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Posted: 4/19/2002 6:26:11 AM EDT
I am ging to buy a Colt replica black powder revolver from Cabela's and was wondering what yall think is the best out of the 1851 Navy and 1860 Army. It says on Cabela's website that the 1860 Army was the favorite of John Wesley Hardin, who is my distant cousin, so I am leaning toward that pistol. What do yall think?
Link Posted: 4/19/2002 6:27:51 AM EDT
Link Posted: 4/19/2002 6:36:56 AM EDT
I'd go with the Navy in .36 caliber. Neither gun is suitable for any kind of serious purpose, as the ballistics are only in the .32 to .380 range. For shooting at cans, jugs of water, paper targets, etc. the .36 will serve just as well and save you a few bux in the long run because the balls are cheaper and u use less powder per shot. BTW, WIld Bill Hickok favored Navies and carried two of them.
Link Posted: 4/19/2002 6:39:31 AM EDT
The 1860 should be a .44 and the 1851 .36 caliber.

The 1851 will use less powder and lead, and many people prefer the '51 grip to all others.

The 1860 was the beginning of Colt's new, slicker-looking percussion revolvers, and some people like the bigger bore blackpowder revolvers.

Neither have any horrible handicaps or fatal flaws. Pay your money and take your choice.
Link Posted: 4/19/2002 7:16:22 AM EDT
By the way, how do you load these pistols? Do you remove the cylinder or do you do it some other way?
Link Posted: 4/19/2002 7:39:00 AM EDT
You load them while they are on the pistol. The lever-thingy under the barrel rams the ball home into the chamber. Briefly, this is the loading process.
1. Using a powder measure, dispense a measured charge into each chamber.
2. Ram a ball home atop each powder charge.
3. Seal each chamber mouth with grease.
4. Put a percussion cap of the appropriate size on the nipple for each chamber.

Never skip step 3 or do step 4 other than last. At the range, you can load all six chambers, but if you are going to carry the pistol loaded in a holster, leave the chamber under the hammer unloaded as per any old-style single action.
Link Posted: 4/19/2002 9:01:45 AM EDT

At the range, you can load all six chambers, but if you are going to carry the pistol loaded in a holster, leave the chamber under the hammer unloaded as per any old-style single action.

That's not correct. The cylinders have safety notches between the nipples to facilitate loaded carry. The hammer has no way of coming in contact with a nipple if lowered into one of these notches.
Link Posted: 4/19/2002 9:28:48 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Jim_Dandy:

At the range, you can load all six chambers, but if you are going to carry the pistol loaded in a holster, leave the chamber under the hammer unloaded as per any old-style single action.

That's not correct. The cylinders have safety notches between the nipples to facilitate loaded carry. The hammer has no way of coming in contact with a nipple if lowered into one of these notches.



If you have a faithfully executed copy, that is the case.
Link Posted: 4/19/2002 9:35:00 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/19/2002 9:37:24 AM EDT by lurker]
i prefer the 1860, but it's purely aesthetics, i like the smoother lines. IMO, it's the best-looking pistol ever made.

and before warming up the flamethrower, the 1911 is close second.


oh, i recently learned you can use "wonder wads" instead of grease. it's just much cleaner. if you must use grease, crisco will do, but i prefer lard.
Link Posted: 4/19/2002 9:46:28 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/19/2002 10:14:51 AM EDT by Bostonterrier97]
1851 Navy...

Why ? Because it handles better than the 1860 Army..

The 1851 Navy was almost exclusively used by Wild Bill Hickock...Hickock knew something about gunfights..he'd been in plenty of them.

The main draw back of the 1851 Navy is that it is in .36 caliber and has less knock down power than the .44 caliber 1860 Army.

The 1860 Army is heavier and has a bigger grip, but the grip angle on the Navy allows you to point it better in such a way that it is more natural.

Anyway..get whatever Percussion Revolver you like..


Link Posted: 4/19/2002 10:19:52 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/19/2002 10:43:45 AM EDT by DBrewer842]
I have to chime in here but since I do own an 1851 Navy BP revolver, its a .44 cal not .36 cal. As far as to how you load one see the ram along the bottom of the barrel, well its what you use after you powder and patch to push the lead ball in.

