View Full Version : Long Live C&B Revolvers!

05-22-2005, 02:27 PM
Yesterday got spent shooting nothing but C&B repros. One of the sergeants at work belongs to West End Gun Club, and asked me to come along. He and his dad-in-law had new Rem 58 x 44 repros to get dirty, and I brought along my much-used ASM 1851 x 36, as well as a yet-unfired Uberti 1849 x 31 x 4".

Good grief, these cranky old wheelers are a ton of fun! It all began by fording Lytle Creek to access the site......axle deep water moving pretty good, but the rocky bottom gave good traction. No sweat. It was pretty warm, mid-90's and no shade. We had to put the Crisco in the ice chest to keep it from running, and not waste time getting the shots off either.

The Rem repros really shot well. Bruce the Sarge can shoot well, and he cut some cloverleaves at 25 yards using 30 grains of Pyrodreck and swaged RB's. One flier in every group, so he might have a bad hole--but the five-shot clusters hovered around 1.5" pretty reliably.

I used The Holy Black in my 31 and 36, Goex 3F. In the 36, I consumed a full box plus of Hornady .375" RB's, and had no stoppages--just two wipe-downs and re-greases of the cylinder arbor. This wheeler shot pretty well, too--2"-2.5" at 25 yards without fliers, 20 grains of the original stuff prompting the heavy metal along nicely.

The 31 didn't shoot quite as well as the 36.......moving the targets in to 50 feet, the little wheeler would do about 2.5"-3" using some #00 buckshot that I bought with the gun. These cut a small ring when balls were seated, so fit isn't an issue. These were a little tough to seat using the short loading lever, but I managed. The cylinder got draggy after 5 cylinder-fulls, so it was dismounted and wiped down, and the arbor re-greased. It behaved itself again, but got balky after 20-25 more shots. The load was 10 grains/3F, with Crisco sealing the chamber mouths.

A great time with the old tools, for sure.

05-22-2005, 10:25 PM
Al, Sounds like you had a great time.

I am seeing, and hearing, more and more about the .36's. I have never owned one, but the desire is very strong.
I have always believed, that in BP guns, "bigger was badder". I don't have a clue as to the wisdom of that, but it sure seems there is a lot of fun to be had with one of the .36's.

I witnessed a shooter at the range, shooting at fifty yards, knock the doggie dodo out of the black of a standard 25yd target using a 51 Navy....It was impressive!

Gawd! So many guns, sooo little time. :-?


05-22-2005, 10:27 PM
Wild Bill Hickok did all his nasty deeds with a pair of Navy 36 caliber Colts.


05-22-2005, 10:54 PM
The ASM 1851 repro used yesterday and another ASM 1860 repro in 44 have been very reliable repeaters for me. A third ASM (1861 repro in 36) is cranky and difficult to operate--the loading lever doesn't "creep" like it should.

I've hunted jackrabbits with these two wheelers, and they do a pretty good job if ranges stay around 50 yards or closer. Accuracy is there to do the job at such distances, and both the 36 and 44 RB's dispatch jacks with authority. The max capacity of of the 44 chamber--about 28 grains--isn't much more than the 36's 22 grain capacity. Therefore, the 36 shoots a lot faster and flatter to 35 yards-- a 70 grain RB about 900 FPS or so. The 44 RB at 140 grains goes about 700 FPS, which will fetch a jack smartly upon contact--but it has something of a basketball trajectory past 30 yards.

I would rate the 36 a better small game/varmint rig than the 44. My plans for the 31 will depend on its accuracy and velocity--the 45 grain RB doesn't have much mass, so it needs to shoot fairly flat and fast to have much utility past 25 yards.

Wayne Smith
05-23-2005, 07:44 AM
Deputy Al

It's a lot easier to shoot them, and a mite cleaner too, if you loose the Crisco and use Wonder Wads under the ball. Or, as I do, make your own with BP bullet lube and Frost King wool weathr stripping - make sure you get the real wool stuff.

The beauty is that you can holster the gun and not get the Crisco grease stain on it. I've found that I can shoot a few more cylinders using this porcedure than with using over ball lube.

