View Full Version : 1851 Navy steel frame 36 cal

October 13, 2010, 10:45 AM
I have a NIB 1851 brass frame 44. I love the looks of those guns over all other BP revolvers. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I had shoulder surgery and have not shot it. After reading all the posts back to 08 on this forum, there seems to be a real warning to keep the loads low or it will bend the brass frame.
I may just keep the brass 1851 for display.

I would like a shooter that looks like this gun. How about the steel frame 1851 in 36 cal? Will they stand up over the years?

Also there doesn't seem to be many posts about 36 cal BP guns in general? Do people also want to have the bigger bang and recoil of the 44's?

I also have a Uberti Walker Colt if that is what I am after. I haven't fired it yet either. Got a month to be cleared by the doc and then I will be banging away.


Doc Hoy
October 13, 2010, 11:11 AM
I don't think we are talking about bending the frame but the arbor can loosen up. In addition, the recoil shield can take on the markings of the cylinder ratchet as the cylinder slams back against the shield from recoil. I think that happens in a brass revolver more quickly than in a steel revolver.

I think I would keep the loads light in the Navy. I am one of the few folks here who think that a lot of force is placed on the arbor during the loading process. So for a brass frame pistol, IMO a loading press is a good investment. With a press, the only force exerted on the arbor occurs during discharge. I must hasten to add that many shooters on the forum who have a lot more experience that I do, have not said that they agree with me on the loading force being a source of loose arbors in brass frame pistols. Even I have never seen it. I am only using my undertanding of physics to support my belief.

I have two frames with loose arbors. One is a steel frame from a Leech and Rigdon which I am using in a project pistol. It was loose when I bought it but I got it for a song and am happy with the idea of working on it. The other is a brass frame Sheriff's model 1851 pattern in .36 cal. That frame was damaged when the pistol chain fired.

I believe I remember Mykeal posting a long time ago that his favorite pistol was a .36 caliber 1851 Colt, but I could be remembering that wrong. I just got a .36 caliber Remington and I love it. I shot 17 and 20 grains last Sunday and that may be too heavy a load.

October 13, 2010, 02:33 PM
Nope. My favorite is an ROA which only comes in .44. Or .45, depending on how you measure. I just shot a 5 shot group with all holes touching the X at 10 yards holding duelist for a postal shoot on TheMuzzleloadingForum using my 7 1/2" adjustable sight ROA. For me that's an unheard of result, simply phenomenal. I can't even shoot my carry gun that well.

However, the .36 1851 Colt is a really nice gun and is very high up on my list.

October 13, 2010, 04:09 PM
Personally, I would shoot it.

Brass framed 44 navies aren't exactly a rare collectors item, but they do look great and are fun to shoot.

Unless you are using really hot loads I wouldn't be too overly worried about damage.

I routinely gave mine near 30 grains of FFFg with no detrimental effects.

Yeah it might loosen up over time, probably quite a bit of time, but people act like they are going to be a hand grenade going off in your face, which just isn't the case.

I prefer the .44 for a few reasons. I can see the holes it makes better, its a bit easier to load (larger wads, balls, and holes to put the powder in), and the recoil just isn't all that much different IMHO. Lastly, I have an easier time finding balls for the .44 in various sizes.

The .36 will save you a bit of money, but it's not that much really.

Doc Hoy
October 13, 2010, 04:26 PM
Kadmos makes a good point about ball sizes for the .44.

October 13, 2010, 06:32 PM
And "44" just sounds neater than "36"
Reading that the hero is blazing away with his 36s just ain't the same.
No offense, Wild Bill.

Doc Hoy
October 13, 2010, 06:56 PM
....that when the navy sought to replace its single shot fifty caliber pistol, some were concerned that a .36 would not pack enough of a wallop, even with six shots.

We in this day and age are not so much concerned with disabling or killing the target as we are with hitting the target. I hasten to add that last week end, I hit my target stand with a high shot and it had to limp home. It took a transplant to save it.

I have as much fun shooting the .36s as I do the .44s. The powder lasts longer when I am shooting .36s.

October 13, 2010, 06:59 PM
Yeah it might loosen up over time, probably quite a bit of time

It doesn't take much. I fired my brass frame .36 Remington navy 12 times with 20 grs and conicals. It now has a very faint impression of the cylinder ratchet in the recoil shield. No real harm done and you have to really look for it but it's there. Now if I had spent the afternoon blazing away the gun would be worthless now.