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Max Load For Pietta Remington New Model Army?

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by tpelle, Jun 10, 2011.

  1. tpelle

    tpelle Well-Known Member

    I have a Pietta Remington New Model Army. Presently my powder flask is set up with a spout for 30 grains. That doesn't come close to filling the chambers on the cylinder.

    What do you all think is a "max" load for this pistol - one that will still pack a wallop but not harm the pistol?

    Also, is it true that "back in the day" they would just pour the chambers full less some space to seat the ball?

    Would a load that strong damage the pistol or cause premature wear?
  2. dogrunner

    dogrunner Well-Known Member

    Doing as you describe won't hurt your gun. I do precisely that when I carry my Pietta along on hunting trips..........accuracy's actually quite good too. (been doing so for about 25 years with my .44 Pietta)

    I would recommend you back down somewhat with some of the BP substitutes...........particularly T7.........lots more oomph with that stuff & when I pulled my usual of filling the cylinder with it, it was immediately noticeable that I was pushing it a bit.

    It seems to me, based on my personal experience, that the mfg'rs rec's are overly conservative............probably due to an abundance of legal consideration. All I can say is that I have had good results doing precisely as you describe.
  3. tpelle

    tpelle Well-Known Member

    Thanks. I'm running mainly Pyrodex-P - just about all I can find around here. Do you think the "almost full" technique would work for that, too?
  4. arcticap

    arcticap Well-Known Member

    40 grains of powder should be a reasonably safe amount that will fit into a Remington chamber.
    Someone on another forum recently posted that they were able to compress ~50 grains of Pyrodex P into a Pietta 1858 chamber. He may have needed to add the powder and compressed it in steps. He only loaded one chamber with that amount and said it was a very powerful load and that he wouldn't do it again. But the hammer did not blow back at all and there was no damage to the gun. He just wanted to pack in as much powder as he could and fire it once.

    For those without a calibrated powder measure, here's a list of cartridge case capacities to use for measuring powder.

    Cartridge Grains
    .22 LR = 5
    .320 ACP = 7
    .380 ACP = 10
    .30 cal Carbine = 20
    .38 Special = 23
    .357 Mag = 27
    .45 Auto = 26
    .44 Colt = 35
    .45 Colt = 41
    .38-40 = 40
    .30-30 = 42
    .30-06 = 70
    .45-70 = 83

    9mm = 13.3
    40 S&W = 19.3
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2011
  5. Mizar

    Mizar Well-Known Member

    .44 Magnum case holds just about 40 grains of volume.

  6. ElvinWarrior

    ElvinWarrior Well-Known Member

    So, I guess if you filled the cylinder nearly to the top, with only enough space left for the lube wad and ball/conical, that would be on or about 40 grains?

    Would that constitute a "44 Remington BP Magnum Load"?

    Just curious

    ElvinWarrior... aka... David, "EW"
  7. junkman_01

    junkman_01 member

    I don't think even a 60 grain load in a Walker has the power of the .44 Magnum.
  8. Chuck Dye

    Chuck Dye Well-Known Member

    Lyman's 1st edition Black Powder Handbook lists 37.0 grains FFFg as their max load in the Lyman 1860 P&V test revolver (Lyman used a pressure testing design that precludes closed frame revolvers.) The most telling part of Lyman's data is the pressure difference between the two powders used: 37 gr. of Gearhart-Owen powder yielded 7940 LUP while 37.0 gr. of Curtis&Harvey yielded 5360 LUP. That 48% increase in pressure yielded only a 21% increase in velocity. Yes, the data are old and the technology used to obtain them also old, but given that you hold the gun in your hand and align it with your eye to fire it, firewalling the charge is not an experiment I will conduct.

    My Armi San Paolo 1858 Remington instructions give a max charge of 35 grains FFFg, my largest charge tube throws 33. I stick to that.
  9. steelbird

    steelbird Well-Known Member

    60 grain load in a Walker is not at 44 mag levels, but is somewhat comparable to a 357. Walkers, when given a full charge, were about the most powerful handguns around until the arrival of the 357 and the Tokarevs.
  10. Jaymo

    Jaymo Well-Known Member

    I've used 35 grains and 40 grains in my Pietta 58 New Army. I didn't like running light loads with it. The balls sat too deep in the chambers for my tastes.
    The power of a 35 or 40 grain load with a roundball is no joke.
    Just remember, the .44 mag was designed as a big game hunting round, not a manstopper.
  11. ElvinWarrior

    ElvinWarrior Well-Known Member

    Jeesh, 35/40 is the design max for a cylinder that is deep enough to pack down 50g???

