The OFFICIAL Sniper's Hide black powder / single action revolver thread.

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  • The OFFICIAL Sniper's Hide Black Powder / Single Action Revolver Thread.

    We at the Hide already cover a huge variety of firearms and shooting styles. This particular category hasn't gotten much attention so I decided to start a discussion section for our black powder shooters and hunters.

    From flintlock Kentucky long rifles and Jaegers of the Revolutionary War period to modern in-line and 209-ignition magnum hunting rifles. From the first successful Colt revolving pistol built in 1836 to the tested, timeless, and ageless symbol of rugged dependability: the Model 1873 Single Action Army, and everything in between, this is the thread to talk about them and post photos and videos, as well as tell stories of Old West lore, the Civil War and the Indian Wars. Major world conflicts fought with these weapons are also discussed here.

    Discuss your favorite hunting and target loads, powders, primers, projectiles, long range accuracy tests, ballistic performance, favorite cleaning methods, and gunsmithing issues.

    HUNTERS: There are PLENTY of us who have harvested game and continues to harvest game with black powder revolvers and rifles. Share stories and pictures here.

    In this thread, COLT'S and REMINGTON'S rule. ( And of course, every other type of handgun which had played an instrumental role in the taming of the western frontier and paved the way for all of the modern firearms technology that we have today. )

    I MYSELF own and sometimes carry a Remington Model 1858, in both percussion and cartridge conversion mode. And like one of the most famous Remington revolver shooters in history: William F. "Buffalo Bill" Cody, mine has never failed me either.




    Remington Model 1858 with .45 Long Colt KIRST conversion cylinder installed:
     
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    Flyboy_451

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    Think this might be my first post... I do a lot of lurking. Lol

    This is easily my most prized pistol. A 500 Linebaugh built by Dustin Linebaugh. Base gun is a Ruger Vaquero. 4 3/4" octagon barrel, Bisley grip frame with perfectly fit French Walnut panels. Looks and shoots fantastic!

    Justin IMG_1918.jpgIMG_1886.JPG
     

    footsteps

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    Douglas-001

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    Colts......rule... and something else I think he said... not quite sure about the apostrophes though.. (insert thoughtful emoji...) Before and after. Rig made by Indian Creek Leather and Grips engraved by Sylvan Studio. No connection with either other than a paying customer who spends his money in his backyard with people who actually take time to talk to the customer. Some great looking classics so far! Great picture of the .500! Scientists now know how the universe started! Big Bang....get it..? (insert thoughtful emoji)

    IMG_2081.jpgIMG_2082.JPGIMG_2428.JPGIMG_2429.JPG
     

    Flyboy_451

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    here is one I built as a birthday present for my brother last year. Started with a Ruger Super Blackhawk. Built a new cylinder chambered in 45 Colt, fit a Bisley grip frame and custom panels, made an octagon barrel and hexagon ejector rod housing and fit to frame.
     

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    myronman3

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    ruger flat top 44 special. Ebony grips (that are a little off). i have a set of stag grips enroute that should fit perfectly. An ivory bead front sight. I am especially proud of that, as i cut the dovetail by hand with a file. I was nervous before i started, but went with the mindset that “God hates a coward” and everything turned out great. It shoots like a dream.
     

    bourbonbent

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    View attachment 7078495

    ruger flat top 44 special. Ebony grips (that are a little off). i have a set of stag grips enroute that should fit perfectly. An ivory bead front sight. I am especially proud of that, as i cut the dovetail by hand with a file. I was nervous before i started, but went with the mindset that “God hates a coward” and everything turned out great. It shoots like a dream.
    It’s shocking what you can do with that attitude. When you never hear what you can’t do, all sorts of things become possible.

    How about a close up of the work you did? That sort of thing is up my alley.

    Stag grips are awesome. I can’t decide if I want to make some stag or sheep grips for my Vaquero.
     
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    myronman3

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    I practiced once on a piece of scrap steel i had. I figured a bit of practice first would be a great idea. Also it is important to use the right tool...in this case it was a one sided triangle file i got from brownells. The file was like 30 bucks..but worth every penny of it.

