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CVA .36 cal brass frame 1861

My wife bought a CVA .36 cal brass frame 1861 5 1/2 inch barrel revolver at a yard sale for $10.00.
**Just what we all need "another" project gun.**
No nipples, no front sight, no blueing, light surface rust, but, no pitting. Grips look like a large dogs' chew toy.
So now the questions:
1. What is the correct nipple size?
2. Numrich has replacement grips for the CVA 1851 Navy, since they were all made by ARMI, I am assuming those grips will fit?
3. I have heard of brass frame revolvers stretching or shooting loose, any way of testing this before investing in restoration?
With the barrel wedge fully in, the cylinder will not turn, so I beleive I have some latitude.
I love my T/C hawken cougar and my Ruger old army, but, this is my first foray into B/P replica pistols.


  • navc130navc130 Member Posts: 1,187 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    It sounds like this may be an unfinished kit revolver. If so, the grips could be finished to shape by you. The Dixie Gun Works catalog shows all Italian reproduction revolvers nipple size as 6mm X.75 at $3.50 each. You should be able to get them at any store selling black powder guns. The theory of "stretching" a brass frame is because brass is not as strong as steel and the cylinder rod will loosen in the frame with extended use. I have no experience with this happening. It is hard to overload a .36 caliber black powder revolver. For what is invested I would fix it up to shoot.
  • stegsteg Member Posts: 871 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Your wife paid about what the gun is worth.
    I would fix it up enough to shoot and enjoy doing just that. I would not load it with more than 25 grains of FFG or its modern equivalent.
    And remember, brass framed revolvers are more subjet to corrosion than Steel framed ones, so after each fireing session, take the gun completely apart and clean it in scalding hot water with soap, dry, re-assemble and oil.
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