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I’m going to Dark Days next week and I’m hoping that I’ll get a chance to hold both an Army and a Navy C&B pistol.  Besides the grip feel/thickness is there anything else that i should be looking for?  Also is there a big difference between ‘51/60/61/62 models besides the look?  I’m pretty sure I’m not going to be able to hold each year/type combination.

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I have Medium sized hands and Much prefer the Navy Grip to the Bigger Army style grip ...

I also prefer the 7 1/2 inch barrels of my 1871 Open-tops and My 1851s...

So how the grip fits YOU is what matters , that is the Reason I don't shoot my 1858 Remmies the grip shape just does not work for me ... 

I shoot FCD and the 58s are impossible for me to use with-out shifting my grip for each shot ...

 

Jabez Cowboy

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Pietta parts are mostly interchangeable.

For example, I prefer Navy grips, but I like 44 caliber pistols.
So, almost all of my cap guns are 1860 armies with Navy grips.

Army grips feel good until I start shooting, at which point the gun rolls out of control.

So, I traded my Army grips for Navy grips.

I do like 1851s though, so I bought a pair of 44 caliber 1851s for the barrels.  

Put them on my 1860s, and sold the army barrels.

When I started, I had a couple of 1851s, and had a pair of 1862 barrels, and a pair of snub nose 3" barrels, so the night before the shoot, I decided which barrels I would shoot, and put them on the guns.  

The point is that, since the parts are interchangeable, you can put together a gun that floats your boat.

In my experience, any 44 fun part will fit any other 44, and any 36 gun part will fit any other 36, so have at it.

The internals are the same for ALL the Pietta models, and the grips fit all their guns.

--Dawg

 

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Such a great scene.  In an interview, when asked about rolling the cylinder in his hands, Wallach said he just thought it looked good.

 

BTW, the Uberti grip frames all interchange with other Ubertis as well.

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Most of my guns have been Piettas thru the years.
I do not know about interchangeability on Ubertis, but I do know that they make guns that are replicas of Colt products.
For example, their 1861 pocket Navy & 1862 police are 36 caliber guns on the smaller 31 caliber 1849 pocket pistol frame, so they fit smaller hands pretty well.

They don't fit me, so, as much as I like them, I really can't shoot them well.

The sexier 1860 barrel can also be had in 36, which is their 1861, built on an 1851 frame (no step in the frame)

The 36s have Navy grips, & the 44s have Army grips

They also built Walkers, Dragoons, and Pocket Pistols (Pietta does not)

My advice is to handle a gun with a Navy grip, and one with an Army grip.

Next, decide on barrel length & caliber.

If you want a "sheriff" model, Ubertis are out, unless you buy models based on the pocket frame.

If historical correctness is important to you, that will rule out a bunch of Piettas

Those are the sorts of things to consider, but, be aware, cap guns are addictive.

At one point, I had in excess of 3 dozen, but now, I've pared down, and have only about 20.

2 ROAS, 1 Remmie, 3 Uberti 1851s, and the rest are Pietta 1860s

It's all TOO MUCH FUN!!!!

--Dawg

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If an SAA feels good in your hands, then you will probably like Navy grips which are the same size but curved slightly differently.  If an SAA feels too small, then you will probably like the Army grips better.  While I have never had one, I know people used to comment about the Pietta Navy grip being shaped wrong and some not liking it, but in recent years they changed it.  So if you do handle a Pietta Navy, try to determine if it is an older gun or not.

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The 62 is not only smaller, but has only 5 chambers in the cylinder.

 

I won't get into the argument about the validity of the 44 cal 1851 copies often called "Navies".  The 1851 can be had in both 36 and 44, but the 1860 is only in 44 cal.  The 1861 is the 1851 in 36 cal with rounded barrel and pinion loading lever like the 1860.  Like Tuco, I've once taken the cylinder and barrel from my 36 cal 1851 and shot it in my 44 cal 1860 frame, just to see if I could.  It worked great, but looked a little weird with the extra wide gap between cylinder and water table.

 

But if you ever get a conversion cylinder, make sure you get a steel frame.  The 36 conversion shoots a 38 SPL, I believe, and the 44 shoots either a 45 Long, 45 Schofield, or 45 Cowboy special.

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I made this video up just to show the flash of the RWS caps.   I didn't catch a flash on every shot.  But I'm enjoying shooting the Pietta 1860s.   They "hang" and point really well. 

 

 

 

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PLUS ONE for Prairie Dawg (Both).  However:

 

When planning to interchange Pietta parts, only the parts from the last 8 or so years interchange.  Older Major assemblies like barrels will NOT mate up to more recent manufacture frames.  I actually try to keep my parts swapping within the same year or two of manufacture.  I'm not real into Hysterical accuracy so "never never" guns are just the ticket.

 

Cap Guns are FUN!!

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14 minutes ago, Tequila Shooter said:

@Colorado Coffinmaker what do you think about cap rakes?  Needed?

 

Hope you don't mind if I answer this one.

