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Those are gateway guns, ones that will draw you into a new addiction!  

I went on GB and bought this 1851 Navy in .44 to match the one my dad gave me.  It's factory nickeled and engraved, so not a perfect match, but it's a Sheriff's model and a pretty gun.

@Captain Bill Burt found these pics of me shooting at Cavern Cove last year.  Thought I’d wet your appetite for some smokey goodness           

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The brass frame is a 1851 Navy configuration, in 44 caliber, a pistol that never existed in reality. But it is a very popular pistol now days.. The other is a 1860 Army.

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2 minutes ago, Goody, SASS #26190 said:

The brass frame is a 1851 Navy configuration, in 44 caliber, a pistol that never existed in reality. But it is a very popular pistol now days.. The other is a 1860 Army.

Thank you! I may have to actually start shooting the black stuff now.

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It can be a bit frustrating at first. But when you learn the little tricks to keeping one running reliably during a match it's actually quite fun. Hopefully you have someone local to you that is experienced in them and can guide you along.

 

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7 minutes ago, Captain Bill Burt said:

So, assuming I want to use these to occasionally compete in Frontiersman, what needs to be done to these guns to make them more reliable/competitive.

1st, exchange that brass framed model for the steel framed version, then do the modifications noted in Tequila's thread about nipples.

Edited by Griff
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1. Replace the factory nipples with Treso or Slix-Shot nipples.  They have smaller vent holes that reduce blowback and jams caused by cap fragments.

 

2.  Use pure lead balls of the proper diameter.  A thin lead ring should get shaved off the ball when it is seated in the chamber.  For your "44s", probably a .452 or .454 ball.  .457s may work but will be harder to seat.

 

3.  Use moderate powder charges, 18 to 22 grains of powder, to minimize blowback through the nipples.  With these powder charges, the brass framed gun will last a long time, long enough to find out if you want to continue the madness.

 

4.  Put a felt wad lubed with Bore Butter or beeswax between the powder and the ball, or smear beeswax/crisco over the ball to reduce fouling between the cylinder face and barrel.

 

5.  Prep the inside of the frame and the arbors with Bore Butter or Mobil 1 Grease before the match.  Clean the guns with hot soapy water or Ballistol.

 

6.  Use Remington #10 caps if you can beg borrow or steal some.  CCI #11s may work ok.  Check back when you have problems.  You will. We all did.

 

 

 

Edited by J-BAR #18287
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Very nice Capt.   You've obvious been a good Cowboy in 2020.

 

I been pretty good as I got a new S&W Performance Center model 629 V-Comp  (.44 mag)

 

..........Widder

 

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19 hours ago, Captain Bill Burt said:

Thank you! I may have to actually start shooting the black stuff now.

That's a fabulous idea, Cap't Bill! That's exactly what you should do. And, maybe shoot Outlaw as well.

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1 minute ago, Captain Bill Burt said:

I’m not thinking of switching to BP full time Max. But going to Dark Day and shooting Frontiersman might be nice.
 

Of course that means I would need to buy a dedicated BP rifle, another shotgun, a rig and BP reloading gear. 

The journey begins ........  ;):)

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15 minutes ago, Captain Bill Burt said:

I’m not thinking of switching to BP full time Max. But going to Dark Day and shooting Frontiersman might be nice.
 

Of course that means I would need to buy a dedicated BP rifle, another shotgun, a rig and BP reloading gear. 

 

Not sure why you’d want a dedicated rifle and shotgun.  If you’re concerned about reloading gear you can use APP in your press, even with a auto powder drop.  APP can be used in all your guns, just use coated bullets, it’ll make as much smoke, loading shells/cartridges uses same proportions, just no fire or sulfur smell.  Of course you’ll still need the gear for the pistols.

Or you can strike everything I said and treat yourself to some new toys :D.

Hope to see you at Dark Day! 

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5 minutes ago, Tequila Shooter said:

 

Not sure why you’d want a dedicated rifle and shotgun.  If you’re concerned about reloading gear you can use APP in your press, even with a auto powder drop.  APP can be used in all your guns, just use coated bullets, it’ll make as much smoke, loading shells/cartridges uses same proportions, just no fire or sulfur smell.  Of course you’ll still need the gear for the pistols.

Or you can strike everything I said and treat yourself to some new toys :D.

Hope to see you at Dark Day! 

I’m just not willing to shoot BP or any BP substitute in my main match guns. They’re expensive, and I am not a ‘handy’ guy. I rarely do more than take the side plates off my rifle to clean it. In fact, in ten years I’ve never stripped an 1873 any farther down than taking the side plates off and the mag tube plug out. 


