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Old February 6, 2008, 09:23 PM   #1
RJM
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Cap and Ball revolver newbie....sawweeeet!

So, bought my first cap and ball after thinking about buying one for like 15 years. To many other gun purchases have taken priority for some reason, but now I finally got it. Walked out of the shop with a Traditions 1851 made by Pietta. What really swayed me was a spur of the moment purchase of an Uberti 1851 cartridge conversion. After shooting that, I was surprised at how well it pointed and felt in the hand. I thought it would be barrel heavy, but it really isn't at all. While the cartridge conversion is cool, especially with rounds packed with blackpowder, the cap and ball adds a bit more work and fun....at least I hope. So, what's your opinion on which won should I get next?
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Old February 6, 2008, 09:51 PM   #2
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60 Colt, then a 58 Remington, then a Colt Walker.
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Old February 6, 2008, 11:29 PM   #3
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Me too!

I just completed an order for the same thing....1851 steel frame .44 Traditions. I've yearned for a cap and ball for more like 40+ years, but I've never had the expendable income until recently. I just had to make this deal though...$165!

I've always wanted one since handling an original c&b. A highschool friend, a next door neighbor way back when, had some old "smoke poles" in his family. He (his granddad's really) had an 1860 Army (about 75%+ finish) with holster, an 1873 5.5 in. SAA (don't know for sure but I think it was 44-40, (It was about 80% finish), and a trap door Springfield rifle in about 60% finish. If two highschoolers could wear out a firearm by just handling it, they all would be dust and rust by now!
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Old February 7, 2008, 12:02 AM   #4
DARIVS ARCHITECTVS
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Skip the Walker Colt. Had one, found it way too tip heavy for comfort. Instead, if you want a really well balanced Old West hand cannon that has power and comfort, get the 1848 Colt Dragoon, either model 1, 2 or 3. I prefer the 2 since less of them were made, and that distinctive square backed trigger guard hearkens back to the 1847 Walker. The Dragoon is a horse pistol, meant to sit in a saddle holster, not on your hip, but if you want to carry it, a shoulder holster is best. It's huge, powerful, and lobs a .44" ball hard and fast using 50 grains of power. The best combo of power and comfort I have seen in an old Colt. If you want frame strength, go later with Remington, but to me, the square, primitive simplistic line of a Colt say "old West" better than most others. And, Uberti makes the finest quality cap & ball revolvers on average that I have seen. Fili Pietta makes some good, and some very bad (inoperative even!). If you have a nice working Pietta, you're ahead of the pack quality wise. Their QC is all over the place. Enjoy the beauty here: http://www.uberti.com/firearms/dragoon.tpl
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File Type: jpg 1848 Colt Dragoon 2nd Model.jpg (113.4 KB, 64 views)
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Old February 7, 2008, 01:26 AM   #5
JJBlanche
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I don't have any experience with the traditional-style Colts and Remingtons, but I can say the Ruger Old Army is a very solid gun. Many people say it is the finest black powder revolver one can get. Worth a look, if nothing else.
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Old February 7, 2008, 05:01 AM   #6
Hawg
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Quote:
Their QC is all over the place.
Not anymore. I'd put my Pietta's up against any Uberti for fit, finish and shootability.
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Old February 7, 2008, 08:02 PM   #7
Chris_B
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I don't know BP very well, and I don't even know how to find the date my Pietta was made

But I do know something about machines and fit and finish. Seems pretty okey dokey and it makes holes in paper pretty good. Pretty pistol, works well, reasonably accurate and I like it. I wonder how 'perfect' an original 1862 Colt was in 1862, anyway. I wonder if metallurgy, shop standards, and quality control were as good then as what we consider "alright" today
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Old February 7, 2008, 08:13 PM   #8
berkmberk1
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Metalurgically, I wonder if most modern reproductions aren't superior. However, after having handled some real, first generation pieces, made on what would now be considered archaic (if not "prehistoric") belt driven machinery, I am awed at the thought of just how skilled the workers in arms plants of the day were! It's obvious that many, many people had extraordinary skill at hand fitting and hand finishing firearms with what we consider basic hand tools. No CNC machines, no laser etching, no magnaflux machines......just basic belt drive machine tools, files, taps and dies........and a whole lot of skill!!!!!!

A memorial ought to be erected for such people.
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Old February 7, 2008, 08:18 PM   #9
long rider
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I to have a pietta 58 remmy, and i have had it
years and years and years, and its still going
strong, best b.p smoker i have ever owned.

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Old February 7, 2008, 08:19 PM   #10
Hawg
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There will be a square box with either letters or Roman numerals in it. That's the date code. You can decipher it here unless it was made after 2003.
http://store.bluebookinc.com/Info/PD...Proofmarks.pdf
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Old February 7, 2008, 08:23 PM   #11
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Yep, you're definitely in trouble now! I started with a pair of 1860's, one 8" and one 5½". Then came an 1872 Open Top, now a Richards Type II 1860 cartridge conversion, both .44Colts. Can't decide if next I wanna go 1851 (percussion or cartridge) or Dragoon. Those 4¾" 1851 conversions sure are sweet! I'd go Dragoon over Walker just for the more secure lever.
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Old February 7, 2008, 08:32 PM   #12
long rider
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I like the big walkers, but you would think they
would come up with a more secure lever,lots
guys say the same thing, lever drop down after
every shot..

