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1851 navy conversion ammo ?

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by cowboywitek, Nov 9, 2010.

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  1. cowboywitek

    cowboywitek Member

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    hey everyone,
    I was wondering about the 1851 navy kirst conversion cylinder with loading gate, if after installed on my 51 if I could shoot just normal .38 long colt smokeless through it? I was looking on buffalo arms and the black powder ammo for 38lc is like a dollar a round! compared to the smokeless rounds are like 50 cents a round, thats kinda why I was wondering. appreciate anyones help. thanks
     
  2. rcflint

    rcflint Member

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    The Kirst cylinder is rated for smokeless. The cylinder is the primary pressure vessel, the barrel will see lower pressure and the cap & ball barrel and frame will tolerate smokeless pressure curves after the bullet has passed the cylinder gap.

    The Kirst cylinder will chamber 38LC Hollowbase conical bullets. If you use 38 Special brass, you need Hollowbase Wadcutter bullets. (I seat 38 HBWC about 1/16 inch out, as SASS doesn't want lead bullets seated flush or below the cartridge mouth.) This also makes it easier to detect a loaded from an empty case.

    You will not achieve acceptable accuracy with solid base 357 bullets.

    LC would work with heeled bullets as well, but I believe the case length was shorter when the cartridge was made with a heeled bullet years ago.
    At any rate, the groove diameter of the 36 Navy cap & ball bore is .375, and you need a hollow base bullet to open up the .357 bullet when it reaches the barrel.
     
  3. Hoof Hearted

    Hoof Hearted Member

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    Ammunition is the problem in the 36.:banghead:
    As stated above Heel Base or Hollow base is necessary because the bore size in NOT .357 (+ or -) but .375 to .380.

    There options are numerous but not simple.
    You could line the barrel to use 38 special...
    Buy or load heel or hollow base ammo (I find Heel base is more accurate)...
    Ream the cylinder to use 41 Colt inside lubed (not heel base) ammunition...

    I have done all the above and really enjoy the 41 Colt conversion in the 1851.
     
  4. kwhi43@kc.rr.com

    kwhi43@kc.rr.com Member

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    Wonder how a converson cylinder for .38 special for my Remy .36 would
    work? My bore "measure across the lands" is .355. It is a 9mm barrel.
     
  5. Hoof Hearted

    Hoof Hearted Member

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    Well I just wrote a big long reply and lost it....:banghead:

    The last sentence in your reply is confusing.......

    The bore measured at the depth of the rifleing (by slugging the barrel) is the one you are looking for here. A 9mm barrel would measure .355 (=or-) there and be quite a bit tighter at "measure across the lands".
     
  6. kwhi43@kc.rr.com

    kwhi43@kc.rr.com Member

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    Well, I was wrong. Yes the groove dia. is .355 not the bore. Sorry. I've been
    confusing my bore and groove for a long time:what:
     
  7. crazyjennyblack

    crazyjennyblack Member

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    Okay, I'm going to jump in on this and enjoy some 6-month-old necrothreadia. Would it be possible to explore these options in a .38 colt conversion:

    1. Find a 100-150 grain .375 lead bullet and load it in a .38 colt case? Would the chambers even be wide enough to do this?

    2. Use bullets for the 9x18 makarov (Midway sells cast .365 93 grain bullets)

    3. Load a .375 round ball in a .38 colt case (again, same possible issue as in #1)

    4. Would it be possible to load a smaller bullet in some kind of sabot that would work in this barrel?


    I'd love to have answers on those possibilities, and/or stories from people who have attempted these options (or who know better than I do about why NOT to do them).

    Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2011
  8. makos_goods

    makos_goods Member

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    CJB,

    1. Nope, chamber is somewhere around Ø.375. Any bullet would have to be reduced in diameter to fit in the case. The case thickness is basically .011" thick which means a Ø.358 fits (hmmmm, sounds familiar).
    2. See #1
    3. See #1
    4. A hollow base Wad Cutter will work. The skirt obturates to fill the bore.
    You either need to use a heel base bullet like the originals. Think .22 rimfire ammo here, where the bullet is basically diameter as the case and the "heeled" portion of the bullet is reduced in diameter and fits in the case. Pull a .22LR bullet from a case and look at it. That is how the original .38 loads for the converted percussion pistols were (.44s too).

    Bernie makes both Heel base and Hollow base molds.

    http://www.oldwestbulletmoulds.com/

    You can also get the crimp dies you need to crimp a Heel base bullet. He modifies the Lee Rifle style Factory Crimp die.

    See this thread on CAS city that explains the Heel base bullet crimping. This one explains a heel base bullet and it has good illustrations:
    http://www.cascity.com/forumhall/index.php/topic,35765.msg462998#msg462998

    This one explains the crimp dies necessary to reach over the "driving band" of the bullet an crimp the case neck, this link starts out talking about lubricating the Heel Base bullets after loading it is easier to lubricate them after loading, and then OldElm shows some shots of the modified crimping die:
    http://www.cascity.com/forumhall/index.php/topic,24196.msg315030.html#msg315030


    These are .44s, but the .38s are the same. I will tell you more people just use .38 Hollow Base Wad Cutters with the .38 Colt than anything else, because the bullets are readily available. Based on those I know who have them, and what I have read the next largest group are those that have relined their barrels to Ø.357 and live with the bullet gap in the chamber. The last group are those that shoot heel base bullets, the majority of those cast their own.

