Cylinder reamer?


July 20, 2006, 03:12 PM
Would any of you be interested in a tool to ream all the chambers on a given caliber (.36, .44, etc.) to an equal diameter? It's self-piloting, so that there's hardly any way to screw up.

This kind of treatment very much improves accuracy on the Italian made replicas; they don't seem to change tooling often enough to actually stay within tolerances!

Examples have been found (many examples, actually), where the chamber diameter is less than the lands in the barrel! This means the ball basically bounces down the bore, touching the rifling but not really getting in there enough for great accuracy.

Do tell if you'd be interested in a tool like this - we're trying to figure out if it's worth making a run or two of them.

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July 20, 2006, 06:52 PM
Most probably, yes..

July 20, 2006, 06:57 PM
Its not only a diameter reamer itsa DEPTH reamer ifin ya wanta deepin yer chambers fer more powder.

Figgurin 75.00

Jim Watson
July 20, 2006, 09:56 PM
You'd make more money ifn you offered the service and let people send in their cylinders to get reamed. Maybe the barrel too sos you could pick the right diameter for sufficient ball.

July 20, 2006, 10:08 PM
We do offer the service, but this is more for people who want to do it themselves, or repeatedly (to a few of the same makes/caliber, for example)

July 20, 2006, 10:08 PM

Tha MANN already does it, Matches bore/chambers, thisis fer those that wanta do several, saves money.

July 21, 2006, 08:36 PM
Unless I'm misunderstanding you, Brownells already offers these reamers.

July 21, 2006, 09:42 PM
This tool deepens/equalizes the chambers on reproduction cap&ball revolvers; these aren't chamber reamers as in "9x19mm" etc.:)

The Sicilian
July 22, 2006, 02:17 PM
Sounds interesting, I think I might eventually want something like that. It would turn a bad shooter (The gun, not the person aiming it!) into a good shooter, right?

July 22, 2006, 02:42 PM
What would be the projected price for these?.....I have a # of .36s & 44s that could stand some chamber reworking...........

July 22, 2006, 03:08 PM

July 22, 2006, 05:06 PM
I wasn't thinking of ordinary chamber reamers, I was thinking of the Manson throat reamer (link (, but as I think about what you've described it is probably a little different. The Manson reamer is set up for a breachloading revolver.

July 22, 2006, 05:30 PM
Yup, same idea but HIS gots both diameter AN depth covered.

