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View Full Version : Kirst/R&D/Howell Conversion Cylinders for my 1849 Pocket


Dino.
May 13, 2010, 09:51 AM
I really had my heart set on the Kirst conversion cylinder for several reasons ...
1) It offers a single firing pin as opposed to R&D's six firing pins.
2) It offers the ability to cut a loading channel which would enable loading/reloading without having to take the pistol apart each time.
3) Most reviews I've read say that this is a TRUE "drop in" cylinder and reported nothing but good things.
4) Though it's a 5-shot cylinder, the cylinder offers a "notch" for the hammer to rest so no chamber is wasted, thus making it a true 5-shot cylinder (not 4).

Unfortunately, Kirst no longer offers these conversions for the 1849 and the only other company(s) that I've found that offer them are R&D and Howells, which I found are the same company!

R&D now operates under the name "Howells".
R&D used to offer this conversion as a 6-shot with no notches for the hammer, so essentially ... it only has a 5-shot capacity.
NOW, I see that "Howells" (remember, the same company) offers this conversion in a 5-shot configuration. :confused:

Though there are distributors that still offer the R&D (6-shot) cylinder, I couldn't help think that there were issues with this and that's why they now offer the 5-shot version. It so happens that this was later confirmed by one of their distributors. Not only did the 6-shot configuration compromise the integrity of the cylinder, but I was told that there were alot of fitting and timing issues as well.

So .... now both Kirst and R&D are no longer options for me, which leaves only the "Howell" 5-shot cylinder.
After doing a bit of research, I found only one distributor ... Midway.
Unfortunately, their "customer service" knows nothing about these conversion kits. :rolleyes:

My question is ... does the Howell 5-shot conversion at least offer "notches" on the cylinder for the hammer to rest? Or does it require I use and open chamber, thus limiting it to a 4-shot capacity?

Also ... R&D used to offer a service (free of charge) where they would fit the cylinder and correct any timing issues if there were any problems.
Does anyone know if "Howell" (again, same company) offers this service?

Sorry for the winded post, but I've searched everywhere on the internet for these answers (as well as a contact for Howell) and have come up empty. :(

Hardcase
May 13, 2010, 10:02 AM
Before you purchase an R&D or Howells cylinder with the thought that you might want to send it and your gun to Howells for adjustment, you might want to do a search here on the forums about the subject. Having never done any business with either company, I won't say more.

Dino.
May 13, 2010, 10:25 AM
Before you purchase an R&D or Howells cylinder with the thought that you might want to send it and your gun to Howells for adjustment, you might want to do a search here on the forums about the subject. Having never done any business with either company, I won't say more.

You're scaring me Hardcase. :D

olyinaz
May 13, 2010, 12:04 PM
You want to wait and look out for a used Kirst. Taking the gun down to reload a conversion cylinder is a huge PITA unless you're just looking to keep it handy for self defense, and if that's the case there are 10,000 better choices including an 8 shot Ruger in .327 mag.

Best,
Oly

arcticap
May 13, 2010, 12:20 PM
Taylor's Guns lists having the 6 shot R&D conversion cylinder for the 1849 Pocket. They should be able to provide some information regarding the features of the various other R&D conversion cylinders.
IIRC they also offer fitting services. :)

http://www.taylorsfirearms.com/products/detail-accessories.tpl?subcategory=Conversion%20Cylinders&startat=21

Dino.
May 13, 2010, 12:41 PM
Thanks acrticap.
I believe Taylor was the distributor who informed me that "Howell" now offers the 5-shot cylinder due to issues with the 6-shot version.

Knowing this, I'm a little hesitant.
Even if they are able to help me fit it and get the timing right, there's still the issue with the integrity of the cylinder being compromised due to the 6-shot capacity.

I guess I'll just try to find a used Kirst cylinder somewhere.
Easier said than done. :rolleyes:

JNewell
May 13, 2010, 02:05 PM
Before you purchase an R&D or Howells cylinder with the thought that you might want to send it and your gun to Howells for adjustment, you might want to do a search here on the forums about the subject. Having never done any business with either company, I won't say more.

I recently sent a Ruger Old Army to Taylor's for fitting. They turned it around the same day and did a beautiful job - for no fee other than shipping.

Dino.
May 13, 2010, 02:22 PM
I recently sent a Ruger Old Army to Taylor's for fitting. They turned it around the same day and did a beautiful job - for no fee other than shipping.

Hmm ... that's tempting. :)
Any issues with the individual firing pins?
Is there any spring tension? Or do they all just rattle around.
I read a review where one guy had the R&D conversion and had to point the gun downward (allowing the pins to drop) in order to rotate the cylinder.
That would irritate me to no end. :D

JNewell
May 13, 2010, 06:26 PM
No issues with either of mine, firing pin or otherwise. I have also owned a Kirst, which I sold. I didn't like having to "index" the cylinder in the frame. I also figured that having six firing pins when one breaks is better than having one. :D And, you can buy spares from Taylors for coffee money.

