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Old February 24, 2008, 07:43 PM   #1
berkmberk1
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My Black Powder Baptism (C&B)

I was baptised in grey smoke today! (or would have been if it weren't for the ventilation system...:barf

I finally got a chance to try my 1851 Navy in the non-conforming caliber .44. It was pleasant to say the least. A moderate BOOM followed up with a mild recoil as the .454 ball sped to the target. My load of American Pioneer Shockey's Gold fffg was thrown with a 1.6 cc Lee dipper giving me right at 25.5 grains. I used CCI #11 caps.

I only fired three cylinders as the indoor range isn't heated meaningfully and I did want to shoot my .45 LC Bounty Hunter before my hand froze up. I did notice that C&B pistols aren't conducive to IPSC style shooting to say the least! I suppose the only mitigating factor in being armed with one of these things was the fact that during the War (you know, the one before the BIG ONE!) your adversary was shooting at you with the same gun! In some ways, I guess, you could find yourself at a disadvantage on the frontier because some Native Americans could probably launch a few quivers of arrows at you before you could reload once (assuming you had one gun and one only cylinder). My lady friend gets bent out of shape when I mention "being old...getting old....aging....but lets face it, having 55 year old eyes and hands, and it being cold and not being able to use gloves when capping, makes things just a little slow! I capped using M1A1 fingers which got better as I grew accustomed to the practice, and one of those inline capping tools (only held 15) that definitely made a difference.

I used greased wads (between powder and ball....I know) and charged the chambers with a dipper, like I mentioned. A flask with a reliable charge weight would greatly improve reload times, and one was ordered last night from The Possible Shop (unsolicited recommendation......he really is good and fast and surprisingly affordable.....on a par with Cabela's). Loading the ball got easy when I figured all you really had to do was drop the ball in the opening between cylinder and rammer and then rotate the cylinder until the ball fell into place.

Shooting was a BLAST (ok....pun intended). Pull the trigger, the hammer falls, sparks fly from the cap/nipple, smoke erupts from every pore in the gun!!!! HOOHAH!!!: Then, after a few shots, I experienced the first of a couple of "cap jams". One time the mangled corpse of a copper cap fell off and as the cylinder was cycling around it wedged the scrap into the space between the rear plate and the rear of the cylinder...it slowed the cylinder down and made it hard to cock until the next shot when it fell out. The next jam was WORSE. A scrap cap got peeled off after firing and THEN wedged itself in the cap well of the next chamber, effectively shielding the live cap and causing a misfire. The next problem occured when I couldn't cycle the the whole gun because I couldn't retract the hammer because the cylinder was jammed....viscious circle. I've done a lot of training in immediate action on service autos and ARs but it takes on a new dimension when you are trying to get the wedge out so you can pull the barrel partially off so you can move the cylinder so you can get a little freaking piece of copper out of your works!!!

Anyway........the gun is really accurate despite those Neanderthal sights. It shoots about 4-6 in high, but dead on line. Its also given me a new appreciation for what our forebearers had to endure when using one of these thunder clubs. Yeah, it was probably light years ahead of a Harper's Ferry type muzzle loading pistol..........but I bet they cussed just as loud when having to fidget with that new fangled shootin arn.

It can be a pain in the butt.........but it sure is fun!
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Old February 24, 2008, 07:59 PM   #2
Hawg
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When you shoot a Colt hold the muzzle up and slightly to the right to cock it. That will help keep caps out of the works.
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Old February 24, 2008, 08:37 PM   #3
Raider2000
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Like Hawg stated, if ya tilt the muzzle twords the sky & slightly to the right you will experince a whole lot less cap jams, mabe even not have any at all.

I sometimes do a modified version which it's all in the wrist for faster repeat shots but it'll take practice.
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Old February 24, 2008, 08:48 PM   #4
berkmberk1
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Cleaning

After I eat dinner I am going to do my next most favorite gun thing......cleaning. I've cleaned a whole lot 'o guns in my life......but not black powder ones. My only real question is - when they say "dissasemble the gun completely" do they mean to the major subassemblies like (cb) barrel, cylinder, action...(cartridge revolver) receiver and cylinder.........OR.......are they saying every swinging screw, pin, spring...and anything else not welded on?
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Old February 24, 2008, 09:09 PM   #5
berkmberk1
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Never mind

I found my anwer in the sticky at the top of the page. "If at first you don't succeed...try reading the directions."
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There's nothing like a good woman, a good pistol, and a bottle of Bulleit Bourbon Frontier Whiskey
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Old February 24, 2008, 09:58 PM   #6
berkmberk1
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Cleaning on hold

OK............the Navy is broken down. But before I continue on with disassembling the receiver, tell me about this main spring I have here. Sure its a leaf spring, just like the one in my .45 and the one in my old Cimarron, but.......its a considerable bit stouter! I vaguely remember breaking my Cimarron down all the way (I was one of those kids, you know, who takes apart perfectly good alarm clocks and clock radios to see how they work). If I remember correctly putting that spring back in was NOT fun. This one looks worse!! I would prefer, at this time, to avoid a detailed disassembly unless I'm sure I can get this thing back together without a spring tool!

