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Old May 25, 2023, 08:27 PM   #1
RED_beard92
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First Black Powder Revolver Suggestions

I'm not new to firearms but I am to black powder. I have done enough research and watch enough videos to make my head swell.

I think I'm wanting a revolver that's around the Civil War Era. I'm leaning towards Uberti for the value but that's really all I have locked in. I was thinking the 1851 Navy in 36 cal but then I found out about the Remington 1858 in 44 and from what I've seen they say it's less likely to have cap jams. (I don't know why) but the idea of less failures is really appealing. What's a good black powder pistol you would recommend for a first timer.
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Old May 26, 2023, 02:20 AM   #2
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The famous Colt Wave

The cap, upon discharge comes off the nipple and because of the geometry of the frame and hammer falls into the space between the hammer and the hammer channel in the frame. On the next shot the hammer flattens out the cap but the flattened cap frequently causes the pistol to misfire.

The remedy is to cock the pistol and quickly check the nipple to see if the cap is still there. If it is not visible, turn the pistol over to clear the expended cap, then check the space between the hammer and the hammer channel to make sure it is safe to fire. The process of clearing the cap from the channel has come to be known as the Colt Wave.

A better remedy is to make sure you are getting the right caps. I have also read of modifications to the hammer.

Don't avoid the Colt simply because of this issue. It is a minor issue that is easily managed.
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Old May 26, 2023, 03:09 AM   #3
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Either would be a good choice, but both have their little peculiarities. The cap jams can be minimized without much effort. Aftermarket nipples are said to help, as well as the shooting technique and hammer modifications mentioned by Doc Hoy. The Remington design is more prone to having the rotation of the cylinder gum up from black powder fowling. Again this is easily fixed by sliding out the cylinder pin and wiping it down when re-loading.
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Old May 27, 2023, 02:38 PM   #4
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I bought my first over 50+ years ago . Do Not get a brass framed revolver ... I did , an EMF 1851 Navy Colt and shot it so loose the cylinder wobbled , the arbor would spin around and the wedge retaining slot cracked .
Whatever you do ... Get a Steel Framed cap & ball ... any model that strikes your fancy .

If I had it to do again I would get a one of the 1858 Remington New Model Army or Navy and I sure like the short barreled 5 1/2" models ... The Remingtons are Steel framed and have a solid top strap ... they will have a long shooting life .
Only question is caliber ... I've seen both 36 Navy and 44 Army for sale !
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Old May 27, 2023, 05:28 PM   #5
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If you buy a Colt style open top, whether 1851, 1860, 1862, etc., best bet is to contact Jackrabbit1957 in Arizona for a rebuild, where he fixes all the known problems with such reproductions, including the short arbor issue. He reworked my 1860 Army, and it is a great shooter.



Having said that, after I bought my first Remington New Model Army, I wondered why it took me so long.





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Old May 30, 2023, 03:23 PM   #6
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What are the known problems? And what is a short arbor?
Thanks
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Old May 30, 2023, 09:48 PM   #7
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The arbor is the shaft the cylinder goes on. It's supposed to bottom out in the arbor hole making a solid fit with the barrel to frame but Uberti makes them short. if you drive the wedge in too deep it will bind the cylinder against the forcing cone and locking it up. You can't get the same fit every time you assemble it and it will eventually beat the wedge up. You can drop thin washers down the hole until you get a solid fit but you will probably have to make one thinner. Or you can solder a shim to the end of the arbor. Once it's fixed you get the same fit every time no matter how hard you drive the wedge in.
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Old May 31, 2023, 11:19 AM   #8
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From what I have found it seems like the Uberti is more visually appealing and has a smoother action, HOWEVER I am hearing the Pietta is better made mechanically (ie. arbor lenght and more stout springs internally)

Can somebody that owns both weigh in on this?
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Old May 31, 2023, 11:52 AM   #9
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The open tops all look good , sleek and sexy ... and
The Pietta may be better made mechanically , but still has a heavy/rough trigger pull ,
but mine isn't as well finished or as good looking as my Uberti ... it seems both have their little flaws ... I bought the Pietta with intensions of doing a trigger job on it ... but
haven't gotten aroundtuitt yet .
I wish I had just bought a steel framed New Model 1858 Remington ... I like to shoot and the big Remington's hold up well .
Gary
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Old May 31, 2023, 11:58 AM   #10
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For what it is worth,

