View Full Version : First BP Shooting Experience

January 17, 2011, 02:40 PM
The weather finally cooperated enough for me to do some shooting yesterday. Although I have three new weapons, I chose to shoot only one of them on my first BP outing. The weapon of choice was my Pietta 1858 Remington. The only reason I selected the 1858 was because of the ease of removing the cylinder for loading outside the weapon. I wanted to try the RAI Loading Press which I recently purchased.

First a word about outside the gun loading results. Notice that I used the term "ease of removing the cylinder" in the first paragraph. That is more descriptive than I would have guessed. The cylinder removes in a flash. However, I found the cylinder replacement to be much more difficult and time consuming. (I admire Clint Eastwood (Pale Rider) more than ever, now.) Suffice it to say, I will need a lot of practice in getting everything precisely lined up for the cylinder replacement procedure.

The RAI Loading Press was a joy to use. It is a quality piece and works exactly as advertised. I would strongly recommend it for consideration if you are thinking of purchasing a cylinder loading press. The six inch extension that I previously added to the charging handle was a good modification. It would have probably worked satisfactorily without the extension; but the extra leverage made easy work of pressing the round ball into the cylinder. I loaded the first cylinder with it still in the gun. Subsequent cylinders were loaded with the cylinder out of the gun using the RAI press. The press reduces loading time significantly. It will be even more significant after I have more practice replacing the cylinder into the gun.

Results of firing. The club rules require an experienced club member to coach a newby until the newby demonstrates knowledge and application of range safety procedures. My coach chose 15 meters as a firing distance to target while firing unsupported from a standing position. My first six rounds produced a four inch group located in the 9 ring at about 7 o'clock. (I used a two hand combat grip.)

I immediately jumped to the conclusion that the pistol was shooting low and left. Not so fast, John.... I fired two more cylinders (12 rounds) using a one hand hold. As expected, the size of the group opened up some and I had a couple of fliers. Unexpectedly, the grouping was now located high and right...at about 1 o'clock. Hmmmm, perhaps it's the Indian rather than the arrow. My next range trip will have to include some rested firing from a sandbag to determine what the pistol is really doing.

The mechanical functioning of the 1858 was flawless. Since the club was having a long rifle match, I had to adjust my shooting time around their schedule; so I only fired three cylinders with the pistol. I fired all three without cleaning or additional lubrication between cylinders; and the action showed no signs of stiffness or locking up. I used 20 grains of Triple 7 FFFG for each loading. I used Cabela's lubricated wads between the powder and the ball. No grease was used over the ball. The only lubrication used was Ballistol. Cleanup was without problems using hot water and Dawn liquid dish soap.

January 17, 2011, 03:18 PM
Sounds like you had a good time:) Finding the time to shoot BP is always a challenge for me. Not only does it take longer to load, you also have to watch the wind and stuff.

That said, I get more satisfaction shooting my hog leg 1858 than I do any of my dozen or so cartridge guns. I'm seriously considering picking up an 1860 from Cabela's for my birthday next month. I figure that if i ask for some gift cards the out of pocket damage shouldn't be too bad:D

You'll find that the 1858 disassembling will smooth out quite a bit with use. Mine used to be a bear when I tried to push the pin forward. I literally had to use the soft end of a screwdriver to bump it out.

As far as getting it back together, I have found that it's a nightmare to load the cylinder back in at half cock. Instead I lightly thumb back on the hammer as i roll the cylinder in. Once it falls into place, if i get it in right I can let the hammer down (gently) and the pin goes right in.

January 17, 2011, 03:33 PM
Very good range report.

January 17, 2011, 06:19 PM
Ain't them Remmies a HOOT?

As to the ease of removing and replacing cylinders - I drive my wife nuts some nights, sitting in my easy chair watching the TV practicing cycling the cylinders in and out, over and over again.

Same thing with decocking it and finding the safety notches...

The ROA is a little tougher but I can do it without tools.

January 17, 2011, 06:45 PM
I thought I would share a cylinder modification that I did to my conversion that made replacing it so much smoother :D. Here are a few pictures of the shield with the firing pins. If you notice, from the firing pin recess to the shelf the hand rides on, I took out some material that kept the tip of the hand from hanging up on the cylinder.

http://i96.photobucket.com/albums/l185/craiso/Pietta%201858%20Target%20Model/th_100_4392.jpg (http://s96.photobucket.com/albums/l185/craiso/Pietta%201858%20Target%20Model/?action=view&current=100_4392.jpg)
http://i96.photobucket.com/albums/l185/craiso/Pietta%201858%20Target%20Model/th_100_4391.jpg (http://s96.photobucket.com/albums/l185/craiso/Pietta%201858%20Target%20Model/?action=view&current=100_4391.jpg)

If you take your time and use a small round file, you should be able to make replacement a breeze :cool:. I have not done this with my BP cylinders as of yet, but I am sure the process should work with those equally well :D.