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Thread: Customizing cap and ball revolvers

  1. #1
    Boolit Master

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    Customizing cap and ball revolvers

    I was just wondering if anybody alters or has altered a cap and ball from its original historic look. Quite a few are not even all that authentic a copy to begin with. I have seen a few homemade belly gun types and Pietta makes one of those, kind of wondering if there are others out there. I like this one, especially having decent sights without the long target barrel.

    Back in the land of boolits.

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    Boolit Master

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    I did my first one in 1984 for a friend who wanted a carry gun and was a dedicated muzzleloader. Cut an 1858 Remington to 5 inches and refitted the action parts. That gun would shoot into 6 inches at 100 long steps. We currently do a bulldog like the video and the Mormon Avenger that is made on an 1851 Navy frame. We do the grips a little different and I will post a photo late of one that is in the works now.

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    Boolit Master Texas by God's Avatar
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    I installed dovetail sights on the barrel of a brass frame .44 51 copy and cut down the hammer sight. The front sight was from a P14 Eddystone. It is a superbly accurate revolver.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G930A using Tapatalk

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    Boolit Master pietro's Avatar
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    .

    The author of that video, Mike Beliveau, writes for a pretty decent C&B revolver mag, Guns of the Old West.

    Being a subscriber, I have years of back issues, where a multitude of different custom C&B revolvers have been covered - many of which gave me ideas for customizing my own guns.

    The latest issue contains an article on snub-nose conversions.


    .
    Last edited by pietro; 12-14-2017 at 12:57 PM.
    Experience is a wonderful thing - It lets you recognize a mistake, when you make it again.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by pietro View Post
    .

    The author of that video, Mike Beliveau, writes for a pretty decent C&B revolver mag, Guns of the Old West.

    Being a subscriber, I have years of back issues, where a multitude of different custom C&B revolvers have been covered - many of which gave me ideas for customizing my own guns.


    .
    I have read one or two killing time in the past. I have only recently become interested in these. Having a case of bp going unused and ending up with 50 pounds of round balls in a trade probably increases that interest. I might need to check for some back issues.
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  6. #6
    Boolit Master Texas by God's Avatar
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    I gave mine to a cowboy friend. Now you've got me wanting another- maybe a Remington this time........

  7. #7
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    Here's my Ruger ROA. There are almost too many modifications to list, Power Inc Colt grip frame, Classicballistx cylinder, Goon reworked lockwork, Clement Bisley hammer, brass dovetail sight, insert rear sight, internal overtravel trigger stop, trued barrel face, 11 degree forcing cone , 11 degree muzzle crown, Munden Gunfighter custom grips, Slixshot nipples, warnings removed from the barrel...there's a bit moreI just can't recall them right now.

    I started doing the mods before the gun went into price orbit. The ROA isn't modeled after any historic revolver that I know of. It sure isn't now.

    I shoot 210 BigLube HP bullets out of it with all the kaboom that Triple 7 can muster, about 45 grains. The gun is an absolute joy to shoot. I bought the BigLube 210gr mold and then had Hollow Point Mold Service make it drop big freakin' HP's. I did this for the obvious reason but also so I could use the HP hole and a custom tip to center it perfectly on my reloading stand. It now pushes the bullet perfectly down into the cylinder perfectly, easily and quickly every time. I thought about doing this to one of the rams I have for the ROA but I never load on the gun. It's too much of a pain.

    I only wish they weren't worth so much as I would have it finished in Black Nitride. I think it would look awesome in the deep polished black. I'm not a true fan of stainless steel look. However, doing that I believe would kill whatever value the gun has left compared to an OEM ROA.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    The good thing about science is that it's true no matter if you believe it or not. (Neil DeGrasse Tyson)

    I was scolding my 5-year old for her and her friends making a giant mess in her room. She said they all did it. So I asked her: If all her friends jumped off a cliff, would she do it too? She said, "Oh no daddy! I would go to the bottom and try to catch them! They're my friends." Man, either I have a great kid or she has a stupid father.

  8. #8
    Boolit Buddy
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    Nice ROA AbitNutz!!!

    Mike

  9. #9
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    Hey Abit, nice looking gun! how does it shoot with(accuracy) your boolit?
    Look twice, shoot once.

  10. #10
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    The biggest thng is getting the innards right. A lot of the Itie guns are either soft or poorly fitted or both. I tend to fit Uberti parts when I can as they have proven to be the best. the other end of the spectrum would be the ASM's, with Pietta in between. The old Belgian made 1860 were pretty darn good out of the box albeit with heavy triggers.

    Here is a list of a just done conversion for a customer on a Pietta.
    The gun was totally disassembled and a new locking bolt fitted and timed for full lock up.
    A new hand and spring was fitted so that at full cock there was no play in the cylinder.
    The barrel was lapped and crowned dead square and lightly champhered.
    The sight notch was milled square and a little deeper to mate up with the front sight.
    The hammer was trimmed to hit the frame before it hit the nipple and the nipples were replaced.
    The trigger was honed to a 3# let off.
    The frame was milled to a full round butt configuration and the stocks recut to match and refinished to a gloss finish.
    A quick release base pin retainer was fitted.
    The whole gun was then reblued.