    I was poking around online, and found a guy within an hour of me that makes the grips. He guarantees the fit to frame, so i sent him a check. In the next week or two i expect them to arrive, will post pictures then. I do really like the ebony grips but the fit i am unhappy with. http://www.sackpeterson.com/

    i have a freedom arms 44 special as well, and i cant tell you which one i like more. the FA is definately built tighter...but i have a lot of pride in the ruger.
     
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    bourbonbent

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    I practiced once on a piece of scrap steel i had. I figured a bit of practice first would be a great idea. Also it is important to use the right tool...in this case it was a one sided triangle file i got from brownells. The file was like 30 bucks..but worth every penny of it.

    I was poking around online, and found a guy within an hour of me that makes the grips. He guarantees the fit to frame, so i sent him a check. In the next week or two i expect them to arrive, will post pictures then. I do really like the ebony grips but the fit i am unhappy with. http://www.sackpeterson.com/

    i have a freedom arms 44 special as well, and i cant tell you which one i like more. the FA is definately built tighter...but i have a lot of pride in the ruger.
    I’m a knifemaker among other things, so I do that sort of stuff pretty regularly. Mainly on the bigger and fancier stuff. I do a lot of handle and grip work, and have piles of material downstairs in storage from the exotic to the ordinary, I just enjoy seeing other people doing cool stuff with their hands, these days it doesn’t seem to be the norm.

    The best way to get a perfect fit is to fit the slabs to the individual grip frame and then do any other work you plan on doing, cleaning up lines, breaking corners, etc, then refinishing the entire gun. It doesn’t take much to sand to a clean 800 grit finish on steel as soft as a revolver is and then buff it. This allows you to really clean it up without mental hangups about scratching the finish. That’s one of the reasons that I won’t build a 1911 unless I’m building the entire thing, or stripping it all down to frame and slide and going from there. Short of that route, having an accurate tracing of your grip frame will help your guy get the best fit.

    I will say the FA revolvers are built like a bank vault, but I don’t know that I’d take that price jump over the Vaquero. I’ve had that gun all over hell and back and down some mountainsides as an unwilling participant, and it’s as reliable as I’ve ever seen a gun. Don’t know if I’d trade that for anything at this point. I do plan on doing some work on it, but it’s not at the top of the list right now.
     
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    myronman3

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    freedom arms guns are tight...but that comes at a cost. your cast bullet is .001 over .429? wont fit.

    they are gorgeous....but the raw truth is, they dont have the personality. i suppose they could; if a person wanted to do it. but the price those things are, i aint got the balls. working on a 625 dollar gun is a whole lot different than a $2400 gun.

    the truth is, they are so well thought out, there really isnt anything i’d change on them.maybe open the cylinder throats up just a smidge. and taper the front sight so it isnt a square-holster-grabbing monster.....like the original bead sight i put on the ruger. this second sight is much more to my liking.
     

    Mike Casselton

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    Since the Ruger Bisley seems to have a following here, I'll post up one for you guys.

    This Ruger came to me as a father's day present from my then 10yr old stepson. He paid for it himself and mom picked it up.

    It wasn't pretty, but it was the correct caliber.

    This is what it looked like the day I got it.


    20170212_161851.jpg

    After having it for over a year, I decided to do that present some justice.

    I converted it to a Bisley configuration and sent it to Gary Reeder for some cleanup, rebluing, action job and new grips.

    Here's what I got back.

    20180307_134941.jpg20180307_134747.jpg

    I love the way it turned out.
     
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    myronman3

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    Since the Ruger Bisley seems to have a following here, I'll post up one for you guys.

    This Ruger came to me as a father's day present from my then 10yr old stepson. He paid for it himself and mom picked it up.

    It wasn't pretty, but it was the correct caliber.

    This is what it looked like the day I got it.


    View attachment 7080494

    After having it for over a year, I decided to do that since present some justice.

    I converted it to a Bisley configuration and sent it to Gary Reeder for some cleanup, rebluing, rebuking, and job and new grips.

    Here's what I got back.

    View attachment 7080497View attachment 7080498

    I love the way it turned out.
    What caliber?
    Reeder does some nice work...man, that bluing!
     

