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Old February 10, 2008, 09:53 PM   #1
berkmberk1
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1851 Navy, .44 cal.......now what?

As I posted earlier, I just received by Traditions, 1851 Navy, in .44 cal. I know that among other things I need to get: a powder flask, balls (), wads, caps, powder, replacement nipples (eventually) and wrench, leather (handled), and wedge tools (ie. punch/hammer or wedge tool?). I may have missed something or other, but I believe this covers most of it.

My first questions are these: What would be suggested for the nipple wrench(size, shape, etc.)? What size nipple does a Pietta normally take (standard, metric, size?).

Any help is appreciated.

Mike
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Old February 10, 2008, 10:11 PM   #2
Hawg
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Nipple size for Piettas is 6x.75 If you replace them get Treso. http://www.thunder-ridge.com/proddet...?prod=11-50-01
Or you can get a nipple wrench with replacement nipples from Cabela's
http://www.cabelas.com/prod-1/0003248210271a.shtml
I use a plastic screwdriver handle to bump the wedge flush and if needed a brass punch to push the wedge thru till it's loose enough. Do not remove or loosen the wedge screw. All it's for is to catch the lip on the spring to keep it from coming all the way out. Before you remove the wedge pay attention to how far it protrudes on the right side, you don't want to drive it back in any further. If it's too far in it will bind your cylinder. Most fit flush or just a tad past flush on the right side.
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Old February 11, 2008, 07:36 AM   #3
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Nipple wrench would be any one that mentioned 'revolver' in the description or title (sizes are 'revolver' or 'pistol', 'Walker' and 'rifle'). If you can find one that's been hardened buy it regardless of the price. It'll be more, but it'll also be worth it. The slots in most wrenches are thin walled and wear out soon, so the extra cost of hardened steel will save money in the long run. Track of the Wolf used to carry hardened nipple wrenches but I've not seen them lately, so I don't have a good link to give you.
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Old February 12, 2008, 05:24 PM   #4
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Progress....sort of

Alright... I've discovered Springfield, IL is not a hot bed of black powder aficiandos. Having the day off, I went to the range with my 9mm CZ75 and my Bounty Hunter .45LC. The ejector rod modification works great! The gun is nicely accurate....better than I am!

On my way out I picked up a box of Hornady .454 balls (the only box) and some CCI #11 caps (about the only thing they carried). They had no BP or substitutes on the shelf.

Drove to the local surplus store (Birds and Brooks) and found some 44-45 lubed wads, a nipple wrench (one of only three or four in stcck) and some American Pioneer "Jim Shockey's Gold" bp substitute. I would have bought another box of balls ($9.99) but they only take cash and not plastic so I had to leave those behind.

Those two places had no flasks or cappers. I guess its LEE Dippers and fingers for the first few cylinders anyway!

Anyway.........I'm going to try the JSG and the CCI caps as there is little I can do otherwise anyway!

Any ideas or comments on the components? Anyone try this powder in a .45 cartridge?

I am looking into mail order, but I also want to try out the 1851 this weekend and can't really wait........
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Old February 12, 2008, 07:06 PM   #5
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You need a powder measure. You really don't want to load chambers directly from the flask.
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Old February 12, 2008, 07:29 PM   #6
berkmberk1
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For the very short term......until I get a flask and measure, I'll have to rely on my Lee measures. Bought em years ago and they still work great in a pinch......
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Old February 12, 2008, 07:33 PM   #7
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How do you un-wedgie?

Prepping according to owner's manual (if you call a trifold sheet of paper a "manual ) which calls for disassembly to clean and properly lube before firing.............I swear they weld those wedges in.

Any tips on how to get it out......your mission if you choose to accept it......the only tools available are STEEL........I do have a plastic machinist hammer but the only punches are steel.........any secrets here?
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Old February 12, 2008, 08:09 PM   #8
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New wedges are rather tight. First, do not remove or loosen the wedge screw. It's only purpose is to catch the lip on the wedge spring and keep the wedge from coming all the way out. Second, pay close attention to how far the wedge protrudes on the opposite side from the screw so you can reinstall it to the same place. Most fit flush or just a tad past flush. If you drive it through too far the cylinder will lock up. If the wedge protrudes any on the opposite side from the screw you can use a plastic hammer to tap it flush. Now you'll need a brass punch or a piece of hardwood to punch it through a little more till it loosens up. If you're careful you can pry it from the screw side with a screwdriver but it's real easy to mar it like that. Once it's fully disengaged put the hammer on half cock and rotate the cylinder till the ram is between chambers then use the ram to pry the barrel off. Do not polish or file the wedge to make it fit better. It will loosen up over time.
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Old February 12, 2008, 08:35 PM   #9
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Hey! Guess what I found out!

