The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > The North Corral > Black Powder and Cowboy Action Shooting

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old January 21, 2011, 01:50 AM   #1
Bill Akins
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 28, 2007
Location: Hudson, Florida
Posts: 1,030
Crazy $'s on BP revolvers, tips for deals, ideas for bolts & chainfire prevention

Just a few musings, reflections, tips, pictures and ideas of mine here. First I'll start with the crazy inflated prices currently on black powder revolvers.

As some of you already know, there are only a small number of BP revolver manufacturers. There may be a few more than I list here, but the main ones are Uberti, Pietta, EMF, Navy Arms, CVA and I think Dixie Gun Works makes their own too. Armie San Marcos is out of business. Cimmeron cherry picks their guns from Uberti's (as do some other distributors) so they don't really count as a separate manufacturer even if they do some cleaning up and slicking of the actions. If I made any mistakes or left any major ones out I apologize, but I think those represent the main bulk of the BP revolver manufacturers.

Recently Uberti merged with Beretta and I have heard that they plan to scale back on their BP production. In fact I heard that the Uberti 2011 production may be held up until April. Pietta is still trucking right along and might benefit corporately if Uberti lags behind due to their new merger with Beretta. But what has me amazed is the prices I am seeing for BP revolvers both brand new from the dealers and used at auction.

I remember back in the '70's, '80's and '90's when folks at gunshows had to practically give away a black powder revolver to move it. First everyone wanted a "Dirty Harry" mdl 29 Smith & Wesson. Then everyone wanted one of those "new" hi cap 9mm's (even though the hi cap Browning hi power had been out since 1935). Even as late as the late '90's I remember passing tables at gun shows where it was common to see a usually brass frame, 1851 or 1860 colt clone or 1858 Remington clone, for around $50 to $75 dollars.

Back then most of the general shooting public other than those like myself who just dug it, weren't interested that much in BP revolvers. Too much trouble to load, too many accessories and too messy many told me. My first one was a .44 cal Walker back in the mid '70's. Also the first time I ever shot it (which was my first time ever shooting a BP revolver) was my first experience with one rd chain firing along with the purposely fired rd. I bought my Walker used but in like new condition for $75.00

Black powder guns just didn't move much. It was a great time to be into it because stuff was CHEAP! You could also easily pick up a BP revolver at a yard sale for $25 or $30 dollars. Half the time the used one you bought hadn't even ever been fired! Most shooters didn't know much about how to load and shoot them and as a result they weren't expensive or popular with the general shooting public back in those days in spite of the Uberti supplied revolvers used in the Spaghetti westerns.

Then came CAS and SASS and everything changed. I saw formerly $50.00 brass framed (and steel framed) BP revolvers just skyrocket in price and stay there in spite of everyone buying so called "assault rifles" just before the anointed one's election. Trying to find a good deal on used BP revolvers these days is getting harder. Ruger quit making their fine Old Army just after they made a few of the CAS styled ones in blue and stainless with the 5.5 inch barrel and the Vaquero style fixed sights for CAS shooters.

I just saw a stainless, Vaquero sighted, 5.5 inch barrel ROA go on a major auction site a few days ago for OVER $700.00. Insane. You can put together an AR15 for that! A similar stainless 5.5 inch barrel Uberti or Pietta Remington can be bought new for about $380.00 but even that's insane. The smart thing to do is to buy a used stainless Remy for about the going rate of $175.00 (seen a lot of the stainless Remys going at that price) and then cut the barrel and loading lever down to make it a 5.5 inch barrel.
Re-dovetail the lever latch and front sight on the shorter barrel.

That's much cheaper than buying an over $700.00 stainless, 5.5 inch barrel, Vaquero sights, Ruger Old Army. The Remy is still stainless and looks a lot like the ROA. Are ROA coil springs really worth that many hundreds of dollars more compared to a stainless leaf springs Remy? Not to me. I can replace a lot of Remy leaf springs for that $575.00 in difference in prices.

I really would like a brace of those stainless ROA's, but again....insane inflated prices also driven by their now being out of production. Bill Ruger said his BP Old Army was the finest BP revolver in the world and that there would always be a ROA as long as he was alive. And he was right. Only then Bill Ruger died and the Old Army died with him even though I think Ruger corporate heads made a big mistake discontinuing the ROA since CAS and SASS is growing and the demand for ROA's is increasing, artificially driving ROA prices up because they are discontinued.

