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Very Sexy Single Action
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3ric
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January 22, 2019 - 6:43 pm
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As much as I love the Dan Wesson revolvers, I have to admit to a secret love affair with the original Colt revolver designs. The 1851 Navy and the 1860 Army stand out as arguably the most attractive revolvers ever made. I owned a (replica) 1860 Army once, and while I enjoyed shooting it, the meticulous cleanup afterward made me enjoy it a bit less. All that black powder (corrosive) soot buildup, the percussion cap failures and the billowing clouds of stinky smoke just weren’t what I bargained for. I know some folks are really into it, and I fully understand it; just not for me on a regular basis.

Enter the cartridge conversion revolvers! Only about 7,000 of these were originally made mostly in 1871 & 1872. Original Colts used black powder cartridges of course, but today’s excellent Uberti reproductions are intended for modern smokeless powder cartridges. For me it’s the perfect compromise. I get to appreciate the open top revolver design with all its beauty, but with the convenience of a gun that operates as easily as any Colt SAA or its clones. Beautifully crafted firearms with surprisingly excellent accuracy as well. This one is chambered in .45 Colt.IMG_0651.jpgImage Enlarger

  

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Supermagfan
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January 23, 2019 - 8:17 am
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That is a nice conversion.  I just bought a Cimarron .38 Special conversion ‘Man with no name’ gun.  The craftsmanship is outstanding.  They are cool pieces. 

A man cannot have too many SuperMags

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3ric
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January 23, 2019 - 2:20 pm
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The “Man With No Name” gun is the ultimate conversion in my opinion. Closer in appearance to an actual cap and ball revolver as it does not have the added ejector rod assembly. Please let us know how it shoots, and it would be great if you could post a photo!

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January 23, 2019 - 4:35 pm
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 If you're going to drink, don't drive. Don't even putt. 

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Rex Beachmont
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March 17, 2019 - 11:36 pm
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My Baby Lets Me Do What I Want 

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3ric
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April 13, 2020 - 4:10 pm
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I’ve finally found the time to grab a quick photo of this gun in action. Sorry for the poor image quality.

We’ve all seen photos of revolvers being fired with the camera capturing the exact moment of ignition, and they are very interesting. Since there is no top strap on an open top revolver to redirect the flames outward, all of the flaming goes straight up!

These are consecutive frames from the video footage, and unfortunately the gun is already starting to recoil, hence the blurry image. Still a cool photo.Frame-08-04-2020-08-02-22-1.jpgImage Enlarger

Frame-08-04-2020-08-22-58.jpgImage Enlarger

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Charger Fan
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April 13, 2020 - 10:59 pm
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I agree, that is a cool photo. Great looking gun too, thanks for sharing your photos!

Be yourself, everyone else is already taken.

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Gary J
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April 21, 2020 - 5:35 pm
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3ric said
As much as I love the Dan Wesson revolvers, I have to admit to a secret love affair with the original Colt revolver designs. The 1851 Navy and the 1860 Army stand out as arguably the most attractive revolvers ever made. I owned a (replica) 1860 Army once, and while I enjoyed shooting it, the meticulous cleanup afterward made me enjoy it a bit less. All that black powder (corrosive) soot buildup, the percussion cap failures and the billowing clouds of stinky smoke just weren’t what I bargained for. I know some folks are really into it, and I fully understand it; just not for me on a regular basis.

Enter the cartridge conversion revolvers! Only about 7,000 of these were originally made mostly in 1871 & 1872. Original Colts used black powder cartridges of course, but today’s excellent Uberti reproductions are intended for modern smokeless powder cartridges. For me it’s the perfect compromise. I get to appreciate the open top revolver design with all its beauty, but with the convenience of a gun that operates as easily as any Colt SAA or its clones. Beautifully crafted firearms with surprisingly excellent accuracy as well. This one is chambered in .45 Colt.IMG_0651.jpgImage Enlarger

    

  I have to agree with you. The Colt1860, .44 cal. to me is one of the most beautiful revolvers I have seen. It is a work of art and simplicity. I have a repro of the original black powder Colt. I had the barrel reblued. I put a nickel for the front sight. You know these were made to shoot about 18 inches high. You always aimed at a person’s belt buckle. I made my front sight higher, so it would shoot more accurate. I think with the conversion cylinders you have to shoot cowboy loads. Since it doesn’t have the top strap, the frame is not that strong. They advise that on the Old Army Ruger too. Colt put a Navel battle scene on the cylinder. Those copycat companies could not afford the roll press Colt used on the cylinder pictures. Here are a couple of pics.20200421_170537.jpgImage Enlarger

20200421_171357.jpgImage Enlarger
20200421_171537.jpgImage Enlarger

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3ric
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April 21, 2020 - 11:56 pm
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Nice to see an 1860 Army again! Brings back fond memories, but I still don’t miss the Black Powder clean up after a shooting session. Mine shot about 18 inches high at 20 feet first time out as I recall. Soldered some additional brass onto the front sight and shaped it into a nice V shaped bead. Lucky guess on the height; was dead on after that. Beautiful revolver. Got mine from Cabela’s delivered to my front door for $99.00 if I remember right (about 1990 or so). Sold it a few years later, but I sometimes wish I hadn’t.

