View Full Version : Greetings...

January 27, 2012, 07:23 PM
My first post on here after visiting to learn about black powder revolver shooting. Up until recently I have been very involved mostly in modern firearms shooting, collecting and instructing. A few months ago my father in law handed down to us a few firearms including a repro 1860 Army cap and ball black powder pistol. I have always loved the heft and lines of these guns and after doing some research I found out that this piece was a Belgium made Centaure Centennial pistol manufactured in 1966. Well after taking this gun out to the range and firing a black powder revolver for the first time, I am HOOKED. So much so that since then I have acquired two more C&B pistols; a Uberti 3rd model Dragoon and a Pietta 1860 Army.

I purchased the Dragoon new but the Pietta I purchased from a family friend for $150 and it also appears to be NIB and never fired. Based on my research on this site (http://thefiringline.com/forums/showpost.php?p=4515969&postcount=6) I have determined that the Dragoon was manufactured in 2008 because it is proof marked CC. The Pietta has a proof mark of CH and the chart that is listed does not go up that high but I am assuming it was made in 2011??? Anyway, on to the pics...:D Dragoon on top, Pietta then Centaure.

January 27, 2012, 07:38 PM
Very nice!!!!! That's what I call a good start!

Doc Hoy
January 28, 2012, 10:36 AM
The Centaure is a real acquisition.

These revolvers are actually considered to be a closer representation of original Colts than the 2nd and 3rd gen Colt releases, because of some of the facets of licensing, specifications, and manufacture by the firm in Belgium.

No surprise it is a sweet shooter.

January 28, 2012, 11:49 AM
The Centaure is a real deal. There is a club located in Germany that deals in all aspects of the pistol. They do have a website and they can offer information on your pistol. Believe it or not - there are variations of the pistol and the history is quite interesting. They were made in Belgium and top quality. They can be finicky at times due to the shallow rifling, but mine shoots great. They are also producing new nipples that eliminate some of the sticking problems with the caps.

Doc Hoy
January 28, 2012, 03:39 PM

January 28, 2012, 06:41 PM
Excellent Barak. Let us know as you begin to put these through their paces how it all goes.

Welcome, be safe, and enjoy!

January 28, 2012, 08:49 PM
Congratulations, especially on the Centaure. Please go to the 1960nma.org site and fill out the identification form.

And yes, CH is 2011.

January 29, 2012, 06:24 PM
Thanks for the welcome. I have been on the Centaure site and they have a lot of good info over there regarding their pistols. I've had mine out to the range once and put about 18 balls through it using 30 grains of Pyrodex P. The gun functioned without any hick ups but seemed to shoot a little high at about 20 yards. No biggee to me. I am however wondering about the tolerances on this gun compared to the Uberti and Pietta which I must say have very tight specs in the barrel to frame fit and cylinder to forcing cone fit. Considering that the Centaure is supposed to be a higher quality piece built on the original Colts specs, it is much looser in the cylinder to forcing cone area and there is a slight gap between the barrel and frame (are the original Colts 1860 this way?). I've got the wedge bottomed out all the way onto the wedge spring screw just to maintain the tolerances I have right now and I have also done the check for frame to barrel fit by removing the cylinder, inserting the barrel onto the arbor at a 90 degree angle and rotating the barrel to see where the two mating surfaces meet up. Doing this shows that the barrel bottoms out perfectly onto the frame or maybe just a paper thicknesses width past the frame (right now I don't have any feeler gauges or any other way to make precise measurments of these tolerences). I've included some photos of the areas I am concerned about and would like to know from the experts on here what say you about these clearances. Also, if they are excessive, what can I do (if anything) to tighten things up a bit. I have ordered a new wedge assembly from Dixie Gun Works to see if this will make any differences, but again I am very new to C&B revolvers, so I'm not completely sure if this is where I should start.

Right side frame to barrel fit

Bottom side frame to barrrel fit

Left side frame to barrel fit

Forcing cone to cylinder fit at half cock

Forcing cone to barrel fit at full cock


January 29, 2012, 06:57 PM
You have a used gun, so expecting it to match a brand new factory gun isn't realistic. Frankly, I don't see much to be concerned about here. Perhaps you could redo the pictures with a piece of white paper behind the gun - that might help to see what you're concerned about.

Doc Hoy
January 29, 2012, 07:20 PM
I have one. (SN952) I have shot it. I had it reconditioned by an expert and it cost me more than I probably should have spent. Once I had it redone, I deliberately did not shoot it because I revere the pistol about as much as British subjects revere the queen.

