Shiny New Uberti 1858 actual caliber..


August 13, 2008, 08:34 PM
Hello all!
I'm a new guy here, but I'm not new to shootin' in general. I reloaded for the .357 and .44 magnum. I'm a pretty good shot with any rifle, never learned to point and shoot pistols, (you know, gunslinger style) though. Anyway, after a 20 year break in the BP action, I just bought my second percussion revolver, a 5 1/2" Uberti 1858.
Paid dearly for it through Midway, and it's due to get here menana !
My luck being what it is, I'm sure it will take me some time to arrive at a load for the new piece. Once I find a strong , accurate load, I stick with it, since I think this is how you really learn your gun. Changes introduce too many variables for me.. I've read lots of your threads, and I see there are lots of very seasoned black powder shooters round here!
So here are my two questions of the month-
Which caliber of ball of the three Hornady's available will seal up and shoot the best out of current production pistols like mine? .451, .454. .457? (I have been thinking .454, but without measuring the chamber and slugging the barrel, I'd be guessing.

Also, did the gunslingers in the old days use conical bullets, ball, or what?

I was thinking no. 10 caps and that new 'Se7en' or whatever they call that clean burning propellant...
Any help is always greatly appreciated!


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August 13, 2008, 09:09 PM
Welcome aboard and enjoy your new toy. Any one of the 3 diameters will work just fine in your revolver. The most reliable way to seal the chambers is with a BP lube such as Bore Butter, just cover the seated ball completely and you are set. The choice of conical or ball is up to you but for the most part the ball is a better choice. The conical will give greater penetartion but the ball will do more damage and as a rule are more accurate. The conicals require a bit of practice to load square in the chambers so they will enter the forceing cone correctly. The preference back in the day was the good old round ball. You may have to try several different powders to find the one that works best in your gun. This is a learning experience so take your time and enjoy it.

August 13, 2008, 09:43 PM
Usually Uberti 58's use a .454 ball

August 13, 2008, 10:45 PM
Hey Thanks for the fast responses, guys!
You're right about taking time to enjoy new hobbies. If you push too hard, you burn out and go away. I only work on it when I feel like it. I've been slicking up a russian double barrel off and on for over a year..
I've always been fascinated by these neat old guns. I wish I could regularly hit what I'm aimin at with one! :) That must be some FUN! (with all the smoke, it's hard to say sometimes)
Bore butter has a good rep around here, I didn't care for wads, anyway. They make it a bit tougher to compress your load the same each time, and cost cylinder volume, too. Not to mention hard earned doughnuts.
I'll fuggeddabout those bullets, then.

Leather: I think I will try those first.

August 13, 2008, 11:32 PM
Yeah, the .454 ball is the best choice for starters, although you have the right idea about slugging the bore and chambers. Do that soon.

The right size caps are essentially a crap shoot. The only advice is to pick one (I have no advice as to which one) and try it.

I must, respectfully, disagree that the most reliable way to seal the chambers is with bore butter; in my experience the proper size (and shape!) round ball is the best seal. But, there's not a lot of difference. And don't forget the other end - proper sized caps are just as important.

Finally, I'm going to put in a plug for real black powder over 777 (aka Se7en). I often use 777 as my preferred synthetic when the real black supply gets too low, but I always go back to the real stuff. 777 has two issues: loads have to be reduced by 10-15% from the real bp load as 777 does burn hotter and with more pressure than real black, and it does not like to be compressed, so when seating the ball use just enough force to be sure the ball is down against the powder, and avoid compressing it beyond that if at all possible.

August 13, 2008, 11:38 PM
I like the bore butter as a way to keep the fouling softened up, and it may help the ball enter the forcing cone smoothly. Plus I'm in my fifties and we always sealed em with Crisco. It's an interesting question, thanks for your input!

Ah so! That stuff is hot and touchy.. hmmm.

The Unique of the BP world. good to know.

I agree about the caps, they need to be a close fit. I have a half a box of ancient 10's I can use for testing it.

August 14, 2008, 04:10 PM
As for ball size; The only drawback to a larger ball is they're just a teeny bit harder to force into the chambers. The drawback to a ball that's undersized is it not only produces a poor gas seal, it can more easily move off of the powder charge under recoil when another chamber is fired, plus it has less purchase on the rifling.

If you're getting a full, unbroken ring of lead upon each loading, you're fine, but if you're going to err on the size it's better to err on the large side.

August 14, 2008, 04:15 PM
On my Uberti 1858, a .454 leaves a tiny little ring of lead on the cylinder face, whereas a .451 just swages into the cylinder.