I’ve taken Vaquero’s down pretty far, then sweated trying to get them back together correctly.

 

A dedicated BP rifle and shotgun means if I strip them down and can’t get them back together, or worse break them, I can still keep shooting my main match guns.

 

Another benefit would be a dedicated BP rifle in a bigger caliber than my .38 1873 opens up more categories. I’m thinking maybe an Uberti in 44-40 would be about right.

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I'm pretty handy but sometimes the smaller parts of a gun intimidate me so I stop cleaning at a certain point.

That came back to bite me in a big way with my main match rifle.

The rifle stopped reliably extracting spent shells.

I thought the extractor was broken so I took it to Boomstick. Nope it was a little piece or buildup of junk under the extractor. Boomstick asked me if I ever cleaned that gun. <Red face> Sure, but not there.

 

Congrats on your Christmas presents.

Have fun learning new skills.

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16 hours ago, Griff said:

1st, exchange that brass framed model for the steel framed version, then do the modifications noted in Tequila's thread about nipples.

I talked to my dad and he doesn’t care if I swap one out, so I’m thinking of swapping the 1860 for another 1851 in 44 caliber, but steel framed.
 

I want to keep at least one of the two he gave me and I like the 1851 better. I’ll go light on powder to protect the brass frame. Can anyone tell me, is this 1851 a ‘Sheriff’ model with that short barrel?

 

Also, can a competent gunsmith lighten the hammer spring on these? It is very stiff. 

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4 hours ago, Captain Bill Burt said:

I’m just not willing to shoot BP or any BP substitute in my main match guns. They’re expensive, and I am not a ‘handy’ guy. I rarely do more than take the side plates off my rifle to clean it. In fact, in ten years I’ve never stripped an 1873 any farther down than taking the side plates off and the mag tube plug out. 


I’ve taken Vaquero’s down pretty far, then sweated trying to get them back together correctly.

 

A dedicated BP rifle and shotgun means if I strip them down and can’t get them back together, or worse break them, I can still keep shooting my main match guns.

 

Another benefit would be a dedicated BP rifle in a bigger caliber than my .38 1873 opens up more categories. I’m thinking maybe an Uberti in 44-40 would be about right.

 

I completely understand.  If I were as fast as you and had fast guns I’d be wary of messing something up.  The couple of times I worked on my NMV’s I thought it was a PIA, good guns, built like tanks, but you can see the German engineering in full swing.  Of course you know .44-40 is an excellent BP cartridge, almost no blow back.

 

I can feel it from here you’ve been thinking of all things black,  it’ll be fun, learn a new skill, see why pards love it, I think I could love this.

 

Feel the Darkside

:ph34r: B) :lol:

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It looks like the "Sheriff's" model.  As for lightening the mainspring... I don't, IME, you need the heavier mainspring to keep the hammer from blowing off the nipple.  I'm sure there's a point where there's enough tension to keep the back pressure from pushing the hammer (and cap) on the nipple until YOU cock it again.  But whenever I've lightened one, it's been too light.

 

CBB,  If you're thinking a dedicated BP rifle... I don't think you can go wrong with the one I've got on order from Taylor's...  A "Special Order" 18" Uberti steel framed 1860 in 45 Colt.  Before it gets to me, Cody Conagher is going to do his magic, plus convert it to Cowboy45Special.  Fairly short, handy rifle.  I'm going to run a coated 160 grain bullet powered by APP.  Should generate enough pressure to seal off the chamber, and by adding clearance to the sides of the carrier it'll run all day long.  My full length Henry and both '73s do now.  I'm going to start actually shooting while the timer running, not so much talking!  Has already made an impact on my times!

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6 hours ago, Captain Bill Burt said:

I’m not thinking of switching to BP full time Max. But going to Dark Day and shooting Frontiersman might be nice.
 

Of course that means I would need to buy a dedicated BP rifle, another shotgun, a rig and BP reloading gear. 

 

I just read this.

Are you thinking of doing all this before the Dark Day in '21?

If so, I'm thinking I need to buy some ambition from you.:lol:

 

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4 minutes ago, Mister Badly said:

Santa got me two of these. Cap and ball outlaw Gunfighter.:D When I get the other pair it will be Josey Wales cap and ball outlaw gunfighter.:lol: All I will need is black powder shells for my double barrel. Lol

YAN36b.jpg

 

With those pistols, you might have to change your alias to 'Mr. Badddd  Asssszzz'.   

