LONG CYLINDER prototype, give ya WALKER+ capacity on a Remmie frame, it'll go all day ever day with 55+grains a 777 an a regular bullet like his KEQ at 260 grains.

Now THAT load DO bark!

July 20, 2006, 09:44 AM
As ta reliability an dependin on yer cap&balls, thats what tha BOSS does. He DONT consider em toys, an he DO expect people will live on em workin right jus like way back when.

Fact is, he carries those big fifty conversions cause when he's done theys jus as or MORE reliable than modern guns. LOTTA work and DEFINATE reengineerin, but theys jus oh so fine when hes done!

And that 300 grain what looks lika hollow base wadcutter in .45 upside down at 1100fps AINT nothin no one want some of.

July 20, 2006, 11:06 AM
(Jim Watson) I'am curious. why do you feel the originals are better then the
Repro. Revolvers ( Don't get me wrong I would Love to have a original. But not to fire) and why do you refer the Repro. as novelties or oddballs. I thought all things improve as time went on. Please share some information and some of your own experience's on the above leading up to your comments. Thank You

July 20, 2006, 12:48 PM
I like my toys.
If I could get the rest of the world to agree that they are toys, then I could carry anywhere I felt like it.
Parafornia NEEDS people carrying their toys...

Old Fuff
July 20, 2006, 02:02 PM

I'm not Jim, and I don't pretend to be... :D

But anyway, back in the 1940's and 50's before the reproduction cap & ball revolvers came along all we had to shoot were the original 19th century guns...

And shoot them we did. :)

In those days one could buy an original 1849 Pocket model, or 1851 Navy and 1860 Army, as well as a "New Model" Remington for about what a top of the line replica costs to day. Those that were in good mechanical shape and had clean, sharp bores and chambers - but little finish - made good and affordable shooters. In my experience, the bore/chamber dimensions were held better (some if not many reproductions have chambers that are smaller then the bore) and more attention was paid to timing the lockwork. On Colt's for example the hammer would come all of the way back to the backstrap before the trigger engaged the full-cock notch, and that's important because it positions the rear sight on the hammer nose lower so the revolver didn't shoot so high above the point of aim.

In fairness to the current makers, they had to go through a learning curve and each year the best lines seem to improve. The quality gap - if there is one - is getting smaller, and the steel they use is better that that of the middle 1800's. Can't say that about the grade of walnut they use for stocks though...

I don't see the replicas as "novelties or oddballs" but rather a wonderful addition to one's shooting experience. I would warn those that are now converting these cap & ball guns to modern metalic cartridge that the guns themselves are proofed for black, not nitro (smokeless) powder, and are intended to be used with black powder only. Yes, in either cap & ball or cartridge versions they can be used as a personal defense weapon, but they are far from my first choice for this purpose.

July 20, 2006, 02:26 PM
OldFluff.... What ya have to think about is the main reason a lot of us here would chose our cap and ballers and conversion guns for home defence .. speaking for myself ..i have the 38`s 9mm`s 22mags all in my gun safe quietly sleeping ...But my Remington 44`s get a work out at least once a week and have been for the past 4 years .. i just got bord with the modern guns and the powder that goes pop instead of BOOM !!! and i`ve never shot a modern pistol auto loader or wheel gun that would shoot as well as my Remmies .. the main reason i got bord with them .. couldn`t hit a nats azz with `em .. with my Remmies i can i can hit a pop top at 25 yards more than once... and i was probally born under that star that makes a single action pistol fit me like a pair of old boots ... yep i like old trucks , old guns , old women , old wiskey , old dogs..and good old horses .. had i been born under a different star .. i might shoot a Block , and drive a mini van ..:D

Jim Watson
July 20, 2006, 03:11 PM

Fuff covered my ground pretty well.
My CAS Pocket Pistol is a S&W Model 2 Second issue made in the 1880s. It was the Chief's Special of its day and is well made by any standard, including the stuff coming out of the same factory now. Never mind the Eyetalian imports.


It is well enough for you and the other enthusiasts to talk about well set up repros for self defense, but to quote the original post "But I want something different." That is not my idea of the way to go. The only way I would depend on my SAA, Model 2, or L.D. conversion is if I were attacked on my way to or from a CAS match. And then I'd probably get out the antique scattergun or Winchester.

July 20, 2006, 05:43 PM
(Thank You) Jim Watson & Old Fuff For the info on this topic) I'll keep it in
mind. Jim Watson my quote was just a reference to my Revolver and nothing more. Which soon will have a drop in cylinder. (Jim Watson) Your preference's are obvious and very clear. (Old Fuff) I just bought a couple of boxes of Black Hill Cowboy Ammo in*smokeless powder. I know you can also buy cowboy loads with BP. Do I need to be concern. All this loads should be under 850FPS.

July 20, 2006, 07:03 PM
UPS just brought my cylinder) and fits and works perfect. This weekend I'll
take the revolver to my Dad's Farm and try it out.

Old Fuff
July 20, 2006, 07:59 PM

Everyone has a right to make their own choices, and that includes you. :)

But we have a lot of folks who follow this forum that don't have your experience, and therefor both the pro's and con's of any issue should be fully laid out. As a rule I don't think cap & ball revolvers (or conversions of same) are the best way for most people to go for personal defense.

But for every rule there are always exceptions...


Cowboy loads should be fine. That what these conversions are expected to be used with. Also I suspect your revolver has a .454" bore, and the bullets are most likely sized to .452", which will probably reduce the pressure slightly. I would avoid loads with jacketed bullets, or labeled "Plus P."

As I understand it you are converting a replica Colt Dragoon to .45 Colt. If so, remember that the only thing holding the gun together is a key (wedge) through a slot in the front of the basepin. So keep an eye on that slot to be sure cracks don't develop in the corners. Not likely, but possible.

July 20, 2006, 08:43 PM
Thank You)

The Sicilian
July 20, 2006, 10:36 PM
I tried my third Generation Colt 1860 today properly (New hammer and trigger is now installed). It felt really good in my hands and shot the holy black very nicely, but man does it shoot high! The fit and finish is excellent, definitely better craftmenship than either Ubeti or Pietta (they use Uberti parts but are not built by Uberti, they were made by the same guy who did the second generation Colts back in the seventies, I think his name was Frank Imperato or something similar). It shoot very strong and felt way different then my 1858, very nice all around, except for the high POI. I'll have to do something about that. I already filed the notch a bit, opened it up some, but that isn't gonna cure the thing from shooting so high. I guess I'll have to send it to Jule so he can dovetail and install a new front sight. May as well let him go to town on it. I also noticed that there isn't much clearence on getting a ball into the chamber. You have to drop the ball in almost underneath the frame, that is really the only other weakness I could find in the whole design. Other than those two things it is very nice. :D

I guess altering it will affect the value of the revolver but I didn't buy it ot make money on it at a later date. I bought it to turn it into an awesome shooter. By the way, I dished out the leftside of my 1858's trigger guard so my trigger finger wasn't being rubbed raw everytime I pulled the trigger ( because of the serious edge on the brass guard). Now it fits like a glove! I wonder why I've never seen this done on other guns? It seems like it would make a lot of sense to do and it makes shooting the gun for long periods much more enjoyable. Well, I'm sure I'm not the only one to think of such a simple modification that makes such a big difference in comfort...Am I? :scrutiny:

The Sicilian.

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