.454 is the spec. Both work fine, but I'd trust the seal of the .454 better (I use wads or grease to prevent chain-fire anyway). If I had a choice, or if I were going to buy a mold for it, I'd get .454. But when I want to shoot the thing and all I have is .451, I use them.:)

August 14, 2008, 05:15 PM
And I repoved it to myself yesturday' had a half a pound left and gave it one last chance.
Part of my Range report.
I got a range report over on Voy if ya wanna see it, picks of the targets I'm about to make mention. Hers' the Target and powder part of it.
Brought out a .36 1858 Euroarms Rem, a .44 1858 SS Euroarms Rem, and a ROA 7 1/2 bbl w/ adj. sites.
I used Goex fffg in the two Euroarms and 777 ffg in the ROA...25gr BP in the
.36 shot great tight holes touchin groups, so did the .44 Euro.
They both shot bean cans at 25yds repeatedly...I had upped the .44 Euro to 30gr Bp and it loved it.
The ROA with 777 ffg loaded w/ 25.5 grains +15%= 30gr BP I had two holes touchin' once and a 5" spread on the other three. I tryed another cylincder uppin' it top 30gr of 777 ffg +15%= 43.5gr or 35gr BP. Shot a better group tighter about 3"...but at 40 ft that ain't acceptable to me. And I don't need a calculator anymore.
And along with that 2 squibs/misfires and 3 hang fires...I put the ROA down and kept shootin my Rems with real Black Powder.
Y'all can have that Hogdon 777 stuff ifin ya want...and my share too.
Nuthin but Holy Black for me.
.36 Euroarms 1858 25gr BP
.44 Euroarms SS 1858 25gr BP
ROA 1st grp 25.5gr 777
ROA 2nd grp 30gr 777

Tell me which one you prefer Black Powder fffg or 777ffg
.36 Rem left .44 rem right 25yds


August 14, 2008, 05:55 PM
if yer holdin that there pistol, I bes go with good ol black powder...

I knew it would be the best for steady good performance, but my gun (if it ever gets here (damn the UPS man) has a fancy dan finish, sort of a brushed nickel, and I figured it would need less polishing if I avoided the real thing. But your "2 squibs/misfires and 3 hang fires" and the touchy loading process had already made me consider some 3F instead. :)

And look at all the good info I'm picking up, I sure appreciate everyone's responses. Ya'll are great. It reminds me of a bike forum I used to post to. Lots of solid data that can make my new gun shoot well, and all for the askin!

oops, gotta run, the doorbell just rang!

August 14, 2008, 06:33 PM
And look at all the good info I'm picking up

When you get it post a Question to "Rifle" see if his wife Junkyard Dog has some lube pill to sell you ...keep you shootin all dat fouling stays soft, and as you are able to improve accuracy, longevity of firing(not binding up), also cleanup is easier Very hot dishsoap and water, scauldin' hot water rinse. Easiest wat one bucket of each. Helll I soak 3 at a time in Tidycat 28lb Buckets rectangular work great...will ship and two cats...LoL!
Anyway ask Rifle or Wayne on hppt:// about his lube pills ..I makemy own. They got um to sell at a very good price.

Here's that Holster...I was a drawin' down on them cans

August 14, 2008, 06:35 PM
It arrived in fine shape!
Wow. The fit and the finish are perfect, the timing looks ideal, the gun is the most gorgeous handgun I ever had, and the wood is SWEET. Front post is dovetailed and nice and high. I see why they foul quickly, it's very tightly built. The action is fairly heavy, and just a tad gritty, (not complaining, I know they need the oil cleaned out of em). The balance is nearly ideal!! If you haven't handled one of these 5 1/2's you should. The trigger is better than any of my other handguns. Crisp and very light. No creep, breaks light, a bunch of overtravel, but that never bothered me. I'll bet this baby SHOOTS!
If I shoot it, it will only get all dirty! Bummer!

I guess it'll get dirty then..


August 14, 2008, 06:45 PM
Nice! I was writing that post while you were writing yours, but that rig looks very cool. When I get to shooting I'll try those lube pills. I wonder, mighten they cause some powder to get wet and not burn thoroughly?
Damn, this gun is more dainty than I imagined, IT SEEMS LIKE A MODERN WHEELGUN, TO ME, ONLY BETTER... My Euroarms 1851 Navy .36 looks all tired and primitive next to it. (But don't get me wrong, she's a short barreled sweety).

You Colt boys, put down that iron, No Offense Intended. I read about Wild Bill's exploits with his Navy Colt...

August 14, 2008, 06:47 PM
I like shootin cans and claybirds and sticks and such. Anything that bounces around. :)

August 14, 2008, 06:59 PM
I'll be awaiting your range Report... and SITPEP after cleaning...LoL!
Congrads man good job.
I have three of my favorite that are 2 Euroarms Rems .44, .36 and 1 ASP Armi San Paolo. 44, what Euroarms was before it was Euroarms.

Have Fun,


August 14, 2008, 07:04 PM
Whatever a SITPEP is, I'll try to get one out!

