.31 Caliber - et al ??


November 7, 2006, 12:22 PM
Hi Y'All...

Anyone have a favorite .31 caliber C & B wheelgun?

Any particular drawbacks (like difficult cleaning) to the .31 caliber guns?


What is the difference(s) between the 1861 and the 1862 Colts?? Did one have the "creeping loading level" and the other one didn't? Or were they really just the same gun with maybe different hubcaps ???

Also, Was the 1858 Remington Army changed significantly somewhere around 1859/60 and then called the Remington "New Army"? Was it offered in both .36 and .44 when it was initially built?

Many thanks, All !!!! :D

If you enjoyed reading about ".31 Caliber - et al ??" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
November 7, 2006, 02:33 PM
I like the Colt 1849. I don't know about drawbacks in so far as cleaning them. Not much difference really.
I'm not sure what you mean by 1861 and 62. The 1861 was a updating of the 1851 but with a round barrel and ratchet plunger like the 1860 Army. It was not made in as numbers as the 1851.
The 1862s were divided into a police model, with a semifluted cylinder and a ratchet loading lever like a mini 1860 and the regular 1862 with an octagonal barrel and '51 type loading lever. Both were .36 caliber, and had the same frame and grip, just different cylinders and barrels.
I don't understand your term "hubcap."
As for Remingtons, there were a few differences. An early version had a slot in the loading lever that allowed the cylinder arbor to move forward without lowering the lever for quick changing the cylinder. It didn't work, 'cause the arbor moved during recoil, causing cylinders to roll out of the gun, which is always somewhat embarrasing and rather inconvenient in battle. So a screw was placed to stop it, and that offending feature was deleted. I think the .44s came first but were quickly followed by the .36s. But I could be wrong about that.
I once stopped at a hotel somewhere in the southeast (Tennessee, IIRC) the dinner had a glass case containing a display of old percussion revolvers. There were a lot there, and, surprisingly, a lot that looked to be Remingtons that are NOT in any book or reference I have, or have seen. There's a lot out there that probably hasn't been cataloged in books yet, no matter how good the books are...either that or they're keeping some of the books hidden from me...which would severely annoy me were I to find it was true!!!!:cuss: :cuss:

November 7, 2006, 06:10 PM
The remington types came from a patent issue to a Mr. Beals in 1856 or so. Eli Whitney built a revolver based on the design and the Spiller and Burr Southern revolvers were a spin off of it. the remingtons came in in 1860 with 1858 written on the barrel because this was the year Remington obtained the Beals patent. It went through a couple of changes resulting in the New Model Army in 1863.

One reference I found said that the .36 remington actually left the factory before the .44s and stayed in production taking on the same improvements as the .44 revolvers.

The Colt Pocket models have some peculiarities of their own.

I find it hard to shoot them anywhere near as accurately as the larger Navy/army belt revolvers. It's not too hard to snap torso hits at 60 feet or so. They shoot very high without sight modification the close tolerances also make them a bit balky until the breach is relieved to allow spent caps to cycle . they are also fairly puny in the power department..
pocket models are now a special order item with Midway. They are not keeping them in stock. It may be that the demand/production of them is much lower than that of the belt revolvers. In the past, they were a poor investment for shooters because nobody would stock replacement parts for them. In the recent past, we have been able to get basic lockwork and springs through VTI and Cimarron.
Load Velocity Spread (5)
50 Grain Ball 12.5 Goex FFFg 720 5`
50 Grain Ball 12.5 Pyrodex P 682 47
50 Grain Ball 10 H777 650 53
50 Grain Ball 13.5 Swiss 814 73
60 Grain Bullet 12.5 Pyrodex P 668 79
bullet from original colt case set mould:
72 grain Bullet from Colt Mould 10 grains 90 year old fffg 307 220fps (H) 398 (L) 178
72 grain bullet 10 Goex fffg 491 50

This is a Pocket model without loading lever. It resembles the `1848 Baby Dragoon but has the round trigger guard of the pocket model as well as rectangular rather than round cylinder locking notches. These were loss leader guns with many having barrels shorter than the pictured 4". they were not particularly popular among colt customers as most wanted the model with a loading lever. replica makers call this one a " Wells Fargo." This is interesting because surviving Wells Fargo records are pretty complete and there is no indication the company ever bought a .31 revolver
Actually, give the carry much, shoot little nature of these revolvers, having to load them like this would not seem a particular handicap.

November 7, 2006, 10:08 PM
One swallow doesn't make it spring and one recalcitrant pocket revolver may not predict the behavior of all but......., my Uberti pocket navy is really touchy with fired caps. I have relieved, rounded, re-nippled, etc., and it still rarely will digest a cylinder full without hanging up on cap fragments. Before the modifications it hung up every other shot. It does better now but is still far from ideal.


November 7, 2006, 10:19 PM
sometimes that leverless one hangs up on the last round. much better than when new.

November 7, 2006, 10:45 PM
Hi MEC (et al)...

Those are nice looking little pieces, MEC !!!

But, Lawdy - you weren't just whistlin' Dueling Banjos when you said the power was on the puny side!! :( I guess maybe those were mostly "stick-'em-in-the-ribs" guns - maybe a tad bit easier to handle than the true derringers, though.
Might also have been able to repell boarders from a railroad safe car but, with the malfunctions being reported, methinks I would have greatly preferred a Remmie or a scattergun if I were guarding the payroll on its' way to Abiline. Would be my luck to get train robbers who were too discourteous to stand square to me like a B-27 target does. :cuss:

November 8, 2006, 09:50 AM
My great uncle related a story to me of a shooting which had happened in my home town around the turn of the century. I have no idea if it's true or not but he gave names when he told it so I'd lean toward belief.

It was in the winter, in a tavern when two fellows who had a history of antagonism toward one another became sufficiently lubricated to get into a fist fight. One was apparently losing until he pulled a "cap and ball pocket pistol" from somewhere. The other guy, presented with an altered balance of power, ran. He went out the door, around the corner of the building and was running down an inclined gravel street when the pistoleer made it to the corner and fired off one shot in the first guy's general direction. The ball struck him and he fell, or he tripped just as the ball struck but at any rate he went down. The shooter now became the runner and fled. He wasn't seen around for some time until friends were able to get word to him that the "murder victim" was uninjured beyond injuries normally associated with falling down while running down a dark street while drunk. The shootee had been wearing heavy clothing and a heavy overcoat which stopped the ball before it reached hide.

According to my uncle, there were never any charges filed, it being perceived by all, including the prosecuting attorney, as the height of hilarity in that time when they had no Three Stooges.

So, yeah, those pocket pistols are a little underpowered and I suspect there were many stories like the one above if we only knew about them.


November 8, 2006, 10:31 AM
"So, yeah, those pocket pistols are a little underpowered and I suspect there were many stories like the one above if we only knew about them."

Same here. I haven't found many legends or adventures with the pocket models but have read that Buffalo Bill used one when he was with the Pony Express and kept if forever. This one is documented to the Robert E. Lee family and may even come from there. The lettering on the brass frame behind the trigger guard says ".31 cal."
Richard Burton mentions a pocket revolver. this was in 1855 which would tend to make it a colt 31.
" My revolvers excited abundant attention, though none would be persuaded to touch them. The largest, which fitted with a stock became an excellent carbine, was at once named Abu Sittah (the Father of Six) and the Shaytan or Devil: the pocket pistol became the Malunah or Accursed, and the distance to which it carried ball made every man wonder."

November 8, 2006, 10:53 AM
Here is my Pocket Model 1849 .31


If you enjoyed reading about ".31 Caliber - et al ??" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!