Remington No. 4 revolver, what ammo does this take?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by jlbraun, Jun 20, 2014.

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  1. jlbraun

    jlbraun Member

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    So this is the revolver we found in my grandmother's bottom drawer after her death.

    11016076_1.jpg

    It's a Remington No. 4 revolver.

    No caliber is marked, but it's a centerfire.

    I read that this gun was made in both .38 and .41. But what ammo will fit it?

    In .38, there is:
    .38 S&W
    .38 Long Colt
    .38 Short Colt
    .38-40
    .38 Colt Navy
    .38 Special

    In .41, there is:
    .41 Short Colt
    .41 Mag (probably not)

    Any help?
     
  2. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Almost has to be .38 S&W.

    No chance it is any of the others except .41 short Colt, which wasn't very common at all.

    And it was a rim-fire cartridge.

    If it's a center-fire, it's a .38 S&W Short.

    But, I would not reccomend shooting it anyway.

    The fewer times you cock it, or snap it?
    The longer it will be before you break some part you simply cannot replace.

    rc
     
  3. Twiki357

    Twiki357 Member

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    I love that classic shape and it looks in pretty good condition. I wish a reputable American company would make that style gun in a modern caliber with a swing out cylinder.
     
  4. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    The No 4 came out in 1877 so it could theoretically be a .38 S&W if Remington management were sharp enough to realize that the cartridge S&W introduced the year before was superior.
    However, since the gun was made in both rimfire and centerfire, I am thinking it is liklier to be in .38 Short Colt because that would be the same chamber and bore as a .38 Rimfire.

    Even Roy Marcot does not specify just which .32 and .38 centerfires the Remington revolvers of the 1870s used.
     
  5. jlbraun

    jlbraun Member

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    So it looks like it's between .38 S&W and .38 Short Colt. Will only one fit? Is there a chamber pressure difference between the two? I read that some of the .38s were black powder instead of smokeless, I'd imagine it would damage the gun if I fired a smokeless cartridge in it if it wasn't designed for it.
     
  6. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    A .38 S&W SHOULD not chamber in a .38 Short Colt, but it shouldn't chamber in a .38 Special, either; and some cartridges will in some guns. Tolerances overlap.

    A gun made in the 1880s was surely for black powder.
    .38 S&W and SC are not loaded any hotter now than they ever were, but some say that the pressure curve of smokeless is harder on the gun than black. Some say not.
    I shot a S&W Single Action .38 2nd Model with smokeless, A LITTLE... before selling it to a collector.
     
  7. BCRider

    BCRider Member

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    If you're serious about finding what ammo it uses and shooting it even occasionally then I'd suggest you do a chamber casting with Cerrosafe and measure the cast plug and compare it for size and any tapering along with the location or even presence of a throat step.

    If there's no step that forms a throat at the front of the chamber then it means that it must be set up to use heeled bullets. Which should also narrow down the list of possible cartridges.
     
  8. Dframe

    Dframe Member

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    Good advice from Bcrider. I'd suggest if you choose to fire it, that you use black powder for a gun thats over 130 years old.
     
  9. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    Or better yet, one of the more stable BP substitutes like Pyrodex. Pyrodex P is a FFFg BP equivalent and designed for handgun use.

    Alliant Black MZ is also highly thought of for cartridge loading because it's moisture resistant and practically none corrosive because of it's formulation. (I think it's citrus based)

    IMO if you have the pistol checked by a competent gunsmith and you get the OK I would use one of the BP substitutes to make the ammo. (or buy BP ammo from Ten-X)
     
  10. Jim K

    Jim K Member.

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    It is a near certainty that that Remington is chambered for .38 S&W; other than Colt, only a very few American makers chambered their guns for .38 Short/Long Colt. Many foreign makers did, by copying the British .380 CF revolver cartridge which is almost identical to the .38 Short Colt.

    Jim
     
  11. jlbraun

    jlbraun Member

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    Dagnabbit, I think it's missing a spring. The cylinder only advances if you cock the hammer while the muzzle is pointed down. The pawl isn't held against the cylinder.

    Anyone know of a schematic for this gun?
     
  12. BCRider

    BCRider Member

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    Just so you know and we're all on the same page that "pawl" is called the "hand". And the hand engages the pawl teeth on the cylinder. And clearly if it's not spring loaded against the pawl teeth then you've got a broken or missing hand spring.

    A lot of the older guns used small leaf springs for many things as they were easier to make back in the day. So if you take the gun apart you'll likely find the stub end of a small leaf of the spring left in the swaged in notch on the hand.

    It's not hard to make a new one from a spring steel source such as the thin spring tape from an old tape measure. But if you're not the handy sort it's likely something best left to a gunsmith.

    I didn't mention it in my previous post. Likely got caught up in the other suggestions. But WOW! Is that gun EVER in NICE SHAPE! ! ! ! You've got yerself a real jewel there.
     
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