Saturday, May 14, 2011

Colt 1862 and Remington 1858 Range Report

Today I took a spin up to Cabela's in Hamburg, PA. I'd hoped to be able to buy a 1,000 round bulk pack of Remington No.10 percussion caps at Cabela's, but found that they don't carry them in that quantity in the store. They only sell the 100 cap tins in the store.  So, along with a few other items I picked up two tins.

On the way back I stopped at Dixon's and wound up buying an Uberti Colt 1862 Pocket Police percussion revolver.  My dad had a Second-generation Colt 1862 when I was a kid that I enjoyed shooting so I recently developed a hankering for one.

The Pocket Police is one of the less common 19th Century percussion Colt revolvers. Colt made made from 1861 through 1873 and I've read different production figures given, from 20,000 to about 47,700. It's a 5-shot .36 caliber revolver built on the small frame originally used for Colt's .31 caliber guns. The originals were made in several barrel lengths; my replica has a 6.5" barrel. It weighs about 26 oz. The overall size is similar to a Ruger Single Six.

The Uberti's external finish is very nice but the action is not as smooth as older Ubertis I've handled and shot. For example, my Uberti 1851 Navy came from the factory with a very slick action. I may do a complete tear down and carefully polish the internals.

I put 20 rounds through the 1862 tonight using 12 grains by volume of 3Fg Triple 7 powder, a Wonder Wad, a Hornady .375 ball, and Remington No.10 caps. It took me about 10 rounds to get on paper at 10 yards.  My target was a paper plate and it turns out that the gun shoots about a foot and a half high at that range, due to the tiny front sight.

Unfortunately, I ran into some trouble with the '62. After the 13th or 14th shot, the lug attached to the underside of the barrel, to which the loading lever is latched, fell off. It landed on the table I was shooting over and I was able to tap it back into place but after several more shots, it fell off again. I decided to call it quits with the Uberti then. I'll reattach it tomorrow after making a few divots inside the dovetail so that it stays in place.  Darn annoying.

The small frame Colts seem even more prone to cap jams than the larger framed models like the 1851 Navy or 1860 Army.  There's just less room for the cap fragments to fall out of the gun.  I had several spent caps fall off the nipple and lodge between the hammer and frame. It's a good idea to invert the gun every time you recock it, to let cap fragments fall free. The Remingtons and Rogers & Spencer handle cap fragments much better than the Colts.

However, the Colts are much less susceptible to binding from powder fouling than the Remingtons. I attribute this to the Remington cylinder base pin that has part of it cut away to clear the screw which retains it and the loading lever. The cutaway area lets powder fouling in. The Rogers & Spencer has a cylinder base pin similar in size to the Remington, but lacks the cutaway section, and handles powder fouling very well.  The Colt base pin is larger in diameter than either, doesn't have any cutaways to let fouling in, and has grooves in it to hold grease.

Because of problems with several new guns I've taken to always bringing more than one gun with me whenever I go shooting. So, after cleaning off the Uberti, I did some shooting with my .36 Pietta 1858 Remington "New Army Police" (Remington never marketed a gun with that name).

My load was the same with the Remington although I increased the powder charge to 20 grains. Unlike most percussion revolvers which shoot high from the factory, this one actually shoots a little low. One of these days I'll bring a file with me and take a little off the front sight to raise the point of impact.

To keep the powder fouling under control I pulled the cylinder base pin after every 6 - 12 shots, wiped it off, and relubed it with Ballistol. I think it might be less prone to fouling with better lubed wads. The Wonder Wads I used tonight are lubed with Bore Butter, which works fine but they could use more of it. For example, last week when I shot my Euroarms 1858 .44 I used my homemade wads with much more lube, and the gun didn't bind as much.

Overall, the Pietta Remington was a pleasure to shoot. Recoil is mild due to the light ball and the heavy gun (it's built on the same frame as their .44s.) Accuracy was good with my 10 yard, one-hand group being about the size of my palm. I was pleased to see that it shoots .375 balls well. I'd bought this box over ten years ago for use in my Uberti 1851 Navy. In the '51 .375s group like I'm shooting a smoothbore, but the gun is very accurate with .380s.

Overall a good day. I'll post a followup on the Uberti once I get the kinks worked out.


Cemetery's Gun Blob said...

I've been meaning to pick up a 3rd Model Dragoon, but I just don't trust Uberti stuff right out of the box. Got another bad rifle, that I shipped right back.

But I've been using 40g of FFg in my Old Army's, with Bore Butter smeared on the cylinder after loading. I also use straight Ballistol on the cylinder pins, and after 50 shot's it still spins like new.

Enjoy the Smoke!!

Dave Markowitz said...

It does seem like Uberti's quality has slipped in the past few years. The fit and finish of my Pocket Police is outstanding but the action isn't nearly as smooth as the Uberti 1851 Navy I bought in 1992. Not to mention the lug dropping off the barrel.

The Ruger Old Army is much less prone to binding from powder fouling than the Remingtons, regardless of what you lube the base pin with. The Rogers & Spencer is similar to the Ruger in that respect. AAMOF, if you compare a ROA to a R&S you can see where Bill Ruger got some ideas.

I'd substitute 3Fg for the 2Fg. It'll burn cleaner and give you more velocity.

Cemetery's Gun Blob said...

I used Swiss FFFg with 40grains. Pulling that trigger made the gun jump loose from my grip. Makes me wonder about full house loads in Walkers.

I didn't notice any difference in the fouling when doing the Swiss vs GOEX.

But for Cowboy, we need to keep the velocity low.