People overestimate how often percussion revolvers were reloaded...

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stephenprops1

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Sad but not all of us is capable of changing a tire. A life of labor has left me at 80 with a some what limited capacity, getting down to remove lug nuts leaves one with the challenge of getting back up.
Congratulations on your ability to change a tire.
Let him brag. If he lives long enough his day will come too.
 
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The late Zane Gray, who wrote a boat load of frontier western novels, was born in 1872 and died in 1939. He once said when interviewed having lived the cowboy days, that in actuality a bunch of bad guys or cattle drovers really did not shoot up a small town as depicted in Hollywood movies because most likely many of the town's men folk were armed civil war veterans and knew how to shoot. Not quite like the classic 1952 Gary Cooper movie High Noon. He said that there were very few gun fights if any that ever occurred when he was growing up. Most all the town folk and people traveling through western towns were very cordial to each other as everyone had to depend on each other in those days. Also of note, he said that most town folk were mostly armed with percussion rifles and revolvers well to the end of the 19th century. I would imagine because cartridge rifles and revolvers were costly for a farmer or town merchant.

Most of us haven't been around long enough to witness any vast change in firearms technology that would compare to the percussion to cartridge evolution.

Still, if there is some crazy change to some kind of highly advanced weapons I'll most likely have the same .357 revolver under my bed and 12 gauge pump in my closet that's been there for almost 20 years and probably will be for the rest of my life. If it works, it works.

Which would also account for why most people who did have cartridge revolvers in the original period would have had a cap and baller converted rather than buying a new revolver.

Still, I'm sure there's many older people who have had the same .38 revolver in their sock drawer since the 1970's , it's not like they're going to run out an replace it with a hi-cap 9mm just because. What they have works and they have no need to spend $$.
 
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I'm 83 and still travel off-road with my pickup, and do hunt remote places, but I too have made many adjustments and one of them is, I carry a good-sized inverter and a good electric impact wrench just in case I have a flat tire. I was carrying a battery job, but I had need to keep watching it as batteries go dead. Our car would be easier to change and we travel the highways where help is available. Do what you have to do to stay active. Like many, I have discovered that once you give something up, it doesn't come back.
Squint
 
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I dont remember the exact figures, maybe someone can fill in the blanks in my memory. But it was substantially cheaper to convert a percussion revolver than to buy a new single action cartridge revolver. Money was an object then as it now
Most people, if they were so motivated, would have just had their cap and ballers converted or bought a conversion

I don't know the exact figure but a new Colt Peacemaker was probably about $1000 in today's dollars
 
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Most people, if they were so motivated, would have just had their cap and ballers converted or bought a conversion

I don't know the exact figure but a new Colt Peacemaker was probably about $1000 in today's dollars
Hi Stantheman86
You got me thinking about a Colt Peacemaker price in 1873. I looked it up and it was $17.50 new. The complete kit with a holster and some ammunition could be covered by a $20 gold piece. Check out the link below for other interesting things in the 19th century.

 
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Hi Stantheman86
You got me thinking about a Colt Peacemaker price in 1873. I looked it up and it was $17.50 new. The complete kit with a holster and some ammunition could be covered by a $20 gold piece. Check out the link below for other interesting things in the 19th century.

Purchased in 1878 for $17.50, it would be around $500 today, per the online infaltion calculator below.
 
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Purchased in 1878 for $17.50, it would be around $500 today, per the online infaltion calculator below.
That's not even too too painful, about what a modern plastic fantastic would cost

Still people weren't trying to spend 500 bucks on a piece to replace the Manhattan cap and baller that lives in a drawer and is never used

Even people today who aren't gun people, and just want something for protection will usually opt for something lower cost
 
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Most people, if they were so motivated, would have just had their cap and ballers converted or bought a conversion

I don't know the exact figure but a new Colt Peacemaker was probably about $1000 in today's dollars
Are those Howell conversion cylinders you see on Midway USA accurate representations of what were used back in the 19th Century?

I don't have a desire for one, myself, but I always wondered about those, given that the rear part of them just sort of rests on the back of the cylinder. I would have thought that a real conversion would involve installing a loading gate and having the cartridges rest directly against the recoil shield.
 
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The Howell conversions look like they're kinda based on the old Colt Richards conversion that had a seperate ring added and the rear part of the cylinder cut away.

There were also conversions that involved boring the whole chamber through to accept a rimfire cartridge.

