.31 Uberti lead shot diameter & other load data


January 15, 2013, 08:21 PM
The Uberti 1849 .31 revolvers look quite interesting to me.
My investigation about thier lead ball size needs are all over the place from .310" to .320", and a responder to the question posed here on an earlier occasion said that Uberti themselves suggest .330".
The supplier of cast lead balls that I frequent carries cast and swaged balls in .315" and also has .323" cast balls available.
I also found referance to single "O"' buckshot from Hornady along with double "O" soft lead buckshot from the same manufacturer. Where do we stand on nominal sizes for those and other manufacturer's standard buckshot spheres? Is that really a satisfactory source of ammo for the Pocket revolvers?
So, what is it? Although it might be nice to use the on-board ram for loading, I do have a cylinder loading stand if the larger sizes end up being preferable so as to avoid those dreadful chamber mouth chain fires.
I couldn't find a ready supply of .330" balls, so they are probably not my best avenue, sorta like finding an easy supply of .380" balls for .36 cal. Ubertis.
What amount and grade of powder would one expect to feed the Uberti Pocket revolvers?
I haven't looked into casting molds yet, so I don't know what is going to be the best diameter to strive for there.
After the C&B projectile question has been sorted out I have some questions about conversion cylinder comparison to ask (Taylor's versus Kirst)

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Prairie Dawg
January 15, 2013, 10:02 PM
From a post by Gatofeo:
I had this in my archives.

The .31-caliber revolver requires balls of .321 or .322 inch.
The .310 inch balls are made for .32-caliber rifles, which use a cloth patch around the ball to bring them up to bore size.
0 buckshot is nominally .32 caliber, and some have found it works fine in .31-caliber revolvers. Though I own a .31-caliber revolver, I've never tried 0 buck.
An excellent book to own is, "Percussion Pistols and Revolvers - History, Performance and Practical Use."
It lists loads for the .31 Colt revolver:

50 gr. Round Ball
FFFG black powder - 12.5 grs. 720 feet per second
Pyrodex P - 12.5 grs. 682 fps
Hodgdon 777 - 10.0 grs 650 fps
Swiss FFFG - 13.5 grs. 814 fps

60 gr. conical bullet
Pyrodex P - 12.5 grs. 668 fps

Properly sized balls and conical bullets are available from Dixie Gun Works, if you can't find them locally. The conical bullets will almost certainly not be as accurate as a lead ball, and more difficult to load straight into the chamber.
Save yourself the aggravation and use balls.
All Colt cap and ball revolvers, originals and reproductions, shoot high. At 25 yards, which is about maximum accurate range for a little .31 caliber, you'll find the ball will probably hit anywhere from 8 to 12 inches above the point of aim.
Ram each ball firmly on the powder charge but not so hard that the ball is deformed. Just firm, with no space between ball and powder, is needed.
Smear a little Crisco, margarine or even butter over each ball in the chamber, to keep the fouling soft. The same lubricant smeared on the pin that comes out of the frame, around which the cylinder revolves, will keep the revolver shooting longer. Eventually, though, you'll need to wipe off the fouling around the pin with a small rag dampened with black powder solvent or a little water.
Before placing the caps on the nipples, pinch each cap into an elliptical shape so it clings better to the nipple.
The little .31 Colt is roughly equivalent to a standard velocity .22 Long Rifle bullet from a short-barreled revolver, perhaps a little less. It's sufficient to dispatch squirrels and rabbits at close range, provided you hit them in the heart or head.
In the mid 18th century, many were carried as hideout guns. They were a good threat, as even a minor wound usually led to infection and a long, agonizing death. In the days before antibiotics, X-ray and modern sugrical techniques, even a slight wound could easily be fatal.
It's a fun, little gun. Clean it immediately after use, protect it against humidity and it will last decades.

Prairie Dawg
January 15, 2013, 10:08 PM
I use an R & D conversion for my 31s.
32 S&W case with FFFg to fill & a 315 rounball seated just below center.

Hodgdon 2002 Cowboy Action loading pamphlet lists this for 32 S&W pocket pistol:
85 grain cast bullet.
1.1 grains HP38
610 FPS

MAX = 1.4 grains HP38 680 FPS


January 15, 2013, 11:08 PM
What little shooting I have done this past year with .31s has been with Single Aught "O" Buckshot salvaged from 12 gauge shot shells They leave rings on both the little Remmington '63 and the Colt-ish brass frame '49 I have played with.

I was concerned as the SIngle Aught seems a bit harder than pure lead. The average mic on them has been .323 BTW

I did load the Remington cylinder off th egun using a mallet to start the balls and then setting them fully on the charge with the ram as the Remington '63 is notorious for a week loading system. With the Colt clone brute force and ignorance seem to suffice.

I plan to get them dirty over the long weekend when not doing the family horse stuff.


January 16, 2013, 08:07 AM
I use Double Ought Buckshot (.330") and my simple homemade loading press. Works great!
For more info on simple loading press go to:

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