Is there a good way to go about this without a tool, or can I just dump the whole receiver in the water this time and detail strip it later?
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Last edited by berkmberk1; February 24, 2008 at 10:00 PM. Reason: spelling correction
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Old February 24, 2008, 10:55 PM   #7
berkmberk1
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Got around the main spring issue

Used some cloth and a Vice Grip with curved jaws to compress the spring. The problem there is that screw, and the trigger spring screw, they are big fat screws, with little bitsy slots......and the D**** things must be torqued on because I can't budge them.

If all else fails, do you think I can get away with dunking the partially disassembled receiver in the hot soapy water for this go around?
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Old February 25, 2008, 12:29 AM   #8
Hawg
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When I clean my bp revolvers I remove the grips and cylinder and that's it. When I take the frame out of the water I let it drain while I do the cylinder. I then spray it out liberally with WD-40 to displace and flush any remaining water or gunk. Then I spray it inside and out liberally with balistol. It's ok to use a petroleum based lube like Remoil here if you prefer because there won't be much if any fouling down inside the action. What little bit gets in there will be flushed out by soaking and spraying. I lube the bore and chambers with bore butter and reassemble. I do a complete takedown maybe once a year if I think about it and have never seen any built up gunk or rust inside one of my revolvers. Make sure you have a good set of gunsmith screwdrivers that fit the slots correctly before you try too hard to get those screws out.
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Old February 25, 2008, 12:41 AM   #9
berkmberk1
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Oh well!!

I wanted to check the works out anyway. Both the pistols are torn down. There shouldn't be a problem with the Navy. I was sort of taken aback at the finish of the insides......pretty rough......probably like the original. The Bounty Hunter is typical German craftsmanship. All surfaces are highly finished. It might be the problem at reassembly as it has the hammer block mechanism (wonder if I can just leave it out ) and there is a little sheet metal claw on the trigger.

The most frustrating part of this was trying to find all the right tools, tools that would fit. I had them, but you don't know what you're getting into until you get into it. Haven't had to improvise this much since I swapped two engines between an Olds 88 and a Cutlass. You ever try to move an engine hoist on gravel with a 455 hanging off it???

Anyway, at least I'll have gained some proficiency in the disassembly and reassembly of the Colt's pistols 1851 and 1873!
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Old February 25, 2008, 12:52 AM   #10
Hawg
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Quote:
Haven't had to improvise this much since I swapped two engines between an Olds 88 and a Cutlass. You ever try to move an engine hoist on gravel with a 455 hanging off it???
Try going from an Olds to a Pontiac or a Pontiac to a Chevy or a Chevy to a Ford. I've done it all. Even used Dodge rear ends under Fords. I think about the hardest thing I've ever done is put a 460 Police Interceptor in a Mustang.
Don't move the hoist, move the car. Now back to your regular programing.
Original Colt's were fitted and finished by hand so they were pretty slick. Most clones can use a little slicking up but some are better than others. I think Uberti uses an air wrench to torque down screws. I never messed with one that had the hammer block so I don't know what you'd run into by leaving it out.
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Old February 25, 2008, 05:22 AM   #11
Raider2000
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How about placing a 92 Ford Mustang 5.8L H.O. with Automatic into a 48 Ford F1 Pick up, now that's work...
But again back to your normal programming.

The Hammer Block is a must because it takes up the space that was intentionally removed from the hammer to prevent accidental firing of the weapon if it was dropped.

I found the Manual which explains this a little & it does have a diagram which will be helpfull if you need a guide to piont you in the right dirrection.
http://www.eaacorp.com/Manuals/big_boure_bh.pdf

As far as total tear down.
If it was a new in the box gun, I would tear it down totally to get what ever storage gunk out of the action, but otherwise I'm like Hawg "about once a year thing" otherwise I just take the back strap off so that I can get the grip off or if it had a 2 piece grip then just remove the grip & clean it like Hawg mentioned.
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Old February 25, 2008, 10:21 PM   #12
berkmberk1
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Thanks for the link

Thanks Raider. I didn't get one of those when I got the gun foisted on me (see my posts on Cimarron and Oglesby and Oglesby Gun Makers). I thing the gun was used.............anyway, now that the Bounty Hunter is apart I see how the safety works.........and I'm going to leave it out......at least for now.

While the hammer is indeed relief cut, there is a boss machined into the hammer that makes it full width at the pivot point. (see pictures)

hammer1.JPG

pict0002.JPG

So taking it out shouldn't be a problem.

I recall reading, not long ago, about a gun smith that specializes in Rugers I believe. He removed the safetys as they sometimes had a tendency to break/fall apart and jam up the gun.

P.S. for all those who say I'm voiding my warranty.............yeah.........
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