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Why aren't .36 calibers the same diameter as .357/.38?

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by TTv2, Feb 12, 2018.

  1. TTv2

    TTv2 Member

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    So, I know that it's historically accurate and all that jazz, but I was thinking wouldn't it be better for shooters if the .36 caliber revolvers that Pietta and Uberti made had a bore diameter of .355 so that .360 diameter balls (000 Buckshot diameter) could be used in the percussion cylinder and conversions for .38 Special wouldn't have the issue of the oversized bore?

    Given the design of the Colt replicas, if one really wanted to have the historically accurate .375 diameter, they could have that by switching the cylinder and the barrel. In fact, I don't see why Pietta/Uberti don't offer such cylinders and barrels already. If they did, they'd probably make more money off those .36 calibers they already make.

    Idk, what do you guys think? Great idea or am I a stupid kid with a dream?
     
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  2. Crawdad1

    Crawdad1 Member

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    A friend was thinking about doing this. Buying a 51 or 61 Navy with a spare barrel and sending it off to Hoof Hearted to have the barrel relined to 357, That way for round ball he uses the one barrel/cylinder combo and for 38 Long Colt uses another barrel/cylinder combo.

    Your idea requires that you get Pietta/Uberti to agree and that might take some doing. His idea costs include another barrel and conversion cylinder but you can do it yourself and right now.

    This guy does incredible work.

    http://www.cartridgeconversion.com/
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2018
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  3. expat_alaska

    expat_alaska Member

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    "They could have that by switching the cylinder and the barrel."

    With what? Do you have a parts source?

    Pietta/Uberti don't offer such a thing because it is not on their menu. Tooling costs a bunch and if they see no market they won't do it.

    You are talking about a revolver design (even if a modern replica) made over 150 years ago. The bore diameter is about .380. Don't think that it is a modern .357/.38/9mm. Different era. If you entertain a conversion to a .38 Special conversion, that .355/.357 bullet will rattle down the barrel and you will have no accuracy whatsoever. Forget about a conversion and shoot it for what it is.

    Pietta and Uberti made replicas and did not try to replicate the modern .357 bore diameters.

    Shooters of .36 Navy pistols are not concerned about that. They are interested in the past, and the present. :)

    All that jazz.

    Jim
     
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  4. TTv2

    TTv2 Member

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    I've seen his work before. I remember back when I was entertaining the idea of having an 1862 Pocket Police barre relined to .312 for a .32 S&W conversion that others had suggested contacting him to do that work. I've long given up on the idea of that type of conversion because there are plenty of top break .32's that will shoot .32 S&W Long and not just the shorter and more expensive .32 S&W.

    If one is really into converting to a .38 Colt, lining the barrel is really the best option. My idea though is for Pietta/Uberti to start producing cylinders with chambers that are smaller so that a ball of 000 buck could be used instead of a .375 ball for percussion shooting because the cost of 000 Buck is cheap... really cheap. A 5 pound box of Hornady 000 Buck, about 500 balls, costs around $30. Hornady .375 muzzleloading balls would cost $50 for the same amount of balls.

    The easy convertibility to .38 Colt or .38 Special would just be icing on the cake. If Pietta/Uberti did it and mass produced it, it wouldn't cost $150 for the labor.

    Personally, I like shooting percussion, but I don't care if I'm using a .360 ball or a .375 ball, I just like using the same barrel for shooting a .360 ball and .38 Colt like I do for my .44 cap and balls with .45 Colt.
     
  5. TTv2

    TTv2 Member

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    Uberti makes a Richards-Mason that uses a .38 Special bore and barrel. Now, if they made the chambers of the percussion cylinder .358" so that a .360 000 Buck ball would be a good fit, Uberti can use that Richards-Mason barrel and offer a true .36 caliber revolver that shooters could shoot a cheaper projectile and have an easier conversion to .38 Colt or Special if they so desired.

    The tooling to ream a .358 diameter chamber is not expensive at all. Plenty of .358 reamers are out there, plus with how soft everyone claims the Italian steels are, the perishable tooling would last a long time. The fixtures would just need smaller diameter pins for locating the cylinders on the machines. I'm a manufacturing engineer, it would cost very little to do that and could entice a lot of people on the fence to finally buy a .36 caliber percussion revolver.