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3ric
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May 2, 2020 - 1:08 am
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Just feel I have to backtrack a bit here on comments made about open top revolvers.

First; they are not a weak design. They’ve been with us for almost 185 years, and the only ones ever damaged were from chain fires. The longitudinal stress is on the arbor which is every bit as close to the bore axis as the top strap is on a modern revolver.

Second; the forged steel frames used on Uberti replicas are stronger than anything Samuel Colt could have imagined is his wildest dreams, and all other parts are of modern steel properly heat treated for whatever the chambering is. Italy requires 130% proof testing, and Uberti complies on every arm they make.

Third; they have the potential for superb accuracy, even though at the time they were invented the intended use was to kill humans (or the horses they rode on) at combat distances, and thus had poor sighting capabilities, but excellent pointing qualities.

Think of it this way: a modern revolver is a gun with a barrel attached; an open top revolver is a barrel with a gun attached. The barrel is free to vibrate in almost the same way as in a floating barreled rifle design. Despite its primitive sighting arrangement I usually shoot my best group of the day with this open top .45 colt. My DWs come in a very close second, but will occasionally group a tiny bit better.  

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Gary J
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May 15, 2020 - 1:33 pm
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In3ric said
Just feel I have to backtrack a bit here on comments made about open top revolvers.

First; they are not a weak design. They’ve been with us for almost 185 years, and the only ones ever damaged were from chain fires. The longitudinal stress is on the arbor which is every bit as close to the bore axis as the top strap is on a modern revolver.

Second; the forged steel frames used on Uberti replicas are stronger than anything Samuel Colt could have imagined is his wildest dreams, and all other parts are of modern steel properly heat treated for whatever the chambering is. Italy requires 130% proof testing, and Uberti complies on every arm they make.

Third; they have the potential for superb accuracy, even though at the time they were invented the intended use was to kill humans (or the horses they rode on) at combat distances, and thus had poor sighting capabilities, but excellent pointing qualities.

Think of it this way: a modern revolver is a gun with a barrel attached; an open top revolver is a barrel with a gun attached. The barrel is free to vibrate in almost the same way as in a floating barreled rifle design. Despite its primitive sighting arrangement I usually shoot my best group of the day with this open top .45 colt. My DWs come in a very close second, but will occasionally group a tiny bit better.  

  

  I agree with you on the strength of the 1860. It is impressive. It is perfect for what it was designed for. However some people would like to load it hot for hunting. And maybe use Ojama hunting bullets. 220, 240, 255 gr. I would be afraid of doing that. And using Triple 7 powder 3F which is about 25 % more powerful than Goex powder in 3F.

  The ROA was made to shoot hot loads. It has the strength of a 44 magnum frame and a strap. The strap is a nice safety feature that reduces shrapnel flying everywhere should there be a catastrophic failure. I think there is a limit to how far you can push a 1800’s reproduction revolver vs. a Ruger Old Army .45. I realize they are 2 different animals.

  Its Its interesting that the conversion cylinder companies want you to use cowboy loads in their cylinders. I would think they would make their cylinders to with stand regular load pressures. 

  After the 1860’s many of the percussion revolvers were coverted to use a conversion cylinder for the new cartridges. It was cheaper than buying a new pistol.

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3ric
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May 15, 2020 - 7:38 pm
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It’s interesting to me that Ruger never made their own conversion cylinders for the Old Army. They would have been extremely strong of course, but perhaps they feared folks would start hot rodding .45 Colt loadings to +P thinking the gun would hold together no matter what. No amount of Black Powder would blow up a ROA, but smokeless is a completely different matter.rnThe Kirst conversion cylinders should handle SAAMI .45 Colt loads with no problem. In their literature they classify “Cowboy” loads as anything below 1000 fps. Most Cowboy ammo that I’ve encountered is around 700-750, well below that, and standard SAAMI .45 Colt loadings run around 850 fps, again no problem.rnI have no intention of running anything but standard SAAMI pressures in either of my Uberti .45 Colts, but see no need to limit my choices to Cowboy loads.rnA friend of mine bought some “Deer Slayer” .45 Colt loads one time at a gun show. They were 1000 fps jacketed hollow points, but still within SAAMI pressures, supposedly. We shot a few through his Uberti and it was like shooting a .357! The gun held together, but a steady diet of such ammo would no doubt be very hard on it.rnInteresting you mention the post Civil War era Colt conversions. Most of these were not conversion cylinders (like the present day Kirst), but rather the original cylinders were bored through for cartridges. They then milled off the area where the percussion nipples had been and inserted a huge washer that not only filled the space but also housed a loading gate. An ejector was added to the right side and “voila”; a cartridge Colt! This is the design my open top is based on, only beefed up to accommodate the .45 Colt cartridge.rnI saw a photo of an original once that had been an 1860 Army. I noticed tiny little “windows” in the bottom of the bolt cuts that resulted from boring the original cylinder through. It would take a braver man than me to shoot that one!

