New to black powder pistols, which one to buy


Big Bore Dan
March 8, 2010, 09:58 AM
Hello, I am finally in the market for my first black powder pistol. I like the Colt Walker and the Dragoon models. The only company I can find that makes these is Uberti? If this is the only choice, are they relaible and well made? I cant find a Pietta in these versions. The Walker version I saw did not have a latch in the front and the 60 grain charges opened the lever ?ANY HELP OR THOUGHTS WOULD BE APRECIATED

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March 8, 2010, 10:20 AM
Uberti makes a nice weapon. You'll find the Walker for $375.00 at the Possible Shop, along with everything else a BP shooter will need, except the powder. That's at Powder Inc, if, like me, no one in your area sells real BP. Pyrodex is everywhere, of course. I've ordered from both outfits.

March 8, 2010, 10:48 AM
The Walker and Dragoons are both good choices. I'll eventually have one or the other......or both. :D But you might want to take a look the others as well before you choose. Lots of good choices out there. Don't know which is the best first BP gun, but the 1858 Remington my first and I love it.

BTW welcome to the dark side.

Foto Joe
March 8, 2010, 11:35 AM
Shooting either a Walker or a Dragoon will become an addiction in short order, it's a sickness you see which most of us choose not to receive treatment for.

At the risk of being labeled a trader, might I suggest that your first one be of a slightly milder gender though, they don't eat near as much powder. That way when the Dragoon or Walker of your dreams appears there will be NO guilt when it follows you home.

On that note, don't rule out used guns. You never know what you're gonna find at a Pawn Shop or gun shop. I've learned that a lot of gun shop owners know VERY little about black powder guns and are quite happy in their ignorance. That can mean a good deal. There is a thread on this forum listing the makers marks and proof date codes that can be very useful when looking at used guns also.

Buy what trips yer trigger and have fun, it's gonna be a learning experience to say the least.


March 8, 2010, 12:33 PM
Pick the one you like the looks on and buy it. I had a Navy, but really prefer the round barrel look of the dragoons. I'd like another Navy, don't mistake, but I'll get one in proper .36 caliber this time. They're a little handier size. The Walker is a HUGE beast, but if that's what you want, go for it. I'm also kinda wanting a 5.5" barreled 58 Remington, not really authentic in that barrel length, but then, I'm more a shooter than a realism buff. If someone would just poop a grand my way and specify it HAD to be spent on firearms, I'd have fun shopping, put it that way. :D I have 3 and look for more in the future. I'd really been thinkin' stainless Remington, but 777 is pretty clean burning and less corrosive and I've about totally converted to it. I can't easily get BP down here, so it's Pyrodex or 777 and 777 is the winner. Shooting a blued gun is way less hassle with 777.

Big Bore Dan
March 8, 2010, 02:42 PM
Thanks for the replies. I was also considering the Remington in Stainless steel but a friend said the Remingtons were problematic? Any truth to this?

March 8, 2010, 03:26 PM
The only problem I have ever had with a remmie was in fitting a spare cylinder. Didn't take too much work and was worth the time. It was an older lyman revolver and I was fitting newer pieta cylinders to it, again no biggie.

March 8, 2010, 04:05 PM
Beware ... I was only going to buy one Uberti BP revolver and this happened!:)
Each has pros and cons but I couldn't pick one that I love over another if I tried ... all excellent!

Big Bore Dan
March 8, 2010, 06:34 PM
Nice collection ! The one on top is a Walker? It seems to have a support for the raming bar? Or is this a Dragoon???

March 8, 2010, 06:48 PM
The top gun is an 1848 Horse Pistol, aka Dragoon, 2nd Model, I believe. The middle gun is an 1860 Army, and the bottom one is an 1851 Navy.

To answer your questions:
Uberti is a fine company. In general their products are well made and reliable. They can produce the occasional lemon, as all the Italian manufacturers have been know to do, but it happens rarely and the distributors have all been willing to replace them.

Uberti is the only company currently producing Dragoons and Walkers. I'm not aware that Pietta has ever made any. ASM (Armi San Marco, no longer in production) was the other major manufacturer of those designs. And of course there's the famous 2nd and 3rd Generation Colt lines, also no longer in production.

The Walker has no front latch for the loading lever. The original Colt design, copied faithfully by Uberti, is a latch near the hinge point. The Whitneyville Dragoon was the first to incorporate the front latch on a production basis.

The only issue with a Remington design that might be called problemmatic is a tendency to become fouled and jam; most people have success with using lubed wads to reduce this tendency.

Now to address the question of first bp revolver. Don't get a Walker - they are not for 'greenhorn' bp shooters. It's a big, big gun and takes some familiarity with bp revolvers to shoot well. There's a good chance you will become frustrated with it. A much better choice for starting out is the 1860 Army. 1851 Navy or 1858 Remington New Army. I consider them equal in terms of accuracy and enjoyment, the only thing separating them is how well the grip fits your hand. You should handle each one before choosing.