I get good performance and pattern at 25 yard targets. It also will shoot threw a cedar fence post 4inch x 4inch with no problems at 25 yards with standard suggested BP load found in the owners manual. It requires a lot of cleaning as any BP does. If you chose the model that has the brass, plan on polishing it a lot to keep it looking pretty.

One thing I notice with my CVA reproduction model is how quickly it shows wear. I shot about 400 rounds threw it and the cylinder already shows great deal of wear at the locking groves. Which in time causes the Cylinder to come out of time and end up useless. The below link is the next BP Revolver that I going to chose for my BP shooting needs.

www.ruger-firearms.com/rvpages/bp7f.html

Dave Dee
NRA/ILA Member
AR15.COM Moderator of Reloading, General Firearm Discussion & Hunting Forum.
A great place to get answers to your reloading & hunting questions.
Or come and take a look at my web page at.
members.aol.com/dbrewer842/dbrewer842.html
Link Posted: 4/19/2002 10:22:04 AM EDT
I just wanted to point out that 1851 Navys DO come in .44 caliber nowadays. I do not believe there ever was such a thing originally, but they are common now.

Lots of what you read, especially in the Cabelas catalog, is BS. Like the brass framed 1858 Remington they say was originally made by the South. Brass framed copies of Colts or Whitneys maybe, but not Remingtons I don't think. And the Remington revolving carbine they claim was used in the Civil War -- the original ones appeared only after the war, IIRC.

I'd tend to favor a .44 over a .36, even for fun shooting. The same powder charge makes more power pushing against that bigger piston, in my experience. Though the .36's are great too.
Link Posted: 4/19/2002 11:05:05 AM EDT

If you have a faithfully executed copy, that is the case.

And that is the case with the stuff sold by Cabela's. Even without, the cylinder will not move so as to allow the hammer contact with a nipple unless the hammer is thumbed back. I haven't seen any replicas made like this in twenty years or so.

Wes Hardin was not sentimental about guns. He didn't use Colts becasue of any particular fondness, he used them (in his younger days) because of their availability. If they broke or became worn, he threw them away and stole another (often from Federal troops occupying Texas after the Civil War). I wouldn't buy one based on that alone.

Hickock preferred the 1851 Navy due to availability and size. In his heyday, cartridge firing revolvers weren't exactly widely available. Cap and ball revolvers as a rule, are quite heavy when loaded, especially considering the amount (or lack of) firepower. By the time he was killed, Hickock was just a worn out alcoholic who didn't care about this sort of thing anymore.

If you want an historical revolver with a better design, get a Remington 1858. They can handle heavier loads than any of the Colt copies making them more suitable for conical slugs. They're more accurate, too.

There aren't very many good replicas available anymore. Heat treating is spotty and they're often poorly timed. I would strongly think about getting a Ruger Old Army. They're well-made, can handle truly modern loads, and are VERY accurate to boot.
Link Posted: 4/19/2002 11:41:04 AM EDT
you cant leave them sitting around loaded, so dont even think about using them for home defense or serious shooting. they will never replace a 1911 or glock. they're fun and have a hint of history about them, and if that's enough for you, go for it!
Link Posted: 4/19/2002 7:39:52 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Jim_Dandy:
If you want an historical revolver with a better design, get a Remington 1858. They can handle heavier loads than any of the Colt copies...



The Colt Walker took about 60 grains of blackpowder and was the most powerful revolver made until the .357 Magnum came along nearly 90 years later. Remingtons can probably be gunsmithed into better target guns than Colts could ever be, but I think Colts are much stronger than modern people think they are. When used as a club (which probably happened fairly often with all percussion revolvers) I think Remingtons can bend at the thin points of the upper and lower frames, locking up the cylinder. On Colts, the cylinder pin just flexes slightly until the top of the barrel assembly is stopped by the cylinder or the bottom is stopped by the frame. The pin itself is mainly under tension, and doesn't become permanently deformed.

