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Old March 9, 2014, 09:52 PM   #1
bedbugbilly
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Need help/advice/info on Cimarron "1872 Open Top" revolver

Need some help/advice/info please . . .

Most of my BP pistol shooting over the last 50 years has been with C & B - mainly Navies - '51, '61 and Remington. A few years ago, I got interested in shooting "new fangled cartridge pistols" and have developed an interest in vintage revolvers - mainly 38 specials. My oldest is a 1910 Colt Army Special and also have some "vintage" S & W - and a Ruger NV in .357. Because of that, I also got in to reloading for the 38 spl - almost as much fun as shooting!

But, I haven't loaded any BP cartridges as of yet and the "itch" for that needs to be scratched. So . . . I was going to get a conversion cylinder for my Pietta 1858 Navy - but after looking at cost, etc., I'm now looking at getting something a little different. I've been looking at Cimarron - I watched Mike's (Duelist) video on the Colt 1872 open top and I find myself quite "drawn" to that particular model in 38 Colt / Special.

I cast all of my bullets that i use now in my 38 spl. smokeless loads - WC, SWC, Lee's RN and I have an antique Winchester 38 spl. mold that throws a slug about 160 + or - .358. Because I am all set up to load 38 Spl., I'd like to stick with it. So, my questions are . . .

1. If you convert a .36 C & B to cartridge, I believe you have to use either a HB or a "heeled" bullet to compensate for the 38 spl. cartridge size and the larger bore size on the .36 C & B. Cimarron lists the 1872 open top in "38 Colt (short or long)/ Special. Are the bores of the Cimarron 1872 open tops standard "38 Colt/Special"? i.e. are they the same bore size as a modern made 38/357 which would take a standard flat bottom .358 lead slug? I looked at their site and they gave specs. for the different calibers but it doesn't state anything in regards to bore size on their 1872 open tops for the 38s or the other calibers.

2. The Cimarron 1872 open top is offered in either the Navy or the Army "grip" - I'm assuming frame size? Is this correct? What would your thoughts be - Navy or Army size best?

3. I would be adding the 1872 open top to my "herd" of "vintage" revolvers - primarily to have an older model cartridge handgun (plus it looks like fun!). It would be a fairly versatile handgun as I could load either smokeless or black - plus I could also load 38 Colt or 38 Spl. I am not looking at shooting "heavy" loads. Most of my loads are fairly mild for plinking at around 25 yards.

Any help in regards to the actual bore size on the 1872 open top model (.36 requiring HB or heeled or standard .357 ?????) would be greatly appreciated. If you have one, I'd love to hear how you like it. I'm thinking the 7 1/2" barrel length but would also appreciate thoughts on the shorter barrel lengths as well.

Thanks.
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If a pair of '51 Navies were good enough for Billy Hickok, then a single Navy on my right hip is good enough for me . . . besides . . . I'm probably only half as good as he was anyways. Hiram's Rangers Badge #63
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Old March 9, 2014, 10:46 PM   #2
Kappe
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1. The 'Navy' grip is from the 1851 Navy. The 'Army' grip is the same as the 1860 Army's. Whichever fits your paws better. The vast majority of original Open Tops were shipped with the latter, so that's what I personally would go with.

2. .357. No manufacturer would make a cartridge revolver from the factory with a .375 bore.

3. You didn't really ask a question here...?
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Old March 10, 2014, 07:37 AM   #3
Darto
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Yep the Cimmaron .38 takes regular old 38 special ammo. Since it IS an opentop mild loads are better because they are easier on the frame. Yep, it takes the .38 Long colt too.

I shoot an Opentop in .44 colt, it also shoots the .44 Russian.

The .45 colt opentop will also shoot the .45 Schofield.

.38 Colt brass is what I would use, and Lee makes a die set, cost no more than say their .38 special dies, never hard to find online. But brass can go in and out of stock, currently it is IN:



http://www.midwayusa.com/product/941...ProductFinding


http://www.midwayusa.com/product/123...ProductFinding

Your hand size might affect choosing Army or Navy grips, the Navy was the middle sized grips back in the day, and were the favorite. But people are taller today.

Opentop, Mason Richards, Richards, depends what looks best to you.

Maybe someone can say if the .38 Short Colt will also fit in .38 special, I don't know.
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Old March 10, 2014, 07:51 AM   #4
Nickel Plated
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Yep, the .38 Short Colt, .38 Long Colt, .38 Special, .357 Magnum, and .357 Maximum are all basically the same cartridge, different length. So any of the longer chambers can fire any of the shorter ones.

Also any of the factory made cartridge guns and conversions will have the proper .357 cal bore. Only guns that were originally made as cap & ball really have the .375 bore.
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Old March 10, 2014, 10:42 AM   #5
bedbugbilly
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Thanks all. My primary concern was what the bore size is on these and it look like I'd be good to go with the present molds and bullet designs that I cast now.

I have to order some 380 ACP dies so will also order a set for the 38 Colt L / S so i have them on hand. I know brass is tight right now in some calibers so I'll just start looking and see what I can scare up in 38 long. It will a few weeks before I can either look for or order an open top.

I also need to pick up a good BP cartridge re-load manual. Right now, I tumble lube my cast in alox/paste wax and that works fine out of all of my 38s which I try to keep around 700 - 800 fps. For the BP loads, I will probably pan lube with my usual crisco/toilet ring mix - maybe stiffen it a lithe for the lube groove with a little beeswax. I'm thinking the 38 Long would be fine for a good plinking load.

