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

New holsters and advice needed

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by martysport, Mar 16, 2011.

  1. martysport

    martysport Well-Known Member

    I bought a pair of Civil war style holsters cheaply off ebay UK for my Pietta 1860 and 1858.


    They do black or brown :)

    Both guns fit OK but are tight but I put this down to the fact the holsters are new and they are as stiff as hell. Any advice on how to soften them up a little? and possible stretch them just a small bit?
    I was going to consider rubbing some olive oil on them but before I do I thought I'd ask here first ;)

    Anyway some piccys :cool: considering the price they cost they are not bad quality.





  2. mykeal

    mykeal Well-Known Member

    Yep. Use them. If they are 'inexpensive' as you suggest they'll soften up all by themselves pretty quickly.
  3. BConklin

    BConklin Well-Known Member

    +1 for just using them.

    Wet forming would be the next step IF you were sure they are made from veg tanned leather. But "soft" and "holster" should be considered mutually exclusive terms and if they're made from anything but veg tanned leather, oiling them might make them so soft as to render them all but useless as holsters.
  4. martinclaybold

    martinclaybold New Member

    My first choice would be Beretta Holsters. Got it at a very good bargain at GunHolsterPro.com
  5. Foto Joe

    Foto Joe Well-Known Member

    If you want to oil them, the only thing I would use is Ballistol.
  6. J-Bar

    J-Bar Well-Known Member

    Stiff is good. If they are too tight, stretch them a mite by getting them thoroughly wet in COLD water (hot water will shrink them). Oil your guns then put the guns in plastic grocery bags, then wrap the bagged guns with a couple layers of masking tape or duct tape. The more layers of tape you add the looser the fit will be. Force the taped, bagged guns down into the wet holsters. Set them aside to dry SLOWLY, for at least a day. No heat. After a day, remove the guns and let the holsters dry another day. They will retain their stiffness and be custom fitted. Oiling the holsters will make them soft, sloppy and messy.
  7. Noz

    Noz Well-Known Member

    You can speed the wet forming process by using alcohol instead of water.
  8. Mizar

    Mizar Well-Known Member

    Using Ballistol on gun leather has the same effect as olive oil - it will ruin it. And soaking them in alcohol is not a good idea too - it will ruin the black die. Marty, if you want a fast, better fitting of these holsters, just wrap the revolvers in one or two plastic bags and leave them in the holsters for two or three days. Gun leather must be stiff and well fitting to the gun, not soft.

    Last edited: Mar 17, 2011
  9. jackpot

    jackpot Member

    days?? Ive formed holsters overnight made from wickett & craig, the leather doesnt need to be soft enough to stamp. Just wet the leather down enough to where you notice it is more flexible, insert wrapped pistol, let dry. Granted YMMV depending on your climate, but it taking days seems a little much to me.
  10. Mizar

    Mizar Well-Known Member

    There is a very easy way to tell if a holster is still wet - it is called rust... Sometimes it takes a week for a dense, thick leather to dry.

  11. Foto Joe

    Foto Joe Well-Known Member

    I'm going to respectfully disagree with you on this one. I don't recommend soaking them in a vat of Ballistol, but depending upon how much you want to condition the leather anywhere from wiping it down with 1:1 Ballistol & Water to rubbing straight Ballistol into the leather.

    Each leather holster that I have has been treated as such, including one identical to the OP's pictures as well as an original from my Great Grandfather dating back to the late 1800's. None of them including a form fitted one for an semi-auto has displayed any ill effects and are still rigid. The trick if you do this is to take it easy.

    As far as olive oil is concerned, I've never tried it, but I'd be concerned that I might wind up with a rancid piece of leather using it.
  12. Mizar

    Mizar Well-Known Member

    Joe, Ballistol is just a mineral oil. Oils and holsters do not mix well - oil makes leather soft. If you use small quantities of oil it will just take more time to soften it. Like you Americans say: "Been there, done that". For maintenance it's better to use plain old, turpentine based, clear shoe polish. But it is your choice.

  13. J-Bar

    J-Bar Well-Known Member

    "leather" was pretty well saturated with water when it was still on the cow;
    didn't hurt it then
    won't hurt it now.

    (poetry just a side benefit...!)
  14. martysport

    martysport Well-Known Member

    Thanks guys, I'll think I'll try the wet method over the weekend :)
  15. zimmerstutzen

    zimmerstutzen Well-Known Member

    I had a really nice holster that came with my Ruger ld Army. I lent the gun to my brother and he took excellent care of the gun. He used Neat's Foot oil on the holster. It lost alot of it's form and stiffness.
  16. Pancho

    Pancho Well-Known Member

    The best is to form the holster to the gun and that is done using the wet method. Wrap the gun in saran wrap and wet the holster well, put the gun in the holster and need the leather to the gun with your fingers. Let the leather dry, you can accelerate the process by aiming a fan at the holster/gun but by no means use heat just have some patience.
    I've used Ballistol as a leather treatment and can recommend it based on my experience.
    The desired result is a pliable leather shaped to your gun.

Share This Page