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Old August 26, 2008, 06:25 PM   #1
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Open cylinder frame vs. closed cylinder frame?

I'm refering to a Walker, 3rd Model Dragoon, etc. with an open cylinder frame vs. a '58 Remington, Ruger New Army, etc. with a closed cylinder frame.

Are there an accuracy difference between these two frame styles?
If so, why?

I intend to purchase a BP revolver to hunt small game varmints, but accuracy is of the utmost of my concerns. I've owned BP revolvers before, but it's been many years ago. However, I do recall them having excellent accuracy for hunting purposes.

Your opinions and experiences are appreciated.
Thank you, Bowhunter57
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Old August 26, 2008, 06:47 PM   #2
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The Remington revolver finds more use as a target shooter than probably any other CW-era revolver, but that's primarily due to the availability of target sights. Even without adjustable target sights the standard Remington fixed sight is superior for most recreational (that is, non-competition) shooters than the rather rudimentary 'notch in the hammer' style on the Colts. However, it is possible, in fact quite easy, to learn to shoot very well with the Colt sight picture, so the advantage is only there for those who do not wish to take the time.

As for the frame itself, there is no inherent accuracy difference. A gun's frame dynamics are the contribution to (or detraction from) overall accuracy. Many people feel the closed top frame is stronger than Colt's open top, but they forget the massive Colt arbor. It's very strong and very effective in keeping the frame dynamics under control. There is more cross sectional area of steel in the Colt frame/arbor design than there is in the Remington top and bottom frames. In addition, the Colt arbor is structurally pinned at both ends, making it's entire area effective dynamically as well as statically. The Remington cylinder pin is not structurally pinned at either end so it is ineffective dynamically and with regard to static strength. I don't give the nod to either design in terms of controlling frame dynamics.

For your purposes the Remington/ROA is probably a better choice, but the reason is the better sight picture. It's generally easier to pick up quickly even if you're well versed in shooting the Colt sights. That said, I think there are 3 closed-top frame designs that need to be considered for your purposes; you mentioned the Remington and Ruger, but don't forget the Rogers and Spencer. If it fits your hand it's a better choice than the Remington, but the Remmie is more user-friendly in terms of ergonomics.
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Old August 26, 2008, 06:57 PM   #3
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C&B Revolvers with a top strap like the Remington 1858 design, Rogers Spencer design, & the Ruger Old Army designs tend to be more Newbie user friendly in terms of maintenence & accuracy "no moving rear sight" as opposed to the Open Top Colt designs but as far as accuracy goes in the right hands a Colt can be shot with equal accuracy to any other C&B revolver with the exception to the Ruger with adjustable rear sights being an advantage in terms of instead of tayloring a load to shoo it's best for the particular revolver you can adjust the sight to help align a pet load to hit the POA.

Many hre preferr the Remington 1858's because they are a part of history & ease of swapping loaded cylinders but if that isn't an issue for you & you want as much punch as you can muster then one of the Colt Dragoons or Walker will be a better suit because of their powder capacities are large enough for some real potent loads.
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Old August 27, 2008, 06:12 AM   #4
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Again you've answered my questions. Being that there are no accuracy differences, I will have to go to a gun shop and handle a few different models and see what feels good to my hand. The Colt styles appeal to my eye, but for hunting reasons accuracy would come first.

Raider 2000,
Thank you, for your reply too. mykeal and I were discussing this same topic on another traditional muzzleloading forum and have come to the same conclusion.

I trust a friend of mine's opinion, but there are too many others with differentiating opinions that are in conflict with his. He's a muzzleloading pistol champion that competes at the national and olympic levels, but the type of handguns that they use as opposed to what I'd use for hunting could be two entirely different weapons. I'm going with the majority opinion.

Good hunting, Bowhunter57
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Old August 29, 2008, 09:48 PM   #5
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Hi Folks I just joined up here and I see some familiar names. I'm Crockett on that "other" forum.
On this changing of cylinders. I am different from everyone else in the respect I think it is harder to change a Remington. I know, you just pull the pin without having to take off the barrel but the first time I tried the Remington the tolerances were so tight that it wasn't as fast and easy as I thought it would be.
I don't actually change cylinders but for those that do, is there more wear to the parts because of slight differences in the cylinders, etc? What about the danger aspects of carrying a spare cylinder, are there any? What if you drop it and it lands on a cap?
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Old August 29, 2008, 10:43 PM   #6
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There are close tolerances and variations in dimensions that make some frames/cylinders easier to change than others. Yes, with repeated wear it can become easier. Also, it gets easier with practice - you learn just how to hold and manipulate the cylinder to take advantage of the tolerances that exist with your particular equipment.

Carrying a charged, capped cylinder is frowned upon at most ranges. You will not be allowed to cap the cylinder until you are on the firing line or at the loading table at all the ranges I'm aware of.

A negligent discharge with an unmounted cylinder is dangerous but not generally as damaging as one with the cylinder installed in the weapon, where the projectile goes through the barrel. The projectile does not reach the velocity or energy level that it would if fired down the barrel. Such incidents have occurred with injurious but not catastrophic results.
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Old August 30, 2008, 12:22 AM   #7
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I favor closed frames, and prefer my SS Ruger Old Army to my SS replica M58 Remington. The M58 is much prettier, but the Ruger shoots better. I think of the Ruger's design as an "improved" M58. If you're going to hunt, you may wish to switch from ball to bullet and get Ruger's taller front sight blade.
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Old August 30, 2008, 01:58 AM   #8
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I've got two 58's and a 60 Colt. The Colt is more accurate than one of the 58's, not as accurate as the other but the difference is negligible between all three. You have to bench them to tell.
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Old August 31, 2008, 02:30 AM   #9
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I like Colts, but I like Rems better, in a choice of 19th Century Revs.

And favorite 20th Century Original best mutt I ever owned the ROA.

"I Smoke Black Powder" "Favor an 1858 Remington"
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