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Old November 29, 2012, 12:38 AM   #1
jolly1
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Conical bullet for pietta army 1860 cal 44

Hi there!

I am new on the forum, seeking some wisdom.
I own Pietta Army 1860 cal 44 cap and ball revolver. So far been using balls .454, but would like to try using conical bullets for target shooting.

This subject has been discussed in length in many threads / posts on this forum but I came nowhere near answer, especially when considering that different makers may have as well different twists in barrels.

So for My Pietta, I am not certain which conical bullet would suit the best.
The question is this:
Which conical bullet mold to order for Pietta Army 1860 cal 44:
Lee 450-200-1R, or Lee 456-220-1R?

Thanks for your advices!
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Old November 29, 2012, 02:31 AM   #2
zb17ghost
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I'm using 450-200-1R for my Pietta Remington New Army (.44).

456-220-1R is advertised for ROA.
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Old November 29, 2012, 02:40 AM   #3
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Lee 450-200-1R bullets are easy to load and accurate from my Pietta. Also, I have excellent experience with Kaido bullets.
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Old November 29, 2012, 02:43 AM   #4
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Jolly...

Welcome to the forum.

I guess you can tell that you came to the right place.
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Old November 29, 2012, 03:34 AM   #5
jolly1
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Dear All,

Thanks for everything, and for welcoming me.

I live in Croatia, Europe, just started black powder revolver competitons 2 years ago, as this sport started in Croatia just then.

As far as Black powder cap 'n ball revolvers wild west tradition goes, I do beleive I am on the right place - checking with American collegues!

A lot of good info.

Jolly
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Old November 29, 2012, 06:48 AM   #6
Doc Hoy
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Very interesting

I don't shoot for competition, just for fun, but I am thinking there is little to choose in accuracy between the round ball and conicals.

Do I have this right guys?
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Old November 29, 2012, 07:16 AM   #7
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Hello Doc,

My reasearch started with Mikes video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pGzAuC3O3HM

Actually in the video the best groups are made with conical. (there are three videos)

Then, in his video he uses 456-220 gr bullet, (as opposed to 450-200), which makes me ask this question. And revolver is not Pietta (like mine)

I am also considering the safey - for chain fire, the difference between 456 and 450.
So any experience is most welcome.

One more thing, as a comment from my European side: I noticed that most Americans will use powder loads in range from 25 to almost 30 grain.
(My guess due to tradition, and prefference to stronger loads)

But, my own experience with ball, 454 cal is following:
I started gradually reducing the loads from 24 gr, down to 21 - 18 and finally 15.
So far, the 15 grain load makes the best groups for my revolver. 25 meters, groups of 5 inches.

So once when I establish which caliber for conical bullet to use (456 or 450) I will make tests at range for accuracy by reducing the load.

BTW, the manual of my gun states that recomnded loads are 12 to 15 grains, and max 30 grains. My guess is: 12 to 15 for target shooting, 30 for hunting. Wahtever the reason, the accuracy in my experience is improved by reducing the load.

My intention now is to get conical and make tests.
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Old November 29, 2012, 08:30 AM   #8
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My own experience is with round balls out of Pietta ('51 and '60 reproduction) revolvers ..... when I started, and went looking for bullets at my local gun store, the guy at the counter asked if I was shooting a Ruger or something else, as the rugers required a larger bullet due to deeper rifling...... just what he told me .... the .451" round balls worked just fine. He said a Ruger would need .456".

I am guessing you'll use the 450-200-1R.
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Old November 29, 2012, 08:48 AM   #9
arcticap
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jolly1
One more thing, as a comment from my European side: I noticed that most Americans will use powder loads in range from 25 to almost 30 grain.
(My guess due to tradition, and prefference to stronger loads)

You're right. We are more use to shooting pistols for self-defense or hunting, and most centerfire handguns seem to have stouter loads that some of us try to simulate more often than firing black powder target loads.
Our powder is also pretty affordable.
And personally I usually don't shoot at a very far distance, maybe only 10, 12 or 15 yards.
I wish that heavier loads could obtain the better accuracy that comes with target loads. Some shots will hit the bull better than others, but then pinpoint accuracy isn't always the primary purpose.
For many of us C&B guns are just a fun alternative to center fire, that allow us to enjoy a civil war era military gun that the soldiers would use in battle, and all of the smoke and boom that goes with it.
Competition requires the best accuracy, but recreational shooting is not often done in preparation for competition. I don't have much local C&B competition here like there is for all of the different centerfire and rimfire guns.
Welcome to the forum and good luck with the Lee conical bullets. I suspect that there may be better conicals but they are elusive as far as being able to identify and locate them.

Last edited by arcticap; November 29, 2012 at 11:49 AM.
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Old November 29, 2012, 08:56 AM   #10
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You say you have seen much written about this. Then you know there is nothing to be gained by using a bullet instead of a ball in a C&B revolver like yours.
The idea has been tested extensively.
Only reason to do it is if you want to for no practical reason.
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Old November 29, 2012, 10:45 AM   #11
jolly1
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Hello Riflemen,

Your point taken. I beleive, many would agree.
My own reasarch started when I saw the video clip from Mike testing round ball 454, lee conical 456-220 and kaido, with best results on lee conical.

Mike also (if I am right) was using Uberti Colt army 1860, whilst mine is pietta.

As per informations availbale Pietta will have twist around 1/30 inch, and uberti 1/18 (cca), this will probably have better effect on stabilising conical.
And Mike, indeed, had better results with conical bullets in uberti.