I recall reading how when Lincoln was assassinated another guy was sent to kill Secretary of State Seward. But on the way in he clubbed somebody with his solid-frame Whitney and bent it, which saved Seward's life and allowed him to later arrange the purchase of Alaska from Russia. The Whitney frame appears more massive or blocky than the Remington.

But don't get a Colt thinking it's going to be perfect. They are pretty crude.
Link Posted: 4/19/2002 8:40:26 PM EDT
So why is it not safe to leave it loaded? I would think it would be just fine if left in a nightstand or something. I won't be purchasing this for self defense, though, I have two 1911A1s, a S&W 36 and 686, a PPK/S, CZ52, Mini-14, Eagle Arms CAR-15, Bushmaster 20" HBAR, SAR-2, Ruger 10/22, and a .22 revolver for that.
Link Posted: 4/19/2002 9:02:02 PM EDT
Black powder left loaded will eventually absorb moisture from the air and become useless.

It is rumored that Wild Bill fired and reloaded both his revolvers every morning.
Link Posted: 4/19/2002 11:13:26 PM EDT
That's correct, Black Powder will draw dampness when loaded in a firearm. The does two things one the powder becomes fouled and also it start the metal to rust. I loaded my Hawkens up the night before opening day of Deer season. By the next morning it would not fire and I was forced to pull the bullet and clean it out. Caused me to miss out on my deer last year and he was a fat 4x3 mule deer.

Dave Dee
NRA/ILA Member
AR15.COM Moderator of Reloading, General Firearm Discussion & Hunting Forum.
A great place to get answers to your reloading & hunting questions.
Or come and take a look at my web page at.
members.aol.com/dbrewer842/dbrewer842.html
Link Posted: 4/20/2002 1:54:42 AM EDT

When used as a club (which probably happened fairly often with all percussion revolvers) I think Remingtons can bend at the thin points of the upper and lower frames, locking up the cylinder.

I don't think so. How many people have you clubbed with a Colt and later shot? The guy you're writing of was actually something of a derelict and I also think the method of use that you've described could occur in ANY revolver including modern made guns. On top of that, the Walker is hardly practical weighing in at about 4 1/2 pounds loaded.

Actually, if sealed with wax, which was often the case way back, a cap and ball sixgun is fairly weatherproof. George Nonte wrote of finding blackpowder guns of all types in Europe during WWII that'd been left loaded for many years and still firing. In one of the older Hodgdon manual, Layne Simpson wrote of a hog hunt in wet conditions where he used a Remington 1858 sealed in wax. Fired when it was supposed to fire.
Link Posted: 4/20/2002 3:52:17 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/20/2002 3:53:01 AM EDT by Fuzzbean]

Originally Posted By Jim_Dandy:
On top of that, the Walker is hardly practical weighing in at about 4 1/2 pounds loaded.



Hey, you said "any." And the Walker was probably VERY practical when a pair was carried on horseback back in the 1840's or 1850's and your adversary had one or two single-shots and almost had to get off his horse to reload. Who buys percussion revolvers today as "practical" guns?

I agree that BP guns can fire after long storage. It's often oil left in the chambers & nipples that kills the powder or caps, not moisture.
Link Posted: 4/20/2002 7:00:36 AM EDT
Golgo-13
I'd go with the Navy in .36 caliber. Neither gun is suitable for any kind of serious purpose, as the ballistics are only in the .32 to .380 range. For shooting at cans, jugs of water, paper targets, etc. the .36 will serve just as well and save you a few bux in the long run because the balls are cheaper and u use less powder per shot. BTW, WIld Bill Hickok favored Navies and carried two of them


I don't think the comparison to .32 or .380 holds up that well. On paper, sure the .36 & .44 black powder revolver looks like a weak sister but the very soft lead round ball has much more stopping power than a modern jacketed slug. The same lack of aerodynamics that cause the round ball to lose velocity also cause it to expand in flesh.

