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Old June 22, 2001, 02:05 PM   #1
Matt Wallis
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Cartridge conversion for percussion revolvers?

Hey Everybody,

I've been continuing my self education about the Old West as well as my fascination with those beautiful and sleek percussion revolvers. One of the things I've learned is that as metal cartridges became available some "gunfighters" converted their old Colt Navy and Army model percussion revolvers to accept cartridges.

Is it possible to do that with modern day (CVA, Uberti, etc) percussion revolvers? Does anyone sell conversion kits? What does it take to convert one, anyway?

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Old June 23, 2001, 08:30 AM   #2
4V50 Gary
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Back in the late '70s, conversion kits were pretty common and they cost about $50. They waned and with the resurgence in cowboy shooting, are starting to appear again. You'll have to pick up a copy of Shotgun News to find 'em. They may even appear in Gunlist.
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Old June 25, 2001, 08:50 AM   #3
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Watch the movie "Wild Bill" with Jeff Bridges to see some cool cartridge conversions. Bill's Navy Colts were converted to cartridge.
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Old June 25, 2001, 09:17 AM   #4
Matt Wallis
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Does the brand matter?

Since I am still waiting to decide on which model and brand percussion revolver to buy, are conversion kits only for use with certain brands? Or since they are all repros of other models anyway does it not really matter?

BTW, who makes Cabela's revolvers?

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Old June 26, 2001, 12:15 PM   #5
Join Date: April 6, 2000
Location: Winterville, Ga. USA
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You need R&D gunworks replacement cylinder...made for steel frame 1858 Remingtons and Ruger old army...cost about $285 and available from Brownell's or Taylor's
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Old June 26, 2001, 12:21 PM   #6
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Pietta makes Cabela's guns. They suck. I just broke a spring on one a few days ago.
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Old June 27, 2001, 09:14 AM   #7
Join Date: November 15, 2000
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Conversion kits are available, and they cost more than the guns. The brass frame '58s shouldn't be converted because the brass just can't stand up to the higher pressures produced by the cartridges.

I'm drawing a blank but it seems that someone is actually making the conversions, if I can find the infor I'll post it here. In the mean time you may want to check out my site at It's a site dedicated to the guns of the American Frontier from the early American Longrifles to the Colt, S&W and Winchesters that won the west.
Check out my black powder site at:
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Old June 27, 2001, 09:28 AM   #8
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I can confirm the conversions are readily available from Brownell's, as Winterville Will indicated- but they usually do cost more than a separate gun, as cjc stated. I thought the conversion was a neat idea when I first heard about it, but punted the idea when I discovered the cost. I picked up my Ruger Old Army and my Blackhawk for a total outlay less than the retail of the conversion kit alone.

I do not know that I would trust any piece other than the Old Army with such a conversion. They are built to withstand 44 magnum pressures- basically you can stuff the chambers with as much powder as you can, but still cram a bullet in and the revolver will take it.

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Old June 28, 2001, 06:20 AM   #9
Matt Wallis
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Thanks for the advice, guys...

I appreciate it! And cjc, nice site, man! Very cool article on cap and ball basics.

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