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Old October 24, 2008, 03:00 PM   #1
Doc Hoy
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Euroarms 1851 Navy .44 Bullet size

Experienced Euroarms Colt replica shooters,

I recently got back into C&B shooting after a looong hiatis. (20 yrs.) I bought a couple of used but good condition pistols at gun shows, one of which is a Euroarms 1851 Navy colt in .44 cal. from 1973. (I use this term loosely because I don't know what you call a pistol that looks like an 1851 Navy colt but is chambered for the Army caliber.) When I was shooting before, every .44 I ever had or shot (about nine in all) took a .451 as an adequate fit.

So I molded some .451s from the Lee mold I had been using successfully. I tried them in the Euroarms Navy and no amount of profanity resulted in the ball going more than about 2/3s of the way into the chamber. I put as much force as I had confidence in the arbor. No lead donut was shaved because the diameter at the rim of the chamber is larger than the .451. I know that Euroarms chambers are cut with a ream than imparts a gradual taper to the chamber, (a feature that I am not sure I understand or like).

Has anyone had experience with shooting smaller bullets in this pistol?

Tnx,

Doc Hoy
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Old October 24, 2008, 04:10 PM   #2
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First of all, you call a .44 cal 1851 Colt Navy a 'marketing gimmick', although that's a little unkind. Most of us use the original name with the caliber modifier (".44 '51 Navy", etc.) just to let everyone know we are aware it's not PC.

I assume by "2/3 of the way into the chamber" you mean the ball could not be pressed fully into the chamber, that is, about 1/3 of the ball remained above the chamber mouth.

How much powder did you put in the chamber, did you use any filler, and did you use a lubed wad? Was the ball stuck in the chamber, and if so, how did you remove it?

IMHO, .451 will usually be a bit small for a .44 '51 Navy; i'd expect to have to use a .454 ball. The lack of a shaved ring supports that opinion in this case.

The chambers may in fact be tapered, but the effect you're describing suggests an extreme taper that's unlikely. However, if that's the case, a good reamer is not expensive and can easily correct the problem. A smaller ball is NOT an option.
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Old October 25, 2008, 01:01 AM   #3
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Most of you not us or me may say that:
Quote:
First of all, you call a .44 cal 1851 Colt Navy a 'marketing gimmick', although that's a little unkind. Most of us use the original name with the caliber modifier (".44 '51 Navy", etc.) just to let everyone know we are aware it's not PC.
Not true was the Research & Developement expirimental model that's on display in the Colt Museum in Conn. based on the 1851 Model's frame, the predesessor to the 1860 Army.

Doc Hoy it's a Euroarms 1851 Navy .44 Colt original, manufactured by Euroarms Corp. and has been manufactured by several companies. Has to be ifin it ain't a Reproduction or a replica, right? And it's correct enought to put a .44 cal Period right where you want it.

This ain't The Muzzleloading Forum is it?

Good I thought I'd clicked the wrong hyperlink.......HeeHee!

I like um Doc and they are good shooters...Euroarms Rev cyl. have a deeply chamfered chamber for ease of loading and take a .457" dia. Ball. All my ASP and Euroarms Rems do, and I got a Lee mold 2cav. for um...
Enjoy the Rev it's a good un'.

SG
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Old October 25, 2008, 02:36 AM   #4
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mykeal,

You asked, "How much powder did you put in the chamber"

22 - 30 grains. I tried this on every chamber in the weapon and the powder was never interfering with the ball.

"did you use any filler," I never got past the first shots to find out if I wanted any filler so the answer to this question is - No

"and did you use a lubed wad?" I used Bore Butter but no wad.

"Was the ball stuck in the chamber, and if so, how did you remove it?

You better believe it was stuck. In each case I pulled the nipple of the loaded cylinder and dumped out the powder through the nipple hole. Then drove the ball out with a short length of brass round stock and a ball peen hammer. Each time, I cleaned and examined the chamber to make sure nothing was left.

I just measured the balls and they are averaging .4525. I measured about 15 of them. These came from a Lee mold that was sold as a .451.

The diameter of the chamber right at the mouth is .456 and tapers to exactly .440 by the time the micrometer is half an inch into the chamber.

