View Full Version : Comparison of BP pistols?

October 22, 2001, 10:08 AM
1860 Colt repros vs 1858 Remington repros...

I like the look of the REm better, and it would seem to be stronger with the backstrap, but I heard there were some reasons the Colt was preferred in the originals.

Also, the brass frames aren't as strong, but does that matter with that heft backstrap?


Cap n ball
October 22, 2001, 11:53 AM
I think you are refering to the 'topstrap'. I agree that it does make for a stonger frame. It also provides for a sighting groove that improves accuracy. The issue with brass is that while it may be strong and looks nice it is softer than steel and will wear more quickly around the cylinder pin causing the cylinder stops to not line up with the catch. Excessive wear will also cause the hand to slip on the back of the cylinder. Anything that causes misalignment of the cylinder with the barrel or the hammer with the nipple is a real hazard.

I don't mean to sound stuffy but a 'pistol' is a single shot affair. Pepperboxes or revolvers are multiple. ;)

4V50 Gary
October 22, 2001, 03:25 PM
If you want strong, go Ruger Old Army.

Brass was substituted for steel by Confederate Armories because of the shortage of the latter. If you have a chance, look at the Dance revolver the Confederates had. Essentially a Colt clone, it dispensed with the bulbous portion of the frame which was right behind the cylinder. Talk about shortages! Given the choice between the two materials, the Confederates would have used steel.

October 23, 2001, 01:23 AM
Youo are correct that pistols are not revolvers...

Okay, so no brass. I'd already decided that pretty much, but damn are they pretty!

Ther Remington looks stronger...but I have heard that the Colt was preferred. Anyone know why?


Cap n ball
October 23, 2001, 08:52 AM
M,Mike, I shoot a brass frame repro once in a while. Excessive wear will occur someday but I don't use it all the time and I check the mechanics of all of my guns before I shoot them anyway. Besides, the repros are cheap enough that most people can afford to have four or five different models in steel or brass. The really nice ones that are made by Uberti are pricey but well worth the extra $$. I think they are, by and large, every bit as good as the originals. The Colt was preferred because it was said to be easier to break down and clean. I think both are pretty simple and require a minimum of tools to dismantle. Colt revolvers were more abundant and parts a little easier to obtain as well. If you want that brass frame go on and get it. You won't be sorry over the $150.00 or so that it should cost you. Just don't buy it sight unseen. Make sure it's a good one before you buy it. Then save up and get that Ruger that Gary advocates. He's right about it being a strong and most well made firearm.

October 23, 2001, 10:50 AM
I seem to remember Sam Colt advertising his firearm as a "revolving pistol." Since he invented it, shouldn't he have the right to name it?

Cap n ball
October 23, 2001, 02:00 PM
BigG, Flintlock revolvers had been successfully produced by Elisha Collier in London two decades before Colt began work on his design and his mechanically rotated and locked breech had been anticipated in at least one pistol made by an earlier London maker, John Dafte, in the late 17th century. However, these were expensive, hand-made arms. The revolver remained beyond widespread use until the percussion cap simplified ignition and the machine tool made it possible to manufacture relatively complex designs at a moderate price.

What Colt introduced was a revolutionary manufacturing method and a brilliant design.

As far as the nomenclature of guns ie.'pistol/revolver' it's merely a matter of being specific rather than petty or to take any glory away from a man such a Colt. The difference between a bull and a cow becomes apparent when you try to milk the wrong one.

October 28, 2001, 06:52 PM
The Colts are considered by some to be better balanced and easier on the hand. I have even heard that the older 1851 Navys are better than the 1860 Armys, but I cannot testify to this. Most of what I have found out was weight and balance are/were better on the colts while the Remington (especially steel framed) are stronger but heavier.

October 29, 2001, 08:03 PM
cap n ball
ya mean to tell me that I don't have a single "pistol" on my NY PISTOL permit?

glock 17
glock 27
dan wesson 29
ruger blackhawk 357
freedom arms 454 casull
h&r 732 32 s&w

damn! don't tell NY ......

Cap n ball
October 30, 2001, 09:48 AM
David, I agree about the balance and weight issue between the two designs. A lot of fellows found that the lightness and better balance of the Colt Navy made it a more accurate gun to shoot from horseback with an extended arm. The smaller caliber (.36) was a bit more thirfty with powder and lead and economy was definite consideration back in the days when a dollar was really a dollar.

Big Animal, Nope, I don't see a single 'pistol' in the bunch regardless of what New Yawk says. I see semi-autos and revolvers.;)

October 30, 2001, 11:51 PM
Cap n Ball, as far as _I_ was taught by dear old Uncle Sugar..."self-loading pistol" is the correct nomenclature for a 1911A1.
revolvers are revolvers, but most everything else is a pistol.

October 31, 2001, 07:51 AM
I still think any one-hand firearm is a pistol despite whatever specious doctrine the vocabulary Taliban tries to promulgate.