Also the Italian (most of the BP manufacturers are) manufacturers are afraid of the decreasing and unsure fluctuation value of the dollar. Many are requiring their distributors to pay for their shipments up front now rather than pay for the shipment later when the dollar may not be worth as much as it would be prior to shipment to the distributors. And they are charging MORE for their products than they were before simply because our dollar is not worth as much as it used to be. All that factors in to a higher cost to us.


Now for my tips on getting good deals on BP revolvers.


So what do I and we do to get a good deal on BP revolvers? Several ways. Sometimes you get lucky at a yard sale and find one whose owner doesn't realize how much they have gone up in value. Sometimes we just luck up finding someone who just wants to quickly get rid of one cheaply at a forum classifieds. Then there's several other ways I have been looking into. Buying parts at auction that just need a few other inexpensive parts to complete an entire revolver. Or buying a rusty or neglected revolver that most people will turn away from because it looks bad....but you and I can fix that up easily with a wire wheel, polishing wheel, a few screws or inexpensive parts and some cold blue to get a nice revolver that most others didn't realize it could again be.

A pitted barrel as long as it isn't REAL bad doesn't really throw off accuracy that much. Pure lead will quickly fill in most pits in a barrel and the rifling is deep enough so that a few pits won't harm much IF you DO get a pitted barrel on an otherwise good deal. Everyone seems to want a steel frame vs a brass frame because the steel is stronger and they have been told that brass frames can eventually come loose from the cylinder pin or stretch.

That is true if you shoot hot loads. But if you stick to 15 grains in a .36 cal, or 25 grains in a .44 cal, or even a little less, you likely will never have that problem. I have both brass and steel frames. But the brass framed ones will usually be less expensive so the best bang for your buck, and if you stick to light loads, the brass frame will usually do just fine. Steel frames are better, but brass is the cheaper deal and works fine with light loads.

Case in point. Here's a Navy Arms copy of the Confederate Griswold & Gunnison, half round barrel copy of the .44 cal 1851 Colt, that I have a low pre-bid of $55.00 on at a little known online auction. Nice looking aftermarket stag grips. It appears the revolver may have been a kit gun that was neglected to be blued and has a lot of surface rust on it making it very esthetically unappealing and undesirable to most people. The average person might not want an ugly revolver all rusted looking like that and might think "it's a piece of rusted junk!" But I look at it and think "cool all or most of the parts are there" and I see what easily can be done to clean it up and have a nice looking revolver again.

Many of the entrepreneurs at smaller less well known auctions, will be buying to re-sell and make a quick flip profit on larger more well known auctions charging more such as GunBr**er. They will pass up on a revolver if it looks like they will have to work on it to flip it. Too much trouble. That's where you can get a good deal on a shooter for you.

A little time with the bench grinder wire wheel and dremel wire wheel, then onto the polishing wheel and some cold blue should clean that right up. Not sure what is going on with that strange looking hammer, but if it needs replacement, hammers are not expensive and easily obtainable cheaply at online auctions. Take a look at this below. Would you turn away from it or realize what you can easily do to fix it and have a great deal? (The stag or fake stag grips alone will cost you around $40.00 or more). If you think most people wouldn't want it because of the rust, that's exactly what you and I can be counting on so we can get a good deal. We can look past the surface aesthetics and know how to easily fix it while many do not.





Another thing I have learned is to not be in a hurry to buy a BP revolver.
Resist the urge to "get it right now". Don't impulse buy. Take your time and look in the many forum's classifieds, yard sales, scour the auctions and don't be afraid to get a fixer upper. There is no hurry. You aren't going to be likely using this for self defense. You have other modern guns for that. It's a fun gun. So no rush.

Next an idea I have on improving the cylinder locking bolt so that it minimizes the scoring of the cylinder lead in grooves and any cylinder "ringing" in general.

In responding to another thread about revolver timing issues where we were talking about the bolt scoring and "ringing" the cylinder, this idea suddenly stuck me about how cylinder lead in groove scoring and cylinder "ringing" could be further minimized.

