BP Cartridges in Pietta 1858


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Legionnaire
March 14, 2012, 05:48 PM
Finally got to try the R&D conversion cylinder I bought for my 5.5" 1858 New Army. Only had short period of time, so this was more of a function test only; didn't shoot for accuracy at all. Load was 30 grains of GOEX FFg with a card wad under a 250 grain RNFP in new Starline brass. Stout, but tolerable recoil, even with one hand. Loved the cloud of white smoke!

The action was pretty stiff by the end of the third cylinder, with fouling on the base pin making the cylinder difficult to turn. Cleaned up easily with moose milk (diluted Ballistol) when I got home; should have brought the bottle and a rag with me, of course.

Liked the conversion cylinder very well. Didn't like how few shots I was able to get off before the gun needed a bath. Is this typical?

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Saddlebag Preacher
March 15, 2012, 01:26 PM
Here is mine. I shoot BP loaded long Colt and Schofield. I just slap on plenty of Bore Butter on the cylinder pin after cleaning and have't had any problem. I also use Buffalo Bros. prelubed bullets.

Legionnaire
March 15, 2012, 04:24 PM
Yeah, making sure the base pin is well lubed before I start is a good idea. I routinely use bore butter on my Colt repros. Good thought.

hang fire
March 15, 2012, 06:21 PM
On my .45 LC Kirst for the Pietta 58 Remmy, the C/B gap is so close, one shot with BP will bind it up if cylinder face is not wiped with a wet cloth before next shot.

I use Trail Boss without any problems at all, but I find heavier the boolit, the higher it will shoot, with the 255 grain hitting the highest. My most accurate boolit to date as to POA and POI is a 185 grain SWC. I feel maybe the 165 grain boolit might be better yet, but have not tried it.

Gray Paccelli
March 16, 2012, 11:49 PM
Anyone know load specs for Howell 45 ACP conversion for Uberti 1858 Remington?
230 Grain Bullet (all lead) and FFFG powder? (I previously said 'FFFFG' in error) it is FFFG.

Legionnaire
March 17, 2012, 07:54 AM
Gray, I don't have your answer, but why use 4F? Pretty sure the Howell cylinders will handle any load with as much black powder as you can stuff in the case. I think FFFg would be as fine as I would want to go, though.

Driftwood Johnson
March 17, 2012, 12:25 PM
Liked the conversion cylinder very well. Didn't like how few shots I was able to get off before the gun needed a bath. Is this typical?

Howdy

Unfortunately, yes it is typical. The 1858 Remington model suffers from the fact that there is no raised bushing on the front of the cylinder to deflect powder fouling away from the cylinder pin. Since the conversion cylinders have to fit into the standard frame, they too lack a raised bushing on the front of the cylinder.

Here is a photo of two 1858 Remington cylinders, on the left is one of my R&D cartridge conversion cylinders, on the right is a Cap & Ball cylinder. Notice the fronts of the cylinders are flat.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v495/Driftwood_Johnson/cylinders/Cylinders-1.jpg

Take a look at any other single action revolver some time. Colt, Uberti, Ruger, it does not matter. All of them have a raised bushing on the front of the cylinder. Fouling blasted out of the barrel/cylinder gap tends to spread out pretty much in a plane. If there is nothing shielding the cylinder pin from this ejected fouling it will be deposited directly on the cylinder pin. And the force of the blast tends to drive some fouling onto the surface of the pin where the cylinder rides. The fouling builds up quickly and begins to bind up the cylinder. With the raised bushing of the other brands I mentioned, the fouling is deflected away from the cylinder pin and does not get a chance to build up. The result is that those guns can be fired with Black Powder for more rounds than the 1858 Remington can.

Here is a photo of three cartridge cylinders. In the center is a Ruger 'original model' Vaquero cylinder, on the left is a Uberti Cattleman cylinder, on the right is a 2nd Gen Colt cylinder. Notice the raised bushings.


http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v495/Driftwood_Johnson/cylinders/cylinderbushings.jpg

I shoot a lot of Black Powder. Probably close to twenty pounds a year in cowboy shooting. I shoot Colts, Rugers, clones, and yes, every once in a while I bring my Remmies along with their conversion cylinders. I always wipe off the front of my conversion cylinders with a damp rag after every cylinder full to keep them rolling. If I don't they begin to bind up after the second cylinder full.

The best answer is to use a bullet with PLENTY of BP compatible bullet lube. I cast my own Big Lube bullets for all my Black Powder cartridges. The Big Lube bullets have one HUGE lube groove, which carries a huge amount of lube. The more soft BP compatible bullet lube you have on your bullets, the softer the ejected fouling will remain, which will help to prevent binding. If you don't have enough lube on the bullets, the fouling tends to remain dry which is part of the reason for binding. I cast my own Big Lube bullets and I lube them with SPG.

