why not the notch?

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Red Owl

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One other thing, a lot of folks seem to not realize how common combustible cartridges were. It was the only way the military reloaded revolvers during the civil war and they were sold by the millions. The packets came with 6 rounds and 6 caps. Wild Bill Hickok got a deal with one of the Kansas towns, Abilene I think, to cover his ammo and then fired 6,000 rounds of the tin foil cartridges in a month or two. Safety is a funny or strange thing. The state of Florida used to publish an annual report on hunting accidents. Rabbit hunting always topped the list, folks all over the place, rabbits and dogs all over- disaster waiting to happen. To me, on the load six. I myself either load at a shooting range, in which the rounds are immediately fired, or I load up and put the gun in a holster to carry around. I don't ride much and last time it was a mule (but a pretty good mule) and I tied a string. I read that was a cowboy thing, take a shoe lace, run it through the holster and tied off- so the gun can't pop off a bucking bonc.
I really have tried to deliberately rub against something and pull back a hammer. I really can't do it on a holstered gun. One problem with conversations of this sort is you can be branded a "loose cannon" reckless, no concern whatever for safety. That's not the case here. I am concerned about safety, in fact I've ranted to Florida on their hunter safety course to do more but I really think this load 5 thing in false security. If the hammer is over an empty chamber and the trigger is pulled back far enough to rotate the cylinder- then it is falling on the next cylinder over, so for the mishap, the hammer has to be pulled back but not far enough to move the cylinder it is on and then drop down on that cylinder. Or fall out of the holster and land on the tip of the hammer which is on a live cap. Never say never but you'll probably get kicked in the head by the horse before the other happens.
All that said, be sure to take caps off rifles if you're around other people, etc. Don't pull a capped rifle up into a tree stand, etc.
On another thread I posted about famous cowboy Charlie Goodnight on reloading a rifle in a hurry, He got to where he could consistently throw a proper load into his hand- cooks can do that with salt, etc. So he never reloaded from the horn, it was horn to hand to barrel. Good idea.
And, on the Colt cartridge guns- different deal. You cannot lower the pin between the case heads and you can move the cylinder, BAD MEDICINE, so on those guns, load the 5.
 

M. De Land

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I do not currently have any C&B revolvers but have had several over the years. My practice for carrying a loaded one was to place the hammer in the notch between cylinders. That always seemed to be a safe practice as far as I knew. But, I see a lot of mentions of loading only five cylinders and resting the hammer on the empty one. Someone please explain why they consider using the notch an unsafe practice.
The reason to carry on an empty chamber is not because of accidental hammer draw back but rather having the spur impacted from the rear, breaking off the half cock notch and firing the round in your holster. Carrying the hammer on an empty chamber is no more secure from accidental hammer draw back than is carry on pins or notches .
 
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One other thing, a lot of folks seem to not realize how common combustible cartridges were. It was the only way the military reloaded revolvers during the civil war and they were sold by the millions. The packets came with 6 rounds and 6 caps. Wild Bill Hickok got a deal with one of the Kansas towns, Abilene I think, to cover his ammo and then fired 6,000 rounds of the tin foil cartridges in a month or two. Safety is a funny or strange thing. The state of Florida used to publish an annual report on hunting accidents. Rabbit hunting always topped the list, folks all over the place, rabbits and dogs all over- disaster waiting to happen. To me, on the load six. I myself either load at a shooting range, in which the rounds are immediately fired, or I load up and put the gun in a holster to carry around. I don't ride much and last time it was a mule (but a pretty good mule) and I tied a string. I read that was a cowboy thing, take a shoe lace, run it through the holster and tied off- so the gun can't pop off a bucking bonc.
I really have tried to deliberately rub against something and pull back a hammer. I really can't do it on a holstered gun. One problem with conversations of this sort is you can be branded a "loose cannon" reckless, no concern whatever for safety. That's not the case here. I am concerned about safety, in fact I've ranted to Florida on their hunter safety course to do more but I really think this load 5 thing in false security. If the hammer is over an empty chamber and the trigger is pulled back far enough to rotate the cylinder- then it is falling on the next cylinder over, so for the mishap, the hammer has to be pulled back but not far enough to move the cylinder it is on and then drop down on that cylinder. Or fall out of the holster and land on the tip of the hammer which is on a live cap. Never say never but you'll probably get kicked in the head by the horse before the other happens.
All that said, be sure to take caps off rifles if you're around other people, etc. Don't pull a capped rifle up into a tree stand, etc.
On another thread I posted about famous cowboy Charlie Goodnight on reloading a rifle in a hurry, He got to where he could consistently throw a proper load into his hand- cooks can do that with salt, etc. So he never reloaded from the horn, it was horn to hand to barrel. Good idea.
And, on the Colt cartridge guns- different deal. You cannot lower the pin between the case heads and you can move the cylinder, BAD MEDICINE, so on those guns, load the 5.
The holster I use if I do carry any kind of single action, has the hammer loop . Which is just a leather lace looped through 2 holes in the holster. Which like you said, both keeps the gun in the holster and keeps the hammer from being cocked inadvertently. It takes a split second to slip the loop off with my thumb. I guess if I were in a duel in the street I'd slip the loop off beforehand
 
