Colt 1860 Army (1861)

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hrt4me

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Great job resurrecting the old boy!

If you have time perhaps you can check the fit of the arbor to the barrel? Specifically is the arbor short like some replicas, or is it fitted to bottom out when assembled? I know of one original which is short by .040” but as @Phil Coffins says, this is a common question. Colt shop drawings and patent drawings show the arbor bottomed in the barrel assembly, but I’m also aware of a patent drawing which indicated the end of the arbor and the corresponding recess in the barrel lug was conical (like the end of a drill) that was a drawing for an 1851 Navy I believe.
At the moment I do not have my proper measuring tools (i.e. calipers, depth micrometer), other than a relatively crude tape measure. So for now, these photos will have to suffice. As you can see from the photos, my arbor does not bottom out in its corresponding hole in the barrel assembly when the revolver is properly assembled.
Colt 1860 Army arbor front.jpg

Colt 1860 Army arbor front close-up.jpg

Colt 1860 Army arbor bottom.jpg

Colt 1860 Army frame-barrel interface.jpg
Colt 1860 Army barrel-frame overlap.jpg

As you may discern from the last 3 photos (in which the arbor is apparently bottomed out in its hole now), the barrel assembly-to-frame overlap may indeed be close to 0.040"...
 
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hrt4me

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Fine job again. Since this 1860 appears to be so solid it would be of interest me if you would check how the wedge fits in terms of tightness and if the arbor bottoms out in the barrel. I’ve only had the opportunity to inspect a few and this has become a common question here.
@Phil Coffins, the arbor slot for the wedge is much wider than the actual wedge itself. Further, now that I have fired exactly two dozen .454 lead round balls through my original Colt 1860 Army .44 caliber cap-and-ball percussion revolver, the wedge seems to have somewhat loosened such that I can firmly press it into place using both thumbs only (i.e. no more light taps with a plastic-headed mallet). The final photos show how far the wedge does not protrude on the opposite right side of the revolver, and yet the barrel-frame lock-up is still rather tight...
Colt 1860 Army components.jpg

Colt 1860 Army wide arbor slot.jpg

Colt 1860 Army wedge depth.jpg

Colt 1860 Army wedge protrusion.jpg
 
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Woodnbow

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At the moment I do not have my proper measuring tools (i.e. calipers, depth micrometer), other than a relatively crude tape measure. So for now, these photos will have to suffice. As you can see from the photos, my arbor does not bottom out in its corresponding hole in the barrel assembly when the revolver is properly assembled.
View attachment 81901
View attachment 81902
View attachment 81903
View attachment 81904View attachment 81905
As you may discern from the last 3 photos (in which the arbor is apparently bottomed out in its hole now), the barrel assembly-to-frame overlap may indeed be close to 0.040"...
Thank you! Well that’s two out of a couple hundred thousand that exhibit a short arbor...

Again, nice job on cleaning up that pistol and returning it to service without destroying its value.
 

hrt4me

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If I wanted to try firing conical bullets in my original Colt 1860 Army cap-and-ball percussion revolver (rather than only soft lead .454 round balls), then what would you guys recommend? What did contemporary shooters use back then for this 160-year-old vintage classic pistol?
 

Woodnbow

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If I wanted to try firing conical bullets in my original Colt 1860 Army cap-and-ball percussion revolver (rather than only soft lead .454 round balls), then what would you guys recommend? What did contemporary shooters use back then for this 160-year-old vintage classic pistol?
I’m not up on the sources for the original type conicals but the Lee 200 grain bullet intended for Italian revolvers should work well. Lee Precision Mold Double Cavity 450-200-1R



716FCA40-2B41-4C06-AD72-0F9A8EAE165F.jpeg
 

Woodnbow

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You might get a few pin gauges and determine the actual chamber diameters. If larger than.450 you might use the lee .457 bullet...
 

hrt4me

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You might get a few pin gauges and determine the actual chamber diameters.
easy enough, I have plenty of buddies (gunsmiths, machinists) who each have several pin gauge sets...
Or maybe I shall just relegate this to only firing it periodically every now and then and stick primarily to my Rogers & Spencers (have 3) and Ruger Old Armies (have 6) for repeated volume fire
 

PathfinderNC

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Got to say that’s a great restoration to working condition!
I am imagining the original owner, and if that pistol was used in the heat of battle. How utterly cool to have something with such history. Thanks for sharing!
 

