1851 Navy and a hammer: life lesson

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Apologies in advance for a long-winded post but I’m excited. I recently acquired a Pietta 1851 Navy from Dixon’s. I absolutely love this gun. After a lifetime of unmentionable handguns dominating my life, I bought what I always thought was the perfect BP revolver. Beautiful gun, perfect balance and the grip frame is made for my hand. .36 cal appeals to my frugal nature. 85 balls to a pound of lead. 17 grains of powder is a lot of shots out of a pound of fffg. I have plenty powder anyway. I have the tool to start making my own caps soon but I have plenty factory ones. This gun is Accurate! I started defarbing to make it “mine”, draw filing both sides of the barrel. Some don’t like it, that’s fine. I personally don’t want a billboard on my guns. Just a few minutes ago I did something else that reminded me of an important lesson in life. If anyone notices sometimes the bottom of the Pietta trigger guards are more rounded than flat. Colt’s unmentionable SAA changed from more flat bottomed TG’s to more rounded in the 1914-1918 +/- time frame as well before moving back to flat bottomed. I took a 1 pound hammer and gave 3-4 taps to the bottom of the brass TG. I held the pistol in my hand to absorb shock and the result is fantastic! the bottom pic shows the rounded bottom TG from yesterday’s range visit. 15 yards standing grouped nicely for my first time shooting it. It now looks the way it should in my eyes. I can be OCD about minor details, noticing things that others don’t. I was looking at VTI for a replacement TG and finally just said I’ll try to fix this myself. Sometimes you just need to pick up a hammer to fix your problems.
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johnfrommd

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I age my Cap and Ball pistols because the factory bluing is so thin, it scratches easily and looks unsightly. An age pistol with scratches looks appropriate considering the pistol is supposed to be an antique. I defarbed one in my lifetime, looked good but too much work for arthritic hands.

You should see the looks on the kids faces when I let them shoot my aged guns at the club. Of course I tell them that they were found at Manassas and probably were used in the 1st Battle of Bull Run which really lights up their eyes. 😉
 
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Last year I discovered a Pietta 1851 .36 in Old West factory patina in the display case at my local Cabelas. I hefted it it....I had to have it, I like it for the same reasons you described. I'll put up with the obnoxious billboard advertising/warnings on either side of the barrel. I am striving to attain the grouping you have demonstrated.
 

nchawkeye

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Do you guys modify the notch on the hammer? Seems the notch needs to be wider and top of the hammer lower to keep them from shooting so high...
 

johnfrommd

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Well, you can either build up the front sight or lower the rear sight but you may run out of rear sight before you bring the ball down where you want it. On 1860's, I make a higher front sight out of a brass key and expoxy it in with JB Weld. On 1851's i usually change out the front bead for a 1858 pinched type sight.

The hammers are case hardened so you have to use a dremel wheel or stone to get past the case before you can use a file. This applies to moding the V notch or lowering the rear sight.

I don't care about keeping my guns as they originally were built since I shoot them and want them to shoot where I want them too.
 
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Well, you can either build up the front sight or lower the rear sight but you may run out of rear sight before you bring the ball down where you want it. On 1860's, I make a higher front sight out of a brass key and expoxy it in with JB Weld. On 1851's i usually change out the front bead for a 1858 pinched type sight.

The hammers are case hardened so you have to use a dremel wheel or stone to get past the case before you can use a file. This applies to moding the V notch or lowering the rear sight.

I don't care about keeping my guns as they originally were built since I shoot them and want them to shoot where I want them too.

How do you remove the brass bead from the 1851? Pull it out or file flush?

I’ll be looking to just square bottom the v groove in the hammer myself for a better sight picture if I do anything. Luckily mine seems to shoot to poa so far at 15 yards so we’ll see how 25 goes.
 
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