March 8, 2010, 07:04 PM
On the off chance the gods smile at you and a Ruger Old Army [ROA] at a reasonable price, comes your way consider it as well. Though not copy or historic in any way, they are damn fine shooters and are built like a brick outhouse. My first BP pistol was a ROA and I still like it best. Out of production now, they comand a premium in the market, and for that reason alone are not considered an entry level gun.

March 8, 2010, 07:17 PM
I'd get the Remington.I've had ''Colts'' really too numerous to mention,a Rodgers and Spencer,Spiller and Burrs, and really for simplicity and reliability, it's tough to beat a Remington.Stainless? Even better. Just remember, even if it is ''stainless'' you still gotta clean it when you get home.

March 8, 2010, 07:18 PM
Thanks for the replies. I was also considering the Remington in Stainless steel but a friend said the Remingtons were problematic? Any truth to this?

I can't think of why he would make such a statement unless he bought a defective revolver or one with some noticeable flaws.
That's why it's recommended to buy from an outfit that has a no questions asked return policy like Cabela's. They'll accept a pistol back even if it has been fired.
It does take a few minutes to learn how to insert the cylinder because it can be a little tricky at first, but for the most part they're very reliable and trouble free.

March 8, 2010, 07:18 PM
Out of production now, they comand a premium in the market, and for that reason alone are not considered an entry level gun.

When someone broke into my house and ripped off my stainless ROA (among other guns) I went looking for a new one and found a used one for $97.50 at a local gun shop. Not believing my eyes, I asked and he said he just wanted out of BP stuff. I had a hard time writing the check I was shaking so bad. I wonder if that guy remembers that sale, now? :D

Remingtons problematic? Well, the only problem I can see is keeping up with powder and ball. :rolleyes: I've got friends with 'em, though I've YET to get one, and they shoot quite well. As a shooter, I prefer them to my old Navy Colt. Sighting is better if nothing else.

March 8, 2010, 08:02 PM
the ''trick'' with the Remington cylinder swap is: with the barrel pointed away from you,and in a safe direction, put the revolver on half cock [the point at which the cylinder spins freely] drop the loading lever, pull the cylinder pin, and roll the cylinder out to the right.To re-install the cylinder,reverse the process,that is, the cylinder goes in from the right to the the cylinder rolls into the frame you should notice the tip of the hand [the little metal arm that pushes the cylinder up to align the next chamber] in the way.This is no problem,as the cylinder has machined ''divots'' in the back to accommodate the ''hand''.as you rotate the cylinder,just make sure the hand finds it's way into one of the half circular depressions,always rolling the cylinder slowly,until it's back in it's original position,slide the pin home,and raise the loading lever until it latches in place.really, this is much simpler than it sounds,and takes about three trys until you are an expert,swapping cylinders as nonchalantly as Clint Eastwood, in Pale Rider.

Big Bore Dan
March 8, 2010, 08:21 PM
What a bunch of GREAT replies. I want to thank all of you. The Ruger would be a first choice if I could find one reasonably priced. The Dragoon seems to be on the top of my list though. However, I do like the Remington's closed frame design. Nice to hear that my friend's mention of them being a problem is not warranted. I think I want new though, just missed a real Colt 2nd generation Dragoon on Gunbroker. For some reason it sold for only $360 or so?? I'll keep looking and find a fun gun Again, Thanks all

March 8, 2010, 09:56 PM
Been shooting cap and ball revolvers since about 1970, so I've learned a few things along the way.
I would not get a Walker or Dragoon. Not a good gun for beginners.
I'd suggest a stainless steel Remington .44 as a first gun. Beginners are notoriously negligent about scrupulously cleaning their cap and ball revolver. The stainless steel will give you a little extra time before the rust begins.
If one could buy .380 balls readily, I might suggest the .36 caliber. Unfortunately, about all you can readily find are .375 inch balls for the .36, which are too small, in my experience.
The manufacturers (chiefly, Speer and Hornady) offer balls of .451, 454 and .457 inch. Buy the .454 inch, or the .457 inch if the .454 are unavailable.
I don't like the .451 inch balls, they don't stay put as well as the larger balls during the recoil of full loads.
Remington .44, in stainless steel. You can also get these with modern, adjustable sights if you desire. My blued Uberti-made Remington has fixed sights, but I've modified them to hit to point of aim at 25 yards.
Go with Uberti first, for the quality, followed closely by Pietta. Either one makes good guns, but the Uberti is slightly better finished and has slightly deeper rifling to shrug off the buildup of fouling.

March 8, 2010, 10:09 PM
Buy it now for 375.....

March 8, 2010, 10:18 PM
Some of these guys on here are a lot more knowledgible on the subject than me but I was very happy with my '51 Navy to get started with and you can get them from cabelas for around $140.00 most of the time.

March 9, 2010, 12:56 AM
When I spoke [ah wrote] of having trouble "fitting" a cylinder, the gun was brought to me with the original cylinder, and two that were too long [.0035"] to fit in the frame. The gun and cylinders were differing brands. I hand honed these to fit, one with very little gap, and one with a little more gap, advising the guy to use the tight one first, then the other new one, then the original. My best friend later wound up with the gun in a trade and had me hone the tightest one down a tad more to keep it from binding. We would often shoot together, me with a brace of ROA's and him with the three cylinders till we could no longer see downrange due to the smoke.