Woodnbow

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easy enough, I have plenty of buddies (gunsmiths, machinists) who each have several pin gauge sets...
Or maybe I shall just relegate this to only firing it periodically every now and then and stick primarily to my Rogers & Spencers (have 3) and Ruger Old Armies (have 6) for repeated volume fire
Something to be said for that too. There’s a real tangible piece of history there. It’s good it found a fit custodian.
 

toot

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@Phil Coffins, the arbor slot for the wedge is much wider than the actual wedge itself. Further, now that I have fired exactly two dozen .454 lead round balls through my original Colt 1860 Army .44 caliber cap-and-ball percussion revolver, the wedge seems to have somewhat loosened such that I can firmly press it into place using both thumbs only (i.e. no more light taps with a plastic-headed mallet). The final photos show how far the wedge does not protrude on the opposite right side of the revolver, and yet the barrel-frame lock-up is still rather tight...
View attachment 81906
View attachment 81907
View attachment 81908
View attachment 81909
have you tried .451 RB'S with a felt wad over the ball in it?
 

toot

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You might get a few pin gauges and determine the actual chamber diameters. If larger than.450 you might use the lee .457 bullet...
I thought that the only ones that took a .454 DIA. RB. were RUGER OLD ARMY'S
You might get a few pin gauges and determine the actual chamber diameters. If larger than.450 you might use the lee .457 bullet...
I thought that .457's were for 45/70's?
 

hrt4me

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have you tried .451 RB'S with a felt wad over the ball in it?
no, I had actually considered trying a .457 round ball because the .454s seemed relatively easy to ram into the chambers, but the .454s may indeed be 'just right'! (plus, I do not happen to have any .451s now anyway, so I may post a WTB ad here to see if anyone might be willing to sell me a few to try...)
 

hrt4me

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I thought that the only ones that took a .454 DIA. RB. were RUGER OLD ARMY'S

I thought that .457's were for 45/70's?
actually, the Ruger Old Army is one of the few which specifically calls for. 457 round balls!

BTW, I also happen to use .457 in my Rogers & Spencers...
 

toot

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I also have a ROGERS & SPENCER, and will try them. are the RB'S rely hard to force into the chambers, and do you use felt wads over the RB'S??
 

hrt4me

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I also have a ROGERS & SPENCER, and will try them. are the RBs really hard to force into the chambers, and do you use felt wads over the RBs??
I use felt wads between the black powder charge and the lead round ball, which I do not find difficult to ram into the chambers...

I only brought out a third of the black powder revolver collection this weekend for the first day of Summer today! Besides, I have no progeny, so these are my 'kids' ! Happy Father's Day to me, ha
Sunday funday.jpg

suns up, guns up.jpg

1st day of Summer.jpg

Colt 1860 Army & Lyman Plains Pistol.jpg

R&S and ROAs.jpg
Ruger Old Army stainless.jpg

Rogers & Spencer.jpg
Rogers & Spencer brace.jpg
R&S plus ROAs.jpg

I have too many modern polymer unmentionables to count, but there is just something cool (which cannot be eloquently put into words) about wood and steel!
 
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Phil Coffins

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These marks at the front of the wedge hole in the arbor would appear to be a period repair.

tight...
Colt 1860 Army components.jpg


So that would make this pistol not a study piece on how Colt built them. Still a solid old gun and a shows how a very old well made gun can be serviceable today.
Thanks for sharing.
 

Woodnbow

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I thought that the only ones that took a .454 DIA. RB. were RUGER OLD ARMY'S

I thought that .457's were for 45/70's?
ROA’s take a .457 ball. The .457 lee bullet is designed for use in the Olde army... it really depends on the revolver in question. If yo don’t know what the chambers measure it’s a safe practice to use the larger .454 ball. Also, the older ones chambers may be a bit rough, pitted, in which case it’s prudent to use a larger ball for a better seal. Hrt4me had the revolver checked by a very well respected and knowledgeable blackpowder gunsmith and I’m sure Gary addressed these issues...
 

Woodnbow

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I use felt wads between the black powder charge and the lead round ball, which I do not find difficult to ram into the chambers...

I only brought out a third of the black powder revolver collection this weekend for the first day of Summer today! Besides, I have no progeny, so these are my 'kids' ! Happy Father's Day to me, haView attachment 81966
View attachment 81967
View attachment 81965
View attachment 81968
View attachment 81969View attachment 81971
View attachment 81972View attachment 81973View attachment 81970
I have too many modern polymer unmentionables to count, but there is just something cool (which cannot be eloquently put into words) about wood and steel!
Quality time with the kids! Happy Father’s Day indeed!
 

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