    Mike Casselton

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    What caliber?
    Reeder does some nice work...man, that bluing!
    Looks like I forgot that. It's a 41 Magnum.

    The gun was nice and tight, but it lived its life in a leather holster here in Florida. I guess people just don't realize what all those chemicals will do to steel.

    Gary's bluing is top notch.

    Fixed the auto-incorrect spelling errors also.
     

    myronman3

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    I guessed it was a 41. I had a 41 6 1/2 new model blackhawk, was a bit too long for my taste. I have been prowling for a 41 old model or a freedom arms for the right price. I love that caliber. Everything you need, and nothing you dont. It can be a pussycat or a friggen lion. The right size bullet, and the right weight.
    Frankly, i am shocked it isnt#1 in revolver pistol calibers. It’d be like the 6.5 creedmoor being ignored and passed over for the 308.
     

    steve123

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    Since the Ruger Bisley seems to have a following here, I'll post up one for you guys.

    This Ruger came to me as a father's day present from my then 10yr old stepson. He paid for it himself and mom picked it up.

    It wasn't pretty, but it was the correct caliber.

    This is what it looked like the day I got it.


    View attachment 7080494

    After having it for over a year, I decided to do that present some justice.

    I converted it to a Bisley configuration and sent it to Gary Reeder for some cleanup, rebluing, action job and new grips.

    Here's what I got back.

    View attachment 7080497View attachment 7080498

    I love the way it turned out.
    Years ago Reeder ruined my unfinished custom 1911 that I spent $1500 to get to that point. It was a heartbreaking experience.

    The front strap hand checkering was polished down so it wasn't sharp and was uneven.

    The acid etching was deep on one side and gradually became shallow on the other side.

    Last but not least the brand new front fiber optic front sight was bent over.

    He refused to do any repairs or reimbursement. Shoulda taken them to small claims court but I wasn't like that back then.

    Furthermore being local I know two guys that used to work for them with plenty of jaw dropping negative stories.

    Your gun looks good though.
     

    Mike Casselton

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    Not a fan of his acid etching or the way he marks the caliber/ model. That's why mine was left bone stock.
    Sorry to hear you had a bad experience. I would have been pissed
     

    Blue Sky Country

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  • I am also a major adherent of Ruger, and the one thing I appreciate the most about them is that their guns are overbuilt. The Vaquero is more than adequate for handling stout loads. (Of course, the rugged simplicity of the SAA internal action design plays a major role here too) When I got my Vaquero in .357 Magnum, I had been conflicted at the time about whether I should go the full hog and settle on the vaunted and hellishly strong Super Blackhawk chambered in .454 Casull. I went with the Vaquero because it fits perfectly in the multiple function zone between being powerful enough to take down serious game, and also compact enough to lug around as an EDC defensive pistol.

    @Mike Casselton : As a gunsmith myself, I tend to frown upon the overuse of literature and safety warnings engraved on the firearm itself. It really takes a toll on the aesthetics, far more than actual blemishes, dings or scratches would. Any letters or markings on the actual gun, if not done correctly, puts a bad look on it. A lot of trad shooters tend to be critical of Ruger for that one sole flaw. Some of the most serious SASS/NCOWS shooters would have their weapons "de-farbed" to obtain a more period correct and original look. Only the serial number is present and everything else that is unnecessary would be smoothed over or given the patina treatment.
     
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    Spblademaker

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    I miss shooting Cowboy Action. Something my old man and I did together. Always a good time.
     
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    Mike Casselton

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    @Blue Sky Country
    I hate all the warnings roll stamped into the barrels of modern guns. I totally agree that they ruin the aesthetics of any firearm.
    With this 41 I got lucky because it's a pre-warning revolver.
    I would have paid extra to remove the markings.
    I also have a 5.5 SS Bisley in 45 Colt that I've seriously considered having the markings removed.

    For the cost and shipping both ways, I could almost afford the 5.5 Bisley in 480.

    I don't need it, but when does need ever factor in?
     

    myronman3

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    My other 44 special. I settled for the special....i really wanted this one in a 41. There were two for sale....one 44 special and another 41 magnum....there was another guy out there who wanted that 41 just a smidge more than i did...so i grabbed the 44 instead. I am laying in the weeds, waiting for another 41 to surface.
     

