1858 Remington "Safety Notch" Question


Coyote Rider
November 8, 2006, 07:03 PM

I'm still a newbie, and have a question which I'm sure has come up before, and which if I were swifter at navigating online forum archives I could probably find without bugging y'all...

Anyway, I posted a question about black powder safety yesterday, and all the answers I got were helpful, but one thing somebody said started me wondering about the safety notches on the Remington. The poster said it wasn't necessary to carry a loaded Remington with the hammer down on an empty chamber, because the "safety notch" really was safe, and you can leave the hammer down on one of them. Now that sounds right to me, and I've heard more than a few people make the same assertion, but I've heard other people say that you should really only load 5. Apparently this is one of those questions that people tend to enjoy arguing about.

Anyone have an opinion they'd care to share?

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November 8, 2006, 07:33 PM
Well, they're probably a more affirmative safety than the Colt pin-in-heel system. Nevertheless, C&B guns are not really considered defense weapons and are also not exactly frontline defense guns, so I think it might be wiser to keep the hammer on an empty chamber -- or atleast un capped one.

November 8, 2006, 08:48 PM
I don't suggest having a loaded uncapped chamber, That could be dangerous. Chainfires you know. Best to not load a chamber. Me personally, I don't mind using the safety position between cylinders, I do it all the time. Course my life, my choice. :)

November 8, 2006, 09:25 PM
My repro of a Colt 1851 "Navy" has the safety notch/pin between each chamber. I'm comfortable leaving all six chambers loaded and capped with the hammer down on one of those pins. It is just as safe in that position as with hammer down on an empty chamber... in both cases, a strike on the back of the hammer has no ill effect, and in both cases pulling the hammer back rotates a loaded chamber into the firing position.

Not all repros have the safety notch/pins on the cylinder. In this case, load only five chambers and leave the hammer down on the empty one.

Some organizations allow only five loaded chambers in any six gun, even cartridge guns... if shooting with them, use their rules.

In no case should you rely on a "half-cock" position of the hammer as a safety. The bit of metal holding it in that position cannot be trusted with your life, or that of another.

November 8, 2006, 11:11 PM
the five beans in the wheel rull came along sometime after the Single Action Army arrived. there were not safety pins/notches between chambers only a notch in the hammer that allowed it to be cocked just enough to hold the firing pin away from the primer. this was clearly intended to serve as the safety position. .
At some time during single action history it was determined that the hammer notch or the sear step on the trigger might break if the gun was dropped and result in a discharge.
As late as 1963, the booklet that came with Ruger Single actions said that " in most cases, it is safe to carry the revolver..." -with the hammer drawn back to the first notch. I expect that those who have not seen the 1963 booklet will deny this. ruger certainly doesn't recommend carrying pre New Model Revolvers this way any more.

November 9, 2006, 10:05 AM
I don't suggest having a loaded uncapped chamber, That could be dangerous. Chainfires you know.+1

Chain fires can happen from the back of the cylinder or the front of the cylinder. If you leave a cap off, you are asking for trouble. Either cap it with something that can't go off (I know a CAS competitor that has a rubber cap for this) or just leave that chamber empty.

November 9, 2006, 02:15 PM
The idea of leaving a loaded chamber uncapped assumes that when you go to use the gun, it will be capped first.
But, yeah, over all it would be safer to keep the chamber unloaded. It's always possible to forget to cap it!
If I'm at the range and shooting I always load all chambers because I know I'll be shooting them.
In my opinion, the only revolver I would really trust keeping the hammer down between chambers is a Remmie, and only then if the notch did work. I have a .31 caliber Rem pocket and the hammer will not seat in the notch because of the way the cylinder is contoured -- or maybe the hammer's heel is too built up; one or the other.

November 9, 2006, 03:28 PM
Aha! I remember you mentioning that before. You're 31 remington not engaging the safety notches. So, when my 31 came, that was the first thing I checked. Mine stays on the notches very well.

November 10, 2006, 08:25 AM
The safety notches on my Uberti 58 Remmy are easy to find and really do a good job. It is a serious effort to pull the hammer back and rotate a live chamber into firing position... The key however is once you have it all loaded and Capped, how easy is it to get the hammer into that center Non-fire position.. I see a great deal of difference between my Uberti Remington, and the Pietta Colt. The Pietta requires a great deal of visual alignment to get it into the correct position.. Even though the top strap on the Remington is in the way, it seems easier to find the safe notch position... Now having said all this, it also might just be that I am more comfortable with the Uberti since I fire it more often... ergo we are back to the "it depends".


November 10, 2006, 08:37 AM
Safty notches are in deed safe ...but if i`m going to carry it , i like my hammer down on a dead / empty cylinder ..it just takes away any doubt .
I`ve never liked carrying an auto loader pistol eaither ..its just different strokes for different folks ..with the auto loader hammer down on an empty chamber it takes 2 hands to spring it into action putting a live round under hammer, with my single action revolvers it only takes the thumb of my shooting hand .

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