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Old February 28, 2021, 02:23 AM   #1
BluRidgDav
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Taylor's Conversion Cylinders and SASS reloading "on the clock"?

I have a pair of Colt 1861 Navy cap & ball revolvers that I was planning to use in the Frontiersman category. According to the SASS Handbook, during stages which require a single round reload "on the clock", I would load all six chambers with powder & balls, but, only cap five of the nipples, and let the hammer down on the un-capped chamber. After shooting five shots, I would cap the sixth nipple "on the clock" and fire that last shot. That all makes perfect sense to me.

Taylor's & Company makes conversion cylinders for my '61 Navies, which would allow me to fire .38 Short & .38 Long Colt and some .38 Special cartridges. (hollow base wadcutters are supposed to give good accuracy in my .375 bores) Because they would now be considered cartridge guns, I assume that I would only load five rounds & leave the hammer down on the empty chamber just like everyone else. These conversion cylinders are indeed legal for use in SASS competition, but, can only be loaded & unloaded when the revolver is disassembled. So, how in the world could I reload "on the clock" without going back to the loading table and taking the gun apart??? Perhaps, I would just accept some sort of a time penalty and always get charged with a "miss" on that last shot, even though I never fired it?

Unusually situation, Huh?
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Old February 28, 2021, 08:04 AM   #2
CP93
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I used the 45 LC conversion cylinders in a pair of '58 Remingtons, but I don't recall having shot any stages with reloads on the clock with them. It was difficult to show the RO that they were clear without printing him, so I started carrying a mirror bc otherwise I had to take them apart at the table.
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Old February 28, 2021, 04:28 PM   #3
AKexpat
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BluRidgDav View Post
I have a pair of Colt 1861 Navy cap & ball revolvers that I was planning to use in the Frontiersman category. According to the SASS Handbook, during stages which require a single round reload "on the clock", I would load all six chambers with powder & balls, but, only cap five of the nipples, and let the hammer down on the un-capped chamber. After shooting five shots, I would cap the sixth nipple "on the clock" and fire that last shot. That all makes perfect sense to me.
That is the quickest way to have a chain fire with the uncapped loaded chamber. Most chain fires originate at the rear of the cylinder, not at the front of the cylinder.

Regards,

Jim
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Old February 28, 2021, 11:09 PM   #4
BluRidgDav
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You may be correct, Jim, but the SASS Handbook makes that one of the options available:

"If a particular stage requires a one shot reload, the sixth chamber of percussion revolvers may be charged at the bench and then capped “on the clock” either before the first round is fired or after the last round is fired."

Since capping before the first shot is also permitted, that might be safer.

Thanx, Dave.
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Old March 3, 2021, 11:56 AM   #5
bladesmith 1
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Jim is absolutely correct. Apparently the person writing the SASS rule book isn't schooled in BP revolvers and their safety. I've shot them since 1972 in matches at the NMLRA range and would never do what you're doing. Think safety first.

I don't see how you could go to the Taylors cylinder if you had to reload. You'd just have to buy some cartridge revolvers if you're having to reload on the clock. At our local SASS matches they've never required one to reload on the clock.

Because your score is time related in SASS there's no way to use a cylinder that needs to be removed. You'd just take yourself out of the running. You are correct - " how in the world could I reload "on the clock" without going back to the loading table and taking the gun apart ". You can't. Good luck in your shooting.
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Old March 4, 2021, 11:11 AM   #6
Driftwood Johnson
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Howdy

Your conundrum is exactly why I never considered buying conversion cylinders for a Colt style Cap & Ball revolver. Unless you install a loading gate, you have to pull the wedge, remove the barrel and pull out the cylinder to reload.

Some folks do modify their revolvers with a loading gate, but that is a whole nother story.

I do have a pair of 1858 Remingtons with conversion cylinders.






It is a bit easier to reload with one of these, I lower the loading lever, pull the cylinder pin forward and remove the cylinder. The cylinder backing plate is loose and comes off for reloading. Reverse the process to put every thing back together. It sounds complicated, but it is easier than removing the wedge, and barrel from a Colt style C&B. There are several different styles of conversion cylinders available for the 1858 Remington, but this is the style Taylors sells. I never considered any or the other styles.





To tell you the truth, I can't remember the last time we did a pistol reload on the clock around these parts. All the stage writers realized it was a pain, even with a conventional cartridge revolver, so they stopped writing stages that way. Even with this style, reloads on the clock would be a pain.

