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Bugler

cylinder diameters for 1860 Army

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Posted (edited)

On a whim, I decidaed to actually measure the cylinder diameters for 3 of my 1860 Army revolvers. Two are Pietta and one is a Uberti. To my surprise I was getting measurements all over the place....none were anywhere close to the .451 diameter usually suggested, more like .438 to .445.

 

No wonder the .451 balls are so hard to seat. .454 would be near impossible unless you had a long cheater bar.

 

What are you serious Cap & Ball shooters using? Does anyone bore the cylinders so that each and every one measures exactly the same? ie. maybe .450 for all?

 

Bugler

Edited by Bugler
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What are you using to measure the diameters?

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I use 451 and I like them to shave a ring. Many shoot with shortened barrels and load the cylinder off the gun in a Tower of Power. No problem pushing them down with the tower!  Anytime Iv' shot my cap guns on paper I've always been amazed that that round ball shoots so accurately, at least at close range. I feel that the small crude sights challenge accuracy more than the ball.

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I don’t shoot 44, but all of my navies I’ve had the cylinders bored out to 378 and use a 380 ball. Accuracy is much better now. I’ve hit targets at 50 yards off hand. I know better shooters than can hit them at 100 yards. 

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Using my digital caliper for inside measurement....

 

Bugler

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20 minutes ago, Bugler said:

Using my digital caliper for inside measurement....

 

Bugler

 

It is all but impossible to accurately measure the inside diameter of your revolver chambers with calipers. You need a set of telescoping gauges or pin gauges to get an accurate measurement.

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Try removing the nipples, seat the (pure lead) balls just below flush, mark cylinders to corresponding balls.  Drive out balls with brass punch or long bolt, measure diameters of balls at shave ring with your caliper.

 

Diameters vary by maker and year. You might even find oblong or football shaped cylinders.

 

Numbers don't mean much unless you also slug barrel for comparison.

 

I prefer to find acceptable cylinder and bore dimensions in un-altered guns, versus trusting a smith to hone or cut cylinders without a pilot.   I found .451/.451 and .377/.376 cylinder/barrel groove work well.

 

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Kinda hard to drive out a ball on a cap and ball cylinder. Are you saying to do it through the nipple hole?

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1 hour ago, Springfield Slim SASS #24733 said:

Kinda hard to drive out a ball on a cap and ball cylinder. Are you saying to do it through the nipple hole?

Yes.

No powder or wad, of course.

 

Seat ball front, insert size 10 (8?) brass bolt through nipple hole to drive out.  (Please don't drive ball out nipple hole.) Some grease on chamber walls before seating does not hurt.  Easy to drive out; less force than slugging barrel.  Don't use a fishing sinker, alloyed lead.

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Kinda hard to drive out a ball on a cap and ball cylinder. Are you saying to do it through the nipple hole?

Yes.

No powder or wad, of course.”

——————————

 

My message to 99% of you is:  “Don’t Do This”.

 

Also:  The “cylinder” in a revolver contains the entire set of six (6) “chambers”.
I know you know this and simply “mis-speak” when you talk about it.  But when we write about it, it can be confusing to the reader (me).

 

Cat Brules

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There you go, Cat says "don't do it."

 

Proof positive that slugging C&B chambers works well and is safe to do.

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2 hours ago, Palouse said:

There you go, Cat says "don't do it."

 

Proof positive that slugging C&B chambers works well and is safe to do.


Well, aren’t you a clever boy.

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Posted (edited)

Generally accepted ball sizes have always been:

 .451 for Piettas,

.454 for Ubertis,

,457 for Rugers.

 

Sounds to me like you are over-thinking this.

But, if you really want to measure each cylinder chamber.....

Seat a ball just below flush in each of your cylinder chambers

Drill a hole through it with a small bit.

Screw in a drywall screw, and put the cylinder in a vise.

Use pliers or vise grips to grab onto the screw head & pull the ball out.

Measure with calipers.

--Dawg

Edited by Prairie Dawg, SASS #50329
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10 hours ago, Sedalia Dave said:

 

It is all but impossible to accurately measure the inside diameter of your revolver chambers with calipers. You need a set of telescoping gauges or pin gauges to get an accurate measurement.

I don't understand your statement......please explain this. My calipers are measuring the side to side distance of the chamber. Why is that an impossible measurement?

 

Bugler

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Because no matter how hard you try you will never get the calipers square to the hole perfectly every time. Machinists use pin gauges, just more accurate. But in this case accuracy over 1 thou probably isn't necessary, so your calipers might be good enough. I have heard boring out the cylinders to better match the ball size helps accuracy, but as close as most SASS targets are I have never bothered.

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1 hour ago, Bugler said:

I don't understand your statement......please explain this. My calipers are measuring the side to side distance of the chamber. Why is that an impossible measurement?

 

Bugler

Also, most calipers have flats on the part that comes in contact with the part measured, which means that they read slightly undersized when measuring the inside of a hole.  This property is magnified as the holes get smaller. 

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PLUS ONE too Prairie Dawg.

 

Except:  If I get or deliberately produce a "Dry Ball" chamber, I remove the nipple and use a partial aluminum cleaning rod in the Drill Press to push the ball out.  Since I load "off the gun" with a Tower of Power I have no problem at all seating 451 Ball in my Pietta Cap Guns.  I don't shoot Uberti.  At all.

 

And, to measure a chamber, I dry ball the chamber and measure with the calipers.  I have never found need to have the chambers honed out.  If you absolutely must, Long Hunter Shooting Supply offers this service at $100 per.  

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