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Thread: C&B Revolvers. . .Which One?

  1. #1
    Boolit Master

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    C&B Revolvers. . .Which One?

    I have this strange recurring itch that hasn't been scratched.

    Seems there's this odd debate going on in my head between a '51 Navy and a '60 Army. I thought I'd ask the assembled multitudes to weigh in with their opinions on the merits, technical and otherwise.

    The '58 Remington has an outside shot, but really, seems to "modern" with its solid frame for the itch to truly be satisfied. The '75 cartridge version has a shot, but not the purpose of the current exercise.

    If you have a love for any of these or their close relatives, please chime in.
    WWJMBD?

    "I'M MELLLLLLLLLLTING!" - Elphaba

  2. #2
    I have them all. For a first C&B Revolver, you can't go wrong with a steel 1851 Navy. 36 Caliber, one of the best balanced of them all. The 1860 Army is a good looking one as well, 44 caliber. You really can't go wrong with either. Check out YouTube and Duelist1954 - he has lots to say on the subject.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    I have several .36 Navy pistols and also have a '58 Remington. I like them both....they have different good and bad qualities about them. Ease of cleaning, sight picture, history, nostalgia, etc., etc.,.... Once you have one, you'll eventually have many. Or you could just start buying Colt Walkers, and then you might end up with a few of those as well.
    "Do not follow where the path might lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail" Ralph Waldo Emerson

  4. #4
    Boolit Buddy arcticap's Avatar
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    1st. I'm a Remington fan all of the way simply because the cylinders are made to be swapped out in no time flat.
    You can buy extras, load them on a loading press and have them ready to go with only needing to keep the cylinder pin lubed.
    Some don't like the Remington grip and complain about interference with the trigger guard which is the trade off.
    I shoot with 2 hands so I don't care.
    Plus there's a Remington target model with a rear adjustable sight.
    And now Dixie sells a Pietta Remington with a slightly larger grip frame that allows more room for guys with larger hands.
    Remingtons do not have nearly as many cap jam problems as the Colts do.

    2nd. The '60 Army has sexy lines and a round barrel.
    It also has a ratcheting loading lever and was originally made in .44 so it's closer to being true to the original.
    The grip is more suited for traditional one handed shooting.
    It will shoot high and the sights [hammer notch] will need to be adjusted

    3rd. The '51 is often said to have a slightly sloppier action than the '60 due to having more cylinder play.
    That may be the result of enlarging what was originally a .36 frame and reproducing it as a .44 for the reproduction models.
    But some folks like the '51 grip and octagon barrel better, and that's their choice.

    Both the Remington and the '51 are also made in .36 if that's the '51 Colt that you're after and not the .44.
    The Pietta .36 Remington holds more powder and is built on the same .44 Remington frame so it's heavier but more potent.

    But all of the Uberti Colts are known for possibly needing some work done right out of the box due to their short arbor design flaw.
    That's why it's hard to beat a Pietta as being the best bang for the buck.
    If money isn't an object than disregard the need for fine tuning and make your informed choice.

    Cabela's offers some of the best prices, but Old South Firearms sells Traditions Piettas that come with the Traditions 1 year warranty
    at very competitive prices depending on their stock and which models are being discounted which frequently changes.
    Not trying to offend anyone, but we all have our biases and pocket books to consider.
    Last edited by arcticap; 04-03-2019 at 12:39 AM.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master GhostHawk's Avatar
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    I just never cared for the Navy style. Prefered a solid frame gun so I went with the Remington in .36 with adjustable sights. Still have it, don't shoot it. I'm lazy, black powder is too much work. Have considered looking for a conversion cylinder for it.

    If you can find those round red plastic caps, it makes a terrific cap gun.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master

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    Arcticap - lotta good intel there. Thanks!

    The Hickockian connection of the .36 Navy has a lot of appeal, as does the blue/gray nature of the '60. Probably gonna have to start wrapping my fist around guns to see what moves me.

