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Old August 4, 2008, 09:44 PM   #1
samsmix
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Cartridge conversions?

So, I have a '51 Colt replica in .44. Can it be converted to .44spl?

How about a .36 navy to .38 spl?

And what are the legalities of such a conversion?
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Old August 4, 2008, 10:26 PM   #2
w_houle
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Quote:
So, I have a '51 Colt replica in .44. Can it be converted to .44spl?

How about a .36 navy to .38 spl?

And what are the legalities of such a conversion?
I have never seen a barrel liner for the '51 to convert it to .44, however all you have to do is drop a conversion cylinder into it for a .45 Schofield or .45 Long Colt.
.36 to .38spl I think you need a barrel liner for this as my memory serves the .36 bbl is .375(?). I think it is also dependent on the brand. I think Uberti can be converted to .38 Spl and Pietta to .38 Long Colt.
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Old August 5, 2008, 12:37 AM   #3
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As long as you don't modify the gun structurally, it's only considered a 'firearm' when the conversion cyl. is installed. If you cut a loading gate into the frame, to my understanding, you've manufactured a firearm, and get to keep it forever. This is my understanding of federal law, your state might have other restrictions.
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Old August 5, 2008, 05:51 AM   #4
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Federal law allows an individual to manufacture a firearm (firearm as defined by the GCA of '68) for personal use as long as it is legal under the NFA (barrel length, no auto action, etc.). You may NOT, however, sell or give away that firearm without a license.

Thus one can purchase and install a cartridge conversion cylinder in place of the percussion cylinder in a bp revolver without a dealer or manufacturer's license.

You may sell the gun with the percussion cylinder installed without a license as it is not a firearm under the GCA while in that configuration.

You may not sell the gun with the cartridge conversion cylinder installed without a license as it IS a firearm under the GCA while in that configuration.

You may sell the cartridge conversion cylinder separately from the gun without a license. If you sell the gun and the cartridge cylinder in separate transactions to the same person do NOT ship them together.

I would advise you to go to the BATF web site and read their FAQ section to get this information first hand.
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Old August 5, 2008, 08:55 AM   #5
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I think in just about any case you're better off just buying a cartridge conversion manufactured that way. Not only do you get the handy-dandy ejector but you get a modern cartridge firearm subjected to standard proof testing. It is my humble opinion that they are manufactured to higher standards and from stronger steels than their percussion counterparts. That is, if they manufacture the model in question.
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Old August 8, 2008, 05:53 PM   #6
samsmix
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A .357 bore is not of too great a concern to the handloader. If you load a heel-type bullet into a collet-crimped .38 case, you are halfway there. If you use a hollow-based bullet (in essence a mini-ball), you should acheive reasonable accuracy.

Of course heel-type bullet molds are not found at Wal-mart, but they do turn up at gun shows, and can be custom made as well.


So, what is the bore diameter of a Traditions .44 barrel?
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Old August 8, 2008, 08:33 PM   #7
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My 58 Pietta and my 60 Pietta have .440 lands and .450 grooves.
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Old August 31, 2008, 09:51 PM   #8
Dave Gafvert
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Conversion to 44spl

Is your navy a steel frame or brass, is it a good grade gun. I would strongly suggest you use the same powder charge as the gun is using now, also use a bullet of soft lead and as close to the weight as the ball it uses now. The colt open tops are inherently weak so I would suggest you be very careful and have a qualified gunsmith check it over before you attemp to shoot it. And when you do test fire it do it with a string remotly.
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Old August 31, 2008, 10:17 PM   #9
Raider2000
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Colt open top revolvers are not inherently weak!!

Maybe brass framed copies but not steel framed ones any way.

My 2 Pietta '58 .44's are:
23 year old w/ 8" barrel
.440 land
.450 grove
.449 chambers
1 year old w/ 5-1/2" barrel
.440 land
.4495 grove
.4460 old chamber dimentions .4510 after reaming
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Old August 31, 2008, 10:55 PM   #10
CraigC
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Methinks the strength of the solid frame over the open top Colt has been a little exaggerated.


