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Old July 9, 2013, 06:17 PM   #1
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1st black powder revolver

Hi I've just recently been interested in purchasing a black powder revolver, although I've always had it in the back of my mind I'd like to have one. I'm kind of surprised how cheap they are. I've also noticed that although there are lots of reproductions of colt and remington. These manufacturers don't seem to reproduce them themselves. I'd like to get one and start shooting. I have other fire arms including hand guns so shooting is not new to me however black powder is. I want to get a good quality gun(something I'm going to have for a long time), this may be my only bp revolver I own so I don't want to get a "beginner" model necessarily. However it appears most are very cheap. Pietta seems to be the most produced. Can I go wrong with any of the brands? I'm not married to a certain caliber either, I suppose .44 is the most common. I do want a replica bp revolver just because of the fact that it's not considered a "fire arm" in Texas(I've got a chl but you never know when that can come in handy). Any recommendations?
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Old July 9, 2013, 06:23 PM   #2
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hey

I just got into bp revolvers and my first is a brass. I would recommend getting a steel frame because over time brass will wear where the cylinder hits the frame. On a steel I hear it does not...However if a brass is the only gun in your budget just keep the loads light like 20 grains max....This site is great just ask questions and wait. The big dogs will chime in.
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Old July 9, 2013, 07:12 PM   #3
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Ok well I do want the capability of loading it heavy. It will get lots of rounds through it also.
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Old July 9, 2013, 07:14 PM   #4
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Also I prefer the long barrel revolvers
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Old July 9, 2013, 07:18 PM   #5
thebser
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then

then stick to steel trust me I already made the mistake of heavy loading on my brass and the ring on its got grooves cut in it from the cylinder.........PLUS .36 is more period correct if your into history .44 is going to be easier to get......also research is key don't buy one cuz it looks cool lol there is a lot of work behind it. For one cleaning is worse than a cartridge gun.....
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Old July 9, 2013, 07:33 PM   #6
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Thanks for the info. Yes I don't want to buy on looks alone, however the 1860 army I seem to like the looks of best. From what I've seen
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Old July 9, 2013, 07:38 PM   #7
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from what ive read

That's a good gun from what ive read! I want one as well! Im sure theres a better brand than others so hopefully the big dawgs will chime in soon lol also the steel frame navy is a very nice gun!
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Old July 9, 2013, 07:43 PM   #8
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NR5P...

While you will not find one for the low prices you have discovered for the Colt or Remington clone, it sounds like you are talking about a Ruger Old Army.

You will spend 400.00 to 600.00 but it will meet all of the stipulations you mentioned.

It is historically accurate because it does not intend to copy anything but itself. Some don't like them because they do not look like a Civil War era revolver. But nobody doesn't like them because they are low in quality. Hope you get my meaning there.
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Old July 9, 2013, 07:58 PM   #9
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You have a wide variety of choices. There are the Remington clones - both Uberti and Pietta make these models. Then you also have the Colt clones - 1851 Navy, 1861 Navy, 1860 Army. While not all are true copies - i.e. you will find 1851s that are .44 (the 1851 was a .36) - you have the choice of either .36 (Navy caliber) or .44 (Army caliber).

Stick with a steel frame if you can. Personally, I have had Pietta, Uberti as well as other earlier mfg. such as ASM (Armi San Marco). I have had no "issues" with any of them. I have had quite a few different '51 Navy revolvers - currently have a Uberti and am very pleased with it. I also have had Piettas - currently have a Remington in .36 - it's been an excellent revolver. Some folks have their preferences as far as makers - but then you find that as well with those who shoot modern handguns. It all boils down to what you personally like and what appeals to you.

I enjoy the .36 caliber but then I like .38 special as well in a modern handgun and for me, they are very similar. If you want a little more "punch" - then consider the .44s. I currently have a Euroarms Rogers and Spencer - another nice design and that is in .44. I find that I am getting more interested in shooting the .44s so I'll probably add a 1860 Colt Army in the future.

Just like you would do if you were considering a new DA .357 or a semi-auto, go to some places such as Cabelas or a LGS that carries black powder revolvers, look them over and see which feels the best to you. A lot of fellows love the '60 Colt - it's a beautiful revolver. For me, I love the balance of a '51 Navy. I also like the feel of the Remington but in my hands, I don't find it as balanced as a '51. Again, it boils down to personal preference, likes and dislikes.

If you purchase one of the steel frames in whatever model you like - whether it be Uberti or Pietta - if you take care of it, keep it clean, etc., it is going to last a very long time. Abuse it, and like any piece of machinery it will not.

