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Old May 30, 2020, 05:25 AM   #1
TruthTellers
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Pietta snub nose 1860

Speer had a rebate for their bullets and I ended up finding a good price for some .454 round balls and bought a dozen or two boxes, so I'm pretty much inundated with almost 3000 .45 round balls.

Original plan was to load up some .45 Colt using two balls and I will do that, but I'm gonna have enough to shoot my .44 black powder revolvers, but I'm a bit tired of the 8 inch NMA I have and am thinking of a shorter barrel .44.

I don't have an 1860 of any flavor and I see Pietta makes a snub version with a bird's head grip. I like the bird's head grip, it feels comfortable in my hands regardless of barrel length and I like that I could add a longer barrel later if I wanted.

Not much of a question, but what kind of velocity can be expected from such a short barrel for black powder? Is a snub 1860 better than a snub NMA?
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Old May 30, 2020, 06:14 AM   #2
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70 to 80 FPS.


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Old May 30, 2020, 10:22 AM   #3
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In a youtube video, duelist1954 compared the velocity and muzzle energy of different length 1860 barrels loaded with 30 grains of Goex 3F and a round ball:

8" barrel - 882 fps - 242 ft. lbs.
5.5" barrel - 805 fps - 201 ft. lbs.
3" barrel - 550 fps - 94 ft. lbs. [about equal to a .25 acp]

The 1860 snubnose should probably be loaded with 777 if using for self-defense purposes.

Quote:
Is a snub 1860 better than a snub NMA?
IIRC the Remington chambers are slightly larger and can hold more powder with the help of compression.
The Remmy can be packed with 49 - 50 grains of powder with a ball, but that could result in the hammer blowing back and resetting, which can also happen with the Colt at its max load.
Then there's the issue of ease of reloading via an extra cylinder with the Remmy.
But that's not a major reason to not buy a Pietta Colt snubby.
It's really a matter of personal preference and which grip, model and loading procedure that a person likes better.
Owners report that they really like the quality of their Pietta Colt Snubby.

Last edited by arcticap; May 30, 2020 at 03:38 PM.
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Old May 30, 2020, 02:21 PM   #4
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I don't have access to real black powder, stores near me won't sell it and I refuse to order it online and pay the hazmat fees.

Triple 7 is pretty much the only powder I use, so if we're talking 600 fps with a round ball... that's not too bad.
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Old May 30, 2020, 07:52 PM   #5
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There’s a fellow with that pistol and he got much more than 600 FPS. It’s on the 1858 forum under powder but they’re having issues at the moment. I’m fairly certain he was using T7.
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Old May 30, 2020, 08:14 PM   #6
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The Reomingtons hold a bit more powder like 35 and maybe even 40 with compression. The Colt Dragoon held 40 grs which was the original 1873 SAA load for the 45 LC but it proved too powerful to control and the service load was reduced. I can't remember if it went down to 35 or 30 grains of FFG and the 200+gr lead slug.
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Old May 31, 2020, 09:50 AM   #7
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My Pietta NMA holds more than 35 but less than 40 grns of 3F by volume, but my 30 grn accurate charge actually weighs about 33 grns (Olde Eynsford powder).

The Dragoon holds 50. The original 45 Colt load was 40 grns behind a 255 grn bullet. It was reduced to 35 grns. Even that had more recoil then they wanted so it was reduced to 30 grns and the Schofield 230 grn bullet. And that was even further reduced to 28 grns. It’s that load I believe the .45 ACP was modeled after.
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Old May 31, 2020, 12:29 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TruthTellers View Post
I don't have access to real black powder, stores near me won't sell it and I refuse to order it online and pay the hazmat fees.