Thanks again for the information - what provoked my thoughts on the bore size were the models they offered such as the Richards-Mason conversions and if they used "stock" barrels for those (BP) or if they were made for the specs. of a .357 bore. The problem of conveying a BP and the larger bore is what pretty much made up my mind to go with one of the 1872s now that i know the bore won't be a problem for what I have on hand as far as molds go. Many thanks again - greatly appreciate the information!
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If a pair of '51 Navies were good enough for Billy Hickok, then a single Navy on my right hip is good enough for me . . . besides . . . I'm probably only half as good as he was anyways. Hiram's Rangers Badge #63
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Old March 10, 2014, 11:27 AM   #6
Kappe
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I think you would enjoy the Open Top with blackpowder cartridges. With that big arbor and open frame they just don't gum up.

It is a misconception though that you need to use light loads or "cowboy" loads with it. The design is stronger than people give it credit for. It will take SAAMI-spec ammunition, just no +P.
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Old March 10, 2014, 01:00 PM   #7
bedbugbilly
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Thanks Kappe - I took a look at Mike's (Duelist) video on Cimarron's site and he was shooting both BP and standard smokeless cartridges. Quite impressive! I know they are built to handle standard ammo specs (smokeless) but for me, I always like to load lighter loads as all I do is plinking - killing pop cans, punching paper and maybe a varmint or two on the farm. I can't stand to shoot "magnum" loads as the recoil is just too hard on my hands and wrists - what can I say . . . I'm getting old! :roll eyes:

Most of my 38 spl shooting is done in more vintage revolvers and while I know they'll stand up under normal loads, I just don't like to abuse 'em - at the age they are, they've earned the right to take life easier with lighter loads.

I guess the thing I like about these types of revolvers is that it gives you the option of using either BP or smokeless (not that I couldn't shoot BP in my 38s - I just don't want to do it as i'm too lazy to do the clean-up). I'm used to breaking down open tops for clean up so that will be like "old hat". I have found that I like the reloading almost as much as the shooting so it will give me a couple of other cartridges (Colt S and L) to play with if I can locate the brass. Thanks for your comments - greatly appreciated!
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If a pair of '51 Navies were good enough for Billy Hickok, then a single Navy on my right hip is good enough for me . . . besides . . . I'm probably only half as good as he was anyways. Hiram's Rangers Badge #63
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Old March 10, 2014, 01:20 PM   #8
Nickel Plated
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If brass ends up being too hard to locate, you can always just cut down .38 Special brass. Or I heard you can even use it uncut and just seat the bullets a little deeper so the cartridge fits in the cylinder.
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Old March 10, 2014, 04:47 PM   #9
bedbugbilly
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Nickel Plated - I'd given that some thought as well since I have an abundant supply of 38 spl cases. I'm in AZ at this time but headed back to MI next week and all my manuals are back there. Just googling and looking at Wikipidia in terms of the various 38 cartridges . . .

38 Colt Short - Case OAL .765
38 Colt Long - Case OAL 1.031
38 Spl. - Case OAL 1.155

Wouldn't take much to trim the 38 Spl down to 38 Colt Long.

I didn't know a whole lot about the 38 Colt Short though - a whole different animal since it's the "parent" to the 38 Long and was designed for the converted C & B - according to Wikipidia - it used a heeled bullet. The specs and the actual description are a little "confusing" but basically, the 38 Colt Short had a "bearing band" just aboe the cartridge case mouth that was .374 to .375 - which makes sense for the larger bore of the original .36 Navies.

The 38 Colt Long was a different animal whereas the bullet diameter is listed as .357 - .358.

But, as we all know, the Short & Long will both chamber and shoot in the 38 Special (and .357 Mag) although I can't imagine that the 38 Colt Short would be terribly accurate due to the bullet jump from the casing to the bore.

From what I've been reading, the original 38 Spl. BP factory loads were in the 900 fps range - pretty good in my opinion. I would think that the 38 Cot Long (or 38 Spl. trimmed back to 38 Colt Long length) loaded in BP would be a nice load to shoot out of one of the '72 open tops. I have a 120 gr. TC bullet that I use in my 9mm that drops at about .358 out of the mold - I've used it in my 38 spls with some great results and I'm thinking it might be a nice combination over 3 F BP with the 38 Colt Long. I doubt that I would even fool with the 38 Colt Shorts.
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If a pair of '51 Navies were good enough for Billy Hickok, then a single Navy on my right hip is good enough for me . . . besides . . . I'm probably only half as good as he was anyways. Hiram's Rangers Badge #63
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Old March 10, 2014, 05:10 PM   #10
Nickel Plated
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BTW the factory Uberti conversions and open-Top do take regular .38 Spl. So no real reason to deal with the .38 Colts at all unless you really just want another cartridge to play with. It's the 3rd party conversions like Kirst and Howell's that only take up to a .38LC. The factory Ubertis have a little of the recoil shield on the frame cut back and a longer cylinder installed to accomodate the slightly longer .38 Special.
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Old March 10, 2014, 05:30 PM   #11
LeadZinger
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I have the Richards-Mason conversions in the '51 Navy (38 spl) and the '60 Army (44 Colt). Both are fun to shoot and a change from C&B. I load BP only and charges vary. I shoot by C&B s light and often use same charge in my cartridges, with a card and filler. The cartridges for everything I load have more capacity than I need. Factory ammo works fine in these revolvers (not +P) and that is how I started my inventory of brass for reloading.
Since both the '72 Open Tops and Richard-Mason conversions are factory conversions that handle both BP and smokeless powders and have modern bore diameters, bullets are not the problem they can be with C&B conversions. The price of a C&B & conversion kit/cylinder is nearly the same as a factory conversion so why not go with the one that shoots both BP and smokeless. The first instance is a 2 for 1 deal and the second instance is a 2 for 2. Two for two means more guns in the collection, that can not be bad.
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