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Richards conversion?

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by tsmgguy, Apr 17, 2013.

  1. tsmgguy

    tsmgguy Member

    Say, is anyone out there doing really first rate Richards conversions on Colt's M1860 revolvers? I know that Uberti makes one, but I'd like to convert a Colt's 2nd generation pistol. Thanks!

    PS: Howell Old West Conversions is now out of business as Mr. Howell is retiring.
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2013
  2. gunner69

    gunner69 Well-Known Member

    Sorry to hear Mr. Howell is folding up his tent. I hope he sells the business to someone that keeps on his tradition.
  3. Crawdad1

    Crawdad1 Well-Known Member

    That is bad news. I already feel a pit in my stomach growing right now hearing that news.
  4. Patocazador

    Patocazador Well-Known Member

    Glad that I already have one of his for my Old Army.
  5. Crawdad1

    Crawdad1 Well-Known Member

    I thought Taylor's & Company bought the inventory and hopefully the manufacturing rights and equipment?
  6. Goody3086

    Goody3086 Well-Known Member

  7. tsmgguy

    tsmgguy Member

    Thanks, Goody3086!
  8. CraigC

    CraigC Well-Known Member

    Jay Strite of Kirst says that the Colt's are no better than late model Ubertis. They're doing conversions and a case color/blue job is part of the process. Might save you a few hundred to have one built on a newer Uberti. Unless you just really have to have a rampant pony. You can also get your bore relined for standard .44Spl/Mag bullets. Or just buy a ready-made Uberti and have it refinished. Which is what I would do.
  9. Crawdad1

    Crawdad1 Well-Known Member

    Craig, I don't understand that one. Bore relined for the 45 Colt (Long)? I thought that was only necessary for the 36 caliber Navys if you are not using hollow based bullets?
    In other words, if you have the 45 caliber revolver you would use a 451 or a 454 ball if you using it as a front stuffer but the 45 Colt in the conversion cylinder should fill the bore without a reline, correct?
  10. CraigC

    CraigC Well-Known Member

    Well, you can either buy a drop-in five-shot conversion for .45Colt or have it converted properly into a six shot .44Colt. Which can involve either using the original percussion bore with heeled bullets or you can have it lined for standard .44Spl/Mag inside lubed cast bullets. I assumed from the OP he wanted to have it converted by a gunsmith.
  11. StrawHat

    StrawHat Well-Known Member

    While there are a couple of things wrong with this revolver, I still would buy a second one if available.


    This was what ASM offered for there Richards conversion. In the proper 44 Colt cartridge. This one is lined for 43 caliber bullets and I use a cast 200 grain RNFP over a cartridgecase full of blackpowder. Not as big, ballistically, as a 45 long Colt but certainly a lot of fun to shoot. The 44 was as large as Colt would cut the cylinder. The Italians have brought these out in 45 because 44 Colt was not commonly available over the counter. To do so, they enlarged the cylinder and barrel dimensions. To my hand, enough to change the balance.

    This one is in line for new grips. I have a nice piece of holly drying in the rafters, just need to find the time to carve it.
  12. Hoof Hearted

    Hoof Hearted Well-Known Member


    Can you cite a source for the news about Howell?

    My latest experience (not very current) is that it had been sold again. I say so because that new owner set such high volume requirements that I could no longer be a dealer of their products. They also refused to talk directly with me about this and so, regretfully, I have been passing my sales to Midway and others.

    I am the largest dealer of the Kirst products (according to Walt kirst) so I do find Howell's decision sort of amusing...........

  13. Hoof Hearted

    Hoof Hearted Well-Known Member


    Love those ASM's!

    Yes they can have some issues and kind of received a bad rap for it but they are still very cool revolvers! We all owe a debt to David Anderson for his work back then.......

  14. tsmgguy

    tsmgguy Member

    Source for news about Kenny Howell's retirement. This message sent in answer to my request to do some work made just last week:

    Mr. P-----,

    Kenny is retiring and is no longer taking on any more work. Thank you for the inquiry.

    Thank you,

    Maggie Enns

    Howell Old West Conversions

    5728 E. County Rd. X

    Beloit, WI 53511

    T: 608-676-2518

  15. tsmgguy

    tsmgguy Member

    Near as I can tell, all of the talented old school machinists have retired. No one is doing authentic Thuer and Richards conversions. Uberti is the only game in town for the latter. An accurate Richards or Mason-Richards conversion in .44 Colt is now out of the question. Kirst conversions can certainly be had, but these have no connection to the West of the 1860s-70s.
  16. Hoof Hearted

    Hoof Hearted Well-Known Member

    Well there is also my Thuer conversion which should be available in May............
  17. Crawdad1

    Crawdad1 Well-Known Member

    There is more coming there guy. One thing for sure this country has a lot of extremely talented machinists, old and young. :)
  18. Gaucho Gringo

    Gaucho Gringo Well-Known Member

    People eventually get old and tired if they live long enough. Kenny has been doing this for over 30 years now and from what I have read wasn't exactly young when he started out doing conversions. From what I have read I always thought Dave Anderson got screwed by ASM. They were producing the parts for him to make the conversion guns he was making and then they turned around and started making and selling their own guns with the parts he had designed. They undercut him on price and he went under. Fortunately we have new people like Hoof Hearted to carry on and hopefully others if they can make a living at it. Time stands still for no man.
  19. Hoof Hearted

    Hoof Hearted Well-Known Member

    This is all very true!

    I think the statement about Howell Old West/R&D/Kenny Howell is being miss-interpreted.......a tad...........I think Kenny has hung up his retail gunsmithing hat (maybe still doing one here or there for the "famous" people) and has sold the R&D drop in line again. These new people would be the ones setting "wholesale" pricing out of my reach.

    Everyone of us has a niche. Mine is gunsmithing for the consumer at a fair price with QUALITY work. Sometimes this is VERY hard what with poor supply chain and excessive lead times but YA'LL keep me honest!

    In the next month or so my "drop in" Thuer conversion using somewhat standard (if you call 38 Colt or 45 Schofield standard) over the counter ammo will hit the market. I say "drop in" because I am going to install the first 50 or so for free to allow me to work through the varying dimensional differences encountered and to be sure the end user (you) are happy. Of course there will always be that odd spec Italian gun but I hope to fit most of them by the end of the introductory period.

    I am also going to make them in "different" calibers and have onger than normal cylinders machined that I can cut to fit. This will allow me to smith cylinders for the 1851/61 and the 1860 that will take full length ammo instead of flat point/blunt/light bullets like the Kirst.

    Regards and THANKS for the kind words!

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