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First shots with new Uberti 1861 Navy

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by desmobob, Oct 5, 2019.

  1. desmobob

    desmobob Member

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    Hello everyone,

    I'm a long-time browser and new forum member. I recently added an Uberti 1861 Navy to my blackpowder arsenal. I've always enjoyed black powder and have a small collection of arms.

    I took the new pistol to the range and fired the first shots with some .375 round balls of unknown but very old origin over a lubed felt wad and 20 grains volume measure of Triple 7 FFFG. 25-yard groups were pretty good.

    I upped the charge to about 22 grains on my powder measure and shot a few more cylinders full. I was very pleased with the results. I'm pretty sure I can do better if I open up the hammer notch/rear sight a bit. I was struggling with the factory sight picture. Here are six shots on target:
    targets.jpeg

    I live in a rural area and supplies are limited. I have never seen black powder in any nearby gunshops. I have used Pyrodex since I bought my first muzzleloader in 1985 and only recently found the Triple 7. It seems to work well in my Uberti.

    I'll make another post with some background information...

    Tight groups,
    Bob
     
  2. desmobob

    desmobob Member

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    My first muzzleloader was an Armsport Hawken .50 that I bought in 1985 while I was stationed in MD in the Navy. I still have it and put some venison in the freezer with it last fall. At roughly that same time, I got a deal on an unassembled CVA side-by-side 12ga. shotgun kit. I built it and shot it a little bit. I still have that one, too. Last year, I bought a beautiful Pedersoli 1853 Enfield rifle musket. It hangs on the wall and goes to the range occasionally. I will try to shoot a whitetail with it this fall.

    But before getting into black powder shooting, when I was just a teenager, a neighbor gave me a half-gallon glass bottle nearly full of large lead shot. I used some of it for slingshot ammo and put it aside. It moved around with me for more than 40 years. I stumbled upon it this fall and measured it, thinking I would load some shotshells with some of it. It measured .375" which is not a popular smokeless shotshell loading size... it won't stack well in anything other than 10ga. hulls. I don't own a 10ga. and have no desire to buy one.

    I was wondering what I could use it for when I thought about cap and ball revolvers. What luck! The lead balls are perfect for a .36 caliber revolver! I did some web search and ordered the Uberti 1861 Navy from Dixie Gunworks.

    Tight groups,
    Bob
     
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  3. desmobob

    desmobob Member

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    Now, my first question about the Uberti...

    The only percussion caps I had at home were CCI #11. They had to be squeezed a bit to stay on the Uberti's nipples. On firing, each cap was pretty mangled and cap jams were frequent. Before shooting, I had carefully de-fanged the Uberti's hammer safety slot and polished the face. It seems the caps all split so violently that they had large flat sections that allowed them to bind in the rear of the cylinder or between the cylinder and water table.

    I'll pay more careful attention next time... I had too much going on to think about it much on this first range trip. One frustrating thing that happened: I was going to grease the chamber openings with some T/C Bore Butter I had in my kit. I took off the cap and started squeezing, but nothing came out. I squeezed harder. Still, nothing. Funny part was, the tube felt like it was feeding the lube, but none was coming out. Well, none was coming out the correct end... the flat seam at the bottom of the tube had given way and I had half a tube of Bore Butter all over the bench in front of me.

    What would you recommend I do to remedy or reduce the cap jam issue? I will probably do a cap rake pin installation eventually. I was wondering if there's something simple I should try before that. Slixshot nipples? I don't know if I can find any Remington #10 caps. I'll spend the money on HazMat fees and order a bunch if that would be a big help...

    Thanks for any guidance,
    Bob
     
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  4. 1KPerDay

    1KPerDay Member

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    Use #10 caps to start with
     
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  5. expat_alaska

    expat_alaska Member

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    Welcome to the forum!

    My next buy planned will be a Pietta 1861 Navy. I know it is not historically correct with an 8" barrel (the Uberti has the correct 7.5" barrel). I have 8 Pietta 1851 Navies (mostly in Confederate flavor) and want the Pietta version just to swap parts within those guns, just for grins to see what combinations I can come up with. Pietta 1851/1861 revolvers are known to be "Lego" guns and parts readily fit from gun to gun.

    My only problem with the Uberti is that Uberti Navies are well known to not have a proper arbor to arbor recess fit (too much space which can affect how the wedge fits in relation to the barrel/cylinder gap. You want to keep it at.002" or less, no matter how far the wedge is driven in. Piettas do not have that problem. Many of us have wondered why Uberti has never corrected that problem, but it is what it is.

