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Old October 13, 2010, 09:03 PM   #1
ClemBert
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Walker with a different twist --- .45 BPM (.45 Black Powder Magnum)

I posted the following on another forum. I thought I'd post it here too for those of you that don't venture beyond this forum.

===========================================

Okay cap-n-ballers….don’t hate me. I decided that I wanted the option of shooting cartridges in my Walker in addition to shooting cap-n-ball style. I purchased a Kirst Konverter and had a channel cut in the recoil shield to allow for breech loading of cartridges. There are a couple of things about converting a Walker to shoot .45 Colt that always bothered me. (1) The .45 Colt cartridge only allows for a maximum of 40 grains of BP whereas the Walker in cap-n-ball style can hold up to 60 grains. (2) The relatively short length of the .45 Colt cartridge means there is quite a bit of bullet jump before the projectile gets to the forcing cone. Seems that with the convenience of a cartridge conversion you can’t have your cake and eat it too. I thought I’d do something about it (because I like cake) to get a little bit more flexibility when it comes to cartridge shooting. Sheesh, do I have too much time on my hands or what? FWIW, you non-engineers should know that most of us engineers spend way to much time thinking about solving problems even if they don’t really exist and we have to create a theoretical problem out of thin air.

Enter the .45 BPM. This cartridge addresses the two issues I mentioned above. (1) The .45 BPM can hold 60 grains of BP. (2) The cartridge is longer and therefore the projectile can sit much closer to the forcing cone. There was a little work that had to be performed on the Kirst Konverter. The rim recess diameters had to be increased slightly and each chamber had to have the rebate depth increased. It will still hold .45 Colt cartridges.

This is not an idiot proof solution. Any self proclaimed idiot or bed wetting tree hugger may want to stop reading here. Cartridge reloading, in general, isn’t idiot proof. Attempting something foolish with any cartridge reload could lead to disastrous results. I say this because I don’t need to read someone post “What’s going to happen if someone accidentally loads the cartridge full of Bullseye and tries to shoot it out of a Walker?” Well, what do you think is going to happen? Probably a junior version of if someone loads up a .45 Colt cartridge with Red Dot and tries that in a Walker. Right?...just a smaller mushroom cloud.

Note that no where in this thread will you see me advocate loading up a .45 BPM cartridge with 60 grains of BP and firing it from a Walker. I only mention the maximum capacity because I know someone will ask. It is possible it could make for a fun little carbine rifle cartridge. Without thorough testing and analysis I have no idea what kind of pressure may be generated. It depends on the firearm, the amount of BP used, and the weight of the projectile to mention a few important factors. I am confident, however, that there is room for shooting more than the 40 grain limit of a .45 Colt in the .45 BPM. There are a few BP bullets that may be of interest to try out with more than 40 grains of BP. Specifically, one example is a 150 grain BigLube .45 caliber bullet that may be a good substitution for a round ball. Speaking of round balls, there isn’t any reason you couldn’t load up some “gallery loads” using your typical soft lead round ball. When I say “gallery load” I’m really not talking about in the traditional sense. Rather I mean it as a cartridge loaded with a round ball. A round ball with 50 grains of BP just may be a decent substitute for shooting a Walker cap-n-ball style with a similar load of BP.

I still plan on shooting this Walker cap-n-ball style. I just thought I’d mix it up a bit by having the option to shoot the .45 BPM cartridge in it too. I haven’t shot the Walker yet with a .45 BPM cartridge. I’m still waiting for the weather to cool down a bit more. ClemBert’s shooting range looks like a hayfield right now. The last hay cutting for the season should be soon then I’ll be good to go. The first loads will most likely be 40 grains of FFFg, grits for filler, and a 250 grain BigLube bullet. Without further adieu, here are a few pics for your viewing pleasure.

.45 BPM (left) .45 Colt (right)









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Old October 14, 2010, 12:35 AM   #2
Uncle Buck
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Quote:
This is not an idiot proof solution. Any self proclaimed idiot or bed wetting tree hugger may want to stop reading here. Cartridge reloading, in general, isn’t idiot proof. Attempting something foolish with any cartridge reload could lead to disastrous results. I say this because I don’t need to read someone post “What’s going to happen if someone accidentally loads the cartridge full of Bullseye and tries to shoot it out of a Walker?” Well, what do you think is going to happen? Probably a junior version of if someone loads up a .45 Colt cartridge with Red Dot and tries that in a Walker. Right?...just a smaller mushroom cloud.