It is not for sale. It is not for shooting. It is almost not even for handling. It is just for looking at. I have a coupla pistol cases that hold eight pistols each. In these cases I display some forty different revolvers. I change them out probably once every two months. But this pistol never gets changed out. It is there forever. I have some second and third gen Colts. They get cycled through. But the Centaure never gives up its place of honor.

January 29, 2012, 10:35 PM
Doc Hoy,

Who did you send your Centaure to to have it reconditioned and what exactly did you have done to it?

Doc Hoy
January 30, 2012, 04:48 AM
PM sent

January 31, 2012, 02:42 AM
So I picked up some feeler gauges to check the forcing cone/cylinder gap on my Centaure 1860 and here are the results;

Half cock-20mm (corrected .020)
Full cock-12mm (corrected .012)

Are these acceptable results or should I be concerned?

Doc Hoy
January 31, 2012, 03:07 AM
PM sent.

January 31, 2012, 06:33 AM
I think you need to check your measurements. 20mm=0.787in.

January 31, 2012, 06:22 PM
My bad, I believe the readings are actually .020 and .012.

January 31, 2012, 06:46 PM
I was told by a few that a range of .040 to .012 is good.

January 31, 2012, 08:58 PM
I'd say .012 is at the end of the scale. The reason the barrel is tipped up is because the arbor hole is drilled too deep and the wedge is driven in way too far.

February 1, 2012, 12:06 AM
"I'd say .012 is at the end of the scale. The reason the barrel is tipped up is because the arbor hole is drilled too deep and the wedge is driven in way too far."

Hawg, thanks for your reply. Hmmm... It doesn't really appear to me that the barrel is tipped up, in fact when I use the feeler guages the gap seems to be quite parrallel all the way around. I was also told in another post that the reason my barrel to cylinder gap may be somewhat wide is because the arbor is too long and is bottoming out prematurely in the arbor hole. For the most part it seems that the .012 and .020 specs are at the extreme edge of what should be normal, so I will probably just leave this piece alone as a collector piece because I now have the Pietta to shoot when the occasion arises.

Doc Hoy
February 1, 2012, 06:12 AM
Barrel gaps are okay between .004 and .012. To me, less is better if the shooter accepts that closer gaps may cause fouling to interfere a little earlier requiring more frequent field stripping and wipe down.

If the shooter is loading with a press, this becomes a non issue because the pistol essentially gets field stripped after six shots.

I wonder if there are MV statistics out there using a pistol assembled with its widest achievable gap and then compared with the same pistol with its tightest gap.

The logic behind this question is that a smaller gap permits less energy to escape sending more of the force down the barrel.

Just wondering.

February 1, 2012, 10:29 AM
On my Pietta's, you can bang on the wedge until you're happy with it, and it isn't going to make any difference. But on the Uberti, if that thing gets more than a light rap with a screwdriver handle, I can't spin the cylinder. The wedge must be just lightly tapped snug and even then I take a box of Baby Wipes with me, because after just 6 shots, the cylinder face must be dressed up a bit before the next round.

Doc, I have wondered that same thing. I have found in my chart (Black Powder Handbook-Sam Fadala) that bp spikes almost immediately in the burning curve and then falls off a bit, and then has a long smooth burning curve. 'Not sure how far the bullet has moved before the pressure spike starts to fall off though.

Doc Hoy
February 1, 2012, 12:30 PM
... I don't know having to do with the forces that accelerate the bullet and move it toward the target. That includes things that happen outside the barrel when the bullet is just one or two inches past the muzzle.

With several of my revolvers I can get more speed by increasing the powder charge but when I go beyond a certain point, accuracy declines. I think that phenomenon is fairly universal.

I think that has to do with powder outside of the barrel continuing to ignite creating forces that are not confined by the barrel. Consequently these forces are far less predictable in the acceleration they impart to the bullet.

I have never read this. I have never done any scientific inquiry. I have never had anyone verify that it is true, but it certainly seems to work this way.

I would be happy to have someone who knows, tell me I am right or wrong.


February 1, 2012, 04:52 PM
Doc, I don't know if this constitutes 'knowing' or not, but my experiences agree completely with your empirical observations.

February 1, 2012, 07:58 PM
. It doesn't really appear to me that the barrel is tipped up, in fact when I use the feeler guages the gap seems to be quite parrallel all the way around.

I guess it's just a trick of perspective/camera angle then.