    Currently I don't lubrisize Heel Base bullets, Instead I have a tight fitting (the cartridge barely slips in) wooden block for 50 rounds and I turn the loaded cartridges upside down and pan lubricate them by suspending them (just the bullets) in a pan of molten lube. After it hardens I slide the block down to the hardened cake and pull the cartridges up through the block one-by-one. It works pretty well.

    ~Mako
     
  9. crazyjennyblack

    crazyjennyblack Member

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    thanks for the info, makos. Are there any sources for hollow base bullets out there other than 148 gr. wadcutters? Not too good at bullet casting yet, so any links would be appreciated. I've googled and checked midway, but sometimes there's hidden secrets out therein the corners of the internet.

    Also, for those who have tried both - which is more accurate out of a converted 1851 navy - a hollow base .357 or a heel based bullet?
     
  10. mr16ga

    mr16ga Member

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    Does anyone make a conversion cylinder that uses .38 S&W I think they use a .360 bullet with a hollow base. I suppose you could ream out a .38 Special to fit .38 S&W I don't know how the standard 200 gr bullet would stabilize.
     
  11. makos_goods

    makos_goods Member

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    CrazyJennyBlack,
    The heeled bullets proved more accurate in the one and only pistol I tried them in. I used .38 Spl HBWC before I got some Heeled Bullets. The only place that I know sells .38 Heeled bullets is:
    http://www.gadcustomcartridges.com/#table1

    Note they have two Heel Base bullets, a 105 grain and a 150 grain version.

    Bernie sells both Hollow Base and Heel base bullets to load in a .38 Long Colt case to use in the conversions. I don't know anyone who sell Bullets except for Gad. I was given a couple of hundred of Bernie's Heel Base bullets which weighed a bit under 150 grains. They worked well.

    Ten-X also sells loaded Hollow Base ammunition in .38 LC for the conversions in both nitro powder and substitute powder loads. They use a 150grain Hollow Base Flat Point bullet I have never seen for sale by itself .
    http://www.midwayusa.com/Search/#.38 Long Colt Hollow base____-_1-2-4_8-16-32

    Regards,
    Mako
     
  12. crazyjennyblack

    crazyjennyblack Member

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    Thanks for the website, makos! While we're at it, does anyone have load data for lighter weight bullets for the .38 long colt? That gadcustomcartridges site sels 105 gr. bullets, but all the data I find on the net is for 125 grains and up. I know the original .36 cap and ball shot an 86 grain pill at 900 fps or so, and I'd prefer to replicate that load in a cartridge, or as close to it as I can kinda sorta get.

    If anyone has the info from a book (my lyman books dont have it) or any links on the net I'd appreciate it.

    Thanks!
     
  13. Hoof Hearted

    Hoof Hearted Member

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    Thread Resurrection!

    crazyjennyblack

    I would not recommend the Gad Custom cartridges (as linked above).
    I see many people having issues with his ammo. What has been sent to me to trouble shoot is not properly loaded (bullets not properly seated in cases) and they appear to be "tumble lubed" instead of properly sized (looks like they are skipping the sizing step). I am getting measurements as large as .395 across the diameter when the loaded round nominal size should be .380 (-).

    Call Bernie at Old West, he will set you up for loading/casting your own (and yes he sometimes sells cast bullets).

    As far as "lighter" HB bullets......the lightest bullet for a given bore is a round ball. In order to actually have driving bands and a heel it will have to be heavier (yes it could be wasp waisted but it will probably upset in flight if it is).

    Good luck!
    HH
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2011
  14. Hoof Hearted

    Hoof Hearted Member

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  15. crazyjennyblack

    crazyjennyblack Member

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    Thanks! However, I ended up deciding not to do the .36 project. I converted an Uberti dragoon revolver and encountered some interesting issues that only a gunsmith could solve. Drop in.... hardly! I think one conversion is enough for now. Thanks for the great info, though. XD
     
  16. Hoof Hearted

    Hoof Hearted Member

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  17. andrewstorm

    andrewstorm member

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    hoof headed

    Why do you constantly put down gad custom cartridges,was this your own experience?all ammo has issues from time to time,the elderly gentleman at gad will gladly address any problems you have with his ammo,be careful of detrimental remarks that are based on hearsay .:(
     
  18. Hoof Hearted

    Hoof Hearted Member

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    andrew

    One post about two different negative experiences does not equate to "always putting down Gad Custom Cartridges".......

    The man cussed me out when I spoke with him and he was combative and refused to correct the other customers problem.

    I own two small customer service type small businesses, currently, and owned a couple successful ones in the past which I sold. Customer service is important but more imortant is word of mouth.........if you have had a positive experience with Gad then, by all means post it! This is how life works, like it or not......

    By the way understand that you are picking this fight, not me (calling me Hoof Headed)

    andrew WWJD?
     
  19. CraigC
    • Contributing Member

    CraigC Member

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    All of which is why I would much rather buy a factory made cartridge conversion, with the handy dandy ejector and a properly sized bore than add a cylinder to a percussion gun.
     
  20. Hoof Hearted

    Hoof Hearted Member

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    That is a good choice for a lot of people (as evidenced by the popularity and sales numbers).

    The Heel base conversions are for those that want authenticity or like to tinker and of course the reloader. You can also line the barrel in the 36 to shoot inside lubed or do what i do and ream the cylinder to 41 Colt (inside lubed) or shoot the Army conversions which are 45 Colt.

    Like everything else in a free society we have OPTIONS!
     
  21. 4v50 Gary

    4v50 Gary Moderator Staff Member

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    Thread closed.
     
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