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Brassers, Pipe Bomb with a grip?

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by BHP FAN, Jan 8, 2015.

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  1. BHP FAN

    BHP FAN Member

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    Recently I highjacked a thread on the Buffalo Revolver, a long barreled Remington variant put out by Pietta. A lot of folks seem to think brass isn't suitable for a firearm, but in the 1800's a lot of the firearms used brass frames, or cast iron because of the ease of manufacture, and the general low pressure of black powder loads.
     
  2. Dframe

    Dframe Member

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    Brassers are perfectly adequate if not abused. I used one for a decade of monthly competitions in a muzzle loader club I was a member of. Unfortunately I sold it. Wish I had it back.
     
  3. ImperatorGray

    ImperatorGray Member

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    They were made, but they didn't last long if subjected to much firing.

    Even modern steel-frame revolvers get overloaded. My first gun purchase was an 1851 repro that had been shot until the cylinder slid back and forth on the frame a good eighth inch, as the loads it had been subjected to had stretched the arbor out.

    As it was a steel frame, it was fixable. Moved the barrel back on the arbor and then fit an oversize pin. Had it been a brass frame, on the other hand, the arbor's threads would have wallowed out the frame, rendering it nothing more than an over-pretty paper weight.

    Years ago I read an article stating that 12 grains was the suitable powder load for brass if you wanted it to remain in good condition. If I can find it, I'll post it here as it had all kinds of good stuff for black-powder revolvers shooting.
     
  4. BHP FAN

    BHP FAN Member

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    [Moved from the Buffalo thread]
    a lot of folks seem to think brass frames are about as robust as silly putty, or play doh, and it's just not so. I had a brass framed ''Colt'' Navy cut down to a Sherriff's model that I got in 1974, and converted to .38 S&W [short stubby, not .38 Special] in about 1979, useing a Kirst like conversion with no name I got from the back of a men's magazine. Not knowing any better, I shot smokeless loads in it. For years it was my only cartridge revolver, and it got plenty of use. Later on I sold it, then bought it back, and found it was a little loose. the new owner had ignored my advice, and used .38 Special, and a lot of it, after haveing moved to Alaska.I peened around the arbor, and shot it for about another five years before selling it to an old gent for a ''shadow box'' decoration. so yeah, brassers shoot loose, but not over night...Lots of guns were made of brass in the old days, and not just by desperate Confederates. Moore's patent revolvers were often brass, my old #1 Colt derringer in .41 rim fire was brass, even a brief trip through any of the antique stores in town will turn up brass framed revolvers and single shot pocket pistols. The reason wasn't desperation, but cheapness and ease of manufacture, as steel needed to be machiened by a skilled laborer, and brass could be cast. Often ''engraveing'' was cast right into the brass as a selling point. Alot of those old muff pistols were tossed in a top desk drawer for protection, and seldom if ever fired, so durability wasn't really an issue.
     
  5. BHP FAN

    BHP FAN Member

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  6. Driftwood Johnson

    Driftwood Johnson Member

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    Howdy

    I don't think anybody said they were pipe bombs. But they will not stand up to abuse. I can tell you for a fact that my old brass framed Uberti 44 caliber 'Navy' had its frame stretched because nobody told us back in 1968 that we had to keep the loads light. Too many 30 grain loads did it in.

    In a similar vein, there is a thread on the SASS Wire about the durability of a brass framed Henry rifle. In his book Shooting Lever Guns of the Old West, Mike Venturino mentions one brass framed 44-40 Henry that he was thinking of purchasing. Until he found out the frame had been stretched and the head spacing ruined by less than a box of stout 44-40 reloads.

    A brass framed Uberti Henry or 1866 will stand up fine to loads that do not exceed SAAMI specs for pressure. But use loads that are too hot, and you will be asking for trouble. Again, not a pipe bomb, but the frame WILL stretch.

    Regarding the historical Henry rifle that had a gunmetal (bronze) frame, the Henry Rimfire round only held about 28 grains of Black Powder. The 1866 Winchester fired the same round. When the 44-40 round was developed for the Winchester Model 1873, it was decided to use an iron frame, rather than bronze, because of the increased power of the round.

    P.S. Cannons aside, very few quality small arms used cast iron. They used malleable iron, a completely different animal. Cast iron does not perform well under stress, it is full of impurities and it cannot be formed by heating and hammering. Malleable iron can. Colt was using malleable iron for frames and cylinders even for the early Single Action Army revolvers in 1873.
     
  7. BCRider

    BCRider Member

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    Sort of makes one think that a more suitable power round for the Henry and 1866 copies would be the .44Russian. Brass isn't that hard to find with Starline making it or it can be made from cut down .44Spl or Mag brass. And it would encourage us to use less power for the brass frames.
     
  8. Willie Sutton

    Willie Sutton Member

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    "in the 1800's a lot of the firearms used brass frames"


    Not really... they were generally made of "Gunmetal", which is (Admirality specification Gunmetal) about 88% copper, 10% tin, and 2% zinc.

    This is bronze, not brass.

    Bronze is tin based as the main alloying metal. Brass is zinc based. Huge difference.


    Nobody is making replicas out of Bronze.



    Willie

    .
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2015
  9. Driftwood Johnson

    Driftwood Johnson Member

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    Those rifles are proofed in Italian proof houses with 45 Colt and 44-40 proof loads. They are perfectly capable of firing thousands of rounds of SAAMI spec ammo without damage. The instance I cited is rare, it was the result of one shooter using hot loads that were beyond the rifles' specifications.