    Blue Sky Country

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  • I am lucky to own an 1860 Navy clone, 1873 SAA clone, and 1873 Winchester clone. I loaded my first BP 45 colt two years ago. Ton of fun, and shockingly simple to do (no air space!)

    By far some of the most fun guns I own.
    View attachment 7085803

    Here is also a simple trick to get a lot more reliability from a caplock revolver. The weakest point of a percussion revolver is the cap and the cap channel. The unsecured percussion cap is prone to come loose and fall off during recoil or even when you are carrying the thing around. Water and oil is also prone to get under the cap and foul up the priming mixture, or even render the powder charge useless.

    My solution: Get some of those plastic hospital nasal O2 or IV lines. They are approximately the same diameter as a capped chamber cone. Actually a bit smaller, so it ensures a more snug fit. Cut the tubing into pieces just big enough to fit over the entire cone, but not too big that it will be taller than the face of the cap, preventing the hammer from properly igniting it. Pieces should go over the capped cone with thumb pressure. Seat it all the way until it reaches the base of the cone.

    The plastic sheath not only prevents the caps from falling off and foreign materials getting into the flash channel, but upon firing, the sheath also keeps the cap from disintegrating into fragments, which may fall into the action when the gun is cocked again, jamming up the works. When it is time to reload or clean the cylinder, the spent caps and sheaths pop off with a flick of a pocket knife blade.

    I've carried .44 caliber percussion revolvers defensively since I was 17. Still do. My 1858 Remington and Navy model LeMat are the most accurate handguns that I currently own. Especially the LeMat. Really appreciate the wide and square sight picture offered by the 3-sided hammer notch and tricorn front sight. I removed the factory front sight and installed a narrow blade type with silver solder and the picture is even better. In low light conditions or even near darkness, I will instinctively pick up the LeMat if shit goes down.
     
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    acudaowner

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    I love the old cowboy guns think they are really neat dang those old movies and tv shows .still want to sometime get into the black powder versions as well fingers crossed on a shilo sharps or even better a real one , till then i just look at all your pics and drool . loves his 1858 Remington conversion pistol so far its a blast to shoot 1567995236799.png
     
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    Unknown

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    Many years ago I found a new in box Colt manufactured 1860 Army in 44 cal. I didn't know a thing about black powder cap and ball pistols, but as it had never been fired, I thought I couldn't do wrong, so I bought it. It is a second generation gun made around 1974 or so, and I still haven't fired it. I suppose I should get rid of it and let someone who will use it take possession of it. Every once in a while I take it out and admire it, wipe it down with oil, and put it back in the box.

    It sure does have a neat feel and balance to it. I can see why people get into shooting them.
     

    Blue Sky Country

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  • Custer's first stand???
    A woodcut of the famed Union commander and frontier scout staring down an angry bison with only a .44 caliber Colt's Model 1860 Army in his hand. It is said that the animal snorted in disinterest and walked away after a couple of tense minutes...



    Image's first appearance in Dixie Gun Works' Black Powder Annual Magazine.
     
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    Bigfatcock

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    I love single actions, with Colt at the top of my favorite list. I make custom one and two piece grips for single actions. A quality set of grips can really change the character of the revolver.

    How the grain flows, color, chatoyance, etc should compliment the gun. Being able to make grips of any thickness allows you to truly tailor the fit in your hand and can aid accuracy and comfort.

    I prefer desert ironwood with walnut (all kinds) a close second. Elephant ivory is especially wonderful, but I’m saving my limited stocks for personal firearms.

    For woods roaming a 5 1/2 inch barrel is my favorite and I carry a sheriff model for carry around the house at times. The 45 colt of 35 gr of OE 2F highly compressed is no joke and will shoot clean through most living things in North America.
     

    powerspc

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    Took a little digging but I knew there'd be a thread on here somewhere about Single Action pistols; they represent the current "whole" in my collection.

    Anyway, I think I've definitely decided on .357 magnum (mostly because I have a ton of revolvers already chambered in that and the reloading equipment to supply them) and have more or less narrowed it down to either a matched set of Ruger Vaquero SASS (they only come as a matched set) or Cimarron Evil Roy's. I think I have also decided on the 4.75" barrel, mostly for aesthetics (they just look better balanced). Not planning to do any cowboy shooting in the immediate but might jump into that in the future.