05-23-2005, 09:34 AM
All, I've had great fun with C & B revolvers, starting with a no-name Colt '51 replica (***) and now a Euroarms NM Army & Ruger OM Army. The NM Army came with an undersized cylinder (a true joy to reload!), but shot reasonably well. However, with a correctly sized cyl. and .451" RB's (home cast usually), it is surprisingly accurate with 30gr. BP or Pyro P. The Ruger is wonderfully accurate (6 into 1" @ 25 yds.) particularly with 35gr. loads (.457" home cast RB's).

As for lubes, there was lots of discussion of them on the Shooters' Talk site, but most of it was critical of commercial stuff: Overpriced Crisco; petroleum based (so what?), etc. While you can't beat the price of Crisco, you'll find it doesn't dissolve BP or Pyro fouling very well. I generally use T/C or Ox-Yoke lubes (yellow; smell like oil of wintergreen/Ben Gay) to seal the cylinder, but only if I can get them on sale. When they're gone, I'll use home-brewed Emmerts.

05-23-2005, 10:13 AM
Interesting comments. The chief problem you deal with in my part of the country is heat--it makes Crisco and Wonder Lube both runny and well nigh unusable. The Wonder Wads are cleaner, but the dry climate hereabouts makes for some pretty crusty fouling that Wonder Wads won't do much about.

Emmert's Lube.......heard about it, but know nothing other than that. Is it "stiffer" than Wonder Lube? Since it's home-made, can its viscosity be adjusted?

05-23-2005, 01:39 PM
Al, I imagine you can adjust the proportions of the Emmert's Lube components to get a stiffer lube. The batch I concocted is soft enough to work in my Lube-A-Matic in my unheated basement, but I don't know how runny it will be in the summer. Here are three recipes for Emmert's Lube:

8 oz. beeswax, 7 oz. white Crisco, 1.5 oz. Wesson oil. Do not overheat the mixture as it will ruin it.

12 oz. beeswax, 9 oz. white Crisco, 2 1/4 oz. Wesson oil. Same caution about overheating as above.

By Volume: 50% beeswax, 40% white Crisco, 10% canola oil. Same caution about overheating as above.

I followed the volumetric recipe, but used toilet ring seals, which I had an abundance of at the time, instead of beeswax. However, since toilet seals are soft at room temperature and beeswax is not, you may find the above recipes result in a stiffer lube than I brewed. Hope this helps!

05-23-2005, 02:37 PM
Thanks, Maven! Gotta brew some of that and see how it holds up in 110 degree jackrabbit hunts.

05-23-2005, 05:41 PM
Back when I played with C&B revolvers a lot, I used a pinch of Cream of Wheat, under the bullets. It creates a barrier to avoid flash over, and doesn't melt. With a well lubed cylinder pin, 3-4 cylinders would be able to be fired before it started to bind a bit.

06-10-2005, 11:19 PM
FWIW, in my steel framed Navy .44, I've been using Emmert's with @ 6% lanolin added. I just cut a popsickle stick short enough to fit into a cough drop tin, where I poured the Emmert's. It WILL melt if allowed to get hot, but MUCH slower and MUCH less than Crisco will. I've also never had a stoppage due to fouling when using Emmert's either. I just seat the ball over the powder, then take the popsickle stick and scrape some of the hard lube off the surface, and invert the popsickle stick over the cylinder and ball, and wipe it into over the ball. Then I just smush it out with my pinky finger to spread it evenly and completely around the sides of the cylinder. Haven't had any chain fires yet doing it this way.

If I need to holster the gun for a while, the lube stays put. I think the lanolin in the mix helps keep it firmly attached where I smushed it into the cylinders around the ball.

Accuracy's good, but I'm just starting with the C&B routine, and haven't thoroughly wrung it out yet. Being able to load almost indefinitely really helps wring the last drop of fun out of shooting these guns, and they ARE a whole passel of fun, too!

The gun cleans up easily, too, and there's absolutely no leading. A man could really get ADDICTED to these guns!

06-15-2005, 03:30 PM
My favorite C and B revolver was a Remington style that I rebarreled with a 1 in 16 twist barrel I got from Numerichs. With 28 grains of FFG and a grease wad under the ball the gun would shoot as good as my K 38. I have an 1860 Army right now that is in need of a new tube as it has a 1 48 twist and does not handle reduced charges well. The best it will group is 3" or so at 25 yards. With a tight gun and a good barrel I have found these guns to be every bit as accurate as the best guns made now days.

Just by the by in 1911 you could still order a brand new 1851 Navy from Alpha in Germany for about 12 marks.