In .44s I shot, low those many years ago (right around the time this one was manufactured), I never encountered this problem. The chambers did not SEEM to be tapered in any way because once the ball went into the chamber to the point at which the lead had been shaved, the effort required to get it to seat on top of the powder was relatively constant.

Also when I shot before I read extensively (The Lyman BP books which I still have). I shot with people I respected and they and I never once used a wad on top of the powder. I know that contemporary shooters use wads but unless I was missing a lot, the practice seems to have become popular in more recent times. I reasoned that since lead and powder have not changed and since the weapon is the approximate vintage of those I had at that time, the loading process should not have changed.

I never had a Euroarms .44. (either kits from Dixie or RTF from Ruger) and that difference is what I attribute my difficulties to.

I am going to try a lubed wad.

I appreciate your attention to this question.

Tnx,

Doc Hoy
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Old October 25, 2008, 02:49 AM   #5
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.457 ball

Smokin Gun,

You advise going to a .457 ball and I may take your advice, but I am going to get this thing to load with the ".451s" before I move up.

I am thinking of putting pry bar on the loading lever.






I jokin.

Tnx,

Doc Hoy
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Old October 25, 2008, 02:57 AM   #6
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To mykeal - I missed answering one of your questions

Mykeal,

You you are right, the ball always stopped dead without about .015 -.025 (I am guessing) outside of the chamber.

I am thankful that it stopped in a way that the cylinder would not pass the breach cone of the barrel. I am just crazy enough to try clearing the round through the muzzle even though it was not seated on the powder.

The fact that I had to take the pistol apart gave me enough time to come to my senses.

Tnx,

Doc Hoy
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Old October 25, 2008, 03:04 AM   #7
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mykeal,

You asked, "How much powder did you put in the chamber"

22 - 30 grains. I tried this on every chamber in the weapon and the powder was never interfering with the ball.

"did you use any filler," I never got past the first shots to find out if I wanted any filler so the answer to this question is - No

"and did you use a lubed wad?" I used Bore Butter but no wad.

"Was the ball stuck in the chamber, and if so, how did you remove it?

You better believe it was stuck. In each case I pulled the nipple of the loaded cylinder and dumped out the powder through the nipple hole. Then drove the ball out with a short length of brass round stock and a ball peen hammer. Each time, I cleaned and examined the chamber to make sure nothing was left.

I just measured the balls and they are averaging .4525. I measured about 15 of them. These came from a Lee mold that was sold as a .451.

The diameter of the chamber right at the mouth is .456 and tapers to exactly .440 by the time the micrometer is half an inch into the chamber.

In .44s I shot, low those many years ago (right around the time this one was manufactured), I never encountered this problem. The chambers did not SEEM to be tapered in any way because once the ball went into the chamber to the point at which the lead had been shaved, the effort required to get it to seat on top of the powder was relatively constant.

Also when I shot before I read extensively (The Lyman BP books which I still have). I shot with people I respected and they and I never once used a wad on top of the powder. I know that contemporary shooters use wads but unless I was missing a lot, the practice seems to have become popular in more recent times. I reasoned that since lead and powder have not changed and since the weapon is the approximate vintage of those I had at that time, the loading process should not have changed.

I never had a Euroarms .44. (either kits from Dixie or RTF from Ruger) and that difference is what I attribute my difficulties to.

I am going to try a lubed wad.

I appreciate your attention to this question.

Tnx,

Doc Hoy
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Old October 25, 2008, 06:10 AM   #8
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You did the right thing by not attempting to shoot the gun with the ball not seated on the powder. That's very dangerous; in the extreme it could cause catastrophic failure of the cylinder.

Thanks for the chamber measurements. This is a very unusual situation. The chamber taper is extreme and needs to be corrected before the gun is used. It should be done by a professional gunsmith if you do not have the tools or experience. It should not be expensive and it is important that you get it corrected before shooting the gun. I am concerned that you will not be able to properly seat the ball even with a .451 ball and experience detonation, which is the event that causes cylinder failure with an unseated ball.
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Old October 25, 2008, 08:34 AM   #9
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Loading lever malfunctioning???

It's not the loading lever binding, is it?

