1858 Rapid Fire


January 17, 2011, 08:55 PM
Hi ive been working on reliable cylindar change and fireing trying to recreate
some civil war legends and hollywood bs.
In particular trying to fire rapidly but safely and acurately the 1858 remington.

popularised by movies like pale rider where clint eastwood changes out his
conversion cylindar like a modern speedloader.

wikipedia lists the 1858 being popular because officers could carry an extra cylindar to speed the reload.

So i have tried to recreate this and its not as easy as it sounds mainly
because you have to have the lube done well otherwise the cylindar will
bind and you wont be able to remove the cyl pin.

These are close to full loads 35 grains fffg 454 ball and closer to 40 in the last
cylindar which is a conversion cyl shooting colt45 loaded with 454 ball.

I expect i may catch some flak for breaking a couple of safety rules like
full 6 loaded and caps on before the cylindar was in the gun but its the only
way i could see to test this as i realy dont think a civil war officer in the middle of battle only loaded 5 out of 6.

I am alone on private property with a cushion on the ground in case of accidental drop of the cylindars and this vid is not public so dont rag on me to hard as i just wanted to share it with you old farts.

Also these are shots 73 to 96 since last cleaning apart from wiping excess
grease off I noticed that the first 24 shots after cleaning are more likely
to blow of caps so i feel a bit of crud is good for reliability.


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January 17, 2011, 09:04 PM
not bad! I roll my cylinders in from the right, and out to the left, and I couldn't tell if that's the way you did it, [due to the outdoor lighting in your video, I think] but your speed is quite respectable.

January 17, 2011, 09:06 PM
Thats a lotta cylinders! And not everyone here follows your every 'safety violation'. Only a few.
Is it easy to get BP supplies there? I assume you are in Australia?

January 17, 2011, 09:10 PM
Nah grew up in Australia but living in California now.

January 17, 2011, 09:23 PM
I think i do it all from the right hand side most of the time but its almost
muscell memory now.

I dropped the cyls in this video but i doubt very much if a civil war officer
dropped his unlike modern defense training.

and its easier for me to catch them on the right for some reason

January 17, 2011, 09:29 PM
I doubt many owned more than one spare cylinder, but I am impressed. What lube did you use?

January 17, 2011, 09:36 PM
pure beeswax and lard 40/60 fully covering each ball with a little dab of just
plain lard in each cylindar pin hole.

i have lube all the way to the end of the barrel and still no major leading

January 17, 2011, 09:41 PM
that's almost exactly what my lube is,but I add a ''smidge'' of Thompson's Bore Butter.

January 17, 2011, 10:19 PM
Hey, thanks for sharing that video with us. I think you did a pretty darn good job with that 1858. I'm not wild about dropping the spent cylinders on a blanket like you did but I assume you are trying to show what someone would probably do if they were in a gun battle. Not exactly a lot of time to worry about scratching up a cylinder when someone is shooting back at you. You really showed why the 1858 is superior to the Colt open tops when it comes to swapping spent cylinders for loaded ones.

What lube system did you use? Lubed felt wads under the ball or lube over the ball?

p.s. Never mind...just read where you used lube over the ball. I wonder how lubed felt wads would work for you.

January 17, 2011, 10:30 PM
BTW, the preacher in Pale Rider is using cartridges as you probably know. I read where the movie is supposed to take place in 1850. I'm not sure how they reconcile the use of all these post 1850 technologies as seen in the movie such as cartridges or "more modern" firearms. Its common for these movies to use blank cartridge firing weapons for safety reasons. They don't seem to have the dilemma with caps you pointed out. That's Hollywood for ya.:cuss:

January 17, 2011, 11:08 PM
This old fart really enjoyed that!:D Thanks for making and posting the video.

January 17, 2011, 11:50 PM
ha, and people think bp can't lay down similar firepower to similar guns! thats real impressive, keep it up.

January 18, 2011, 01:58 AM
Takeing into account the Civil War, BP revolvers have probably taken more lives than all other hand guns....

January 18, 2011, 04:31 AM
I don't know, the German Luger & Japanese Nambu were used in 2 world wars.



Here's a look at some casualty numbers:




January 18, 2011, 06:58 AM
Very good video sir. You did a nice job with that. I seriously doubt I could do it that fast. Thank you for sharing. Kevin.