July 24, 2006, 12:41 PM
I've been reaming some guns(cap&ballers) over the years and found that chambers reamed right at the barrels groove diameter,and better yet, .001-.003 larger than the barrels grooves improves accuracy if the barrel is good. Improves accuracy real well actually. I usually ream chambers only as deep as the lightest load would position a ball. Never done it to increase powder capacity. I just figured the less metal reamed out the better so why go deeper than the ball would ever be seated. I wouldn't ream deeper than to the face of the nipples if I did go deeper.Some guns show unused threads in front of the nipples. I wouldn't want to ream deep enough to remove any nipples threads. One interesting thing I've learned is....if the chamber is about .002 smaller than the grooves the accuracy is terrible.(I imagine it's because the groove spaces left open are smaller and the gases going through smaller holes have the pressures going thru multiplied greatly. Just a guess) Leave the chambers about .005-.007 smaller than the grooves the accuracy ain't too bad. Have chambers more than .007 smaller and the accuracy is inconsistant. The most consistant accuracy seems to come from chambers that are right at groove diameter but some guns like it with chambers .001-.003 over groove diameter. So in actuallity just going right to .003 over groove diameter with the chambers is the best bet for accuracy consistancy. I'm talkin round balls here but conicals do well being what is best in a cartridge revolver. Chambers right at barrel groove diameter ane even .001-.002 over barrel groove. Velocity increases because pressure increases with chambers right at or over the groove diameter. The Italians leave the chambers of cap&ballers smaller than groove diameter of the barrels to account for subsequent shots and the fouling of blackpowder. Liability too I'd guess.The Pedersoli Remington(high dollar target gun) has chambers .003 over the groove diameter of the barrels. The Ruger has .002 or .003 chambers larger than the grooves. The Pedersoli Rodgers and Spencer has chambers .001 smaller than barrel groove diameter. The renouned Pietta "Shooters", remington revolver has chambers equal to the barrels grooves. Out of the box revolvers that have chambers in 44cal. that are .006-.007 smaller than the barrels grooves can be pretty darn accurate. The same goes for 36cal. that has chambers .004-.005 smaller than the barrels grooves. I guess a lot of the accuracy depends on the consistancy of the barrels interior measurements. The less tight spots the better. I find Uberti to be the least consistant in the interior barrels measurements. Pietta seems to be etter in the interior barrel measurement. Ya can't test a gun that has a defective barrel and find any truth in what works well or not. One thing I know. Wax/lube wads 1/8th to 1/4th inch thick act as gas checks and sometimes solve accuracy problems in cap&ball revolvers. It's a set rule with me anymore that I will not fire a cap&baller without the lube pills "behind" the balls or at the very least the wool wads saturated with the lube/pill mix "behind" the balls. I theorize that the wax/lube (lube pills) are better for gas checks than wool wads saturated with wax/lube. I guess it's best to try the lube pills behind the balls and check to see if the accuracy is satisfying enough for you before you ream chambers. I have Pietta 36cal. revolvers that seem capable of 2" groups pretty durn consistantly at 30 paces and more with just the lube pills behind the balls and the factory sized chambers. The chambers are .366 on them both and the grooves in the barrels are .3695and .371. That one gun with chambers undersized by .0035 and .005. Personally I think the guns are accurate enough the way they are but.....would be more accurate with the chambers being at least .002 over the barrels groove diameter.(if the barrel and chambers(from the lube pill up and out) are kept clear in the grooves bottoms by using lube pills behind the balls. The lube pills deposit wax/lube where fouling shouldn't stick but they don't melt completely. They ain't in there long enough to completely melt. hee hee The 44's don't seem to mind wax/lube sticky to their behinds but some 36's do mind a good bit. In that case more lubey stuff in the wax/lube mix helps as does wax paper disc over the lube pill. I find so far that equal amounts of bees wax, paraffin wax, and olive oil or mutton tallow(the best) seem to keep the lube pills getting off the balls. I have an idea that if some enterprising entrepeneur sold that type lube pills they would do the world of cap&ballers a fairly good deep and make a little money to boot. hee hee Side note: soy wax seems to work as well as bees wax and is cheaper to attain. I get carrieds away with these posts replies at times but......I like to try to help the world of the cap&ballers improve. I like to help. hee hee I must be a saint. NOT! hee hee I'm just a dyed in the wool cap&baller. It's not a hobby. It's a life style. ;) See ya Buds

The Sicilian
July 24, 2006, 12:55 PM
Thanks for the information Rifle, interesting post. I'm surprised that Uberti isn't as consistant as Pietta when it comes to diameter measurements. You'd figure that a more expensive gun should be better all around. Just goes to show that because something costs more money doesn't mean that it's going to be better than something you paid a little less for. This post will give me a little more confidence in buying a Pietta again (the last Pietta I bought was junk).

Old Fuff
July 24, 2006, 02:45 PM
"Rifle" is right, primarily because the chamber will swedge the ball or bullet to its diameter. Not only is it important that the chambers match the bore, but also that the chamber diameters are consistent within a given cylinder.

During the 19th century Colt solved this problem by making cylinders with slightly different chamber diameters. The bore of a barrel would be gauged, and then a matching cylinder selected. They also packaged a bullet mold with the gun that matched the chambers. Military orders were an exception to this rule, but they were provided with gang molds.

This has often been overlooked, especially in some earlier production. I think what was behind it was that the makers thought that most buyers would keep the revolvers as collectables rather then shoot them. Consequently they spent their money on improving cosmetics - fit and finish - rather then worry about bore/chamber dimensions.

Those that are considering converting a cap & ball revolver to metallic cartridge should also check the bore diameter of the gun. As a rule the bores of C&B barrels are way oversized for the proposed metallic cartridge. One notable exception is Ruger’s Old Army which is dead on at .452”.

July 24, 2006, 02:48 PM
Now one could justify going to a gun shop with calipers in hand before deciding to buy a C&B revolver! :D

July 25, 2006, 01:07 AM
The only problem with going to the gun store with a set of calipers is that the barrels grooves can't be measured properly with them. The calipers would work measuring the chambers close enough but calipers give a reading that is small as much as .006-.008. Don't despair. Take a small flashlight and with the gun at full cock shine some light down the barrel. Look at the bottoms of the grooves to see how much cylinder face shows. It's possible with a little practice. A sheet of loose leaf paper is real close to .003. While looking down the barrel at what reflection of cylinder face there is in the grooves a person can check the alignment of the chambers to the barrels bore too. You can do that with a cap&baller because darn near everyone has undersized chambers compared to the grooves in the barrel. When you look down the barrel you can't see the forcing cone. :)

July 25, 2006, 08:43 AM

Thas why tha MANN makes these tools fer HIS shop, cause ever last blessed cap&ball short of tha old armies gots undersize chambers ta tha barrels!