    Anybody ever take game or do any milk jug/wet newspaper science with these things?
    WWJMBD?

    "I'M MELLLLLLLLLLTING!" - Elphaba

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    I bought a Colt Second Generation 1851 Navy .36 with the square back trigger guard , brand new back in the 70s.
    I still have not fired it.
    I like the gun , but the grips and trigger guard are just too small for my hand.
    My finger barely fit in the guard , and the square back guard digs into my other finger.
    So that is something you need to check before you make a decision.
    Last edited by LAGS; 04-03-2019 at 08:47 AM.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master pietro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bigslug View Post

    The Hickockian connection of the .36 Navy has a lot of appeal, as does the blue/gray nature of the '60.

    Probably gonna have to start wrapping my fist around guns to see what moves me.


    FWIW:

    A Colt 1860 model (and it's clones) have a gripframe that's larger/longer (downward) than the Colt 1851's do - which most folks find more comfortable to shoot.

    A Model 1860 (and it's variations) have round barrels with a sleeker frame design to house the loading ram.

    A Model 1851 have octagon barrels and a squared-off frame housing the loading ram.


    Having owned a number of different C&B revolvers over the years, I found that a Pietta will give you the most value (in shooting) for your dollars than the others.


    Here are most of the various configs:




    I am lately enamored of the more petite C&B revolvers, and have chosen a 5-shot .36 Colt (type) Model 1862 Pocket (below, compared to an 1860)).





    I shoot mine all day, lubing via Crisco lard atop the loaded bullet - which, while sloppy, makes cleanup a snap.



    .
    Experience is a wonderful thing - It lets you recognize a mistake, when you make it again.

  9. #9
    Boolit Grand Master

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    While I own Navies (.36 and .44) and a Remmie, I must say the 1860 .44 wins my vote easily as my favorite.
    KE4GWE - - - - - - Colt 1860, it just feels right.

  10. #10
    Boolit Buddy ofitg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bigslug View Post
    Arcticap - lotta good intel there. Thanks!

    The Hickockian connection of the .36 Navy has a lot of appeal, as does the blue/gray nature of the '60. Probably gonna have to start wrapping my fist around guns to see what moves me.

    Anybody ever take game or do any milk jug/wet newspaper science with these things?
    Ed Sanow published some gelatin test data back in 1998 - his "One Shot Stop" values were calculated, based upon the gelatin test data, so you might take the "One Shot Stop" values with a grain of salt....

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  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    I've got most of the 'standards', an 1847 Dragoon, 1860 Colt .44, 1851's in .44 and .36, the little 5 shot .36, a little 5-shot .31 and an 1858 Reminton .44. All Italian clones of course. The best 'feeling' of the bunch in my hands are the 1851's followed by the 1860's. While I like the mechanics and solid frame of the 1858 Remington, I just can't reach the the hammer to cock the Remington with one-hand as easily as the 1851's and 1860's, the Remington just lacks that 'feel'. On 'MY LIST' is the 1861 Colt .36, it just looks good. If I had to choose, an 1861 or 1851 Colt's (clone) in .36 would be my choice for a first fun C+B revolver. Uberti or Pietta both are well-made, Uberti might have a very slight edge, though the importer can make a difference, Cimarron, Taylor's...

  12. #12
    Boolit Master

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    The most user-friendly, IME, is the 1860 Army. Easier to load, with better rammer leverage, easier to cap with fingers, if you have to pinch the caps slightly, and the big cylinder arbor holds enough grease to keep the thing running for 60 shots or so. The one I had also shed busted caps better than some of the other designs. A friend with a 51 Navy seems to get a cap fragment down under the hammer at least once every range session. Having to take a loaded, capped cylinder off a disassembled gun to clear it, with greasy hands, could be a safety problem.

    Colt was the only manufacturer who studied the gas flow out of the front of the chambers into the barrel, and tried to minimize the driving of fouling back into the cylinder axle. He got a patent for it (I forget the number).

