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Old July 14, 2009, 04:32 AM   #26
Hawg Haggen
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The age of a pistol is less important than the number of rounds that have gone through it. And in many cases, we have no way of knowing how much the pistol was actually used.
That's true but there's no way to know how much a particular pistol has been used or abused as the case may be and C&B pistols when they were new were pretty well abused, especially military pistols. During the first year of the C.W. all U.S. troops including infantry were issued pistols. Most of these were either sent home or discarded by the roadside. Cavalry were the ones that used them the most in battle.
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Old July 14, 2009, 04:41 AM   #27
Doc Hoy
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I think I did not explain myself right

Hawg,

You said, "Loading a bp revolver puts most of the pressure against the recoil shield."

Yes...because the cylinder must bear against the recoil shield as the bullet is forced into it.

But the force that seats the ball is exerted by the loading lever which has only the arbor to pull on. When we are field stripping the pistol, if a barrel is a little stubborn we use the loading lever to pull it off of the arbor. Same as loading the pistol.

Does that make more sense?
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Old July 14, 2009, 05:24 AM   #28
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Yup! I think you and I are in agreement. Doesn't say much for you

Hawg,

You said, That's true but there's no way to know how much a particular pistol has been used or abused". You seem to agree, which is probably not to your credit since I am horribly under-informed as I have said.

My family were hunters and shooters as long as I can remember. I have been around weapons all my life. When I reported to the Navy at 19 and saw the poor condition of the .45s I was appalled. I simpy could not believe that something so important as a firearm, could be mistreated so recklessly.

I am allowing my imagination to run wild here but consider this:

1862 and Private Murphy, age 18, reports for duty attached to an infantry company. Among other things he is issued a revolver.

1862 and Private Murphy is killed in the first moments of battle before he ever gets a chance to fire a shot.

Private Murphy's body is buried in a military cemetary near the battlefield. His personal effects including the pistol are sent home to his mother. She puts his uniform with the hole in the jacket and his belt and hat in a trunk along with the revolver. Ms. Murphy is 46 years old. She dies in 1901 in a bed in the same house that Private Murphy was born in.

Her great nephew inherits the house and belongings including the trunk. He opens it to find the uniform, the belt, the hat and the pistol. The pistol may still be loaded with the first rounds that were ever seated. He is not a "gun person" so to him the pistol is nothing more than a relic. So he stores it away for most of is life.

At what point in the tenure of this pistol does it come into the hands of someone who knows anything about civil war weapons? Knows how to handle it, get the nipples off or to somehow unload the chambers? How badly is it rusted or pitted?

Probably the pistol is still shootable.

I am no historian, but I would be willing to bet that this scenario was repeated quite often. This or other scenarios which resulted in a weapon surviving the war which was not really used that much.
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Old July 14, 2009, 03:12 PM   #29
Hawg Haggen
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Does that make more sense?
Yes it does but an open top arbor is still not that weak. IMHO you'd have to do some major puttin out on it to damage even a brass frame from loading and I'd think you'd break the loading lever or link pin first.
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Old July 14, 2009, 03:21 PM   #30
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Couple of things wrong with your scenario. Guns would not have been shipped to a dead soldiers home. They would be reissued. Early in the war a soldier would have been buried in his uniform unless he died in a hospital and somebody actually came to claim the body(highly unlikely). Later in the war any usable equipment or clothing would be distributed among the living. Now some privates were issued revolvers at the outset of the war and some of them did ship those guns home. Others simply discarded them to lessen their load along with anything else they were issued and didn't feel like they needed.
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Old July 14, 2009, 05:49 PM   #31
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Or... of course the old saw about trading two colts for a Remington
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Old July 15, 2009, 06:57 AM   #32
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I agree

Hawg,

Yes...I hope I did not leave you with the impression that I think the arbor is weak or is a weak link. The design, as many have said, has stood the test of time.

My only point was to mention that significant force is applied to the pistol, not only during firing but during loading as well.

As regards the Private Murphy scenario, as I said I am no historian, consequently there are probably a lot more things wrong than you pointed out. I thought about the uniform after I hit the "submit" button and I do agree.

You have to admit, Dear old Mom, examining the hole in the jacket makes for a good story.

My scenario was meant to present my reason for believing that there may be a great percent of originals in existence that did not see a lot of rounds.

My regret is that I am not smart enough about historical fact to back up my belief, nor do I have a good idea of what I think the percent might be.

The most I was hoping for was to have you agree that the scenario is, at least, credible.
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Old July 15, 2009, 02:51 PM   #33
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It's credible if you say he sent the gun home or left it after being on leave. I found an original 58 Remington in an old barn once. Fully loaded and capped. Rusted and pitted pretty bad but once I got it freed up it was a very tight action. Timing was perfect and lockup was rock solid. I don't think that gun saw much use but 100 or so years hanging in a barn really took it's toll.
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Old July 15, 2009, 02:59 PM   #34
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Skiddly wow wow

An original Remington?! Found?!

Yowsa!

Closest I can think of is when a friend bought a 73 Corvette used and found a nickel PPK in a holster behind the driver's seat. Loaded clip and one in the chamber.

How did you unload the Remington?

Tnx,
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Old July 15, 2009, 03:58 PM   #35
Hawg Haggen
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Wood screw and a pair of vice grips after I got the cylinder out. I fired the powder out of a repro, worked fine.
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Old July 15, 2009, 04:00 PM   #36
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58

Had a customer bring a 58 that he had dug from a battlefield (back when that was still legal). I looked it over and I thinks with new springs, screws, a new bolt, trigger and hammer it would be a shooter. He and his family had played with the gun for years and most of the screws were wood screws.
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Old July 15, 2009, 04:17 PM   #37
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Yup!

Hawg,

That is about what I figured. Surprised the powder was still hot.

Hawg and Noz,

Do you have photos?

Tnx,

Barry
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Old July 15, 2009, 04:24 PM   #38
Hawg Haggen
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Do you have photos?
No but I wish I did. Actually I wish I had kept the gun but a guy offered me 500 bucks for it around ten years ago and I let him have it.
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Old July 16, 2009, 09:57 AM   #39
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No photos, but it looked as you would expect a child's "toy" to look. One side was pitted. All parts were present (broken trigger bolt spring) but very rough on the outside. Bore was surprisingly good, all parts moved when they should.
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