New old Pietta - BP newbie


September 12, 2013, 04:19 PM
A couple years ago I mentioned to my (83 year old) dad that I wanted to get into BP revolvers. Just the other day he asked what I was looking to get and I told him I'd really like an 1860 Army. He went to one of his safes and came back with this unfired Pietta 1860 Army "Lawman (fake ivory grips and fluted cylinder) which he gave to me! Needless to say I was stoked! Then I started doing the research and started reading about the poor quality of the early Piettas. My dad purchased this from Cabela's in February 1997, so I guess this is likely a 1996 manufacture. Oh well, I'll keep the charges around 25 grains and hope for the best. If it does turn into a wall hanger, at least it will still look good! (

<edit> I think I'm already hooked - I haven't even fired this yet and I'm already looking forward to my next one!

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September 12, 2013, 04:38 PM
It is a fine revolver. Shoot it and enjoy.

Prairie Dawg
September 12, 2013, 08:46 PM
The date of manufacture is given by two letters in a box on the right side of the frame, like BD or AC.
Here is a link to the key, so that you can tell when it was made.

September 12, 2013, 09:05 PM
I don't think Pietta's quality problems affected their ability to shoot full recommended loads. Shoot it, clean it, keep it, and one day pass it on to one who deserves it.
In Kentucky where my family is from this gun now qualifies as a "Family Gun" to be passed on to a worthy family member (hopefully a son) if it is ever sold you will be talked about behind your back at every family function.

September 12, 2013, 11:10 PM
thats a nice '60! looks like ya got the fixins with it too!
As has been said, shoot it, maintain it and try and wipe the grin from your face!
i recently got my first BP wheel gun a 1860, got some doodads, caps and ball to buy at friendship and im going shootin:D shootin my $75 CVA Hawkens sealed the deal months ago for me, its addictive
congrats and enjoy

September 12, 2013, 11:33 PM
As per above, quality issues re Pietta, do not and did not generally regard safety. You can shoot full charges in the steel frame. Issues, mainly in the past, were more related to fit and finish and there is a good deal of "quality" chatter that is actually about historical accuracy and Pietta playing fast and loose with the likes of your "Lawman" and the mythical 44 Cal 1851 "Navy" for example. Some earlier models, particularly their 1858 Remingtons, had cylinder gap issues, and in the Colts, there used to be a fair few NIB with the wedge jammed in so hard it wanted major gunsmithing to get it out.

Yours certainly looks to have excellent fit and finish and is a real beauty that anyone would be proud to own. Enjoy!

Sent from my KFOT using Tapatalk 2

September 12, 2013, 11:45 PM
If your gun had any quality issues you would be able to see it. I seriously doubt your gun has any problems. At most you may have to deal with a little easy tune up and maybe fix a bit on your arour / wedge fit. Thats a beautifull gun by the way!

September 13, 2013, 01:18 AM
Is that a reproduction tin of caps?

September 13, 2013, 01:51 AM
Thanks for the comments folks!

Prairie Dawg – thanks for posting that link. The code on my 1860 is BH – 1996, as I suspected!

I was thinking the QC issues had to do with the gun “shooting loose”. I guess I was thinking about the brass frames. I am new to BP, but have been shooting/tinkering all my life. I’ve “slicked up” my share of pistols and long guns too. I just finished tuning this 1860 as described by Mr. Pettifogger – I found no burrs inside and the bolt fit every cylinder notch perfectly – solid lock up on every cylinder. The wedge fits and works perfectly. I did improve the cam bevel on the bolt, then polished most mating surfaces to a mirror finish using Yellowstone, then green jeweler’s rouge with leather strops. This thing is smooth as bore butter!

I have everything I need except powder. A store in my area is ordering a couple pounds of KIK FFFg for me, but they had no idea when it would be here. I guess I’ll have to shoot Pyrodex or 777 for now.

RandyRay41, my dad said the cap tin is the only original piece in the kit. I’m not sure where he got it, it seems like I saw them in the Dixie catalog.

Going out shooting tomorrow (today) – Yee Haw!!!

Foto Joe
September 13, 2013, 09:25 AM
Very nice looking piece. As you've already heard from numerous others, there wasn't an issue with safety although...

You may well find out that the most accurate loads in this gun are not the ones that get stuffed full of powder. You'll have a learning curve figuring out just how much powder and what kind of powder will yield the most accurate load. Most of mine shoot best at between 16-30 grains of powder.

September 13, 2013, 09:30 AM
Jay, a beautiful revolver, while not as good a looker as the 62' Police the 1860 Army is not only good lookin but a real brute as well. Hey, if something happens look here,

or here;

Pretty simple design and easy to fix.

Prairie Dawg
September 13, 2013, 10:45 AM
I don't think a 1996 Pietta qualifies as an "early" gun.

I have some "BH" 1996 guns and they are just fine -- been shooting them for years.

And the early guns had no safety issues.

They were all fit/finish issues.

"Shoot loose" issues generally apply to brass framed guns.


September 13, 2013, 12:37 PM
The main QC problems I'd expect (if any) would be a hand spring that will break and misalignment of the chambers to the bore. Run a cleaning rod down the barrel and see if it catches on the edge of any of the chambers. Probe up, down, left & right as you pass therod into the cylinder chambers. If no catching of the edge of the chamber then th gun has good enough alignment. I have had 3 different Pietta made SSs and one Euroarms blued Remington with bad alignment that would either shave lead or actually jump out of battery when fired and lock up. Reaming the forcing cone helped the lock up problem but I no longer have any of those guns. I've not had problems with Pietta Colt armies. Their Navies are another matter. I am speaking solely of the older made, pre upgrade Piettas.

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