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Old December 14, 2019, 03:03 AM   #1
Tinker Pearce
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Finished a new/old project revolver!

Last year I put together a cartridge conversion in .38 S&W based on a Pietta Brass-frame navy, but it turned out a previous owner had stripped the threads in the frame where the cylinder pin screws in... and basically glued it back in place. Made for an exciting first shot...

I had a surplus brass frame, so I decided to replace the frame. Then maybe the cylinder and breech-plate... and the barrel... In the end nothing was left of the old gun but the custom grip frame, trigger guard and grips. Oh, and the case and tools I had made for it...

So, here is the new/old gun:




The tools include a screwdriver, ejector rod, a small scoop for smokeless powder (Unique) and a volumetric measure for Black powder. There's also a de-capping block and punch, a cleaning rod and an Ideal handloading tool (obviously I didn't make that!)


I also refinished, partitioned and lined the Walnut case and installed a fancy latch.


The bullets shown are .38 Short Colt, using Buffalo Bullets externally-lubed 125gr. .375 caliber RNL bullets, modified to have a heel-base. These are loaded over 10gr. of Black powder, which shouldn't over-stress the brass frame.

Been working on this in my free time (between other projects) for a few weeks; very satisfying to finally finish it. I'll take it to the range over the weekend and see how she shoots.

EDIT: I forgot to mention, the gun is based on the idea of a custom hideout-gun based on a Confederate Colt knock-off (thus the brass frame) so the gun is named 'Southern Comfort.'
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Last edited by Tinker Pearce; December 14, 2019 at 10:50 AM.
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Old December 14, 2019, 04:59 AM   #2
TruthTellers
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You're using heeled bullets, but how are you seating them and crimping the case?

Yeah, I wouldn't worry about shooting a .38 Short Colt blackpowder loads in a brass frame. Even if the frame does stretch some, your barrel is so short it's not like you're losing a ton of velocity or accuracy.
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Old December 14, 2019, 07:51 AM   #3
2damnold4this
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Wow! That is impressive work!
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Old December 14, 2019, 09:59 AM   #4
dyl
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I'm new to black powder revolvers, how much Unique in a charge? I'm new to BP revolvers, but I'm assuming you only use the unique in the cartridges.

What a classy setup!
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Old December 14, 2019, 10:16 AM   #5
Hawg
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Quote:
Even if the frame does stretch some, your barrel is so short it's not like you're losing a ton of velocity or accuracy.
Velocity loss isn't the issue. Battering of the frame is the issue. Too heavy of a load in a brass frame slams the cylinder against the recoil shield with enough force to eventually imprint the cylinder ratchet into the recoil shield and the Colt has a raised ring that takes the initial punishment. Once that happens the cylinder has more play allowing the cylinder to gain more force as it slams back. Eventually the gun will cease to function or the cylinder arbor on a Colt pulls out of the frame.

The frame on the left is a new Colt frame. The one on the right has the recoil ring battered and the arbor pulled out of the frame.



Having said all that I don't think 10 grains in a cartridge will do any damage but I'd keep an eye on it.
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Old December 14, 2019, 10:46 AM   #6
Tinker Pearce
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TruthTellers View Post
You're using heeled bullets, but how are you seating them and crimping the case?

Yeah, I wouldn't worry about shooting a .38 Short Colt blackpowder loads in a brass frame. Even if the frame does stretch some, your barrel is so short it's not like you're losing a ton of velocity or accuracy.
I'm using a modified die that taper-crimps them. With the modest recoil of this round that's proven to be sufficient.

Hawg is spot-on; the issues is less the frame stretching than battering the recoil shield and the arbor pulling out. In this case the thick breech-ring will spread that out a lot and distribute the force evenly. Between that and the modest charge I'll likely never put enough rounds through this for that to be an issue.

The reference to Unique, a smokeless powder, is because a load of 2.7gr. of Unique works well in this cartridge, so if I want to load smokeless having a scoop for that charge simplifies things.
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