FYG as per makers manuals - only Uberti recomends both: ball and conical
Manual of my Pietta recomends only the ball.
The difference in rifling twist of both guns, in my view may be the only reason in this difference of recomended loads.

So, if all above is correct then - you are right for guns in rifling twist 1/30. But it doesnt cost much for me try and have a piece of mind.

POINT OF AIM:
Another thing in my reasoning was, the ball 454 is 140 grain, whilst conical 450 is 200 grain. In Pietta makers version of colt army 1860 my group is about 7 inches above point of aim at 25 meters. (colt is sighted for 75 meter)
With heavier bullet I could get closer (lower) to POA at 25 mtrs.

As per our European target competition rules (probably the same in US) we are not supposed to temper with sights. Replicas must be the same (more or less) like originals.
Any modern sight or handmade adjustments are not allowed. So I can only temper with loads - BP and Bullets.
For this reason even Ruger Old Army is not allowed on standard competitions (not originating in 19th century)

So I'll try with heavier bullet and see what I will get in regards of both - Point of aim, and accuracy.

Anyhow, just to get back to point, The question was which conical bullet is suitable for army 1860: 456-220. or 450-200. The question was not: ball or conical.

Last edited by jolly1; November 29, 2012 at 11:40 AM.
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Old November 29, 2012, 11:55 AM   #12
zb17ghost
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jolly1,

I'm from Croatia, too...so, if you want, I can give you several Lee's and Kaido's to try.
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Old November 29, 2012, 12:00 PM   #13
jolly1
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Thats Great!
Which town?
I leave in Rijeka, shooting at Drenova range.
How can we get in touch?
you can send me PM.
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Old November 29, 2012, 01:25 PM   #14
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Most people will take a small file and very slowly file out the sight on the hammer until they get it to POA. Is that not allowed? I'm not certain, but I don't believe it takes off much metal.

From what I understand conicals tend to strike even higher on the target than the RB's do. But it's certainly worth trying out.
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Old November 29, 2012, 10:32 PM   #15
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Jolly1,
First of all, I deeply respect your command of the English language. I can only understand a small bit of Spanish and am in no way what you could call bilingual (able to speak two languages). You have my respect and admiration.
OK, back to percussion revolvers: I have never been able to get a conicalv (the LEE .450 200gr) to fit under the rammer of a Pietta. An ASM (Armi San Marco) can be loaded with a little jiggling and an Uberti with less juggling but a Pietta, no. You need to remove a bunch of metal on the underside of the barrel in the area that surrounds the cylinder pin. Look very closely at an original and you will see there is much more room to place a conical bullet. Contact zb17ghost to get some samples. Now, you could load them with the cylinder removed from the gun using a cylinder press but you won't likely be able to load a conical with the cylinder mounted in the gun. I've tried and the Piettas just don't have the room the originals have.
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Old November 29, 2012, 10:39 PM   #16
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I have both of those Lee moulds.

The 456 is too large in diameter to seat in any of my Piettas or Ubertis- get the 450.

I've had better results from the Lee conicals for accuracy and better downrange energy than any of the other, more traditionally styled conicals.
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Old November 29, 2012, 11:12 PM   #17
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One thing to consider is that a heavy bullet will hit even higher than the round ball.

The heavier the bullet the higher your POI will be. So don't buy a heavy bullet with the hopes of lowering your POI..it will not happen.

I have not had much luck with the conicals just because they are so darned hard to load..let alone getting them to load straight. I do have a press, but it is still a pain in the rear.
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Old November 30, 2012, 12:58 AM   #18
jolly1
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Hellgate,
Thanks for compliment, and input.

As for my English, better part of year I spend at sea in multicultural enviroment working with Brits (scotish, english, cornish), French, Belgian, Filipinos, Russians, and with all other nationalities ashore with english language as official. (I called more then 65 different coastal states in my carier).

As I work as a Captain of large vessels, the orders down the chain of command must be clear, precise, simple and understandable. On the other side - when making my report on something, I want to make sure the persons reading it behind the desk will understand it and get my point.
Thus, the english!

Getting back to the subject.
In the mean time I received makers advice by email:

From Lee Precision:
"MOLD DC-450-200-1R"

From Pietta Costumer support:
"We do not suggest to use conical bullet but rounded bullet: .451 or .454
Your gun will work perfectly with 20-22 grains of black powder"

This gets us back to square one, I guess!
But as my inital inquiry was which conical bullet would suit the best (456 or 450), so far we came down definitely to mold 450-200 gr.
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Old November 30, 2012, 09:35 AM   #19
Rifleman1776
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Jolly1, it is a fact of life, if you gain something you will lose something.
In this case, you gain a heavier projectile. But, you lose loading capacity. You will be trying to push a heavier projectile with less powder. In tests I have seen (there may be a You Tube video) a Ruger Old Army with max charge and round ball actually had an edge on the bullet (I have used both) with the lower possible max charge.
There is no harm with what you are considering. Just no real gain.
It is a fun game, do your own thing and enjoy.
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Old November 30, 2012, 11:31 AM   #20
Hellgate
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http://www.google.com/search?q=1860+...N8PBigL-woCoDg

Jolly1,
I'm, not sure this image will come out but it is of an original 1860 Army which you can clearly see the amount of room under the barrel in the rammer area for loading conicals which were standard issue ammo during our War Between the States/War of NorthernAggression/American Civil War/etc.
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Old November 30, 2012, 12:13 PM   #21
jolly1
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Hellgate,

Thanks, the pictures are visible, and problem identified.
The space in original colt is definitely wider.
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