Cincinnati Slim
July 25, 2006, 09:18 AM

This thread has me wondering. Got three six-shooters. Pietta 1860 Army with a R&D conversion cylinder, Pietta 1858 Remmie with a Kirst Konverter and a Uberti Cattleman. Shoot .454 balls or Ultramax 250 Gr. "Cowboy" loads.
Cap and ball accuracy w/"Wonder Wads" and 28 Gr. Triple-Seven powder is pretty good, about the same as .45 Colt cartridges in conversion cylinders.

When I got my sh*t together I get maybe 2.5 inch groups @ 15-20 yards.
Point of impact is about the same for percussion or cartridge. Recoil is harder with cartridge loads, probably from greater projectile weight.

Here's what has me wondering. The Uberti Cattleman kicks harder and accuracy is worse than the Pietta Cap and ball conversions.:mad:

Action and timing on all three guns seems really good. Bores are clean and the chambers line up fine.

Wonder what's up with the Cattleman ? I know this is a black powder forum but since we're talking about chamber throats and bore diameter thought I'd try and get some input. Maybe the Cattleman needs forcing cone work ?
Why does it kick harder ? Can you measure land and groove diameter by measuring a wax bullet forced down the bore or do you have to use a lead
"slugging" pill ? I'm about to order me a better caliper so my measurements are

Like I said, I wonder what's up with the Cattleman ?:confused:

What should I check first?


Cincinnati Slim

July 25, 2006, 09:27 AM
YEARS back when tha MANN still worked on cartridge guns, he said had severe test fer alignment, had steel inserts fer tha chambers witha female hole in front, an rod at bore diameter witha male extension precise to tha female chamber insert.

When he was done, they'd be that close! BUT jus a little wear an POOF no more super alignment.

Sooooooo, ya gots ta look at yer chamber throat (ONLY in cartridge guns, AINT NO THROAT in cap&ball!) firstly, AN then yer FORCIN CONE!

Now theys a nice 5 degree freebore throat thats been called TAYLOR buts been aroun since POP EIMER a revolversmith in tha thirties LAST CENTURY.

Point is, ifin yer throats are AT or up ta .002 OVER GROOVE, and tha things been throated right, SHOULD shoot ifin it likes tha load.

