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1873 Pietta Black Powder Conversion to 45 Colt


northbound55

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Howdy

 

What specific model are you talking about? 1858 Remington? 1860 Colt Army? 44 caliber 'Navy'?

 

If you are talking about one of those Cap & Ball revolvers that look just like a Single Action Army cartridge gun, they are specifically designed so they cannot be converted to cartridges.

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I;ve used R & D conversions from Kenny Howell in an 1860 Army.

They shoot very well, and the gun is easy to clean, breaking down into barrel, cylinder, and frame.

I generally shoot my Colt repros as cap guns, since I have lots of cartridge guns.

They shot well with Big Lube boolits and Round Ball loads -- could hit the rifle targets shooting duelist every time.

--Dawg

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It will require some welding on the frame and a hammer and cylinder replacement. You have to weld up and re-drill the firing pin hole. It is tedious work and should mostly be left to a professional.

 

If you do this operation you may find that you cannot sell the pistol. It may be considered manufacturing or altering the gun.

 

I did this with the 1875 Remington version. It works well for me and I have no intention of ever parting with mine, but those are the things you're up against.

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I have 3 of those and they are too cool for school. There is no reason to butcher one into a suppository shooter. Much cheaper just to buy a cartridge gun.

 

But if some outfit were to make a conversion cylinder that would be a different matter. Not likely as there is zero demand. On second thought there may be some interest in Britain but I do not know about that .

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Conversion method:

Trade pistol for cash - use cash to buy a gun already made for .45 Colt

I believe that the cylinder opening is too small for .45 Colt. This would be a pricey project, at best.

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  • 5 months later...

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As posted by Driftwood, the Pietta 1973 is specifically designed and dimensioned so it can't be converted to .45 Colt. The better suggestion has already been made however. Convert the 1873 Cap Gun to cash, then convert the cash into a suppository shooter. Or, convert the cash into a Pietta .44 Cap Gun, and add a conversion cylinder to that.

 

Coffinmaker

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  • 3 months later...

you can convert your 1873 pietta black powder peacemaker to fire 45lc cowboy ammo without welding or any major alteration to the revolver. first you'll need a 45lc pietta 1873 sa cyl.(colt 1st. or 2nd gen.) a cyl. base pin bushing a base pin shim kit and a stronger hammer spring, i used an 1851 navy spring. the sa cyl. will be shorter then the bp cyl. because of this it will give you undesirable end shake(back and forth movement of the cyl. in the revolver) i added to the base pin bushing .030 of the shim kit to get 0 end shake. (your revolver may need more or less shims)and then swapped out to the stronger hammer spring. then the only alteration i did was to the firing pin on the bottom i filed 1/16 in x 1/16 up, on the rounded side filed 1/32 down x 1/16 back, leaving the legnth and flat side alone, this gave me a strike on the primer and not hitting the casing. little story, first field test i loaded one round in the revolver and without shimming out the end shake and stock hammer spring i fired the revolver, not good, hammer kicked back to fire next cyl. and the primer blew right out of the shell casing, i read where one fella had multiple chain fires,so it's imperative to get rid of all end shake and swape out the hammer spring. results, the barrel bore and cyl. line up perfectly, timeing is perfect, locks up like a ducks butt and fires without any issues, all for the same price as a 58 remmy conversion cyl. one downfall becase the 45lc cyl. is shorter then the bp cyl. the barrel to cyl. gap is .040, i can live with that for now just make sure nobody's standing to your side and only use cowboy loads. the only way i know of to fix the barrel gap is to turn in the barrel or get a longer 45lc cyl. which i for the life of me can't find. i'm no gunsmith, your results may vary so try at your own risk. i hope this helps and enlighten's the sceptic's, happy shootin.

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Congratulations. An excellent description of turning a perfectly serviceable percussion handgun and turning it into an UNSAFE contraption that will actually fire a cartridge. Don't bring it to any range I'm on. You'll be sent home.

