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Colt M1860 cylinder

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by Skinny 1950, Sep 29, 2012.

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  1. Skinny 1950

    Skinny 1950 Member

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    This is a picture of the rear end of an 1860 Colt, I have my own ideas of what caused the patterns that are evident between the nipples and I am wondering what others might think about them????
    [​IMG]
     
  2. DoubleDeuce 1

    DoubleDeuce 1 Member

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    Reminds me of ancient Mayan temples, or pictographs and crop circles...:cool:
     
  3. Busyhands94

    Busyhands94 Member

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    That's what I was going to say, it reminds me of a stepped pyramid. Maybe aliens made a deal with Sam Colt! :D
     
  4. cheatin charlie

    cheatin charlie Member

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    The gun is out of time and those are the hammer marks.

    What's my prize?
     
  5. BADUNAME30

    BADUNAME30 Member

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    C'mon Levi. Aint you studyin to 'smith ?
     
  6. BADUNAME30

    BADUNAME30 Member

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    This is clearly a case of the powder charges bein a bit too hot and causing too fast a cyclic rate when the gun is fired in full auto mode.:rolleyes:

    As charlie stated, the first diagnosis would indeed be hammer markings from an out of time gun. And/or someone 'hollywooding' the gun repeatedly.( spinnig the cylinder by hand and dry firing. Russian roulette style. )
    However, even if either one of these scenerios is true.There is still an issue with the face of the hammer.The indentations indicate that it is worn,at the bottom of it, in such way that it barely has enough surface on it to properly strike the cap.

    Someone could o' been usin' a home made loading stand made to 'index' the cylinder while loadin and was a bit off at times.

    Or, the owner would lower the hammer 'next to' the cap as a safety measure so's they could carry a full house all the time.

    Oh yeah...and DANG, is that thing rusty !!!
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2012
  7. Rojelio

    Rojelio Member

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    How about flame erosion from worn out nipples:fire:
     
  8. 72coupe

    72coupe Member

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    Looks like someone was trying to lighten that cylinder. What does the rest of the gun look like?
     
  9. pohill

    pohill Member

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    Was the metal removed for easier capping and spent cap removal? Easier nipple removal? The nipples are in good shape for their age.
     
  10. robhof

    robhof Member

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    PreDremmel removal for easier capping as pohill said.
     
  11. Skinny 1950

    Skinny 1950 Member

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    Here are some more photos of this gun, made in June 1862, serious rust and pitting...action very tight. There is no evidence of dry firing, the grips have been repaired near the trigger guard which has made the fourth notch hard to see.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  12. pohill

    pohill Member

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    The action is tight, the screws aren't buggered, repairs and alterations have been made, the nipples are round and undamaged...at least one previous owner cared about this gun. How clean are the internals? Is the barrel/frame connection tight or sloppy? I'll bet that's tight, too. What serious rust and pitting do you see? How is the bore? Was it stored in a holster?
    The work on the back of the cylinder looks to me like it was done by someone who might be in a hurry to cap and decap. If it was made in 1862, then it probably was carried and used in combat, which might explain the notches.
    Do you own the gun?
     
  13. Skinny 1950

    Skinny 1950 Member

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    I bought this gun when I saw it for sale described as " not messed with" condition..all numbers match including the wedge. The barrel/frame fit is perfect,the chambers are pitted but the nipple ends in the chambers are still in very good shape. The bore has some pitting but some areas are bright with distinct rifling.
    The history of the gun is unknown but all indications are that it was well used, the butt of the gun has been used as a hammer as there are a dozen impact marks on the wood in this area. The trigger guard has been repaired to some extent and is still a bit bent.

    The nipples are too big to take #11 caps as I found out after loading one cylinder with 18 grains of Goex FFFG and a .454 inch ball. I reamed one #11 cap out so that it went onto the nipple and fired it. I had a chronograph set up and the velocity was a mild 580 Feet/Second.
    If I can find some larger caps I may continue to shoot this old timer but I have a reproduction of a four screw M1860 coming soon so it will see most of the shooting.
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2012
  14. BADUNAME30

    BADUNAME30 Member

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    Ok, so why the marks on the cylinder ?
     
  15. Skinny 1950

    Skinny 1950 Member

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    The marks on the cylinder look like flame erosion from being shot a lot, I have seen what happens when the hammer hits between the chambers on other guns of this type and there is peening of the metal,not so in this case.
     
  16. Jaymo

    Jaymo Member

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    Gremlins with a milling machine?
    Why does it have a brass TG and an iron backstrap?
     
  17. Tommygunn

    Tommygunn Member

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    IIRC that's how military versions were made.
     
  18. Fingers McGee

    Fingers McGee Member

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    The bulk of the 1860s were made with brass trigger guard, steel backstrap, and three screw frames cut for shoulder stock whether they were bought by the US or not. 4 screw frames were only made up through about SN 30000, and 3 screw frames with no shoulder stock cut were special orders. [Civil War Guns - by Edward B Wiliams 1962]
     
  19. BADUNAME30

    BADUNAME30 Member

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    Naaaa, i aint buyn that. They're too symmetrical.
    They were definately tooled.

    I'm leanin t'wards pohil's guess more so than any other.

     
  20. pohill

    pohill Member

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    From an old Colt Industries pamphlet:
    "Percussion caps are now made in sizes from nine to thirteen. Ten and eleven are the best numbers for the small and medium-sized arms, and twelve for the larger sizes, although, as different-sized nipples are sometimes met in specimens of the same model, no hard and fast rule can be given. It is better to have caps slightly too large than too small, as large caps can be pinched together at the bottom enough so they will stay on the nipples, but small ones must be driven down on the nipple by the blow of the hammer, and this process frequently cushions the blow to the extent of producing a misfire."

    I'd like to find some 12s or 13s.
    How did the .454 fit?
    Nice gun.
     
  21. rodwha

    rodwha Member

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    I love seeing history like that and wondering just what it saw.
    Thanks for sharing!
     
  22. Noz

    Noz Member

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    I'd bet that the bolt does not fit the notches in the cylinder. The hammer is striking the cylinder because it is not locking up properly. Doesn't take a lot of of center hammer blows to mark a cylinder up pretty badly.
     
  23. BADUNAME30

    BADUNAME30 Member

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    Hey skinny.
    How 'bout a good pic o' the hammer face ?
     
  24. Foto Joe

    Foto Joe Member

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    First off, it's a beautiful piece of history and I'll assume that you did not find it in British Columbia. Where abouts did this gun last reside?

    As far as the cylinder is concerned I believe we have a bit of a conundrum. Removing material to facilitate capping doesn't make a lot of sense to me. Flame errosion as well doesn't add up in my book either. Flame errosion would not have left distinct edges as we are seeing. A mis-timed action would have led to peening on only one side of the partitions between the nipples. So, my take on this is...

    Given the notches on the grip, it's quite possible that the gun was used by someone who fancied themselves a gunfighter. It could be possible that metal was removed to lighten the cylinder in a place which would not degrade the strength of the cylinder itself, granted the method was primitive as the results demonstrate.
     
  25. pohill

    pohill Member

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    If you look at the cylinder in the gun, and not just the cylinder top, and knowing that the cylinder rotates counterclockwise, the bottom portion of the nipple recess, where a spent cap would fall, is widened, which would allow the spent cap to fall away more easily (in theory at least). So I don't think it was for ease of capping but an attempt to get the spent caps away from the gun faster, with fewer jams. Something a "gunfighter" would want.
    But I can't understand why he "stepped" it instead of just filing the recess to widen it.

    [​IMG]
     
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