Jefferson Herb
March 9, 2010, 12:59 AM
BHP!!! 1858's are nice ar'nt they?? I got a 5 1/2 in recently,looks like new,BHP gave me pointers on rolling out the cylinder.I'm not ready to impersonate pale rider,but I don't look like a novice now.

March 9, 2010, 09:46 AM
I've been a fan of Remingtons since I had my first Italian Colt.the clones now are a lot better than what I used to play around with.

Big Bore Dan
March 9, 2010, 01:44 PM
This seller has toooooo many negative feedbacks, otherwise I would. thanks

Fingers McGee
March 9, 2010, 05:09 PM
+1 to Mykeals response at post #10. He's right on the money.

Gatofeo - .380 balls are readilly available from the Log Cabin Sport Shop and bpstuffllc

Calibre44 - You're only in the first stages of C&B fever. Some of us have the full on addiction :D


March 9, 2010, 05:58 PM
I would get a Pietta 1858 New Army from Cabela's. They are selling for about $230 and are a very good starting pistol. They do pop up with a sale now and then and I have seen it priced around $189. Check out the Cabela's website for more current info. Buffalo Arms and Dixie Gun Works are other good sources for the 1858. If you hang around THR for any amount of time you will have more cap and ball revolvers than you can shoot...not that this is a bad thing. You'll soon find out who are the go-to-guys for sterling information and who the "leg-pullers" are. I trust the lot! Good Luck and don't be a stranger. We demand gun porn of any new arrivals!:D

March 9, 2010, 06:26 PM
Ooh, gun porn, I am addicted to the stuff, but I never post any, actually don't have any to post. I have owned both a Remington and a Colt repro and both were great. The Remington did have more problem with fouling but was a lot easier to remove the cylinder for what ever reason than the Colt style. Some will defiantly disagree with me on this but for my first gun I would go with a .36 instead of the .44. I just happen to like the smaller caliber better. Nothing more than personal preference. What ever you buy I think you are going to enjoy it and eventually you will want more, just the way an addiction works. Good luck.

March 9, 2010, 07:02 PM
Another good plan is to check out the classifieds over on SASS's website.You have to be a member to sell,but not to BUY...and there are a lot of good deals.Folks buy BP sixguns to get into the sport then decide to buy cartridge,and will dump their BP sixguns for cheap to help fund the ''upgrade''.

March 10, 2010, 12:42 AM
You must decide what you want to do with the pistol you buy. All have different strengths and weaknesses.

You asked so I will recommend that you look at this one.

Many people will tell you not to start with a flintlock. I say if you learn on a flintlock you can shoot anything.

Pedersolis are quality weapons. I have one like this pistol and it shoots well. This one is from a kit but it looks well made and you won't be afraid to modify it to make it your own.

If you grow out of it, you should be able to sell it and move up.

My opinion is worth exactly what you paid for it.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it!

Good luck and be safe.



March 11, 2010, 08:27 AM
This seller has toooooo many negative feedbacks, otherwise I would. thanks

I didn't notice that. Good call. That seller only has under 50 transactions and SIX negatives. WOW.

The gun went for 310. Not a bad price, but yeah, I'd be wary of that guy.

Big Bore Dan
March 11, 2010, 10:37 AM
SASS website does not show classifieds???

March 11, 2010, 11:01 AM
Below are the classifieds at the SASS Wire Forum:

Home page:

Big Bore Dan
March 11, 2010, 06:38 PM
Thanks I'll look

March 11, 2010, 07:28 PM
here's a good one... someone please buy it,before I lose control and do it myself!
March 12, 2010, 11:56 AM
Please note on the add that he drilled the nipples out to 1/16. Thats .062.
New nipples are .028 They should be replaced at .035. Nipples this big,
the hammer could blow back. If anyone buys this please replace the nipples
before firing.

March 14, 2010, 03:58 AM
I went with a Uberti '58 Remington for my first revolver.
However... the loading lever latch did fall off after about 30 rounds. I had to fix that myself - I would have anyway because sending it back to Cimarron arms for that would have been kind of stupid, but their gunsmith also didn't return my calls (I called them three times).
I also stoned the frame at the front where the cylinder contacts it. Before I could hardly get through a cylinder full without it binding up. No offense to Uberti here because the tolerances were tight, but I think they were a little too tight. Now the gun works smoothly and still locks up tight. In honesty, I don't know if the Colt pattern would work any more smoothly.

My next percussion revolver will be either a Colt 1860 Army or 1851 Navy with the square triggerguard. I'll still go with Uberti, just not with Cimarron Arms.

March 19, 2010, 01:02 AM
R.o a.,1858 rem,spencer,1851 navy,in that order,aquire them,[wisdom is justified of all her children,] the bible:)

March 19, 2010, 07:07 PM
A Rogers and Spencer! See my report I have on this forum about them.

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