 

Coffinmaker

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I had none of the spacing and clearance issues with my '75 Remington. I did have to go back and re-weld and drill the firing pin hole after mistakenly drilling it too large the first time. I bought the gun new for a greatly reduced clearance price and even after purchasing a cartridge cylinder and a hammer, I had less money in it than in the used cartridge gun I that I bought as a mate to it. No timing issues and it shoots reliably and smoothly.

 

There was NO WAY I was going to try to make the original hammer and firing pin hole work!!

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Colorado Coffinmaker offers some sound advice; DON'T DO IT! My attempt at this conversion several years ago could have turned out very, very badly.

 

I had a Uberti .45 Colt cylinder in the parts box that fit my Uberti 1873 C&B just fine, so I swapped out the offset percussion firing pin with a centerfire one, and egged out the recoil shield hole a bit to clear the firing pin.

 

Uberti.jpg

 

I put two rounds in, stepped outside, and touched it off. Nothing out of the ordinary, really, so I thumbed the hammer back again, pulled the trigger, and *click*. I opened the loading gate, turned the cylinder, and immediately noticed the first case to come up had no primer. I ejected it, and discovered the next one also had no primer... and no bullet...? Apparently, the oversize hole allowed the primer to blow back through the recoil shield, and the primer and escaping gas re-cocked the hammer, dropping it on the second cartridge, repeating the process. I didn't really notice any extra recoil or a drawn out BAAAANG, but apparently I had inadvertently made a full-auto revolver. I put the percussion cylinder and offset firing pin back in and shot it with BP and round balls from then on.

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As I said in my original comment, you have to weld up the firing pin hole and re-drill it!! It ain't an easy task and should be left to a pro. My first attempt was a failure. My final effort worked, but it still isn't pretty!!

 

The recoil shield is critical to keeping primers in place. The hole on the recoil shield for the cap version is too large to retain a primer, especially if the hole is opened up even more!! My first effort resulted in the firing pin hole being large enough to allow the primer to stick in the hole once in a while when the case recoiled into the shield. I recognized the problem and re-did the job.

 

Like they say on commercials. "Don't try this at home!"

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  • 3 weeks later...

thank you for all the replie's, because of this i did some more measurements and this is what i came up with, without shimming the lc cyl. by pushing the cyl. foward in the revolver at half cock i got a gap of .091(measured between cyl. and recoil shield) and pushing the cyl. back to the recoil shield i got a gap of .059 and that leaves me with .032 end shake (cyl. moveing back and forth when fired) then pushing the cyl. forward i measured the distance of the back of the cartridge to the recoil shield and it came out to be .038, i then removed a spent cartridge primer and it measured it's length at just a little over .059 and that leaves .021 of the primer that could exit the cartridge when fired and with the bp peacemaker's large firing pin hole it is probably enough to blow out the rest of the primer recock the hammer and fire again. so with that in mind i slapped in .032 of the cyl. pin bushing shims to get 0 end shake then measured the cartridge to recoil shield and it came out to .0025 about the size of a horse hair. i looked down the fireing pin hole and could see that half the primer would hit the recoil shield. after loading one round and fireing i blew out no primer and no hammer kickback. i examined the fired cartridge and i could see where half the primer hit the recoil shield and the other half of the primer the fireing pin strike. went through 20 more rounds with no problems.now with the primer only to be able to move .0025 between cartridge and recoil shield, half the primer hitting the recoil shieid and absolute 0 end shake i just don't see how the primer could possibly slip by this kind of gap unless the cylinder moves, but the gun locks up tight and the timing is perfect.i don' forsee any problem's with this setup as long as i keep the end shake at zero and the revolver tight. like i said before i don't condone this modification, these are just my finding's and results. i want to keep useing my bp cyl. with this revolver so no welding drilling or any other modificaton. it's to purdy of a revolver to butcher up.and because of the cyl. to barrel gap at .040 with the lc cyl. the revolver is for starting camp fires, a woods gun only and once in awhile lc cartridge shooter. my main shooters are my 58 rem'ys and 51 navey's, which i have conversion cyl. for. can't beat a 12 inch ss rem'y buffalo. conclusion- had to give it a try. if henry ford didn't try we'd still be riding horse's, come to think of it that's such a bad idea.

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