January 18, 2011, 10:08 AM
Nice job! But I think the old timers, such as cavalry and bushwackers would just carry 3 or 4 revolvers, such as an 1860 Army to start with. Then add a couple 1851 Navy revolvers and add to that some pocket pistols to boot. It just takes to much time to switch cylinders when the lead is flying and lives are on the line.

January 18, 2011, 10:21 AM
i expect you are right about just carrying extra revolvers i think it would have been hard to get spare cyls that fit correctly anyway.

lol i just watched josey wales last night and he seemed to have a nice collection of extras.

January 18, 2011, 10:44 AM
nice vid. thanks for sharing!

January 18, 2011, 11:28 AM
I agree with Magwa45,
The Bushwhackers, jayhawkers, & Confederate irregular cavalry carried multiple revolvers and occasional sawed off shotguns. You shot one gun dry, holstered and pulled another. 4-6 guns were not unusual. I read [and everything you read is true ;>)] that there has never been a documented case of a Confederate irregular cavalryman that was ever killed by a Union saber because of their use of multiple revolvers. I believe the cylinder swapping is pretty much pure hollyweird but fun to do and watch anyway. Proficient gun handling is always an admirable skill regardless of the gun used. I doubt spare cylinders were ever issued other than in a presentation case gift set for some dignitary.

January 18, 2011, 12:08 PM
Watching the Pale Rider sequence, If I were the bad guy, I would have waited until Clint pulled the cylinder form the gun and I'd have blown him away at that time. For crying out loud, the guy is standing there with a disabled weapon.

I did like damoc and the actual speed shooting sequence.

45-70 Ranger
January 18, 2011, 12:20 PM
Pretty neat. Wish my basepin was a free as yours! Oh well, still making minor repairs to an abused/used '58!

The mention of multi-pistols reminds me when I was in my late 20's I was part of a CW Re-enactment unit in Waco Tx. I carried the following: Original Gallagher carbine, Original S&W Mod 1 second issue, Original Sharps Pepperbox, and the following repos" 2nd Mod Dragoon, two Remington '58's, Colt '51 Navy, Remington Navy, 1860 Light Cav Sabre. All this was on me or my saddle. But I was a force to behold in those days. My horse was gun trained and was fantastic. I'd ride up blazing away until I ran dry then I'd ride off. Those were fun days to play soldier as we all got up after the battle and have a brew. (A lot better than where I was a year or two before that's for sure! We just zipped 'em up and sent 'em to G.R....)yeah, I'll take re-enactment anyday over the jungle days for sure!

Loved the video, sure blasted through some powder and shot there!


Old Fuff
January 18, 2011, 12:30 PM
If you forget Hollywood and go more into contemporary Civil War literature you'll discover that the more popular way to speed load was to carry extra revolvers, not loaded cylinders. Also cavalrymen and others carrying a revolver didn't carry more then 12 additional paper-cartridges. :uhoh:

Obviously they didn't contemplate a western style movie shootout.

On the other hand they seem to have been more careful in making every shot count. ;)

January 18, 2011, 01:41 PM
Thanks for all the great replies I do personally think it was more likely
that multiple revolvers and other firearms were used probably just picked
up and added to the belt as the oportunity presented itself.

Im still amazed they could even build a revolver back then let alone
make matching cyls which would all be interchangeable so this is another
reason I think it was unlikely and rare but it seems like it was possible.

by the way swapping out with a new cyl each time is what is preventing binding of the pin which was the drawback i first noticed with this revolver.

each time it gets the new cyl the little dab of lard i put in the pin hole
relubes and washes out the crud so it never builds up enough to
prevent operation of the cylindar.

Old Fuff
January 18, 2011, 02:24 PM
Returning to the Civil War.... :D

The Army's Ordnance Department received some complaints from the field concerning powder fouling, and how it sometimes made it necessary to hand-assist the cylinders on Remington's so they'd turn after as little as 12 rounds. Usually if not always the only lublicant that was available was water from a canteen.

To support your theory, some cased Remingtons as well as Colt's included an extra fitted cylinder.

So far as the Union was concerned, revolvers were commonly reloaded with combustable paper cartridges, not loose powder from a flask followed by a ball. This did speed things up a little bit. ;)

January 18, 2011, 02:29 PM
Great video, and gun handling. Go to show that there isn't a "correct" way to change out cylinders, depend's on the gun and the shooter. The hand in my Rogers & Spencer is longer than on my Remie, so I've taught myself to roll the cylinder out to the right, then load a new one from the left (holding the gun sideways).