If you cruise around the SASS CAS sites, most people seem to think they're equivalent and a few guys have had bad experiences with one or the other. I think it's personal preference and a coin-toss.

chasman
May 13, 2010, 07:00 PM
I have 2 taylors one for 58 remmie and one for dragoon both work flawlessly and smooth. The Howell on the other hand for my 60 colts is horrible Im still in the process of trying to get it to work properly. It doesnt work right in my sherrif model or my 8 inch one. Constantly fetching up.

andrewstorm
May 13, 2010, 07:03 PM
what cylinder did you get from taylors ? and was it 6 45 lc shots:cool:

CajunPowder
May 14, 2010, 12:55 AM
I am settled on the Kirst Civil War Konverter. I like it because it will hold 5 rounds and has a good "safety chamber". You can't even load a cartridge into the "safety chamber" because it don't even exist. It's just an index of the cylinder where there is NO CHAMBER.

I like the Kirst because only one part moves, the cylinder, the backplate is stationary and can be fitted by a gunsmith where it locks up like a bank vault. Also, a really good gunsmith can fit the Kirst to maintain or even improve chamber to forcing cone/bore alignment by some thousandths of an inch because the fitting of the backplate is such a strong operation, (purely anecdotal).

The Kirst also maintains a straight throw of the bullet from the chamber to the forcing cone/bore. The R&D/Howell cheats some thousandth's of an inch. The cylinder chambers are bored at a tiny, tiny angle in order to allow for increased thickness of the chamber walls. The angle of the chamber is not EXACTLY straight and the walls of the chambers are comparatively thin on the 6-round models. My thinking is this is why they've gone to a 5-round model, so the walls of the chambers can be thicker and stronger and so the bullet is in line with the forcing cone/bore.

Many, many people LOVE their R&D conversion cylinders and have had no problems with them.

Taylor's firearms specializes in both providing a revolver with a fitted conversion cylinder and specializes in making full conversions as well. Taylor's uses R&D. The Uberti 1858 New Army model, (blued), now has a forged frame and is reported to be a little stronger than the cast frames. So I am of the thinking that fitting is going to be very good for an R&D conversion cylinder in a forged frame 1858 New Army model.

The 5-round R&D is being marketed as the strongest conversion cylinder available. But there is nowhere to set the hammer down except on a live round if you load 5. Or you can load 4. I don't like that at all. It's not clear if there is a cylinder notch, and if there is, the notch is in the backplate, and in my mind, that makes a weak spot in the backplate.

I'm no expert here, just taking it all in at this point and working it out in my own mind as well.

The walls of the Kirst chambers allow for some more thickness and there are only 5 "real" chambers in the Kirst cylinder. R&D has a lot of trash talk against it compared to very little if none for Kirst, (in discussions and forums).

Also, a bit of information I picked up recently was that the forged frame Uberti 1858 New Army models have an ever so slightly larger cylinder window. So the Kirst company has made their Konverter backplate correspondingly larger. This is a piece of information I have a couple of emails in to Kirst and others.

Some say the bolt is not long enough in the new forged frame Uberti 1858 New Army models, or they are having issues with the bolt.

If I get a stainless, cast frame, New Army ... then I'm probably going to need some fitting with a Kirst and it will be too large, which is good, because the filing can be done on the Konverter and not my precious piece.

garrel
May 22, 2011, 05:03 PM
I recently ordered from one of howell distributers upon arrival noticed that the center hole for the push pin 1860 new army remington repro pietta was much larger than the stock bp cylinder. called distributer who advised call howells. did that and got an e-mail back from them stating that I should send revolver and conversion cylinder that they made to them(howells) for a custom fitting at acost of $40 USD.
I decided Bs. I already paid for the cylinder and shipping fees to get it back to distributers.and they have recommended a kirst over howells. back to the msg from howells if they are going to manufacture this item they should bore the corect opening for the cylinders push pin, or provide aproper sleeve to alow correct fitting so the unit will not fall out of the revolver and work correctly. I know,I cry a lot

Bishop Creek
May 22, 2011, 06:31 PM
Buffalo Arms still carries Kirst cylinders for the 1849:

http://www.buffaloarms.com/Detail.aspx?PROD=160402&CAT=3782

I have both a Kirst and an R&D cylinder and though both are well made I prefer the Kirst.

Dino.
May 22, 2011, 06:42 PM
At the time, I couldn't get a straight answer from Kirst or any of their distributors as to when they would be available, so i went with the Howell.
I have no complaints and still may get the Kirst one day.

http://i13.photobucket.com/albums/a274/DinoBonanno/DSC03680.jpg

Bishop Creek
May 22, 2011, 06:55 PM
I like those grips! Who made them?

Dino.
May 22, 2011, 07:47 PM
Thanks!
I got em here ... http://westernandwildlifewonders.com/shop/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=1_23&products_id=83&osCsid=d7e87919573033b984a14790be8319ba

The actual color of the grips are a lot darker and richer than the picture.
The color is listed as "aged ivory".