View Full Version : Conversions

March 28, 1999, 09:55 AM
Was at a gunshow yesterday and say some interesting old original conversions (as opposed to reproductions). There were the usual Colt and Remingtons but the one that really intruiged me was a Starr conversion. It was converted to what looked like a 44 rimfire round. Don't know which round though. Unfortunately someone in the past also ground down the firing pin, perhaps to make a child's toy gun?

James K
March 28, 1999, 03:53 PM
One much overlooked aspect of "Old West" gunnery was the use of both cap & ball guns and conversions well into the 90's.

(Remember in Shane, where the one character says he is going to strap on his old Navy and tackle Jack Palance?) In a lot of areas, powder and caps were easier to come by than modern cartridges, and use of percussion guns went on for a long time.

Conversions were also common, most of them by local gunsmiths. You can see these at a lot of gun shows, even in the East. I saw a 51 Navy a few weeks ago which was converted by using the front end and ratchet of one cylinder as the front, and the front of another with the center drilled out as the rear. The two pieces were pinned together, and there was a distinct line at the juncture, but it probably worked.

We also tend to forget that not all Western types carried SAAs. The Colt was expensive, selling for about 16 or 17 dollars (multiply by 40 for current money). Lots of folk carried those "awful" suicide specials, or cheap SA or DA .32s and .38s and didn't feel helpless. They also carried a miscellany of Remingtons (all kinds), Merwin-Hulberts, S&Ws, single shots and derringers of all kinds, etc., etc. Later, lots of people went in for auto loaders, including Lugers, Mauser C96s, early Colts, etc.

The problem is that in those days people seem to have had thinner skins, as even a .22 was considered nasty; with today's thick hides, a .454 apparently won't cut it if we believe the stuff in the handgun threads.

March 29, 1999, 12:13 PM
If you want to see some interesting stuff, click on changing the show topics from to see back about 60 days or so and read the "If you could build your dream gun" thread. It gets real interesting. I think maybe you'll like it.

[This message has been edited by fal308 (edited March 29, 1999).]

James K
March 29, 1999, 02:20 PM
You are right, that is an interesting thread.

March 30, 1999, 12:28 PM
Hey Jim,
let's hear a couple of those bizarre ideas we here at the CAS section are trying to become (in)famous for. :)

Help us out as we aren't able to help ourselves. We've even got guvmint sistence comin'!!

[This message has been edited by fal308 (edited March 30, 1999).]

El Chimango Pete
March 30, 1999, 02:27 PM
Bizarre? what could possibly be bizarre about a 10 gauge Gatling gun? (BTW didnt we deal with a conversion in the 'Clint Eastwood gun'?). Also, 'cap and ball' did become neglected in recalling the Old West--- people have become lazy and impatient with the slow pace of reloading (even though Hollywood would have us believe that it was no problem), and cleaning a BP is a mess by our standards now. A dual cylinder muzzle-breech loader would be both historically correct and fun for this lunatic fringe (?) :)

March 31, 1999, 10:54 AM
Yes we did discuss the c&b conversion of Clint's weapon.
I've got one for you. How about a Maynard tape conversion for the Gattling Gun. This would allow you to control the supply much as the Brits did with the Greener police shotgun.
Or even hooking up two Gattling Guns together ala the Calico(?) Two-Twentytwo. Maybe have one Gattling the 10 gauge and the other possibly a 45/70 or even a 50/110, just to be a little more different (and to make it harder for Gunslinger to build :))

James K
April 5, 1999, 08:53 AM
Whoa there, FAL308. I didn't use the word bizarre about anything, though I guess it might apply to some of those "I wish I had" ideas.

Some of the stuff I wrote is well known to you and other folks who are experienced in CAS and are knowlegable about the old west, but there are newbies who like to gather info. I don't know much about the clothing and such, but I have read and heard a lot about the guns and how they used them, and also studied the guns themselves, including conversions.

One reason I don't get more into CAS, though I have tried it, is the need for costumes. I don't dress in a Civil War uniform to shoot my rifle muskets nor do I dress like a Nazi officer to shoot my 1940 P.08. Just not much for playing dressup, I guess.

April 5, 1999, 11:45 AM
Sorry Jim. I guess bizarre is the wrong word to use. Maybe unique would be better.
At the local CAS matches around here, quite a few don't "dress up". Some usually just show up in overalls.
I hope you didn't take anything I said as criticism as it wasn't meant to be. My apologies if any offence was taken. I'm learning more most every time I log in and would be the last to claim I was an expert on such matters.
I even watch the stairs I'm climbing if I'm chewing gum at the same time. :)

James K
April 5, 1999, 01:26 PM
No offense taken. I guess I just have got this thing about costumes. I had same problem with NSSA when I wanted to join. First lay out a few hundred for a uniform authentic to the button design. I just want to shoot, not act. Now if Hollywood offers me a multi-million dollar contract...

Bill Mitchell
April 5, 1999, 04:10 PM
Howdy Jim,

I'll admit that I enjoy the wearing the cowboy clothes as much as shooting the guns,but some folks don't. A pair of jeans,long sleeve button front shirt,Wellington or roper boots($30 at Walmart) and a cheap cowboy hat or kepi will be sufficient at any SASS shoot. We don't insist on correct clothes down to thread color and button type,just enough so you look
like a range hand. At my club,first timers are welcome to shoot wearing just about anything they want.

Bellicose Bill

James K
April 6, 1999, 06:15 PM
Might be OK, as long as I don't have to SMELL like some of the ranch hands I've met.

El Chimango Pete
April 6, 1999, 08:25 PM
...is the smell of Hoppes No.9 and burnt Unique "historically correct"?

April 7, 1999, 10:55 AM
Sorry EC but Unique is smokeless!! You've got to remember to use blackpowder to be HC :). The good part is you can brag about everything you hit because no one can see it anyway what with all that smoke everywhere after you've emptied your BP hogleg .