Nickel-plated engraved 1860 Army


Elbert P . Suggins
August 25, 2008, 11:09 AM
I finally broke down and ordered this Pietta from Cabellas. Only took 4 days to get to Idaho. I've always wanted a nickel plated revolver just because and now that I have it I don't want to shoot it cause it looks too pretty and looks like it should be cased under glass in a museum. It would be a shame to even touch a frame screw or the wedge. The engraving is by Ormsby and it is emaculate. I can't send a picture but can be seen at the Cabelles black powder revolver page and it is $400 UPS. Does anyone shoot an engraved nickel-plated firearm and are there special considerations in care and handling? I have two Pietta 7 1\2 barrel 58s, a Uberti 5 1\2 barrel 58, a Colt 1st. Dragoon, a Navy Arms 51 Navy and a fresh out of the box 1992 Ruger Old Army stainless with target sights which I think out of all of them including my cartridge revolvers is the finest shooting handgun I have ever fired. I also had a Walker if you'll recall last winter that I overcharged with 2 pyrodex pellets and bent the frame in front of the wedge.I've been shooting BP for only a year and I think beyond a doubt that this sport is the most satisfying combined with Cowboy Action of all that I have tried. For me, Goex Bp is easy to obtain and by far the best out of these revolvers. Nothing beats standing on your deck early at daybreak and shooting wallnuts off your tree and knowing you can hit them consistently from 40' with the long barrel Piettas. The smell of real powder after six rounds is more intoxicating than an all nite kegger with the harvest crew after it's in the bin. And green bore butter. Has to be green bore butter. Makes living worthwhile and than some.

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August 25, 2008, 11:42 AM

sorry just had to

August 25, 2008, 11:46 AM
Not nickel though id love to get one. a lot of us have stripped off the blue and polished the white steel. Wow they look impressive. I took it a step forward and sanded down the grips and a few coats of gloss black. mmmm
after first stripping
a few coats of polish and colored the grips

Mike 56
August 25, 2008, 11:57 AM
Wow what difference the black grips made. Looks really good.


August 25, 2008, 12:03 PM
I have shot a few of the engraved guns. No nickle plated ones though.

Cleaning is the same as for non adorned guns, you do a thorough cleaning.

With nickle plated guns do not use ammonia based cleaners as the nickle is porous and applied over a copperplating. The ammonia will pass through the nicle and attack the copper leaving the nickle to flake of during firing and subsequent cleaning.

Use it, clean it, enjoy it!

August 25, 2008, 01:40 PM
White steel is a breeze. i use mothers mag and wheel on it once in a while then. What i found that works best on keeping away rust tarnish and anyprints. is hornady one shot lube. i spray the whole gun with it. then when i want to shoot. i just wipe it down. then use my sure shot cleaning method in the chambers.

August 25, 2008, 01:42 PM
this is the pic of the gun when i first bought it before i deblued it. just your standard ordinary 1851.

Elbert P . Suggins
August 25, 2008, 02:35 PM
Thanks STRAWHAT for letting me know not to use ammonia bases on nickel. I've had good luck before by removing the trigger guard, nippels, and grips, immersing in hot soapy water, rinsing with hot tap water, blowing dry with a hair dryer, patching the barrel and cylinder with borebutter, and lubricating the internals with olive oil. I have totally dissasembled them every 5th time and there's been no problem with corrosion. I will also see if if my grandson can post a picture of my Colt and Remingtons this evening. I know I enjoy seeing these clear pictures of weapons that the rest of you have posted in the past. I can't post the Walker picture because it was returned to the seller for a refund.

August 25, 2008, 09:51 PM
I also have the same gun from Cabellas. It appeares that when they plated the cylinder they forgot to remove the nipples. I am not able to remove the nipples, The caps don't fit correctly with the nickle plating on them. I uses a dremel on the nipples and the nickle plating flaked off. I attempted using heat, that didn't help, broke three nipple wrenches. Let me know if you can get the nipples out of your cylinder. Other than that the gun shoots good, easy clean up.

August 25, 2008, 10:02 PM
omg im so jealous. but then when i polish up mine it looks so close to yours. You should have taken that gun back to cabellas for another one. thats for sure a factory defect

August 25, 2008, 10:13 PM

August 25, 2008, 10:17 PM
pietta though i believe. you know they sell extra cylinders for that gun. That cylinder is no good. maybe a gunsmith or a machine shop can fix it. i would get another cylinder. mic it out all the chambers. then take it to get plated. After that i would tap all the nipples. Then mic out the chambers again. You can take a wheel cylinder hone and hone down the nickel to the correct diameter. Then you would have a good cylinder.