I love that description. Make sure you let us know how it works out.
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Old October 14, 2010, 01:57 AM   #3
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Nice! What was the parent case used for this?
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Old October 14, 2010, 08:16 AM   #4
ClemBert
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The parent case is .460 S&W Magnum.
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Old October 14, 2010, 09:10 AM   #5
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Wow. I really enjoy this sub-forum. Great post - thanks.
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Old October 14, 2010, 10:08 AM   #6
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Okay, Clem

I like your characterization about not being idiot proof too. I don't mean to hijack this thread but I would say that I take that approach with all safety considerations.

Our approach toward safety should be driven not by fear but by respect. We fear what we don't understand and if one does not understand something that is potentially dangerous he should stop and learn more about it. No operation is completely safe. This is why we have to be careful. Being careful, too me means, understanding the basic risk and taking whatever actions are needed to reduce the basic risk to one which fits within the individual's tolerance range. Right or wrong, some will tolerate more risk than others. Some are willing to tolerate so much risk, that we refer to them as "foolhearty"

Lest we forget, the original post had to do with cartridge conversions for the Walker, a pistol which, much to my surprise, I have come to know and love.
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Old October 14, 2010, 10:38 AM   #7
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Someday, somebody acquiring that gun after you will attempt to fully load with hot powder. Engineering maybe. Good gun design? Methinks no.
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Old October 14, 2010, 11:54 AM   #8
ClemBert
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rifleman1776
Someday, somebody acquiring that gun after you will attempt to fully load with hot powder.
Here we go.....

I'd like to think that the "somebody" you are referring to would have already learned their lesson after loading up anyone of the 1000's of firearms out there with a load they were not supposed to. Perhaps someday, somebody acquiring one of your firearms will attempt to fully load them with something they should not. Ergo, my point. Nothing is idiot proof. You may need to re-engineer YOUR firearms so that doesn't happen.

Seriously, this thread isn't the place to discuss what idiots may or may not do. But, in part, I do agree with you Rifleman that it is possible. Besides...I'm taking all MY FIREARMS (mine, mine, mine) to the grave with me. I'm surprised y'all aren't making similar arrangements.
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Old October 14, 2010, 01:30 PM   #9
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This conversion reminds me of the Magnum Research BFR Revolvers, yet only costs a fraction of their price. And check out all of the chamberings that they're available in including .460 S&W Magnum for about $1000.

http://www.magnumresearch.com/bfr.asp

In addition to the price of the revolver, how much did this conversion cost?

Last edited by arcticap; October 14, 2010 at 01:40 PM.
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Old October 14, 2010, 03:08 PM   #10
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Doc, This article will answer some of your questions, and if it doesn't then it's still interesting to read and relates to the practical application of this converted horse pistol.

http://www.shootingtimes.com/ammunition/hunt_121305/
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Old October 14, 2010, 08:51 PM   #11
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Stay on topic guys. Thanks.
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Old October 15, 2010, 05:25 AM   #12
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You are right, Gary

I took this one way off. Sorry.
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Old October 16, 2010, 12:29 PM   #13
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Looks like a nicely done conversion.
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Old October 17, 2010, 09:56 AM   #14
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Now you can loose the loading lever and take some weight off the front.
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Old October 18, 2010, 03:33 PM   #15
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Very interesting... perhaps the barrel could be stamped 45-60 BPM, just to give any future relatives a hint at what you were doing ??? personally I'm very cautious of chambering for something that someone else could just stick in another "dangerous" cartridge... but I'd be OK, if the barrel were stamped as previously stated, & the head stamps obliterated on your 460 cases, & your cartridges are in a box properly labeled... ( after all, I've done several projects similar ) so let us know what kinda velocities are you getting, & how heavy a bullet... cool project...
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Old October 18, 2010, 06:08 PM   #16
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I think it looks cool...
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Old October 18, 2010, 06:29 PM   #17
ClemBert
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Magnum Wheel Man
Very interesting... perhaps the barrel could be stamped 45-60 BPM, just to give any future relatives a hint at what you were doing ??? personally I'm very cautious of chambering for something that someone else could just stick in another "dangerous" cartridge... but I'd be OK, if the barrel were stamped as previously stated, & the head stamps obliterated on your 460 cases, & your cartridges are in a box properly labeled... ( after all, I've done several projects similar ) so let us know what kinda velocities are you getting, & how heavy a bullet... cool project...
I appreciate your concern. I really do. This is my take.