Modify a bolt head so that it has a teeny free rolling, ball bearing, peen captured in the top of the bolt head so that it not only won't fall out, but can only rise to the normal height of a normal bolt head. The bolt head is re-contoured so that the very tip edge of the top of the ball bearing is at the top of the bolt head. The ball bearing would roll across the cylinder instead of the bolt normally dragging across the cylinder. The sides of the bolt are still the same so it doesn't affect engagement with the side of the cylinder slots. There are already very small set screws manufactured, that are made to hold a spring loaded, tiny, peen captured, ball bearing. You can screw this set screw into threads tapped into the bolt head after you first re-contoured the bolt head so that the ball bearing was the furthest most sticking up part of the bolt head.

Now instead of the bolt head dragging across the lead in grooves or ringing your cylinder, the ball bearing just rolls into the lead in grooves and or rolls across the cylinder minimizing scoring and ringing. (The difference between dragging a stone block to the pyramid or rolling it on bearings.) The sides of the bolt would remain unchanged so that firm slot lockup remained the same.

I wonder why no one makes bolts like that? It seems like a good idea to me.

The other idea I have had that goes back 30 years (to a wooden mockup I built) is a chain fire prevention plate that would obviate the need to use greased wads or grease over the projectile.

We know that most chainfires are caused by loose caps on the rear of the cylinder rather than from the front of the chambers of the cylinder. Where fire from one cap enters past the loose or missing cap on another nipple and sets that chamber off too. This usually happens when you have fired a round or two and don't realize some of your caps have come off because you were using looser #11 caps instead of #10's, or because you neglected to pinch your #11 caps so they would fit the nipples tighter. So that when you fire again, the fire from your percussion cap enters into an adjacent nipple that has become uncapped.

It is not exactly rare, but it is an infrequent occurrence and can be dangerous. It did happen to me back in the '70's on the very first time I ever fired a BP revolver. Luckily I had just loaded only two cylinders on my first BP revolver, a Walker clone. I fired once and then when I fired the second loaded cylinder, it was just a "snap" of the percussion cap.

After pointing the revolver downward to ensure it wasn't a hang fire, at an angle away from my face, I inspected the chamber and saw it was empty. The flame between the barrel to cylinder gap had entered into the adjacent chamber (because I hadn't used a greased wad or greased over the ball) and set it off along with the chamber I meant to shoot. Luckily that adjacent chamber was not blocked by anything and the round just fired out alongside the barrel. But an unnerving experience on my very first shot of a BP revolver so many years ago. After that I used greased wads or grease or crisco or bore butter over the balls.

So although most occurrences of "chainfiring" occur from the nipple end, as you can see, they can easily also occur from the cylinder chamber end too.
So back then in the mid '70's I started thinking about how this could be prevented without having to use greased wads or grease over the balls and came up with this idea. I made a wooden prototype that I still have that you can see in the below pics. To this day I have questions about if it would work as I envision it should. It still leaves the bottom cylinder chamber exposed (for loading) and if not fitted tightly against the cylinder, it could still allow chamber end chain firing. But if made correctly and from the proper fire and explosion proof materials, I think it could have possibilities.

With no mods to the revolver in any way. It fits over the cylinder pin and also fits over the forcing cone so it will not rotate. My idea was to have some sort of asbestos material on the rear of this plate that could be greased. That way it would be lubricated so the cylinder would turn against it and also the grease would help prevent fire from one cylinder from entering behind and between the plate and into another cylinder. The problem is, the force and flame coming from the front of the cylinder may cut through any such material just as it will cut through the material of a sandbag rest from the barrel to cylinder gap explosive force.

The force and flame may prevent this idea from working like I would hope it should. But that is unproven because I never continued my experiments on it and I never progressed past making a wooden concept mockup to make a steel one or even hard plastic one with greased material on the back side of it. A durable material other than steel for the plate might be better just in case it did fail and a chainfire occured. That way the chainfire would destroy the plate without blowing up the cylinder whereas a steel plate holding in a multiple chainfire behind it could be a nasty little bomb. Gotta think safety here.

The proper flame proof material on the back of the plate that could withstand the cutting force of the explosion may work. Maybe some type of kevlar or something similar. Maybe I'll get the time to play around with it again sometime. But I'll be sure to tie the revolver down and pull the trigger with an extended lanyard cord in a cheap BP if I do, just in case.

Anyway, here's a few recent pictures of my old wooden mockup so you can see how it worked and fit.

Wooden top edge broke off over the many years since the 1970's of clattering around in one of my parts drawers.