I ask because I've got what I think is a EuroArms kit Remington 58 (it's only marked Navy Arms) that had a tight loading lever. I had to polish the loading "piston" quite a bit because it hung up in the last 1/3 of the way down and took a lot of pressure to fully extend it even without a ball or load.
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Old October 25, 2008, 09:44 AM   #10
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Nope. He mic'd the chamber bore at .456 at the mouth and .440 at 1/2 inch depth. That's just wrong.
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Old October 25, 2008, 11:51 AM   #11
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Guys

To Mykeal

Agree...and this is the second cylinder (I bought a replacement, figuring as you do that the dimensions don't seem to be right) I have been through with zero improvement.

To Oquirrh,

I will check the smoothness of the loading lever action (for the umteenth time) but I am not hopehul that this simple and desirable fix will do anythinig for me.


To Mykeal,

I have seen some guys do some pretty stupid things and live to tell about it. I on the other hand am a pretty careful and respectful shooter. 25 years in the Navy left a imprint that simply will not go away.

To all,

What was your reaction when I told you I used lube but no wad?

Tnx,

Doc Hoy
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Old October 25, 2008, 12:05 PM   #12
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Second response to Oquirrh

O,

If I remember correctly, the Remington frame style has an inherently finnicky loading lever. One of the pistols I bought just last month is a 58 Remington .44. It just seems like the piston just wants to hang up. In Colts, the linkage is more of a problem than the piston.

I even had a Ruger .44 that I had to Yootz a bit to get it to load. I sure wish I still had that pistol. Its gone to points unknown. I shot my first wife with it and had to destroy the evidence. I wasn't worried about the law. If the prosecuter had known her, he'd ve shot her too. I was worried about my inlaws. They are the kind of nuts who would shoot a revolver with the ball improperly seated.

Tnx,

Barry
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Old October 26, 2008, 10:47 AM   #13
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I got it shootin

Guys,

There is good news and bad news.

I cast some round balls from a Lyman mold that come out averaging .4475. Again I used Bore Butter for lubricant but still no wad.

Using the force I am accustomed to using, the ball went home and seated nicely on the powder. Got a bit of a lead ring so I think the chamber seal is okay.

Six shots discharged without a hitch. So the good news is I am making noise and smoke.

The bad news is -

1. I still can't get the .451s to load. I have no explanation especially since I have two cylinders acting the same way.

2. I know nothing about the accuracy of the .4475 balls. On the one hand they should engage the rifling. On the other hand, I know there is a reason for using .451 or larger bullets.

In my Lyman Black Powder Handbook (1974) all ballistic data for .44 revolvers is based upon a .451 round ball. Nothing of anything smaller in diameter (which is no surprise).

A question for you experts. Should I experience higher or lower muzzle velocities with the smaller round balls. Less mass, less energy required to pass a smaller ball down the barrel resulting in higher velocity OR poor seal in the rifling allowing expanding gasses to escape without imparting energy to the projectile, hence, lower velocity. I am reminded of the fact, that no matter the original size of the projectile, they all wind up whatever size the chamber imparts.

My next door neighbor is a Navy Seal. His unit has a master gunsmith who loves to shoot black powder. I am going to give him my spare cylinder and explain the problem to see what he can come up with.

More later...

Tnx,

Doc Hoy
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Old October 26, 2008, 11:59 AM   #14
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How hard is your lead? Several of my .44's measure .444-.443, 3/8inch in to the cylinder and I have no trouble seating both .451 and .454 with Colt, Uberti, Pietta, and Pedersoli manufacture.
What are the odds of getting two under sized cylinders? Maybe a hangup in the loading ram?? Do you know anyone with a loading stand you could try?
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Old October 26, 2008, 02:09 PM   #15
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Doc measure the Chambers .451" balls ain't big enough for a Euroarms .44 they take ..457" or at least .454" ball...has nothin' ta do with movin' up...it's what's the right size...and .451" balls ain't the right size...I believe you misunderstood me Doc... use them .451 in a Pietta.

SG
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Old October 26, 2008, 02:15 PM   #16
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Know I see your dilema Doc what did you use for lead?
Wheel weight lead or soft lead? If ya used hardcast W/W lead that may be your problem. It don't shrink alot and won't shave lead...
I got the same mold and my .452" balls wooosh down the chambers of a Euroarms like a Brothel on a Saturday Nite.

Good Luck,

SG
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Old October 26, 2008, 05:05 PM   #17
Doc Hoy
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Answers to questions and responses to comments

For the honorable madcratebuilder,

Most of my lead is from ship ballast which is pure lead. Every once in a while I might have thrown in some wheel weights or some solder from a plumber but the bulk of it is pretty pure.