January 18, 2011, 02:35 PM
Great Video!!! Thanks for showing.

January 18, 2011, 02:46 PM
yep i heard they often used paper cartridges I even made up a few and tried
them and they did speed the reload up but that still gets back to the binding
of the cyl pin.

perhaps that is why 12 cartridges is all they would carry for there revolvers as this was the most shots they could hope to get before the revolver was relegated to the status of club weapon.

I know thats the most i have ever got total (18 shots) before the cylindar
was unuseable and i had to tap out the pin when reloading without the dab
of lard on the cyl pin hole.

reloading in a hurry with paper cartridges without correct lube is probably
also what led to the many chain fires/exploding revolvers ive heard tell of.

by the way the paper cartridges I made from smoke papers worked once great
but the paper blew back into the niples and fairly well clogged them up
and needed some good cleaning.

January 18, 2011, 10:24 PM
We need also to get a sense of perspective when talking about the guns fouling up fast. Just prior to the CW most handguns were single shot caplocks. All of a sudden here comes a Colt that has SIX TIMES THE FIRE POWER! WOW! What a leap. So the idea that the gun was gonna be fast reloaded and re-shot was not on the designer's mind. Once the gun was shot dry then you pulled your sword or fighting knife. Look at some of the pictures of 1850s border Ruffians and you'll see what I mean. Reloading was to be done after the smoke cleared at the surviving shooter's leisure. Basically the guns were not expected to be shot 18 times in a row so the design features (e.g. cylinder gas ring) didn't become an issue until the later models at the dawn of the cartridge age when more sustained fire was expected.

January 18, 2011, 10:48 PM
I carry 3 revolvers and extra cylinders side arm ,belt pistol ,n boot gun when afield,extra cylinder for the boot gun,for a total of 22 shots +powder caps n balls bag,and long gun,just think what jerimia jhonson coulda done with revolvers..........:D:uhoh:

January 18, 2011, 10:52 PM
With all that hardware on you , it is a miracle if you can stand up no less walk! :D

Doc Rizzi
January 18, 2011, 11:12 PM
Very nice! I enjoyed your video. I use the 1858 Remington with an R&D conversion cylinder for Cowboy Action Shooting and it works great. I don't have to speed load on the clock so that is not an issue. The other thing that impressed me is that when I am using cap and ball for CAS I usually have an issue with jammed caps in at least one stage per shoot. I thought it was because I was going to fast, but after watching you go through those cylinders without a glitch I was very impressed! Where abouts are you in CA? I am in San Jose.

Jim K
January 18, 2011, 11:43 PM
1. Fast reloading is a lot faster when you can get the camera to stop running while you do it.

2. The federal cavalry did use sabers and killed folks with them, some oft-repeated quotes to the contrary.

3. Carrying extra loaded and capped cylinders was justified when fighting a war. Today, it can be downright dangerous; if a capped cylinder drops and a cap hits a stone or a concrete walkway, it is just like a short barrel pistol.


January 19, 2011, 12:00 AM
Im near Redding CA. try getting a little crud on the cylindars I noticed when
they are very clean I have a bit of trouble with caps blowing off but after a round the BP crud buildup on the nipples seems to help prevent the caps blowing off.

occasionally i will still have a cap blow out and jam the action but not often
with the 58.

Hellgate multiple fast reloads may not have been in the mind of the designer
but the designe definately seems capeable of it which still amazes me.

Imagine if the capeabilites were fully utilised by either side earlier in the conflict it could have ended the conflict sooner or there could have been a different victor.

I feel this revolver was that far ahead of its time, opinions?

I think this revolver/carbine gave true small unit fire and movement ability that had not realy been used well before and probably would not be untill WW2.

Im not a historian so i dont know if modern small unit tactics were employed
or were able to be employed during the civil war but to me it seems like
it was a matter of shoot then charge.

A revolver/carbine able to be reloaded quickly and fired all day seems to me made these modern tactics possible.

January 19, 2011, 12:20 AM
Look like your thumb was getting a little tired near the end. :D Nice job.

January 19, 2011, 12:23 AM
lol yeah you noticed it was getting tired

January 19, 2011, 10:32 AM
Watching the Pale Rider sequence, If I were the bad guy, I would have waited until Clint pulled the cylinder form the gun and I'd have blown him away at that time. For crying out loud, the guy is standing there with a disabled weapon.