July 25, 2006, 10:41 AM
Cin. Slim, I'll bet the cylinder throats in that Uberti Cattleman are a little big for the grooves of the barrel. Barrel's probably .452 and that bullet is most likely small for the throats. You can go up to a .454 bullet and try for better accuracy.The bullet might be tipping when going thru the throats and entering the barrel off axis and thus traveling that way down the barrel and off axis thru the air.Your throats are probably around.455-.457. Bet ya.
Bet the gun could use some lapping where the barrel threads make a slight choke where they screw tight and displace some metal. Your Piettas would have a barrel rifling twist of 1-32 and the Cattleman a twist of probably 1-16. That faster twist would make it kick harder than the slow twist in the Piettas. See ya Bud
ManyIrons,..... those precision inserts for checking alignment would be nice to have. You mentioned that all the cap&ballers cept the Ruger have small chambers compared to grooves in the barrel but....Pedersoli has a couple that aren't with a huge price tag to match. Pietta has the "Shooters" Remington and their "distressed" antique finish revolvers for some odd reason have equal chambers to barrel grooves. If I'm not mistaken the Euroarms cap&ballers have equal chambers and grooves too. Someone making economical tools for the "kitchen table gunsmith" to ream their own chambers in the cap&ballers would be a good instruction sheet should accompany them. Know what I mean? Some guns have a step down inside the chambers so the metal stays thicker where the cylinder notches are located and those probably shouldn't be reamed adjacent to the cylinder locking notches. Also it's tricky measuring what the grooves in the barrels actually are considering they have to be "slugged" with lead or an alloy to measure and there are seven grooves in the barrels. It would be better to use "cerrosafe" for slugging the barrels. Maybe have people send in the barrels for a machinist type person to measure them to determine what size chambers the gun needs. We wouldn't want someone to ream the chambers of a cap&baller "way too large" and create too much pressure. A qualified machine shop guy could measure and advise about the chambers and the grooves in the barrel and all. There is a bullet mould made by NEI Handtools in the .456 listing(actually two bullets) for cap&ball revolvers. If that mould could be made with a hollow base it could be tried in place of reaming the chambers I bet. It's a cap&baller bullet made with lube grooves. It's probably good the way it is but I figure if it was hollow based it would be better. The short one they have would fit the 1860's good ,I bet,with the loading port not having room for a longer bullet. I like the configuration of the bullet and the lube grooves on it but.....I wish it was a hollow base too. Anywhoooo.....I'd buy a reamer to try out and will inquire about the prospect. Are the pilots fixed or removable? You know, like in the case where all the chambers from the factory are a little different and need a different pilot. Like a 44 that has chambers ranging from .447 to .450 from the factory. How many flutes would the reamers have ManyIrons? Straight flute? Get a "T" handle with them? Would you make them from chucking reamers or the throater blanks from Clymer or what? Make them from scratch? What do you charge to ream a guys chambers to match or be .001 or .002 or .003 over barrel grooves. Ever think of selling the cylinders made by the factory and reamed in yer shop so a guy could just buy a pre-reamed cylinder? Can you buy the cylinders for a "dealer price" to be able to make a buck? I'd like to know if you have a good supplier of barrel liners for lining barrels of conversion revolvers that are fitted with the R&D or the Kirst conversion kits? If so what are the barrel twists in them. 44 and 36. Also, do you make cylinders? You know, like a 44 Colt or 44 Special to use in a Walker or Dragoon or 1860 conversion? For smokeless powder ya know. Could you make a guy a blank with the center hole with just the profile of the cylinder with the protrude for cutting ratchets so a guy could finish it? A guy like me with a mill and no lathe. hee hee hee 4150 ordanance grade steel? Take care Bud. :)

July 25, 2006, 12:33 PM
Tha BOSS makes em, i jus clean tha shop (Mine NOT his!) an go fetch and carry! I does rough work, like cut tha bar stock ta tha cylinders an such, ya know, tha PREP work afor tha TALENT gets em.

Tha BOSS already got a bullet fer tha cap&ball guns that works REAL well, cals em RINGLOCK.

An he know bout tha SHOOTERS revolvers an such, LAST FOUR had chambers that wernt ANYWHERE near linin up.

An yup, SOME revolver prolly when tha tool wear matches sometimes gets dimensions right, but i doubts with that short bearin surface an black powder ya could ever get any OVER pressure with a big ball an a small bore.

BOSS has done experimentin with .460 chambers an .450 barrel, no problem. Aint BEST combo, but no pressure things.

An he already know bout tha STEP in some chambers, tools set ta compansate, so it'll deepen fer more powder but leave er thicker there.

An ya ask tha BOSS direct ifin he wants ta make yer cylinder blank. Jus go to tha website an communicate, i AINT tha priest that seperates ya from tha great God o Guns ya know! Lessen a course ya wants ta make a small donation fer tha church! :)

July 25, 2006, 12:38 PM

Read yer post agin, tha thing is tapered so's it makes its own pilot no matter what tha chamber size is, self alignin, and he charges 30.00 ta open, CORRECT ALIGNMENT ta +/- a minute an deepen those chambers. So's ifin theys 6 chambers, theys +- one minute fer ALL of them. TOTAL. That meanin 10 seconds off any chamber. Gots a set up so precise AN EXPENSIVE i could buy a real nice cabin on some land for!