With the price of .45 LC or the difficulty in getting primers to handload, and with having to use .45 LC loaded with black powder or a very light smokeless load.......it almost seems like a step backward to convert a cap and baller these days. I mean I can get .454 round balls, Pyrodex P at least, and #11 caps at a sporting goods store but I'm not spending $1 a piece on .45 LC ammo that is less fun to shoot and less powerful than a 50 gr charge in my Walker or Dragoon.
Are those Howell conversion cylinders you see on Midway USA accurate representations of what were used back in the 19th Century?

I don't have a desire for one, myself, but I always wondered about those, given that the rear part of them just sort of rests on the back of the cylinder. I would have thought that a real conversion would involve installing a loading gate and having the cartridges rest directly against the recoil shield.
 

SPQR70AD

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The Howell conversions look like they're kinda based on the old Colt Richards conversion that had a seperate ring added and the rear part of the cylinder cut away.

There were also conversions that involved boring the whole chamber through to accept a rimfire cartridge.

With the price of .45 LC or the difficulty in getting primers to handload, and with having to use .45 LC loaded with black powder or a very light smokeless load.......it almost seems like a step backward to convert a cap and baller these days. I mean I can get .454 round balls, Pyrodex P at least, and #11 caps at a sporting goods store but I'm not spending $1 a piece on .45 LC ammo that is less fun to shoot and less powerful than a 50 gr charge in my Walker or Dragoon.
caps are just as hard to get also and if you handload the LC it is cheap to shoot
 

SPQR70AD

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Are those Howell conversion cylinders you see on Midway USA accurate representations of what were used back in the 19th Century?

I don't have a desire for one, myself, but I always wondered about those, given that the rear part of them just sort of rests on the back of the cylinder. I would have thought that a real conversion would involve installing a loading gate and having the cartridges rest directly against the recoil shield.
one of the conversion kits you can get with a loading gate and an ejector rod
 
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Thanks for the insights.

My primary curiosity is about the historical accuracy of those conversion cylinders, in particular. I always wondered how the real ones looked and worked compared to the Howell ones.

For me, though, black powder is about loading the components all separately. I do enjoy stepping somewhat into the shoes of those who had to bet their lives on them.
 

Malamute

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Are those Howell conversion cylinders you see on Midway USA accurate representations of what were used back in the 19th Century?

I don't have a desire for one, myself, but I always wondered about those, given that the rear part of them just sort of rests on the back of the cylinder. I would have thought that a real conversion would involve installing a loading gate and having the cartridges rest directly against the recoil shield.

They are not really historically accurate, they are more convenient and meant for no work required to convert. The commonly known ones were the Richards-Mason conversions, they had a plate installed behind the cylinder with a loading gate, some with a firing pin in the plate, some with it in the hammer nose.

This may give a better idea An Official Journal Of The NRA | Colt 1860 Army Richards “Cartridge Conversion” Revolver

Colt also began making new guns with the system besides converting existing percussion guns, with the idea evolving to their well known model P, or more commonly known as the Single Action Army model of 1873.
 
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They are not really historically accurate, they are more convenient and meant for no work required to convert. The commonly known ones were the Richards-Mason conversions, they had a plate installed behind the cylinder with a loading gate, some with a firing pin in the plate, some with it in the hammer nose.

This may give a better idea An Official Journal Of The NRA | Colt 1860 Army Richards “Cartridge Conversion” Revolver

Colt also began making new guns with the system besides converting existing percussion guns, with the idea evolving to their well known model P, or more commonly known as the Single Action Army model of 1873.
Thanks for that article. It clears things up nicely. One thing about getting into black powder and stripping down my revolvers is that it's given me a LOT more appreciation for the different mechanisms that existed. I had no idea about the intricacies and variations before that.

The fact that I bought a Colt 1860 Army to accompany my Remington NMA is a prime example of the dangers of learning something new. It can open the door to some expensive collection compulsions. A certain unmentionable Warsaw Pact rifle taught me that lesson, but I had no idea of the temptations black powder revolvers pose. I need to research for collectability hazards the next time I decide to buy something else. :p
 

J.Campbell63

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I think after ‘67 or so a lot of modified pieces showed up done by gunsmiths from all over USA & with different skill sets. I wondered myself & research showed me this - awesome books by the way - none of what y’all show us here by the way is not “historical” . Well most anyway - and my 5 shot , 5 inch ‘58 Remington conversion with a Kurst cylinder is dead solid perfect if you peruse this set of books. Although some were in .46 caliber ( see below )
 

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Tenring

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However there supposed to look I have them on my Remingtons and there really accurate. It’s nice to go back and forth. pretty cool.
 
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