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1858 Remington loads

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by BlackpowderShooter, Dec 14, 2019.

  1. BlackpowderShooter

    BlackpowderShooter Member

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    Hi everyone, I'm new to this forum, but I wanted to take the opportunity to share some hard data I have recorded regarding the ballistic capabilities of the 1858 Remington (mine is a Pietta). I have done fairly extensive research on loadings for this intriguing and historical arm, and in my findings, most of the loads I have seen on forums, YouTube, manufacturer's recommendations, etc. have been fairly anemic with respect to the arm's capabilities. My historical research shows that the "revolver powder" from the era during and immediately following the civil war likely generated muzzle velocities more typical of Triple Seven than something more tame, such as Pyrodex. Listed below are chronograph data:

    load: 141 grain round ball, 30 grains of 777 = 1020 fps & 326 ft/lbs
    load: 141 grain round ball, 35 grains of 777 = 1136 fps & 404 ft/lbs
    load: 141 grain round ball, 40 grains of 777 = 1181 fps & 437 ft/lbs
    load: 141 grain round ball, 42 grains of 777 = 1281 fps & 514 ft/lbs

    In the interest of full disclosure, the velocities recorded above were not averages, but single recorded shots.

    load: 200 grain Lee conical, 30 grains of 777 = 994 fps & 439 ft/lbs
    load: 200 grain Lee conical, 30 grains of 777 = 993 fps & 438 ft/lbs
    load: 200 grain Lee conical, 30 grains of 777 = 924 fps & 379 ft/lbs
    load: 200 grain Lee conical, 30 grains of 777 = 946 fps & 397 ft/lbs
    load: 200 grain Lee conical, 30 grains of 777 = 994 fps & 439 ft/lbs
    load: 200 grain Lee conical, 30 grains of 777 = 989 fps & 434 ft/lbs
    Average: 973 fps & 420 ft/lbs

    load: 200 grain Lee conical, 35 grains of 777 = 1131 fps & 568 ft/lbs
    load: 200 grain Lee conical, 35 grains of 777 = 1148 fps & 585 ft/lbs
    load: 200 grain Lee conical, 35 grains of 777 = 1139 fps & 576 ft/lbs
    load: 200 grain Lee conical, 35 grains of 777 = 1124 fps & 561 ft/lbs
    load: 200 grain Lee conical, 35 grains of 777 = 1137 fps & 574 ft/lbs
    load: 200 grain Lee conical, 35 grains of 777 = 1133 fps & 570 ft/lbs
    Average: 1135 fps & 572 ft/lbs

    The 200 grain conicals were fired at about 60 deg F ambient temperature from 7 yards.

    As you can see from the above data, the .44 Remington has ballistic capabilities on par with common .357 magnum or hot 10mm loads. I could have squeezed a few more grains of powder into the chambers, but at these velocities, I had already achieved the energies necessary for a reasonable backup for hog hunting. These rounds were cast with pure lead, so leading must be carefully cleaned after a session at these loadings, since the higher velocities have a greater tendency to lead the barrel.

    I have seen some bloggers recite the commonly held notion that "Triple Seven does not like to be compressed." Whereas the manufacturer does warn against this, the context is within loading cartridges, where much greater leverage is available. The pressures developed by firmly seating the projectile against the powder are a given when using this type of firearm. The manufacturer does show a use case in black powder revolvers. That said, the charges and projectiles listed here will load nicely without the need to attempt to deliberately compress the charge to fit into the cylinder. A firm seating with the lever of either a stand (which I was using), or on the firearm should yield similar results.

    Below is a list of advertised velocities for common green and white box Remington UMC handgun cartridges, with the 1858 placed in the ranking according to muzzle energy. FMJ bullets were chosen for the comparison where possible.

    Remington UMC
    .38 special FMJ - 185 ft-lbs
    9mm FMJ - 339 ft-lbs
    45 colt - 411 ft-lbs
    45 acp FMJ - 423 ft-lbs
    .38 super +p - 426 ft-lbs
    40 S&W FMJ - 485 ft-lbs
    .357 sig FMJ - 506 ft-lbs
    10mm FMJ - 529 ft-lbs
    .44 1858 Remington 200 gr. - 572 ft-lbs
    .357 magnum JSP - 583 ft-lbs
    .44 magnum JSP 1036 ft-lbs

    I welcome any input, discussion, or additions to/about my findings. Hopefully, some of you can benefit from this data.
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2019
  2. rodwha

    rodwha Member

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    Another’s research of authentic Hazard’s paper cartridges (.44 cal) showed results similar to yours. He found the grain size was 4F and the power to be akin to Swiss. Hazard’s Pistol Powder was no joke.

    My NMA, also a Pietta, is loaded with 30 grns of 3F T7 (I also use 3F Olde Eynsford) and my 195 grn WFN bullets. I assumed I’m likely getting between 350-400 ft/lbs from what little chronographed loads I’ve seen online. One of these days I’ll have to purchase one for myself so I can see what I’m actually getting.
     
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  3. BlackpowderShooter

    BlackpowderShooter Member

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    As long as you make sure to seat the bullet firmly, I'd say you're getting at least those numbers. The 1858 Remmie isn't a .44 magnum, but it's sufficiently powered for any use case in which I would say a handgun is implicated, short of grizzly protection. In a side by side comparison with the .357, at similar energy loadings, the 1858 has a significant advantage in Taylor KO factor. The numbers I used for the above listed .357, which is typical, will give the .357 a TKO score of 9.24, compared to a score of 14.59 TKO for the 1858 Remmie with 35 grains of 777 behind a Lee 200 grain conical. The .44 magnum comes in 22.98 TKO for a 300 grain JSP Cor-Bon at 1250 fps/1041 ft-lbs, which is a lot more, but not quite the advantage one might expect over the 1858, given that it's roughly double the muzzle energy.
     
