The Firing Line Forums

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

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old April 2, 2016, 11:20 AM   #1
spacecoast
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 14, 2009
Location: Sunshine and Keystone States
Posts: 4,402
'58 Remington usage question

I've read that one reason that Civil War soldiers liked the Remington New Model Army, maybe better than the equivalent Colt 1860 Army, is that it was easier to switch out an empty cylinder with a full one and get it back into action faster without disassembling the gun. But I've also heard it said that this didn't really happen all that often in practice.

If soldiers indeed carried spare loaded cylinders, is it likely that the caps were also put in place on the nipples, or would they have had to do that at the time of use? If not, it seems like it might have negated much of the advantage.

By the way, I just bought a Cabelas spare for my '58 Pietta Remington and it fits perfectly. It came with a caution sheet - leave the caps OFF the loaded cylinder until it's in the gun.
spacecoast is offline  
Old April 2, 2016, 11:28 AM   #2
g.willikers
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 28, 2008
Posts: 9,434
From what I've read, the more common solution to having more than five or six shots from a revolver was having more guns.
The guerrilla riders carried as many as six.
Trying to change cylinders on horseback would have to have been a disaster.
__________________
Walt Kelly, alias Pogo, sez:
“Don't take life so serious, son, it ain't nohow permanent.”
g.willikers is offline  
Old April 2, 2016, 12:02 PM   #3
4V50 Gary
Staff
 
Join Date: November 2, 1998
Location: Colorado
Posts: 18,804
I've six (6) six shelves bookcases filled with books on the Civil War. Not once have I ever read of anyone carrying a spare cylinder. Then again, I've not read much on cavalry actions or the war in the Trans-Mississippi.
__________________
Vigilantibus et non dormientibus jura subveniunt. Molon Labe!
4V50 Gary is online now  
Old April 2, 2016, 01:00 PM   #4
Hawg
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 8, 2007
Location: Mississippi
Posts: 13,475
There are people that will argue about it til they're blue in the face. They think because it can be done now it was done then but there's no record of it, no evidence of it, no written accounts of it except for one story about a pony express rider that most likely had a Paterson which could be bought with extra cylinders. You have to remember cylinders were hand fitted to each gun back then and finding two that would interchange without problems would be iffy. Some cased sets of SAA's came with an extra cylinder but these weren't common carry guns and came after the percussion era. There are numerous records of cavalrymen carrying extra revolvers. Why would they do that if swapping cylinders was such an easy task? Officers and cavalry troopers were the only ones that carried pistols. An officer likely wouldn't need extra firepower and I can't imagine trying to swap a cylinder from a walking horse much less one at a full gallop.
Hawg is online now  
Old April 2, 2016, 01:02 PM   #5
44 Dave
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 24, 2013
Posts: 350
The cylinder is only "charged" with powder and bullet and loaded when capped.
44 Dave is offline  
Old April 2, 2016, 07:37 PM   #6
RJay
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 2, 2005
Location: Arizona
Posts: 1,874
US Military ( nor CSA )did not carry extra extra cylinders in the civil war , That is a a movie stunt. The Confederate Raiders carried up to six and sometimes more Colt revolvers . The Remington was liked because it was a good gun and was easier to break down for cleaning.. In all my reading I have never read that any westerner carried extra cylinders nor do the Colt records show any separate orders of spare cylinders. Only Clint Eastwood carried extra cylinders, but then again he was a time traveler and was able to use guns that were non existent in his moves timeframes.
__________________
Ron James
RJay is offline  
Old April 2, 2016, 09:04 PM   #7
Model12Win
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 20, 2012
Posts: 3,387
Quote:
I have a brass frame 4" bbl '58 remy that is the confederate style. They were reloaded with extra cylinders that is why they are so great and are MUCH stronger than the colt which could blow up. The confeds liked them because they were not smart enough to make steel yet.
These are the kinds of things one can find on these threads. Today, reproduction percussion revolvers are so available that there are many dunces out there who would rather make up history than actually research what was done, and what the guns were actually like.
Model12Win is offline  
Old April 3, 2016, 04:06 PM   #8
Branko
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 9, 2015
Location: Croatia
Posts: 188
If it was done, you'd find spare cylinders lying about in the battlefields and records of spare cylinders being purchased. You can't, so clearly it wasn't done with any regularity at all. While you can reload a Remington really quick with a cylinder swap, I could reload a Colt a whole lot faster then you can swap cylinders on a Remington by simply grabbing the other one There's no risk of dropping anything, nor is there any problem with carrying a loaded and capped cylinder (remember, their percussion caps were more volatile then ours).