Elbert P . Suggins
August 26, 2008, 08:34 AM
ODDMAN, I shot mine yesterday and I was able to remove the nipples with no more difficulty than usual. My cylinder is gold plated rather than nickel and the nipples appear to have been plated separately from the cylinder. The trigger on this revolver is better than the 58s and the accuracy beats the Dragoon and the 51. Windage is zero and 3 inches high at 30 feet with an inch grouping shooting from a sandbag rest. I fell in love with the Remmies over the past months but this 60 Army is my favorite now for the time being. I bet J. B. Hickock would have preferred two of these beutiful pieces over his 51 if they hadn't have been presented to him by Senator Wilson in 1869 for guiding him on a hunting trip. The aesthetic smooth lines of the design and the balance is something else. If I could find carved ivory grips, that would be sweet.

August 26, 2008, 07:08 PM
becarefull on that revolver. its really a showpiece rather than a shooter. You risk the plateing. i would try it like you did. but after that clean it up and box it up. I guess thats the problem with all those. Nickel, gold plated, engraved revolvers they look really good but you risk ruining the revolver once you start to shoot it.

Elbert P . Suggins
August 27, 2008, 09:11 AM
It's already happening. I noticed after shooting 4 cylinders yesterday that the nickel has come off on the outside of the forcing cone and also on one side of the loading lever plunger. I might consider hanging it up so it can be seen but it would'nt do any good in a box. As well as it shoots I might just put some effort into wearing it out.

Elbert P . Suggins
August 27, 2008, 10:13 AM
I would like to also include my thought that Hickocks engraved nickel-plated revolvers were probably fired thousands of times and I have personally seen one of them and I remember it being in wonderful shape as far as the plating. Can't remember if it was the Cody collection or the Autry museum though. I would assume that the plating process now would be far superior to that which was done in the 1860's. I have been shooting 30 grains of 3f BP and 30 grains of 3f Pyrodex P in this piece.

August 27, 2008, 10:55 AM
Took my buddy to the range to shoot my Pietta 1851 Colt Navy in .44 and he fell in love with black powder shooting. He went home and ordered a nickle plated w/ gold cylinder, w/ ivory (pvc) grips. 1860 colt army. BEAUTIFUL GUN!!. Told him that it was too pretty to shoot!!

Went to the range and started out with a 20 gr goex black charge and it fired a few inches low @ 10 yards. Worked our way up to 30 gr load and it was POA. Real tack driver. Real nice trigger and it felt so right.

Got home and showed him how to take down pistol and showed him how to clean it. Hot water from coffee pot and dish soap was all it took. Easiest cleaning I ever have seen on black powder revolver.

Talked him into displaying it on his bar. Very nice place to show off his PIMPED OUT CADDY REVOLVER.

August 27, 2008, 08:19 PM
Just a quick thought on plating metal - the processes have not changed a great deal. The most important thing then and now is purity of the materials and extreme adherence to cleanliness. Even the smallest amount of contamination will cause enough of a flaw to start the plated material peeling.

And by the way, these plated, engraved, polished showpieces are called 'barbecue guns', because they're the ones you wear to the neighbor's backyard barbecue party, along with your finest alligator boots and tooled horsehide holster and belt with the silver buckle the size of the state of Rhode Island.

August 27, 2008, 11:26 PM
my thoughts exactly my keal. i guess thats why i like my deblued pietta. it looks good polished up and its a daily shooter

August 28, 2008, 12:12 AM
Thanks for all the great info. I took an extra cylinder I had for my 1860 Pietta (blued one) and it fits and works perfect in the 1851. I load approx.
22 gr. of Schutzen 3 f with a .454 R B. I knock down 6" steel plates at 8 yds. with no problems.

August 28, 2008, 12:20 AM
Take that cylinder. Get a bottle of vinegar. pour it in a cup. Then put that cylinder in the vinegar. completely covered. Then go watch tv or something. You need to let it set for about a 1/2 hour. Then rinse it off with hot soapy water. then Go to your auto parts store. Pick up some mother mag and wheel cleaner. Get a good rag on rub it down completley. inside and out. i use q tips for the inside. Then go put that cylinder on your nickel one. I can get mine to almost look like chrome. Your taking to to bare steel. the mothers polish brings out the shine like crazy and protects the metal.

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