View Full Version : Hypothetical Cartridge Conversion Question.

February 21, 2012, 03:38 PM
This is just an idea I have been mulling over for a few days and wanted to see if you guys think it would be possible.

Let's say I wanted to convert a Uberti BP revolver (for this example we can say its an 1860 Army) from cap and ball to cartridges without purchasing one of the commercially available conversion cylinders (for whatever reason). Let's also say I want to convert the Army into .45 Colt since I believe that is more readily available than .44 Colt or .45 Schoefield.

Could I perform this conversion buy purchasing a .45 Colt cylinder for a Uberti Open Top along with the hammer and firing pin for an Open Top (or Richard-Mason or Richard Transition) and just drop them into the 1860 Army? Is there enough similarity between the 1860 and the Open tops to allow them to interchange parts? Obviously I would have to grind out the recoil plate to allow breech loading (and I could forgo the loading gate like the original 1858 Remington conversions did).

If the Open Top parts don't interchange with the Cap and Ball guns how about this idea for converting a 1851 Navy into .38 Special: Use the .38 spl cylinder, hammer, and firing pin from a Uberti Richard-Mason Navy Conversion? Am I wrong in assuming the barrel and hammer from the Richard-Mason would fit the 1851 with little hassle?

I don't plan on attempting this, at least not anytime soon. I just wondered if there was enough similarity between the parts for this to work. I figure the cost of the hammer, firing pin, and cylinder would cost less than one of the gated conversion kits (granted with my idea you wouldn't have a gate, just the ability to breech load).

Thanks for any help you can offer to calm my curiosity.


hoof hearted
February 21, 2012, 05:49 PM

Scenario number one will not work.......
The 1860 centerline is too small to fit 6 45 Cartridges in.
The 1860 Uberti conversion is "up sized" in order to do so.
What this means is your cylinder is smaller in diameter than the conversion model and the cartridge cylinder will not fit between the arbor and your frames water table.

Scenario number two has the exact same problem.......

You can (usually) interchange the 1851 Uberti conversion parts (front end) and the Open Top (1871/72).

Regards, HH

February 21, 2012, 06:17 PM
The only way would be to redo the C&B cylinder/hammmer like they did in the old days but unless you have access to a machine shop and know what you're doing the cost would be prohibitive compared to just buying a drop in cylinder.

February 21, 2012, 08:00 PM
from everything ive seen on the uberti website and from bennelli customer service over the last few years, their is absolutely no difference in the actual frames between the "converted" revolver and the regular percussion models. only difference is they had to ad a washer between recoil shield and the rear of teh cylinder.

you CAN make a conversion cylinder at home, but youll need minimal tools. basic setup would cost you 1500 on the low end if you get cutting tools that are just good enough to get through one cutting job.

Ideal Tool
February 22, 2012, 09:49 PM
Hello, hoof hearted is right..the frame 'window" of the 1860 army is too small for a 6 holed .45 long-colt chambered cyl. That is why the Kirst conversion cylinder for example is a 5 shot in .45 long-colt. & when Kirst (Ravens Roost) built a 1st. mod. Richards conversion on the 1980's era Colt .44 army I sent them, it IS a 6 shot cylinder..but chambered in .44 Colt as were the originals.

hoof hearted
February 22, 2012, 10:11 PM
Yes and the ratchet is cut so thin in the stock cylinder (in order to get the 44 Colt round in) that a 2 stage hand has to be used. This is where the 2 stage hand developed as used in most pistols developed after the Richards conversion..........