I think that Uberti once had a better reputation for value. Case hardened finish was a bit better looking. I have a Sharps in .45-70 from Uberti and I am quite fond of it. But then I like my Pietta revolvers. It has been five years since I followed this but at the time I stopped (temporarily) paying attention, Pietta had pretty much closed the gap. I have examples of both and don't really see much difference. I do agree with Hawg on Arbor length.

I compared (in a very unscientific way) Pietta to Uberti as follows.
Included in the comparison were three Uberti 1873 Colt SAA. I Noted more variation in the finish of the case hardened frame in these three revolvers than would pass muster in the most discriminating observers.

All of the Pietta revolvers that were part of the examination were cap and ball, 1851, 1860, and Remington 1858. Finish was more consistently satisfactory in these pistols. I think the Pietta factory went through an retrofit about 10 or 12 years ago resulting in a more consistent firearm.

I have a Mitchell Arms which IIRC is a stamped import most closely resembling a Pietta, but I cannot swear to that origin. Fit and finish is extremely nice on that pistol. Action very smooth. This is the one of the eight 1873s in the bunch that has a brass trigger guard.

The sweetest looking in the group is three examples of the Imperato Second Gen Colt. These pistols were purchased for 75.00 each from a pawn shop owner who did not know what he had. No box but the finish is just plain excellent. Action is very tight, I think because they have not been fired much.

Smoothest is a Taylor's of Winchester, VA 1873 Colt in .45 Long Colt with a Stainless steel finish. This pistol goes along almost every time I shoot and it has held up like a Sportster.

As I said previously, I shoot only BP or BP cartridges in these weapons. They all kick like a mule.

As regards your decision, It is (IMHO) unlikely that you will dislike either example (by that I mean Uberti or Pietta). As regards 1851, 1860, or 1858 Remington, I recommend one of each.
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Last edited by Doc Hoy; May 31, 2023 at 01:04 PM.
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Old June 4, 2023, 03:02 PM   #11
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I'm having trouble understanding this. I have an 1860 Pietta and a Uberti Walker. Both of these go together where the bottom of the barrel assembly butts to the frame. There's 2 little pins that align. I don't see how it could get any tighter? Also my wedges have a little spring latch that holds the wedge in place. I've never had to drive the wedge in.
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Old June 4, 2023, 07:34 PM   #12
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If you don't tap the wedge in you don't get a solid fit. If you tap the wedge in on a Uberti the cylinder binds on the forcing cone. If you don't fix the short arbor you don't get the same cylinder gap every time. You can drive the wedge in on a Pietta with a five pound hammer and it won't change cylinder gap
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Old June 5, 2023, 10:05 AM   #13
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Hawg is correct.

Mike
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Old June 5, 2023, 10:42 AM   #14
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As is always the case

;o)
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Old June 5, 2023, 10:44 AM   #15
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I guess I'm missing something here. I've got my Uberti Walker Colt in front of me right now. The wedge has a shoulder at the back that hits a screw head on the barrel frame. This keeps the wedge from going any further into the frame regardless of whether I tap it or not. My Pietta 1860 on the other hand, has some leeway before the wedge shoulder contacts the screw head. I think the original purpose of this screw is to capture the wedge when you pull it out. Maybe my Uberti walker has the proper length arbor??
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Old June 5, 2023, 12:11 PM   #16
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No, it means you need a new wedge. You are correct in thinking the screw is to keep the wedge from falling out on disassembly. With a good wedge tapped in and correct arbor length the wedge should be just past flush on the right side.
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Old June 6, 2023, 04:53 AM   #17
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Whether it's Uberti or Pietta, I suggest the 1858 Remington repro. Lots of people like the Colt grip, I've never noticed a difference in feel, but there is a difference in results while shooting and I hit my target more with the NMA and its superior sights.

