1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

1858 Navy cartridge conversion. Barrel removed

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by Nickel Plated, Jul 30, 2014.

  1. Nickel Plated

    Nickel Plated Well-Known Member

    So I'm convirting my Uberti 1858 Remmington Navy to 38spl. cartridges. I plan to use the Kirst gated cylinder to do the job.

    Now anyone who's familiar with cartridge conversions knows, .44 cap and balls are easy to convert to 45 cartridges. Just swap the cylinders.
    The .36 cap and balls are a bit trickier because the bore for them is a bit too big (.375 cal) for your common .38 cartridges like the .38 Long Colt or .38 Special. (.357 cal)
    Now generally the solution for this was either use heeled bullets or have a smith drill out and reline the barrel to .357. But I decided to try another method.
    I didn't want to use heeled bullets because I'd like to just use any standard .357 cal bullet for my loads if bullets become hard to come by where you don't have the luxury of being picky.
    And sending it to a smith takes alot of time between shipping to him, waiting for him to get the work done and shipping back. As well as the shipping costs and hoping the smith didn't screw the job up.

    What I decided to do is simply swap the barrel with one from a factory Uberti cartridge conversion since those use the proper .357cal barrel.
    I did go out on abit of ahunch and assumed that uberti uses the same frames and barrels between their cap 'n ball and cartridge models as far as the theads go. My hunch proved right.
    The new .357 barrel screws right in.

    Here's some pics.

    The new barrel. Got a 5" one instead of the orifginal 8". Kinda wanted the gun a bit handier.

    The frame with the barrel removed.

    New barrel screwed in the frame.

    As you can see the rear of the barrel hits the front of the frame about 45 degrees before the sights line up.

    Anyone know if the frame or barrel is supposed to be filed down to allow the barrel to screw in further and line the sights up or if the barrel is supposed to just be screwed against the frame as it is giving you a pressed fit?
  2. blacksmith99

    blacksmith99 New Member


    I would modify the barrel. That way your old barrel will still fit the frame should you choose to go back.


  3. Willie Sutton

    Willie Sutton Well-Known Member

    The way I was taught is to use a lathe to turn the face of the barrel down slightly to index the barrel when correctly torqued, and then to set cylinder gap.

    If you want to be scientific about it:

    If you measure the thread pitch (it's likely metric), you can calculate how much advance in thousands of an inch you get per degree of revolution. Then you measure the number of degrees needed, do the math, and use a lathe to remove the excess. Make sure you leave a few thousandths for the final torque-up. Better to go slow than take too much off.


  4. rcflint

    rcflint Well-Known Member

    The barrel should stop by hand at about 10 or 11 O"Clock, and torque up to a vertical front sight from there. Yours looks pretty good for a start.

    Too close to vertical by hand and the barrel can shoot loose, as the rifling is throwing torque on the barrel when it is fired. Remove the material from the barrel, not the frame.

    Reinstall the original barrel by hand and see where it stops. Don't cut the new barrel past that angle. In barrels that stop too close to vertical, I have successfully used LockTite to hold them, rather than cutting a whole turn off the shoulder, but if the cylinder gap is too large, you might do that to close and readjust it..
  5. Willie Sutton

    Willie Sutton Well-Known Member

    ^^ Another trick rather than taking off a full turn if they are loose is to gently peen the rear surface to displace a bit of metal, making the entire thing a few thousands longer.

    Agree with all that you wrote.


  6. Nickel Plated

    Nickel Plated Well-Known Member

    The barrel only needs another 40* turn to line the sights up right so I don't think any trimming will be necessary. I'm thinking it's supposed to be just torqued down because when i removed the original, it was held on with some thread locking glue. I had to heat the frame and barrel with a heat gun until it started melting and even after it melted it still took alot of force to get the barrel off.

    I don't plan to reuse the barrel so i just clamped the frame in a vice with alot of padding and support and simply grabbed the barrel with a wrench (it being octagonal is very handy for that) and pounded on the wrench with a hammer until it cracked loose. Took 3 tries of heating and pounding until it loosened up. So there was definitely some torque holding it on.

    Do you guys have any suggestions on how to torque down the new barrel though? I didn't care about the old barrel but i obviously don't want to scratch and ding the new barrel so wailing on a wrench with a hammer is not an option at this point.
  7. whughett

    whughett Well-Known Member

    Interesting thread but all way beyond me, I do however watch TV and on "How do they do it" the barrel was locked down and the frame turned by a wooden billet.
  8. Nickel Plated

    Nickel Plated Well-Known Member

    Yes I saw that too, straight from Uberti's factory no less.
    Here's a vid for anyone interested

    However I also read that applying any torque through the cylinder window is a good way to twist your frame. They were talking about unscrewing a barrel though and after doing it myself I imagine taking a barrel off would require ALOT more force than putting a new one on. So when removing,probably not a good idea to use the frame window. But when installing......I guess if a stick through the frame is good enough for Uberti, it's good enough for me.

    I just wanted to see if there were other ways before I get started. I guess I'll try it out and if I get to where I need to apply more force than I'm comfortable with, then I'll think of something else.
  9. Willie Sutton

    Willie Sutton Well-Known Member

    Hammer handle thru frame and barrel in vise is the usual way.

    Be sensible... torque values aren't going to be very high (and don't need to be).

    Frame will be OK if you're sensitive to not being a brute on things.


  10. Nickel Plated

    Nickel Plated Well-Known Member

    Finally finished up the conversion. I decided to strip away the bluing and make it more antique looking. Still looks a bit too new. But with a bit of time I think the metal will start developing a nice patina. Just gotta keep that oil on there now.

    Also left the loading lever off since the ejector is designed such that the screw which held the lever to the frame will hold the ejector without the loading lever being needed to lock it in.




    Now just patiently waiting for my Lee reloading kit to come in so I can start rolling some black powder cartridges for it.
  11. Blue Brick

    Blue Brick Well-Known Member

  12. 45 Dragoon

    45 Dragoon Well-Known Member

    Very nice job!! I think the Kirst kits are very well made.
    Look forward to a range report!!
  13. kituwa

    kituwa Well-Known Member

    Looks great! You could cut off the lug from the dove tail and use that to plug the dove tail slot for the ram leaver and it would give the gun a cleaner more finished up look I think.
  14. Nickel Plated

    Nickel Plated Well-Known Member

    Yea that's my plan for the dovetail. I was just a bit impatient with showing it off. I'm still kinda trying to decide whether to just put the loading lever back or leave it off.
    On the one hand, it looks cool. On the other, it really makes the gun kinda nose heavy once you add it to the thicker barrel and the ejector. And I don't really like having non-functional stuff on a gun just to look cool. I don't mind looking cool, but it must have it's own useful purpose beyond just decoration.
    Plus putting it on means either spend $50 for a shorter lever or do some PITA work to shorten the existing one.
    So most likely it's staying off.

    The loading press is coming in tomorrow. The components on Monday. Range report coming shortly.

Share This Page