Conversion cylinder for 1851 Pietta.


December 29, 2010, 04:51 PM
Could I get some help? and please don't tell me to read the old posts because I have and am still confused. I have the following questions. What cylinders do you recommend that I could truly "drop in" i.e no gun smithing? How accurate are they? Can I shoot standard rounds or do I have to buy special ammo?

Thanks for the help.

If you enjoyed reading about "Conversion cylinder for 1851 Pietta." here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
December 29, 2010, 05:21 PM
is it a 36 or 44?

December 29, 2010, 05:48 PM
Cylinders by themselves are are not accurate. They must be part of a revolver! :neener:

December 29, 2010, 06:52 PM
It is a .36.

December 29, 2010, 07:05 PM
Steel Frame go with the R&D Cylinder Check out buffalo arms or midway.

Prairie Dawg
December 29, 2010, 11:18 PM
An 1851 Pietta is a .36 caliber revolver.
It takes a .375 ball & has a .375 barrel.
Conversion cylinders are in .38 long colt (.358 bullet)
So, one concern is the barrel diameter.
You can have the barrel lined, or use hollow-based wadcutters, which work very well in these converted revolvers.
The other concern is that the cylinder is too short to take a standard 38 special with a 125 grain bullet.
They are chambered in .38 long colt, which is a shorter cartridge.
If you use 38 special cases with hollow based wadcutters, they fit just fine.
I used 3 grains bullseye and a hollow based wadcutter with 1/8" of the wadcutter sticking out of the case & had a very accurate pistola.
I have always used R & D cylinders (Kenny Howell).
They have always dropped right in & worked fine for me.
This is with Piettas and Ubertis.
One drawback is that you have to pull the barrel to load/unload.
If your wedge is properly fitted, this is no problem & can be done in just a few moments.
Both Kenny Howell & Kirst both make cylinders with loading gates, for which gunsmithing is needed.
Here is a link to a Hobby Gunsmith issue that shows what must be done.

Hope this helps.

Doc Rizzi
January 16, 2011, 10:43 PM
Hi Yarrum, I re-fitted my 1851 Pietta with a Kirst cylinder. It works great...but it is not a beginner level do it yourself project. I likes the Krist because it has a loading gate and because of that, you can load and unload without taking the barrel off. It comes with good directions but the directions can't impart skill. The main alteration that needs to happen is that metal off the frame needs to be removed in order to accommodate the loading and unloading of the cartridge. I used a dremel with the drum sander attachment and went very s-l-o-w. The other fellow is quite correct when he suggests you use hollow base wad cutters and adjust the depth of seating to allow rotation of the cylinder. It is an accurate shooter and had worked well for me in Cowboy Action shooting. You also need to keep an eye on the timing because it you shoot it a lot as in CAS the friction does cause parts to wear and will affect your timing after a few hundred rounds. The other issue for me was that I needed to use a .38 cal hone and polish up the cylinder insides a bit to facilitate unloading. The cartridges expand a bit after shooting and they don't always just fall out when unloading. I carry a small dowel in my pocket to assist at the unloading table to speed things up. Add some Hickock grips and it looks great too. Keep the gun spotless between shoots and it should be a fine and beautiful shooter.

January 17, 2011, 12:00 AM
the 1851 with conversion cyl needs to be used ONLY with really light loads (bp equiv.) because the cylinder gap can open easily. the 1858 is a little more flexible in that way

January 17, 2011, 07:31 AM
But who wants a flexible gun?:neener: GO COLT!

January 17, 2011, 10:46 AM
Remmies are more better.

January 17, 2011, 10:49 AM
Yeah, better than a pointy stick I guess! :neener:

January 17, 2011, 10:50 AM
OH! Sacrilege!

January 17, 2011, 11:19 AM
Give Jay Strite a call over at Raven's Roost ( Not only can he answer your question in detail he can give you the exact cost of grinding out that recoil shield so you can breech load....something I highly recommend on a Colt open top design...otherwise, IMHO it blows chunks to have to remove the cylinder for cartridge reloading on the Colts.

Here's an example of his work on a Colt Walker.

That loading gate makes reloading a lot easier. a few words from the manufacturer of the Kirst Cylinder (

January 17, 2011, 07:38 PM
Or let the Hobby Gunsmith give you a few pointers on how to convert your 1851 (

If you enjoyed reading about "Conversion cylinder for 1851 Pietta." here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!