1855 pistol-carbine cal 58 and minie


April 19, 2010, 02:00 PM
This is a Antonio Zoli, Navy arms, hege, replica manufactured in 1972.

It is supposed to shoot minie bullets but the 12" barrel twist is very slow (1:72) ; my testing with Lyman or Lee minie bullets demonstated that they keyhole and accuracy is very poor.

With balls, accuracy is perfect :

50gr BP, cornmeal crisco and patched 560 ball :


Anyone having good results with bullets ?


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April 19, 2010, 02:52 PM
I don't own one, but the original load was a 450-grain Miniť behind 40 grains of black powder, and the muzzle velocity was about 600 fps.

The bullet was shaped exactly the same as the 500-grain Miniť but had a larger cavity in the base. Total bullet length was 1.05 inches, and the diameter was .5775 inches.

Weight should be 3.5 pounds, and 5 pounds with the shoulder stock.

Have you chrono'd any loads?

April 19, 2010, 06:39 PM
I have tried for years to get accuracy from Minie bullets in various and sundry [1853 Enfield,Parker Hale Musketoon,.58 underhammer,etc.] platforms and the patched round ball always has better accuracy,and the Minie always strikes low,and when you up the charge,hits become erratic.

June 24, 2010, 03:37 PM

I have dovetailed a much higher frontsight (with original sight, it used to shoot almost a yard higher than POA) and made a trigger job ; metal is now polished in the white and wood has been unvarnished and oiled.

Shooting with rest at 25 meters : 60gr BP, 30gr. cornmeal and 560 patched ball:




Now it looks more like the original and accuracy is very satisfying


June 24, 2010, 04:33 PM
Wow, I really like what you've done with this. Thank you for the follow-up post and photos! :)

June 24, 2010, 07:21 PM
That's very, very nice. Well done. A beautiful gun.

June 24, 2010, 07:49 PM
Gorgeous !!! Nicely done.

June 24, 2010, 09:04 PM
That is a fine looking pistol. Thank you for sharing.:)

June 25, 2010, 08:19 AM
I had one, about the same vintage. Never got it to work with bullets but it was a lot of fun with round balls. With mine, the point of impact was radically different when I attached the shoulder stock. I sold it to a reenactor who wanted "something different".

You have done good work on yours.

October 26, 2010, 02:31 PM
I have seen the 1983 movie " Savage Islands", aka Nate and Hayes, starring Tommy Lee Jones, a story of pirates in the Fidji Islands and one can see this pistol on various occasions...............

November 7, 2010, 05:20 AM
Follow-up :

I have modified the pistol as follow :

- the "rifle" nipple has been changed for a "pistol cap" one

- wood has been antiqued with oil/ terpentine treatment and 600grit.

New load has been tested :

The LEE Real 58 bullet mould has been grinded and the bullet shortened (one belt removed) : see photo of bullets before and after modification of mould.
The 440grs bullet is now 350grs and easier to stabilize. In order to optimize the caliber of the REAL bullet, I bumped it with one hammer stroke on the top so that it could be rammed in the barrel with standard effort.

The load is : 50grs BP, 50grs cornmeal and cal58 shortened and bumped 350grs Real bullet.


With this load the pistol is still accurate and very powerful : felt recoil is superior to cal50 Desert Eagle..............It could stand more but probably not the shooter !

This is real magnum and probably the most powerful of muzzeloader handguns : there will be a lot of training to tame it

Hope you enjoyed this report

August 12, 2013, 10:43 AM
Back to the range with checkered grips :

Light load and REAL at 25 meters :



A pleasure to shoot...


August 12, 2013, 10:53 AM
I understand using cornmeal as a filler in BP cartridges, so the charge gets propper compression, but what is the purpose of using cornmeal in a non-cartridge muzzle loader, where the ball is seated directly on top of the powder charge?

November 9, 2013, 04:02 PM
SCHWING,,those are absolutely beautiful weapons gentlemen. I see first thing I must do is throw away the shoulder stosck. I bought a pistol to pair witn Buffalo Carbine and my Wesson .58 with one sweet False Muzzle. At 56 I am in my second BP Youth.

I have the same problems with my Buffalo Hunter. Loves a patch & Ball no matter the amount of powder. Put a hot load 120gr behind a hollow bottom 620 grain Connie and it shoots about 8 feetr high LMHO. I by no means have the expertice of youse guys. I do know I an drive tacks with the Lyman and the Wesson and I cannot see fer BEANS!!!

I ain't no engineer or ShOOTIST, just someone that loves to keep me eyes 7 ears open when one speaks or writes. I am just someone that remebers well smelting Lead at the camfire in a pot making balls freezin mine off camoping and huntin on the Land up in Stuart VA with Great Grandpa, Grandpa, Dad & me two uncles when I was not as tall as the Lyman Plains 50 cal I was given when I was 19 along with the Old Army Ruger ,,,both of which I'd die before ya took em from me.

Anyway I got the Horse pistol to go with the Buffalo,,both stamped NAVY ARMS. I also got a Sceneca 45 to go with my Ruger Old Army and a Traditions Trapper .50 to go with Lyman,,,YEEEAHAW am I happy tp have finally found athat horse pistol making all three married pairs.

I am a new member gentlemen. SINCERELY Thanks for so much accumlative years of knowledge and enthusiasm Gentlemen. To HECK with paying for centerfire ammo when I can cast my own so easily and buy Bulk BP. I finallly made THE order from Mr. Blackert of the real BLACK. I wonder if I am the ony Amazinly I broke out my smokestick after about 10 years.It had not a spot of corrosion.

First time I took it out and used PYRODEX it corroded overnight after a thorough cleaning . After repeated corrosions episodes with substitute I am going back to the REAL BLACK. Can't wait to report what I am learning from you fine fellers.

November 9, 2013, 09:47 PM
I by no means have the expertice of youse guys.

Not to derail the conversation, but is there any chance you're from Pittsburgh?

And Filbuste, nice groups! Probably better than I can do with a cartridge gun.

forward observer
November 10, 2013, 03:13 PM
Hi, guys,

First post here. I also have one of these horse pistols and the shoulder stock.

I've had the thing for maybe 30 years or more and only shot it a few times when I first got it. At the time, using hollow base Minnie's, I couldn't hit the broad side of a barn.

After that experience, I found a cheap picture frame, some green velvet, and made a wall hanging out of it.

The original 1855 Springfield pistols had a Maynard tape primer system built into the lock plate. At one time Dixie Gunworks had some original Maynard cover doors in their inventory, and I had the idea to buy one and simply have it soldered on to the lock to make it look more authentic.

Of course that inventory is long gone now.

After seeing this post, I may drag the thing to the range again. I know that I am definitely going to strip that crappy Italian varnish off, and put a more attractive finish on it.


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