1858 Remington Army & Navy

Discussion in 'Black Powder Shooting / Muzzleloaders / Handguns' started by Hawke, Dec 23, 2011.

  1. Hawke

    Hawke Member

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    Greetings all,

    I recently came into possession of both guns mentioned in this thread's topic. The Army is in .44 caliber, and the Navy is in .36 (a massive shock, I know.)

    At any rate: I purchased the necessaries for shooting the Army model today, and I found that the .433 balls I bought were simply rolling out of the cylinders, even after I had pressed them in on top of 30 grains of powder. Back to the shop I went, and I purchased a box of .44 caliber round balls. These were a tighter fit, but still pulled out with the loading rod.

    Here are my questions: are these balls meant to be patched or simply seated against the charge? I ended up patching some of the .433's with a pre-lubed .018 patch and that made for a nice snug fit, but that would put the caliber of the overall projectile at .451 in a gun that's (allegedly) .44 caliber. It seemed to shoot pretty well nonetheless, with a total of 12 rounds put through it.

    Does anyone have any experience with this? I am not well-experienced with bp revolvers, and I would like to solicit the opinions and insight of those more knowledgeable than me. Any advice you care to provide would be most welcome, particularly as it relates to the size of an ideal charge, patch or not, &c &c.

    The Army model is a brass-framed gun by CVA. The Navy model is a steel-framed piece that is an actual Remington.
  2. ofitg

    ofitg New Member

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    Hawke, you should use balls that are a couple thousands of an inch oversize to fit into the chambers. When you ram the balls into the chambers, the chamber mouths should shave little lead "rings" off the balls.

    I don't know about the exact dimensions of CVA cylinders, .451 balls might work, but it might be better to try .454 balls.

    For the .36 caliber, I would try .376 to .378 balls.
  3. jack404

    jack404 Former Guest

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    +1 on what oftig stated
  4. Hawg

    Hawg Active Member

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    .Yep, .454's for the Army and I like .380's for the Navy but .375's should work ok. One thing tho, 30 grains of powder is too much for a brass frame. It won't blow up or break but it will beat itself into a paperweight pretty quick. 20 is more reasonable in a .44 brass frame. If you see the cylinder ratchet starting to imprint the recoil shield you better back your loads down cuz you're well on your way to having a paperweight.

    [​IMG]
  5. Hawke

    Hawke Member

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    Many thanks for the information, all. When I first received the Army, I stripped it down to its base components for a good cleaning. I noticed that the cylinder does not like to rotate if the muzzle is pointed anywhere north of level. The barb that is meant to engage the cylinder ratchet seems to have a fair amount of play in it with regard to wiggling in and out of its slot (forgive my use of technical terms, please :rolleyes:) and I would welcome opinions on that - whether it is a common issue and the like.

    What load would you recommend for the Navy? It is steel-framed - would 30 grains of 3F be appropriate?
  6. ofitg

    ofitg New Member

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    Hawke, guns sold by CVA have a history of "hit or miss" quality. I would be especially suspicious of a brass-framed model, these were usually the cheapest. Internal parts might not be held to the tightest tolerances, they might be too soft, or they might not be properly tempered.... and there is the possibility that a previous owner has already beat up your .44 with maximum powder charges. It sounds like you need to show it to a gunsmith.

    Regarding the .36, you indicated that it is an original Remington, and I would be a little nervous about shooting a 150-year-old gun.... but that's just me. If it was a modern repro, I would recommend 20-grain powder charges behind the round ball.
  7. jjmitchell60

    jjmitchell60 Active Member

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    There are 3 different sizes of balls for the 44, .451, .454, & .457 that are used in about all that I know of but am in no way an expert. I use 457 in all my 44 revolvers because all you are doing by using 457s when 454s will do is shaving an extar .003 of leasd off as you load into the cylinder which IMHO gives a better seal. Now I also use an over the powder wad as well as a filler such as cream of wheat to make sure the ball is seated right at the end of teh cylinder. It does help some with accuracy. You have been given great info above IMHO as well but try the 457 balls and see how they work for you.

    In the 44 I use 30 grainsd andin my 36s I use 20 grains and I use 3F in both although I have used 2F in the 44s on occasions I ran out of 3F.
  8. Hawg

    Hawg Active Member

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    Sounds like the hand spring is broken and when the muzzle is tilted up the hand falls back in the slot. The gun is probably an Armi san Marco so parts may be hard to find. You can probably fit a Pietta or Uberti hand but even the correct hand will have to be fitted to some degree. The good news is you can make a new spring out of a bobby pin and reuse the old hand.

