Pietta 1860 Colt

Discussion in 'Handguns' started by MSW, Jul 15, 2019.

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  1. Jul 15, 2019 #1

    MSW

    MSW

    MSW

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    Well, I went and did it … bought an 1860 repro, 'cause I though it looks cool and I haven't made any changes to the collection in about three and a half decades (except the builds, and that doesn't count).

    Now it's 'dumb question' time... what size caps should I get? what size roundball? or should I just replace the factory caps with Ampco or Slixshot?

    If the latter, any recommendations as to cap size?
    Thanks in advance :)
     
  2. Jul 15, 2019 #2

    TFoley

    TFoley

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    Most Pietta .44cal shoot a .454" ball, but one in our club likes .451" - can you mike a chamber and give us a 'ball'-park diameter of the mouth? Caps can be #10 OR #11 - you'll need to try which fit snugly on the nipple - it depends on the age of the pistol what size you might find it needs, since they might not be original nipples on a used gun. Ampco or Slix are great products, and may well last you forever, but if you don't need 'em right now....................

    Loads around 25gr of 3Fg are pretty average for this type of pistol, and work best for most shooters who are not trying to drop ellifunts in their footprints.
     
  3. Jul 15, 2019 #3

    MSW

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    Thanks for getting back to me … the revolver will come with factory nipples. I guess i'll get some .455 and some .451 and see which work better before I commit to the purchase of a mold … Do you think that slugging the barrel would be revealing?

    thanks again!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 15, 2019
  4. Jul 15, 2019 #4

    Blogman

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    Go with .451 cal, #10 caps for a snug fit, 20 - 25gr of 3Fg, load em and smoke em.
     
  5. Jul 15, 2019 #5

    TFoley

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    No, slugging the barrel tells you the size of the hole in the barrel. The ball needs to be a VERY snug, swaged, fit in the chamber, but shooting it makes it fit the barrel. so you need to know the original size, right? You SWAGE to ball into the chamber on loading with the rammer, but obviously it's better to make a .451 ball fit, than strain the lever and its action by trying to make a ball that's way too big to fit.

    Anyhow, the fine young gennelm'n above has given you the skinny.
     
  6. Jul 15, 2019 #6

    Grenadier1758

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    I'm still too much of an engineer who believes in measure first. A Harbor Freight digital caliper is accurate enough to measure the cha.bers in the cylinder and should cost less than a box of balls.
     
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  7. Jul 16, 2019 #7

    MSW

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    and this has the added advantage: I already own one :)
     
  8. Jul 16, 2019 #8

    longcruise

    longcruise

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    I have a Pietta 1860 and shoot .451, .454 and .457. Don't notice any difference in Loading effort. Only difference is the size of the lead ring that is cut.

    They all shoot high. I'm trying to get up the nerve to pry the front sight out and install something taller. :)
     
  9. Jul 16, 2019 #9

    TFoley

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    JB Weld is your friend here.
     
  10. Jul 16, 2019 #10

    MSW

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    Do you refer to the 'cap sucking' problem? I ran across several u-tube vids, most of which recommend taking down the sharp edges on the face of the hammer. If the revolver does suck caps, I'll give that a try. If that doesn't work … i'll give JB Weld a try.
     
  11. Jul 17, 2019 #11

    bigted

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    The cap sucking comes from too large a flash hole in the nipple AND too light of a main hammer spring;

    The too large hole allows too much back flash upon ignition. This back flash shoves the nipple back violently into the hammer where upon the lite spring allows the hammer to bounce just enough to let broken cap debris to either grab the hammer face or blow back into the curve of the hammer and go rite into the action ... or a bit of both.

    Tis two places that I believe the Italians got it wrong. Go compare the Italian Colts with the original civil war models ... they all ( that have the OEM nipples and springs ) have tiny holes in the nipples and the hammer spring is noticeably heavier.
     