    One item in there needs comment as all of the replica's have this wrong. You should never had battered nipples as the hammer should bottom on the frame before it actually touches the nipple. This takes carefull hand fitting. I first noticed this when I had to clean up a pretty mint original. The hammer face stopped just shy of the nipples and the hammer face showed no indents but it was still 100% reliable.
    .

  11. #11
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    Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	209499Here is a conversion prior to blueing.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by KCSO View Post
    Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	209499Here is a conversion prior to blueing.
    Nice! Looks like one of my antique bull dog revolvers, especially with the round butt. Now, about the hammer bottoming on the frame. Does it eventually wear its way to striking the nipples?
    Back in the land of boolits.

  13. #13
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    Not that I can see as the frame contact is way more than hammer nose to nipple, Most of the ones I have fitted only have maybe a thousand rounds or less. As a side note in the other direction I had a COLT as in New Colt parts by Uberti finished by H and R in USA that had the frame so poorly finished that the hammer wouldn't even come close to the caps. We found the shipping instruction in the box under the foam from Uberti to H and R for finish. So much for the extra dollars for a COLT Colt.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by nekshot View Post
    Hey Abit, nice looking gun! how does it shoot with(accuracy) your boolit?
    This is at 25 yards....45gr of Triple Seven, 200gr BigLube Hollow Point, RWS cap, soft leasd, no leading....lots of smoke and recoil. Since then I've drifted the front sight a bit and it's dead on now. Click image for larger version. 

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    The good thing about science is that it's true no matter if you believe it or not. (Neil DeGrasse Tyson)

    I was scolding my 5-year old for her and her friends making a giant mess in her room. She said they all did it. So I asked her: If all her friends jumped off a cliff, would she do it too? She said, "Oh no daddy! I would go to the bottom and try to catch them! They're my friends." Man, either I have a great kid or she has a stupid father.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by 45 Dragoon View Post
    Nice ROA AbitNutz!!!

    Mike
    You should know! Works great too!
    The good thing about science is that it's true no matter if you believe it or not. (Neil DeGrasse Tyson)

    I was scolding my 5-year old for her and her friends making a giant mess in her room. She said they all did it. So I asked her: If all her friends jumped off a cliff, would she do it too? She said, "Oh no daddy! I would go to the bottom and try to catch them! They're my friends." Man, either I have a great kid or she has a stupid father.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    Wow, thats a good shooting gun. Are you gonna carry it concealed? (just joking!!)
    Look twice, shoot once.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by AbitNutz View Post
    I only wish they weren't worth so much as I would have it finished in Black Nitride. I think it would look awesome in the deep polished black. I'm not a true fan of stainless steel look. However, doing that I believe would kill whatever value the gun has left compared to an OEM ROA.
    I had to look that process up, and it looks interesting. It says it makes the steel harder, some say all the way through the parts. Harder usually means brittle as well, and I wonder if this would be an issue in something not originally designed for the treatment? Wouldn't have to worry about the soft steel of an Italian BP replica anymore with that treatment, just be sure to do any work on it beforehand. Corrosion resistant as well looks like.
    Back in the land of boolits.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by texassako View Post
    I had to look that process up, and it looks interesting. It says it makes the steel harder, some say all the way through the parts. Harder usually means brittle as well, and I wonder if this would be an issue in something not originally designed for the treatment? Wouldn't have to worry about the soft steel of an Italian BP replica anymore with that treatment, just be sure to do any work on it beforehand. Corrosion resistant as well looks like.
    I've done more than a few guns in "Black Nitride". They all turn out killer. In my opinion, take that for what it's worth, it's the best finish you can put on a firearm, easpecially a stainless steel firearm. I'm not a gigantic fan of shiny stainless guns. Black Nitride is the trade name that is most common. It's Melonite or Tenifer or a bunch of other ones. Most are done by H&R Metal Processing up in Akron Ohio. They're a family owned business and are good folks that humor nutz like me that wander in with disassembled 1zies and 2zies. They're used to rolling whole racks of barrels, frames and major parts groups into their processing room.

    I can't say enough good things about the company or Black Nitride. I have a Uberti stainless 1858 Remington that is on the soft side. I'm going to have it done along with a couple of rifle barrels pretty soon. We'll see if it puts some starch in its alloy.
    The good thing about science is that it's true no matter if you believe it or not. (Neil DeGrasse Tyson)

    I was scolding my 5-year old for her and her friends making a giant mess in her room. She said they all did it. So I asked her: If all her friends jumped off a cliff, would she do it too? She said, "Oh no daddy! I would go to the bottom and try to catch them! They're my friends." Man, either I have a great kid or she has a stupid father.

  19. #19
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    Worked at an Emerson motor plant for a few years. Some of our shafts were Melonite treated. The surface was very hard, but the hardness was less than .002 inches deep.

  20. #20
    Boolit Master
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    I think in some applications it may go deeper because if they screw it up they turn the barrel into a noodle....
    The good thing about science is that it's true no matter if you believe it or not. (Neil DeGrasse Tyson)

    I was scolding my 5-year old for her and her friends making a giant mess in her room. She said they all did it. So I asked her: If all her friends jumped off a cliff, would she do it too? She said, "Oh no daddy! I would go to the bottom and try to catch them! They're my friends." Man, either I have a great kid or she has a stupid father.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check