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Old February 7, 2008, 08:52 PM   #13
Chris_B
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Ah

Made in '98, I'm the first to fire it though, only been in use since this summer. original owner never fired it. About 120 rounds through it I guess. Thanks Hawg
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Old February 7, 2008, 08:55 PM   #14
RJM
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Well, went out and shot it today. I just love the smell of blackpowder in the morning. It worked well, pretty accurate and just plain fun. Until the end of the shooting session when I noticed it was out of time and the cylinder stop bolt thingy started marking the cylinder pretty bad. I took it apart, cleaned it real well and got all the residue out of it, put it back together and cycled it more. It seems like it is still out of time, the cylinder stop is not hitting correctly still and marking the cylinder fairly bad. I guess I am going to learn how to do some gunsmithing on these older styled pistols because there is noway I am going to stop shooting them. Too much fun.

I think next on the list is an 1861, then one of the saddle guns like a dragoon.
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Old February 7, 2008, 09:29 PM   #15
Chris_B
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Shouldn't need gunsmithing as a regular event...do you have a digital camera?
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Old February 7, 2008, 09:55 PM   #16
grymster2007
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Quote:
And, Uberti makes the finest quality cap & ball revolvers on average that I have seen. Fili Pietta makes some good, and some very bad (inoperative even!). If you have a nice working Pietta, you're ahead of the pack quality wise. Their QC is all over the place.
I only have the Pietta 1858 New Army so far, but will be adding the 1863 Pocket soon. The Pietta is of very nice quality. Fit and finish very good and the action is at least as smooth as most of the modern cartridge revolvers I’ve handled. In a side-by-side comparison it appears every bit the equal of my friend’s Uberti copy. From what I’ve been reading, this is now to be expected of Pietta.

In any case, BP revolvers are a LOT of fun!
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Old February 8, 2008, 07:51 AM   #17
RJM
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Quote:
Shouldn't need gunsmithing as a regular event...do you have a digital camera?

I am out of town until Sunday, but when I get home I will put up some photos of the cylinder. It looks like the stop bolt is hitting before the cylinder stop fairly hard and marking it up pretty good where the groove starts, if that makes any sense. I also found a little issue with the hand spring, it looks like the end that actually rotates the cylinder is marred up pretty bad. That maybe the source of the problem because it could not be spinning the cylinder when it should. I don't have the gun with me right now, that is all from memory, but it certainly started having issues when I was firing it, didn't come in the box like that. Finish of the gun is pretty first rate and if it wasn't for this little snafu, I would say it is a pretty good gun.

I look forward to shooting it more.
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Old February 8, 2008, 11:38 AM   #18
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During at least the late 90's and into the new century Pietta had a run of poor quality control and 'soft' internal parts (the parts problem started some time in the 80's, I think). They have corrected both and the current Pietta product is nearly on a par with Uberti.

Used Piettas are certainly a risk from the standpoint of being from that poor quality era. Replacing the internal action parts was pretty common on those guns (other Italian makers, including Uberti to some extend had similar problems). RJM's description of the timing problem and the wear on the hand really sound like many other anecdotes about Piettas from that earlier time.

My advice to him would be to first replace all the internal action parts with new ones from VTI Gun Parts or Dixie Gun Works. I would change out the hand/spring assembly, bolt, trigger and trigger/bolt spring. I would polish the wear surfaces and edges of the new parts with a stone before installing them (some filing may also be necessary). I would also polish the hammer face and the bearing area on the bolt cam on the bottom of the hammer. Also, check the full and half cock notches on the hammer for burrs and polish as necessary. Go very carefully with polishing any part of the hammer; it should be at least surface hardened but some of the poorer quality Piettas had hammers with soft surfaces, and it would not take much to remove too much material on one of those soft hammers.

Yes, gunsmithing these guns should not be necessary, but used guns from Pietta's 'dark ages' need it, and a little elbow grease is not a big investment to make in achieving an excellent weapon that should give years of service.

Last edited by mykeal; February 8, 2008 at 11:40 AM. Reason: Terrible grammar...
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Old February 8, 2008, 07:39 PM   #19
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They are all fun IMHO and let you relive history in a small way. I have found the Dragoon is just right for me. Has the heft and recoil dampening qualities of the Walker with a more secure loading lever latch-firing it feels like firing 38 Specials in an S&W N-Frame.
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Old February 8, 2008, 08:01 PM   #20
Chris_B
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Huh. Well I didn't know that about the Piettas. I guess I got lucky with mine. Worst thing to happen so far is caps getting jammed between cylinder and frame.
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Old February 8, 2008, 08:04 PM   #21
long rider
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Hey sigshr, can you give us info on your dragoon,if the
lever stays put under fire i want one.

Sod Buster Tried To Pull On Willson.
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Old February 8, 2008, 08:41 PM   #22
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Which one to buy next?

I agree with Hawg, buy the 1860, 1858, and then the Walker. I have a 2nd generation Colt Walker and the lever does not drop, I guess I got lucky and have a good one. I even tried it with 60 grns. of powder, still didn't drop, it might later with a little more wear.
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Old February 8, 2008, 09:05 PM   #23
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The Dragoons were generally much improved over the Walker with respect to the 'loading lever drop' problem. I have a 2nd Model Uberti and a 3rd Model Colt Signature, and neither has ever experienced that problem. The same is true of the majority of the originals, I understand.
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Old February 8, 2008, 09:20 PM   #24
long rider
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Thanks mykeal , its a dragoon for me.
MMMM better get the wife a bunch of
flowers first, it will soften the blow.

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Old February 10, 2008, 11:22 AM   #25
Peter M. Eick
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I started and stopped with the Walker. I shoot mine, love it and have fired other smaller guns. Its just not the same. The Walkers are a blast and have that satisfying boom that makes black powder so much fun. Nothing like 60 grns of pyrodex behind a ball to light up the range. To bad I can't find any real BP around here.
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