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Conversion cylinder - 45 Colt or 44 Colt?

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by rajb123, Jul 12, 2012.

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  1. rajb123

    rajb123 member

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    This for a cap and ball 1851 Pietta Army in 44 cal....

    Which would you prefer and why?

    I would be reloading .... and the components for a 44 Colt seem to be available... 45 Colt components are more readily available, however...

    I'm not too keen on loosing a shot, going from 6 to 5 shots in the 45 Colt conversion.
     
  2. Driftwood Johnson

    Driftwood Johnson Member

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    Howdy

    Unless I'm mistaken, most '44' caliber C&B revolvers actually have a rifling groove diameter around .452 or so. Which makes them perfect for 45 Colt.

    I really don't think you have a choice, I think 45 Colt is all you are going to find for a 44 caliber C&B.
     
  3. 351 WINCHESTER

    351 WINCHESTER Member

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    44 Colt is .451 so it might be ok, but for sure I would get the .45.
     
  4. hogshead

    hogshead Member

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    45 Colt.I think after you buy some brass for a 45 Colt you will be glad you didnt get a 44 Colt.
     
  5. Driftwood Johnson

    Driftwood Johnson Member

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    There are two completely different versions of the 44 Colt cartridge.

    Originally, 44 Colt used a heeled bullet. This means the bullet was the same diameter as the cartridge case, just like a modern 22 Rimfire. This cartridge was developed for the early Colt cartridge conversion revolvers, some guns used new cylinders designed for cartridges, others were made by cutting the rear off the original cylinder. Since the original percussion chambers were bored straight through, with no provision for a case larger in diameter than the bullet, so the ammunition used a heeled bullet that was the same diameter as the cartridge case. The bullet was a pure lead conical ball .449 in diameter over about 21 grains of Black Powder. Loading this ammunition requires special dies, a conventional crimp die will not crimp a heeled bullet properly.

    The modern version of the 44 Colt cartridge uses a .429 bullet seated inside the case, just like any other modern cartridge. This arrangement does not work very will in a modern 44 caliber percussion revolver because of the .452 rifling groove diameter. To shoot this modern version the barrel would have to be sleeved for the smaller diameter bullet.

    There is a third option, using a modern soft, hollow based bullet so that the base will expand to grab the rifling, much like a Mine ball.

    Really, 45 Colt is much simpler to deal with. It works fine in any conversion cylinder, although some guns may require you to load them a little bit short to fit in the cylinder. Brass and bullets and conventional dies are easily available.
     
  6. CraigC
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    CraigC Member

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    I don't think I've seen a conversion cylinder in .44Colt, although the Uberti Open Top and 1860 cartridge conversions are made in .44Colt. I have two of them. Modern .44Colt uses common inside lubed .44Spl/Mag projectiles of .429-.431" diameter. Originally, the .44Colt used a heeled bullet and was the largest cartridge that would fit the 1860 platform. For converting a percussion gun, the .45Colt would be much simpler to deal with. Although there is something to be said for having a more authentic chambering but it is more effort.

    There was also a rimfire version of the .44Colt.
     
  7. mic214

    mic214 Member

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    I got a 5 shot R&D cylinder in .45 Colt for my Pietta New Army's. I plan to use it in cowboy action shooting. I got the .45 Colt, so I could use .45 Schofield ammo in it. Eventually I will pick up another cylinder so I will be able to use a pair of them in the matches......

    Here are some pics of my set up:

    RD-6.jpg

    RD-1.jpg

    RD-3.jpg
     
  8. mykeal

    mykeal Member

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    There is no 1851 Pietta Army. You either have an 1858 Remington New Army, an 1860 Colt Army or an 1851 Colt Navy pattern in .44 cal.

    Most 1851 Navy pattern revolvers in .44 cal have a brass frame. If yours has a brass frame you won't find a conversion cylinder for it; the cylinder manufacturers specify steel frame only. In fact, I don't believe anyone makes a conversion cylinder for the steel frame 1851 Colt Navy pattern, either.
     
  9. StrawHat

    StrawHat Member

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    Potato or potato?



    The cylinder for an 1860 can be used in the 44 version of the 1851.
     
  10. StrawHat

    StrawHat Member

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    And yet, the Richards conversions and the R-Ms were chambered in 44 Colt.

    rajb123, if you are a handloader and enjoy a challenge, get the 44 Colt, if you can find one. Historically accurate and fun to reload. For an original bore, you will need a source of heeled bullets, a heel crimping tool and good lube. If you choose to line the bore, plain ordinary 43 caliber bullets will suffice. The 44 Colt can be reloaded with 44 Russian dies or with 44 Special dies that are shortened.