If you want to know more about Big Lube bullets, go here. Scroll through the pages and you will find some suppliers who will sell you some Big Lube bullets.

http://www.biglube.com/

Forget the wad, you don't need it. I never put a wad in my BP revolver cartridges. Just put in enough powder so that when you seat the bullet it compresses the powder by about 1/16" - 1/8". I use either the PRS 250 grain Big Lube bullet, or the 200 grain J/P 45-200 (designed by a guy named Johnson) for 45 Colt. For 44-40 and 44 Russian I use the 200 grain Mav-Dutchman bullet.

P.S. Yes, lubing the base pin of a Remmie will help, but the best thing you can do is put as much BP compatible lube on the bullet as possible.


P.P.S. When Remington brought out their 1875 cartridge revolver, they included a bushing at the front of the cylinder to deflect fouling away from the cylinder pin.


P.P.P.S. Do not use FFFFg in cartridges. It is for the priming pan of a flint lock. FFFFg will raise pressure considerably in a cartridge. Either FFFg or FFg is fine in any 45 caliber cartridge. FFFg will give you around 60-100 fps more, all other things remaining the same. As I said earlier, fill the cartridge with enough powder so that when you seat the bullet, the powder is compressed by between 1/16" - 1/8".

P.P.P.P.S. Do not fall into the trap of believing you have to open up the barrel/cylinder gap for shooting Black Powder. This is a misconception. I have a whole bunch of revolvers that I shoot Black Powder from. All of them have their original factory gaps ranging from about .005-.008. Opening up a gap can actually make things worse, allowing more fouling to be blasted onto the front surface of the cylinder and onto the cylinder pin. The answer is keeping the fouling soft, with plenty of soft BP compatible bullet lube.

wittzo
March 18, 2012, 01:19 AM
I lube the base pin with synthetic gear oil and it helps a lot.

Gray Paccelli
March 18, 2012, 12:04 PM
Interesting. The HodgdonTriple 7 label specifically says in RED PRINT: "CAUTION; Do not use Triple Seven FFFG in cartridges"

American Pioneer Powder (FFFG) says: "USE NO LUBES AND SEAT POWDER FIRMLY" and: "SEAT PROJECTILE FIRMLY AGAINST POWDER CHARGE AS AIR SPACE BETWEEN THE POWDER CHARGE AND PROJECTILE MAY CREATE A HAZARDOUS SITUATION.

As a newbie to "Black Powder" I am leary about the possibility of fragmenting my cylinder or having a slug stick in the barrel (opposite ends of the load spectrum?) Then there are rumblings about air gap detonation and it all gets a bit confusing.

Thanks for any coaching you can give on the .45 ACP cartridge lad for a Howell Uberti 1858 Remington conversion load.

Driftwood Johnson
March 18, 2012, 12:47 PM
Interesting. The HodgdonTriple 7 label specifically says in RED PRINT: "CAUTION; Do not use Triple Seven FFFG in cartridges"

American Pioneer Powder (FFFG) says: "USE NO LUBES AND SEAT POWDER FIRMLY" and: "SEAT PROJECTILE FIRMLY AGAINST POWDER CHARGE AS AIR SPACE BETWEEN THE POWDER CHARGE AND PROJECTILE MAY CREATE A HAZARDOUS SITUATION.

As a newbie to "Black Powder" I am leary about the possibility of fragmenting my cylinder or having a slug stick in the barrel (opposite ends of the load spectrum?) Then there are rumblings about air gap detonation and it all gets a bit confusing.

Thanks for any coaching you can give on the .45 ACP cartridge lad for a Howell Uberti 1858 Remington conversion load.

Howdy

It is not as scary as you think. First off, pressure wise, real Black Powder is more forgiving than Smokeless. With dense, fast burning Smokeless powders, depending on the load, an overcharge in the vicinity of .5 grains may be dangerous. With real Black Powder, an overcharge of a grain or two does not make hardly any difference at all. Part of it has to do with the ratio of the overcharge to the total amount of powder. If your charge calls for 3.0 grains of Bullseye, .5 grains can make a huge difference. But Black Powder is much bulkier than modern Smokeless powders, and pound for pound it simply is not as powerful. That's why your 45 ACP cases are so much smaller than a 45 Colt case. You needed up around 30-40 grains of Black Powder in the 45 Colt to produce a reliable man stopping round. But the 45 ACP was designed for Smokeless powder, and it has much less case capacity because much less Smokeless powder is needed for the same man stopping energy. So if you are putting say 35 or so grains of Black Powder into a case, a grain or two more or less is a smaller percentage of the total charge. On top of that, a grain or two of real Black Powder is simply not going to damage any modern firearm in good condition.

What I said for real Black Powder earlier still goes. Pour in enough powder so that when the bullet is seated the powder will be compressed by about 1/16" - 1/8". The trick is, pour in the said amount of powder, then pour it out again and either weigh it, or make up a dipper to portion out that same amount of powder. Here is a little photo essay I put together a few years ago illustrating the concept.


http://www.cascity.com/forumhall/index.php/topic,18257.0.html


Your conversion cylinder is made of modern arsenal steel and has been heat treated for strength. It is much stronger than the original C&B cylinder that came with the gun. Put in the amount of powder that I have specified and you will not blow up the gun, neither will you get a bullet stuck in the bore.

