antique black powder cartridge firearms


January 3, 2011, 02:26 AM
I have been wanting a antique cartridge revolver for some time,most colts are e...spensive, any suggestions? 44 40-45 colt-44 russian-38 sw?:cool:

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January 3, 2011, 04:24 AM
You might find plenty of satisfaction with one of the replic/reproduction Colt SAA or SA Bisley Model or Remington Cartridge Revolvers in .45 Colt .44-40 or other, as made by 'UBERTI' or other Companies.

I have a few of those, and I have been very happy with them.

You can cast your own Boolits, Load your own Black Powder Cartridges, and have a lot of fun with them...or, use off the Shelf Ammunition as well.

They are well made, serious Guns, and very affordable, especially when used.

One can find them on 'Gunbroker' or sometimes in local Pawn Shops or Gun Shows.

Same is true of the Cap & Ball Revolver reproductions for that matter.

But, if you are dead set on having a 'period' genuine Antique Big Bore Revolver of the Black Powder Cartridge era, to get anything in halfway good condition, tends to be expensive, and or, a matter of luck, persistence, and study...and more luck from more persistence, and even then, it is still likely going to be pretty expensive!


January 3, 2011, 09:34 PM
....Don't appeal to me as much as the real mccoy,anyone shoot their oldie colt or SW,and load their own black or sub???????:cool:

January 4, 2011, 05:26 AM
At some point I have shot most of the antiques I have owned. Some I used in competition and others I have hunted with. Once replicas became established and the quality improved, I switched to those when I could as it was a bit easier to modify them to what was needed. I still use an 1890 Winchester, an 1895 Winchester, a Burnside carbine, a Trapdoor carbine, and a couple of others but mostly I have switched to replicas for my revolvers. In all of mine, I use blackpowder and cast lead.

Anything in particaulr you are looking for? Sometimes the model of firearm dictates the cartridge.

January 5, 2011, 08:04 AM
Like Strawhat I have loaded black powder cartridges for some of my antique revolvers. It's nice to have them in shooting condition but the lack of parts keeps me from doing a lot of shooting of the antiques. With all of the quality reproductions available, loading with BP you get the same experience without risking a costly antique.

January 5, 2011, 11:54 AM
Don't discount the rimfire or pinfire guns, if you're willing to fiddle around with reloading. Reloadable rimfire cases that use .22 acorn blanks for primers, and reloading kits, are available from:

I have a S&W #2 that was made in 1864 that I got for under $800. Had to have a new split-spring made for the cylinder bolt (laser cut from spring steel at work), and it was refinished at some point, but it has a good bore and is mechanically functional. Other reloadable rimfire cases, in .38, .44, and .56 Spencer, are available from Dixie Gunworks. They can't be used in repeaters but are fine in revolvers and single-shots.

January 5, 2011, 12:10 PM
i love any new way of loading ,and the ingenious method of loading rim-fire cartridges is amazing,ill have to go tell my know it all gun smith,that you can load rim fire if you got enough euros:cool:

January 5, 2011, 04:04 PM
Iv sold all of my repro BP guns. All I shoot now is original ones. I find that a lot more fun.

In the revolver department I would stay away from Colt. Way to expensive and over rated. My first old timer was a Smith Wesson model 3 Russian. The bore was no way near shiny, but it has strong rifling through out. And it shoots 2" groups at 25m. You can find a decent Model 3 for like $1100.

In the cap n ball department I would go for a Reminton NMA 1858. There are lots of them, and you can be lucky to find a good shooter for a good price. Doesnt have to look like Angelina Jolie. If the bore is like 5-6 on a scale to 10, you got a good enough shooter. My favorite cap n ball is the Rogers & Spencer. Dont have one at the time, but I will. When looking for a Rem 1858 buy the one thats not functioning. Parts are all over for those. I got a Remington Navy .36. Got it for $500. Auction text claimed that it had a loose action and barrel stop didnt work. Dixie gun works has new repro springs for the barrel stop. The loose action was just a worn cylinder pin. A total of $10 to fix it. The bore of mine looks like an old female russian sledge thrower, but it still is accurate enough to win MLAIC competitions.

Rifle.... find a good Springfield trapdoor. You will not regret it. You can find those all over the US. A $900 trapdoor with an excelent bore makes it possible to shoot head size targets at 300m all day long.

Its a bit hard on finances to purchase the old irons, but to me there is no better way to spend money....Besides, the value dont sink. Its an investmet. Good argument to use when the females in the house start whining...

If you ever regret getting your self an old original iron Ill walk across Wisconsin butt naked.

Jim Watson
January 5, 2011, 11:23 PM
Smaller guns are less expensive. You can get a pretty good .32 or .38 at a shooter price.

