Colt Army Model 1860 revolver

Posts related to handguns (pistols, revolvers)
User avatar
xl_target
Old Timer
Old Timer
Posts: 3483
Joined: Wed Jul 29, 2009 7:47 am
Location: USA

Colt Army Model 1860 revolver

Post by xl_target » Wed Sep 17, 2014 3:14 am

Many of us grew up with a healthy dose of Hollywood to fire our imaginations. My favorite movies were war movies and westerns. Unlike many of the previous generation, I grew up with Clint Eastwood instead of john Wayne. Movies like The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, The Outlaw Josey Wales and Pale Rider, among others, were very enjoyable.

Image
“You boys going to draw or whistle Dixie”. Josey Wales with his Colt 1860 Army and his Walker Colt.
Image from here


We are all familiar with the Colt 1873 “Peacemaker” but I’ve always been fascinated by the weapons of the US Civil War. The period immediately after the civil war saw many ex-soldiers drifting west. They took their weapons with them and used those weapons to settle the west. Even though cartridge firearms were gaining acceptance, they were expensive and black powder arms continued to be used during this time. Whether it was wild animals or Indian tribes who resented the incursion of these white settlers; those guns came in handy.
My personal favorites are two of the well known “Army” model handguns used in the Civil War. They were the Remington “New Army” 1858 model and the Colt Army Model 1860. These handguns were issued to US soldiers, just like the Beretta M9 is issued to them today. Later there were also cartridge conversions cylinders available for these handguns. This allowed you to use metallic cartridges in them. The 1851 Navy model is also nice but .36 caliber out of a black powder revolver seems kinda puny to me.


Here you can see Clint Eastwood, calmly reloading by replacing the cylinder in his 1858 Remington revolver, as he walks towards the bad guy. (Pale Rider)

I’ve posted a photo of the Colt Army Model 1860 several times in my Minnesota State Parks post.
To me there is no denying the appeal of this large, well made handgun with its sculpted barrel assembly.
Image
The Colt Army Model 1860 displayed at Fort Ridgely, Minnesota.

So, with the encouragement of a friend, I decide on a black powder version instead of a cartridge conversion. I can always pick up a cartridge conversion cylinder later. My wife, ever encouraging, says “go for it”.
Do I really need another handgun? “What’s need got to do with it”? asks the little guy, with horns and a red suit, who sits on my right shoulder occasionally. “Besides that”, he says; “Cabelas is having a sale again”. :)

Thus reassured, I headed down to Cabelas to make my choice. I was determined to check fit and finish and try out the action before I bought it. As luck would have it, the very first one I picked up had very well done color case hardening, an exceptional trigger and a crisp action. Sold! I then had to pick up all the stuff to make a black powder revolver run on the range. Man, is there a lot of stuff needed. Powder, Percussion Caps, Ox-yoke patches, lubricant, balls, a nipple wrench (get your minds out of the gutter, you jokers), a powder measure, a capper, a rubber faced hammer, nylon bore/cylinder brush, a .45 caliber jag, an extra cylinder, a belt and holster set with an extra cylinder pouch. Phew! I don’t think I’m done yet.

Oh well, with the next revolver, I shouldn't need anything extra, right? Right?
“Never give in, never give in, never; never; never; never – in nothing, great or small, large or petty – never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense” — Winston Churchill, Oct 29, 1941

For Advertising mail webmaster
User avatar
Baljit
Shooting true
Shooting true
Posts: 873
Joined: Tue Jun 23, 2009 8:27 am
Location: Kelowna , BC . Canada

Re: Colt Army Model 1860 revolver

Post by Baljit » Wed Sep 17, 2014 4:15 am

Wow!! Very nice XL,Thanks for all the info and pictures.Like to know about price if it's on sale.
It's my dream to hold these kind of guns (off course shoot as well) one day.
I am also a big fan of Clint Eastwood and watched lot's of his movies.All the movies name you mentions here ( The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, The Outlaw Josey Wales,Pale Rider) so many time and have all in DVDs.

