View Full Version : Pietta sp? Black Powder revolvers any good?

September 4, 2002, 04:55 PM
Can pick one up cheap but don't know a thing about them. Any info appreciated.


September 4, 2002, 07:24 PM
I'm sure this thread will be moved to the Black Powder forum before too long......

I have a Pietta brass frame 1851 Navy in .44 cal; purchased from Cabela's about 6 months ago. The price for the gun only was $89, but I also got the accessory kit; I believe the price was about $120 or so. I've had it out to the range 3 or 4 times now, shooting about 40 to 50 rounds per trip. I've been using Pyrodex.

The gun works OK. Was not impressed with the kit I purchased with it, and have pretty much re-bought the individual components.

Using my 55 year old eyes, a 20 grain load groups to about 2.5 to 3 inches at 15 yards, resting on sandbags. It shoots about 8 inches high, but I understand that's normal with this type of gun.

Spent caps cause more jams than I would like, but again, I think that's just part of the nature of the thing. I've since bought a Ruger Old Army, and it's much better in this area. Of course it cost 3 times as much.....

The instructions said that a 20 grain load would be the best. That's relatively mild. If you'll want to shoot something more potent, then you'd probably want a steel frame (Pietta makes them, too), or maybe move up to an Uberti or the gool 'ol Ruger.

Hope this helps,

September 4, 2002, 10:05 PM
Catch 22.
Don't want to use stout loads in em...
And soft loads shoot high.


September 5, 2002, 08:14 AM
Peitta Remingtons are supposed to be fairly good for the money. Plus you can get drop-in cylinder conversions for them if you get sick of loading BP (about $200 though) and want to shoot cowboy loads. Their colts are a little less reliable but are also a $50 cheaper. Most folks use about 25 grains in Remmies and ROAs.

September 5, 2002, 08:36 AM
I've had Pietta steel frame '51 Navy Colt. The gun works and functions. It shoots high (several inches) and to the left. If I compensate for it I can usually just barely hit pie plates at 10 yds. Apparently the groove in hammer can be filed down to correct this somewhat.
Have had 3 functioning problems :
-.375 balls moving in the chamber - they roll all the way down and stop the cylinder from rotating. Could potentially be dangerous if this happened when this cylinder is fired and the ball is not seated on the powder. I've heard .38 balls will help correct this but haven't tried that yet.
-Caps either spent or just work loose from nipple can jam cylinder.
-Nipples came loose - my latest problem.
The wedge screw seems to be of softer material than I had expected.
They are fun to shoot, and that design has a natural pointability to it. I've heard others state that you should plan on working on these revolvers some after you get them. Believe that 25 grns. of FFF is the max. load for these revolvers. Uberti is supposed to be a better quality gun, but it usually runs quite a bit more.

September 5, 2002, 12:01 PM
I have one of the Remington clones. I went really cheap and got a brass frame. These aren't necessarily great guns but they aren't bad and they are certainly worth the cost (about the same as a .22 rifle). I love mine and plan to get one with a steel frame soon. The only thing is I don't shoot it much because many ranges (esp. indoor ranges) ban blackpowder and it is also a pain after several cylinder fulls. After I get the steel framed version I also plan to get the conversion cylinder and shoot it with Cowboy loads (for other ranges) and when I start reloading load up some blackpowder loads for the ranges that allow it but without the constant blackpowder loading (it is messy and there are many steps- it adds to the fun for a few cylinders then I tend to wish it was quicker because I want to get to the shooting).

September 5, 2002, 12:51 PM
I owned an 1860 Colt clone by them. Steel frame, just lovely case hardening. Horrible trigger. I think it was $90 a few years back.

I used it as a display piece for years. I recently sold it to a reenactor dude who uses it for skirmishes. He's happy.

Lone Star
September 6, 2002, 07:44 AM
I believe that Pietta makes many of the guns sold by Dixie Arms. The Colt M1860 that I have is pretty well fitted, decent if not sensational color case hardening on the frame, and the mainspring is very "heavy".