    Insofar as your supply of .375 balls, I would measure the bore (groove dimension) to see if it is not larger than .375. I am thinking it may be .380. If when loading the balls into the chambers there is not a thin lead ring shaved from the ball, they may be too small for the gun.

    At any rate, have fun with it!

    Regards,

    Jim
     
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  6. woodnbow
    • Contributing Member

    woodnbow Contributing Member

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    Sportsman’s warehouse has them for 5.00 per hundred, otherwise order from grafs, cabelas or others. I’m partial to Remington 10’s for the stock Uberti cones.
     
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  7. desmobob

    desmobob Member

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    SW has them for $5.99/hundred but shows store pick-up as the only shipping option. I found them at a few other places at the same price, but they were out of stock. Cabelas and Bass Pro get $7.99/100. Dixie GW gets $8.99/100. The best price I found was less than $5/100 but it was for a case of 5K, which is a few more than I need. :cool:

    I guess I'll pick up a thousand when they come back in stock at one of the places I buy reloading supplies from.
     
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  8. TheOutlawKid

    TheOutlawKid Member

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    Mr.desmobob...i highly recommend slixshot nipples as an upgrade if using store bought caps. Although many other enthusiasts will share the same experience you have with CCI caps...they explode everywhere...and are partial to losing their primer filling. Most of us prefer Remington caps as they "petal" into one piece when they explode and are least likely to get shrapnel into your gun works. I have tuned my gun to keep the remington caps whole and on the nipple when they explode...they only come off if i want them too. I use slixshot nipples and only remington 10 or 11 caps if im not using my home made caps.
     
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  9. cowboydave

    cowboydave Member

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    desmobob, that's some mighty fine shooting at 25 yards. Congrats on your purchase and have fun. I would try Rem #10 caps first and welcome to the forum.
     
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  10. TheOutlawKid

    TheOutlawKid Member

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    ...i thinm even at half that distance that would be good shooting on an otherwise stock cap and ball gun. Good shooting.
     
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  11. desmobob

    desmobob Member

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    I was curious about them. I've read where lots of folks say they are a must-have. I noticed that one black powder shooting supplier recommends their stainless steel replacement nipples for Uberti replica revolvers be used with CCI #11 caps, which is the most available cap in my area. Most shooters seem to still recommend the use of Remington #10s, even with the SlixShots. I'll pick up a set of SlixShot nipples at the end of the month.

    I called a whole bunch of places within 50 miles of me looking for the Remington #10s with no luck. Looks like I'll have to mail-order a bunch of them and pay the HazMat fee. It will be worth it if they minimize my cap jams.

    Thanks for the recommendation.
     
  12. desmobob

    desmobob Member

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    Thanks gentlemen. That group and others really got me excited about my new Uberti. That's about as good a group as I'd expect to shoot with any of my modern cartridge pistols at that distance. And to think I bought the Uberti as a way to shoot up that supply of round balls I had kicking around in the basement!
     
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  13. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    Bob

    To echo what others have already noted that's mighty fine shooting with any pistol first time out with it!
     
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  14. 45 Dragoon

    45 Dragoon Member

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    desmobob, your arbor is too short . . . and yes, Remington #10's are what the cowboy shooters use.
    Remie 10's and CCI 11's are the same size (basically) .

    Mike
     
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  15. desmobob

    desmobob Member

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    No need for personal attacks here...


    ;)

    I have read a lot about that situation and the fixes. But the way that pistol is shooting, I'm hesitant to do anything at all to it. In the past, I've suffered a few times from not leaving well-enough alone. Will the accuracy be short-lived if I don't remedy the arbor issue? I can put some shims in the hole until I do a proper fix this winter when I'm not shooting much.
     
  16. 45 Dragoon

    45 Dragoon Member

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    Haaa!!

    Well, it's truly the only way you'll have the same revolver every time you assemble it. Obviously I have to tell you "yes", your accuracy will be at least as good if not better!! When you really think about it, how could two assemblies that are " disconnected " be better than two that react as one? Besides, you'll feel better when you get your short arbor fixed!! Lol!!

    Mike
     
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  17. LaneP

    LaneP Member

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    Great results @desmobob

    I had an unpleasant experience that involved shooting Pyrodex through my Lyman imported New Model Army back in the early 90's that soured me on the concept of using black powder subs, but I probably should revisit the concept of substitutes now that new brands are available and they are in widespread use.