Not having a brass punch, piece of hardwood or nylon that would fit, I tried this.......I used a penny!!! Holding it in a pair of skinny pliers to keep from blasting my fingers, I laid it on top of the wedge and wacked it with my plastic hammer. Voi la". Wedge un-wedged.

Thanks for the input......
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Old February 12, 2008, 10:00 PM   #10
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Ain't it just the way......

Navy Colt, field stripped, cleaned, reassembled successfully, but............I found out the nipple wrench I bought (CVA rifle/pistol) just won't work. It doesn't reach into the little well created by the nipple hole/threads. Hope its returnable.........
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Old July 29, 2008, 09:18 PM   #11
clcolin81
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berkmberk1,

I know it's been a while since your last post, but I hope you're monitoring this forum still. I too just bout a .44 '51 navy, and I was wondering the same thing as you, as far as the powder measure/flask situation. What did you end up using? appreciate any advice from you or any of the others out there. thnx.
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Old July 29, 2008, 09:35 PM   #12
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I use an old cylindrical CVA flask and an old Thompson Center powder measure. Stay away from the traditional Colt styles for any practical use. They dent easily and mine split apart at the seam after a couple of years.
Thompson Center still makes powder measures like mine but they're not solid brass like mine anymore. They appear to be brass and teflon. I don't think they make a powder flask exactly like mine anymore. I don't have a pic of mine but whatever you get make sure it's sturdy.
Here's my measure.

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Old July 29, 2008, 10:10 PM   #13
berkmberk1
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Contemporary flask

I finally bought the 5" Treso flask from The Possibles Shop. It comes standard with a 30 gr spout. The way I use it is to cap it with my finger, point it down, push the valve, shake it, and then release the valve and turn it upright. Done in one motion its kind of a big flick of the wrist. I figure the skin of my finger in the spout takes off a few grains......so I figure it throws around 27-28.

I know, I know......never charge direct from a flask. I don't reload immediately. I'm either alternating between my 1851 and my 1858, or I'm shooting a CAS match where it'll be a while before I reload anyway.
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Old July 29, 2008, 10:28 PM   #14
Oquirrh
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Newbie to newbie

I used lee dippers that I happened to have around, then replaced them with dippers made from brass cartridge cases. I cut rifle cases to length with a tubing cutter. Then I JB-Welded (epoxy) nails to them for handles--solder would work too. They work great. Because I started making them with the Lee dippers, i've got 10 odd-ball sizes from 13g to 34g.

As I figure out what works for me, I'll be replacing the DIY stuff. I bought a nice brass pistol measure from Possibles Shop. But so far I only use it to check the measurements of the cartridge case dippers.

I've haven't found a powder flask I like yet, so I'm still using the one i made. I found a big pill bottle (about 10 oz). I drilled a hole in the cap and cut the base off a 30-06 case and glued it in place for a spout. Now, I pour from it into the measuring dipper over top of the tuna can. Any spillage I pour back into the "powder flask."

I bought a snail capper, because they make it easier to cap. But half the time I cap with my fingers and set them with a wooden dowel. Surprising how nimble my mitts haven gotten with some practice.

At a garage sale, I found a stainless steel nipple wrench for a rifle. I used my dremel to grind it down small enough to fit my revolvers. If i could find a hardened steel revolver nipple wrench, I'll buy it.
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Old July 29, 2008, 11:14 PM   #15
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I tried APP in my Pietta 1851 using .45 Schofield brass in an R&D cylinder. I cleared through about 35 rounds before it started to act sluggish. The residue of APP reminded me of hard water deposits, but it was easy to clean off.
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Old July 30, 2008, 11:36 AM   #16
JACK STEELE
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If any body is interested Taylors carries a hardened nipple wrench.
I just recently purchased one and it work slicker than snot on a door knob!
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Old July 31, 2008, 07:49 AM   #17
playtheblues
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<First, do not remove or loosen the wedge screw.>

Ok, I'm confused now. The instructions that came with my '51 from Pietta says:

3) "To remove the cylinder, back the wedge screw out of the gun until it almost touches the wedge."

What's the deal?
BB in SC
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Old July 31, 2008, 09:10 AM   #18
Hawg
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Quote:
Ok, I'm confused now. The instructions that came with my '51 from Pietta says:

3) "To remove the cylinder, back the wedge screw out of the gun until it almost touches the wedge."
You read instructions??????