If I can round up all the 'stuff' mebbe Sunday I can make some smoke...

Thanks all for the help, ya'll keep your powder dry.

August 14, 2008, 08:46 PM
777 has it's place in muzzleloader shooting. It's a synthetic black powder, not a substitute black powder like Pyrodex, so you can't really expect it to perform just like real black powder.

Don't get me wrong - I'm a real black powder fan from top to bottom, but I think there's a place for 777 in our sport (unlike some of the more recent bp substitutes). 777 is harder to use properly (which is in itself sufficient reason to use real black), but when it's done right it has impressive performance.

777 was developed for shooting heavier projectiles over longer distances out of long rifles. I've tried side-by-side comparisons with Goex using an ROA and an 1860 Army, and I've used it extensively in a Rogers & Spencer, and it did not perform as well as the Goex in any case. However, I've developed a 777 load in a .50 Traditions Lighting (one of the earlier bolt action inlines) and it groups as well as my 30.06 Winchester Model 70 at 100 and 150 yards.

I'm not surprised at the data posted by Smokin Gun, but I have to say the test was not what I'd consider to be a good comparison of the powders. It would be a fairer test if the best load of each powder were used in the same gun - one of the most sacred axioms of black powder shooting is that for accurate shooting one must develop the best load for each combination of gun, projectile and powder; simply multiplying the best real black powder load by 1.15 does not establish the best 777 load (especially when using different granulations in different guns).

If that were done I'd expect the 777 to perform better than it did, but frankly, my experience is that it's design is better suited for long guns so any pistol test is likely to end up with real black winning.

SITREP is an American military term for SITuation REPort.

August 14, 2008, 09:49 PM
Don't worry about the "grittyness". It'll work itself out after a couple times at the range and a couple of cleanings, I promise. Then it'll work like a fine Swiss watch.

The lube pills do react with the powder, causing a light charge and throwing a greasy fireball, but only after being left in the gun for a while. I once left some loaded, as an experiment, for several weeks and they fired, but the report and recoil were so light I had to look for a ball stuck in the barrel (they all exited but very slowly). If you load and shoot the same day you'll be fine with the lube pills. I do occasionally see sizzling fireballs anyway when using them, so don't shoot in dry grass and the like. I've gotten excellent groups while using them, so they sure don't hurt.

I used the pills for a while and pretty much decided they weren't worth the effort, but your mileage may vary. Try them and see.

There was a guy posted an article on "tuning" the Colt 1851 Navy, and he strongly recommended Treso nipples (yes, we can discuss the size of our balls and the shape of our nipples and no one chuckles) and Remington #10 caps for the best fit and reliability with minimal cap fragmentation (the latter of which can clog the action and cause misfires). His argument appeared sound, but I haven't tried them. I have some on order and will report back after a session at the range. Your '58 is a different animal though, and may not have such an issue with "cap crap" jams. My '58 Rem is more reliable than my '51 Colt, for sure, but each gun is an individual.

August 14, 2008, 10:01 PM
Here's an animated gif I did of someone firing my '51 Colt with lube pills. You can see the "tracer" effect from the hot lube as a smoke trail leading into the target. Sometimes they'd fly off at a shallow angle or split into multiple smoke trails;

Another interesting part of the sequence is, the camera happened to capture the sub-millisecond instant of cap ignition, before the main charge burn is apparent. In real life you don't notice any delay-- it's just like firing a modern cartridge in that respect. That is, if everything goes off properly.

Notice too the camera's auto-iris clamping down in reaction to the bright cloud of smoke. That's real Black.

Oh, and you can also see the recoil effects traveling through from her wrists, to her elbows and back into her torso. Video is a great training tool! She does a pretty good job here as a new shooter.

August 14, 2008, 10:19 PM
Oh yeah, it's a good idea to give the gun a good cleaning before you take it out shooting. The packing grease is probably a petrolium-based product, designed to protect the steel in storage, not for shooting. With a few exceptions, petro lubes are a bad idea, as they can react chemically with the BP residue to form a hard, black, tar-like coating that is really frustrating to clean out. I learned this the hard way with my Pietta '58 rem. Even after some swabbing, I had this hard goo in it after firing the new gun. I should have given it a real cleaning beforehand.

August 14, 2008, 10:54 PM
mykeal: It seems odd that a faster burning powder would work better in long guns, when pistols normally respond well to fast burning powders due to their short barrels. I'm put off mostly by its dislike of compression. The way these old revolvers are rammed home makes it tough to hit a certain depth in the push. I had an idea about a simple mod to one of those benchloaders that would make it very simple. But that's for another thread.

This thread is a keeper for me, and I save the whole thing every time a new reply goes up. I like getting all these opinions to chew on, its what I was wanting to find out, what you all think..