    Getting black powder can be challenging. I still have a stash of Goex FFg I bought decades ago and recently acquired some Skirmish 3 (not high end but it's still black powder) that is FFFg in granulation, so I haven't been motivated to try anything alternative yet.

    The Uberti is a solid platform. Sometime back in about 2007 I bought one and converted it with a Kirst .38 Long Colt cylinder. As long as you shoot hollow base pure lead bullets, accuracy is surprisingly good.

    Thanks again for the report.

    E7Bp6Tguy9_Qi7Dv-gPC46EE5Gf_8i3Errnmw-KuypYKcO1oqZWqjYsQ6RdyxP5ME_fOi9lWLmi1LpFLKd=w1000-h388-no.jpg
     
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  18. StrawHat

    StrawHat Member

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    Whatever caps you decide to use, lay in a large supply. Then, find what cone works best with the cap and get 12 or 24 of them. I would still add a cap rake.

    Kevin
     
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  19. TheOutlawKid

    TheOutlawKid Member

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    Mr.Mike , i had sent you a private message...did you happen to read it? Thanks!
     
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  20. Old Stumpy

    Old Stumpy Member

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    Measuring the chambers and slugging the bore is a good idea to confirm things.

    Reportedly however, Uberti revolvers DO need a .380" ball since the chambers are slightly larger than say Pietta or most other Italian made C&B revolvers.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2019
  21. Old Stumpy

    Old Stumpy Member

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    An 1861 Navy is on my list as well.
    I have never owned a .36 C&B or an open-top Colt, so it's time. I'm not getting any younger.
    I have always been a big fan of the1860 Army style of Colt ever since I was a kid in the 1960s and assembled a PYRO brand 1860 Army plastic model kit. Elegant.
     
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  22. expat_alaska

    expat_alaska Member

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    I am a big fan of Pietta 1851 Navy .36 "type" revolvers (most having a Confederate flavor). I have 8 varieties, and I like Pietta's because all of the parts are interchangeable between guns (from ~2000 onward when Pietta went to CNC machining) and don't have the Uberti short arbor fit problem. If you have big hands the 1851 Navy grip may be too short, but can be remedied by installing an 1860 3-piece grip set (backstrap, trigger guard, and wood).

    Here is my "fantasy" Pietta 1851 Navy 2nd Model Dragoon .36 (which Pietta never made for market) using the part round/part octagon barrel and smooth non-engraved cylinder from a Griswold & Gunnison:

    Pietta-1851-Navy-Dragoon.jpg

    The Pietta 1861 Navy has an 8" barrel (not the historical 7.5") but the barrel assembly will interchange with the 1851 Navy for any number of fantasy variations.

    Jim
     
  23. Old Stumpy

    Old Stumpy Member

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    I was planning to go with Pietta, since my current 1858 Remington is a Pietta. The machining and finish are much better than the Euroarms 1858 Remington that I owned in the 1970s. it was a good revolver. The Pietta is better and shoots equally as well.

    Funny thing about Ubertis. While they DO exhibit a bit more "bling" and have first class fit and finish, they are not without their flaws. I owned a really nice Cattleman .45 SAA with extremely shallow rifling that shot poorly with cast bullets, and an 1866 short rifle which would not feed cartridges due to a damaged breech block. I corrected the problems on the 1866 through disassembly and inspection and it worked well thereafter. (The breech block had been dropped on a cement factory floor before assembly, which dinged the breech face support lip for the cartridge rim.)

    I'm content with the existing size of grip frame. It befits a .36 more so than the long 1860 grip fame IMHO.
    But, a brass navy grip frame was more common and it's a possibility.
    I can live with the 8" barrel, though it never existed in real life.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2019
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  24. TheOutlawKid

    TheOutlawKid Member

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    I love pietta...when it comes to the .36 cal you dont need deep grooves/tall lands....pietta imho uses about the perfect groove depth compared to ubertis deep set grooves. Stock they are great...but ive since opened up chambers to be .003 over groove diameter of .372 (chambers came stock .365-.367 and are now all .375) and have a wire spring set up internally. Now my guns are very accurate and i get no gas cutting etc
     
  25. 45 Dragoon

    45 Dragoon Member

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    Hey OutlawKid! Pm'd ya back!
    Thanks !!

    Mike
     
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