July 26, 2006, 10:18 AM
Many Irons, can you give me a short explanation of the set up the boss uses for lining up to ream? Are his reamers made to be used by hand with a "T" handle or are they made to be machine used? Mill? Lathe? I like interchangable pilots on a hand tool. A good one cuts like going thru butter. I like the feel of doing it by hand. When it's cutting good it feels good. hee hee hee I have used drill stock turned to go in the chambers tight to locate center and find the center close enough like that and then ream with a four flute-straight flute(spiral pulls itself in too much) chucking reamer. Cost is economical for the chucking reamers. I have a little Jet mill. When I had my shop(Muzzle Loading rifle shop) I did reaming both ways. Piloted reamer and ,on the mill,chucking reamer. For the cap&ballers. No cartridge unless they were my own or a buddy where I would do it "no money". No gunsmith license. Just made muzzleloaders and fixed cap&ballers or single shot muzzleloader pistols. I may get back into it just for kicks. Not for money. I designed a tool for finding the exact center of an existing hole(chambers) and Starrett is making it for me.$400.00 for one little tool. Clymer just made me a piloted reamer that is .467 for the older Uberti's with the barrels that go over .460. Like up to .,464-.465. The newer 44's from Uberti go closer to .458. Not real good for conversion kits to 45 Long Colt. Anyhow after I moved from the farm to my 22 acre paradise in the sticks and all my stuff was in the new building(60X36) some tools were stolen. My set of reamers came up missing amoung other things. Now I have to get more made. There's a range that they can fall into so I don't have to get a million of them to do different cap&ballers. Like the older Uberti Walkers and Dragoons can most likely all go to .467 in the chambers. The 1860's Ubertis can probably go in the .455 range because the barrels are smaller like about .452. Pietta's are in the .452 range barrel size so the .455 reamer would do them too. The Uberti 36 cal. have big barrels in the .380+ so a .385 reamer would do them. Pietta 36cal. about .366-.371 so a .371 should do them. Anyhow I'm slowly collecting some tools to ream chambers in cap&ballers. These cap&ballers can be tuned and triggered and chamber reamed and aligned and sighted POA=POI but....without a good barrel they won't do the 2" or less at 25 yards. I've seen more bad Uberti barrels than Pietta. With the tricks of the trade the cap&ballers can do 1" groups at least at 20 yards. Some at 25 yards and even beyond. If the barrels stay "fouling shot clean". The lube pills behind the balls help with that for sure. Anywhooooo.....barrel lapping is a BIG help especially with those wonderful Ubertis. Well, I've sat down to chit chat and drink my coffe and type a little and ....well....typed too much again. :uhoh: Anywhoooo....yer boss is the BIG IRON BARRELS guy? Ask him if he can turn me on to a good source for barrel liners in the 45's and 38's pistol types. Can't find any. :( I'm getting a piloted drill made to drill barrels by hand. .360 minus a hair. For lining a couple of my revolvers.I have a trashed Walker I'd like to "fix" and convert it to 44 Colt(heel bullet). 44Colt having the smallest case rim. I have a lined barrel in 44(.429) that I could interchange and use balls (Speer .433) for that barrel. Load balls in the 44 Colt cases. Maybe turn down the case heads of 44 mag cases to 44 Colt size to get some powder in there. :evil: :what: See Ya Buds

July 26, 2006, 10:24 AM
rifle - feel free to join the forums (link in my signature) and ask him yourself - his name there is der Hauptmann. :)

Cincinnati Slim
August 30, 2006, 04:32 PM
Howdy Y'all,

Just got an Electronic caliper from Midway and have been measuring chamber throats, barrels and slugged bullets from a variety of my sixshooters.
Here's what I've found...

These new Italian guns are being made on pretty darn good machine tools !
I've ordered my guns and cylinders from Taylor's, Midway and Cabela's.
Chamber diameters are very consistent across three Pietta 1860 cylinders (two blue, one stainless) and three Pietta 1858 Remmie cylinders (also two blue and one stainless).

Chamber to chamber variation was around 0.0005 inch!:)

But...they all were smaller than the grooove diameter of the barrels.
In fact they were just a shade bigger than the Land-to-land diameter. So it looks like I need to open 'em all up about 0.002-0.004 inch.

Now heres something interesting.

My original Uberti Cattleman cylinder, a R&D conversion for my Pietta Colt 1860 and a Kirst Konverter for my Pietta 1858 Remmie All measure exactly 0.452 across the chamber throats !

That's just a hair bigger than the bore groove diameter of the 1858 and the 1860 and they both shoot real good with the cartridge converters in place. :cool: The cattleman shoots pretty loose by compairison.:( I have not slugged it's bore but I'll bet anything it's a larger than 0.452 !:confused:

I also have accumulated quite a collection of spare cylinders for both my Colt and Remmie cap and ball pistols. At least six as of now.

So I think I'm gonna be in the market for this chamber reamer !
Is the $ 75.00 price current and is this tool now available ?

What diameter chamber does it cut and is it powered by hand or do you chuck it into a drill or something ?:confused:

Happy Trails,

Cincinnati Slim

August 31, 2006, 12:43 PM
Shes variable, so's ya can cut what ya want. Ya can use in machine er hand, with hand ya gets FEEL fer tha cuttin.
Ifin ya ask tha MANN direct like, he can tell ya!

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