Thanks again for all the info and pictures.
Baljit

User avatar
timmy
Veteran
Veteran
Posts: 1956
Joined: Mon Dec 08, 2008 7:03 am
Location: I'm a Nuevo Mexicano in Cowboy Land

Re: Colt Army Model 1860 revolver

Post by timmy » Wed Sep 17, 2014 4:33 am

XL: what fun! (until you have to clean it after a day at the range) I like the 1860 Army because it has a nice grip. The 1851 Navy grip is too small for my hand, but that is the one Colt used for the 1873 Single Action Army. :-( The 1860 Army grip is longer and more like the Bisley grip used on the target versions of the 1873.

You can get hold of the Army and it is balanced quite nicely, which is surprising for such a long, large handgun.

I never use the same brushes for black powder as i do for smokeless cleanup.

Let us know how the shooting goes!

BTW, I'll bet you will be shopping for a holster or two, before this story is over! I think you need to get the duds and go into Cowboy Action Shooting. Will you be a gambler or a sheriff? Some of the clothing for that is quite elaborate, and it sounds like a lot of fun.
Regards,
tim

User avatar
xl_target
Old Timer
Old Timer
Posts: 3483
Joined: Wed Jul 29, 2009 7:47 am
Location: USA

Re: Colt Army Model 1860 revolver

Post by xl_target » Wed Sep 17, 2014 6:49 am

Well, Tim, I did get the holster and belt already.
You're correct, it does balance well. Surprising, it is easy to hold steady, even though it is 14 inches long.
I was actually able to hit an eight inch steel plate at 100 yards with it. That is something I don't attempt with my regular pistols, especially standing, unsupported. It took a few shots to figure out where it was hitting and once lined up it rang the plate with surprising authority.

Image
I have done some Cowboy Action Shooting but just don't have the time to do it regularly.

Baljit,
I picked it up at Cabelas for $199 (that included a $20 off coupon). An incredible value for what you get.
The accessories, however, cost more than that. :)



Image
My Pietta Colt Army Model 1860 replica
The bluing is well done. The color case hardening is quite pretty, the action is crisp and the trigger is amazing. The cylinder locks up rock solid.

I couldn't find any black powder so I used a substitute called Triple 7. It fouls less than black powder and is slightly more powerful (by volume).
I was mainly checking for function and I ran around 50 rounds through it, which took all afternoon. Apart from the tendency to spit fired caps all over, it functioned well. Next time I go to the range, I will do some accuracy and velocity testing.

Cleaning wasn't so bad. Hot water and dish soap took everything off. There was no leading in the barrel that I could tell.
“Never give in, never give in, never; never; never; never – in nothing, great or small, large or petty – never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense” — Winston Churchill, Oct 29, 1941

ckkalyan
Veteran
Veteran
Posts: 1424
Joined: Sat May 29, 2010 10:37 pm
Location: British Columbia, Canada
Contact:

Re: Colt Army Model 1860 revolver

Post by ckkalyan » Wed Sep 17, 2014 7:28 am

Nice cowboy action - you (squints his eyes and then says again).....YOU! - the villian in Pale Rider! I loved the purposeful jingle of Eastwood's spurs all through 'the walk'! :D

What a quick draw - badman hardly lifts his gun halfway from his holster! Clint empties one gun, pulls out another from his waistband and - BANG! Now you know xl_target why you need another matching revolver, another belt and few more cylinders, plus of course the hat? One is never enough with these hog legs :lol:

Congratularions xl_target on your latest acquisition!

I remember this one - awesome! You got a great deal!? :)

Image

Image

Congratulations again - ENJOY! :D
When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns!

User avatar
timmy
Veteran
Veteran
Posts: 1956
Joined: Mon Dec 08, 2008 7:03 am
Location: I'm a Nuevo Mexicano in Cowboy Land

Re: Colt Army Model 1860 revolver

Post by timmy » Wed Sep 17, 2014 7:58 am

CK, he needs the poncho now!

XL, I have never tried the triple 7, but gave up on that black powder stuff. I only use Pyrodex now. It is so much less messy!