The wooden mockup was made to fit my old 1851 colt clone which is long gone. When I put it on my current 1860 clone, the barrel would not go all the way back to the frame. (See the gap at the bottom of the barrel to frame engagement). But you can still get the basic idea and this could be remedied if I made another one to fit.




Ah well, that's enough of my bored musings for one day.
Hope I didn't bore you. Sometimes I tend to write long ones.


.

Last edited by Bill Akins; January 21, 2011 at 04:48 AM.
Bill Akins is offline  
Old January 21, 2011, 04:12 AM   #2
junkman_01
Junior member
 
Join Date: November 9, 2010
Location: Florida
Posts: 260
'As some of you already know, there are only a small number of BP revolver manufacturers. There may be a few more than I list here, but the main ones are Uberti, Pietta, EMF, Navy Arms, CVA and I think Dixie Gun Works makes their own too.'

You got it wrong here pardner, EMF, Navy Arms and CVA were importers, and are either out of business, or no longer dealing in C&B revolvers. Dixie Gunworks is also an importer/distributor as is Buffalo Arms, Cimmeron and Taylors.
junkman_01 is offline  
Old January 21, 2011, 04:31 AM   #3
Bill Akins
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 28, 2007
Location: Hudson, Florida
Posts: 1,030
Quote:
Bill Akins wrote:
As some of you already know, there are only a small number of BP revolver manufacturers. There may be a few more than I list here, but the main ones are Uberti, Pietta, EMF, Navy Arms, CVA and I think Dixie Gun Works makes their own too.'
Quote:
Junkman 01 wrote:
You got it wrong here pardner, EMF, Navy Arms and CVA were importers, and are either out of business, or no longer dealing in C&B revolvers. Dixie Gunworks is also an importer/distributor as is Buffalo Arms, Cimmeron and Taylors.
Junkman 01, thanks for that correction, but that's why I also said:
"If I made any mistakes or left any major ones out I apologize, but I think those represent the main bulk of the BP revolver manufacturers."

Pietta and Uberti being the main ones. The point was there are not that many black powder revolver manufacturers. It was unimportant to my point specifically who they were. Only that they are relatively few. That's why I preempted with my above statement apologizing in advance if I made any mistakes or omissions in who the manufacturers were.

Last edited by Bill Akins; January 21, 2011 at 04:37 AM.
Bill Akins is offline  
Old January 21, 2011, 05:35 AM   #4
l.cutler
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 18, 2005
Posts: 140
I think if you did have a chain fire with that thing on there you would have a BIG problem. Blown cylinder maybe, or at least a lot of shrapnel.
l.cutler is offline  
Old January 21, 2011, 07:27 AM   #5
B.L.E.
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 20, 2008
Location: Somewhere on the Southern shore of Lake Travis, TX
Posts: 1,904
Black powder revolvers expensive? Compared to modern cartridge revolvers, no.
Why should a cap and ball revolver be cheaper than a modern revolver? The gun is just as complicated. The timing is just as critical. The precision is just as important as on a modern revolver.

One major cost saving step is to leave the outside of the revolver unpolished and some of those bargain black powder revolvers are pretty rough compared to a modern S&W.
B.L.E. is offline  
Old January 21, 2011, 07:44 AM   #6
pohill
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 27, 2005
Location: northeast
Posts: 518
Colt found out very early on that it's a bad idea to encase the ignition of the cylinders - his first revolvers had shrouds over the nipples which actually caused chainfiring. Then he chamferred or beveled the chamber mouths to direct the gasses/flames/nuclear waste away from the other chambers.
I've had two double-chamber fires, both caused by "unround" roundballs. My fault for using those poorly cast balls.
As far as the cost of BP revolvers - I buy used guns. They're relatively cheap and most of the bugs have been worked out.
pohill is offline  
Old January 21, 2011, 10:03 AM   #7
Rifleman1776
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 25, 2010
Location: Arkansas
Posts: 3,309
There are so many misstatements in your long treatise it would take all day to respond in detail.
Your contention that bp revolvers were slow sellers in the 70s and 80s could not be more off the mark. They were hot sellers. This was the time of a great surge in muzzle loading and historical reenactment interest. I owned a gun shop at the time that specialized in muzzle loading firearms. Revolvers were very popular, especially as entry level guns for aspiring muzzle loading enthusiasts. Granted, many (most?) of the imports, and they all were, did not exhibit very good quality. But they sold very well.
Your suggestion to restore that rusty gun with a Dremel is a formula for ruination. There are many other better ways.
I suggest you get some expert advice and experience then rethink your position.
Rifleman1776 is offline  
Old January 21, 2011, 10:26 AM   #8
Fiv3
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 18, 2010
Posts: 273
The relative price of BP to cartridge shooting is what got me started on BP in the first place. The finish of the Italian guns might not be the best, but the fit is pretty impressive for a sub $200 revolver. My Pietta '58 locks up tight and ticks like a clock. Even my well neglected DART imported Baby Dragoon/pocket model that my dad found has a very sharp walk and talk in spite of some nipple flattening and hammer/pin wear.