 

It really just depends on the situation.  For example,  if you and I are at a match shooting Frontiersman against each other; then no, you DON'T need cap rakes. If I'm not there or if I'm shooting a different category; then yes, you DO need cap rakes.

 

 

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I've not tried cap rakes.  Over the years I've only had a couple of incidences where cap material has ended up in the hammer cut on down in the action.  But I use full strength factory springs.  I think that goes a long way in keeping the cap on the nipple.   And I polish and deburr the hammer face.  I think that helps in letting the cap free from the hammer face. 

 

The RWS caps seem to be very soft and powerful.  The material flows back into the safety notch noticeably. I may have more problems with these caps but I probably won't be using them in a match so I'm not too concerned. 

 

 

 

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Well, grip feel is one of the rare times that I prefer Army over Navy.:ph34r:

I also prefer Ruger Bisley grips over NMV grips.

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3 hours ago, Tyrel Cody said:

 

Hope you don't mind if I answer this one.

 

It really just depends on the situation.  For example,  if you and I are at a match shooting Frontiersman against each other; then no, you DON'T need cap rakes. If I'm not there or if I'm shooting a different category; then yes, you DO need cap rakes.

 

 

 

I never mind hearing from you, who put the rakes on for you?  After everything I’ve heard I know I’m going to be looking for Pietta’s, I don’t want to deal with arbor headaches.

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5 minutes ago, Tequila Shooter said:

 

I never mind hearing from you, who put the rakes on for you?  After everything I’ve heard I know I’m going to be looking for Pietta’s, I don’t want to deal with arbor headaches.

 

Me: 

 

 

I've found you need to check the arbor on Pietta's as well, and really, really really, need to check the bolt to cylinder fit. Neither are perfect.  A drill press, a small screw in the end of the arbor fixes that real quick. 

 

 

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48 minutes ago, Tyrel Cody said:

 

Me: 

 

 

I've found you need to check the arbor on Pietta's as well, and really, really really, need to check the bolt to cylinder fit. Neither are perfect.  A drill press, a small screw in the end of the arbor fixes that real quick. 

 

 

 

Once I find what I like and then manage to find a brace of them (not so easy these days :() we’ll have to talk about those things.  Goal = beat you at your own game at TN State this year :P :D

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10 minutes ago, Tequila Shooter said:

 

Once I find what I like and then manage to find a brace of them (not so easy these days :() we’ll have to talk about those things.  Goal = beat you at your own game at TN State this year :P :D

 

If you're ok with 7 1/2"+ barrel lengths I can probably fix you up with a pair of whichever you want.

 

You gonna shoot FCGF at TN State? I haven't decided if I'm gonna do Frontiersman there or not. 

 

 

Edited by Tyrel Cody
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1 hour ago, Tequila Shooter said:

 

I never mind hearing from you, who put the rakes on for you?  After everything I’ve heard I know I’m going to be looking for Pietta’s, I don’t want to deal with arbor headaches.

 

Here is a Pietta 1860 I bought in December of 2020 that was made in 1996 from proof codes. It showed no signs of ever being shot. Yet the arbor was loose.  I understand it's not unknown for new guns to come out of the box with loose arbors - even those sold by Colt as second and third generation. 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Tyrel Cody said:

 

If you're ok with 7 1/2"+ barrel lengths I can probably fix you up with a pair of whichever you want.

 

You gonna shoot FCGF at TN State? I haven't decided if I'm gonna do Frontiersman there or not. 

 

 

 

I’ll be shooting Frontiersman, I know you’ve got to defend from last year’s win.  I’ve signed up for 2 big matches already, both Frontiersman, this might just become a trend for me.  Thanks for the generous offer, first I’ve got to decide Army or Navy. 

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Tequila

 

If your serious about running Cap Guns for Frontiersman, and having your guns be competitive, then a mechanical means of keeping the cap fragments out of the action is a necessity.  I am a proponent of "Cap Rakes" and put them in EVERY Cap Gun I prepared commercially.  NO exceptions.  My guns are ALL just as reliable as any Suppository Shooter.  I shoot Frontier Cartridge Gunfighter and the guns HAVE to be 100% reliable.

 

I don't know if Long Hunter Shooting Supply is still prepping Uberti Percussion guns, but I am NOT a fan of Uberti.  Just too much trouble to make reliable.  Mine are ALL Pietta.

 

I am by the way, now RETIRED!!  I don't know who, if anyone is currently building competition Cap Guns.  There are NO Cap Guns on the market CAS ready out of the box.

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1 hour ago, Colorado Coffinmaker said:

Tequila

 

If your serious about running Cap Guns for Frontiersman, and having your guns be competitive, then a mechanical means of keeping the cap fragments out of the action is a necessity.  I am a proponent of "Cap Rakes" and put them in EVERY Cap Gun I prepared commercially.  NO exceptions.  My guns are ALL just as reliable as any Suppository Shooter.  I shoot Frontier Cartridge Gunfighter and the guns HAVE to be 100% reliable.

