1858 Remington Revolver Questions


August 22, 2006, 05:45 AM
I'm thinking of getting a couple of cap & ball revolvers. I have a percussion rifle I've shot periodically for years, and I have a number of cartridge handguns, but this will be my first experience with black powder handguns. I think I want an 1860 Colt replica (probably Pietta, maybe Uberti - if there's a good reason and it isn't too much more).

For my second, I'm thinking of an 1858 Remington clone with a 5.5" barrel and in stainless (Uberti). I think this would be a handy size to carry and shoot, and being stainless would allow me a little more leeway with regard to cleaning (I know it should still be cleaned soon after shooting, but I'm thinking that waiting a few days wouldn't be a big deal with a stainless gun - especially in my very dry climate).

My biggest concern is that I don't want something totally inauthentic (otherwise, a Ruger would be my top choice). Did Remington make this model with a 5.5" barrel - or were such conversions common? I realize that the originals weren't stainless, but I'm thinking that it might look enough like a well-worn original or maybe a brushed nickel version or one left "in the white" to be acceptible to me. I could go with the more standard longer barreled blued version for greater authenticity, but I think I'd enjoy carrying and shooting the shorter stainless model.

Anyone know if there were original 5.5" versions? Also, I've read that the cylinders are easy to remove, so I might get a spare to use as an old-fashoned speed loader - would this be practical?

Thanks in advance for your thoughts and advice.


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August 22, 2006, 09:55 AM
I can't answer the question about the authenticity of a 5 1/2 inch barrel, but if you think you would enjoy owning one of that persuasion, hey, I'd go for it! As far as the extra cylinder, yes, the Remington replicas can be cylinder swapped in a matter of seconds. Several of the members who post here have a pouch for an extra cylinder on their gunbelts. You can also buy a cartridge cylinder if you so choose. It's possible to use one of those as a complete drop in (no modifications required) or you can convert to cartridges with a loading gate, ejector, etc., without too much trouble.

I predict you will enjoy every percussion revolver you manage to cabbage on to.


Cap n Ball
August 22, 2006, 10:06 AM
You say you have a question about an 1858 Remington and then say you want a Colt.

August 22, 2006, 10:16 AM
Ya know, back then ya could order ANYTHIN from tha factory an they'd be right delighted ta do er for ya.

So whos ta say they WASNT some 51/2 inch Remmies aroun?

August 22, 2006, 10:32 AM
Can`t find anything in my rescearch that says Remington ever offered a 5 and 1/2 inch barrel model ..could have been special order i suppose .. just wasn`t offered as a main stay . In the days of black powder they did know the black stuff needed longer barrels to make the horse powder they were after .. and some were buying pistols for travels that took them through bear country ..cut the barrel back from 7 and 1/2 too 5 and 1/2 inches and you loose around 150 fps .. Some of the colts in the day were offered in a 9 inch barrel and shot massive loads of powder .. like the Walker ... But the laws of demishing returns does happen rather quickly when cutting barrels short and useing black powder .

Father Knows Best
August 22, 2006, 03:48 PM
The consensus opinion of those who have studied these things is that Remington did NOT manufacture short barrel versions of the New Model Army (commonly referred to today as the 1858 Remington, because that's the patent date on the side of it, despite the fact that it didn't go into production until 1863). The Remington NMA was a large and powerful handgun, and the buyers liked it that way. A short barrel would have sacrificed ballistics for no good reason. The same is true of the big Colts, like the 1860 Army model.

If you wanted a smaller revolver in the 1860s or 1870s, for concealment or other reasons, you had two choices. Either you bought a smaller caliber pocket revolver, or you cut off the barrel on your big Colt or Remington. Small pocket revolvers were very popular, and greatly outsold the big Remingtons and Colts in the civilian market. Chopped .44 Colts and Remingtons were done by gunsmiths, but generally not by the factories. It wasn't until long after the front-stuffers were out of production (and Remington was out of business) that manufacturers discovered and responded to a demand for large caliber revolvers with short barrels.