    I think I understand the basic differences in the two models, the Ruger's use a rolling block safety (okay to load 6) and the Cimarron's still use the hammer mounted firing pin (load 5) so I guess considered more "traditional". It will likely come down to a coin flip unless there is a completely incontrovertible reason to choose one over the other. I've read the Ruger's are built tougher, the Cimarron's are finished nicer, Ruger's are more modern, Cimarron's more traditional. If I go Ruger they will be the stainless, if Cimarron the case hardened (apparently Cimarron makes the Evil Roy in stainless but I haven't been able to find them anywhere).

    For you guy's that shoot them on a regular basis; any words of wisdom?

    P.s. I did look at the Standard Manufacturing offering as well in .45 Colt but I know it would end up being a safe queen.
     
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    Bigfatcock

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    The Ruger and The Cimarron are both good guns. Ruger can handle loads up to 21,000 PSI.

    The Cimarron looks better.

    The Ruger has coil springs and a transfer bar. Uses 2 piece grips and the ones that come on it suck. They’re to thin.

    The Cimarron will more than likely use one piece grips.

    Different strokes, but both achieve the same end.
     

    Flyboy_451

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    I own a boatload of single actions. Mostly custom Rugers, but the collection also includes Freedom Arms, Magnum Research and Uberti.

    All of them are good guns, some better than others. Rugers are in general an affordable, durable gun that is a strong value for the dollar.

    357 is a fine caliber with a lot of flexibility. If you are an experienced handloader and bullet caster (or willing to buy high quality cast bullets), I may recommend either .44 special or .45 Colt, but there is nothing at all wrong with .357.

    The Vaquero and other guns of the same pattern with fixed sights, may take a little adjustment by someone knowledgeable to getting them shooting to point of aim, but it’s really not a big deal.

    I can’t speak of the Cimaron thru first hand knowledge, but I would probably go for the Ruger, as there are a lot of parts and expertise out there to make them truly wonderful guns.

    Justin
     

    isofahunter

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    Here is an early Colt SAA 1891. This one has seen a lot of action in the last 128 years and it has the scars to prove it. I bought it because in 1891 it was sold new by a member of my wifes family and it was too cool a peice of family and Texas history too let slip away. Wish it had a diary of its life and adventures.

    20190930_160415.jpg
     

    isofahunter

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    Very nice. Have you had the gun lettered by Colt? Are the MOP grips original to the gun?
    Yes to letter, it verifies the family story. The letter says no grip. I would like to think the MOP are original and while they show wear it seems to me they should show more wear when compared to the gun. While worn it still locks up tight and goes boom when the hammer falls.
     

    Blue Sky Country

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  • Took a little digging but I knew there'd be a thread on here somewhere about Single Action pistols; they represent the current "whole" in my collection.

    Anyway, I think I've definitely decided on .357 magnum (mostly because I have a ton of revolvers already chambered in that and the reloading equipment to supply them) and have more or less narrowed it down to either a matched set of Ruger Vaquero SASS (they only come as a matched set) or Cimarron Evil Roy's. I think I have also decided on the 4.75" barrel, mostly for aesthetics (they just look better balanced). Not planning to do any cowboy shooting in the immediate but might jump into that in the future.

    I think I understand the basic differences in the two models, the Ruger's use a rolling block safety (okay to load 6) and the Cimarron's still use the hammer mounted firing pin (load 5) so I guess considered more "traditional". It will likely come down to a coin flip unless there is a completely incontrovertible reason to choose one over the other. I've read the Ruger's are built tougher, the Cimarron's are finished nicer, Ruger's are more modern, Cimarron's more traditional. If I go Ruger they will be the stainless, if Cimarron the case hardened (apparently Cimarron makes the Evil Roy in stainless but I haven't been able to find them anywhere).

    For you guy's that shoot them on a regular basis; any words of wisdom?

    P.s. I did look at the Standard Manufacturing offering as well in .45 Colt but I know it would end up being a safe queen.