    It's still a replica, just with modern features for more convenience. Having to buy a spare barrel and send it to someone to reline it for the smaller diameter is a waste. Pietta/Uberti making their own barrels would cut out the middleman. They could offer both the .375 revolvers they make now for those who want the most historically accurate 1851/1861 Navy's and 1862 Pocket Police revolvers, but offer .360 revolvers for those who just want to shoot them and do it cheaply and convert them easily.

    Don't see why you're so upset about such an idea. Of course shooting a .38 Colt down a .375 diameter bore is going to result in bad accuracy, I'm not saying that.
     
  6. rodwha

    rodwha Member

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    I’ve often heard it said that buckshot is too hard for cap n ball use. I’m not even sure of what BHN you find from company to company or how that stresses the components being oversized the way they are.
     
  7. expat_alaska

    expat_alaska Member

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    I am not upset about it as much as the idea about shooting a .357 bullet down a .380 barrel is a good idea accuracy wise, as you have noted. That was my main concern.

    Sorry if I fluffed some feathers.

    Have a good night folks.
     
  8. TTv2

    TTv2 Member

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    Hmm... for the .31 C&B's, the 1849 and 1863 Pockets, I've seen people recommend using 0 Buck because it's larger in diameter and the chambers and bore diameter of those are pretty out of whack. I have heard that it can be a bit difficult to ram the ball into the chamber, but it's doable even with such short levers and small guns. I'm sure in larger revolvers with longer loading levers it would not be as difficult ramming a .360" ball into a .357/.358 chamber.

    As for hardness, I think I'm gonna contact Hornday tomorrow and ask them what BHN they hold their buckshot to. I'm seeing some claiming that most buckshot is around 8.5 BHN, with the premium stuff over 10. I would think 10 BHN for a .360 ball wouldn't be impossible to seat into a chamber.

    Also, when it comes to shooting, I've spoken in the past with the guy at Taylor's for cap and ball conversions and he told me that the conversion cylinders and the cap and ball revolvers can handle any lead bullet going up to 1000 fps, even hard cast lead. That's for a bullet, not a round ball, so I have no doubts the guns in their percussion configuration can shoot a harder cast or swaged ball.
     
  9. rodwha

    rodwha Member

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    As to the hardness it’s the stress on the loading lever and frame. I don’t know but some have claimed to have broken even an 1858 Remington, though I don’t know if it was due to harder lead or what now (that or well oversized projectiles).

    I’ve read of the ratchet teeth giving out and breaking off on Colts, but again I don’t know why.

    Like you I’ve read of people suggesting buck shot as it’s cheaper and easy. But it seems some people have had failures for one reason or another, and if it was a reason other than hard lead then the harder lead would exasperate the problem.
     
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  10. Crawdad1

    Crawdad1 Member

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    You would have something right now as opposed to waiting for an Italian manufacturer to make a decision regarding cutting a new caliber barrel. That may take a lifetime waiting for those guys to make a decision.
     
  11. Loyalist Dave

    Loyalist Dave Member

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    What the Italians did back in the 1960's, and what they do today can be a mystery. There are several "houses" that produced cap-n-ball revolvers out of Italy that made revolvers for Europe. It's likely that the countries where they were in demand had some sort of restrictions on bores that matched modern ammunition, AND probably had laws that did not apply to the revolvers so long as they were copies of the originals. ;) Once the copies were in production, it's very hard as long as sales are maintained, to get the Italians to switch to anything. They will discontinue stuff since that doesn't cost them any money, but switch....not so much.

    An example is the Pedersoli Bess, which is supposed to be a 2nd Model, a Short Land Pattern British musket, but the musket copied by the Italians was probably either a militia musket made in England for use by what we'd think of as a home guard, or a civilian contracted copy of the actual musket, which was misidentified in the 1960's as a Brown Bess. Further it is not an accurate musket for the F&I War (The Seven Years War in Europe) and it's wrong for the Napoleonic Wars. Yet they still crank them out and get $1600.00 for them with the bayonet. :confused: Seven Years War reenactors and Napoleonic Reenactors are doomed to use them even though they are very very incorrect when it comes to history. :fire:

    Pedersoli could retool the lock, and the sideplate, and produce a correct musket for the F&I, and the American Revolution, for reenactors, and add the correct 3rd Model Bess for the Napoleonic crowd in Europe. But..., they don't. WORSE, they also produce a short Bess Carbine which doesn't conform to any known Bess in existence...., it's a fantasy gun.
    :what:
    The Japanese tried to cut in on the market in the 1970's, but the Bess that they used was damaged, and the trigger guards kept that damage all through production. :confused: They, however, were trying to cut in on an established market with a very similar product.

