Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by 0ne3, Mar 17, 2020.
Have any one converted there black powder revolver to shoot cartridges?
Why . . . yes.
Yes. Conversion cylinders are available for many cap and ball revolvers. They often require some tuning. They allow the use of metallic cartridges, but they do not increase the strength of pressure rating of the revolver. So loading black powder cartridges is advised.
I have a few and one of them a Rogers & Spencer replica, is my absolute most accurate handgun.
Paging @Michael Tinker Pearce ...
Few threads are more fitting.
Throwing a manufactured conversion cylinder in there is one thing.
A dedicated cylinder & loading gate is another.
Then still, adding an ejector rod is just plain showing off.
I have three. Rogers and Spencer, a six shot Howell,
A ROA, also a Howell and a Uberti 1860 Army, a five shot R&D Taylor’s. All were drop in, no fitting required.
As I like the ability to switch between percussion and cartridge I haven’t done any modifications to the guns. The ROA is one of three, so that one I also fitted with a Belt Mountain Base pin and base pin latch.
Early on I thought to go the Kirst Konverter route but the cost was more than I wanted to invest in a SA revolver. One can by a SAA from Uberti for less. Just me.
I load 45C with both black and smokeless, target velocities with no high pressure signs or problems. I do have some bullets designs that won’t work in conversion cylinders. The cylinders are slightly shorter than conventional 45C cylinders.
I have two that have cartridge conversion cylinders: a Pietta Remington NMN and a Pietta Remington NMA. Both cylinders fit perfectly without any additional fitting required. Thinking about saving up to have a Kirst conversion with a loading gate put in on my Pietta Colt Model 1860.
By far the easiest and best conversion is the gated conversion offered by Kirst. It does require cutting a loading port in the blast shield, but once done the gun can be loaded and unloaded without removing the cylinder. I've used these on both Remington and Colt pattern guns, and they are excellent.
These two have Kirst gated conversions.
There are a few very good gunsmiths out there that also do conversions, and of course if you get really ambitious you can do your own...
This 'Bulldogged' Remington has a bespoke 5-shot cylinder and breech ring that includes a rebounding firing pin. It's chambered in .45 Colt. The cylinder was turned from half-hard 4140 steel and line-bored. For the Walker conversion below I bored-through the existing cylinder and made a breech-ring.
The .44-55 Walker cartridge uses 55gr. of FFFg under a 200gr. heel-base .451 bullet. This may seem pretty powerful, but it's actually lighter than the load these guns were designed for.
As to ammo for a cap-and-ball gun that has been converted- Kirst recommends using lead bullets loaded to less than 1000 fps. Factory 'cowboy' loads fall well under this power level. If you buy a factory-built conversion, such as the ones offered by Cimarron and Taylor's,where the gun comes complete and already converted from the factory, you can safely fire any standard-pressure factory ammo of the correct caliber through them. These guns have passed European Proofing, so modern ammo isn't going to phase them.
What did you use for a parent cartridge case? .45-70?
.303 British, shortened and expanded.
My Pietta New Model Army fitted with a Kirst gated conversion and original-style ejector rod. It's in .45 Colt.
I did all the work myself. The only power tool I used was a Dremel to cut the recoil shield to allow loading through the gate.
Bought a Howells conversion cylinder for my stainless Ruger Old Army. It dropped right in and with my "cowboy" load of a 200 grain button nose wadcutter and a pinch of Unique, shot right to where the sights were set for the 'hot" load of round ball and all the 3f I could get in.
I got a very good deal on a Walker repro, and sent it off to Kirst for conversion.
To the best of my knowledge, all the manufacturers of these cylinders warrant for and recommend the use of smokeless powder cartridges. Frankly, I prefer black powder for most things, but none of our local indoor ranges can deal with the smoke. I converted a '51 Navy to .38 Colt expressly so that I could use a "percussion revolver" with smokeless cartridges indoors.
But, is that true for the pistol frame? Black powder firearms can be made out of wrought iron, and were. I would expect the conversion cylinders to be made of modern, good alloy steel, but unless the frame manufacturer says the frame was made of the appropriate alloys, and heat treated for the thrust and bending that will happen with cartridges stretching the frame and pushing against the back shield, I would stick to black powder.
I appreciate your conversion cylinders, but I enjoy shooting cap&ball for what it is.
I have cartridge guns.
I doubt any of the gun makers would warrant their frames after any modifications at all. I have never heard of or experienced any damage to frames from the use of these conversions, but certainly would like to hear from anyone who has.
Strange, though, to see the push-back on cartridge conversions. They are historically correct, a great deal of fun, and - so far as I am aware - thoroughly proven. C'est la vie, I suppose.
The frames are perfectly fine with cartridge conversions.
Read the markings on every single replica cap and.ball revolver. Somewhere, it will clearly state "For Black Powder Use Only" . A conversion cylinder does not change the properties or manufacturing of the frame they are placed in.
You will of course do what you wish to do with your own property, as you should.
This is intended to prevent fools from loading percussion cylinders with smokeless.
I will gladly listen to anyone who can show a conversion gun that has been damaged with in-spec smokeless cartridges.
Again. You may do as you like and are free to make any, and as many, entries to the Darwin Awards as you like. Your assumption about the construction and metallurgy of the vast array of cap and ball revolvers for which cartridge conversion cylinders are available is very impressive in its breadth. Cap and ball revolvers are clearly marked "For Black Powder Use Only" . Yet you warrant their use with smokeless cartridges in cartridge conversion cylinders. What loads do you warrant? Do you assert a pressure to which all revolvers fitted with cartridge conversion cylinders are safe? On what basis?
You may do what you wish. It is not advisable that you encourage others to do the same.
Oh good grief.
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