Revolver Conversions for Black Powder Pistols

Discussion in 'The Powder Keg' started by Kaybe, Sep 1, 2009.

  1. Kaybe

    Kaybe G&G Enthusiast

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    Does anyone have any experience with the black powder revolver conversion cylinders? Are they worth it? I have a 1858 Remington (Cabelas I think) and was wondering if they work good, are junk or are the best thing since sliced bread. Any feedback would be good. Thanks. I was thinking of the Kirst kind.
  2. chesterwin

    chesterwin Super Moderator

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    I posed this question to a friend that does Civil war reenactments. I knew he had a conversion cylinder and first hand experience.

    He tells me it is amazingly accurate but the directions say to use only low power cartridges such as those used in Cowboy Action shooting. He elaborated that it definately shaves lead as the bullet enters the forcing cone.

    Shooting a 45 caliber cartridge in a 44 caliber firearm, I guess the shaving should be expected. Hope this helps.
  3. Pyro01

    Pyro01 G&G Newbie

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    If I had 220 bucks, I'd drop the money ad get my 1860 Army a conversion cylinder. I like shooting black powder at outdoor ranges, but when I want to shoot at an indoor range you can't use Black Powder. I also think it'd be great if you're packing the revolver as a side arm during a hunting trip, it's not always fun to load up a black powder revolver when you want to get out hunting. Some times you just wish you could just pop in a cartridge and blast the bunny, coyote, squirrel, or deer.
  4. Metronome

    Metronome G&G Newbie

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    You want to make sure you get the correct one too. If you got the gun from Cabelas it is likely a Pietta gun, so order a Pietta conversion. As for the lead shaving, I think the guns generally have a .451 bore, and many .45 Colt ammunition uses .452 or .454 sized bullets so the forcing cones are going to pare down anything they meet.

    I keep telling myself to get one, but that may have to wait until I can build up some more Gift Cards :)
  5. Kaybe

    Kaybe G&G Enthusiast

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    Do I have to use lead bullets or can I use copper jacketed? I don't think I can but don't really know for sure.
  6. SwedeSteve

    SwedeSteve Freedom Zealot Forum Contributor

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    I would guess not. But I don't have any firsthand knowledge.
  7. fred

    fred G&G Newbie

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    Kaybe, this is an area where loading your own would really help! I would choose a soft lead bullet, probably a swaged bullet and not a hard cast and I would try to get it as close to 0.451" as possible. If you can find it, 0.452" should be ideal. Choose loading data from the recommended cowboy loads and don't try to push it. Remember that you can get hurt pretty badly if you push things to the extent that the gun blows up. If you decide to explore super hot loads do yourself a favor and get a Ruger Super Blackhawk in .45 LC.
  8. Kaybe

    Kaybe G&G Enthusiast

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    fred, I have been reloading for some time, but black powder is new to me. I did reload some BP .44 and .38 for the Blackhawk and the Winchester. But, I used hard cast and I knew the guns could take it. But, in the conversion area of a black powder gun, I am a newbie. The gun I have does really well with the .451 balls. I just didn't know about copper and a few other things. Thanks for the help. I was curious if others had the conversion cylinders and if they are worth the cost. I just want it to go bang without me going bang with it. Thank you for the help fred. I appreciate it. I guess I just want to get away from pouring the powder, placing the ball, capping the nipple and so on. Cimmaron Arms has the one that Clint Eastwood had in one of the earlier movies, a .38 S&W conversion, but the money isn't there...yet.
  9. wcassidy

    wcassidy G&G Newbie

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    if it were me i'd get the smokeless cowboy loads for the conversions. but in general, jacketed are no-nos, the gun is designed to shoot virgin lead balls not jacketed nor hard cast, therefore soft cast or cowboy commercial should be fine.
  10. ke4sky

    ke4sky G&G Newbie

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    I have one of the Walt Kirst conversions for the Cabellas Pietta 1858 Remington in .45 ACP. I shoot normal factory jacketed .45 ACP ammo in it as well as lead bullet handloads. The original sights on the Pietta Remington are set up for roundballs, but 185-gr. JHPs or wadcutters shoot close to the sights at 25 yards. 230-gr. loads shoot about 6 inches high. Accuracy is in the 3 inch range at 25 yards.