Triple 7 is pretty much the only powder I use, so if we're talking 600 fps with a round ball... that's not too bad.
A man should always do as he sees fit and proper but if a local shop sold black powder you would still be paying the hazmat fees. It wouldn’t be itemized as such but it would still be there. That being said, the Triple 7 is good powder and I use it from time to time if it’s what a particular gun likes.
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Old May 31, 2020, 06:05 PM   #9
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Back when BP things were hard to come by, and my somewhat local BassPro didn’t have in stock the 3F Triple 7 for months on end I got tired of wasting gas and phone calls (those were near worthless) I decided to look into ordering online. I found it I bought 3 lbs from Grafs and paid the HazMat I broke even, except I didn’t have to waste my gas and time. I’ve only ordered my powders and caps since.
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Old May 31, 2020, 06:33 PM   #10
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I have a Pietta 1860 snub with the birds head grip. I have never fired it, but I will someday. I don't care what the velocity is, it's just a damn good looking pistol. The blue is deep and high polished and the wood of the grip is beautiful. It is in my top five best looking guns I own.
I use real BP, and regardless of velocity, there is also a probability you will set your assailants clothes on fire.
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Old May 31, 2020, 07:23 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hellgate
The Colt Dragoon held 40 grs which was the original 1873 SAA load for the 45 LC but it proved too powerful to control and the service load was reduced. I can't remember if it went down to 35 or 30 grains of FFG and the 200+gr lead slug.
Control wasn't the reason the .45 Colt load was reduced to 30 grains. What happened was that the Army adopted the S&W Schofield top-break revolver as an alternate standard handgun, and the S&W cylinder was too short to accept the .45 Colt cartridge. But the .45 Schofield cartridge could be fired in the SAA, so the Army adopted the .45 "Short Colt" as the standard issue revolver round for both pistols. It was loaded with 28 grains of black powder under a 230-grain bullet.
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Old May 31, 2020, 07:33 PM   #12
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Correct me if I’m wrong but the .45 Colt’s length was never reduced. Recoil was what I’ve read is the reason for reducing the charge repeatedly.

Here we see the cartridges are most certainly not the same length:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/.45_Schofield#History
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Old May 31, 2020, 07:50 PM   #13
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Ahhh, I see what you’re saying now I think with the advent of the M1887 round. I must say I’m at a loss here because it also states the .45 Colt load was reduced to 28 grns under a 230 grn bullet, the same basic load, and it’s due to recoil from what I’ve read many times.
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Old May 31, 2020, 08:02 PM   #14
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The .45 Colt round was not shortened, but the Army abandoned it after they adopted the .45 Schofield revolvers. Frankford Arsenal produced the new round, which was a hybrid. The rims on the S&W cartridge were relatively wide, in order to engage the extractor of the top break system. The rims were so wide that in the Colt SAA they were an interference fit, so the cartridge that Frankford Arsenal produced had a rim small enough to fit the SAA as well as the S&W Schofield.

The term ".45 Short Colt" was a vernacular designation for this round, to differentiate it from "the other" .45 Colt round. (This is where/how the misnomer ".45 Long Colt" came about.) The new round was officially designated the .45 Government Revolver -- sometimes also referred to as M1887 but production began in 1875, so one wonders where M1887 came from. Case length for the .45 Government was .162" shorter than .45 Colt.
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Old May 31, 2020, 08:39 PM   #15
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Back in the day (early SASS shoots) we used to occasionally have large popper targets to put down. The 36 cal Navy just wouldn't do it unless loaded with the 130 gr LEE conical. I went to the Remington 44s and when loading 30 grs FFFg and a 200gr LEE conical it put everything down with some authority. They are nice "thumpers" with lots of bark. The revolver would rock back under recoil to make re-cocking easy for the next round just as the guns were designed to work.
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Old May 31, 2020, 09:03 PM   #16
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Quote:
I use real BP, and regardless of velocity, there is also a probability you will set your assailants clothes on fire.
Bonus!
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Old May 31, 2020, 09:52 PM   #17
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I love learning. The .45 Colt not being neutered, which is what I’ve read all too often, is new to me. I’d love to learn some more about this whole time frame of the .45 Colt/.45 Schofield to the M1887. Anything online I could be pointed to? I’ve Googled it but I just don’t seem to really come up with much more than a paragraph or so. Anything online someone can’t link with a more historical aspect? Even a good book?
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Old June 1, 2020, 10:02 AM   #18
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We need Driftwood Johnson to weigh in here. He probably has all the original cartridges, examples with the bullets pulled and charges weighed, and sectioned cases, with pictures.
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Old June 1, 2020, 04:00 PM   #19
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Snubbie

Pietta 1851 Yank snubbie from Dixie Gun Works.
Nice shooter. Great trigger.
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Old June 1, 2020, 08:50 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 44caliberkid View Post
We need Driftwood Johnson to weigh in here. He probably has all the original cartridges, examples with the bullets pulled and charges weighed, and sectioned cases, with pictures.
He may actually have been there as a young lad...
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