Conversion cylinders: Which one?


January 6, 2011, 09:52 PM
Hey all,

I shoot a couple of Walkers and would like a little input. Shooting at our local meets can get interesting at times. With the loading of powder (even using paper cartridges), the putting on of the caps, the using of the lever, etc., etc., I have been thinking of using a conversion cylinder in order to keep the flow of the meet going smoothly.

Now, I would like a little input from those who are using conversions:
Which cylinder? R&D or Kirst?

I like the Kirst, but am not really fond of the idea of grooving the backshield to accept the cartridge as I do not intend to get totally away from going the cap & ball route of shooting (I kinda get a kick out of all the "ceremony" of loading up and shooting). This is a good looking conversion, though.

I like the idea of not heavily modifying the frame with the R&D, but am not sure I like having to remove the barrel every time I load up.

Any thoughts?


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January 6, 2011, 10:56 PM
Check these places:,357.html

there are plenty of drop ins at these sites.

Or you could simply buy a cimarron Richards Mason gun.

I'm not sure that it matters, any more, which cylinder maker that you use.

But if you are converting a 36 cal you should think about getting the barrel sleeved for .38.

NOW.. that I look again and see that you are talking about a walker, you could try here for a drop in cylinder:

Prairie Dawg
January 7, 2011, 07:04 AM
Removing the barrel each time you load & unload sounds like more of a hassle than it really is if your gun is properly tuned. If the wedge is properly fitted, it will pop out with thumb pressure, and taking the gun down is quick & easy.

I shoot Colt repro snubbies alot & they don't have loading levers, so I use a cylinder loader. I also have R & D conversion cylinders for them. This means taking the gun down for both cap gun & cartridge use. Proper wedge fit makes it easy.

And you won't have to grind away your frame, so when you want to shoot it cap gun style, you won't have this big cut-out in your gun.


January 7, 2011, 07:06 AM
Not quite sure what it is you're looking for.

You either have to modify the frame or remove the cylinder to get the cartridges in. The only other option is to not shoot cartridges.

If you're asking which one of those three options is best, well,, that's a matter of personal choice. I don't shoot cartridges so that would be mine, but it's up to you.

January 8, 2011, 07:47 PM
Thanks for the input.

This option would only be used at our local cowboy shooting matched. I figured this would be easier than going the traditional C&B route because of some embarrassing moments in the past: caps getting jammed and locking up the cylinder, a cylinder not firing, having to do my reloading early so as not to hold up the progression of the stage, and so forth.

I really like to just shoot the traditional way, but also like to part of the goings-on, thus the conversion. At this time it looks like the drop-in type will be the way to go, I really do not want to modify the frame.

Once again, thanks for the responses.


January 8, 2011, 08:06 PM
What I found a conversion cylinder does for me is allow me to practice more. I can load a couple of 100 Colt 45's in a few hours (cast and load).

Shooting and reloading the Kirst cylinder in my ROA, while painfully slow compared to an automatic or swing out cylinder revolver, is still infinitely faster than cap & ball.

I shoot 5.5 grains of Trail Boss and a 210 grain bullet. It feels about like my Triple 7 load and shoots to about the same point of aim. It also shoots so much cleaner it isn't even funny. A couple of 100 rounds of my practice load is cleaner than about 1 cylinder full of my Triple 7 load.

However, it's not near as much fun. I just love shooting my ROA with Triple 7 and BigLube bullets.

January 10, 2011, 09:29 PM
I've converted two cap and ball to Kirst Converters. 1849 PP and a Colt 1860 replicas. Not hard to cut the port and you can still swap in and use the percussion cylinder. My last conversion will be for the 1858 Rem. Kirst will get the nod.

January 14, 2011, 12:35 AM
Kirst is the better of the conversions. I have both, and the kirst is by far the nicer. Cutting the recoil shield to allow for rear loading is a breaze. A dremmel with sanding wheel and an hour or so of your time is all it takes. Besides porting the recoil shield makes putting caps on the percussion cylinder a dream, when you shoot it cap and ball.

January 14, 2011, 03:12 PM
If your only reason for a conversion is to not bog down a match, consider buying an extra percussion cylinder or two. You can load them all up between events, then be ready to go without slowing things down. I think you can buy 2 spare cylinders for less than 1 conversion cylinder. Just a thought.

January 15, 2011, 07:18 PM
I've owned both for my ROAs and got rid of the Kirsts. The R&D/Taylor conversion cylinders are easier to use and functioned better in both ROAs.

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