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2 hours ago, Captain Bill Burt said:

I’ve taken Vaquero’s down pretty far, then sweated trying to get them back together correctly.

 

I talked to my dad and he doesn’t care if I swap one out, so I’m thinking of swapping the 1860 for another 1851 in 44 caliber, but steel framed.
 

I want to keep at least one of the two he gave me and I like the 1851 better. I’ll go light on powder to protect the brass frame. Can anyone tell me, is this 1851 a ‘Sheriff’ model with that short barrel?

 

Also, can a competent gunsmith lighten the hammer spring on these? It is very stiff. 

 

First, Cap'n Bill, don't be afraid of taking these apart; they're MUCH simpler than the Rugers.

 

As someone pointed out above, the so-called "1851" never was - it's actually more of an 1860 with an 1851-style barrel.  Cannot tell from the picture if it has the cut-outs for the shoulder stock; that alone might be a reason to consider keeping the 1860.  Heck... keep 'em both!  ;)

 

Take care with "lightening" the mainspring.  It's heavy for a reason; it will help keep the hammer down on a fired cap.  A too-light spring can allow it to blow back slightly and drop a cap - sometimes split - into the works, jamming it.  That said, there are multiple ways of lightening the spring without needing a gunsmith - remember, this thing is very simple, 'specially when compared to a Vaquero.  

 

Anyway, your options range from buying lighter springs, removing material from the original springs ("hourglass" 'em!), to the simplest and oldest method of all:  take a scrap of leather and cut a "washer", remove the screw and install the "washer" under the spring.  Or go "high tech" and use a rubber "O" ring if you're concerned that the leather will eventually wear out or crack.   

 

Here's a link to a piece on Uberti SAA tuning.  Although this is a cartridge revolver, most of the mechanical stuff will apply:  Slicking Up An Uberti

 

 

2116087370_Coltspringshim.jpg.5b8bf8b15cd86d6ed565835c9eb432c4.jpg

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2 hours ago, Captain Bill Burt said:

Also, can a competent gunsmith lighten the hammer spring on these? It is very stiff. 


As Griff noted, a heavy hammer spring helps prevent cap fragments from blowing backwards into the hammer channel.  When cap fragments get down inside the gun, jams happen.  But, most factory hammer springs are stronger than necessary.  So you are faced with experimenting a bit.

 

One quick way to reduce hammer spring strength is to put a spacer of some kind between the frame and the bottom hammer spring where it is secured by a screw to the frame inside the grip.  A little piece of leather works well, and allows the hammer spring screw to be tightened without pre-loading the spring as much.  This preserves the original spring.  Some folks grind the spring to thin it, thereby weakening it, but if you don’t know what you are doing you can create stress risers that cause the spring to break.  Thinner aftermarket springs are available from Wolff Springs but may actually be too light.  It’s a gamble.  
 

Such experimentation and individual tuning is part of the charm and challenge of percussion revolvers.  The good thing is they are much easier to take apart and reassemble than your Vaqueros, so playing around with them is more fun.


edit:

 

Hardpan types faster than me.

 

Well done, Rocky!

Edited by J-BAR #18287
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An old video which has been posted before, but may be of some help. If you are not interested in history, you can skip the first 4 minutes, 15 seconds, and get to the gun itself:

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Waimea said:

 

I just read this.

Are you thinking of doing all this before the Dark Day in '21?

If so, I'm thinking I need to buy some ambition from you.:lol:

 

Not 21. I’m going to take my time and add stuff as I find deals. I have a buddy in the bullet business. I might buy my bullets from him.
 

Maybe you know if he sells 44 and 44-40? ;)

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Wow! A wealth of information! Thanks everyone! 
 

I’ve already taken the Army down, somewhat. The takedown ‘pin/block’ is pretty stiff on the Navy, I’ll have to wait until I get home and have my tools to take it down.

 

The Army is in pretty good shape. The bore looks good, there are a couple of small freckles on the barrel, but I used Hoppes and most of that is gone. I’ll finish it up at home. 
 

The Navy is in better shape, but once I take it down I’ll need to give the brass frame a good cleaning and polishing.

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7 minutes ago, Captain Bill Burt said:

Not 21. I’m going to take my time and add stuff as I find deals. I have a buddy in the bullet business. I might buy my bullets from him.
 

Maybe you know if he sells 44 and 44-40? ;)

LOL

I happen to know he does.

No round balls though.

 

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