August 14, 2008, 11:06 PM
Omnivore: Cool gif! That young lady is demonstrating good technique, and I see she hit her plate, too. :)
I already cleaned the new gun this evening, but I didn't take the innards out. The bore was fouled and the gun had its proof firing dirt here and there. The action is much improved and the grit is already gone. What nice guns they're making over there. I'm not a busy bee so it may be awhile for I get her running, tonight I just wanted to jump in and let you all know I've been reading your forum, and had a new gun.
Thanks also for the tip on machine oil, etc. I use break free CLP for decades now, and all my guns are like new, and are easy to clean, the stuff is good for smokeless, so I went ahead and cleaned it with Hoppes and wiped it down with that. Slicker'n goose snot already.
My trigger is so light, I bet its less than 2 pounds, is this normal? Feels like a friends custom Python.
The info on this thread (from everyone) is invaluable for a new 58 owner.
Keep it comin', all advice is appreciated. Now,
I need to do some shopping, get the possibles together.

August 14, 2008, 11:35 PM
Omnivore: "cap crap" jams." yep, I can see how a 58 would be likely to do this. The upside is it is unlikely to spit cap debris in your face. My 51 never jammed but it did spit one at my cheek one day, but it was just a scratch.
I wear prescription safety glasses all the time, so I'm cool with the old Colt now.

August 15, 2008, 07:41 AM
It seems odd that a faster burning powder would work better in long guns, when pistols normally respond well to fast burning powders due to their short barrels.

You're thinking cartridge loads here. I suspect 777 would work well in handguns IF one took the time to develop both a loading technique and a load for each gun. I know that you can achieve higher velocities and energies with 777 vs real black powder in a handgun, but it's tricky to use and I have not seen consistently comparable accuracy. I suspect that has to do with it's finicky response to compression.

August 15, 2008, 04:11 PM
Yeah, I've already decided to skip the 777 stuff. It has few friends around here, which put me off the idea. Thanks again for the input.

August 16, 2008, 10:15 PM
Omnivore: Yeah. I just looked up those Treso's, the nipples have smaller flash holes to keep more gases headed for the muzzle, and won't beat down easy..
I ordered some from Possible bag store on the net.
As my eyes aren't so good, my gun better have a little edge. (Not to mention I needed some spare nipples anyway.)

August 17, 2008, 07:43 PM
As luck would have it, my left eye went blurry today, (I'm left-handed and it's a recurring condition) but I went out anyway. My bro-in-law knew I was coming so he made some cardboard targets, set up chairs in the shade, he's a dude..
Anyway, sitting in a lawn chair shooting 2 handed, at 21 feet, using .457 ball, 24 gr. pyrodex P, and 20 year old CCI #10's, with a blurred sight picture, we got a first group of 3 5/8 inch, center to center, strung out mostly vertically, with a spread on the horizontal of 1 1/4". Five of the shots were within 2 1/4" :D. POI was mebbe 1 1/2" right, and 2" low. The flyer was high. Then I loaded it up to 35 grains and did worse, then I shot a beer can at 35 feet, hitting it 1 for 3 tries (standing one handed, shootin fast ;) ). Loaded with some smooooth loading .454's and 30 gr. charge I shot a cylinder in point and blast mode, the thing ran just great..With 24 rounds fired the action was still fine, but I could tell it was going to stiffen up with continued abuse.
They didn't have any BP anywhere in these parts, so I went with the pyrodex P. No wads, bore butter was used. All in all, I'm tickled pink with this excellent revolver, and would recommend this model to anyone who asks me.

If anyone wants to see it, I'll plug in the scanner and see if I can figure out how to post an image...

A side note about pyrodex: It smells purty but doesn't smoke that much, I can see why slickers prefer it. When I asked the guy at Olde English outfitters about BP, he gave me a sneering "WE don't Carry Black Powder." Like I was a caveman or somethin'. Hm.
And the CVA flask sold withh a 30 gr. spout, actually throws 24 gr. Oh well.
THanks to SG, Myk, Omni, and everyone else who put me on the straight and narrow!

August 17, 2008, 07:45 PM
The duck butter I bought is yellow and smells like wrigley's chewin gum sorta.. It cost 8 or 9 bucks, I might just go back to crisco myself, when this tube is gone.

August 17, 2008, 08:32 PM
Conax try this for Pics/Photos.


August 23, 2008, 10:21 PM
Here's a pic of that bad first group, plus one I shot today. The nicer one was shot with 24 gr Pyro and .454 balls. (And a much better eye!) I'm a little rusty at shooting, and my loads need some more work. I think I'll try to adjust load and sight til it's dead nuts on at 50'. That smaller group measures 1 3/8" center-to-center, with most within 3/4". Only seven yards, though. I sure like to shoot this nice little revolver. Thanks for all the help. :)

August 25, 2008, 02:50 AM
Conax, good pics good groups...are ya havin' fun yet? :evil:


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