Black Powder Pistol

Discerning Shooters’ Black Powder Pistol and Black Powder Revolver Depot

My thanks to Michael Shepherd of for permission
to reproduce the photo of an English Turnaround Percussion Black Powder Pistol

Dale Calder who hails originally from Whangarei, New Zealand has had an interest in handguns including black powder pistols over many years.
He has now reached a point in his life where he would like to indulge that interest further by participating in the firing of reproduction
black powder revolvers and pistols here in Auckland, the City of Sails, where he is currently residing.

Archive for the ‘black powder pistols’ Category

Black Powder Pistol – A Salute to the Ruger Old Army

Black powder pistol shooters will have been saddened to learn that Ruger have now apparently discontinued production of their range of black powder revolvers.

I had aspired to own a new Old Army .45 cal cap ‘n ball single action model with 7.5″ barrel, all resplendent in stainless steel, which had as its basis the three screw Blackhawk models. But such was not to be.

All of the reviews I had read on Ruger, pointed to it representing the very pinnacle of achievement in the evolution of the cap ‘n ball black powder revolver. So I have decided to examine some of the other marques of revolver which might go some way to removing the void left by the loss of this auspicious handgun. In the final analysis, I was left with really only two choices .. although that is not to say that other revolver makes don’t represent fine value, but it’s the old maxim of “what you pay for, is what you get”.

In recent years the Italian manufacturers Uberti and Pietta have come to the fore, producing a range of models, in a range of calibers. And you can choose between brass or steel frame, or go for the more expensive stainless steel option. No denying it, brass looks real pretty .. but one needs to avoid overloading the powder in these pistols or you will see stretch. Although cheaper, they will certainly shoot loose over time .. the more so if full loads are used. Not what you are looking for.

Rather than conventional black powder you might like to consider Pyrodex which seems to have an affinity with these guns .. but do check the maker’s recommendation first.

My inclination would be to go for either a steel model with brass trigger guard to lift the aesthetics .. or if dollars permit .. stainless steel. Given that black powder is highly acidic, (it sucks water out of the air while settling on your pride and joy) it is imperative that you clean your black powder revolver immediately after firing and before storing away, so as to avoid corrosion and pitting. If for this reason alone, stainless steel comes up trumps; it just makes the whole task of cleaning that much easier.

Ok .. so .. Uberti or Pietta? In the past Uberti was seen to have the better quality control with respect to the revolvers they were producing, but now if you were to match both brands of revolver, produced in the same year, you would find it hard to discern any appreciable difference, quality wise. The Pietta models seem to have reversed the trend of a few years back when they were substantially cheaper than Uberti. Now the opposite seems to be true with a beautifully crafted Uberti 1858 New Army Black Powder Revolver selling for about $100 less than its Pietta counterpart. So, of the two, I figure I would be leaning towards the Uberti – which at just over $300 in the stainless version represents excellent buying if you are seeking top quality matched by price, in your choice of black powder pistol.

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Which Black Powder Pistol When Starting Out?

Posted by admin on August 25, 2008 under black powder colt, black powder pistol, black powder pistols

Firstly, let me respond to that by saying the flintlock black powder pistol is NOT the way to go. In due course you will want to get one for sure but as a beginning pistol shooter you are likely to experience a range of problems including; ignition problems, poor flint life, pan flash distraction, etc. Plus, the flintlock has a distinct distaste for the less corrosive black powder substitutes such as Pyrodex, due to their ignition temperature being too high to be reliably ignited.

Best you start to feel comfortable with something simpler, such as one of the single shot percussion Kentucky pattern pistols. You only need concern yourself with just the one cap and charge unlike the percussion cap black powder revolver for instance, thus making for easier clean-up and loading likewise presents few problems.

Having said that .. there will be those with a penchant for the revolvers of the Wild West. Understandable given the special mystique which has surrounded them to this day, no doubt because of the sense of personal empowerment they lent their owners.

If you choose to make a start with reproduction black powder revolvers then a little background knowledge before you charge our to buy the first one that takes your fancy, won’t go amiss. Mike Cumpston’s Percussion Pistols and Revolvers: History, Performance and Practical Use (Paperback) is chokka with a wealth of information and provides an honest assessment of the quality of many of the reproductions which are available.

With regards black powder revolvers my personal favourites are the 1861 Navy Steel .36 Cal Black Powder Revolver often touted as the most handsome revolver Colt ever built and for those looking to spend around the same price but looking for a little more “punch” then the .. 1858 New Army .44 Cal Black Powder Revolver must appeal. This rugged, solid framed revolver introduced by Remington with its screw-in barrel and quick-release cylinder, was to become very popular with the military. A slightly higher priced version is available in stainless steel.

Finally .. take the time to go visit your local black powder club. You will find that black powder shooters will make you at home, that you will learn heaps .. and that they can point you in the way of just what black powder pistol you should buy .. and which you should avoid.

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