Quote:
A .357 bore is not of too great a concern to the handloader....Of course heel-type bullet molds are not found at Wal-mart, but they do turn up at gun shows, and can be custom made as well.
That's a bit of a contradiction. I handload but don't cast and would either buy a factory cartridge conversion or have the barrel relined before I'd bother with heeled bullets.
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Old September 1, 2008, 11:47 AM   #11
Smokin_Gun
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Quote:
So, I have a '51 Colt replica in .44. Can it be converted to .44spl?

How about a .36 navy to .38 spl?
No a .45 c&b barrel is to thin to sleeve to a .44spl... Buy one already made at Cimarron.

Yes a .36 navy can be sleeved can buy the sleev at or have R&D do it for you in your Rev.


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Old September 1, 2008, 12:33 PM   #12
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Kirst Kartridge Conversion is really the way to go...If you use a.38 caliber (hollow base) you don't need to sleve the .36 BP barrel. Go thru this site link and tells all. I have 3 conversions myself. Please consider it is not for the cheap of pocket book but a boat load of fun to do requiring only a a little grinding, fitting,and dissasembly.. A real bullet shooting gun not on ATF files. Check you local and State laws.

http://www.riverjunction.com/kirst/
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Old September 15, 2008, 10:15 PM   #13
scrat
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is it a brass frame. If the answer is yes then my answer is no.
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Old September 18, 2008, 06:03 PM   #14
simonkenton
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With the 1860 Colt, do you have to install the loading gate, or can you just drop in the cylinder and fire away?
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Old September 18, 2008, 07:06 PM   #15
darkgael
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Conversions

I have a .38Spl. R&D cylinder for a Pietta .36. If you are loading your own, or want to experiment with different factory ammo, you can find a .357 diameter bullet that will work. At least, that has been my experience. Hollow-based WCs, as mentioned earlier, are a good starting place. I had success with heavy bullets cast in a soft alloy. Lyman's #358430/195gr. RN is a good shooter in my New Police.
Pete
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Old April 10, 2009, 01:21 PM   #16
CaptainCrossman
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Raider2000:

old thread but good subject

with all due respect, and for the sake of friendly debate, you're on a bit of a factual bender there, and need to look up some historical information. The steel frame Colt open tops were refused by the US Army back in 1870, as being weak even for their time- and the Army sent Colt back to the drawing board- demanding a topstrap type revolver like the Remington, otherwise the US Army would not buy any more Colt handguns. Mason went back to Colt's and designed the Peacemaker.

you have to compare it to what else was/is available- this was debated 140 years ago, when the Army did pistol trials S&W vs. Colt vs. Remington, and Colt came in dead last place.

I've been having to inform/remind people about this for some reason lately, even though it is easily obtainable documented historical information- I'm convinced that Colt open top owners just dont' want to admit, what they spent money on has faults, compared to a Remington or Peacemaker. And I say this as a proud Colt owner of (2) open top designs, an 1861 conversion 44 Colt, and an 1851 Navy C-B.

it's common knowledge amongst gunsmiths, the entire open top line was inherently weak, due to the wedge/cylinder pin design- this is well documented. If the open tops were so "good", why'd Colt even make the Peacemaker w/topstrap ?? Colt dropped the entire open top line c. 1873, only conversions were available after that in open top- to use up the stock of Civil War parts- when those were gone, that was it for open tops. They dropped their "newest" open top design, after only 2 years of production 1871-72. The Army said "no thanks"


http://books.google.com/books?id=d6u...um=6#PPA163,M1

see it here:



http://findarticles.com/p/articles/m.../ai_102274463/

Colt brought forth their first cartridge-firing sixgun with the 1871-1872 OpenTop. This was not a conversion but actually built from the factory to fire cartridges.

Genesis Of The Peacemaker

It was at about this same time the Army conducted tests to adopt a new revolver. Colt submitted their Open-Top. The Army sent Colt back to the drawing board with two suggestions. They wanted a solid-frame revolver and a caliber larger than the .44 Colt of the Open-Top.
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