    So NOW your idea is good. It's an extra sale to all those folks who currently own .36 cap-n-ball revolvers, so might make a pretty penny, in addition sales of newly designed .357 black powder revolvers to new owners. They owners could use modern .357 molds, and soft lead, and have no worries, and a .357/.38 conversion cylinder would not need for the shooter to use bullets with a deep base cavity to cause the bullet to flare before it enters the forcing cone, and hits the rifling to give better accuracy. BUT....,

    What kind of liability do the revolver makers face IF somebody puts one of the new barrels onto the old cap and ball revolver, neglecting to switch over to the proper matching cylinder, and tries to launch a .376 projectile through a .357 barrel? :scrutiny:
    What kind of stress on the steel or worse the brass frames, happens if folks are shooting from a .357 chambered cap-n-ball cylinder, into a .357 barrel, BUT they aren't using soft lead hand cast bullets, but have bought very hard cast, lead alloy bullets made for modern handguns. :scrutiny:
    Do the manufacturers need to use better quality steel in their frames to cover possible high stress and lower product life, and thus raise the price, when for right now sales are good? :scrutiny:

    There are probably other factors involved, but as long as they are satisfied with their incoming money and sales...., nothing will change.

    LD
     
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  12. Ephraim Kibbey

    Ephraim Kibbey Member

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    Their answer would be another bill board message on the barrel like the "BLACK POWDER ONLY."
    ".357 CYLINDER ONLY"
    Then a response of "you were warned!"
     
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  13. CraigC
    • Contributing Member

    CraigC Member

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    Uberti and Pietta really don't care what you do with them once you buy them, including cartridge conversion work.

    Proper cartridge conversions are not meant to be convertibles, never were.
     
  14. Loyalist Dave

    Loyalist Dave Member

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    Because that's fool proof and always works in court?:confused: Often it doesn't even come down to what will happen in court, but what it will cost to settle out of court, by an insurance company or a legal firm representing the manufacturer, or simply for the defense in court. They will still have to pay, if not the person injured, then the lawyers. ;)

    :eek: OH and you're forgetting that such a disclaimer works in England, Australia, Canada, Scotland, Ireland, New Zealand, a few other places, and the United States, but no place else in Continental Europe or the Balkans. I doubt they'd produce specific barrels with the disclaimer in each nation's language.

    LD
     
  15. Crawdad1

    Crawdad1 Member

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    Just mark it under the loading lever "357 barrel" This can be done right now by relining the barrel so why wait for Pietta/Uberti to do something. If you do then you'll probably be waiting a long time.
     
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  16. Carl N. Brown

    Carl N. Brown Member

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    .36 Colt 1851 replicas simply reproduce the original chamber and barrel specifications.
    I dug out my semi-retired .36 1851 Colt replica. A .357 bullet for reloading .38 Special/.357 Mag falls down the barrel without hanging.
    The .375 cast ball for loading the .36 1851 replica gets crushed down somewhat when you ram it into the cylinder. I suspect the barrel bore diameter is at least .36" and the groove diameter is slightly larger.
    The 19th century .38 Rimfire cartridge used in Model 1851 conversion is listed as loaded with a .375" bullet. There was also a .38 centerfire version of the cartridge, .38 Short Colt with .375" heeled bullet. In both, the bullet was almost the diameter of the case which was .379", with a reduced "heel" that went inside the case.
     
  17. RecoilRob

    RecoilRob Member

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    There you go!:) The heeled 38's were actually very close to their listed calibers, but when it became desirable to fit the bullet within the case....they had to use the .357" to get it within the same case diameter. Much the same happened with the '44's which when loaded internally are .429"...but are still called '44's.
     
  18. Carl N. Brown

    Carl N. Brown Member

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    Back to the opening post, a repro "navy" .36 Colt 1851 or .36 Remington 1858 bored at .355" or .357" that would allow use of 000 buck for ball and .357 lead bullets for conical plus better support .38 Spl cartridge conversion might be practical, I just don't know if enough cap'n'ball shooters would go for it to make it economical.
     
  19. CraigC
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    CraigC Member

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    We should consider ourselves lucky that the factory cartridge conversion replicas are chambered in .38Spl and are configured for modern .358" inside lubed bullets.
     

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