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 Stainless Pietta 1858 New Model Army from Cabela's
Dave_Markowitz  [Team Member]
5/30/2011 10:16:18 AM
My birthday was last week and among other things, my wife gave me $200 in gift cards to Cabela's (this also counts as my Father's Day gift). One of the guns I've been wanting for awhile was a Pietta 1858 Remington .44 cap and ball revolver in stainless steel. I drove up to the Cabela's store on my birthday and bought the last one they had in stock with fixed sights (they had at least one with adjustable sights as well).




This makes the fourth Remington percussion revolver I have. In addition to the stainless .44, I also have these blued models:

-Euroarms 1858 New Model Army .44 (8" barrel)
-Pietta 1858 New Model Army .44 (5.5" barrel)
-Pietta 1858 New Army Police .36 (6.5" barrel)

There's some variation among the guns. For example, the Euroarms gun is closer to the early Remington-Beals model, and is a bit trimmer in most dimensions, especially the grip. The 5.5" Pietta is basically a regular New Model Army but with a barrel 3" shorter than normal. The New Army Police (not anything Remington ever produced) is built on the same frame as the .44s, but since the holes bored in it are smaller it's noticeably heavier. (Original Remington .36 Navy revolvers were built on a smaller frame than the NMA.)

The stainless fixed sight '58 in the display case was the last one Cabela's had in stock in the PA store. I examined it closely before buying it. For example, I checked the condition of the muzzle crown and that the cylinder locked up properly on each chamber. Whenever buying a revolver, I recommend following the steps in Jim March's "Revolver Checkout" posted on THR.

The Pietta's fit and finish is very good. The stainless steel is nicely polished with no tooling marks on the outside, except inside the groove on the top of the frame. The fit between the brass trigger guard and frame is very smooth. Likewise, the walnut grips look nice and are fit well to the gun.

The fit of the loading lever latch to the lug on the underside of the barrel is the best I've seen on any replica Colt or Remington cap and ball revolver. The latch itself is a little sticky when pushed it but pops out with a little pressure. I assume there's a bur in it somewhere but I figure it'll eventually wear in.

The action is very smooth and the trigger pull feels good with minimal creep and probably around 5 to 6 pounds.

The gun was pretty clean, not too oily when I got it home. I wiped down the exterior with a paper shop towel and cleaned the bore and chambers. Before unscrewing the nipples, I put a few drops of RemOil in each chamber to penetrate and make them easier to remove. I've bought four percussion revolvers in the last four months and each one of them had at least one nipple that was very tight. Letting some penetrating oil soak into the threads for a few minutes makes them much easier to unscrew. Before reinstalling them, I put some SuperLube Teflon grease on the threads as an anti-sieze, and I don't crank down on them. There's no need to go more than finger-tight.

So why a stainless version of a 19th Century revolver? Stainless is easy to clean with hot water and is much more resistant to rust than blued steel, especially under field conditions. Among other things I plan to bring it with me to the mountains on this year's camping trip and I wanted a caplock gun which would require less maintenance.

Additionally, one thing I've been wanting to try is using the plastic caps for kids' cap guns in lieu of regular percussion caps. I read about this on thehighroad.org where a few members reported good results. Toy caps are really cheap, but they are very corrosive, so a stainless gun makes sense if you'll be using them.

While of course stainless steel is not historically accurate, the Pietta stainless looks like nickel plating, which would be period correct. AAMOF, as I write this Track of the Wolf has for sale an original Remington made in 1863 or '64, with a postwar nickel finish.

A stainless revolver would also be recommended for anyone limited to a percussion gun for defense.

Along with the revolver, I picked up another three tins of Remington No.10 caps and a box of Hornady .454" balls. (I really need to get setup for casting.)

The day after buying the Pietta I was able to get it out to the range. Accuracy and function were excellent. The gun shoots to point of aim at 10 yards with a load of 30 grains of 3Fg Goex black powder, Hornady .454" ball, and a lubricated wool felt wad. Caps were Remington No.10s. My 36 shot group was about hand sized, shooting one handed.

As with my other Remingtons it doesn't get jammed up with cap fragments. It does need the cylinder base pin pulled, cleaned, and lubed after 18 shots or so, or it will start getting hard to remove later. I used Super Lube Teflon grease on my base pin and it seemed to work well for this.

After the gun was dirty, I fired five shots using paper cartridges with no wad between powder and ball, or with any over-ball grease. (I had a good seal with the balls I was using so I wasn't concerned about a chain fire.) The gun was noticeably harder to cock afterwards after just these five shots. The lubed wads or over-ball grease make a big difference in keeping a cap and ball revolver running smoothly.

I noticed today that the nipples are being slightly deformed by the hammer impact. This indicates one of two things: either they are too soft or the hammer is hitting them too hard. I have another set of nipples which should fit and will probably give them a try. If they get deformed then I'll have to take a touch off the face of the hammer to reduce how hard it's hitting.

Overall I am quite happy with the Cabela's stainless 1858 Remington New Model Army. It's a well-made, accurate, powerful, reliable percussion revolver.

weptek911  [Team Member]
5/30/2011 10:20:30 AM
Nice write up. I've always wanted one of the Ruger SS cap and ball revolvers.
wildearp  [Team Member]
5/30/2011 11:38:32 AM
I have the same thing by Uberti. Very slim and sexy pistol compared to the Ruger. (has a Ruger too)

I watched the forum on the SASSnet for cheap used guns for wall hangers. I bought several for $100-120, including some Colt copies and a .36 cal version of the 1858. I really like the Remingtons.

Nipples are a consumable. Blued steel may be a bit harder than the stainless nipples.
Section_Leader  [Member]
5/30/2011 2:43:59 PM
I have the same revolver and love it. I do have a proble with the caps either falling out or after being fired getting jammed in the action. Any thing to remedy this?
Dave_Markowitz  [Team Member]
5/30/2011 3:53:14 PM

Originally Posted By Section_Leader:
I have the same revolver and love it. I do have a proble with the caps either falling out or after being fired getting jammed in the action. Any thing to remedy this?

It is normal for the caps to fragment but I've found that with my Remingtons they usually just fall out of the gun to the right when I cock it for the next shot. What caps do you use? I've been using Remington No.10 caps lately and they split open or fragment. They also properly fit the nipples. The caps should go onto the nipples with finger pressure but not be so loose that you need to pinch them to stay on.

Aside from caps, check the condition of your nipples. If the flash hole is too large then they will allow more back pressure which could really frag the caps, maybe leading to jams.
raf  [Site Staff]
5/30/2011 4:29:01 PM
I suggest you buy some spare stainless steel LP Cylinders from Cabala's straight away, as buying them made by same mfr, and from same vendor helps ensure they will fit and function OK.

With loaded spare cylinders, you can, with practice, re-load the Remmy almost as fast as a modern revolver.
Section_Leader  [Member]
5/30/2011 5:52:55 PM
sorry for hi jacking the thread thanks guys