View Full Version : beginner question

Big Greg
February 4, 2011, 09:28 PM
Hey guys. I have allways loved old west guns and have been really wanting to get one here recently. I really like the look of the conversion pistols and I am really interested in the possibility of a black powder pistol. But I do not really have any knowledge in this area. So should I get a black powder or is it going to be less of a hassle to just get a regular ol saa clone. Any information is welcomed and sry if there is already a thread like this one.


February 4, 2011, 09:42 PM
The regular old SAA as you called it was also a black powder pistol when first introduced in 1873. So I'm not sure what you really are saying. :confused:

February 4, 2011, 09:45 PM
Just get what you like as far as conversions or open tops or SAA's. If black doesn't suit you use cowboy loads. Or you can use a little heavier load in a SAA than you can the conversions and open tops.

February 4, 2011, 09:51 PM
Hi Greg,

I understand you're asking about whether you should get a cap & ball revolver and convert it to cartridge firing, or just buy a single-action cartridge revolver to begin with. If that's correct, I guess you'd probably save money by buying the cartridge gun to begin with. I know a lot of people who like the cartridge option in their cap & ball guns - some of these like it because it's sort of a loophole in doing federal paperwork on the cartridge gun that's ultimately manufactured (not that it's legal under federal law for a person who's not allowed to possess a cartridge gun to possess a C&B revolver that's been converted to a cartridge gun). Myself, I like the option because it sort of broadens the usefulness of the gun - and I just flat like the forced slow movement of C&B shooting.

Anyhow, I guess my answer is to follow your bliss - but you'll save money by buying the cartridge gun in the first place, if that's what you're after. Have fun! :)

cheers, erich

Big Greg
February 4, 2011, 10:07 PM
Junkman: sorry I'm being confusing I can't remember all the right names always I ment the vaquero type gun when I said saa.

Erich: sorta see I really like the look of the old black powder guns with no top strap. I am interested in the idea of a BP pistol but idk if it will be alot of work fire, maintenance, etc. So if it is a huge headache for someone to learn ill prolly have to go with a cartridge gun. And I was wondering someone told me u can buy the older guns( ones that look like the old navy six) that already take cartridges.

February 4, 2011, 10:37 PM
Yes, there are replicas imported, of the 1851 Colt Navy and 1860 Colt Army open-tops, which are already converted to fire .38 Special CF ammo.

Google Taylor's Firearms, for one.


Fingers McGee
February 4, 2011, 11:28 PM
Get one of Cimarron's Man With No Name conversions from Buffalo Arms. It looks exactly like a Colt 1851 Navy; but shoots .38 Specials. You can load them up with smokeless, Black Powder, or substitutes. They work equally well with all of them


Doc Hoy
February 5, 2011, 06:16 AM
There are so many aspects of Black Powder and CAS (I am stretching by including CAS since I don't do it myself, but I think I am right) and every aspect is fun.

I am going to make a recommendation which kind of puts me out on a limb.

I would start with a black powder revolver of your choosing (seems like you might be partial to an 1851 or 1860 pattern Colt) and move to cartridge revolvers as your appetite grows.

I am well aware that I have cast myself in disagreement with others who shoot a heck of a lot more than I do. But there is a reason.

Shooting BP is somewhat cheaper than cartridge. The revolvers can be somewhat more finnicky but I think this is a good thing. As you have already indicated, you like the looks of the open top cap and ball revolvers and so you would likely wind up with one anyway.

BTW, I don't know how much shooting you do, but don't forget eye protection and hearing protection.

Welcome to the club...Your are gonna love it.

Big Greg
February 5, 2011, 07:45 AM
Thank you guys for you're replies. I think I'm gonna go with an 1847 walker then get that man with no name. Can it shoot regular 38 spl from Walmart or does it have to be something special?

February 5, 2011, 07:49 AM

I think you should start with the '51 Navy. It's a great pistol. The '47 walker is a behemoth of a gun and really heavy, firing rifle type loadings. I believe it to be too much gun for a beginner. JMHO :cool:

February 5, 2011, 10:59 AM
The learning curve is much shallower on a "regular" pistol than a cap and ball type.

Start with the Rugers or something similar. Shoot them smokeless for a while then gradually go to black, then to the cap and ball.
Lot's of things to learn along the way.

Ben Towe
February 5, 2011, 11:51 AM
Greg, I just bought a Walker, and I love it, but you'd better keep in mind it makes a Ruger Super Blackhawk look like a bb gun.

Fingers McGee
February 5, 2011, 12:19 PM
Thank you guys for you're replies. I think I'm gonna go with an 1847 walker then get that man with no name. Can it shoot regular 38 spl from Walmart or does it have to be something special?

Standard velocity .38 specials with lead bullets are fine for the MWNN revolvers. I've shot 158 grain Magtechs through mine with no problem. Also used some of the bulk packed, RNFP, lead bullet generics that you can at guns shows (or Cabelas). I'm currently using the last of my Pinnacle with 125 grain RNFP Bushwhacker bullets and will be sitching over to fffg Grafs with some big lubes when the Pinnacle runs out.

Foto Joe
February 5, 2011, 12:54 PM
The Walker and Dragoon are both great guns with a lot of eye appeal and are equally impressive to fire but... If you're just starting out in Black Powder you might want to think twice before jumping off the deep end with one of these. They tend to eat a LOT of powder, they each weigh right at five pounds loaded, they don't holster well unless the holster is on your horse and if your initial experience with the Walker is dis-appointing or too expensive to follow up on, you may not continue.

The '51 Navy is an excellent first gun and you can get them inexpensive enough at Cabela's that the short financial recovery might still allow you to buy a Walker soon afterward if you find the sport is for you.

February 5, 2011, 01:23 PM
This is what I would jump on if I hadn't already bought an 1860 from Cabela's in December...new gun, good price that includes shipping. Just sayin'.....http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=439548

February 5, 2011, 01:45 PM
I'd get a 1858 Remmington

February 5, 2011, 03:01 PM
I'm thinking since the OP doesn't know if he's going to want to deal with bp he should get an 1873 SAA or an 1872 open top. That way he can use bp in cartridges and if he doesn't like it he can stick to smokeless. If he does like it he can get a percussion revolver later.

Big Greg
February 5, 2011, 06:13 PM
Wow that's alot of guns ill get to look at now lol. I am gonna have to think about if it'll be a BP or a conversion. It'll prolly be both at some point lol. Also if I do get a BP gun where would I buy the cap and balls? I've got one pawn shop and a dicks sporting goods around me.

February 5, 2011, 06:58 PM
You'll probably have to find a town with more options or buy them online tho caps will have a hazmat fee. You can get a mold and a lead pot and cast your own balls.

Big Greg
February 5, 2011, 07:03 PM
Yea but how hard is it to cast your own? Like I said I'm pretty much brand new to guns really in general. Except for a 586 I own and reading up on the net.

February 5, 2011, 07:06 PM
Cain's Outdoor in Williamstown, WV used to be known as Mountain State Muzzleloading Supplies.
They're a very large outfit that can supply virtually anything that's needed. :)


Doc Hoy
February 6, 2011, 06:31 AM
....is either hard or easy depending upon how you look at it.

In my entire shooting life I have purchased exactly two boxes of bullets. They were from Hornady. I have cast every other round ball (and that is all I shoot) I have sent on its way.

I say, for me it is not hard because I enjoy the heck out of it. It is not expensive to get started. There is plenty of guidance on what to do and what to avoid.

February 6, 2011, 06:52 AM
What Doc said. Basically a lead pot and a mold and some knowledge and you're all set. I started at age 12 on moms stove with a Lee mold and a bean can.