January 6, 2011, 02:01 AM
I'm sold on oldies,but the replicas seem to have different parts? I thought uberti had exact replicas of the 1858 rem,colt peace maker,schooled,ect.wouldn't the parts fit,or couldn't the parts like cylinders ,barrels,springs,Ive heard or guys in the 50,s fitting their revolvers with new everything,except the frame,so they could shoot smokeless ammo thru the black powder frame ,Even still ,not a good idea, and definitely depreciates the antique. thanks Jim,and you are correct the small SW top breaks are very reasonable,and true antique Americana ,I can hardly wait for spring and ground hog season, A trapdoor springfield sounds like fun,black powder perfection Ill have to save up for that one,

January 6, 2011, 02:05 AM
Hi andrewstorm,

I have no idea why, but, I thought you were asaking about Black Powder era Cartridge Revolvers.

Far as Rifles go, of all sorts, there are enless 'reasonable' priced 'Originals' out there one could acquire an example of, Load for, and shoot to one's Heart's content for greatly less outlay initially than generally, one would have to lay out for a good condition Black Powder era big bore Colt or S & W or MH or Remington, or H&A etc. Revolver.

I guess I just had Revolvers on the Brain ( as usual...) Lol...

January 6, 2011, 02:24 AM
Yes I was asking about them specifically,and I will purchase one soon,any thing good or bad about Belgian copies,any advice is appreciated :D

Jim K
January 8, 2011, 09:30 PM
I don't know of any Belgian repros being imported at this time, but someone else may have better info. AFAIK, most of the current repros are Italian.


January 10, 2011, 02:51 AM
made in belgium around 1880,liege proofing house marks,sold for half of the price of smith and wesson,or colt, Ive heard someone say they were as good as the originals,....:cool:

January 10, 2011, 05:59 AM
SOME of the Belgian copies were as good as the US models. Some were cheap copies butb if it was made in Belgium, it had to be proofed before it could be sold so theoretically, it should have been safe. Firing with corrosive primers and powders may have changed that.

January 10, 2011, 05:27 PM
Most of the belgians I have seen are in very good condition for 125 year old guns,mabe the steele was from switzerland,the schofield copys look much more robust not much rust,

January 10, 2011, 05:40 PM
I just took out my 1888 British Bulldog yesterday....six shot .38 S&W. Aloxed home cast with 16 gr. of Triple Seven.Yee haw!

January 17, 2011, 01:10 AM
38 sw blackpowder cartridges? whats your mv with 16 grain 777,and do you use fffg or ffg?

January 17, 2011, 02:30 AM
I just took out my 1888 British Bulldog yesterday....six shot .38 S&W. Aloxed home cast with 16 gr. of Triple Seven.Yee haw!

38 sw blackpowder cartridges? whats your mv with 16 grain 777,and do you use fffg or ffg?

Are you fellows talking about the .38 Special or the smaller .38 S&W cartridge?
From what I gather the useful case capacity of the .38 S&W is less than 10 grains volume of powder at .62 cc, while the useful case capacity of the .38 Special is 1.15 cc or 17 volumetic grains of powder.*

andrewstorm, if you want to see chronograph data for loading about 16 grains of 777 into the .38 Special cartridge, then see Oyeboten's post #24 in the following thread:

Range Report: Black Powder .38 S & W 'Special'

158 Grain, 'Waffle-Sided', Lead, Hollow-Nose, Semi-Wad-Cutter Bullet, Remington Primer, .040 Home-Made Grease Wad, consistent/approx 15.75 Grains of "777", good Crimp.

FPS as


Kind of inconsistent...

Maybe the "777" does not like Grease Wads?

It's important to note that the .38 S&W is different from the .38 Special. Even though some folks do refer to the .38 Special as the .38 Smith & Wesson Special, to avoid confusion the "Special" part of the cartridge name shouldn't be omitted. Please correct me if I'm wrong about which cartridge it is that's being posted about, the .38 Special and not the .38 S&W.


January 17, 2011, 03:37 AM
In looking back, I may have had inconsistent compression on the 777, and or, had a tiny bit OF compression on some rounds, and, none on others.

I was just learning! Lol...

My BP proper Rounds, I compressed the bejeeeezeees out of.

The 777 I was trying to j-u-s-t Seat the Bullet onto it, and, to have no compression, and, this was less certain as for being consistent.

I was not yet understanding the list of variables, in accounting for FPS variaitons of a string.

Oh, golly...what fun...

I love Black Powder Cartidges in old or newer Revolver.

I finally got a few Cans of 'Swiss' Powder, but, been so swamped with Work and family stuff, I have not done any re-loading in quite a few months.

