Sunday, September 24, 2006

Pietta 1858 Remington Revolver

I had a Cabela's discount card that was burning a hole in my wallet, so last week I ordered a 5.5" barreled Pietta 1858 Remington revolver from them. It came on the 13th and I shot it for the first time last night. (In the US, muzzleloading guns using loose powder and ball are not legally considered to be firearms under federal law. Some states do restrict them, but not Pennsylvania. So, I was able to order it online and have it shipped to my door via UPS.)

My first impressions are very favorable. I noticed one small ding from handling on the back of the frame to the left of the rear sight notch. Also, the bottom edge of the trigger has a little roll of metal that appears to be left over from a grinding oepration, but otherwise it looks great. The fit and polish of the brass triggerguard is superb. Wood-to-metal fit of the grips is excellent. The grips themselves are nicely-grained and finished walnut. Overall fit and finish is definitely better than my Euroarms 1858.

The Pietta's action is quite smooth, more like my Uberti 1851 Navy than the Euroarms 1858 Remington, which is rougher. The Euroarms gun seems to have a heavier hammerspring than the Pietta, but the latter still pops the caps just fine.

Two inches less barrel helps the balance quite a bit. My Euroarms hangs well and works great for offhand shooting. The Pietta is less muzzle heavy and in general is faster handling, but still hangs well.

Last night my dad and I shot it. We shot at 7 yards, one handed. Loads were Hornady .457 balls, 28 grain by volume of 3Fg Goex, CCI No.10 caps, and Dixie wads between powder and ball. Except for fliers, our groups were all one ragged hole.

I had a couple of instances where when loading the chamber must not have been perfectly aligned with the rammer, so I couldn't seat the ball flush. I had to remove the cylinder and smack the ball in with a mallet, then replace it and resume loading. I've never experienced this before. I think I'll chamfer the chamber mouths so if the rammer isn't quite aligned it'll be funnelled in.

I popped a cap on each nipple before loading and I experienced no ignition failures.

The gun was lubricated ahead of time with Ballistol. After a few cylinders it was starting to drag, but I'd forgotten to bring a bottle with me. So, I wiped down the base pin and put a couple of drops of FP-10 on it. For BP, FP-10 is definitely inferior to Ballistol.

Cleanup was quick and easy with Windex and hot water. I've come to favor Windex for BP cleaning. I think the surfactants in it do a great job of getting the fouling out.

I give the Pietta two thumbs up.


Don Armstrong said...

This is not directly relevant, but I've been meaning to ask - do you know if anyone has tried dubbin as a lubricant for cap-and-ball firearms? Dubbin is a no-colour leather dressing, mainly tallow and beeswax. It's more greasy or fatty than anything else - it doesn't give leather a low sheen - in fact it's a no-sheen dull greasy waterproof finish. Used for saddlery and tack, and also for footwear. Sounds like it ought to be a readily-available and economical alternative to Bore Butter - if it works, of course. Might be too greasy and readily melted, though.

Dave Markowitz said...


i've never read of anyone using dubbin, but if it's tallow and beeswax it should work well. One can buy mutton tallow from Dixie Gun Works and beeswax can be bought at a variety of places, if you want to make your own.

I've come to prefer using lubed wads between powder and ball. They aren't as messy as grease on top of the ball and work just as well. I'm planning on getting some felt and a punch to make my own.