The barrel is already marked .44 CAL BLACKPOWDER ONLY. It would not be appropriate to mark the barrel with .45 BPM because this revolver is a cap-n-ball revolver. This Walker is currently sitting in the gun safe with a cap-n-ball cylinder installed. Because it is marked BLACKPOWDER ONLY it pretty much sums up what should be fired in it. For people who just refuse to heed that message I would say that some of those would still try something stupid even if I had engraved on the firearm "You will die a horrible death if you do not heed my warning not to try something stupid with this firearm". Likewise, I refuse to label all the plastic bags around my house with the warning: "This bag is not a toy. Do not put it over your head". (no, that isn't me in the pic)



Keep in mind that you probably own a number of firearms that can be chambered with dangerous cartridge loads. Just about all of us do. It might just be near impossible for most of us to find a firearm that we own where something stupid or dangerous can not be done to/with it.

All of my .45 BPM cartridges are safe to fire in this weapon. In fact you would be able to safely fire them in a .460 S&W Magnum firearm. It is very unlikely that an off the shelf .460 S&W Magnum cartridge would chamber in this Walker. The long bullets they use would be too long to chamber as the Walker cylinder is much too short. Besides, as I said the barrel IS marked BLACK POWDER ONLY. What can I say? If one doesn't want to heed the warning....well, there you go.

Regarding the name .45 BPM. I gave this a fair amount of thought before coming up with a name. Anything with the word "Colt" in it was deemed as possibly confusing. As such, ".45 Extra Long Colt", ".45 Colt BP", etc would do nothing but confuse everyone with the other .45 Colt names out there. So I made sure I dropped "Colt" out of the name. .45-60 or .45-60 BPM would imply that 60 grains of BP was safe or that the intent is to use 60 grains of it in the casing. That is not the intent even though the casing could hold up to 60 grains. 60 grains of BP with a 250 grain projectile is likely not appropriate for a Walker replica. I came up with .45 BPM because I wanted to show that it indeed uses a .45 caliber bullet and that the intent is to use only black powder in this cartridge. The word "Magnum" is there to show that this cartridge can be made to move a projectile with magnum force using black powder.

There are people who have tried +P loads in firearms not meant to handle such pressures. There are some who have accidentally double charged cartridges. While others load with the wrong powder or an inappropriate and unsafe charge/bullet. It is unlikely that you or I would engrave a complete list of what is appropriate and what is not on the side of our firearms.

Again, I do appreciate your concern so please don't take my response the wrong way. The only true way to prevent people from doing something inappropriate with our firearms is to destroy them.
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Old October 19, 2010, 06:07 AM   #18
Magnum Wheel Man
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no offense taken, just like no offense offered in my 1st reply...

BTW... I did speak about this with my local builder buddy, who has done a couple cartridge conversions on the Walker a couple years ago, before he retired...

his only real concern, would be loosening up at the barrel wedge ( he has fixed this problem prematurely, on a couple other of his cartridge conversion guns, by changing out the cylinder pin with better steel, & a couple other minor changes )...

but anyway, while the Walker was designed for a higher charge of powder, that was to be used with a round ball... your cartridge could mimick that, with a round ball, but by using a bullet, & it's related higher pressures, his thoughts were, that it wouldn't imeadiately be unsafe, but could shoot loose at the wedge, depending on your charges, over time, which could create an unsafe headspace issue down the road... just something to keep an eye on...

stilll IMO... a very cool project
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Old October 19, 2010, 10:09 PM   #19
ClemBert
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Magnum Wheel Man
BTW... I did speak about this with my local builder buddy, who has done a couple cartridge conversions on the Walker a couple years ago, before he retired...
Hey, that's cool.

I'd be interested to know what kind of cartridge conversions he did on those Walkers and what the max loads were for them.