  12. Jul 21, 2019 #12

    MSW

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    I took Blogman's advice and went with the #10 caps and about twenty grains of FFFg. Then a paper wad (I use old milk cartons, about 15 grains of cornmeal and another paper wad followed by .451 roundball.

    no problems, no cap sucking. Lots of good smoke.

    insert huge smiley face here
     
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  13. Jul 21, 2019 #13

    Columbus

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    They all shoot high. I'm trying to get up the nerve to pry the front sight out and install something taller. :)[/QUOTE]

    Point the gun at the bad guy's belt buckle and pull the trigger. Seems like that's what they were made to do.
     
  14. Jul 22, 2019 #14

    Festus

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    I think the problem is everyone shoots at too close of a range.
     
  15. Jul 22, 2019 #15

    Mean Gene

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    An old library book I have says colt revolvers were sighted in for 50 yards, and have a maximum effective range of 75 yards.
     
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  16. Jul 22, 2019 #16

    Zonie

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    Don't you just love those old library books? :D Maximum range of only 75 yards???

    Just out of curiosity I checked out the velocity for a .44 caliber revolver in the Lymans BLACK POWDER HANDBOOK & LOADING MANUAL.
    It says with a 27.5 grain power load of GOEX 3Fg powder under a .451 ball they got an average velocity of 760 fps.

    Plugging these numbers into my RoundBall calculator on my computer and setting the zero point at 50 yards it says the gun will be shooting 1.9 inches high at 25 and 30 yards. That's quite a bit lower than many of my cap & ball pistols shoot so I bumped the zero point up to 75 yards.

    With the pistol sighted in at 75 yards, things started looking more like what I see when I'm shooting my pistols.

    At 25 yards it will be shooting high 4.5 inches. At 50 yards it will be shooting 5.3 inches high.

    Bumping the aim point up to 100 yards, at 25 yards it will be shooting high 7.7 inches. At 50 yards it will be shooting high 11.6 inches.

    As for the distance the gun will be effective this 27,5 grain powder loads 760 fps velocity will be down to 606 fps with an energy of 112 ft/lb at 70 yards and 547 fps velocity and 91ft/lb of energy at 100 yards. IMO those 100 yard figures would easily kill a person if it hit them.
     
  17. Jul 23, 2019 #17

    MSW

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    perhaps they confuse maximum range and maximum effective range and maximum accurate range. I am not now (nor have I ever been) an exceptional pistol shot, and I would be hard put to keep shots on a e-type at 70 yards, so i'd probably not take a shot at anywhere close to that range. in truth, I bought the thing to shoot soda cans … I use .44 cal in the event that the soda cans are hopped up on drugs, and come at me with the strength of three of four soda cans ;)

    I do remember reading somewhere that the .44 roundball with about a 28 to 30 grain load will get you about the same terminal ballistics as an anemic .44 special centerfire, so the thing will certainly put a hurt on human sized target.

    (as an aside, I would note that if, God forbid, I ever had to shoot a person, I would use a 9mm, and not drag the PB community into it)
     
  18. Jul 23, 2019 #18

    armoredshoe

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    The "official ordnance" load for the 1860 Colt was a 217 gr conical bullet with 30 grs of powder in a combustible powder. In the Civil War, they didn't issue loose ball and powder on either side. Here's a photo of a .44 Colt Army cartridge alongside an original .36 Colt Navy Cartridge.

    [​IMG]
     
  19. Jul 23, 2019 #19

    MSW

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    Armoredshoe, thanks for the post. I wonder how closely "modern" (that is, powder made with current manufacturing techniques and quality control) NP compares to the brisance of the PB used in the Civil War.
     
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  20. Jul 23, 2019 #20

    longcruise

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    I think we tend to assume that the powder in those times was poor quality compared to our present day supply. It certainly is open to speculation, but I'm thinking that they new how to make quality powder and needed to provide good powder to stay in business.

    There should be some historical reference on it.
     
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