The only real advantage in the Remington which I see in terms of a battlefield weapon, are twofold: the frame is stronger. No, the Colt won't blow up, but if you drop a Remington or club someone over the head with it, it's more likely to work fine aftewards. Second, it's not likely to get jammed by cap fragments, which is possible on a Colt. Really, that's more or less it. Possibly the Remington is easier to fully disassemble for cleaning, but neither gun has a substantial advantage there.

The rest of the stuff is personal preference. The sights are in both cases effective for battlefield use but one could prefer one or the other, the grips of X or Y might fit you better individually, and so on.
Branko is offline  
Old April 3, 2016, 04:26 PM   #9
Hawg
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 8, 2007
Location: Mississippi
Posts: 13,475
I don't think cap jams were a problem back then. Caps were made from copper and somewhat thicker than modern caps.
Hawg is online now  
Old April 3, 2016, 05:02 PM   #10
horseman308
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 3, 2009
Location: Virginia
Posts: 465
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hawg View Post
I can't imagine trying to swap a cylinder from a walking horse much less one at a full gallop.
I've got a 58 Remmy and plenty of saddle time. While I haven't tried to actually swap cylinders while riding, I can easily imagine the difficulty, and it would be considerable. With a great horse with a smooth gait, like a Tennessee Walker, it might be doable if you're a very talented and coordinated person with years of experience. On your average Quarter Horse or generic saddle horse whose gaits are less gentle .... No thank you.
horseman308 is offline  
Old April 3, 2016, 05:32 PM   #11
spacecoast
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 14, 2009
Location: Sunshine and Keystone States
Posts: 4,402
Good discussion gentlemen, thank you. I might also point out that the '58 has notches for resting the hammer between chambers.
spacecoast is offline  
Old April 3, 2016, 07:18 PM   #12
foolzrushn
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 29, 2015
Location: middle of the Santa Fe Trail
Posts: 347
And a more secure way of carrying a pistol with all six cylinder holes loaded might be enough reason to prefer a Remington.

The choice might be to only load five and forgo the sixth shot, or carry a Remington to get all six shots.

I can't imagine carrying three loaded pistols, some of which were just stuck in the belt, but I think that they did.
__________________
If you feel that you're pretty important...you should think about your significance to the Universe....and re-evaluate !

certified 'soap welder'
foolzrushn is offline  
Old April 3, 2016, 07:54 PM   #13
Branko
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 9, 2015
Location: Croatia
Posts: 188
With a gun belt (the period styled type which doesn't go through the loops in the pants, not a modern one) it's pretty easy to carry two or two with a couple of spare cylinders.

At any rate, it is the best and quickest way to reload. As far as carrying 5 vs 6, the Colt also had those pins and they were both clearly intended to be loaded with six. But yes, the Remington was safer to carry fully loaded.

During wartime "you might have an accidental discharge if you drop it" sounds pretty hollow. When we do it for sport that is another matter.
Branko is offline  
Old April 3, 2016, 08:15 PM   #14
Hawg
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 8, 2007
Location: Mississippi
Posts: 13,475
Quote:
I can't imagine carrying three loaded pistols, some of which were just stuck in the belt, but I think that they did.
Some carried as many as eight.
Hawg is online now  
Old April 3, 2016, 08:54 PM   #15
BlackPowderBen
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 2, 2015
Posts: 325
They had a lot of cleaning to do!
__________________
"If you have to shoot, shoot! Dont talk"
BlackPowderBen is offline  
Old April 3, 2016, 09:11 PM   #16
RJay
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 2, 2005
Location: Arizona
Posts: 1,874
They didn't carry all those pistols on their belt, perhaps two, the rest were in saddle holsters or pommels, Two in front on either side and if they could get them , four more in saddle holsters, two on either side on the rear of the saddle plus at least one shotgun, sometimes two. It wasn't until the Union started issueing repeating carbines ( Spencers ) that the Union cavalry became effective.
__________________
Ron James
RJay is offline  
Old April 3, 2016, 09:19 PM   #17
Model12Win
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 20, 2012
Posts: 3,387
Quote:
They had a lot of cleaning to do!
With what them boys had to do, I bet cleaning was the last thing on their minds.

