View Full Version : 1858 brass pietta

October 1, 2010, 03:39 PM
I was just wondering what would be the proper way to replace the barrel on one of these? What kind of filing if any and what to look out for. I purchased one from Dixie gun supply for 65 dollars and figured it was cheaper than buying a new gun.
Thanks Monty

October 1, 2010, 10:21 PM
Can't help you from experience, I assume you'd make fitted vise shooes to hold the frame and a make a good fitting barrel wrench, when you put the new barrel in you'd have to creep up on the fit so that the barrel torques tight just as the front sight comes in to line, which would mean you'd need a lathe to peel the shoulder a few thousandths etc and try again.

But I wanted to ask what happened to the old barrel?

October 2, 2010, 05:14 AM
The barrel split down one side when it was fired. i had 25gr of fffg and a .451 ball. not sure why it did it.Maybe i didn't get it seated right in the cylinder. any ideas would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks Monty

Doc Hoy
October 2, 2010, 06:10 AM
First of all, welcome to the forum.

The barrel is not hard to change out but you do have to use a bit of caution. You are in good shape if you have a vice. Obviously a wood vice is best but a metal vice will do IF YOU USE SOME WOOD LINER BLOCKS. I guess you don't really care about scarring up the old barrel but putting in the new barrel takes some care.

The barrel is a standard right hand thread. Take the cylinder out of the pistol. Clamp the barrel in the vice. Don't clamp it too tight. Just tight enough to keep the barrel from shifting in the vice.

Hold the frame with your hands. You should not need a tool. You should hold the frame as close to the barrel as possible. That way you will be putting all of the twisting force on the strongest part of the frame. I have heard or read of folks inserting a turning stick into the cylinder opening as a way to get a mechanical advantage if the frame won't turn on the barrel. I don't recommend that on a brass frame pistol because of the danger of breaking or deforming the frame.

I have done this on a lot of pistols both brass and steel and have never needed anything but my bare hands and never needed any penetrating oil. It works on the 1863s as well.

When you put the barrel back into the pistol, you will want to carefully watch sight alignment. Stop turning before the sight reaches line-up and then carefully and slowly turn it until the front sight is in perfect alignment with the rear sight groove on the frame. I always did this by eye looking at the sight alignment as I hold the pistol as if to shoot and also by examining the flats on both sides of the pistol comparing the line-up with the flats on the side of the frame. The barrel will tighten up somewhat before the sight reaches perfect alignment. Maybe twenty or thirty degrees. You can keep turning until you get it lined up even though it will give you a little resistance to turning.

I have some ABS plastic sheet from which I made some vice liner blocks that I use for this purpose. I will be happy to send a set to you if you give me your address.

I will trade them for a Signature Series Second Model Dragoon with box and papers, unfired and unturned with the flask, mold, and nipple wrench.

Okay. Okay. No charge. Seriously, just give me your address and I will send them out if you need them.

Doc Hoy
October 2, 2010, 06:19 AM
I have never had to do any shaving or cutting in order to get a barrel to align up.

October 2, 2010, 08:08 PM
How about thick leather pads instead of wood or plastic vise jaw liners?

Doc Hoy
October 3, 2010, 05:23 AM
I never tried them but I can't see why they would not work. Old belt or old pocketbook...It might be a fun project searching thrift shops for something to use.

October 3, 2010, 06:33 AM
I have used 2 pieces of oak and it seemed to work. Doc i do appreciate the advice and the offer thank you. i have a couple of questions. what should the gap be between the barrel and cylinder once installed? Is there a way to make sure/measure the inner diameter of the barrel to make sure there wasn't any damage done during install, or is it ok to mic. the out side of it.
Thanks again Monty

Doc Hoy
October 3, 2010, 02:24 PM
I have a steel frame with a gap of .006 and a brass frame with a gap of .008. .008 is probably a little loose.

I think if you are careful not to torque the vice down beyond just enough to hold the barrel from turning, you won't have a problem.

I would say that if you damage the barrel it would manifest itself in the way the pistol shoots before you could measure it mechanically. It is much harder to get the barrel out than it is to turn one in. If the vice and liners apply equal pressure all along the surface, you don't need to tighten it all that much when you are installing the new barrel.

October 5, 2010, 01:54 PM
May I ask what balls you were using? What size and manufacturer?

Doc Hoy
October 5, 2010, 01:56 PM
I cast my own roundball and I use .454s in the two .44 Remingtons that I have. I just got a .36 and will use .375s.

October 5, 2010, 02:23 PM
I was wondering what Monty98 was using.

October 6, 2010, 05:40 AM
i have a box of hornady .451 that i was using.
Thanks Monty

October 6, 2010, 09:47 AM
Are the steel frame and brass frame 1858s the same dimensions / specs? I was thinking of removing the barrel from a brass frame with 12" barrel and put that barrel on a steel frame (both Pietta).

Doc Hoy
October 6, 2010, 10:20 AM
I never tried it but I bet it works.