The only downside to the Remington NMA repros is that you're pretty much stuck with .44 as the .36 models seem to shoot way off the POA and the .31 1863 is really not that fun to shoot.
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Old June 10, 2023, 01:21 PM   #18
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cost

I've not seen it mentioned that as a rule, the .36 cal revolvers will use less powder and lead in the long run, thus offering somewhat cheaper shooting. Rough calculation, w/ 25 gr charge for the .44 and 20gr for the .36, one will get 70 more shots (I think) from the .36 per pound. I did only a cursory check on line at Graf & sons, and .36 lead balls were $8 cheaper per 100 v. their .457" counterparts. That seems excessive but is at least an example. Casting your own of course, is the way to go.

I suspect , however, that most of us will not shoot enough cap-n-ball revolver to realize much of a savings.
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Old June 11, 2023, 01:35 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kell
I guess I'm missing something here. I've got my Uberti Walker Colt in front of me right now. The wedge has a shoulder at the back that hits a screw head on the barrel frame. This keeps the wedge from going any further into the frame regardless of whether I tap it or not. My Pietta 1860 on the other hand, has some leeway before the wedge shoulder contacts the screw head. I think the original purpose of this screw is to capture the wedge when you pull it out. Maybe my Uberti walker has the proper length arbor??
This image may help:



If the arbor (circled in the photo) is too short, when the bottom of the barrel assembly is tight to the frame it acts as a fulcrum, and driving the wedge through the barrel assembly causes it to rotate around the bottom, pushing the forcing cone closer to the cylinder.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 1851_Colt_Arbor.jpg (38.6 KB, 285 views)
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Old June 12, 2023, 07:46 PM   #20
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My advice is don't.

I tried it back in the 70s. After the mess of grease to seal the cylinders and the huge mess of the black powder itself I looked at the gun and thought, ungh.

I sold it.

Danged if my wife did not come with a BP pistol, I still have it but have never shot it. Made in Italy, Ami something or the other location. 44 cal, no idea who the mfg is, kind of rusty (BP does that though its sat in dark places since the 70s)

I might have to do so just to convince myself I was smart to give it up, just was not for me (and yes I respect anyone that can deal with the mess)
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Old June 12, 2023, 09:49 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RC20
Danged if my wife did not come with a BP pistol, I still have it but have never shot it. Made in Italy, Ami something or the other location. 44 cal, no idea who the mfg is, kind of rusty (BP does that though its sat in dark places since the 70s)
Armi San Marcos?
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Old June 13, 2023, 09:03 AM   #22
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Or

Armi San Paolo
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Old June 17, 2023, 01:23 PM   #23
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Anyone have issues with the Pietta 1858 Rem arbor allowing post shot carbon debris to enter the arbor to cylinder fit and incrementally cause the cylinder to bind ? I've tried everything including lathe machining some lubrication grooves in the shaft, and while the shaft mod helped , I still get cylinder binding after about 12 shots fired ?
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Old June 18, 2023, 12:54 AM   #24
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The "1858" Remington New Model Army doesn't have an arbor - it has a cylinder pin.
Questions - what lube are you using with your loads? That gets in there with the fouling and helps keep it soft. Also, my favorite solution is Bore Butter on the cylinder pin. Really keeps fouling soft. The other option is extremely simple with the NMA - drop the cylinder every three rounds of shooting and grease up the cylinder pin with BB or some other lubrication, considering how easy it is to take the cylinder out.
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Old June 19, 2023, 12:51 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by armoredman
The "1858" Remington New Model Army doesn't have an arbor - it has a cylinder pin.
Questions - what lube are you using with your loads? That gets in there with the fouling and helps keep it soft. Also, my favorite solution is Bore Butter on the cylinder pin. Really keeps fouling soft. The other option is extremely simple with the NMA - drop the cylinder every three rounds of shooting and grease up the cylinder pin with BB or some other lubrication, considering how easy it is to take the cylinder out.
Im using a 50/50 mix of Crisco and Bore Butter . I also tried lubing the pin with my Bull Shop NASA bullet lube . Nothing seems to help. Real annoying problem having to disassemble , clean , lube and reassemble after only a dozen or so shots.
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