Regarding an uncapped nipple, I assure you guys the writers of the SASS Shooter's Handbook are well aware of chain fires. I had one myself back around 1975. This was before SASS existed. I never left an uncapped nipple in those days, always loaded all six. I always attributed that chain fire to a poor fit between a ball and the chamber. Perhaps a slight dent in the ball allowed a void between the ball and the chamber. Anyway, that rule for SASS has been in place for a long, long time. As a matter of fact, I was at a match one day a few years ago when one competitor shooting a pair of C&B 1860 Colts had a multiple discharge while shooting, but he of course had only loaded five rounds, without an uncapped chamber. This guy was no novice, he has been shooting C&B in CAS for many years. Sometimes stuff happens. That's why the guns are always pointed down range and the hammer is never cocked before the gun is pointed down range.

Last edited by Driftwood Johnson; March 4, 2021 at 11:21 AM.
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Old March 5, 2021, 04:30 PM   #7
Crunchy Frog
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I’ve been shooting SASS matches since 2010. “On the clock” pistol reloads are very rarely seen in my region. As in twice in over ten years. I wouldn’t sweat it. Nor would I do something that felt was unsafe. Five seconds would be added to your score for the pistol round not fired. Not a biggie.

In general I don’t recommend that a new cowboy shooter use percussion revolvers, for a couple of reasons. If the shooter had a good bit of experience with them, I am less concerned.
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Old March 10, 2021, 01:17 PM   #8
bladesmith 1
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I'm pretty sure most guys attribute chain fires to no cap or a poor fitting one. I've been shooting C&B revolvers since the 70s and never had a chain fire. When a round piece of lead is left from ramming a ball down in the cylinder, I personally can't see how a spark could get in from that end. Also there's the lube, either a wafer before or after the ball, or some grease on top. Deltadart has a post of what happens when a #11 cap is pinched to fit tight. It has a raised portion that could allow sparks to enter under it.
Anyway, I can't see how SASS officials would allow a uncapped cylinder in any match. It would present problems. JMHO
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Old March 10, 2021, 02:49 PM   #9
Driftwood Johnson
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I began shooting Cap & Ball revolvers in 1968.

The chain fire I reported happened sometime back then.

In those days it was common practice to smear Crisco over the ball after the chambers had been loaded. The idea was to keep the bore lubed after each shot. Wonder Wads had not been invented yet.

Anybody who has ever fired a C&B with Crisco in front of the balls on a hot summer day will remember that the hot fouling and gasses venting out of the barrel/cylinder gap would automatically melt the Crisco in the next chamber to be fired. So rather than a nice, fluffy, white barrier to an errant spark getting past the ball, all there was would be a thin, runny layer of melted Crisco covering the ball, most of it dripped out of the chamber before that round was fired. Couple that with an imperfectly shaped ball, one that had a flat spot, or perhaps a ding or dent from poor handling, and when the ball was seated a less than perfect seal may have been made. Easy enough for a void between the ball and the chamber, and not much runny, melted Crisco to leave small void that could be a perfect path for an errant spark to find its way to the powder charge under the ball in the next chamber to be fired.

This was over 50 years ago. What I do remember is the report was very loud, and the revolver almost jumped out of my hand as the extra ball slammed into the portion of the barrel directly in front of it, before taking off for parts unknown.

The errant ball was never recovered, it would have been deformed when it slammed into the block of steel directly under the barrel. Was I a little bit careless inspecting the balls before they were rammed into the chambers? Who knows? Does anybody else remember exactly what they were doing 50 years ago?

That is an entirely plausible scenario for how a chain fire could happen from the front of a chamber.

This is my old 44 caliber, brass framed, 'Navy' that I bought back in 1968. It was manufactured by Uberti. At that time I had no idea thatr the 1851 Navy Colt was never chambered for 44 caliber balls, but you can see this one was.






Regarding SASS rules about leaving an nipple uncapped when going to the firing line: has nobody noticed that it has been mentioned several times in this thread that loading a revolver on the clock is very rare in CAS these days? I have been shooting CAS for 20 years. Cannot remember the last time we had a pistol reload on the clock. Stage writers pretty much stopped having pistol reloads on the clock because it always created problems, even with cartridge revolvers.

"Let's see now, I dumped one out, I'll just replace it with a live round. But how many times to I have to cycle the hammer to get the fresh round under the hammer?"

That's why we don't do reloads of the pistol on the clock anymore. Much easier with a rifle. You just slide one more into the loading gate and work the action.
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