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Old September 24, 2010, 08:25 AM   #26
BlueTrain
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Using pre-assembled paper cartridges was the rule (meaning the common method) during the percussion period, as well as earlier. I believe that boxed pistol cartridges were even available for civilian purchase and the museum in Cody, Wyoming, has some on display. These are paper cartridges and came six to a box usually. You still had to deal with loose caps.

For military use I'm certain rifled musket ammunition was only issued out in cartridge form and I think they came in bundles, tied together. From what I have read in army manuals from the period and earlier, they may have sometimes been made up by the units themselves but that would probably not have happened during wartime. Ammunition for practice during peacetime was scarce and a soldier would have been fortunate to have as many as 50 rounds annually of ball ammunition. I also gather from some old sources that the shelf life of paper cartridges was short compared to metallic cartridges. Also, paper cartridges could be color coded to indicate blank ammunition. The same source gave a scale of issue of caps to cartridges of something approaching two to one (don't remember the exact numbers), so there was either an expectation of a lot of ignition failure or a high fumble loss rate with the little things.
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Old September 24, 2010, 10:09 AM   #27
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What Doc said a couple of posts ago.

The first time I saw Pale Rider, my jaw about dropped open when I saw Clint Eastwood swap the cylinders in that Remington without looking and without anything getting hung up. Oh, I suppose that there may have been a few takes to get it done right, but I thought that it was a pretty darned amazing feat of prestidigitation!
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Old September 24, 2010, 10:19 AM   #28
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"I don't know how "common" it was to change cylinders but the practice is well documented."

Please show this documentation. I've studied the civil war for over 20years and have found no such documentation. I would seriously like to see it if you have any. If one reads about the "bushwhackers" during the war, one will find they were known to carry as many as 8 revolvers about their person and mount. In the regular cavalry on both sides, paper cartridges were issued for revolvers. In warfare of the day, pistols were rarely used at all in the regular ranks (not talking about bushwhackers and such) The carbine was the main weapon. Some cavalry units went the whole war without firing their pistols in combat. Cavalrymen carried usually no more than 2 revolvers on them at a time but more often than not only 1, and in some cases none. The military didn't put a lot of focus on pistols because as I said, the rifle and carbine were the main weapons just like nowadays. If extra cylinders were as common as some here claim, why then does one not see them in museums? You often see revolvers, rifles, sabres, personal items, and equipment that have been recovered from the battlefields but no cylinders. Why is that? A cylinder would shurley survive as well as a whole revolver, but you never see them. I would figure that if a soldier in the heat of combat could drop an entire gun, one could also drop a cylinder.
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Old September 24, 2010, 10:26 AM   #29
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"Hey, in D-jet500 photo, I'm pretty sure that the revolver on the left is a version of one of the Dragoon model, note the loading lever lock and the different shaped and sized bolt notches, sort of an improved Walker, which is indeed, I believe what the rev on the right represents (Walker). They sure aren't identical"

The only thing not identical is the end of the loading lever. The one on the left has a dragoon lever and the lever catch dovetailed into the barrel. This was a common modification done back then to keep the lever up. They are both Walkers.
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Old September 24, 2010, 06:20 PM   #30
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"I don't know how "common" it was to change cylinders but the practice is well documented."

I'd like to see that too. Just wasn't done.
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Old September 24, 2010, 06:25 PM   #31
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I have never gotten smooth enough with my Remingtons to change out the cylinder as easily as Eastwood did in Pale Rider. I have practiced at it and I simply can not get the cylinder to go in without a little bit of yutzing.
Try this, forget about using half cock because the hand interferes. Pull the hammer back just far enough to clear. The hand and bolt will both be retracted and the cylinder will fall in or out from either side.


One thing y'all are forgetting. The west was a drab and boring place. Most people including cowboys didn't wear guns while working or on the range. They didn't expect to get in a gunfight every single day of their lives. They usually only wore them in town. There was no need for the average man to have more than one gun or extra cylinders.
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Old September 24, 2010, 06:52 PM   #32
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I have even read first hand accounts by some ex-Mosbys rangers about finding safe places to reload their revolvers during a fight. Most of the extrs cylinders made back in the day, were in cased sets as has been mentioned. The plain fact is, there is hardly any evidence at all about spare cylinders used in the 1800s. I have been looking for years. I have studied the "bushwhackers" of the civil war extensively, as these are the men most claimed to have made use of spare cylinders, and have found no mention of them whatsoever. Out of all the many thousands, and thousands of soldiers and civilians that carried and used C&B revolvers in the 1800s I am sure there were a few that used extra cylinders but again, show me the documentation.
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Old September 24, 2010, 07:04 PM   #33
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Hawg

I am going to try this. It makes sense.

But in the movie I remember Eastwood operating the cylinder pin with his right hand and slipping the cylinder in place with his left hand. What part of his anatomy was he using the hold the hammer in place, pre-half cock?