Just thinking out loud here are some possible loads that I'm considering:

40-46 grains Goex FFFg w/ 250 grain BigLube PRS bullet
48-52 grains Goex FFFg w/ 200 grain BigLube J/P bullet
50-54 grains Goex FFFg w/ 150 grain BigLube EPP-UM bullet
50-56 grains Goex FFFg w/ 141 grain round ball

I'm thinking that Goex FFg just isn't a good choice considering the relatively short barrel of the Walker. Cartridgea are perhaps more efficient versus cap-n-ball so some of these may need their load reduced a bit more.

Don't hold me to it!
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Old October 29, 2010, 11:31 PM   #20
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Mr Clembert, awsome gun.

ive always wanted to get into cap and ball shooting and after countless hours of reading i decided a walker w/ a konverter would do well for me. here in michigan its legal to hunt w/ a cap and baller thats why the walker would be my choice for knock down power in percussion mode, while 45 colt would make it easer to shoot at the range. I was actually thinking the same thing that the 45 colt konverter has a lot of wasted space. thanks so much for posting this inventive conversion. I was wondering if you could give me a few tips on loading and shooting the walker and if you would recomend such modifications for a beginner. Ive never reloaded ammo before but i thought black powder 45 colt would be a good start and maybe work my way up to 45 BPM (you better copy write that before someone steals it.)

thanks
you should send some pics and story to Guns of the old West mag, they did a real nice article about converting the big guns a while back.
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Old October 30, 2010, 12:57 AM   #21
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Colt Conversion

Hello, Clem Bert, You are a man after my own heart. I too have a couple of Kirst Konverter cyl. revolvers..Both Colt re-makes. Back in the very early 1970's. I purchased one of Colts re-introduced 1851 .36 navy percussion revolvers. That gun was so lovely, I couldn,t bring myself to shoot it.. So I saved my pennys, and bought another just like it. The plan at the time was to shoot one, and keep the other mint in the box. Well...as the years went by, darned if I couldn,t bring myself to shoot either! Last year, I came across those Colts hidden away. The wife just happened to walk by and said offhand, What am I going to do with these guns if something should happen to you? I'll be stuck getting rid of them! Well, with no kids, she's right. And so I asked myself a question...Who am I saving them for? Here they have rested in their box for over 40 years...I might as well enjoy them! They haven't gone up in value that much, and I am pretty careful with my arms.
I kind of outgrew the joy's of black powder..at least in revolvers, and had purchased a Kirst cylinder in .38 Long Colt sometime before. That summer, no one had any components, I had a couple of boxes of Wi. 38 Colt brass, but no bullets. I ordered a Rapine hollow-base mould, but that wouldn't come until the fall. After all these years, when I finally decided to shoot the darn thing...I couldn't!
Or couldn,t I? I had some bullets from an old Ideal mould #358416 cast of soft lead. As cast dia. was .360" These were a snug push fit in the bore, but in no way were they large enough to be engraved by rifling, let alone fill those deep .375" grooves. Using a .359 Lyman sizer die, they were pushed in nose-first until base was flush with die mouth. this die was chucked up in my wood lathe, & a 1/4" Ball-end mill (available at industrial supply) was fed in
.12". This left a shallow cup in bullet base. I needed that base to slug up to groove dia. and was hoping that the very bottom band would at least expand to give somewhat accuracy. I used light charges of Bullseye. Not for fear of cyl. strength, Mr. Kirst assured me they were smokeless proofed...But on account of that old mid-19th century, three piece-held together by a wedge design. You can imagine my supprise when I started getting 2" groups at 25 yd.! This with hammer-notch rear, bead front, and 55 plus year old eyes!
But the real supprise came when I dug those slugs out of the backstop, not only was the bottom band expanded....The WHOLE bearing surface of that bullet had slugged up to .375" dia.!
I just thought I would let you know to what lengths an old shootest will go to get something to go bang! Oh, that forty year old plan was still followed, the mate of this one still reposes in her box.
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Old October 30, 2010, 09:46 AM   #22
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It looks awsome. Please let us know how it works out.
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Old October 30, 2010, 04:33 PM   #23
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Ideal, thanks for that excellent post! As the old saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention. I'm kind of happy that I don't have to go to the extreme that you did to get the ammo that you needed, but I'd like to think that I would if I had to.

And Clem, the revolver (and its impressive cartridge) is the bees' knees!
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