    .44's come in .451, .454 and .457. The .451's are generally too small for newer repros and either don't shave a good ring or move under recoil. A filler is not necessary unless your loads are so light the ram won't compress the powder with the ball. Any gain in accuracy from using a filler will only be evident from a bench rest. A 20-23 grain load is pretty good for a .36 steel frame. I use 25.
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2011
  9. tyc

    tyc New Member

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    For what it's worth, I use .457 ball size in my Uberti "New Army" .44, with a 20 grain load. The only mistake I initially made was using #11 caps which resulted in occassional jamming. Should have used #10 caps.

    Hope this helps.

    tyc
  10. Alpo

    Alpo Well-Known Member

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    The problem is he is using rifle balls. Rifles use a smaller diameter ball with a patch. My 50 caliber rifle uses a patched 490 ball. So a 433 ball would be right for a 44 rifle. Single shot pistols would use the same thing. He probably bought 350, or thereabouts, balls for the Navy pistol, if he bought balls for it when he bought the ones for the Army. That would be correct for a 36 rifle, like the T/C Seneca.

    Revolvers, as have been pointed out, use a larger diameter ball. When you force them into the cylinder, it shaves a bit of lead off all the way around the ball, and gives an extremely tight friction fit.
  11. Hawke

    Hawke Member

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    The Army model was indeed manufactured by ASM, and I'm very glad to hear about that bobby pin fix :D

    I do have a few more questions for you, gentlemen, and I do thank you for all the help you've given me so far.

    I'd like to learn more about the wads you mentioned, jjmitchell60, and about the filler you mentioned. What are the wads made of? Are they pre-fabricated or is it something you make yourself? I use newspaper for wadding in my 1777 AN IX - is it a similar principle? And as for the filler: do you keep a separate flask of it handy and measure in X-number of grains atop the powder?

    I would also welcome opinions from everyone on which maker they think is best for the reproduction bp revolvers in terms of overall quality. I've developed this nagging feeling that I'm going to have to buy a matched pair of steel-framed Army models so I can wear one on each hip before I'll be happy :eek:

    I don't know about you all, but I've developed a sort of manic attraction to black powder shooting since I was introduced to it a year ago. My problem is that I don't know a whole lot about it, yet I'm trying to go at it full blast (not unlike certain political persons on the subject of health care reform.) I'm my own biggest threat, for cripes' sakes!
  12. Hawg

    Hawg Active Member

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    Wads are made from wool felt. You can buy them lubed or unlubed or make your own. Filler can be cornmeal, cream of wheat etc. It would be best to measure it. As far as overall quality is concerned Uberti and Pietta are about equal. Uberti has a little better wood to metal fit. Pietta likes to make their grips a little thicker so there's usually some proud wood where the grips meet the frame. Uberti has dovetailed front sights and loading lever lugs where Pietta's are pressed in. Uberti is a little more discreet with the placement of their name and the ever present "BLACK POWDER ONLY" billboard. Pietta plasters their name on the side of the barrel. Best bang for the buck is a Pietta from Cabela's.
  13. Pustic

    Pustic Member

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    I have never had that problem with my Remingtons, and I have 5 of them. As with any cap and ball revolvers, you want to use an oversized ball. With the .44, you want to use either a .451 or a .454 ball. You do not patch a revolver ball. I don't have a .36, so I don't know, but you do want it to be oversized. When you seat the ball, you want a thin ring to shave off the balls, that gives you a good seal. If you do it right, you won't need to slop grease all over the front end of the cylinder.
  14. 32HR MAG

    32HR MAG New Member

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    please google 1858 Remington on the world wide web..454,.457 for the .44,which is really a .45 and .375,.380 if you can find them for the .36
  15. BlackEagle

    BlackEagle Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    If you decide to make your own, there are recipies for making your own lubricant. Look for Gatofeo's post on this page here in the forum: http://www.thefirearmsforum.com/showthread.php?t=92244&highlight=wad

    I've made a stack of wads and soaked them in this recipe, and will try them next time I'm shooting my Remington NMA 44.

    You have come to the right place to ask questions. Lots of good advice here from people with lots of experience.

    Oh, and don't put off cleaning. (but you probably already know that):)
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