For guns that are pretty much solely range toys or to be fondled, they are great values. I'm working on procuring an 1860 Colt for my birthday. It's more than i like to spend on myself, but for $199...where else are you gonna find that much flash and smoke in .45 caliber?

What I DO find expensive is the lead balls. Most of the sporting good stores tend to only keep the .50 and .54 caliber stuff on hand in this area since there is a muzzleloading season on deer. So spending $12-14 on 100 round lead balls and then ANOTHER 8 or 9 to ship them (lead is heavy, man), well there goes the cost savings

I'm trying my hand at casting once I run through all my stock piled ammo. Hopefully they come out round. I figure that I don't get to shoot nearly as much as I would like. $50 of primer and propellant with my own cast ammo should keep me shooting for a couple seasons anyway.
Fiv3 is offline  
Old January 21, 2011, 10:45 AM   #9
Hardcase
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 14, 2009
Location: Sunny Southern Idaho
Posts: 1,909
Fiv3, I cast .451 balls from stick-on wheel weights and they work great for me. I've never checked for roundness - when I load, I just point the sprue mark out and leave it at that.

I did cast a few from clip-on weights, but they were pretty tough to load, so I guess the story that the clip-ons and the stick-ons are different must be true. I was actually afraid that I was going to break the lever on one of my Remmies.

The stick-on weights don't feel like pure lead when I'm loading. My .451s take more pressure to seat than a Hornady .451.
__________________
Well we don't rent pigs and I figure it's better to say it right out front because a man that does like to rent pigs is... he's hard to stop - Gus McCrae
Hardcase is offline  
Old January 21, 2011, 11:41 AM   #10
Fiv3
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 18, 2010
Posts: 273
That's great to hear about the weights. I went as far as to buy some pure lead (99.9%) that should net me a couple hundred balls. My dad is also good friends with the manager at a tire shop. He should be able to hook me up here and there with some weights
Fiv3 is offline  
Old January 21, 2011, 11:43 AM   #11
Bill Akins
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 28, 2007
Location: Hudson, Florida
Posts: 1,030
Quote:
I.Cutler wrote:
"I think if you did have a chain fire with that thing on there you would have a BIG problem. Blown cylinder maybe, or at least a lot of shrapnel."
Quote:
Bill Akins wrote:
"To this day I have questions about if it would work as I envision it should. It still leaves the bottom cylinder chamber exposed (for loading) and if not fitted tightly against the cylinder, it could still allow chamber end chain firing. But if made correctly and from the proper fire and explosion proof materials, I think it could have possibilities." ....and....

"A durable material other than steel for the plate might be better just in case it did fail and a chainfire occured. That way the chainfire would destroy the plate without blowing up the cylinder whereas a steel plate holding in a multiple chainfire behind it could be a nasty little bomb. Gotta think safety here".
Yes, that's why I also wrote the above I.Cutler. It was just an interesting idea I had a long time ago that I was musing on. One that I've neglected to experiment further on BECAUSE it has drawbacks that could be dangerous unless done very carefully. Even then, it may not work properly at all, but was just an interesting concept. I think I made that clear in my above quotes.
Bill Akins is offline  
Old January 21, 2011, 11:51 AM   #12
mykeal
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 8, 2006
Location: Northern Michigan
Posts: 2,760
Quote:
We know that most chainfires are caused by loose caps on the rear of the cylinder rather than from the front of the chambers of the cylinder.
No, we don't.