 

I don't know if Long Hunter Shooting Supply is still prepping Uberti Percussion guns, but I am NOT a fan of Uberti.  Just too much trouble to make reliable.  Mine are ALL Pietta.

 

I am by the way, now RETIRED!!  I don't know who, if anyone is currently building competition Cap Guns.  There are NO Cap Guns on the market CAS ready out of the box.

 

I know you’re retired, so I would never ask you to work on the guns.  If you’re like me I’ve never been busier since I retired, almost makes me want to go back to work just to relax a little B).  I was just hoping you might could point me in the right direction.  Who knows I may just tackle this one myself, there’s probably discussions and maybe a YouTube video out there on how to do it.  If not I’ll just stay at a Holiday Inn Express while I’m doing it :D

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Duelist1954 has 115 videos on cap and ball revolvers in a play list on his YouTube channel.  A couple of good ones on general cleanup of new guns.  Lots of mods and reviews. 

 

 

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18 hours ago, Tequila Shooter said:

@Colorado Coffinmaker what do you think about cap rakes?  Needed?

I'll answer also and say "YES!"  I shot my first BP match in cowboy action in June of of 1986 with an EMF imported Armi San Marco 1851.  What I was told is that it was made of parts left over from Uberti's production of parts for the Colt 2nd Gen percussion guns.  If it wasn't, it is near a perfect copy, as only the locator pins on the front of the frame prevent the Colt 2nd Gen barrels from fitting on this gun.  For the 2 years I campaigned this gun in the BP category then, I had problems with caps accumulating under the hammer, and even had them foul the workings of the bolt.  Rowdy Yates installed the Manhattan conversion gate in this gun and I've never looked back.  Even with stock nipples the number of problems associated with caps was virtually eliminated.  The years prior to the change from BP to Frontier Cartridge were, IMO, the halcyon era for percussion shooters.   No need for duelist style... (I still view that as Tex's revenge on me as I don't shoot duelist well)... I can run my percussion 1851 just as fast as my Colt mdl P's. 

 

Since the Manhattan conversion on my 1851s, I have not had a cap fall down into the workings of the action.  I have plenty of other problems associated with C&B revolvers;  plugged nipples, dry holes, etc., but cap jams... NOT!  A year ago at Back at Cha, I ran off from home without my Slix nipples...  that caused a few problems on the 1st day... until a kindly gent made me the loan of his sets.   So, yes, I think some positive form of cap control is necessary.  As well as good quality nipples 

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1 hour ago, Tequila Shooter said:

OK you got me on that one a Manhattan conversion gate? What’s that?

 

He yacks on and on about the problem of caps falling into the action but finally gets around to showing the mod at the end.

 

 

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My all-time favorites are the Pietta  .44 Sheriffs models which, like others have mentioned, has the combination of Navy grip frames on Army frames coupled to shorter barls.  Most fun shooting on any cowboys range.  My first taste of the pudding came from a pair of Avenging Angels I purchased from Prairie Dawg some years back.  I took them an additional step along by swapping out the grip frames for Birds Head  Style, an easy do since they were Uberti and thus swap easily with Uberti SAA parts.  

I did not know it until a few years back BUT the original Army Model was intended to have the existing Navy grip frame.  The Yankee generals objected to the small grip and asked for a larger grip frame to be added.  Something to the effect of mounted soldiers wearing gloves and thus needed a larger grip frame????  At any rate there is a photo of the two original Army Models floating around here somewhere proudly displaying their original Navy grip frames.   (I note) that the Yankee generals were swayed by soldiers preference by the time that the 'New" SAA of 1873 came out and had returned to the Navy size grip frames that they were originally were intended to have! 

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Manhatten conversion -- cap guard -- Done by Rowdy Yates at Lee's Gunsmithing (Retired)

capguard_1.jpg

 

Cap Rake by Coffinmaker (Retired):

 

cap rake.jpg

 

Both effectively stop the cap from dropping into the hammer channel

--Dawg

Edited by Prairie Dawg, SASS #50329
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Looking at both I think I’d go with the cap rake.  I’m guessing the size and placement of the pin is critical.  Holiday Inn Express here I come :D

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Long Hunter Shooting Supply sells new slicked up Uberti Navies and Armies, which includes Slix nipples, the arbor length fix, lightened springs, and much more. Their anti-cap jam fix is an additional cost (pictured below). The '51s also have a 5" barrel option. I have a pair - they work flawlessly - and Long Hunter's is a terrific outfit.

 

A minor note for anyone interested in .36 Navies (51 or 61) Pietta vs Uberti is that the latter prefers the slightly larger .380 round lead balls which you either have to cast yourself or buy online (I highly recommend Whyte Leatherworks) as opposed to .375 round balls available in stores (commercially made by Hornady and Speer). I don't know if the Uberti .44 Army also needs a larger diameter ball than Pietta .44s, but Whyte's also offers .451, .454, and .457 round ball.

Anti Cap Jam 003 (450 x 600).jpg

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