    However there is a small contingent in SASS that wishes the Henry rifles were chambered for a round more like the original 44 Henry round. The decision was made many years ago by Uberti to chamber them for 45 Colt and 44-40 because no one had produced the 44 Henry Rimfire round in a long time. There were a few made in the early days for 44 rimfire, but it made no practical sense since there is no ammo available. Being a rimfire round, it cannot be reloaded.

    In order to accommodate the longer 44-40 and 45 Colt rounds the frames of Uberti Henry rifles (Henry Repeating Arms Company's too) are slightly longer than the originals were in the carrier area. 44 Russian is an interesting option, but the rifles are only chambered for 44-40 and 45 Colt, not a short cartridge like 44 Russian (I load 44 Russian for antique Smith and Wessons all the time). Occasionally a Henry can be located chambered for 44 Special, and they are eagerly sought after by those who want a shorter, less powerful round like the originals. Some who shoot 45 Colt Henry rifles have modified the carrier to accept 45 Schofield, which can be fired in a 45 Colt chamber, and some have even modified the carrier to accept the very short 45 Cowboy Special round, which can also be fired in a 45 Colt chamber. When loaded with Black Powder, these rounds will come closer to simulating the original 44 Henry round.

    Personally, I am glad my Henry is chambered for 44-40. The 44 Henry Rimfire was an anemic round, that's why 44-40 was invented. I like firing 44-40s stuffed with Black Powder out of my Henry.
     
  10. BHP FAN

    BHP FAN Member

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  11. 4v50 Gary

    4v50 Gary Moderator Staff Member

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    Keep 'em light and don't try to out do Dirty Harry. You'll be fine.
     
  12. BHP FAN

    BHP FAN Member

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    Willie you're 100% right on the mallable iron, and mostly right about the brass. I was a welder for the Navy for four years, and I can tell brass from bronze. both were used. And your point that no one is makeing replicas of bronze is spot on...and they should. Swords were made of bronze, and ax heads as well.
     
  13. Jim K

    Jim K Member

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    I kind of wonder about that pin-fire. I have an almost identical gun in front of me and it is worth maybe $75-100. And that engraving looks modern to me, but then what do I know?

    Jim
     
  14. BCRider

    BCRider Member

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    DJ, my wistful thinking about the .44Russian was apparently the same reasoning as what that group was trying for. Namely to use as close a more or less modern center fire equivalent to the .44Henry rimfire rounds as we can.
     
  15. NineMilePete

    NineMilePete Member

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    I personally love the beautiful patina of well-aged bronze. Wish some of the makers would offer a bronze framed 1858 Remmie.
     
  16. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    Witloe Precision made the Grant and Lee revolvers of Remington 1858 pattern.
    The Lee had a real bronze frame. I recall mention that it was a high strength phosphor bronze, mean to be used.
     
  17. BHP FAN

    BHP FAN Member

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    that'd be pretty sweet. Bronze and Berylliam copper are very strong.
     
  18. zimmerstutzen

    zimmerstutzen Member

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    I have seen some shot "loose" but as far as I could tell, it was not from inherent weakness but from the multiple abuse of magnumitis.

    Some of the older repros from the 1960's were terrible from the get go with lousy timing, and fit. They were bound for the scrap bin before they were boxed at the factory.

    I would not suggest a brass frame to any one starting out. For an old timer that has no problem resisting the "hey bubba watch this" temptation, brass will outlast the battery bunny. Every body starting out suffers the temptation to shoot at least a few heavy loads. Some never stop after they start.
     
  19. BHP FAN

    BHP FAN Member

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    Zimmer got it in one!
     
  20. BHP FAN

    BHP FAN Member

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    Jim K, I'll take that pistola for $75.00 this minute, if you'd like...
     
  21. kBob

    kBob Member

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    JimK or maybe BHP :->

    Post us a picture of that pin fire!

    -kBob
     
  22. Malachi Leviticus Blue

    Malachi Leviticus Blue Member

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    I'm not too fond of the brass framed Remington copies, their frames were not designed to be made of brass and there are areas that I think are too thin for brass, but now the Spiller & Burr replicas are a better story.
     
  23. dwh4784

    dwh4784 Member

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    When I bought all my BP stuff along with my brass 1851 Pietta one of the things purchased was a "Colt" repro powder flask. The nozzle is supposed to hold 24 grains and that's how I've always loaded it; fill nozzle, close it up and pour in. Is 24 grains too hot for the gun? I've shot it at least 250 times and it still works well.
     
  24. rodwha

    rodwha Member

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    "I have seen some shot "loose" but as far as I could tell, it was not from inherent weakness but from the multiple abuse of magnumitis."

    So it's called "magnumitis" if you load it to what it's maximum charge is?

    Is it "magnumitis" if one loads their .32 Colt Pocket with 15 grns of powder?
     
  25. EljaySL

    EljaySL Member

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    You know, there's not a lot of great data on this. I don't know of anybody who's really TRIED to test these things. It's not even clear what kind of lifetime is acceptable to the manufactures or if they're just checking for what # might damage the user. It's clearly possible to stretch some brass frames, especially the .44s. Past that it all seems very subjective frankly.

    The one place I kind of wobble is my Griswold, which runs ever so slightly better at 20gr 777 than 15gr. And I really like it so I hate the idea of stressing it unduly. Haven't really decided on a standard load for that one yet. Maybe I'll run it at 15gr one handed (where the marginal accuracy doesn't matter) and 20gr two handed. I mostly shoot it one handed so that should be OK...
     
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