While we treat these as simple toys today, for the men that carried these guns "for real" back then, it was deadly serious business.
Model12Win is offline  
Old April 3, 2016, 09:53 PM   #18
Hellgate
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 18, 2010
Location: Orygun
Posts: 666
You have to keep in mind that only a few years prior, the only handguns were SINGLE SHOTS. To have a "six shooter" was a huge advancement. The percussion revolvers were never intended for sustained shooting. Typically one had a single shot pistol and a huge (Bowie type) fighting knife. With a six shooter you were very well armed with SIX TIMES the fire power of most opponents so quick reloading was not even a consideration. After 6 shots the revolver was put away (for cleaning and reloading later) and if more fighting was to occur you drew your knife, sword, or another revolver. I read somewhere [and everything you read on the internet is true ] that there was never a documented fatality of a Confederate irregular that ever fell to a Union sword. The irregulars/geurillas, as previously stated, carried multiple revolvers & sawed off shotguns against the Union cavalry. Six shots fired, draw another and shoot the guy (a Yank) who took a knife to a gunfight. All the fuss about dealing with fouling during CAS/SASS matches is due to the design of the guns to only be fired 6 times and the cleaned. The cartridge revolvers didn't really become popular til the mid to late 1870s hence the two gun rig for those who were considering a longer shootout.
__________________
With over 15 perCUSSIN' revolvers, I've been called the Imelda Marcos of cap & ball.
SASS#3302 (Life), SASS Regulator, NRA (Life), DGB#129
Wolverton Mtn. Peacekeepers (WA), former Orygun Cowboy (Ranger, Posse from Hell)
Hellgate is offline  
Old April 3, 2016, 09:53 PM   #19
Hawg
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 8, 2007
Location: Mississippi
Posts: 13,475
I have read stories about when they fired a gun empty they just dropped it and pulled another then after the battle went back and tried to find them or if they fought against cavalry just took them off the dead.
Hawg is online now  
Old April 3, 2016, 11:08 PM   #20
Hellgate
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 18, 2010
Location: Orygun
Posts: 666
Hawg,
I'd think that they were a valuable enough commodity that one would at least try to reholster them before drawing another one. There's no guarantee you are gonna get back to the battlefield to scavenge the dead, especially if the Union won the battle. I'm betting the hung on to them if possible.
__________________
With over 15 perCUSSIN' revolvers, I've been called the Imelda Marcos of cap & ball.
SASS#3302 (Life), SASS Regulator, NRA (Life), DGB#129
Wolverton Mtn. Peacekeepers (WA), former Orygun Cowboy (Ranger, Posse from Hell)
Hellgate is offline  
Old April 3, 2016, 11:48 PM   #21
Model12Win
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 20, 2012
Posts: 3,387
Most soldiers did not use revolvers. Some of the officers did.

They were mainly cavalry guns.
Model12Win is offline  
Old April 4, 2016, 12:15 AM   #22
Hawg
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 8, 2007
Location: Mississippi
Posts: 13,475
Just relating what I remember reading.
Hawg is online now  
Old April 4, 2016, 10:28 AM   #23
campingnights
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 6, 2014
Location: Frozen North
Posts: 272
Wouldn't the revolvers be a might pricey for the average soldier? Seems like most would stick with issued arms, plus battlefield salvage?
__________________
Cry HAVOC! and let loose the chihuahuas of war.

My wife told me that I can't have too many guns, I agreed and told her I can never have too many guns...and then the trouble began
campingnights is offline  
Old April 4, 2016, 11:00 AM   #24
Hawg
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 8, 2007
Location: Mississippi
Posts: 13,475
Quote:
Wouldn't the revolvers be a might pricey for the average soldier? Seems like most would stick with issued arms, plus battlefield salvage?
Infantry were issued sidearms at the very beginning of the war but what weren't sent home were discarded. An infantryman isn't going to carry one single pound more than he has to. Many of them even tossed their bayonets. Like Model12 said cavalry and officers were the only ones that carried revolvers. Extra pistols were battlefield pickups.
Hawg is online now  
Old April 4, 2016, 11:41 AM   #25
Branko
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 9, 2015
Location: Croatia
Posts: 188
I remember reading somewhere how a British officer noted with displeasure that civil war cavalry was not using proper cavalry tactics and could be better called revolver cavalry.

Don't remember where it was, though.
Branko is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

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 11:50 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2016 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.11152 seconds with 9 queries