I'm sure others will chime in as well. There are lots of good threads on this forum and plenty of folks ready to help if you have questions. Welcome to the forum and let us know how your quest is coming along!
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Old July 9, 2013, 08:01 PM   #10
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Doc makes an excellent suggestion on the Ruger Old Army. Ruger doesn't make them anymore but they are still to be found if you keep your eyes open. They are well built and rugged, but be prepared to shell out some $$ on one as they just keep climbing in price from what I'm seeing. It's too bad that Ruger doesn't start making them again as for shooting and hunting, they are an excellent choice.
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Old July 9, 2013, 09:20 PM   #11
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Pietta 1860. Get one wherever you want..... I got most of mine from Cabelas. Nice lines, good balance, long barrel, steel frame, and you can load it up till the ball will barely fit in there if you wanna, and it'll take it. You won't get the best accuracy that way, but sometimes you just gotta make some smoke!
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Old July 10, 2013, 12:35 AM   #12
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For me... Either the Uberti 1860 Colt Army .44 cal, 1851 Colt Navy .36 cal or the Ruger Old Army.
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Old July 10, 2013, 08:43 AM   #13
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ROA

Like Doc says, some folks don't care for the Ruger as it's not a civil war era replica. It is however, one of the finest BP pistols ever produced.

Designed for hunting, each cylinder will hold 50 gr of powder. If you use a full load, you will need to use grease over the balls to prevent a chain fire. I prefer (for hunting) to use 40 gr with a Wonder Wad over the powder and under the ball. As previously mentioned, Ruger does not make the ROA anymore. Your best bet is to watch GB as they are for sale there regularly. I purchased mine from GB and looked for a long time for just the right one. I wanted a stainless model and also wanted to find one unfired. Mine came from an estate sale and was unfired with the box and all the paperwork. I paid $650.00 for it. It was still in it's original plastic bag from the factory. The only thing I did was have Ivory grips made with the Ruger medallions installed.

The ROA is a true .45 and shoots a .457 ball. When using real BP, powder compaction is a major factor. For best accuracy, the balls need to be seated as close to the end of the cylinder as possible. Swiss BP will not compact as much as Goex. I use Swiss so 40 gr plus Wonder Wad, the compaction is just right. When using a lighter load, (for competition) I use 28 gr powder, Wonder Wad and 12 gr cornmeal filler so I get proper compaction.

There are many choices when it comes to BP pistols, and whatever you choose, you will indeed have fun! Each one has it's own personality and just like a woman, ya gotta find out what she likes!

Welcome, good luck and all the best,

Birch

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Old July 10, 2013, 09:03 AM   #14
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I bought a M1858 Uberti and that is what I recommend. The M1858 was the most advanced black powder pistol (at least the most advanced I have owned! )till the Ruger. The Uberti sight came tall and I was able to drift for windage and file for elevation. Things I don't like about Colt designs are too many screws, can't adjust for windage, elevation is off by feet at 25 yards, caps fall between hammer and frame. There are probably more complaints, but those are the ones off the top of my head.

I have chronographed rounds out of my Colt 3rd Dragoon, I am not impressed with the power of these blackpowder pistols. With 50 grains of black my round balls were around 800 fps. I have seen web data that was better, but that was my experience and I believe my chrono.


The only blackpowder firearm I would go hunting with is a long gun. I think there were good reasons why they carried sabers and huge bowie knives alongside these blackpowder revolvers. One of them might have been lack of stopping power.
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Old July 10, 2013, 09:43 AM   #15
maillemaker
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Quote:
Hi I've just recently been interested in purchasing a black powder revolver, although I've always had it in the back of my mind I'd like to have one. I'm kind of surprised how cheap they are. I've also noticed that although there are lots of reproductions of colt and remington. These manufacturers don't seem to reproduce them themselves. I'd like to get one and start shooting. I have other fire arms including hand guns so shooting is not new to me however black powder is. I want to get a good quality gun(something I'm going to have for a long time), this may be my only bp revolver I own so I don't want to get a "beginner" model necessarily. However it appears most are very cheap. Pietta seems to be the most produced. Can I go wrong with any of the brands? I'm not married to a certain caliber either, I suppose .44 is the most common. I do want a replica bp revolver just because of the fact that it's not considered a "fire arm" in Texas(I've got a chl but you never know when that can come in handy). Any recommendations?

I've been shooting BP guns for about 2 years now competitively. I had a couple of Pietta brass-framed "1851 Navy" revolvers for a few years before that.

One thing to watch out for, if you care, is that there are some variations that have been produced that are not historical. For example, Pietta makes a brass-framed "1851 Navy", but it is in .44 caliber. 1851 Navies were .36 caliber.