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The reason to carry on an empty chamber is not because of accidental hammer draw back but rather having the spur impacted from the rear, breaking off the half cock notch and firing the round in your holster. Carrying the hammer on an empty chamber is no more secure from accidental hammer draw back than is carry on pins or notches .
For me personally, another reason is having something rub the cylinder & rotate it so that the hammer is no longer between chambers. The pins aren’t the sturdiest things around & some inexpensive reproductions of the Remington type have too much slop/poor parts fitment for the hammer to actually engage the notches. I know many don’t think it can happen but the primary difference between the Colt 1889 made for the Navy & the 1892 version made for the Army was modifying the design to stop this from happen by adding extra cylinder notches & corresponding “locking bolt” to engage the notches thus locking the cylinder when the hammer was not at full cock. A protusion on the trigger engaged separate notches to lock the cylinder when at full cock. Obviously these are double action revolvers with swing out cylinders, but very early ones, the first adopted by the US military, the point is to illustrate that cylinders rotating without the hammer being touched can happen & did happen & were enough of a concern in 1889-1892 to cause the government to order a design change be made. This time frame is well before our overrun by attorneys modern age. All this being said, if your Remington clone has a hammer that actually engages the notches properly or if you trust tiny pins made of questionable steel, or if you trust a tiny 1/8th cock notch (as some call it), that’s on you as the danger is to you & it’s not my place to judge someone else one way or the other. I just hope everyone stays unhurt.
 
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For me personally, another reason is having something rub the cylinder & rotate it so that the hammer is no longer between chambers. The pins aren’t the sturdiest things around & some inexpensive reproductions of the Remington type have too much slop/poor parts fitment for the hammer to actually engage the notches. I know many don’t think it can happen but the primary difference between the Colt 1889 made for the Navy & the 1892 version made for the Army was modifying the design to stop this from happen by adding extra cylinder notches & corresponding “locking bolt” to engage the notches thus locking the cylinder when the hammer was not at full cock. A protusion on the trigger engaged separate notches to lock the cylinder when at full cock. Obviously these are double action revolvers with swing out cylinders, but very early ones, the first adopted by the US military, the point is to illustrate that cylinders rotating without the hammer being touched can happen & did happen & were enough of a concern in 1889-1892 to cause the government to order a design change be made. This time frame is well before our overrun by attorneys modern age. All this being said, if your Remington clone has a hammer that actually engages the notches properly or if you trust tiny pins made of questionable steel, or if you trust a tiny 1/8th cock notch (as some call it), that’s on you as the danger is to you & it’s not my place to judge someone else one way or the other. I just hope everyone stays unhurt.
I have two loaded 1851's in a bag in my car , just for fun. I have the hammers on empty chambers because, having two extra shots isn't worth hitting a pothole and putting a hole in my floor.

If I were planning on engaging hostiles then sure I'd want 6 beans in the wheels but I'm just going to the range to cap them off
 
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I have two loaded 1851's in a bag in my car , just for fun. I have the hammers on empty chambers because, having two extra shots isn't worth hitting a pothole and putting a hole in my floor.

If I were planning on engaging hostiles then sure I'd want 6 beans in the wheels but I'm just going to the range to cap them off
I load all six at the range too, or all nine in the case of my lemat, 10 if you count the shotgun barrel.
 

TDM

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Use common sense based on the conditions the revolver will be carried. I don't see anything unsafe with walking around with 6 loaded in a Colt or Remington C&B with the hammer on a pin or in the notch. Now, if your scrambling through heavy brush, riding a wild horse, or rock climbing you might consider another option. I personally don't do those types of things anymore. With a Colt Single Action Army, or an early double action, then I'd only carry with 5.

