Pietta 1851 Navy

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by ThomasT, Aug 14, 2022.

  1. ThomasT

    ThomasT Member

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    I went yesterday to shoot my new to me steel frame 1851 Pietta Navy revolver. I bought this gun from my bud a few months ago. I had to order balls for it and went ahead and got a .375 RB bullet mold at the same time. I started of with a 20gr load of 3F and and the second cylinder had a 25gr charge in it. I could probably get another 2-3grs of powder in there if I tried but I stopped at 25 grains.

    This is NOT a light load. It had lots of roar and boom. I was impressed with the gun. It did shoot about a foot high at 50 yards. I am going to do the Mike Beleview trick and dovetail a taller front sight in the barrel so I can set the windage and elevation to hit POA at around 20 yards. Why Colt made these with such poor sights is beyond me. There is no secret to targeting a gun.

    Oh well. I will fix that and square the notch in the hammer to get a decent sight picture. One of these guns would never be a first or second choice for a SD gun. But with a good load and usable sights they will do when its all you have.

    This is the video I watched on installing a taller front sight.

     
  2. hawg

    hawg Member

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    Guns back in the day were tools not range toys. Navies usually hit close to point of aim. Armies were sighted in at 75 yards.
     
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  3. ThomasT

    ThomasT Member

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    Yep. Nothing pleases me more than a gun that won't hit what you are aiming at. o_O
     
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  4. hawg

    hawg Member

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    I'm guessing you didn't grow up shooting single actions with fixed sights? Sights are merely a suggestion for an aiming point. That's the problem with most people nowadays, they want everything handed to them. :D
     
  5. ThomasT

    ThomasT Member

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    The first handgun I owned was a single action 22 revolver. And when I finished working on it you could hit what you aimed at. I have never heard that sights were "just a suggestion" for an aiming point. I want nothing handed to me. I will get what I want. And I want my guns to have working sights. If all you expect is for your guns to just hit in the general area of where you are shooting then you shouldn't have any trouble finding guns that meet your low expectations.

    And I guess Mike Beliveau wanted more than just general area hits from his guns or he wouldn't have went through the trouble of making his gun shoot well enough to hit a 2" target at 15 yards.
     
  6. hawg

    hawg Member

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    I learn where my guns hit. I don't need to make physical adjustments. Very few of my centerfires have adjustable sights.
     
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  7. ThomasT

    ThomasT Member

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    If that works for you then run with it. When I first starting shooting and buying gun mags in 1982 most of the Mike Venturino articles on single actions were about making them shoot to the sights. And just so you know I spend almost no time at all at the range. Shooting targets is just to get sighted in. After that its time to get out in the field and either hunt or shoot at targets of opportunity. And the best way to do that, at least for me is to use a gun that shoots to the sights.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2022
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  8. armoredman

    armoredman Member

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    i agree - my 1858 and 1851 both shoot high. I am hoping I can find replacement front sights somewhere, but I had been told the same thing, that BP revolvers were originally sighted in for 75 yards. Optimistic in the extreme.
     
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  9. hawg

    hawg Member

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    I don't hunt with handguns and I don't punch paper so as long as I can hit a Coke can at 25 yards I'm happy.


    They were sighted to either hit a man on a horse or the horse not a bullseye.
     
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  10. armoredman

    armoredman Member

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    I think the chance of me shooting at a man on a horse with this baby is probably pretty darn small...I mean, I could be wrong, been wrong before, (just ask my wife), but still...I would like to center punch a coyote or other small game, maybe.
     
  11. hawg

    hawg Member

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    I don't shoot much paper so this is a target I shot when I first got it. Pietta 1851, 25 grains of 2F with a round ball between 20-25 yards, one hand unsupported.

    2nirKxVl.jpg
     
  12. armoredman

    armoredman Member

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    You are better than I am, sir.
     
  13. derek45

    derek45 Member

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    Surprisingly, my Uberti 1851 London Navy shoots point of aim.

    oebXE9q.jpg
     
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  14. Blackpowderwarrior

    Blackpowderwarrior Member

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    @derek45
    thats one of the prettiest 51 londons ive ever seen brother
     
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  15. Jackrabbit1957

    Jackrabbit1957 Member

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    Sights were put on the gun for a reason. To hit what you point it at. That's the only kind of gun control I will advocate.
     
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  16. derek45

    derek45 Member

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    thanks

    I ordered it from MIDWAYUSA sight unseen

    iJsbYf9.jpg
     
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  17. Y-T71

    Y-T71 Member

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    I bought my son a Pietta '51 navy for Christmas 2-3 years ago.

    Great shooting pistol!

    With 18gr of Goex 3f it shoots nice, tight groups at POA from ~25 feet.
     
  18. doubleh

    doubleh Member

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    I finally got around to buying one of those earlier this year. Nice but I prefer the feel of the '60. Wasn't the '51 Wild Bill Hickok's choice of arms even after the '60 arrived?
     
  19. hawg

    hawg Member

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    Wild Bill favored the 1851 after the 1873 Colt's came out. It is said that he switched to a cartridge version of the 1851 before 1875.
     
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