1860 New Army,,,,confused


July 3, 2008, 05:54 AM
I've been working on a Pietta 1860 new army cap and ball revolver kit, .44 cal that I bought from Dixie Gun Works, and have just finished. The info I read from Dixie recommends a .451 round ball with a max charge 22 grains of fff black powder. but the Pietta handbook that came with kit recommends .454 round ball with a max charge of 15 grains of fff black powder. It any of yawl Pietta owners out there could tell me what has worked the best for yawl it would help my confusion greatly. Thanks.

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July 3, 2008, 06:10 AM
Is it steel or brass framed?
In my Pietta 1860 .44 (steel frame) I use 25 - 30 grs of FFFG black powder, a .454 roundball and #11 caps. I'd probably drop the charge down a bit in a brass framed gun. .451 balls might work but might be just a little too small.

July 3, 2008, 06:13 AM
its steel

July 3, 2008, 06:28 AM
I use about the same load as pohill.

July 3, 2008, 08:45 AM
In ANY bp revolver/pistol/rifle/shotgun you must develop the best load yourself. What works for me may or may not work for you or the next guy, even if we all have the same model manufactured by the same company in the same year. That's the nature of these beasties.

The loads mentioned are good starting loads for the experiment, and may even end up being the final best, or more accurately, optimum load. But you really need to do a little experimenting once you've gotten used to shooting the gun.

July 3, 2008, 02:06 PM
jmaubin, the Pietta manual is the same for all Pietta products. They always recommend the .454 ball. The .454 is kind of like the basepoint of revolver calibers. It fits well with almost everything. Kind of like 1-48 inches twist rifling is the basepoint, or cosmic waterhole for rifle accuracy with both patched roundball and conical slug.

Best suggestion here, have balls of different sizes available. Work your loads. If a ball drops in without any stress, than it is too small. The trick here is to find a ball that fits exactly, meaning it goes into the chamber with a reasonable amount of stress, and leaves behind a lead shaving ring.

Hope this helps.

July 3, 2008, 02:07 PM
Take a set of dial calipers and measure each chamber. They should be about (.445"-.447").451-.446=.005" so the Standard Pietta suggested ball of .451" would be fine. .454" should also work well but .003" differance bigger.
Measure the cylinders then buy balls.


July 3, 2008, 07:07 PM
Dont buy the balls too big either. i tried some .454 balls in one of my revolvers with out measuring. Ended up having two balls stuck 1/2in and 1/2 out. when that happens you have to remove the cylinder then remove the nipples and put in something to drive out the ball from the front. In that particular revolver i ended up having to go with .451.

July 3, 2008, 09:53 PM
My Pietta '51 (don't have a '60) likes .454 balls, leaving a small lead ring, and about 27 grains of FFF Goex. I've shot my best 25 yard groups ever, with any handgun, using that combo.

Word is, in the day, you'd fill the chamber leaving enough room for the ball to seat below flush, and that was your max load. It makes sense to me-- why else make the cylinder so long if you're supposed to avoid using its full capacity? (OK, maybe our BP is more potent now than theirs was in 1860, but I doubt it's any big difference, plus, steel making technology is much better now) As already stated here, what works best for accuracy in your gun is another matter.

There is a law of diminishing returns, in terms of velocity, as you increase the charge weight-- only so much of the powder can burn for effect before the ball exits the barrel, so after a point you're mostly increasing the amount of fire, muzzle blast, and smoke while adding only a small amount of velocity.

July 4, 2008, 12:36 AM
all 3 of my pietta 1860s go .454 ball 30-35 grns FFFG all are steel framed factory guns

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