Lone Star

September 6, 2002, 09:45 AM
I have a Pietta 1858 New Army in 44Cal, and love shooting it. It's Very accurate to POA. Easy to take down and clean, also it has given me no trouble. I would recommend the Pietta 1858 New Army. But if you have a choice of the Pietta or the Uberti I would recommened the Uberti.
Here is a picture of mine.


The target was set at 50'. I was firing offhand using both hands.



September 6, 2002, 06:32 PM
scotjute, if there is nothing wrong with your chamber reaming or diameter, you need to use larger balls. When you seat the ball you should get a little ring of lead coming off. The balls should seat firmly on top of the powder. As loose as your balls seem, ( Ok... quit laughing.....:) ) you may be setting yourself up for a chain-fire. Do you put any grease in on top of the balls or do you use ox-yoke wads, to protect from chain-fire and to lube the gun? I would recommend you do one of the two. You also may want to try #10 caps if you can find them to prevent the loose caps from binding your action. If you can't find #10's you may wish to try another brand of caps, pinch them prior to putting them on and see how they do. Just my two cents...

Ceol Mhor
September 6, 2002, 11:39 PM
I have a brace of steel-frame Pietta 1860 Army replicas, and I really like 'em. At 50', I can shoot ~5" groups offhand (although they're both ~6" high at that range) - I haven't tried shooting from a bench for accuracy with them. It seems to me that they've given much less trouble than a lot of people report - I've only gotten one of two jams in ~200 rounds of firing, including a 60-round-without-cleaning cowboy action match. Unlike Erich's, mine both have splendid triggers.

For $120 each (from Cabelas), I think they're a great buy.

Alex Johnson
September 8, 2002, 02:52 PM
I've had several of them over the years, though the only two I have now are an 1858 and an 1851. They are good guns for the money costing about a 1/2 -1/3 what a Uberti costs. The steel is a bit softer and there not finished as well but I've got a lot of shooting out of them. I particuraly like the steel frame 1858's which I shoot with full loads on a frequent basis, no problems yet.

September 10, 2002, 09:01 AM
I am greasing the top of the balls up to cylinder mouth and have used wonder wads on top of powder, makes no difference. I am normally getting the ring of lead, but on some bullets, it seems to be more of a partial ring and that may be problem. Guess I ought to try marking those cylinders to keep track. Eventually will get around to special ordering .38 balls to see if that corrects it.
If not, I wondering if the chamber is acutually slightly larger than the mouth of the cylinder. The balls do not start moving until after the first shot. Think the most dangerous thing would be if I touched off a cylinder and ball wasn't seated on the powder.

Cap n ball
September 10, 2002, 01:10 PM
I've several Pietta guns. The hand spring is usually the first thing to go. I had a gunsmith replace mine with flattened piano wire and that took care of it. The overall workmanship is generally acceptable but you need to look the piece over really close to note rough castings and little places where a bit of filing or emory board work will help. They are the entry level gun. They are fine to learn with but watch out that you don't overload. The Uberti and Pedersoli firearms are worth the extra dollars. After using a Pietta you will really appreciate the difference in workmanship. Mind that I am aware that every once in a while Pietta somehow turns out a really excellent piece but I contend that is the exception. Most of their product is average to poor. The important thing is to never buy a gun sight unseen...especially a 'bargain' gun.

September 10, 2002, 05:24 PM
Scotjute, you bring up an interesting point. You may have a cylinder or two that is out of spec. ( large) I would note which cylinders allow the balls to move forward. It may be a cylinder or two. I would highly consider a larger ball too. I have been shooting cap and ball pistols since I was 14. I have never experienced the ball rolling forward in the cylinder. I am sure one of my 1858's is a Pietta. We always called em' Fillapetta ( incorrect name linkage) made guns. A .375 ball should be plenty big for a 36 cal gun. I do admit that all my black powder revolver shooting has been done with .44 caliber models and I stay away from the Colt designs since the Remington design has the top strap.