Since virtually anything else that might have gone into the mix (tin from the solder or antimony, bismuth, or zinc) would make it harder I think the bullets might not be too hard. I admit that I don't know for sure how much other stuff is in the alloy but I think it is very little.

For the honorable Smokin_Gun

Yep, I understand your point. The chamber at its widest point right at the rim is .456 on all chambers of both of my cylinders. In order to shave lead at the very rim, anything that goes into the chamber must be more than .456. Hence the recommendation to use .457s. In my case, the lead was shaved off of the .447s further down into the throat of the chamber, logically when the ball encountered the area of the taper that passed below .447. You can imagine my surprise when, knowing that the ball is smaller than the rim and hence impossible to shave lead at the rim, I still saw a little bit of lead shaving in the chamber.

Also understand that going to a .457 is not "moving up" implying improvement on an acceptable continuum that includes balls less than .451. I just agree with all of you guys that this thing should take a round ball like any other .44 cal revolver, That is .451, .454, or .457. And until it does, I've got a problem. I sure do appreciate all of the effort you all are investing.

And for the final to SG, My thought is to empty out my furnace and fill with pure lead (start from scratch, so to speak,) so I know what I am casting with.

Now just for the sake of argument, does anyone have any thoughts on the ballistic performance of the .447s (reference my last post)? I understand its not the right ammunition.

Tnx,

Doc Hoy
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Old October 26, 2008, 05:10 PM   #18
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You need to slug the barrel and mic the lands and grooves before you can tell if the .4475 balls are properly engaging the rifling.

Drive an oversize lead ball (0.457) from the muzzle end into the bore about half way, then drive it back out the muzzle from the breach end. Mic the land and groove impressions on the ball.

Then, drive a new .457 ball through the forcing cone and back and mic the diameter of the ball.

That will tell us the relationship between the chambers, the forcing cone and the barrel lands/grooves, which should reveal where (if any) the problem would be with .4475 balls.

SG - he's already measured and posted the chamber diameters.
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Old October 26, 2008, 05:45 PM   #19
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Quote:
use them .451 in a Pietta.
.451's in both my Pietta's barely shave a ring. One of them I bought new and got instructions from both Pietta and Cabela's. Pietta says use a .454 ball and Cabela's says use a .451. .454 shaves a nice ring.
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Old October 27, 2008, 12:46 PM   #20
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To Mykeal,

Lemme try that. I have measured inside of the barrel at the muzzle but am not confident enough in my ability to take the measurement properly. Difficult to hold and measure even with the barrel clamped in a wood vice.

To Hawg,

Sounds like your chambers are cut like mine. I am confident that if I was using .454s I would get a ring in my Euroarms as you do in your Piettas.

To all,

TC Bore Butter is a good lubricant. Right? I don't mean mutton tallow-parafin-beeswax good, I mean good enough to get the ball to go into the chamber. Huh guys?

Tnx,

Barry
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Old October 27, 2008, 01:12 PM   #21
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What Mykeal said is sure and true ta slug the barrel an measure.

I use a .490 round ball to slug my .44 Barrels...hit it thru and a big ring comes off it. If your lead don't go in the barrel then it's way too hard. Jus' a Tip...
Spend $8 and get a box a Speer .490 swagged balls for sluggin...
Try a box a .451 Speer or Hornady also it may answer your question Doc.

SG
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Old October 27, 2008, 02:31 PM   #22
Doc Hoy
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Response to Smokin Gun

I actually happen to have some 490s from Speer. I will give it a try.

My 1959 Remington is manuf by A.S.M. It is like new and I only gave 125.00 for it.

Tnx,

Doc
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Old October 27, 2008, 02:37 PM   #23
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It should load dry with no trouble. My chambers measure .450
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Old October 27, 2008, 03:00 PM   #24
Doc Hoy
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Mistake

Fellas,

I got too quick with my fingers and typed 9s instead of 8s. Its an 1858 Remington rep.
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Old October 27, 2008, 03:36 PM   #25
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Quote:
I got too quick with my fingers and typed 9s instead of 8s. Its an 1858 Remington rep.
We figured that. No biggie.
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