You are correct in noting that a lot of the people selling BP guns are not the ones making them. Most of the revolvers come from Pietta these days.

I think one of the reasons why BP revolvers are cheaper than cartridge guns is that they just do not put the same care into their manufacture and heat treating of the components. They have most likely figured out that most people buy a BP gun, shoot it a couple of times, and then it sits on a mantle or on a closet shelf because "they are too much hassle to shoot". Consequently they don't suffer the wear and tear that a cartridge gun will, and so they don't need to be as durable. A cartridge gun might burn through 100 rounds of ammunition in 30 minutes. A BP gun might not see that many in a year from a casual shooter.

You see this in springs that go soft, or lock components that deform or break. These sorts of problems would never fly in cartridge guns and so they put a lot more effort into them, and so they cost more.

People generally recommend steel frame over brass frame guns, though I've never actually seen pictures of a brass gun failing. You will generally find you get maximum accuracy using a less-than-full-power charge and so if you are shooting for accuracy you will also put less stress on the gun as a happy consequence. If you want the "big boom" get a Walker.

A lot of people like buying from Cabela's as they say they have a generous return policy if you find something wrong with the gun.

Also Cabela's often has sales on BP revolvers, and if you sign up for their credit card you can get a further discount. I think I bought my 1858 Remington from them for Christmas last year for $175 with all the discounts factored in.

If you think you might be interested in shooting BP guns competitively check out http://www.n-ssa.org. It's a lot of fun.

Steve
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Old July 10, 2013, 11:17 AM   #16
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If you prefer a more historically accurate revolver, start with the 1858 Remington in steel frame (Not necessarily for strength, but for historical correctness) and .44 cal.

Remingtons are a good bit less finicky than Colts. Go through the posts recently and you will find a gentleman on this forum who may have one he is willing to party with. It is not a new revolver but it appears to be adequate.

For those who directed you to the Colt revolvers, I agree with them completely but it is not a revolver I would start with.

One caveate is the "big hand syndrome" If you are a big guy or have big hands, you owe it to yourself to go someplace and handle the 1860 comparing it with the 1858. The 1860 is more user friendly to the man with oversized mitts.

Absent that, learn on the Remington and then go to the Colt.

That strategy will reveal to you whether or not you are serious about the passion. If you shoot that Remington and then say to yourself, "Man..I gotta get the Colt now." you are on your way to Cap and Ball revolver Nirvanna.
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Old July 10, 2013, 11:20 AM   #17
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I have somewheres in the neighborhood of around 22 b.p. pistols and revolvers, so I think I could prolly help ya out. Pietta is the best for the bucks now, find em on sale at Cabelas, For heavy loads, I would recommend the steel frame Remmy. You can fire a load that is heavy enough from a Colt clone, either a 51 or a 60, or the many variations thereof. I think you will find that you will start shooting more moderate loads. Easier on you, the gun, and you won't go through so much powder, plus your accuracy will be much better. Longer barrels are more accurate, although I have a few sheriff length barrels that would beg to contest that, but the snubnoses and avenging angels are concealable. The ROA's that they talked about are fine guns, but extremely overpriced. I would never buy one. Plus I kinda don't like Rugers in general. But that's just me. Try and handle a few, I know at the range I always will ask interested people if they would like to shoot any of the guns I bring out. That's the best way. You will find people into bp shooting are pretty keen to talk to other folks about it and help them get into it.
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Old July 10, 2013, 11:31 AM   #18
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People generally recommend steel frame over brass frame guns, though I've never actually seen pictures of a brass gun failing.
You won't see one actually fail. What you will see is battering and stretching of the frame. If it gets bad enough the cylinder will have so much slop it won't fire, or either the frame will warp enough the cylinder will bind. Here's your first sign. The cylinder ratchet has imprinted itself on the recoil shield.



This gun is mine. Its not a pic I glommed off the net. Its still ok to shoot at this point. The cylinder pin is a little harder to remove than it was before but not bad. Many more 25 grain loads tho and it will be a paperweight.
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Old July 10, 2013, 11:40 AM   #19
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Good points, All

This is why I recommend Ruger if you just want to shoot, and steel Remington .44 if you are concerned about historical authenticity.

The Ruger represents the ultimate BP shooting tool. The Remington is solid enough you could use it as a hammer.
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Old July 10, 2013, 11:53 AM   #20
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steel Remington .44 if you are concerned about historical authenticity.
The steel .36 Remington is historically accurate too. They're called navies.
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Old July 10, 2013, 12:42 PM   #21
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NR5P

By now you should realize you have come to the right place if you want to find out about BP weapons. Lot of experience here and everyone has a take, so I'll add my two cents.