Chain fires are caused by hot gas entering a charged chamber. That can happen from EITHER opening. Hot gases envelop the cylinder - there is a plethora of video available on the internet proving that. A gas will find its way through any opening available, down to molecular sizes. Prevention involves BOTH proper fitting caps on the back AND a properly fitting projectile in the front.
mykeal is offline  
Old January 21, 2011, 11:59 AM   #13
Bill Akins
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 28, 2007
Location: Hudson, Florida
Posts: 1,030
Quote:
BLE wrote:
Black powder revolvers expensive? Compared to modern cartridge revolvers, no.
Why should a cap and ball revolver be cheaper than a modern revolver? The gun is just as complicated. The timing is just as critical. The precision is just as important as on a modern revolver. One major cost saving step is to leave the outside of the revolver unpolished and some of those bargain black powder revolvers are pretty rough compared to a modern S&W.
Why should a cap and ball revolver be cheaper in price than a modern revolver? Because they do not have the safety features built into them like a modern revolver. Because the interior fit and finish inside of a BP revolver is frequently rough and no where near the finished quality of a modern quality cartridge revolver such as a modern Colt or S&W. Because they frequently out of the box come improperly timed compared to most modern revolvers. Because they take more time to load and cannot compete with a modern revolver or semi-auto in a firefight. Because you wouldn't want to trust your home security or your life in a gunfight to one. Because they are "fun guns" and not primary for modern self defense revolvers. Because of the corrosive qualities of black powder residue that will rust your revolver in a day or two if you don't immediately clean it after firing, they require much more meticulous care and cleaning than a modern cartridge revolver. Because their actual design is not as strong as a modern cartridge gun. Because the less expensive and weaker materials used on many of them (brass frames, weaker steels, etc) are not as strong as modern steel cartridge guns which is why when they are converted to cartridges they have to take a vastly reduced load compared to modern cartridge guns. Those are enough reasons for me to believe they should not cost as much as a well made modern revolver. Of course that's just my opinion. Yours may differ.

Last edited by Bill Akins; January 21, 2011 at 12:07 PM.
Bill Akins is offline  
Old January 21, 2011, 12:07 PM   #14
Fingers McGee
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 19, 2008
Location: Missouri
Posts: 1,854
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mykeal
Chain fires are caused by hot gas entering a charged chamber. That can happen from EITHER opening. Hot gases envelop the cylinder - there is a plethora of video available on the internet proving that. A gas will find its way through any opening available, down to molecular sizes. Prevention involves BOTH proper fitting caps on the back AND a properly fitting projectile in the front.
Absolutely correct.
__________________
Fingers (Show Me MO smoke) McGee - AKA Man of Many Colts - Alter ego of Diabolical Ken; SASS Regulator 28564-L-TG; Rangemaster and stage writer extraordinaire; Frontiersman, Pistoleer, NRA Endowment Life, NMLRA, SAF, CCRKBA, STORM 327, SV115; Charter member, Central Ozarks Western Shooters
Cynic: A blackguard whose faulty vision see things as they are, not as they should be. Ambrose Bierce
Fingers McGee is offline  
Old January 21, 2011, 12:17 PM   #15
Bill Akins
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 28, 2007
Location: Hudson, Florida
Posts: 1,030
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mykeal
Chain fires are caused by hot gas entering a charged chamber. That can happen from EITHER opening. Hot gases envelop the cylinder - there is a plethora of video available on the internet proving that. A gas will find its way through any opening available, down to molecular sizes. Prevention involves BOTH proper fitting caps on the back AND a properly fitting projectile in the front.
I agree. That why I said...

"So although most occurrences of "chainfiring" occur from the nipple end, as you can see, they can easily also occur from the cylinder chamber end too."
Bill Akins is offline  
Old January 21, 2011, 01:24 PM   #16
mykeal
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 8, 2006
Location: Northern Michigan
Posts: 2,760
I guess my problem was with the wording "We know most".

'We' means you and me, and while I cannot speak for the knowledge you possess, I can assure that I don't 'know' any such thing. If I don't object, then it's given that because you used the word 'we', I agree with your premise, that 'most' chainfires are initiated from the rear of the chamber.

The reason I don't agree is that there is no evidence to support the assertion of 'most'. Further, review of the physics provides no mechanism that suggests that thesis is correct.

'We know most'? No, I don't think so. I submit 'I believe most' is more appropriate.
mykeal is offline  
Old January 21, 2011, 03:17 PM   #17
Doc Hoy
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 24, 2008
Location: Chesapeake, VA
Posts: 4,585
The thoughts of a less experienced shooter.