    Here are links with info:
    http://www.riverjunction.com/kirst/konverter3.html
    http://www.riverjunction.com/kirst/history.html
    http://www.riverjunction.com/kirst/konverterFAQ.html
  11. Kaybe

    Kaybe G&G Enthusiast

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    ke4sky, .45acp? Through a 1858 Remington? Works for me. I won't have to get a new set of dies and such for the 45LC. Since I don't know anything about these, you can change back to black powder right? This isn't a permanent change to the gun? I like the accuracy of the 58 so far. Thank you for the info and the link, I will check it out.

    I went through the River Junction Trade Co. and couldn't find the conversions anywhere. Are they sold somewhere else?
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2009
  12. samuel

    samuel G&G Newbie

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    You probably will have trouble with jacketed bullets because of the reduced powder charge and copper having more friction than lead.Using 250gr pure lead bullets I use 6.5gr,s of unique,compared to 8.5 in a standard load.(not max) The 8.5 unique loads worked ok as long as I had a good crimp.The lighter loads didn't work with jackets and you risk a squib and sticking the bullet in the barrel.All loads should be pure lead the same as the round balls and conicals.Leading is minimal because of low velocity. ,,,sam.
  13. Kaybe

    Kaybe G&G Enthusiast

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    I found the website for the conversion. I contacted them and asked them about the 45acp and such. Thanks again for the info.
  14. ke4sky

    ke4sky G&G Newbie

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    .45 ACP Works for Me!

    The .45 ACP makes more sense. ACP brass is both cheap and plentiful. Factory 185-gr. loads shoot to the fixed sights, whereas 250-gr. .45 Colt slugs will shoot so far high that the gun is no longer useful without some gunsmithing to install a much higher front sight, which then renders the gun virtually useless for black powder shooting with round balls, because they will shoot so low.

    Yes, you can swap readily from the cartridge conversion cylinder back to the cap & ball with black powder, no problem.
  15. Kaybe

    Kaybe G&G Enthusiast

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    ke4sky, Thanks for the info. VTI told me that I have to download the .45acp to below 1000 fps. The cost is about 268 bucks. Not sure if I want to do that, but it is very tempting, shooting the 1858 without all the nasty cleanup.
  16. Kaybe

    Kaybe G&G Enthusiast

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    Talked to one of the gunsmiths from VTI. He stated that you shouldn't use copper plated bullets in the 58 Remington. The barrels do not have a high carbon steel like modern firearms do. Low carbon steel barrels is what he told me. for your information
  17. ke4sky

    ke4sky G&G Newbie

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    Standard pressure .45 ACP factory loads in the 185-gr., either JHP or wadcutter will work well. You just want to stay awazy from the +P Law Enforcement Only loads. I use mostly the H&G #68 200-gr. SWC with 4.5 grains of Bullsye, which is a common 50 yard bullseye practice load.
  18. DWFan

    DWFan G&G Enthusiast

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    The SAAMI pressure limit for the .45 ACP is 21,000 psi. The .45 ACP +P is 23,000 psi. The SAAMI pressure limit for the .45 Colt is only 14,000 psi. If the cylinder will handle the .45 ACP, the .45 Colt shouldn't be a problem.
    According to Handloader magazine, a 270gr bullet from the RCBS #45-270-SAA mold (available from Montana Bulletworks) over 7.5gr of Titegroup will generate 950fps from a 4" barrel with a pressure right at the .45 Colt 14 kpsi SAAMI limit....hummmm. Sounds like a serious combination for an 1858 Remington replica.
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2009
  19. samuel

    samuel G&G Newbie

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    Sounds to me like everyone is a genious as usual and knows they can make these cylinders/revolvers stand whatever they decide on instead of taking mfg advice/directions and using .45lc "cowboy"loads.What would we ever do without geniouses willing to push beyond mfg advised safety limits?We would never know for certain that guns will explode/disintegrate if pushed beyond reccomended loads.And besides,I love the exciting horor stories that these one eyed,one handed survivors or non-survivors relatives tell after the explosion.Makes me understand why I like following load instructions. ,,,sam.
  20. DWFan

    DWFan G&G Enthusiast

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    You could be right, sam. This could be the same situation that exists with the .460 Rowland conversions of the Ruger .45 ACP BlackHawk and S&W 625 cylinders. But that's another story for another thread. Apologies to the OP for digressing.
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