First decision is always historical or something that justs shoots BP effectively. If the decision is the later, then hands down as many have indicated get a Ruger. Dependable, rugged, well engineered and powerful the right Ruger can be a lot of fun. If you decide some historical design is of interrest then compare the Pietta and Uberti lines (currently the only two manufacturerers active in the mass market. Pietta has a lot of guns in their line that are not completely historically accurate, rather the figment of someone's imagination, or perhaps the marketing departments answer to the modern day consumer.

Pietta is the price leader, and Cabella's the mass merchandiser of preference. Their guality of product has improved vastly over the years and it is hard to fault them in that area. Two areas that many complain about, the grips are shaped to the large side with a bell bottom, and the obnoxious advertising on the side of the barrell (my personnal favorite peeve). They produce alot of models and are readily available.

Uberti has been in the reproduction game going back to the late fifty's. They produce a smaller line of products, but many will say of more consistent quility. This is always a point of discussion, or debate, when BP'ers get together. Beretta now owns Uberti, and to my mind, for whatever reason there just does not seem to be the supply in the market that was enjoyed in the past. You have to look for them more than the Pietta and generally they are priced higher.

Colt vs. Remminton is always another issue. Black Powder requires more though cleaning than you are used to with modern firearms. Personally I find the Colts much easier to clean since you disassemble the barrel/loading hand, cylinder, from the frame and soak in hot water. Reove the grips and you can toss in the frame also but that is not necessary with every cleaning. The Remingtons appeal seems to be the apparently stronger frame with it's top strap. Look at the arbors on both and you will be able to determine how the Colt functions just as well.

You indicated that you might want a lot of power and a 'big boom'. In the BP world the Ruger will certainly provide that. What no one seems to have mentioned, and you might consider, are the Colt Dragoons in .44. These were 'horse' pistols and you can really load them up. However, the "big boy" of the BP world is the Colt Walker, the most powerfull handgun in the world for decades, long after the percussion era ended. Mount one on an axle with wheels and you have a cannon!

Decide what you want from BP shooting then go handle some different guns is the best advice written so far. The addictive nature of this particular aspect of sport shooting can not be stressed enough. Don't really worry about what "first" gun you buy will be as it will not the last one.
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Old July 10, 2013, 12:51 PM   #22
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You want something authentic and built to last? Why not get a 2nd Generation Colt 1860 Army? Natural pointers and lighter than the reproductions.

If you prefer the Remington style, you cannot go wrong with a charcoal blued Uberti Remington New Model Army.

There are several sets of 200th Anniversary United States Cavalry Colt 1860 Army revolvers with shoulder stock and accessories on GB right now. Shoot one and look at the other!
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Old July 10, 2013, 12:54 PM   #23
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The Remington reproductions in naval caliber with 6-1/2 inch barrels aren't technically accurate. They would be the "Belt Model" which was built on a smaller frame than the Navy. The "Navy Model" had a 7-3/8 inch barrel.

However, the belt model navy (6.5" bbl) is a nice shooter anyhow, like the 6-shot Pietta pocket police!
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Old July 10, 2013, 12:57 PM   #24
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The Uberti navy has a 7 3/8" barrel.
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Old July 10, 2013, 01:00 PM   #25
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My opinion parallels bedbugs experience with the revolvers.

I started with them in the late 70's

I have owned at least 1 of pretty much every major one on the market at one point in time. (right now I own 5 colt types and 2 remington types)(a Uberti standard model and a Pietta Target model with adjustable sights from cabelas)

I have owned 2 ruger old army's (1 blue, and one stainless) while they are great guns, and really the strongest out there, to me it just didn't "FEEL" right in my hand.

I owned remingtons at the time i owned the rugers.

when i would grab a gun or 2 to go to play and have fun, it was always the remingtons.

Once I handled and shot the colt design, that is what i grab now when i go to play.
if i am just point shooting, and plinking, making cans roll, shooting reactive targets. I grab a colt type (i have 2 1851 navy .36 caliber designs, a 1860 army.44, and a 1861 navy.36, and a 1862 police model (5.5 inch barrel fluted chamber.36 caliber)

If i am going for a walk in the woods, or small game hunting, the police 5.5 goes along. (its shorter, and just points where i want it to)

Deer hunting no matter whether it is gun or black powder season? the 1860 .44 goes along.

Bottom line, go to a Cabelas, or Bass proshop that has a large selection of revolvers.
Handle them ALL, and decide what FEELS BEST.

if you don't like the way it feels you won't shoot it much..
Not if you have others to choose from.

Guns to me are like golf clubs to other people.
No single one works for every occasion.

Sometimes you need a bigger hammer, sometimes a smaller one.

45 Bravo
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