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Author Topic: R&D/Howell's Conversion Cylinders  (Read 7311 times)

04. May 2012 kl. 2:15:44
Read 7311 times

keeterh


Hi, I have a question about this technology for Mr. Flatnes and for the group as a whole. In searching suppliers for the Howell's Old West Conversion/R&D Conversion cylinders for the Uberti Remington 1858, the market seems to have two versions available.

Some sellers that do business here in the USA (I live in Virginia) offer a six-chamber cylinder, while some offer a five-shot version. I've checked with Taylor's, Midway and Buffalo Arms, as well as the Howell's Old West Conversions website.

I'm not sure why there are two versions, as it seems like under any conditions six would be more efficient than five shots. Can anyone clear that up? For example, are there loading limits for cartridges in the six shot cylinder that don't apply to the five chamber model (given the thickness of the steel in the chamber walls)?

I ask this because every 19th century source I have come across (U.S. Army small arms test reports, etc.), and 20th c. sources (authors like Elmer Keith and John Taffin) emphasize the versatility of the .45LC cartridge with max. black powder loads of 40(forty!) grains of powder under a 255 grain conoidal bullet. Backing off that maximum, a couple of my sources write that the army came up with combat loads of 30-ish grains of powder with military ball ammo (prob. soft lead bullets the same weight as the max. load or near it), yielding muzzle velocities that are comparable to the 1911 .45 ACP cartridge. That was the typical army .45LC round that the 1873 Peacemaker used. Taffin writes that his tests using RCBS bullet mould 45-255 and 38.6 grains of FFFg resulted in a muzzle velocity of 949fps and were "most accurate."

I want to be able safely to shoot up to Taffin's .45LC tested black powder load in my Uberti 1858 Remington using a conversion cylinder.

My other question concerns the engineering of the R&D cylinders. Mr Flatnes' great article shows clearly that his version of the 45LC cylinder has the Remington safety notches between each chamber, milled into the backplate. In my view, this is hugely important, as it allows the weapon to be carried safely with all six chambers loaded, just as can the cap-and-ball cylinder for this gun. It is one of the Remington revolver's best features.

However, most of the R&D conversion cylinders I've seen on the market don't seem have this feature. Why is that? Taylor's tells me that I would have to carry the pistol with the hammer on an empty chamber for safety. Not the best option, surely? So, where do I find one of these cylinders that can take the army/Taffin load, and has the Remington 1858 safety notches?

Thanks for any advice you have.

Respectfully,
-H.

04. May 2012 kl. 13:25:34
Reply #1

Øyvind F.

Administrator
If you stick to black powder loads I don't think you are in danger of overloading, even with near 40 grains loads, but check with the manufacturers to make sure. I get best results with very light loads of Wano PPP or Swiss #2. A typical load is 15–18 grains of Swiss #2, a cardboard wad, a grease cookie, another cardboard wad, semolina filler and a .454" roundball crimped on top. Sometimes I omit the wad and grease cookie and use soft lubrication over the chamber mouths – especially in warm weather.

I've also tried max loads and conical bullets, but with less satisfying results.

Mine has the safety notches, but I rarely carry it loaded in a holster. For safety reasons I guess it's safer to rest the hammer on an empty chamber.
Øyvind F. - forum admin
Ta også en kikk på kammerlader.no.

04. May 2012 kl. 14:58:01
Reply #2

Hunter

Guest
Mr. Flatnes,

Thanks. I appreciate the additional information. I have been seeing the same advice from retailers here in the States, re: carrying with the hammer down on an empty chamber for safety.

I'm happy to see also, according to the patent owner here in Virginia, that cartridges loaded to the approx. specification of the 19th century U.S. Army .45LC combat round (~30gr. vol. FFFg, ~250gr. bullet) are ok to shoot from this conversion cylinder. For competitive accuracy, your lighter loading does seem better, however.

Best regards,
-H.

04. May 2012 kl. 18:21:16
Reply #3

Øyvind F.

Administrator
It would be interesting if you post the results here when you get to try one of the cylinders. Here's one of my targets from the Nordic Championships in 2010 in Orivesi, Finland. We shoot 13 shots at 25 metres at two targets and the best 10 is counting. I think I ended up with 92 points and a bronze in this one. Same load as mentioned above, with T/C Bore Butter over the chamber mouths.



There are six shots on the target (X-X-X-9-9-8). Unfortunately, I messed up on the second :knegge:

Øyvind F. - forum admin
Ta også en kikk på kammerlader.no.

05. May 2012 kl. 1:56:15
Reply #4

Hunter

Guest
Mr. Flatnes,

That's excellent shooting! I hope to be able to work with one of these conversion cylinders later this year. I'll be sure to post a range report here when I do.

Meanwhile, my project is to master combustible paper cartridges for the .44 Remington and Colt army models, Colt's .36 navy and .31 pocket models. I have been researching the 19th c. manufacturing methods and am now trying to achieve the best configuration of materials and process for ease-of-making as well as practical loading at the range. I am trying to limit myself only to those materials that would have been readily available to 19th c. makers, so I am sourcing 100% cotton rag "onion skin" bond paper, potash, water glass (sodium silicate), etc. When I have made some more progress, I'll post a note here to let you know how it is going, if you are interested in that?

Best regards,
-H.

06. May 2012 kl. 12:27:26
Reply #5

Øyvind F.

Administrator
Paper cartridges are always interesting. I've fiddled a little bit with a similar project myself, and as far as I remember cigarette paper worked best. Your results will be appreciated by many, I'm sure. Keep up the good work!
Øyvind F. - forum admin
Ta også en kikk på kammerlader.no.