    @Tucker301 A humble request to sticky this thread on the top of the board? A sub-board in Sidearms for us who operates manual transmissions.

    Thanks!
     
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    Bigfatcock

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    For newer Colt’s SAA revolvers
    I use 34 grains of olde eynsford 2f compressed with a compression die, and a cast hollow base RNFP bullet using 20:1 lead/tin.

    For my first generation Colt’s I use 28 gr of the same but use an over powder wad.

    Those 34 gr loads will definitely get your attention. All 45 colt of course.
     

    Blue Sky Country

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  • For newer Colt’s SAA revolvers
    I use 34 grains of olde eynsford 2f compressed with a compression die, and a cast hollow base RNFP bullet using 20:1 lead/tin.

    For my first generation Colt’s I use 28 gr of the same but use an over powder wad.

    Those 34 gr loads will definitely get your attention. All 45 colt of course.

    Olde Eynsford is one of my top choices of powder for serious shooting and competition. It contains extremely high KNO3 content. Very clean combustion for black powder and high velocities to boot. 34 grains of 2F OE will easily push a 250 grainer up to 1100 FPS. 34 grains of 3F OE will push the 1200-1300 FPS envelope. That is .357 Mag territory.

    Olde Eynsford and Swiss are my primary choices for both cap and ball and straight-wall wheelgun cartridge reloading. If I cannot get any quantities of those, I will use Hodgdon's Triple Se7en 3F. It is also a very clean burning propellant and produces incredibly high velocities, but getting workable and stable loads out of it is a little bit tricky. Triple Se7en starts behaving like smokeless powder under heavy compression. The more you compress the powder column when seating the bullet, the more your standard deviation will rocket sky-high when putting them through the chrony. I have had SD's as high as 200 FPS within one batch of loads, same bullet type, bullet weight, primer, and amount of propellant. Couple this with the fact that if you take more than one chrony reading, you will never be certain of just how fast your loads are going. It can get a bit confusing for someone who is just starting out in the game and not yet saavy about how much pressure they are using to seat the projectiles.

    Now back in the day when I was REALLY desperate, I have used Pyrodex P-grade, which is also manufactured by Hodgdon. It delivers velocities and performance on par with Olde Eynsford and Swiss, but Pyrodex is INCREDIBLY dirty and corrosive. I have seen guns rusted from using Pyrodex because the shooter had delayed cleaning them after a deer hunt by just 2 days in a relatively dry environment. I would not recommend using this brand unless you absolutely cannot find any of the three choices listed in this post. And if you do use it, make sure you clean your guns and spent cases ASAP afterward.
     
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  • My retirement gift to myself.

    That is a beautiful revolver right there. Is that a Pietta or an Uberti?

    After working on, restoring, rebuilding, and fixing so many of them over the years I have acquired one myself. A current production .36 caliber Pietta with steel frame, brass trigger guard, and brass backstrap. The machining and tolerances on this model is as perfect as you can get. Not one burr or grinding felt when I cycled the action. Pietta's quality is on par with the best of American gunmaking standards and their pieces show it. The one I have had been my near constant companion since I had moved back into New York with my GF so we can be by my mother's side as she recovers from her stroke. I am waiting for my permits to be updated so I can move my cartridge stuff in too.

    With over 300,000 1851 models sold in the US and UK, another estimated 20,000-30,000 unlicensed copies made for military service by the Confederate States of America at the Leech & Rigdon and the Griswold & Gunnison factories in Atlanta, GA, as well as yet another estimated 100,000-200,000 unlicensed copies made by the Ottoman Empire and Qing China, the M-1851 was probably the most prolific and common of the legendary 19th century caplock revolvers.