    So, what to do with all that extra space then???

    Ohhh. I know, I can gut the pills out of a handfull of M80's, and then cram those down on top of the 40g of BP !!!

    That should take up the extra space just fine !!!

    LOL !!!

    Ya think maybe the "extra" depth in the cylinders may be there to accomodate the extra space needed by a paper cartridge wrapped around an extra heavy conical??? Maybe perhaps ??? Ya know, like a field load for a soldier who is sort of counting on one shot, one knock down logic ??? I mean, stop to think a second... Hmmm... Tic, toc, tic, toc... The paper cartridge is made out of heavily nitrated or flash types of paper, so, tearing off the folded bottom, isn't necessary, the paper tube the powder is in, although thin, does take up some space, and, elongate the load a bit... Now, crown the whole affair with a conical, not a round ball, which is about twice as much lead as a ball... and... hmmm... might take up the space pretty well, if the folded bottom of the cartridge is left on. I seriously doubt the extra space is there to be crammed with 50g's of powder... I mean, I'm a pretty gutsy loader myself, but, I wouldn't touch a 58 Pietta Remmie packed with 50g's of powder. Pietta is an acceptable gun, a good utilitarian gun, affordable, nice quality for the price, but lets face reality, it's not made of the same stuff an actual real colt at 6 times the money is.


    ElvinWarrior... aka... David, "EW"
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2011
  12. Chuck Dye

    Chuck Dye Well-Known Member

    Nope! Made some 13 to 15 decades, or more, after the percussion fired Colts, it is probably made of something significantly better, both in the alloys and the heat treatment. I greatly enjoy my ASP 1858, but it is a plinker. If I want to hunt anything larger than rabbits or prepare for serious social occasions, I'll have a smokeless centerfire, thank you.
  13. tpelle

    tpelle Well-Known Member

    Yep! I'll guarantee that it's made of better steel than even Colt's "Silver Spring Steel" circa 1860 ever thought of being. Remember, the other thing we have these days are Product Liability lawsuits and legions of sleazy lawyers trying to get their grubby mitts into the deepest pockets.

    We're lucky the chambers aren't drilled to the I.D. of needles, or set up to be powered with Greenie Stickum Caps!
  14. SAA

    SAA Well-Known Member

    Max load? It depends on the revolver. Each one is different, as different NMA chambers can hold different amounts of powder. You might be able to get a maximum of 35 grains under a round ball in one revolver, and 45 grains in another. There is no one maximum load. There is no one correct answer. The most you can cram under a round ball and still have the front of the round ball flush with the front of the cylinder will be your max load.
  15. ElvinWarrior

    ElvinWarrior Well-Known Member

    Guys, I guess I wasn't clear in my referance to the Colt, I meant a modern manufactured Colt, by Colt, like a $1,500.00 modern made pistol... not the old ones. Ya, I know, the metals used way back in the day are vastly weaker than even cheap steel today.

    Sorry, I guess I wasn't very clear about that.


    ElvinWarrior... aka... David, "EW"
  16. arcticap

    arcticap Well-Known Member

    It's not like there's a great amount of extra space. Rather it's how much the powder is compressed and a loading press can exert a lot of compression that eliminates the air space in between the grains of powder.
    It's been said that the modern reproductions can be safely fired with as much powder as they can hold and generally that's true. The hammer can blow back at about 40 grains depending on the strength of the mainspring and the size of the nipple hole, and parts can get battered and stressed.
    But the point is that the modern cylinder steel is usually strong enough to handle it and they're proof tested.
    Someone recently posted here that the chamber wall of his used Euroarms was cracked when he bought it. So folks always need to be aware of the potential for flawed/defective parts and how overloading a gun may damage it.
    Folks also ream out their chambers to better match the chamber diameter to the bore diameter. That does thin down the chamber walls slightly which can theoretically weaken them. So when buying a used revolver one never knows what work could have been performed by a previous owner, or the quality of the work.
    But 40 grains of powder is a safe & stout round ball load that basically fills up the chamber.
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2011
  17. Dellbert

    Dellbert Well-Known Member

    Trying to make them into 44Mag.