My only chain fire event was in a .36 Cal brass frame revolver in the 1851 Colt pattern, a Sheriffs model. I am fairly certain it occured at the nipple end, because I had some pinched caps and I had done what I consider to be a fairly good job sealing the chambers at the mouth. Good fitting bullets and schmootz on each of the chambers. I can tell you it was a disconcerting happening and I hope to avoid it in the future. I am glad that I always shoot alone. No telling where the bullet fragments went.

Apart from a smudge of lead on the left side of the barrel lug there was no outward evidence. But when I pulled the pistol apart, I found that the arbor was loose whereas it had not been noticably loose before the chainfire.

I have retired the pistol because of evil spirits. The serial number is 666. (Just kidding about the serial number)

Regarding stick on weights my limited research (restricted to speaking to a technical support person from a large manufacturer of weights in the US) reveals that their weights are never less than 93% lead but normally closer to 99%. The percent of other metals has to do with the price of the metals when they are purchased and she told me that since most of the US manufacturers buy their lead in commodity lots, one could assume that just about every manufacturer is using roughly the same proportions at any time. There are a lot of assumptions in that paragraph.

Add to the asumptions that many weights are now imported from china, and it is hard to tell how pure the lead is in a wheel weight. Also consider that most weights are probably three to five years old when they are retreaved from the tire guy and it really is a crap shoot. Someone will almost certainly wade in with a precaution against weights because of Zinc. This is (in accordance with my experience) not valid since zinc weights are generally relatively pure zinc and float on the top of the melt to be picked out with a ladel. The steel clamp comes to the top of the melt pretty quick too. Obviously, known pure lead is better from a scientific standpoint, but in terms of saving money, I just had the mechanic who does all the work on my vehicles give me about eighty pounds of weights. Probably ten pounds were zinc or steel clamps. The rest will go downrange.

I calculated the weight of a pure lead sphere at the diameters I am accustomed to and I am getting bullet weights that are relatively close to the calculation so I am satisfied with the bullets I make from wheel weights. I do agree they are somewhat harder to start than Hornady bullets, but I can caste a series of bullets that is far more consistent than the bullets I buy (used to buy) from Hornady. They do pass the thumbnail test.

Bill's comments about revolvers bought in the seventies brought back memories. My first revolvers were kits bought through Shotgun News and I think they were from EMF although it was a long time ago. The only revolver I bought new was a 12 inch barrel in 1851 pattern with a brass frame. The importer called it a Ballister and it was a bad move. The barrel of the revolver was bent so badly that the middle of the barrel was about a sixteenth of an inch off of a flat surface when the barrel was laid sideways. I straigthened the barrel with a wooden shim and clamp arrangement to the point where it was no longer detectable. It shot okay, but I really had my nose out of joint because of the bent barrel.

I am with Bill on trying to score used revolvers. They are mighty fun to work on. Every once in a while you can fix one up for less than it is worth but I don't find that happens very often.

I am with Rifleman on the popularity of BP revolvers during the time frame discussed. I feel like I personally bought enough of them to keep the industry healthy. (Actually I only built about a dozen revolvers) but it seems like nearly everyone of the sailors who shot .45 also had one BP something-or-other.
__________________
Doc

My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government. Thomas Jefferson

Last edited by Doc Hoy; January 21, 2011 at 03:24 PM.
Doc Hoy is offline  
Old January 21, 2011, 04:49 PM   #18
Noz
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 25, 2009
Posts: 643
The most hated phrase on the gun forums is "everybody knows" when in truth they don't


