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Old August 14, 2012, 02:37 AM   #1
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When were cartridge conversions first available?

When were cartridge conversions first available for old west revolvers such as Colts and Remingtons? I know many were popular after 1873, but when did they come into production?
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Old August 14, 2012, 05:44 AM   #2
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The first Remington conversions were available in 1868. They were a five shot .46 cal. The Colt Thuer conversion (front loading tapered cartridge) also came about in 1868. The Colt Richards conversion of the 1860 were made from 1872-1878, the 1851/1861 navy conversion starting in 1873. The Richards-Mason conversions were manufactured in 1877-1878.
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Old August 14, 2012, 07:54 AM   #3
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The Colt Long Cylinder Conversions of the 1860 Armies in .44 Henry RF were probably available as early as the first Remington Army conversions.
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Old August 14, 2012, 08:46 AM   #4
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They started to become available as custom projects shortly after the War of Northern Aggression, and really started taking off by 1866-1868. Factories were turning out conversion cylinders as a standard item and gunsmiths made quite a good living converting existing revolvers to the newfangled cartridge configuration.

Remember, the Rollin-White patent was held by Smith and Wesson until 1869 and from 1866 to 1869, conversion manufacturers enjoyed a golden era of popularity.

Even after the expiration of the Rollin-White patent, conversions remained popular as ever, mainly because of the cost. An 1875 catalog lists a brand-new Colt 1873 SAA for $13.00. A Richard-Mason Colt conversion in .45LC or a similar Remington conversion costs roughly $6.00. During a time when the average hard working citizen made about $100.00 a year, that presents quite an option
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Old August 14, 2012, 10:03 AM   #5
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Thanks for the info on the conversions costs. Does anyone know the costs in the 1866 Or before 1873 when they were the Hot new thing in firearms???
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