Now I will add that I'm very blessed to have my own land and range. Enough to where I can't bother anybody and nobody can bother me. I can understand that having to use public or club ranges can influence how one views this issue. Luckily, I do not have that to deal with.
 
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I've seen pics of more than a couple original Colts with 1 nipple missing, which of course we don't know why it's missing. It could be it just happened to crack and the user didn't bother to replace it, it was taken out when the gun was purchased at a flea market in 1960 and used as a blaster by someone who heard that you couldn't load 6 , or someone in the original period designated an "empty" chamber

Some things will just be lost to history

There are people who still swear Revolutionary War soldiers swabbed bores in combat

Speaking of lax safety, the procedure for a military flintlock was to prime the pan first then load the primed and half cocked musket. Most of us would never do this today. But blowing your hand off was the least of your worries in a battle.

Dr Nemeth does it in a YouTube video and I kinda cringed just watching him trust a fly made of mass produced Pedersoli steel to keep the flint from dropping and blowing his fingers off . He even says, don't ever do this

People did what they had to in the early days of firearms

I've seen some pretty unsafe things in the Army , I can't count how many times I've had muzzles of hot M16s and SAWs flagged across me or British Officers waving cocked and locked Hi Powers around that probably had a million rounds through them. You can't always be 100% safe
 
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Imagine yourself a Cowboy, Lawman or Outlaw, first time a stirrup falls down while cinching a saddle and it smacks the hammer on a loaded cylinder and you get shot in the leg you understand the empty chamber thing. As to pins, notches and safeties, how far you trust them is up to you. My brother and I load 6 here on my range and exercise due caution. We also don't have to worry about saddling horses 😅 :horseback:.
 
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Imagine yourself a Cowboy, Lawman or Outlaw, first time a stirrup falls down while cinching a saddle and it smacks the hammer on a loaded cylinder and you get shot in the leg you understand the empty chamber thing. As to pins, notches and safeties, how far you trust them is up to you. My brother and I load 6 here on my range and exercise due caution. We also don't have to worry about saddling horses 😅 :horseback:.
Plus we have to think , that relatively few people actually walked around with loaded guns back then. Even pocket guns like little .31's , rimfire break tops, derringers etc Most guys kept their guns at home and the majority of guys who packed , did carry some kind of pocket piece . More people carry guns daily in America by far then did back then

I'd guess ranchers and farm hands were the vast majority of guys who holster carried a large revolver

Soldiers obviously carried their revolvers but it's debatable whether they kept them loaded when they carried percussions. Officers using their revolvers to shoot malingerers and deserters rarely if ever happened, the one written account I've read of an Officer shooting his own men apparently resulted in him being murdered, apparently.

None of us was alive back then so all we have is written accounts. If I had to make a guess based on the countless hours of reading I've done since I was a kid, there was probably a mix of people carrying on an empty chamber vs fully loaded .

There was probably more written about Hickocks use of his Navies , than any other person who ever used percussion revolvers, surely somewhere he wrote about how he carried them. Or someone like Skeeter Skelton who writes thorough accounts and details about using 1851 Navies with Civil War vets
 
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Plus we have to think , that relatively few people actually walked around with loaded guns back then. Even pocket guns like little .31's , rimfire break tops, derringers etc Most guys kept their guns at home and the majority of guys who packed , did carry some kind of pocket piece . More people carry guns daily in America by far then did back then

I'd guess ranchers and farm hands were the vast majority of guys who holster carried a large revolver

Soldiers obviously carried their revolvers but it's debatable whether they kept them loaded when they carried percussions. Officers using their revolvers to shoot malingerers and deserters rarely if ever happened, the one written account I've read of an Officer shooting his own men apparently resulted in him being murdered, apparently.

None of us was alive back then so all we have is written accounts. If I had to make a guess based on the countless hours of reading I've done since I was a kid, there was probably a mix of people carrying on an empty chamber vs fully loaded .

There was probably more written about Hickocks use of his Navies , than any other person who ever used percussion revolvers, surely somewhere he wrote about how he carried them. Or someone like Skeeter Skelton who writes thorough accounts and details about using 1851 Navies with Civil War vets
Keith shot with and around CW veterans too. He didn’t write very much at all about their practices. In his day few readers would have cared and though I’m sure he personally was interested I bet he never imagined we’d be talking about these guns lo, these many years hence..
 