Cincinnati Slim
August 22, 2006, 04:47 PM
Howdy, Check Cabela's for this item...

Triple K Double Leather Clip Pouch Item:IG-226413 @ $19.99

It's designed to hold two .22 caliber rotary rifle mags buts fits Remmie cylinders perfectly. Nice snap flaps, holes in the bottom to push your cylinders up out of the pouch. Works really good even with dirty/greasy fingers. With a little practice you can swap out cylinders in seconds.

I think both Kirst and R&D "drop-in" cartridge converters are great. Makes the 1858 a super versatile shooter. I like the 5 1/2" barrel a lot better than the traditional longer tube. Draws and carries a lot better and fits the same holsters as my Colt SAA Peacemaker Clones.

I know you might loose a little velocity but Remmies hold plenty of powder.
Just up your charge to 35 Gr or use Triple Seven. I get plenty of zip out of my 5 1/2 inch tube! :D

Happy Trails,

Cincinnati Slim

August 22, 2006, 05:03 PM
With the invention of smokeless powder big pistols came in shorter barreled versions ... the smokeless powder doesn`t suffer near as much from the shorter barrel . I`ve bought a short barrel remmie myself few months back .. have been enjoying it too .. it`s a good shooter , and an easy carry . One reason i did the rescearch on the black powder and short barrel ballistics i just had to have one in my collection . One of these days i`ll buy a cronograph and do some testing .. they may not loose as much with 777 i`d like to see .All the test results i`ve seen were done with goex black powder , some of the subs may fair a little better .

Ed Ames
August 22, 2006, 05:29 PM
being stainless would allow me a little more leeway with regard to cleaning (I know it should still be cleaned soon after shooting, but I'm thinking that waiting a few days wouldn't be a big deal with a stainless gun - especially in my very dry climate).

FWIW... years ago I picked up a stainless steel Ruger Old Army target model cheap because someone thought the same thing. Black powder will do a number on stainless just fine thank you... pitted bore, pitted cylinders, pitted frame... still fairly accurate but embarassing to explain that it was that way when I got it. Stainless will and does rust in days w/ black powder.

The problem with black powder is that it deposits salts all over the gun. The salts are hydrophilic...hygroscopic really... they suck water out of the air. Even if your humidity ranges around 10% (desert), the salt 'll suck enough water out of the air to harm the steel.

My personal practice, and this will cause squeeling from certain circles... is to rinse the thing... not spray it lightly but rinse it as in ounces of fluid pouring off the gun (carying away salts, water, and other deposits) and into paper towels/the ground... rinse it... with WD40... then wrap in in WD40-soaked paper towels and put the whole mess in a sealed ziplock bag. I've done that with my blued 1860 repro several times, leaving it 3-4 days without cleaning in fairly humid conditions, and it doesn't show a trace of rusting. The WD40 isn't a permanent preservative... it will all come off when you tear the gun down to clean it properly... but this is a case where you want a cheap Water Displacer and WD40 qualifies.

C&B revolvers are loads of fun... and addictive... I started with that messed up Ruger and now have 8 C&B revolvers of various sorts.

August 23, 2006, 12:32 AM
Doug get yourself one of each if you want to save Cabelas Piettas 1860 Army $184.99 1858 Rem $179.99. Forget the stainless it don't look like white worn steel or Nickel. Get a couple extra cylinders instead one for each about $35.
Get yourself some Goex fffg "Black Powder" local and have some fun...
What part of CA are you in Doug? North, South, Central?

August 23, 2006, 09:55 AM
Yep once fired with black powder or pyrodex a stainless steel barrel is no longer rust proof on the inside .. makes the extra bucks buying one hardly worth it .. unless you just like the look .. but just don`t buy one thinking cleaning it is a thing of the past . Also if you`ve never held one ..handle one before you buy .. they feel different .. can`t explain it .. but just not quite right.... compaired to the regular steel frame models .