    My Richards conversion in 44 Colt.

    Conversions009-1.gif
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2012
  11. CraigC
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    CraigC Member

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  12. goon

    goon Member

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    I'd also go with the .45 Colt if there is a choice (I don't think there realistically is). You don't actually lose a shot with the conversion cylinder. With a normal SA revolver that doesn't have a transfer bar safety you still have to carry it with an empty chamber under the hammer for safety anyhow, so you'd still most likely only load five unless you were going to shoot immediately at the range.
     
  13. Lost Sheep

    Lost Sheep Member

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    Wouldn't you still want to leave an empty chamber under the hammer, leaving you with 4 rounds?

    Or does the conversion come with a safety device that allows a full cylinder to be carried safely?

    Lost Sheep
     
  14. 1KPerDay

    1KPerDay Member

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    The 6 shot cylinders you want to leave a chamber empty. The 5 shot cylinders have extra "safety" notches cut between the usual ones so you can lock the cylinder between chambers. The Kirst 5-shot version has a blank spot (no hole drilled) so you can lower the hammer on an "empty chamber"

    I think I still want a 6 shot R&D one for my Remingtons, though.
     
  15. goon

    goon Member

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    Lost Sheep - I was thinking of the Kirst Conversions that have five chambers and a blank spot. I'd forgotten that R&D conversion cylinders are 6 shots. Haven't thought about them for awhile but all this talk of them is convincing me that I need another Remington and a conversion cylinder.
     
  16. Lost Sheep

    Lost Sheep Member

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    Thanks, you two. I had heard about the 5-hole with one undrilled position cylinder but forgot all about it's existence. I've never seen one.

    Lost Sheep
     
  17. rajb123

    rajb123 member

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    gun = 1858 remington 5.5" (pietta)

    How about the 45 ACP conversion cylinder? Is the 45ACP a cowboy load (cast lead bullets) that is allowed in cowboy action shooting matches?

    thx...
     
  18. Driftwood Johnson

    Driftwood Johnson Member

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    Technically, yes, 45 ACP is allowed in Single Action Shooting Society sponsored Cowboy Action matches. I have pasted in the definition of revolver calibers allowed by SASS at the bottom of this post. Notice that it is not an all inclusive list, it simply cites some examples. There are plenty of other revolver calibers, such as 45 Schofield, 44 Special, and 38-40 that are legal but are not on this list. The key here is the phrase 'commonly available in revolvers'. Revolvers have been chambered for 45 ACP since 1917, it is a well recognized revolver caliber.

    You may get an argument at some matches, but at least at SASS matches, 45 ACP has been ruled legal, and this has been discussed a great deal on the SASS Wire.

    I doubt if it is a legal caliber for NCOWS.

    REVOLVER CALIBERS
    • Must be centerfire calibers of at least .32 caliber and no larger than .45 caliber or percussion calibers of at least .36 caliber and no larger than .45 caliber.
    • Must be in a caliber commonly available in revolvers. Examples include, but are not limited to, .32-20, .32 Magnum, .357 Magnum, .38 Special, .44 Magnum, .44-40, and .45 Colt.
    • Standard velocity .22 caliber rimfire ammunition is allowed within the Buckaroo Category only.
    • Although the .32 caliber revolvers and .36 caliber cap and ball revolvers are legal, they may not be powerful enough to handle all reactive targets.
     
  19. cdj1987

    cdj1987 Member

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    I just purchased a kirst konverter for my pietta made 1851 navy 44. I got the 45schofield/45colt . Can any one tell me a specific 45 colt brand of ammo that will load up. It says 45 colt ammo will fit if the bullet is seated slightly deeper. Any help greatly appreciated
     
  20. goon

    goon Member

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    You could probably take the conversion unit to your friendly local gun shop and just try some different loadings to see what fits the chambers.

    Make sure you stick with standard pressure or cowboy loads.
     
  21. JB357MAG

    JB357MAG Member

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    These work fine: Federal 45 colt 225 grain semi wadcutter
    hollow point.

    There short and fit perfectly, also 830 fps is well under
    the cap of 1000 fps.

    Magtech cowboy loads dont work, too long.

    Jimmy
     
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