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Thread: Frankenstein 1860 Conversion

  1. #1
    Boolit Bub
    Join Date
    Nov 2021
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    Minnesota
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    Frankenstein 1860 Conversion

    Thinking of a project involving conversion of a C&B 1860 Army into a cartridge .32-20. Cartridge conversions to .45 LC are established. Will involve the basic conversion of the C&B into cartridge (Kirst Konverter) and then reaming a barrel to accept a .32 (.312") barrel liner and creating chamber inserts into the .45 LC cylinder or modifying a .44 C&B cylinder to accept inserts in .32-20. Looked originally at using an 1851 Navy but those cylinders aren't long enough. 1860 cylinder is. I already have a .36 Navy barrel so will use that as the donor barrel to reline to make a Navy look on a Army frame. Larger grip is fine and barrel length will probably end up 5.5 to 6 inches.

    Does anyone see anything inherently wrong with the thought process?

  2. #2
    Boolit Grand Master
    Mk42gunner's Avatar
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    Aug 2005
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    Butler, MO
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    7,958
    It has been a while since I had both an 1851 Navy and an 1860 Army apart at the same time. I see two maybe problems: 1. Will the Navy barrel fit on the arbor of the 1860? and 2. Mounting pin distance and barrel centerline from the arbor of the navy barrel when mounted on an 1860.

    It would not be good if the barrel and cylinder don't line up.

    Good Luck,

    Robert

  3. #3
    Boolit Bub
    Join Date
    Nov 2021
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    Barrel fit on the two pins at front of frame has been checked and is tight and exterior contours fit as well. As for the cylinder and bore alignment I'm thinking that if they aren't "naturally" concentric that the chamber inserts can be reamed a bit off center to compensate before they are fixed in place. barrel fit on cylinder pin is tight and wedge hole appears appropriate also.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master

    Join Date
    Feb 2007
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    Lewiston, Idaho
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    2,374
    Doing a 51 Navy in 22 LR for a customer now. He found a cylinder that was designed for the 22. At the point of making an extractor now. Made a barrel liner from a cut off rifle barrel.

  5. #5
    Boolit Bub
    Join Date
    Nov 2021
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    Howell Arms and Kirst both make conversions for 1851s to .22.

  6. #6
    Boolit Bub
    Join Date
    Nov 2021
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    Minnesota
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    Project is moving along. Have a .32-20 pistol barrel that I might turn down but also have some .32-20 barrel liner on order. Have drill bit and reamers on order to ream 1851 barrel for liner. Have a couple of different round bars of 4140 for chamber inserts plus the chamber reamer and Go and No-Go gauges. Have Kirst Konverter in .45 LC. Also have a .44 C&B cylinder that I may try to line permanently and bore through, otherwise I'll make chamber inserts for the .45 LC Kirst cylinder.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master



    skeettx's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
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    Amarillo, Texas
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    Great thread, enjoying the progress

    Good speed

    Mike
    NRA Benefactor 2004 USAF RET 1971-95

  8. #8
    Boolit Buddy
    Join Date
    Aug 2021
    Posts
    126
    raises question,

    its known that the cartridge conversion process increases the stress on the frame, and severely shortens useful life.

    If 45 colt is bad, thoughts on 32-20? and then consider MODERN factory is all the Hi Vel stuff

  9. #9
    Boolit Bub
    Join Date
    Nov 2021
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    Minnesota
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    32-20 will all be handloads to BP pressures and velocities. Cast bullets, same as I'm running through a '73 Winchester clone.

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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