My Old Army took 0.457 balls. I think they say yours uses 0.451? Some guys say using the 0.457 balls give more bearing surface, even tho they are harder to seat. You might want to keep it in mind if you're playing around.
Regards,
tim

User avatar
xl_target
Old Timer
Old Timer
Posts: 3483
Joined: Wed Jul 29, 2009 7:47 am
Location: USA

Re: Colt Army Model 1860 revolver

Post by xl_target » Wed Sep 17, 2014 8:14 am

Tim, I bought .454 balls and .451 balls. Both shave a ring off when seating.
I haven't done any real accuracy testing yet but the 100 yard gong was shot with the .451 balls.
The revolver is rated for 30 grains of BP but if you're using Triple 7, you're only supposed to use 28 grains. I only took it up to 25 grains last weekend. Fouling wasn't so bad seeing that I was able to get 50 shots off without cleaning. The barrel cylinder gap is quite tight, tight enough that it was cleaning the gunk of the top off the cylinder but it still functioned fine. The only issue was the dang spent caps falling off on cocking. I had to keep turning it on its side. The people behind me at the range wouldn't appreciate me pointing it backwards when cocking.


A little bit slower than old Clint, eh?
“Never give in, never give in, never; never; never; never – in nothing, great or small, large or petty – never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense” — Winston Churchill, Oct 29, 1941

User avatar
timmy
Veteran
Veteran
Posts: 1956
Joined: Mon Dec 08, 2008 7:03 am
Location: I'm a Nuevo Mexicano in Cowboy Land

Re: Colt Army Model 1860 revolver

Post by timmy » Wed Sep 17, 2014 8:32 am

Lots of fun!

I noticed that during the first round of shooting, there was a considerable time between the cap being busted and ignition, but then the subsequent series all went well, with somewhat sharp reports.

If you use 28 grains, can you seat the ball easily? I would stash as much as I could get into the Ruger, and sometimes it took a bit of effort to ram the ball in enough to allow the cylinder to turn.

I think i could get about 200 or so rounds off with it before I had to tear the lockwork apart, because the black powder got so filthy it would jam things up.

I keep thinking that I need to get one of those Army jobs like you have -- they are so much fun!
Regards,
tim

User avatar
xl_target
Old Timer
Old Timer
Posts: 3483
Joined: Wed Jul 29, 2009 7:47 am
Location: USA

Re: Colt Army Model 1860 revolver

Post by xl_target » Wed Sep 17, 2014 8:49 am

timmy wrote:Lots of fun!

I noticed that during the first round of shooting, there was a considerable time between the cap being busted and ignition, but then the subsequent series all went well, with somewhat sharp reports.
Could have been some residual oil in the nipples/cylinders? I also started off with a lower charge; 20 grains of Triple7. After the first couple of cylinders, I went up to 25 grains .
If you use 28 grains, can you seat the ball easily? I would stash as much as I could get into the Ruger, and sometimes it took a bit of effort to ram the ball in enough to allow the cylinder to turn.
The ball seats well below the rim of the cylinder. I was thinking of using some cream of wheat as a filler but they don't recommend that triple 7 be compressed too much. Any ideas?
I think i could get about 200 or so rounds off with it before I had to tear the lockwork apart, because the black powder got so filthy it would jam things up.
I keep thinking that I need to get one of those Army jobs like you have -- they are so much fun!
Tim, I wish you could still get Ruger's "Old Army". That was the toughest, strongest action of any BP revolver. I was thinking of getting some Slix Shot nipples. They are supposed to alleviate the cap spitting problem. I've read where the caps of yesteryear were made of much thicker metal and didn't exhibit as many problems as those of today. I was using Remington #10 caps.
“Never give in, never give in, never; never; never; never – in nothing, great or small, large or petty – never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense” — Winston Churchill, Oct 29, 1941

User avatar
timmy
Veteran
Veteran
Posts: 1956
Joined: Mon Dec 08, 2008 7:03 am
Location: I'm a Nuevo Mexicano in Cowboy Land

Re: Colt Army Model 1860 revolver

Post by timmy » Wed Sep 17, 2014 9:18 am

XL, I always used those caps, but had a popped cap come off and get in the way only seldom. They do say that black powder wants to be compressed, with no empty volume, but I'm not sure about the modern stuff. I'm only shooting a rifle now and always seat the ball firmly, no matter what in it.

Maybe you could find a different cap? I don't buy them very often, but I hardly see anything but the Remington caps, anyway.

Oil would always be an issue if it's present. But the bore butter and special lubes, plus the pyro dext makes cleanup a lot easier now. Maybe now that you've shot it, you have all of the packing oil out, anyway.

