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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
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This happened to a friend last week at the range. He sent me the pics and asked what happened. Honestly , I shoot autos and don’t know much about wheelguns, especially these old style western types. Thought I’d post for more info, and relay an interesting story......and scary!

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This is what he shoots. He is a relatively experienced shooter, but limited collector. Said always wanted a western style six shooter, so bought this from LGS about six months ago. I know next to nothing about this style pistol, so did my due diligence on google!

Seems it’s an Italian made, with headstamp date indicating manufacture in 2018. All looked odd to me so I asked more questions. He told me, he was told when he bought it, that this was produced as black powder, but modified to shoot cartridges.........is that even legal??? Supposedly 44 Rem Mag. Not marked anywhere on the pistol though.

He has shot it for last six month no problem.........all Factory 44 Rem Mag......no reloads.

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This is the box of bullets he bought 3 weeks ago, at another LGS. Bought two others like it. He loaded first six cartridges, and noticed much louder shots, but gun seemed to be functioning so shot all six. Removed cylinder, an had to pound out the cartridges. All six were split. So he got another box of different ammo, loaded and shot just fine.

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Upon inspection he found that 12 of the bullets in the Federal box had a Winchester headstamp!! Look right side of rows of bullets......six he shot were same as next six marked W-W Super 44 Rem Mag. All others were federal with FC headstamp. Other 2 boxes all were FC headstamp.

Were these cartridges were simply overloaded reloads??? Would somebody replace these just to cause the kaboom??? Is there something else I am missing relative to revolvers and/or this style pistol??? To me, the idea that this was a black powder converted to cartridge is the elephant in the room, but I don’t know anything about these type firearms.
 

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What kind of revolver is it? I have never seen one chambered in .44 Mag that was styled like a cap and ball revolver.

This is the box of bullets he bought 3 weeks ago, at another LGS. Bought two others like it. He loaded first six cartridges, and noticed much louder shots, but gun seemed to be functioning so shot all six. Removed cylinder, an had to pound out the cartridges. All six were split. So he got another box of different ammo, loaded and shot just fine.

View attachment 743454 View attachment 743464

Upon inspection he found that 12 of the bullets in the Federal box had a Winchester headstamp!! Look right side of rows of bullets......six he shot were same as next six marked W-W Super 45 Rem Mag. All others were federal with FC headstamp. Other 2 boxes all were FC headstamp.
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He bought a box of ammo in a gun shop that was mixed brand and caliber?

Or is the ".45" a typo? If the gun shop is selling "pre-owned" ammo, I wouldn't set foot in there again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks G26.....will relay info. I didn’t know two were so close.

So he may have a 45 long colt cylinder. I will ask again about previous range trips.

Like I said, he is a “relatively” experienced shooter......may have purchased 6 mos ago, shot with proper 45 long colt, then down the road got confused and bought 44. He did say he loaded and shot afterwards out of an old box......maybe those were 45 long colt. I could see that.
 

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Thanks G26.....will relay info. I didn’t know two were so close.

So he may have a 45 long colt cylinder. I will ask again about previous range trips.

Like I said, he is a “relatively” experienced shooter......may have purchased 6 mos ago, shot with proper 45 long colt, then down the road got confused and bought 44. He did say he loaded and shot afterwards out of an old box......maybe those were 45 long colt. I could see that.
I was just thinking the same. I don't think there is any such thing as a ".44 Magnum" conversion cylinder for a black powder revolver. But there is a .45 Colt conversion cylinder that is intended for use in ".44 Cal." black powder revolvers.

I'll guess friend bought a cool looking revolver, assumed the numbers .44" always mean ".44 Magnum" and it actually has a Taylor's or similar .45 long colt cylinder.

That would explain his brass splitting, since the cylinder is bigger than the cartridge. Also a testament to the company that made the cylinder, that a .44 Mag didn't blow it up.
 

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Thanks G26.....will relay info. I didn’t know two were so close.

So he may have a 45 long colt cylinder. I will ask again about previous range trips.

Like I said, he is a “relatively” experienced shooter......may have purchased 6 mos ago, shot with proper 45 long colt, then down the road got confused and bought 44. He did say he loaded and shot afterwards out of an old box......maybe those were 45 long colt. I could see that.
the simple test is to see if a 45 colt fits in the chamber
 

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I agree with Bren, I have seen the 45LC cylinders but I don't think I have ever seen a 44mag BP conversion cylinder. That could easily explain the brass splitting especially if it was weaker than usual.

RD
 

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He is tripping the trigger on a hand held grenade everytime he fires that Remington 1858 reproduction BLACK POWDER revolver w/ a cartridge cylinder and .44 Remington magnum cartridges in it! cartidges
Tell him to STOP IMMEDIATELY!!
That Remington repro revolver has had the black powder cylinder replaced with a cartridge cylinder, chambered in .45 Colt. That is somewhat common. And with FACTORY .45 Colt cartridges, it is OK to shoot, as Factory .45 Colt loads are fairly light.
Yes, .44 Remington Magnum probably do fit, due to the Cylinder bore being big for the .45 Colt, and no counter bore step in the cylinder. So the .44 Rem Magnum cartridges fit. And just a touch loosely, too. The cases split because of the excessive pressure expands the cases to far for their expansion ability and the brass fails as it stretches.
He is damn lucky he hasn't killed himself so far. Had that Remington 1858 revolver had a brass frame, he would very likely be dead. That the steel frame and cylinder held together is a testament to what ever company made his reproduction revolver.
Because of the over pressure that revolver has seen, it may very well be wrecked, due to stretching. He needs to find a pistolsmith who knows 1858 Rems and have it checked out.
But as of right now. Tell him to STOP! NOW! No more .44 Magnums loads. Ever again. That is NOT a .44 Magnum revolver.
 

