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Old October 7, 2010, 12:29 PM   #1
jolasa
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Black Powder or Cartridge Revolver and the Law?

Re: my 1858 Remington cap and ball (black powder) revolver. No legal restrictions for purchase, etc. Do not have to go thru an FFL dealer to purchase, etc.

If I convert the pistol to fire BOTH .44 cal cap and ball (using the original 6-shot cylinder) AND .45 Long Colt cartridges (5-shot conversion cylinder), do the laws and restrictions that that apply change?

I may or may not cut a loading channel in the frame so the .45 LC version of the revolver can be loaded without removing the cylinder. How does this affect the legal situation?

The key here is I want to be able to shoot cap and ball, AND cartridge, just by changing cylinders. This is possible, lots of folks do it.

Here is info on the conversion cylinder:
http://www.kirstkonverter.com/remington.html

FFL dealers or lawyers please chime in.

Jon

Last edited by jolasa; October 7, 2010 at 12:41 PM.
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Old October 7, 2010, 01:06 PM   #2
Don H
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There is no federal law prohibiting what you propose to do. Your state or locality, whatever they may be, may take a different tack on the conversion. Of course, without knowing where you live, it's not possible for anyone to address your question with any degree of certainty.
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Old October 7, 2010, 02:57 PM   #3
Aguila Blanca
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Quote:
Re: my 1858 Remington cap and ball (black powder) revolver. No legal restrictions for purchase, etc. Do not have to go thru an FFL dealer to purchase, etc.

If I convert the pistol to fire BOTH .44 cal cap and ball (using the original 6-shot cylinder) AND .45 Long Colt cartridges (5-shot conversion cylinder), do the laws and restrictions that that apply change?

I may or may not cut a loading channel in the frame so the .45 LC version of the revolver can be loaded without removing the cylinder. How does this affect the legal situation?

The key here is I want to be able to shoot cap and ball, AND cartridge, just by changing cylinders. This is possible, lots of folks do it.
A black powder revolver is not a regulated "firearm" for purposes of purchase under the GCA of 1968, but the laws of most states treat BP revolvers just like "real" guns for purposes of carry and use. So your conversion cylinder probably doesn't make any difference in that regard.

The instructions that come with the Kirst conversion cylinder include a template for grinding out the loading notch ... and they tell you that once you do that, the firearm is no longer considered to be a black powder firearm. Doesn't affect the legality of your ownership, but it does mean that if you ever transfer it you'll be subject to the GCA of 1968 plus any state laws affecting transfers of "firearms."
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Old October 7, 2010, 03:44 PM   #4
jolasa
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I live in Oakland, California.
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Old October 7, 2010, 04:37 PM   #5
longranger
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Get two 1858's and converters, your way out gunned in Oakland CA.
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Old October 7, 2010, 05:28 PM   #6
Aguila Blanca
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I would be very cautious in CA. At least according to the BATFE (which, I realize, is Federal and not CA), by opening up the reload notch you are self-manufacturing a cartridge firearm. (At least, that's my understanding from having seen the instructions for a Kirst conversion.) Under Federal law, that's legal.

Under CA law, it may be not-so-legal. I do NOT live in CA so I'm extrapolating a bit here. It is my understanding, for example, that in CA it isn't legal to buy receivers and slides and put them together to create your own semi-auto handgun or AR-pattern rifle. Likewise, in CA I believe it is not legal to buy an "80 percent" receiver and manufacture your own AR-15 lower receiver -- because CA only allows the sale and importation of complete firearms that are on the DOJ approved list. I think you need to consult with a CA attorney who is VERY conversant with CA firearms laws to determine if opening up that notch would create an illegal firearm.

The good news is that it shoots just fine without the notch, it just takes a bit more effort to reload. A couple of years ago, while visiting a friend in another state we spent a day at his gun club and I had a chance to see and shoot a Remington clone with a Kirst conversion. The one I shot had not been modified other than the cylinder. I looked into it, and once I realized that opening the notch (which I would want to do) would turn it into a "modern" firearm and take it out of the black powder realm for paperwork purposes, I lost interest.

But the one I tried shot very nicely.
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