That's to give you a replacement point for reinstalling the wedge. The screw on my 60 however is too short. It will come out before it touches the wedge. Using it just adds another step in disassembly and reassembly.
The wedge screw holds nothing. If you leave it in it will catch the lip of the wedge spring and keep the wedge from falling all the way out.
Before you remove the wedge take notice of how far it protrudes on the side opposite from the screw. You want to replace it to the same position. Drive it in too deep and it will bind up your cylinder.
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Old July 31, 2008, 06:08 PM   #19
playtheblues
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<Before you remove the wedge take notice of how far it protrudes on the side opposite from the screw. You want to replace it to the same position. Drive it in too deep and it will bind up your cylinder..
yeah, I knew that much. My wedge fits flush on the opposite side of the gun, for the correct fit. OK, what keeps the wedge from just falling out after it gets some use on it, and loosens?
<If you leave it in it will catch the lip of the wedge spring and keep the wedge from falling all the way out.>
OK I see now, I think. So the wedge does not have to come completely out to remove the barrel and cylinder?
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Old July 31, 2008, 06:51 PM   #20
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Quote:
The wedge screw holds nothing
Actually, according to the original Colt patent, the wedge screw acts as a depth check for the wedge.

Patent #1,304 dated 8/29/1839. In this patent, Colt talks about the "key" or wedge. "As the key C is to act laterally as a wedge to draw the receiver and the barrel into contact, it is of importance that it should be checked when forced sufficiently far in, or the receiver might be wedged up and prevented from turning. For this purpose I insert a screw, e, Fig.3, into the steel button f, which is attached to D D... The head of this screw, overlapping the end of the mortise, receives the wedge and checks it. By turning this screw the force of the wedge may be tempered. In fig. 5 g is a spring-latch on the under side of the key, which catches upon D when the key is forced in and prevents its accidental removal."
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Old July 31, 2008, 07:31 PM   #21
Hawg
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Quote:
The head of this screw, overlapping the end of the mortise, receives the wedge and checks it
If the screw is long enough, mine isn't....Yet. As the wedge gets wear on it it will need to be seated further in to keep the cylinder gap correct. My wedge can be removed and installed by finger pressure but it doesn't work loose under recoil and I don't use light loads either. IMHO as long as you pay attention to where the wedge is seated there's no reason to mess with the screw.
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Old July 31, 2008, 08:55 PM   #22
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Keep in mind that the patent refers to originals, not Italian repros. Nothing against the Italian guns - I got more than I need and I like them all, but I wonder how important that little screw was back in the day. The wedge screw on my 1860 .44 (Pietta) didn't even touch the wedge so I put one in with a larger head and it actually helped tighten the barrel/frame connection.
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Old August 1, 2008, 12:38 AM   #23
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Along with what Pohill said, if the wedge screw is left fully tightened and the wedge is either pushed out tapped out or shot out....that screw holds the wedge from fallin' in the sand or dirt elsewhere. It also works to remove the wedge so as to unscrew till the wedge is free to pull with fingers. I keep my wedge screw either at the set depth for shootin the or all the way in.
But have not left out screw since I broke the locating pins off my 1860 Pietta while makin' a new wedge and shootin' with 777 ffg 28gr...lost the wedge after 3 shots...went to the sand along with watchin' my barrel assy. swing on the arbor. Fixed it got better pins(I made)than them stepped Pietta pins.
Anyway I'd keep the screw in far enough to not allow the wedge to fall out.

Pohill meant to tell you I used that technique on this CVA (ASM) '51 Navy I'm building for someone.
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Old August 3, 2008, 01:43 AM   #24
clcolin81
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ok, so what IS the big deal about charging directly from the flask? If the flask has a spout that will measure out the right amount, why can't you use it to pour directly into the firearm? Or is it maybe more about safety, and using the minimum amount of powder in case of an intentional ignition. I can sort of understand that this, being in the explosive industry.

also, what's everybody's opinion about using wads/patches/grease? I've heard mixed input about this. Some say that you don't need them, and can just put the lead ball right over the powder. Others say it's needed to prevent multiple chambers from igniting. Some say that the grease over the ball is to help with excessive fouling. This may start a debate, but tell me, what do you all think?

I just got my '51 and can't wait to get it out on the range, (My first BP gun) and I'm just trying to figure out what I need to worry about.
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Old August 3, 2008, 02:16 AM   #25
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Quote:
ok, so what IS the big deal about charging directly from the flask?
It ain't no big deal as long as you don't catch a spark in that flask that a breeze kept glowing from a piece a char fouling...and blow your hand and face off.
But I pour from a flask to a cylinder just don't do it right off.

I use Lube Pills make my own recipe or buy them from Junk Yard Dog...Rifle's wife. Best thing I have ever used and have only used Lube Pills for the last 5-6 years...shoot all day, Colt or Remington, lube, improve accuracy, clean up easy. Contact Rifle on here or Wayne at Voy.com/60048/

SG
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