The Swiss would be a good bet for the .38 S&W Ct'g, as well as for the .38 Special methinks, especially with good compression...and, a good bet for any BP Cartridge, for that matter.

January 17, 2011, 10:29 AM
I had slight compression on all my Triple Seven loads, and was a little worried about shooting them, as they made my Webley and Scott jump like a .357, but the little Bulldog held together just fine.

January 17, 2011, 06:16 PM
....Was what i was refering to,and 750-800 fps mv sounds good for a cow boy load out of a baby russian, 777 can have different velocitys from batch to batch ,I make shure i get a new can every year,then use mild compression.

January 17, 2011, 06:24 PM
The .38 S&W is a revolver cartridge developed by Smith & Wesson in 1877. Though similar in name, it is not interchangeable with the later .38 Smith and Wesson Special due to a different case shape and slightly larger bullet diameter.

whats your mv with 16 grain 777

How can 16 grains of powder be loaded into a .38 S&W case if it won't fit?
16 grains will only fit into the .38 S&W Special case.

January 17, 2011, 06:29 PM
fits just fine...20gr. will fit in a .38 special.

January 17, 2011, 07:15 PM
I just took out my 1888 British Bulldog yesterday....six shot .38 S&W. Aloxed home cast with 16 gr. of Triple Seven.Yee haw!

But the point is that the word "Special" was omitted which indicates a different cartridge and which leads to some confusion about identifying which one it is. :)

January 17, 2011, 07:22 PM
The Bulldog is a .38 S&W, the .38 Special hadn't come along yet, in 1888.

January 17, 2011, 07:24 PM
I don't believe the .38 Special came along until 1902, at the earliest.

January 17, 2011, 07:40 PM
My source listed the following usable case capacities:

I will use that manual to give you some comparative data sir.

The useful case capacity of the:
S&W is 0.62 cc, with the OAL of the brass being 0.775", MV of 600+ fps
Spc is 1.15 cc, with the OAL of the brass being 1.155"
Mag is 1.30 cc, with the OAL of the brass being 1.290"
.380 is 0.49 cc, with the OAL of the brass being 0.680"

.62 cc's equals about 10 grains of powder by volume.
1.15 cc's equals about 17 grains of powder by volume.

Here the conversion chart for converting cc's to volumetric grains:

The .38 S&W is reportedly not able to hold 20 grains of powder when loaded with the bullet that it has historically been loaded with which weighs 158 grains, the same bullet as loaded into the .38 Special round that Oyeboten reported in his findings.

I don't know what the confusion is about, I only know that what the reported useable case capacity is of the .38 S&W and it's not anywhere near 20 grains of volume. But is reported to only hold 1/2 that amount when loaded. From comparing the size of each case, it would appear that's true and accurate.
Can we see a photo of your .38 S&W cartridge?

January 17, 2011, 09:32 PM
My S&W load is 16 gr. of Triple seven. 20 is my .38 special load. see post # 17.

''I just took out my 1888 British Bulldog yesterday....six shot .38 S&W. Aloxed home cast with 16 gr. of Triple Seven.Yee haw! ''

January 17, 2011, 09:37 PM
I can post up a picture of the cartridge when my boy drops by [he does my photos] but it will be difficult for you to see the sixteen gr. of three ''f'' Triple Seven inside.

January 18, 2011, 12:35 AM
Are you talkin volume or weight? maybe the origimal load was 12 grains or so.compressed b p 16 grains 777 could be possible.

January 18, 2011, 12:50 AM
Volume. I'm not sure what that would come out to in weight? But I know the load is possible ... because that's what I use ... it is a compressed load ... but not a lot. You shouldn't over compress Triple Seven.

January 18, 2011, 01:30 AM
Don't worry about it or give it another thought.
I'm reading that the interior dimensions of some brands of brass cases differ from others which causes them to have more or less powder capacity.
And there are ways to compress extra powder into confined spaces.
I like to really compress APP powder when using my loading press too.
Under pressure the packed granules actually seem to "squish" into the chamber!
Mea culpa! :D

January 18, 2011, 01:36 AM the year born, for Smith & Wesson .38 Special...initially conceived as a Black Powder Cartridge, it went to 'Smokeless' very early on.

Sometimes aka - the 9x29R

January 18, 2011, 01:41 AM
I've seen the 1899 date, but others state 1902. I'm not sure, as it was a little before my time...

''The .38 Special was introduced in 1899 as an improvement over the .38 Long Colt which, as a military service cartridge, was found to have inadequate stopping power against the wooden shields of charging Moros during the Philippine-American War.[6] Most hand-loading manuals and other references date the cartridge to 1902 and the Smith & Wesson Military and Police revolver variation of that year...''