    When I go out cap and ball shooting, I want to keep shooting until I run out of something: caps, balls, powder or targets. The cleanup is the same, whether one shot of 100 are fired. After ten cylinders full, I pop out the wedge, wipe the arbor with a damp cloth, regrease, reassemble, and fire some more. After the wipe, it’s maybe 3-4 cylinders before things get draggy again, but another wipe and grease and things keep going.

    A friend with a Remington was doing good to get four cylinders full before things started gunking up. That skinny axle and tiny hole in the cylinder doesn’t hold much lubricant, so the wipe and grease was much less effective.

    I just plink with the things, so I see no significant difference in accuracy between the open top and solid frame revolvers.

    All bets are off, of course, if you think a given style is Cool. The Heart wants what the Heart wants.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    My Second Generation Colt was from what I hear made by an Off Shore Company , but I can't remember which one.
    It is very well made compared to some of the recent imports that I have seen.
    But now the Colt has a Third generation made in the 80's but I don't know it was the same manufacture.

  14. #14
    Boolit Mold BlackPowderLove's Avatar
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    The Navy is a nice balanced pistol and shoots well. .36 is a nice little load for shooting and inexpensive. I really like my Army though in .44 It is a shooter and big enough to do some hunting with as well.
    “Tradition is not to preserve the ashes but to pass on the flame”

  15. #15
    Boolit Man
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    I have a 2nd generation Colt 1851 Navy, an Uberti 1860 Army and a Euroarms Remington 1858 New Army.

    The Remington clone is .44 caliber, has the nicest sight picture and no cap troubles. it will shoot round balls and conicals, but will foul out faster than the Colts.

    The 1860 Army is the sleekest looking and the Army grip frame is the best feeling of the bunch. Nominally .44 caliber, it takes .454 diameter bullets as opposed to .451 for the Remington.

    The Colt Navy is the fastest handling, lower recoil of the .36 caliber a major factor. (As a kid I wondered if sailors were easier to kill.)

    Most of the cap troubles can be eliminated by pointing the barrels straight up when cocking the Colts. Any cap remnants are then more likely to fall clear rather than causing misfires getting jammed between the hammer and the frame

    The Remington is almost perfect with a six o'clock hold on a 25 yard rapid fire pistol target.

    Both Colts do indeed shoot high at 25 yards, however, they are hit the point of aim at a 100. Really useful when you challenge your buddy with his modern plastic pistol to ringing the 100 meter gong.
    Last edited by one-eyed fat man; 04-03-2019 at 11:19 AM.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master

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    I have Navies, Remmies, but my favorite is the Colt 1860 Army. When I pick it up, it just feels right!

    HINT, if you want to make a new front sight so you can file it down and zero at closer range, get a brass door key, or any door or car key, and start filing, cutting and grinding it down.
    Maker of Silver Boolits for Werewolf hunting.

    WWG1WGA!

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    Any of the three will do just fine. I would also recommend any made by pietta because of their quality and value. The only thing to remember is you don't want one with a brass frame cause the frame won't hold up to much use.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master

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    You are going to need one of each. Start with the one on sale.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master

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    I've got several.....hard to chose between the '51 Navy and the '60 Army. I'm pretty sure it won't matter which one you start out with -- you'll probably sooner than later wind up with both!

    No one seems to have specifically mentioned the 1861 Navy, which is still "period authentic" and which has the lines of the Army with the Navy caliber. I think it's my favorite.

    And then, there's the pistol that never was, the .44 Cal. '51 Navy as made by Pietta. For those who like the .44 Cal., but admire the lines and balance of the old Navy model.

    DG

  20. #20
    Boolit Master RED BEAR's Avatar
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    I would say its just a matter of personal preference. I think the 1851's just plain look and feel better in my hand and i just love the little sheriff's model. And this is just a personal thing i don't like the looks on the 1860. I had a rogers and spencer full frame and it just felt clumsy in my hand. I have never really liked large guns for me the smaller the better. But this is just a personal preference.

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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"
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GC Gas Check