    A load of 25 grains of Hodgdon's Triple Se7en or Olde Eynsford behind an 83-grain round lead ball produced an average of 1,150 FPS with 250 foot-pounds of kinetic energy. That places the load in the same class as a moderate .38 Special or a hot .380 ACP/9mm short. On paper, that may seem like an anemic choice for a defensive round, but what really matters in real life is what happens to that 250 foot pounds when it impacts the target. Whether it merely zips through the target or dumps nearly all of it's energy into it's center makes all of the difference in neutralizing a threat. I have been a religious adherent of Elmer Keith's Sixguns for almost as long as I can remember, and one of the most memorable things that he had mentioned in there was that Civil War veterans who became police officers and constables later continued to prefer the old .36 cap and ball revolver load even after the .38 Special became widely available. In the very words of these men: "It just takes the fight right out of 'em"... During testing on a bunch of melons, both .38 Special and 9mm service ammunition entered and exited the melons with predictable ballistic tracks, but the .36 cap and ball round left comparably massive wound channels and devastated the rear of the melons upon exiting.

    When I got mine, I also obtained a couple of spare cylinders to go along with it. Instead of using the loading lever on the gun to load the chambers, which can put a lot of unnecessary stress on the cylinder pin, which is the central load bearing part on that gun, I load the cylinders outside the gun, with a spare .36 caliber loading lever plunger and a mallet or metal knuckles. For expedient reloads in the field, I simply set the gun to half cock, tap the wedge loose with the knuckles, gently lever the barrel off of the frame by using the loading lever on the metal wall between the chambers as a fulcrum, switch out the cylinders and reassemble the barrel and wedge. On new-in-box Pietta guns, the wedge can be installed pretty tight and you will need to set the revolver upon two wooden blocks, or two books with the wedge resting in the space between the blocks, and use either a brass gunsmith's punch or a flathead screwdriver resting on the wedge over a piece of leather, and a few sharp raps with a hammer to loosen it. Once loose, you can simply set the wedge back in with light thumb pressure so it can be removed in the same fashion later on.

    The 1851 Navy was not just one of the most vaunted and legendary weapons in firearms history, it is a gun that is built to perform, providing that the shooter did his part as well. Forget the speculation among naysayers about whether James Butler 'Wild Bill' Hickok really made that 75-yard fatal heart shot on Dave Tutt with a M-1851 or not after the end of the Civil War. Those who are familiar with these guns will know that the M-1851 is actually sighted in at 75 yards at the factory. The video below shows what these pistols are really capable of.

    100 yard dueling shot with .36 caliber Colt's Model 1851 revolver.

     
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    Bigfatcock

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    Having owned and worked on many Colt’s, USFA, and spaghetti guns over the years I can say that the stuff coming from Italy in the last several years is very high quality. I wouldn’t say they are quite on the same level as current production Colt’s Single Action Army revolvers, but they are getting damn close.

    I have 15 Colt’s SAA revolvers spanning from the late 1800’s to my newest one manufactured in July of 2019, and I’ll say the 2019 gun is one of the best finished and fitted of the bunch. I also like that Colt doesn’t put laquer or varnish on their case hardening. I use sperm whale oil on case colored guns and it gives a very nice shine. No laquer needed.

    also, for anyone wanting true one piece walnut grips for their Colt’s; the unfinished Uberti grips can be fitted to them with a perfect fit. Plenty of wood left for fitting. it’s kiln dried though so I recommend stain or dye to bring them back to life.
     
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    Old_Longhair

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    I bought this one new in '78, and I never dropped the hammer before I tore it all down, retimed it, and worked my magic on the trigger. The first ten rounds @ 40ft I had seven out of ten holes touching, and I knew I had a shooter. I've killed more deer with it than any other gun I own.
     
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  • View attachment 7172854
    Colt Walker reproduction by Colt black powder 44 cal cap & ball. Slow to load, fun to shoot, draws a crowd and a PIA to clean.

    That is a Dragoon. 2nd Model, as the square triggerguard is the one identifying feature of the 1st and 2nd Models. The 1st Model did not have engraved cylinders, but subsequent production all had a roll-engraving of a cavalry battle between the Army of the Republic of Texas against the Mexican army of Santa Ana. They are still in the 'Walker' class of pistols and right up to the official introduction of the .357 Magnum cartridge in 1935, they were the most powerful handguns ever produced. The legendary Montana gun researcher and writer Ed McGivern reportedly made shots 600-800 yards away with one. They are certainly capable of such performance, with a Minie-type conical. They are awesome revolvers, and they played an instrumental role in the reconquest of American land from Mexican invaders as well as protecting the lives of ranchers and drovers on the early western cattle trails.