Have you no honor, Suh? I find your treacherous thoughts to be vile, despicable, and totally unacceptable on a field of valor. :rolleyes: Now, having said that, I must admit my thoughts mirrored yours when I first watched the movie.

Excellent job on the video. I find your comments on the fouling issue to be especially interesting. Were you using real BP or a BP substitute in your loads? I fired 18 shots through my new 1858 this past Sunday; and noticed no difference in the functioning of the weapon from the first to last shot. I intentionally made no effort to clean anything between cylinder loads. It was originally my intent to shoot until I experienced the fouling problems mentioned by others on various forums. Unfortunately, insufficient range time prevented me from doing so.

I was shooting 20 grains of Triple 7 with Cabelas lubed wads over the powder. The only lube used on the pistol during this sequence was Ballistol.

January 19, 2011, 10:52 AM
I was using BP substitute 777 a little cleaner but will still bind the cyl very
quickly without the lube.

perhaps you noticed little fouling because of lighter loads?

January 19, 2011, 12:02 PM
The lighter loads might very well be the reason. I certainly don't have enough experience to comment one way or the other. The aforementioned 18 rounds represent my entire BP shooting history. I prefer to consider myself as being in the early learning stage of BP shooting. That just has a better ring to it than "newby". :D

January 19, 2011, 12:44 PM
You started out saying that you wanted to fire rapidly but safely and acurately the 1858 remington.

I'd say you've pretty much accomplished at least half your goal. I commend you on your muzzle control; the gun was never pointed anywhere that the average RSO would take exception to. Some might say 'the barrel was being waved around', which is true, but even then it appeared under control and either downrange or at the ground, even when being drawn and holstered in a weak side holster. Lots of people can't (or won't) do that.

The issues of loading 6 and loading a capped cylinder are mitigated by being on a range and the gun's configuration. The '58 Remington has 'safety notches' allowing the gun to be carried with the hammer down but not on a loaded chamber, so carrying with all six loaded is generally acceptable practice. Further, loading all 6 on a firing line is not an issue at any range I'm aware of. And accepting that you thought ahead and took care to prevent a dropped loaded and capped cylinder from striking a hard object mitigates that concern. So I think you've ably demonstrated reasonably rapid loading and firing a '58 Remington safely.

Now, not to throw water on the parade, but as to the other half of the task, accuracy - - - show us the targets!

January 19, 2011, 01:13 PM
lol yeah dont know about the accuracy bit guess ill have to try again
target was at 20 yards and i did miss
the plate several times

below is another bit of 58 fiction somebody sent me the link to I thought it was a good read


January 19, 2011, 02:34 PM
Although the Remington has nice safety notches between the nipples I have had at least one gun that when set down onto the safety notch would allow the cylinder to turn easily. Sometimes the hammer doesn't go all the way down to the notch or the tip of the hammer is too wide for the notch. So check it out before relying on it.

January 20, 2011, 10:50 AM
Doubt if I ever do it, but the thread has been fascinating. Watch this guy ~ talk about smooth.


January 20, 2011, 10:57 AM
The key to that is control of the hammer position, and thus the bolt and hand positions. Notice how he pulls the hammer back just enough to drop the bolt but not so far as to raise the hand. Plus, he rolls the cylinder into place, rather than pushing it in. I don't believe it's necessary to keep your finger on the trigger, however.

January 21, 2011, 12:14 AM
That is some very nice gun handling there Damoc.

I've got a pair of Uberti '58's that I shoot for fun and in some cowboy action meets with my club so as a fellow '58 owner I can appreciate your video that little bit extra.

I'd like to say I can swap cylinders as fast as you but I fret over the blueing too much and take far too long. Obviously it would be a lot different if someone were shooting back at me or I practised more and could roll them in more smoothly like you.

As for safety violations given where and how you were shooting I can't say that I saw anything all that bad. Obviously the hammer sat at the half cock while the cylinder swapping was occuring. In that position it isn't possible to drop the hammer anyway so I can't see that there were any issues of significance. And if you were to strike a cap against the frame with enough force to cause an ignition then it would not matter about the finger on the trigger or the 6 out of 6 being loaded anyway. Besides, anyone carrying reload cylinders would more than likely had all 6 loaded anyway. Only the one in the gun would need to be loaded with 5 to have the empty safety spot for the hammer.

January 21, 2011, 07:20 AM
I don't believe the hammer was at half cock; I think he was using his thumb to hold it between fully down and half cock to manipulate the bolt and hand out of the way.

And half cock is not a reliable safety position.

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