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cartridge conversions?

swopjanswopjan Member Posts: 3,292
I've seen conversions of the 1860 and 1861, i'm wondering if other cap and ball revolvers were commonly converted. I imagine converted 1851's were not unheard of and 1858's then as now probably only needed a cylinder change. What about dragoons or colt's .31 caliber offerings, or less common guns like the 1863 Starr single-action? What cartridges did they accept? Any pictures or history would be appreciated too.


  • stegsteg Member Posts: 871 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    All models of Colt percussion revolvers were converted to cartridges, some by the factory, but most by local gunsmiths. A wide variety of converstyles were used apart from those done by the Hartford factory. Starting in 1868, one could send his pistol back to Hartford and for a few bucks, they would convert it. The conversion cost less than a new cartridge Colt of the same caliber.
    There are known today at least 1 Pocket Paterson, 2 Texas Patersons and one Walker that were converted for cartridge use.
  • swopjanswopjan Member Posts: 3,292
    edited November -1
    Thanks steg! What cartridges did they shoot? I imagine rimfire cartridges like 44 RF for the Walker, maybe .32 rimfire for some of the smaller ones. Do you know if any of the converted Patersons were .28 caliber and what they were converted to?

    What, if any, cartridge revolvers did Colt make before 1873?
  • stegsteg Member Posts: 871 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    No Paterson or Walkers were factory converted to cartridge. The few of these two types that were converted were done by local gunsmiths. I do not know of any .28 cal. Colt (Paterson or Root Model) that was converted. To my knowledge, there never was a .28 cal. blackpowder cartridge manufactured.
    As for the other calibers , .36cal. became .38cal. and .44 became either .44 or .45 cal. In all cases both rim and centerfire conversions were done with centerfire predominating.
    You will find that rim fire Colts in these calibers are rather rare because these cartridges were never popular.
    You will find that Percussion revolvers were in common use until around 1900, because one could purchase powder, caps and blocks of lead at any general store, whereas finding cartridges to fit your pistols was often hard to do. Not every town had a gun smith or store that sold cartridges.
    Percussion revolvers did not fade from use until the ammunition manufacturers stopped manufacturing percussion caps somewhere around 1890. No one manufactured percussion caps again until the Italians started to manufacture Colt replicas in the late 1950's and early 1960's.
  • v35v35 Member Posts: 13,200
    edited November -1
    I bought Remington pistol caps before 1950 that I used on a boot pistol.
    My H.S. buddies had a Colt 1849 and a British D.A. percussion revolver that we fired.
    The 1940 Stoeger catalog lists them as well as percussion firearms so it seems caps were always available.
  • machine gun moranmachine gun moran Member Posts: 5,198
    edited November -1
    I've been wondering if maybe Cimarron might do us a favor and have Uberti or Pietta start making conversion copies of the 1849's and the 1862's. The 1849's could be in .32 Long, and the 1862's in .38 Special (or better yet in .38 S&W, which is an authentic period cartridge which is still available).

    They could also probably sell a lot of them in .22rf.
  • steve45steve45 Member Posts: 2,915 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    It seems like Midway or Brownells used to sell replacement cartridge cylinders for percussion black powder guns. I remember they were expensive but pretty cool.
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