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Gary J
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May 15, 2020 - 7:57 pm
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3ric said
It’s interesting to me that Ruger never made their own conversion cylinders for the Old Army. They would have been extremely strong of course, but perhaps they feared folks would start hot rodding .45 Colt loadings to +P thinking the gun would hold together no matter what. No amount of Black Powder would blow up a ROA, but smokeless is a completely different matter.rnThe Kirst conversion cylinders should handle SAAMI .45 Colt loads with no problem. In their literature they classify “Cowboy” loads as anything below 1000 fps. Most Cowboy ammo that I’ve encountered is around 700-750, well below that, and standard SAAMI .45 Colt loadings run around 850 fps, again no problem.rnI have no intention of running anything but standard SAAMI pressures in either of my Uberti .45 Colts, but see no need to limit my choices to Cowboy loads.rnA friend of mine bought some “Deer Slayer” .45 Colt loads one time at a gun show. They were 1000 fps jacketed hollow points, but still within SAAMI pressures, supposedly. We shot a few through his Uberti and it was like shooting a .357! The gun held together, but a steady diet of such ammo would no doubt be very hard on it.rnInteresting you mention the post Civil War era Colt conversions. Most of these were not conversion cylinders (like the present day Kirst), but rather the original cylinders were bored through for cartridges. They then milled off the area where the percussion nipples had been and inserted a huge washer that not only filled the space but also housed a loading gate. An ejector was added to the right side and “voila”; a cartridge Colt! This is the design my open top is based on, only beefed up to accommodate the .45 Colt cartridge.rnI saw a photo of an original once that had been an 1860 Army. I noticed tiny little “windows” in the bottom of the bolt cuts that resulted from boring the original cylinder through. It would take a braver man than me to shoot that one!

  

   I’m surprised Ruger didn’t make a conversion cylinder too. They were made from 1972 to 2008.  Bill Ruger did test the ROA with smokeless powder and a ball in all chambers to the max to see if the frame was as strong as a 44 magnum. It was built off the Black Hawk frame design. It survived that test with flying colors. I would never try it. In some countries there are guys that use a tad of smokeless powder in their percussion revolvers. That is flirting with danger. YouTube has a guy doing that and it seems to work. He may not have a sequel to his first video.  I enjoy all the black powder pistols, revolvers, rifles and shotguns. To make up that special load. Well, nothing is too good for our little friends.

  I have read where ATF is going after gun sellers that sell percussion revolvers and include a conversion cylinder in the same shipment. They say, it has to go though FFL, because of the conversion cylinder. Whats next? 

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3ric
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May 18, 2020 - 1:21 am
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Bill Ruger shooting his Old Army with smokeless powder was definitely a fun experiment, but not really a definitive test. I’m sure a higher than normal pressure curve was achieved, but not what would have been present with a Magnum pistol primer and a crimped bullet which of course cannot be achieved on that revolver. The round ball would have started moving down the barrel before the percussion cap could burn the smokeless powder to its full potential. Still, it was a more formidable test than with any amount of BP. As for mixing BP and smokeless; the results would be unpredictable and therefore dangerous! I would never try it.

I guess the ATF feels that a cap and ball revolver shipped with a conversion cylinder becomes a modern firearm since the recipient merely has to go to their local gun store to purchase a box of ammo and go shoot somebody. I guess they have a point.

This discussion has however reignited (pun intended) my interest in BP. Who knows, I may not be able to fight off the urge to get myself an 1860 Army!

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Gary J
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May 18, 2020 - 10:56 am
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3ric said
Bill Ruger shooting his Old Army with smokeless powder was definitely a fun experiment, but not really a definitive test. I’m sure a higher than normal pressure curve was achieved, but not what would have been present with a Magnum pistol primer and a crimped bullet which of course cannot be achieved on that revolver. The round ball would have started moving down the barrel before the percussion cap could burn the smokeless powder to its full potential. Still, it was a more formidable test than with any amount of BP. As for mixing BP and smokeless; the results would be unpredictable and therefore dangerous! I would never try it.

I guess the ATF feels that a cap and ball revolver shipped with a conversion cylinder becomes a modern firearm since the recipient merely has to go to their local gun store to purchase a box of ammo and go shoot somebody. I guess they have a point.

This discussion has however reignited (pun intended) my interest in BP. Who knows, I may not be able to fight off the urge to get myself an 1860 Army!

  

  Eric, remember the smell of black powder in the morning. Almost as nice as the aroma coffee and bacon blowing in the wind. The report of a black powder revolver echoing memories of the 1800’s. No pressure, Eric! 

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May 18, 2020 - 12:51 pm
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