Low Key
August 23, 2006, 11:20 AM
You could send your 5.5 in barrel remmy to Big Iron barrels to have the cylinder deepened to hold 45 gr of 777! I did! :D

August 23, 2006, 11:41 AM
an ifin ya use tha RIGHT H777, (Sifted) youd be jus grinnin at tha numbers! BOSS recorded on Chrono 1592 fps in a 7 1/2 incher with 190 grain RINGLOCK slug!

That AINT no joke!

Low Key
August 23, 2006, 11:45 AM
DA**!!! :D :D That's some serious speed, and I'll bet it packs a whollop on the target! :evil:

August 23, 2006, 02:43 PM
Get a CABELAS CATALOG www.cabelas.com what you are looking for is there. At least you know what their prices are , to compare with other sources. Just remember the gun store down the street may be a little higher in price but usually he doesn't add shipping and he is down the street if there is any small problems . What is required to ship a gun back to a mail order place? Also the guy down the street most likely has the other stuff you will need like powder and caps, these can't be easily shipped. In short support your local stores as best as you can, if you don't, they may have to close.

August 25, 2006, 12:24 AM
"... BOSS recorded on Chrono 1592 fps in a 7 1/2 incher with 190 grain RINGLOCK slug! "

And what did BOSS record for pressure, in either CUP or PSI?
Oh? He doesn't have the ability to measure pressure?

The pressure limitations on cap and ball revolvers --- or any 19th century firearm, for that matter --- are chiefly due to design, not metallurgy.
You could make a Remington 58 revolver or a Winchester 73 rifle out of titanium but they'd still have severe pressure limitations because of their design.
Trying to Magnumize these old designs is dangerous. Just because a gun holds up to 10, 20 or even 100 shots doesn't mean it's a safe load. If it's an excessive load, it will eventually ruin the gun.
Boring out Remington 58 chambers to hold 35 grains of 777 is foolishness. Hodgdon recommends no more than 30 grains of 777 in the Remington 58.
I'd give the nod to Hodgdon, since those boys have the equipment to measure pressures.
Anything else is guesswork, and potentially dangerous guesswork at that.

August 25, 2006, 01:23 AM
Thanks all for the information and suggestions. I ordered an 1860 Colt Army (Pietta) today (my first black powder revolver). I still plan to get a Remington clone next, but your comments have given me a lot to think about regarding barrel length (am I willing to sacrafice significant velocity, and some authenticity, for the sake of easier handling?), and finish (blued or stainless).

Cincinnati Slim, thanks for the suggestion about the Triple-K magazine pouches for Remington cylinders - that sounds like a great idea.


August 25, 2006, 02:18 AM
Gatofeo, why is it at say 13,000 it's called CUP and and say at 8500 it's called LUP?
I know what CUP is I think Cubic Units of Pressure, but what's the "L" in LUP?
Just curious...

I guess that a proof test determined that BigIron's cylinder can withstand the pressure exerted from 777 (ffg? or fffg?) And may have been calculated but I am sure they must have had a way to measure it.
I kinda like Shootin' my Rems with 28gr of Goex fffg myself, but must admit the big cylinder they made would help on a wild bore or a bear, ya think? HeHe!

Ed Ames
August 25, 2006, 02:27 AM
CUP = Copper Units of Pressure
LUP = Lead Units of Pressure

In both cases, the pressure deforms the metal...lead is softer than copper so deforms more for a given pressure. That means more sensitive readings w/ low pressures. Copper deforms less, so only works well for higher pressures.

August 25, 2006, 02:34 AM
Thanks Ed!
You know I said that in my head and dismissed it... I should start listening to me..LoL!
Now it makes sense... also at 15000cup lead would most likely stick to the rifling, is that why they use copper? Or CUP.

August 25, 2006, 06:51 AM
Hi Gato!

A humpin big 24000 cup at tha MOST with tha tensile of the frame an cylinder six times that. OPEN top guns youd have somethin. STAINLESS M58 or Rugie, aint no sweat, an tha BOSS uses that load ever mornin, moren 1000 an nothin loose, nothin comin apart.

Theays also PRESSURETIME an BOSS says it works out REAL fine. Ya think hed risk that hollywoood face a his? :)

AINT fer tha BLUED guns!!!!!!!!!

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