I am pretty sure I have the hands right. He put the cylinder into the pistol from the left side.
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Old September 24, 2010, 07:06 PM   #34
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I dunno how he did it, been awhile since I've seen it.
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Old September 24, 2010, 07:33 PM   #35
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Josey continuity problem

Hold on---might be wrong--- but pietta's ad offers the Josey Wales gun that he recovered from the (yankee Red Legs) on his farm after his family was killed and his farm was burned. Um, I too haven't seen this one in awhile, but my recollect was that gun was his(Josey's gun) that he had kept hidden and it was either an 1861 n/or 1860 army that was a colt cartridge conversion with tube on right side of barrel w/extractor rod missing. And it was the same gun that the Indian woman snuck up on him and the other indian with. They did not have those during Civil War but maybe 4 or 5 years later! And, he carried 2 Walkers, an 1861 navy, an 1849 pocket and a Sharps throughout movie.
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Old September 24, 2010, 09:41 PM   #36
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Quote:
One thing y'all are forgetting. The west was a drab and boring place. Most people including cowboys didn't wear guns while working or on the range. They didn't expect to get in a gunfight every single day of their lives. They usually only wore them in town. There was no need for the average man to have more than one gun or extra cylinders.
They didn't view guns as only good for gunfights. They viewed them as tools. They were used to kill eagles, wolves and coyotes, to obtain camp meat, to shoot wounded animals or their horse if they got hung up in the stirrups of a runaway, etc. There were alot of reasons why the cowboys carried guns, so don't assume all they're good for is gunfights. Sure, rifles and carbines were used more often, but the handgun was an invaluable tool to have on his person when he couldn't reach his longarm.
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Old September 24, 2010, 10:48 PM   #37
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Actually, Hawg is right. Read about the working cowboy. More often than not, pistols were carried in saddle bags. When working with a rope, a holstered pistol on your hip is just in the way. You, are right about guns being seen as tools, and having many uses. But Hawg said they didn't WEAR them when working, not that they didn't have them. I have to ask, and I am not being sarcastic either, I am sincerly curious, have you ever tried to do manual labor while wearing a loaded sixgun and cartridge belt? I have. I raise cattle. The gun does get in the way and it becomes very uncomfortable quickly. If you read memoirs written by cowboys. Most didn't wear them at work. Also, rifles were mostly left in the wagon or in camp un less there was a reason to have them, wolves in the area, hostile indians in the area, etc...
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Old September 25, 2010, 06:30 PM   #38
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More often than not, pistols were carried in saddle bags.
Exactly. And the thing about the runaway horse. Not saying it couldn't or didn't happen but holsters of the day were a pretty snug fit but not tight enough to hold a gun in if it was held upside down and they didn't have hammer thongs or straps to hold a gun in. If you found yourself being drug by one foot hung in a stirrup I would think your first actions would be trying to keep out from under the hooves and trying to get your foot free. By the time you thought of shooting the horse the gun would most likely be gone. If it stayed in place during the fall to start with.
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Old September 26, 2010, 05:24 AM   #39
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doc hoy

Turn the cylinder grass hopper,will it into place,in a liquid motion,and your foe shall be enlightend by your muzzel flash
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Old September 26, 2010, 05:36 AM   #40
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Andrew

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You and I need to get out more.

Its raining here so there goes my trip to the range.

The way you described is about the only way I know how to put the cylinder into the pistol. Problem is, it is hard to do with ones hands on the pistol as Eastwood was holding his.
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Old September 26, 2010, 05:43 AM   #41
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here ya go doc. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=610Ys...ext=1&index=73
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Old September 26, 2010, 09:24 PM   #42
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The Walker Colt was considered to be the Magnum Revolver of it's day, one of the most powerful of the old cap and ball revolvers wasn't it. Clint was also carrying a pair of 36 caliber Colts in a shoulder holster also.
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Old September 26, 2010, 10:01 PM   #43
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Originally Posted by bamaranger
Hey, in D-jet500 photo, I'm pretty sure that the revolver on the left is a version of one of the Dragoon model, note the loading lever lock and the different shaped and sized bolt notches, sort of an improved Walker, which is indeed, I believe what the rev on the right represents (Walker). They sure aren't identical.
They both look like Walkers to me. Note the wedges are inserted from the right side instead of the left like a Dragoon. It would appear to me that both Walkers have been converted to shoot cartridges. Note the lack of nipples on the cylinders. Also, the one on the left has the recoil shield ground out to accept loading of cartridges from the rear. Also, regarding the one on the left, it is not unheard of that the loading levers were later modified to include a positive latch system like the Dragoons.

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Old September 27, 2010, 03:31 AM   #44
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It would appear to me that both Walkers have been converted to shoot cartridges.
They were converted to .38 spcl.
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Old September 27, 2010, 04:04 AM   #45
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Good video, Hawg.

I remembered it completely backwards.
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Old September 29, 2010, 07:45 PM   #46
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the movie outlaw jose wales has been confused w/pale rider here. Was it not a cartridge converter he practiced w/in the beginning? On Jose Wales? And the Civil War was still somewhat still active? The cylinder swap in Pale rider is another debate
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Old October 4, 2010, 07:27 PM   #47
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Hollywood

If you watch that movie in slow motion, he fakes it, he only takes his his hand near his belt which appears to hold cylinders containing cartridges. The prop dept. apparently was lacking in spare bp cylinders.
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Old October 4, 2010, 07:47 PM   #48
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Watch the video you can see the other cylinder in his palm.
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Old October 4, 2010, 08:26 PM   #49
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They were converted to .38 spcl.
That's disappointing. 45 Colt would have been already been a step back.
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Old October 6, 2010, 10:48 PM   #50
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Josey Wales Dream Guns

Hello, Concerning the flick, Josey Wales, if you look close, the scene at the bridge where they are all loading up for attack...they are opening loading gates & inserting metalic ctg.'s! C'mon Guys! This is the CIVIL WAR. And while Colt would have loved to be able to pedal a revolver like that (it would have had to be in .44 Henry, as no C.F. ctg. were invented yet for American revolvers), there was the little problem of the Rolin White patent...owned by Smith & Wesson...Which gave them sole mfg. rights to a bored thru cylinder.
I must say that Hollywood is getting better with more authentic weapons.
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