As far as the subs are concerned, just follow the manufacturers' instructions. No compression for 777, light compression for APP. And yes, Hodgdon does advise against using FFFg 777 in cartridges because 777 is about 15% more powerful than real Black Powder to begin with. Using the same 'volume' of 777 will give you more velocity and a stouter recoil than the same amount of Black Powder.

About the air gap thing, don't sweat it too much. Yeah, either seat the bullet on the powder or compress it, whichever is required. But I will tell you a little secret. In the old days, a lot of bullets designed for Black Powder had a hollow base. This was so they would obturate better to fill up the rifling, which could sometimes vary in size from gun to gun. Now when a hollow based bullet is seated on top of a powder charge, how do you guarantee that all the air has been driven out? You can't. Chances are there may be a tiny little air pocket trapped in the hollow based bullet. Did this blow up guns? No. But everybody is so paranoid now about making sure there is no air at all trapped inside. What do you think happens even with a non-hollow based bullet when it is seated? The bullet seals the case as it goes in, and some air is going to be trapped. By seating the bullet on top of the powder, or by compressing the powder a bit, where do you think that air goes? It can't get out around the bullet, because the bullet sealed the neck as it went in. The truth is, some air has been driven down into the powder charge, and has gotten compressed between the grains of powder. This does not cause guns to blow up.

The real concern about air gaps is not to leave one of any size down inside the cartridge. If there is a significant amount of air, then the powder starts to burn and the air pressure in the gap rises very high before the bullet can move. That is what causes ringed barrels.

But if you do as I have said, you will have driven the great majority of the air out and you will have no problems. Just be sure to seat the bullet as described, and the air will take care of itself.

Legionnaire
March 18, 2012, 05:38 PM
Driftwood, thanks for the informative posts. I'm still fairly new to black powder (wish I had gotten into it years ago), and have lots to learn. The lack of raised bushing on the front of the 1858 cylinder makes total sense. Knowing what the problem is, it will be easier to keep the thing running. Thanks again!

arcticap
March 18, 2012, 06:38 PM
rcflint installed a bushing/gas ring on his Remington 1858 C&B cylinder.
Here's a post about it with 2 photos:

http://www.thehighroad.org/showpost.php?p=6402064&postcount=2

Legionnaire
March 18, 2012, 08:22 PM
Thanks for that link. The whole thread is very informative. I'm going to shoot some of the BP cartridges through my ROA for comparison. Might have to switch to Trail Boss for the Pietta. I already shoot a lot of light TB loads in my magnum revolvers, so have all the components needed. But I'll miss the white smoke ...

Driftwood Johnson
March 20, 2012, 09:52 PM
But I'll miss the white smoke ...

A little bit of binding is no reason to throw in the towel. You have to take your cylinder out of the gun every time you load it or unload it. Simply take the opportunity to wipe down the face of the cylinder with a damp cloth. That's what I do. A simple wipe between cylinder's full keeps me rolling for a CAS match with a pair of R&D equipped cylinders.

Here is another trick you can try. Remove the cylinder pin from your Remmie. Chuck it up in a drill press, or a portable drill that you have secured in a vice. Then take a very thin jewelers file that you can buy in a hobby shop and cut circular grooves around the pin. Don't cut too deep, you don't want to weaken the pin. Before you start a shooting session, fill up the grooves with Bore Butter or some other BP compatible lube. This should help keep the gun rolling a little bit better.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v495/Driftwood_Johnson/Remingtons/arborandpin02.jpg

The Colt style arbor in the photo has helical clearance grooves cut around it. That and the fact that the diameter is greater than the Remington pin allows a Colt style C&B to roll much longer than the thin Remington style pin. Cut some grooves around your pin and fill them with Bore Butter or something like that should help a bit.

rbertalotto
March 21, 2012, 07:51 AM
I shoot lots of BP in my 1800 type rifles, but I find it a real pain in the revolvers.

I recently converted a set of 1858 Remingtons to cartridge:

http://images55.fotki.com/v659/photos/2/36012/10288332/DSC_4286-vi.jpg

And a pair of 1860 Colts also:

http://images60.fotki.com/v778/photos/2/36012/10360662/DSC_4260-vi.jpg

I found that using 45LC brass was way overkill for plinking and Cowboy Action shooting. The 45LC is the magnum of its day.

I discovered "Cowboy 45 Special" brass. Half the powder, all the smoke and sparks!

http://images54.fotki.com/v104/photos/2/36012/10360662/withwords-vi.jpg

But more importantly I discovered Blackhorn 209 powder. This is a quasi Black Powder substitute. Great smoke, sparks and boom, but cleans up like smokeless and you can shoot a whole day without binding up your revolvers.

I'm using it with the BIG LUBE 45Slim bullets and there is zero leading and zero bore fouling. And the accuracy is simply amazing out of all four of my converted pistols and my Ruger New Model Vaqueros.

http://images59.fotki.com/v791/photos/2/36012/10288332/45LC10shotcloseup-vi.jpg

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