    44 Magnum. Are you kidding me. I'm kind of surprised at some of the thinking going on here. Why are you trying to turn these revolvers into magnums. It's never going to happen. Some of the loads your talking about is kind of rough on these revolvers. My 58 Armys after putting over 30 grs of powder start to lose accuracy. As long as I stay within 20 to 30grs group real well out to 50 yards, and then some. When I go past 30grs the targets start to look like a shotgun with buckshot hit them, bullet holes all over the paper. I tried the 200gr reel bullets, and just 45grs of powder in my Walker, I must say that packs a good punch. I will try to go to 50grs next time to see what that will do, but I keep a limit to how far to push these revolvers. What good is more powder if you can't hit anything with it. The only way I've ever got 44 magnum power out of a black powder firearm was out of a Hawkin rifle with 80 to 90grs in it with good 250gr lead bullets in it. Rd ball my get that kind of punch to. Not real sure about rd ball either. Or pistol bullets .44 or .45 cal XTPs in my TC Inline with 90 to 100gr loads in it, could push it to 150grs, but to me that's just a wast of 50grs of powder. I'm not making fun of you all, but if you want a magnum revolver why not just get one. My .41 mag will run all over anything I could ever put in one of these black powder revolvers. I'm not afraid to take deer with it. Hack with that revolver I can get right up into a 44 magnums face to a point. After that point the 44 can go on up the the scale away from me. I think loading these black powder revolvers up to as much as they will hold is a wast of powder, lose of accuracy, and wearing out good revolvers for no reason. It's just IMOA I didn't post this to afend anyone, but some of you folks have been in the sport long already know the truth. I may be missing something here. Please let me know were I went wrong. Just cause I'm getting older don't mean I know everything. Dellbert.
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2011
  18. arcticap

    arcticap Well-Known Member

    No one is advocating to do anything unsafe. But there's target shooting and combat shooting. Folks want to maximize their fun factor with their gun. They want to enjoy the boom and the roar of their gun. Doing that is not quite the same as trying to turn the gun into a magnum and not being able to hit anything with it. .41 mag. or .44 mag. cartridges cost well over 50 cents per round, and even if shooting those rounds the guns aren't always controllable or enjoyable to fire. Yet, for the cost of a few cents more of powder and adding some compression to their cap & ball loading method, folks can charge their 1858's with 40 grains of powder and fire what they consider to be a satisfying, enjoyable boom that produces at least some kind of combat accuracy for a fraction of the cost.
    Shooting 40 grains of powder in a .45 rifle with a .440 patched round ball is a target load and a weak one at that.
    Now all of a sudden loading 40 grains of powder into an 1858 is chararcterized as trying to turn it into a .44 magnum. Hardly!
    Folks have complained that the cap & ball guns are too weak and anemic to be effective for self-defense. But they do have the capability of being loaded up for the purpose of having a better one shot stop capability.
    Then there are also close hunting purposes like from a tree stand.
    And there's the Buffalo model with the 12 inch barrel that can produce some extra accuracy and velocity from the longer barrel.
    And there's modifications that can be made to their barrel throat and chambers that can improve accuracy and performance even with some of the more potent loads.
    So 1858's aren't only about target shooting.
    There's a fun factor that appeals to some folks.
    There's extra room in the chamber for loading conicals or for adding a little bit of extra powder. That's not the same as loading an inline with 150 grains of powder. After all, shooting 40 grains of powder in a .45 rifle may not even be considered to be a point blank deer load.
    So let's not try to compare doing that to shooting the magnums.
    And if black powder is more controllable and enjoyable to shoot compared to the more expensive rounds, then let folks have their combat shooting experience in a safe and enjoyable way.
    If they're unhappy with the performance then they won't do it, or won't do it much.
    Or they will consider moving up to a Ruger Old Army, or a Colt Dragoon or Walker.
    Or they will use another powder that produces more power without using too much extra powder like 777, Swiss or Pyrodex P.
    It's only about having fun and being able to blast away safely and economically.
    If some folks don't want to blast away then they can be totally happy buying a brass frame gun and shooting the recommended 25 grain loads. But if folks have invested in a steel frame Remington and want to experience the heavier loads, then it's safe to do within its range limitations. And if they're not happy with the performance then they won't do it. So then let's not generalize that 1858's can't be effectively used for the purpose of self-defense and combat style shooting, especially at closer combat range like across a room or two.
    Even if folks want to fire a 2 inch barrel gun that's loaded up with a stout powder charge then more power to them. Everyone should enjoy themselves and their choice of a safe shooting style. :)
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2011
  19. Dellbert

    Dellbert Well-Known Member

    OK arcticap. Point taken.

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