The Ruger is a big weapon. I had to order some Herrett's stocks for it (Steve Herrett was alive back then!) just to be able to hold on to it for any length of time. Your Army may not hold 40 grains, but it's a lot better balanced and has a lot better grip! For 28 grains, why worry about the strength or top strap? Old Col. Sam knew how to do it!

Back in those days, the local gun shop had a Colt 3rd Model Dragoon -- a real Colt, but the modern one. They picked up right from the old range of serial numbers. Another in the long list that I let get away...

Maybe the newer nipples would help -- I can't say.

Someone makes wads soaked in bore butter that you can seat under the ball, and they are in various calibers, just for what you are doing. They would probably keep your bore cleaner over the long shooting sessions. I can look tomorrow for them.
Regards,
tim

User avatar
xl_target
Old Timer
Old Timer
Posts: 3483
Joined: Wed Jul 29, 2009 7:47 am
Location: USA

Re: Colt Army Model 1860 revolver

Post by xl_target » Wed Sep 17, 2014 9:38 am

I am currently using felt wads soaked in Wonderlube under the ball.
“Never give in, never give in, never; never; never; never – in nothing, great or small, large or petty – never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense” — Winston Churchill, Oct 29, 1941

dr.jayakumar
Veteran
Veteran
Posts: 1906
Joined: Tue Apr 06, 2010 9:55 am
Location: tamilnadu,india

Re: Colt Army Model 1860 revolver

Post by dr.jayakumar » Wed Sep 17, 2014 10:41 am

Congratulation XL.i never knew it was a black powder and a muzzle loader.and i am a fan of clint eastwood.
nice aquisition.
regards
dr.jk

User avatar
essdee1972
Veteran
Veteran
Posts: 1195
Joined: Fri Oct 01, 2010 5:54 pm
Location: Mumbai, Maharashtra

Re: Colt Army Model 1860 revolver

Post by essdee1972 » Wed Sep 17, 2014 3:20 pm

Congrats!!

Now you need a vest, poncho, the 10-gallon Stetson, boots and chaps, gloves, bandanna, rawhide lariat.......

And don't ya be goin' and forgettin' yore hoss, pardner!
Cheers!

EssDee
__________________________________________________________________________________________________________
In a polity, each citizen is to possess his own arms, which are not supplied or owned by the state.Aristotle

Get up, stand up, Stand up for your rights. Get up, stand up, Don't give up the fight.Bob Marley

User avatar
xl_target
Old Timer
Old Timer
Posts: 3483
Joined: Wed Jul 29, 2009 7:47 am
Location: USA

Re: Colt Army Model 1860 revolver

Post by xl_target » Thu Sep 18, 2014 12:34 am

Esdee,
Got the cowboy boots. I've worn cowboy boots since 1981. They are very comfortable and versatile.

After reading your post, I got curious. How much does a Stetson go for?
So I went to Stetson's site and priced a hat that I liked.
Ahem! drumroll.....$246.... Ouch!
That's more than I paid for the gun. Aint happenin'.
I think I will stay with my free ball caps that I usually wear.

The Clint Eastwood repro poncho?
Image
$165... aint happening.

So I guess I won't be dressing up like Clint Eastwood.
That's OK as no one will be laughing at me then. :)
“Never give in, never give in, never; never; never; never – in nothing, great or small, large or petty – never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense” — Winston Churchill, Oct 29, 1941

User avatar
timmy
Veteran
Veteran
Posts: 1956
Joined: Mon Dec 08, 2008 7:03 am
Location: I'm a Nuevo Mexicano in Cowboy Land

Re: Colt Army Model 1860 revolver

Post by timmy » Thu Sep 18, 2014 4:57 am

Most everyone should have a pair of boots!

I got married in boots. Gail thought that was natural and the flatlanders in the family knew better than to try to change my mind before or comment after!

Poncho: Why pay for something expensive? Just look in a place that deals in Mexican craft goods, buy a cheap blanket, and cut a slit in the middle. Then it will have an authentic look. The only remaining thing would be to practice flipping it open to draw.

Hats: Stetsons are not the cheapest chapeau. Anyway, an old used one can have more character. What I want is a large sombrero.
Regards,
tim

Post Reply