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To add: Yes the 1858 Remington is marked and considered a .44 caliber. But it actually has closer to .45 caliber bore. And will take factory .45 long Colt cartridges in a cartridge conversion cylinder. Which is what he has. Due to so many old .45 colts being out in the world, and the fact that originally the .45 colt cartridge was black powder driven, factory .45 colt cartridges are not real "hot", pressure wise. Even though the new .45 colt cartridges are loaded w/ smokeless powder, the pressure curve on factory .45 Colt cartridges is very light, so as to not overpressure an original 1873 Colt Peacemaker revolver, least it become a hand Grenade.
 
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This is an interesting thread! I don't know much about these conversions, but good info in this thread.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks to everybody for replies.

Ofc.JL.......ABSOLUTELY told him to stop firing the pistol when he initially told me what happened.

Just got off the phone with him. I confirmed he has put supposedly “hundreds” of 44mag through the pistol up to now.....no problems. I find very curious.

Although I cannot claim as knowledge, as it was a more of a “I kinda thought that”, I also thought those old reproductions were 45 long colt......which several of you stated. I even recall when he told me he purchased the pistol, I thought, “I didn’t know they made those in 44mag”.

He brought the ammo back to the LGS where he purchased......which I was mistaken, and is in fact the SAME LGS where he bought the pistol.......and showed them the ammo. They assured him that it came from a brand new case they had just opened, and were confounded.......hmmmmm.

I suspect the LGS is the problem. They are one I do not trust at all. Been in business for years and I had a few dealings with them many years ago and simply got a bad feeling about them so avoid em. Cant say I had a bed experience, just a bad feeling. I find their prices are also overly inflated and have always felt they prey on the less knowledgeable in the gun world. They sold him the pistol AND the corresponding ammo......all 44 Mag supposedly.

He is bringing me the pistol and ammo tomorrow so I can caliper the chambers. After what you guys said, I will be very surprised if it calipers out c/w 44mag.......which I understand is .430. Numbers I have found for 45colt are .452-.459.

Thanks again for the help. I’ll post tomorrow with findings.
 

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Agree with the above, .44s in a .45 cylinder; you can see how the .44 cases expanded before they split. The gas blowing down the barrel past the undersize bullet is probably the only thing that kept triple pressure from demolishing the gun.

The gun was made as cap and ball, it has Italian black powder proof marks. The conversion cylinder is a Howell or Taylor with individual firing pin for each chamber. Probably a Taylor, the gun looks like a Taylor model variant. The factory reproduction conversions are more like the originals.

The gun may well be marked or box labeled as ".44" and the .45 conversion cylinder lacking markings and without its literature. That would be an easy way for the ignorant clerk and shooter to use the wrong ammo.

History: The .44 designation for the percussion revolver is based on the BORE diameter. The barrel is .440" land to land. Nominal groove diameter is .450" with a plus tolerance so it might be larger than that. The .45 cartridge gun is defined by bullet/groove diameter, standardized at .452" after WWII.
The .44 Magnum shoots .429-.430" bullets because Smith and Wesson went from heel type .44 bullets to inside lubricated bullets to suit the Russians.

44mag.......which I understand is .430. Numbers I have found for 45colt are .452-.459.
Those are bullet diameters. The chamber throat - FRONT of the cylinder - should be close to or just over bullet diameter. The flat tips of a common caliper won't give a true inside diameter but should show the .022" difference.


Mixed ammo shows up every now and then; usually from somebody fingering ammo from two boxes.
In 'Sixguns' 1960 Elmer Keith said that Winchester .44 Magnum was loaded hotter than Remington, giving sticky extraction from Model 29 and Blackhawk.
 

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IMO, one lucky guy ...
Have had black powder pistols before, and also a Mod 29 44mag.
No way in hell would I put a 44mag in one of the black pdr guns even with a convertor cylinder
 
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What Jim said(Thank you, Mr. Watson!). What saved your friend is the undersize .44 bullet allowing gas pressure to go around them in the bore. Your friend is a special kind of just really lucky.
Have him get that 1858 checked out, and if OK, then nothing but .45 Colt factory loads from now on. And he needs to do a little research and education on his particular revolver and black powder cap and ball and cartridge conversions, lest he leave his wife rich.
Good luck, DrVlad, and BtW, good job on averting a bad accident.
 
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Oh, and if that Gun Shop told him that was OK, they(or the Clerk) are just plain ignorant about firearms in general.
When it comes to firearms, the Devil is in the Details.
 

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Just got off the phone with him. I confirmed he has put supposedly “hundreds” of 44mag through the pistol up to now.....no problems. I find very curious.
Evern if the local gun dealer is an idiot and sold him the wrong ammo and didn't know what caliber the gun was, I find it very hard to believe your friend got a lot of .44 Mag rounds through this without cases splitting before now.
He brought the ammo back to the LGS where he purchased......which I was mistaken, and is in fact the SAME LGS where he bought the pistol.......and showed them the ammo. They assured him that it came from a brand new case they had just opened, and were confounded.......hmmmmm.
Either your friend is losing his mind or the dealer is full of $#!+.

Does he call it a "kaiser blade" or a "sling blade"? Just curious.
 

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VERY lucky human! Holding this in his hand. :cheers:

dynamite.jpg
 

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That's a typical result of shooting 44 mags in a 45 Colt. The cartridge and bullet are so undersize it doesn't generate much pressure, just sorta rattles the 429 bullet down the 454 pipe. I'd be surprised if any real damage was done.
 
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Not magnum pressure but a .44-40 in a .45 Colt revolver will just kind of bloop.
A .45 Colt in a .44-40 lever action causes a monumental jam.
A friend found out the hard way at a couple of CAS matches when he went to the wrong ammo at the loading table.
 
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