M. De Land

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Plus we have to think , that relatively few people actually walked around with loaded guns back then. Even pocket guns like little .31's , rimfire break tops, derringers etc Most guys kept their guns at home and the majority of guys who packed , did carry some kind of pocket piece . More people carry guns daily in America by far then did back then

I'd guess ranchers and farm hands were the vast majority of guys who holster carried a large revolver

Soldiers obviously carried their revolvers but it's debatable whether they kept them loaded when they carried percussions. Officers using their revolvers to shoot malingerers and deserters rarely if ever happened, the one written account I've read of an Officer shooting his own men apparently resulted in him being murdered, apparently.

None of us was alive back then so all we have is written accounts. If I had to make a guess based on the countless hours of reading I've done since I was a kid, there was probably a mix of people carrying on an empty chamber vs fully loaded .

There was probably more written about Hickocks use of his Navies , than any other person who ever used percussion revolvers, surely somewhere he wrote about how he carried them. Or someone like Skeeter Skelton who writes thorough accounts and details about using 1851 Navies with Civil War vets
Yeah , it's a lot like the thinking that all the Buffalo were killed off by hunters packing a Sharps rifle around. My guess is that there were probably at least as many buffalo killed with mustered out and surplus 58 cal. Springfields and ball shooting shot guns carried West in the settling of the mid continent.
 
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Keith shot with and around CW veterans too. He didn’t write very much at all about their practices. In his day few readers would have cared and though I’m sure he personally was interested I bet he never imagined we’d be talking about these guns lo, these many years hence..
I'd bet he and all those guys would be fascinated that we're still talking about them, and he'd probably never have thought there would be reproductions of those revolvers he played around with as a kid.

Here we are in 2022, talking about Skeeter Skelton and Elmer Keith long after they've been gone. It's pretty awesome

Skeeter talks about cutting felt wads out of old hats.

I feel like he probably loaded 6 rounds
 
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Yeah , it's a lot like the thinking that all the Buffalo were killed off by hunters packing a Sharps rifle around. My guess is that there were probably at least as many buffalo killed with mustered out and surplus 58 cal. Springfields and ball shooting shot guns carried West in the settling of the mid continent.
All those period shortened .58's and smoothbore muskets that guys bought for 50 cents, to use as utility hunting rifles. They probably killed countless Buffalo, probably with surplus Minie balls too.
 

Red Owl

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Keith and Skeeter I think may be the best there ever was. Now a days most handgunners use semi-autos so revolvers not getting shot a lot. I think Keith wrote clearly and then folks misquoted him. He was out with a friend and saw some turkeys 600 yards away. He had a 7 1/2" SAA and the ground was dry. His buddy got behind him as a spotter and Keith starting shooting. After each shot his pal would tell him where the bullet hit. On the 6th he hit and killed a turkey. His point was that in dire situations a handgun may just possibly hit something that far off, remember some folks were arguing a handgun was little good after 50 yards, etc. In any event before you know it folks are going around saying Keith can kill turkeys at 600 yards with a SAA, like he does it without a spotter and with every shot- but that isn't what he wrote.
Skeeter- I think I've read all his books, good stories, especially if you've hung around Texas some.
 

M. De Land

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Keith and Skeeter I think may be the best there ever was. Now a days most handgunners use semi-autos so revolvers not getting shot a lot. I think Keith wrote clearly and then folks misquoted him. He was out with a friend and saw some turkeys 600 yards away. He had a 7 1/2" SAA and the ground was dry. His buddy got behind him as a spotter and Keith starting shooting. After each shot his pal would tell him where the bullet hit. On the 6th he hit and killed a turkey. His point was that in dire situations a handgun may just possibly hit something that far off, remember some folks were arguing a handgun was little good after 50 yards, etc. In any event before you know it folks are going around saying Keith can kill turkeys at 600 yards with a SAA, like he does it without a spotter and with every shot- but that isn't what he wrote.
Skeeter- I think I've read all his books, good stories, especially if you've hung around Texas some.
I have read some stuff about Kieth from his close personal friend ,Judge Martin I think his name was, stating that Kieth knew he was a pretty good shot with a hand gun but had no notion that what he did could not be learned ,with practice, by the average person.
He also stated he shot his guns daily if not traveling which goes a long way in making a good shot.
My friend from the region Kieth live in recalls the story of how two people he knew of went out with Kieth to shoot some Jack rabbits and the three shot a total of 19, then with a pause and rye smile he added "Elmer got 17 of them" !
 

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