Now a clip - that's a cartridge holder that is used to insert cartridges into a magazine. I'll give you that. :D

Cap n ball
November 1, 2001, 10:34 AM
OK, I'll give on this one, it ain't worth the trouble and besides, we're all right to a degree.

Prior to the invention of repeating handguns, all firearms designed to be used with one hand were properly referred to as pistols. For a variety, you had "matchlock" pistols, flintlock pistols, and percussion pistols, all designed to be easily carried and capable of being fired with one hand. Sam Colt's invention (if you don?t count the Collier), gave us a "repeating pistol", more correctly called a "revolving pistol", usually called a revolver for short.

The invention of the "self-loading pistol" further complicated the distinction, but everything still followed as you would expect. We now had pistols designed to be fired with one hand that commonly became known as "automatics", but this of course, was simply a contraction of "semi-automatic pistol". We even have a couple of full automatic pistols if you count some foreign variations of the 1911 design, the Glock 18, and the Model 712 Broom-handle Mauser.

How about a semi-automatic revolving pistol? Yep, there is/was such a thing, built by Webley Fosbury in England (in several models, actually). The top end of pistol containing the cylinder was designed to move to the rear on "rails" like the slide on a .45. The recoil produced by firing the cartridge, caused the top end to travel to the rear cocking the hammer. A stationary vertical pin in the lower frame tracked in a "zigzag" channel in the cylinder causing it to turn to the next chamber as the top end moved rearward. The first time I read "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" I thought the author had really blown his stack, alas, 'twas I that was wrong, the lad had described an existing pistol.

Much of the confusion of the terminology came about years ago, when the Army put out their manual on "Pistols and Revolvers". They were of course, incorrect in their nomenclature, the manual should have been named simply "Pistols".

Let's sum this thing up before it gets out of hand like the "Gnu" jokes. First of all, any handgun can be described with the word "pistol", but all can be "sub-categorized" as follows:

Pistol = Any firearm designed to be fired with one hand (yeah, I know, everyone uses two hands these days, but here we're talking definitions).

Sub categories:

Single Shot Pistols (Black Powder or Cartridge)

Revolving Pistols (black powder or cartridge)

Semi-Automatic Pistols (gas, recoil and blowback)

Semi-Automatic Revolving Pistols (Webley Fosbury)

(Full) Automatic Pistols (usually rare variations of existing semi-automatic pistols)

If you really want to spice up the conversation, you can even talk about what makes a revolving pistol work, as in "single action revolving pistols", "double action revolving pistols", "double action only revolving pistols", etc., but here we're getting more properly into nomenclature instead of definition.

At any rate, the next time someone starts talking about pistols and revolvers, you can smile and know that they are using two words to describe the same object. Just keep in mind that all revolvers are pistols, but not all pistols are revolvers (and if one smart cookie mentions that I am technically wrong and cites the example of the Colt's Revolving Rifle, I'd have to admit that he has just mentioned the exception that proves the rule!).

I'll forgive you if you wanna' call your ol' Granpappy's single action a "thumbuster", "cutter", "smoke pole", "plow handle", or "hawg leg", but never forget Clint Eastwood's quote in "The Outlaw Josey Wales", Ol' Josey says "well, ya gonna' pull them pistols, or whistle Dixie?"

Now, Josey knew his nomenclature! C&B

November 3, 2001, 05:56 AM
About the Colt Vs Rem thing. During the 1860's and on era-one of the reasons that the Colt was preferred was that it could be fired longer before locking up from fouling. The topstrap on the Rem is stronger, but it does blow the fouling back onto the cylinder face and into the works. I've fouling locked a Remington .44 with about 20 or so repeated rounds of black powder(not pyrodex). The Colt open top will generally stay working. Also the smaller cylinder pin on the Rem tends to foul easy, the large arbor on the Colt will take enough grease etc to keep the fouling lockup down. Essentially, the Rem is a accurate-almost target pistol, the Colt's a muck gun.

November 4, 2001, 02:38 PM
Faraway hit the nail on the head, the Colt is better suited to shooting black powder because it handles the fouling much better than the Remington.

The Ruger Old Army beats both designs hands down.

November 13, 2001, 10:38 AM
you just cant beat the Ruger Old Army, it is a beast, it will take 47 gr of powder, shoot tiny groups and belch lots of smoke, i have had the remington clones, owned a 2nd generation 1860 army colt, and the have decided that the ruger has them all beat hands down. just my 2 cents.

4V50 Gary
November 14, 2001, 02:30 PM
The Ruger will take as much 3F powder as you can stuff down the chamber. They told us this at the factory but I know it from having done it - and I still have my ten digits.

November 14, 2001, 10:04 PM
If want increased power over the 1860 Colt Army,
44. Remington- Consider the 3rd Model Dragoon, will take a heavy charge and with picket bullets (conicals instead of round balls) will hit a target out 150 yds or so. Don't use felt wads, rather grease over the chambers, with heavy charges that lengthens the time before it locks up from fouling. A bit more of a traditional approach than the Ruger. The Colt's and Uberti's seem to be the best of the 3rd Models, in some other makes the chambers will actually blow out of round with heavy charges.