I just ran a bucket of stick on wheel weights and to my chagrin, about 5% of them were zinc. Didn't melt with the rest so I hit them with the torch and a quick blast didn't melt them. Into the trash they went.
Noz is offline  
Old January 21, 2011, 07:13 PM   #19
Model-P
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 24, 2009
Posts: 727
And, what if they did melt with the torch?
Most stick-on WWs are nearly pure lead. Pure lead melts at a higher temperature than clip on weights with antimony. Zinc will melt at a higher temperature than pure lead, and you could have ended up with zinc in the mix by giving it that extra boost. If weights do not melt at pure lead temperatures, don't push it. There's no reason to try anything hotter than the temperature at which the pure lead had already melted.
Model-P is offline  
Old January 21, 2011, 11:17 PM   #20
Hardy
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 6, 2009
Location: South Carolina
Posts: 635
I don't know. I got my first bp revolver in 1972. It was an original gunnison bought from a roadside antique store w/ colgate toothpaste can/ a tin of caps and some balls. With no knowledge and being a fool I loaded it and it chain fired. It never again after greasing chambers. I then bought CVA kits for 89+/- and sold them for around 175. I lost interest about 1979 but never had chainfires if I greased chamber openings. After getting married in 1989 and having child I had no interest in these guns until about 2 years ago. I believe the costs were more than the original post for these guns back in the 70's but the ball diameters were not too specified. By using a felt wad and specified diameter ball that shaves lead when loaded in chamber should be safe. Of course by adding crisco or equ above ball will more insure. As far as caps, ain't got a clue. But I think those guns cost 100+ for the cheap ones even back then But ummm I have CRS.
Hardy is offline  
Old January 21, 2011, 11:33 PM   #21
hickstick_10
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 8, 2009
Posts: 477
Quote:
I just saw a stainless, Vaquero sighted, 5.5 inch barrel ROA go on a major auction site a few days ago for OVER $700.00. Insane. You can put together an AR15 for that! A similar stainless 5.5 inch barrel Uberti or Pietta Remington can be bought new for about $380.00 but even that's insane. The smart thing to do is to buy a used stainless Remy for about the going rate of $175.00 (seen a lot of the stainless Remys going at that price) and then cut the barrel and loading lever down to make it a 5.5 inch barrel.
Re-dovetail the lever latch and front sight on the shorter barrel.
Theres no comparison between the ROA and a bubba'd and hack sawed spaghetti Remington.

It might be time to consider supporting domestic industry instead of imported arms, if that means you can only purchase one American made firearm as opposed to two cheap imported ones so be it. Or else your only source of boom sticks may be a country that decides they dont want to make your toys anymore.

Quote:
I think Ruger corporate heads made a big mistake discontinuing the ROA since CAS and SASS is growing and the demand for ROA's is increasing, artificially driving ROA prices up because they are discontinued.
I'm inclined to agree with you, as far as artificialy high pricing is concerned, but it was the stingy consumer who wanted Mcdonalds fast and Walmart cheap that spelled the end for the ROA IMHO.

Last edited by hickstick_10; January 22, 2011 at 02:26 AM.
hickstick_10 is offline  
Old January 22, 2011, 08:11 AM   #22
Hawg
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 8, 2007
Location: Mississippi
Posts: 11,725
If Ruger made copies of Colt's and Remingtons that would be one thing. Personally I wouldn't have a ROA. I'll spend my money with the Italians.
Hawg is offline  
Old January 22, 2011, 10:18 AM   #23
B.L.E.
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 20, 2008
Location: Somewhere on the Southern shore of Lake Travis, TX
Posts: 1,904
I'd like to see Ruger build a smaller cap and ball pistol, perhaps based on the Single-Six .22 frame and designed to use a roundball size commonly available as buckshot for economical and fun plinking.
B.L.E. is offline  
Old January 22, 2011, 06:14 PM   #24
Model-P
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 24, 2009
Posts: 727
Quote:
If Ruger made copies of Colt's and Remingtons that would be one thing. Personally I wouldn't have a ROA. I'll spend my money with the Italians.
I agree. I'm sure the Ruger "Old" Army is a very nice and well-built revolver in its own right, but it doesn't represent anything historical.
Model-P is offline  
Old January 22, 2011, 07:30 PM   #25
pohill
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 27, 2005
Location: northeast
Posts: 518
Ah, the Ruger Old Army. I, too, was a non-believer. The ROA has no history, I always said. Not exactly true - it has a history of its own. Mine was made in the early 70's so it's practically Civil War era.
Seriously, do not count out the ROA until you try it. It is, hands down, the best made cap and ball revolver out there. I like the larger .457 chamber mouths for cold weather shooting, and the adjustable sights, even if I never use them. The gun never, ever jams, for any reason (caps, fouling, etc). I have many repros and several originals - the ROA is a great addition to any collection.
Try it - you'll like it.
You're gonna like your ROA - I guarantee it.
Bet you can't shoot just one.
Nobody doesn't like ROA...
And any other commercials you can think of.
pohill is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 11:41 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2014 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.12415 seconds with 7 queries