New 1858 Remington Project

Discussion in 'Revolvers' started by Tinker Pearce, Sep 4, 2017.

  1. Tinker Pearce

    Tinker Pearce
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    Since I just took a Pietta 1858 Remington in trade I decided to have a go at making my first homespun cartridge-cocnversion. The plan is to turn down the back of the cylinder, bore the cylinders through and ream them to a uniform .451 diameter to chamber the original .44 Colt using heel-base bullets. Then make a breech-plate to mount behind it with a cartridge pass-through.

    Unfortunately I snapped the drive-belt on my lathe so some of that will need to wait. In the meantime there are still things to do, starting with shortening the barrel to 3-1/2" and re crowning it. I cut off and modified the loading lever to match the short barrel and remounted the latch to hold the cylinder-axis pin in place. I also made and mounted a sight-rib/mount for interchangeable front-sight blades. I also put a 'pinky-groove' at the base of the handle. This makes the gun much more comfortable for me. Since I don't want to refinish the gun until the conversion is completed I've taken this about as far as I can. So here's the work to date-
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    I have started considering the idea of lining the cylinders for a different caliber- for some reason .41 Special and .32-20 are sticking in my mind- but so far the plan is to stick to .44 Colt.
     
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  2. GOG

    GOG
    State of Jefferson
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    That's a great project and going to be a fun shooter. Please keep us in the loop. :cool:
     
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  3. dangerranger60

    dangerranger60
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    Cool project! How is the balance at that short of a barrel? I recently got a Uberti Cattleman that someone tried to do a trigger job with a bench grinder! I'm wanting to do a short barrel with birds head grip. But it is a heavy gun, and I'm not sure how short to go. Ill be glad to hear how yours turns out! It's an equally heavy gun. DR
     
  4. Tinker Pearce

    Tinker Pearce
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    The balance is excellent
    The balance is excellent and in my hand at least the gun points very naturally; the heavy front of the frame really helps, even with a very short barrel. This previous conversions is one of my favorite guns-
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    I've had SAA style guns with barrels as short as 3-1/4", and thought they handled wonderfully. That's as short as you can make a useful extractor for these guns. On my cartridge conversions I can generally flick the empties out with a fingernail, so I haven't bothered with an ejector.
     
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  5. dangerranger60

    dangerranger60
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    Very cool! I did look up your other two posts, Great work! DR
     
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  6. Tinker Pearce

    Tinker Pearce
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    The drive belt finally arrived so I spent some quality time with the lathe this evening. I turned down a Peitta Remington cylinder to match the Kirst Konverter breech-ring then bored it through. Once I ream the cylinders to .454-.456" the cylinder will be ready for finishing. Since .44 Colt uses a heel-base bullet I just need to bore the chambers straight-through.

    I was planning on making a pass-through breech plate, but I think instead I will buy a Kirst gated ring. It's not just better and easier but it means I will be able to switch cylinders between the new gun and the Pug. Woods-walking? .44 Colt will do just fine. Going hunting? Swap in the .45 Colt cylinder! Versatile... I like that.

    The pics below show the reworked cylinder and a mock-up cartridge. The casing is .44 Special; normally you would shorten it for .44 Colt but I am not loading black powder so why bother?

    I've already got 'The Outlaw,' 'The Shopkeeper' and 'The Pug.' This gun needs a name too. Any thoughts? No, I am not going to call it 'Gunny McGunface!'
    DKqVdBa.jpg
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  7. Tinker Pearce

    Tinker Pearce
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    Spent some quality time with this gun over the weekend and now have made the breech-plate and tested the firing-pin on primed brass. Works a treat! Ready to test fire once I get some ammo together.
    di2wNUr.jpg
     
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  8. GOG

    GOG
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    That's just a neat little rig and nice work. I've enjoyed looking at all your "little" projects.
     
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  9. Tinker Pearce

    Tinker Pearce
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    BTW of all the names suggested for this gun Linda liked 'The Dandy' best, so there it is.

    Spent all day and into the evening yesterday getting this gun ready, then all afternoon making tools to swage Heel-base bullets and reload shells. Made 24 rounds to test fire it and headed to the range- and arrived only to discover they closed at 4pm for a company picnic!

    !@#$%^&*!
     
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  10. Gaucho Gringo

    Gaucho Gringo
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    What did you make to load the heel based bullets?
     
  11. Tinker Pearce

    Tinker Pearce
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    The main thing was a swaging/sizing-block and brass drifts to use with it. I'd push a bullet in, drive it all the way to the bottom with a brass drift that just fit into the large end. This would create the heel. Then I'd drive it back out with the smaller drift. I then charged an unsized primed case, tapped the bullet in with a soft hammer. This was tight enough to shave a thin ring of lead off the bullet. Then I put the case bullet first back in the swage-block and drive it part way in with a block of wood over the primer and the soft hammer. This sized and taper-crimped the round. then back to the smaller drift to pop the loaded cartridge out.

    To make the swaging block I needed to buy a 29/64" (.453") drill bit to make the large-end, then polish the inside of the hole a bit to smooth it out and ream a chamfer into the large end of the hole.

    Mind you this is simply a stop-gap until I buy proper reloading dies for this cartridge- those are pretty spendy. In the meantime this lets me load ammo for this gun. It's a bit slow, but not too bad once I got the hang of it. I've thought of a few refinements to this process that will improve it, and will implement those. Once I have things working reasonably efficiently I'll do a full blog post with photos to illustrate the process.
     
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  12. Tinker Pearce

    Tinker Pearce
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    The good news is the gun works fine. The bad? The loads with 3.0gr. of Trail Boss were hilariously underpowered. Pfhot! instead of bang. The fifth didn't even clear the barrel. I think it's time to revert to Trail Boss's recommendation for load development.
     
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  13. GOG

    GOG
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    Many dog years ago I shot the Holy Black and I remember testing loads with my buddy. He let go with his .36 caliber and the round hit the target at seven yards, made a thock sound and fell to the ground. :p

    My guess is that she were a might short on powder. :D
     
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  14. RingingEars

    RingingEars
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    Man that is a beautiful pistol. I have been wanting an old Colt Navy for so long. Been watching too many Clint Eastwood movies.
    I love the old Colts and Remingtons...
     
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  15. Tinker Pearce

    Tinker Pearce
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    You think? :D
    I followed Trail Boss's recommended method for developing a load. They say to fill the cartridge to just below where the bullet seats, then weigh the charge and start with 70% of that. This yield a maximum load of 7.2gr. and a minimum of 5.0gr. After some experimentation I arrived at a load of 6.5gr. behind a 200gr bullet. I can't hazard a guess as to the velocity but it was sufficient to penetrate 1" into a kiln-dried Douglas Fir 2x6- much harder that the 1" pine board that was once standard for such tests. The board was free-standing and if it had been braced as is usual for such tests I am pretty sure it would have shot through the board. This round was never particularly powerful, and this will certainly be sufficient for target shooting and perhaps small game.
     
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