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  4. LaneP

    LaneP Member

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    Interesting info for sure, thanks for posting. When black powder weather rolls around again I'll try chronographing mine using Goex 3f. Those are some good numbers you've got going.
     
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  5. rodwha

    rodwha Member

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    The .45 Schofield ended up using 28 grns of BP behind a 230 grn bullet, and that’s what the original.45 ACP was designed to duplicate as far as I know, though maybe it was the prior 30 grn load before it was reduced. I can’t seem to determine the powder granule size. Often people state large caliber pistol cartridges were loaded with 2F. However a member here is/was a museum curator and disassembled many late 1800’s cartridges for display and found many, including the large calibers, had 4F and even finer powders. And why would they use 2F if it’s much more dirty and less powerful?
     
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  6. skeeterfogger

    skeeterfogger Member

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    18gns with conical. 20 with ball.
     
  7. LaneP

    LaneP Member

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    If I can ever get some 4f I would love to chronograph that beside 3f. It's possible in shorter pistol barrels you can only burn so much of a given grain size and the rest just gets blown out the muzzle.
     
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  8. rodwha

    rodwha Member

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    Honestly I’m quite happy with the performance of 3F Olde E and T7 (and Swiss), but if these weren’t an option I’d try a weaker powder’s 4F as all of the other powders show weak performance (Pyrodex seems to show weak and powerful which is one reason I’ll never use it, the other being I don’t like the sticky fouling it leaves in my revolvers).
     
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  9. perldog007

    perldog007 Member

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    I have long been impressed with 3f goex and even 2f pyrodex in a 'pinch' ( didn't feel like going to town for 3f? ). But i carried a .38 in the projects of the Nation's muder capitol circa '92. I learned to handle it mostly carrying it as a woods gun roving 'target shooting' where I could do that without hassles in the late 80's.
    First time out the 1858 Pietta reproduction was like what my service revolver should have been. Stronger powders and upgraded projectiles are why I bought one instead of a .45 LC which was my 'goal' back in 2015 when this group of pirates ruined me for life :D I bought a 2 cavity .36 mold from Kaido and am saving up for a six cavity 220 graim .44 mold.
    Also loved to carry a cheap Springfield GI 1911 with six rounds of hardball in the mag condition three Israeli style. If something was close enough to concern me that sloppy chunker was surgical enough. Never did more than scare game with it but it was fun.
    The .38 did yeild me a squirrel once. Probably shot at least a box of shells at squirrels, the odd grouse or rabbit. I'm lucky they couldn't shoot back for a fact :D
    The 1858 can outshine both in power and accuracy and versatility. Great post!
    #protip? My old N frame speedloader case holds two .44 pietta or .36 cylinders. HK brand. I think Galls or somebody stil sells them if you're a heretic like me that isn't into 19th century gear.
     
  10. perldog007

    perldog007 Member

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    I bought a 6" nickel plated 29 in 1982 at J.E. Rice's hardware in Manassas. I had been a reluctant carrier of a Taurus model 10 as a guard, hated working armed until my religion got changed.
    I got a box of 240 grain Norma hollow points. proned out ( no eyes or ears of course :/ ) and took a serious bead on a 5" pine tree exactly 25 paces distant, low on the stump. The noise and blast were second to the dirt in my eyes.
    When I could see the tree was not blown up as I had expected from the Dirty Harry movies. One tiny hole at point of aim was all I could find. Then I developed a buck, then a flinch. Ten boxes of shells before I could hit anything again, thent the damn thing stretched out of time with factory ammo. Less than a thousand rounds! I was living in New Jersey at the time so I refitted the cylinder stop to get it to lock up and sold it a cop running a gun store. Given their gun laws it seemed reasonable, got my purchase price back as they were in short supply.
    I did tell the man I had 'custom filed' the cylinder stop for faster operation. Which was 'mostly true' :D I did love a super blackhawk for years after that experience. Nice reliable shooting at stuff tool.
    What I don't know is how you quantify the round ball at a moderate 900fps expanding on impact or a soft cast 200 at 1000fps compared to a .44 mag hollow point. Let alone the numbers you got with T7?
    I can only believe that there is more to knockdown that swoosh and numbers? Also I wasn't the worst man alive at speed loader recharging while looking cool during quals. Have seen one or two folks besides 'Pale Rider' Clint who can reload an 1858 faster than I can speed load a model 10.
    I don't even have any cartridge handguns right now. Can't rule it out but where I'm headed there ain't no grizzly bears.
     
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  11. BlackpowderShooter

    BlackpowderShooter Member

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    Great post! You asked how I'm comparing the 1858 Remmie loads to modern cartridges. I'm holding as many variables constant as possible. For example, the cartridges were all Remington UMC ammo. As far as the Taylor KO Factor is concerned, it doesn't take the rate of expansion of the projectile into account. You are correct in asserting that the dynamic nature of the diameter of an expanding projectile will affect the surface area and sectional density in such calculations. Taylor KO Factor is a valid metric, but it's certainly not the complete picture of ballistic performance. For the 1858, I'm comparing hot loads of 3f Triple Seven behind 200 gr. Lee conicals of pure lead from my mold. The data will never show which caliber or platform is "best", since there are many considerations to take into account, but my overall premise was just to show that the 1858 Remington lives up to the standards that would typically be expected of a modern pistol, at least in terms of external ballistics.
     
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