January 18, 2011, 01:55 AM
They also give the birth date of the .38 S&W as 1877.

January 18, 2011, 02:46 AM
The Model of 1899 Smith & Wesson 'Military & Police' Revolvers, appeared in 1899, but, may not have been chambered for the .38 S&W Special Cartridge immediately, even if, or even though, the Cartridge was in effect born, in 1899 or possibly in 1898, there is some ambiguity as for maybe when the Cartridge made it's debut in available Chamberings and in Off-the-Shelf Boxes of Cartridges, and, now that we get down to it, I am not sure when that was, if it was 1899, 1900, 1901, or, as some sources say, 1902.

But I do have at least three S&W Revolvers, chambering the "38 S & W Special or U S Service Cartridge", which were made fairly early on.

I will have to ask Radagast for an evaluation of their years...and, also, if he has any strong opinion on when the .38 S&W Special Cartridge Chamberings first became available.

My own impression, was that the .38 Special Cartridge chambering, and, Cartridges to chamber in it, were available in 1899, even if some of the S & W 'M&P' Revolvers were intended for U.S. Service Cartridge ( .38 Colt ) only, as suited the Military at that time.

January 21, 2011, 07:57 PM
yep, clear as mud. but that's as good an explanation as I've heard.

January 26, 2011, 02:02 AM
That actually qualifies as a antique here in michigan ammo must not be redily availible thru the ordinary channels of commercial trade,and the gun shop owner refused to sell me the antique without a purchase permit,even though one is not nesessary,the gun was made pre 1899,i guess i should go get a pilots licence to drive a submarine also,the man wouldnt even check with the state police,so i could buy it,he said im sorry i cant help you the internet is unreliable information and dont ask me again.he went on to say that all politicians are crooks that dont know what they are doing by letting anyone buy a antique firearm,i said sir it is perfectly leagle,since you cant buy the ammo anymore,he said good day!:barf: it was not a good day at all,he also perported to have gazillions of 32rimfire ammo for sale,but wasnt interested in selling it to me,now i know how it feels to be a black person at dennys in south carolina:barf: (d&d gunshop) now i know why they call it d&d must stand for DUMB & DUMMER :cuss:

January 26, 2011, 02:36 AM
Andrewstorm........... that`s the most frustrating story Iv heard in a long time. A gun shop owner not knowing the regulations in his area?!! Or was he a real f nazi?

Your Michigan regulations are pretty much the same as we got over here in Norway. Luckily we got it as 1 in our weapons law. Every gunshop got to have that law inside their shop. You should get those regulations in writing, stamped and signed by the police and nail it to his forehead.

January 26, 2011, 08:24 AM
I love my originals- have 2 Rogers and Spencers that I shoot regularly- and carry as personal defense weapons- its just fun to imagine the look on some thugs face if he came face to face with a Rogers and Spencer! Originals are getting harder to find and are in the $3000 range if shootable

January 29, 2011, 01:36 PM

January 29, 2011, 03:12 PM
Now what kind of link is that supposed to be? :banghead:

January 29, 2011, 03:19 PM
Crud.I'll have my boy post it next time he comes over. it's my Bulldog....there's a pair of .44's over on SASS.....

January 30, 2011, 04:05 AM
Here it seems as though everyone has their own idea of what the law is,and its the old law,we need a sign to be posted in all gun shops ,very good idea or else ill have to move to norway:D

February 1, 2011, 05:59 PM
You are welcome to move over. You wouldnt belive how many of those old Rogers & Spencer revolvers that have a new home over here. There are 5 just in my little BP club. Remington 1858 new army are pretty common to see at the competitions. Are there any MLAIC shooters in here?

February 17, 2011, 12:56 AM
I found the antique revolver i really wanted,1896 colt 41 DA 1897 manufacture,beautiful browned gun,with good action and fair bore,looks like a good shooter for black powder or cowboy loads i bought it over the counter at a local gun shop,after seeing it a week earlier, they were open on Sunday,and there you have it,i like this DA so much ,i feel indebted to the dumb and dumber gunsmith,:neener:

February 17, 2011, 04:33 AM
Are there any MLAIC shooters in here?

Mike OTDP is.
He did go to Portugal and reported about the Championships and his trip while he was over there.

February 18, 2011, 04:56 PM
Two of my friends went to Portugal aswell. Not sure how they did down there though. I think they should be easy to find on the lists. They were the only Norwegians last year......... NO. looking at the list shows that they were not the only two.

MLAIC shooting is one big pile of fun. But I would like it even more if the "program" could have a little more variation. Im more or less shooting nothing but cartridge rifles though. Muzzle loading have had a slow start.

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