Re the '51 Navy vs '60 Army I'd go with the Navy. The '51 has much better balance (in my hands anyways) & just seems to handle & point better. There's a reason why Colt copied the grip frame of the '51 when they designed the 1873 SAA. And as you said, the .36 is cheaper to shoot.
Link Posted: 4/20/2002 8:47:44 AM EDT
I also favor the Navy. Unless you get a Ruger, they are all fairly cheap guns. The Navies seem a bit more handy and are good guns for first-timers to cut their teeth on. try to get one with a steel backstrap and trigger guard. Brass is extremly hard to keep clean.

Black powder is really a lot of fun if you have the patience to load the guns. You can spend all day at the range and only fire 50 shots and not be out any money for ammo.

Do lots research on BP handguns and make sure you know how they work. the key to keeping a BP gun up and running is to clean QUICKLY after use. The begin to corrode very shortly after use. Soap and water is the best way to clean one then put the parts in the oven on low heat to dry. Then a good rub down withy Ox-lube or Crisco and you'll be in good shape.
Link Posted: 4/20/2002 1:17:17 PM EDT
I got one of both, but I like the looks more than actually shooting them and both currently are wall hangers.
Link Posted: 4/20/2002 1:59:39 PM EDT
About 10 years ago I bought Cabela's 1858 New Army .44 Target Model. I was young and didn't clean it very good. The next time I took the thing out of the rug it was rusted solid. I sent it back to Cabelas and they gave me a brand new gun no questions asked. It was fun to shoot, but I didn't like having to do so much cleaning afterward. I recently sold it. It was a accurate gun with the adjustable sights that came on it. CAPITALIST
Link Posted: 4/22/2002 7:17:01 AM EDT
Will pyrodex powder also absorb moisture from the air? What about pyrodox pellets?
Link Posted: 4/22/2002 7:48:52 AM EDT
Yes, Pyrodex is hydroscopic just like black powder. The big advantage is reduced fouling. I have not had good results with any of the "no clean" substitutes. However, if you use all natural lubes and cleaning items (made from animal fat), the metal gets seasoned after awhile like a cast iron skillet. Sometimes you can wait the better part of a day before having to clean.
Link Posted: 4/24/2002 12:20:17 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Jim_Dandy:
That's not correct. The cylinders have safety notches between the nipples to facilitate loaded carry. The hammer has no way of coming in contact with a nipple if lowered into one of these notches.



No, they don't. Not on the Colt revolvers, never did. The Remington 1858 has safety notches between cylinders, but most in the know still recommend that you carry one cylinder down with the hammer on the empty cylinder.
Link Posted: 4/24/2002 4:30:40 AM EDT

No, they don't. Not on the Colt revolvers, never did.

Uh, yes they did and do. Most in the "know" know the safety notches are more or less fail safe.
Link Posted: 4/24/2002 11:02:19 AM EDT
Red Man and Jim Dandy are both correct with a little clarification...

Remingtons had notches in the cylinder between chambers as a safe resting place for the hammer. All the reproductions I've seen, cheap or not, have these notches

Colts had small pins between each chamber that engaged a groove in the hammer face to provide a safe resting place for the hammer between chambers. These pins are small enough that they are often broken on originals. Typically they are not included on inexpensive reproductions such as the Cabalas' Colts.

Hope this helps.

Kent
Link Posted: 4/24/2002 1:24:48 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Jim_Dandy:

No, they don't. Not on the Colt revolvers, never did.

Uh, yes they did and do. Most in the "know" know the safety notches are more or less fail safe.



I have an original Colt 1851 .36 and an original 1860 .44, neither has safety notches. Mine still has the "safety" pins located in between the nipples on the cylinder, but the hammer slips off the pins and the cylinder rotates to the next chamber if you just set the weapon down gingerly. Yes, I still shoot both revolvers.

The Remington (of which I don't have an original but have seen quite a few) does have safety notches that the hammer face actually rests in between chambers. The Colt never had notches. I suggest you take a closer look at an original.

In all honesty, I haven't noticed a huge difference between the handling of the Army vs. the Navy model. One notable thing is that the Army has a rack and pinion cam in the ramrod that doesn't bind no matter how dirty the revolver gets. The Navy doesn't have this and will bind if the bullet pusher isn't held straight by the shooter as the ramrod is pushed down.

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