Author Topic: Cartidge Conversions prior to 1868  (Read 2688 times)

Offline CitadelGrad08

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Cartidge Conversions prior to 1868
« on: October 27, 2021, 11:53:42 AM »
Hello!

I was watching The Last Stand at Sabre River (great movie by the way) a few weeks ago which takes place in 1865. In one of the opening scenes a local family gunsmith explains to a cowpuncher how they modified his Colt to be a "custom made precision firearm" by "altering the hammer/cylinder installing a side ejector rod to punch out the empty shells."

My questions is this: would un-official cartridge conversions be available this early by various gunsmiths with the right know how or were such modifications not widespread until the Thuer style or later Richard-Mason conversions of 1868(ish) to 1871?

Follow up question: Are there any sources that show that cartridge conversions would have been done this early?

Being a movie I appreciated that they explained why most of the actors were using cartridge guns in 1865 even if I had to suspend disbelief due to historical accuracy.

Cheers

Offline Reverend P. Babcock Chase

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Re: Cartidge Conversions prior to 1868
« Reply #1 on: October 27, 2021, 01:16:30 PM »
Howdy Citadel,

Just a guess, but maybe converted to shoot the Henry rimfire round.

Rev. Chase

Offline Dave T

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Re: Cartidge Conversions prior to 1868
« Reply #2 on: October 27, 2021, 05:58:12 PM »
Howdy Citadel,

Just a guess, but maybe converted to shoot the Henry rimfire round.

Rev. Chase

That's about the only way it would work.  The idea a "custom gunsmith" could modify a gun to his own design begs the question: where is he or his customer going to come up with ammo, or even brass?

Dave

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Re: Cartidge Conversions prior to 1868
« Reply #3 on: Today at 04:31:15 AM »

Offline CitadelGrad08

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Re: Cartidge Conversions prior to 1868
« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2021, 06:16:52 PM »
Both good points, this is a fun one to ponder for me even if it is highly unlikely.

I would imagine using the .44 rimfire used in the Henry would pretty much limit conversion choices to the 1860 Army or possibly the Dragoon. I would assume that if this was done at all it would have started in the Eastern side of the US to accommodate the ammo/brass supply issue. 


Offline Abilene

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Re: Cartidge Conversions prior to 1868
« Reply #4 on: October 27, 2021, 10:21:27 PM »
Now you've got to go rewatch the movie while looking for a clear view of any ammo to see if centerfire or not.  ;D

Offline St. George

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Re: Cartidge Conversions prior to 1868
« Reply #5 on: October 27, 2021, 10:33:46 PM »
Try finding a copy of McDowell's on 'A Study of Colt Conversions and Other Percussion Revolvers'.

It's long out of print, but can be found on the tertiary market.

And stop watching movies for actual historical content - 'artistic license' is a byword for Hollywood.

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Offline Galloway

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Re: Cartidge Conversions prior to 1868
« Reply #6 on: October 27, 2021, 11:20:25 PM »
Here's a list of rimfire cartridges from the period, you'll see there are many more than just 44rimfire.

https://www.ammoandguncollector.com/p/complete-list-of-all-rimfire-ammo.html

Offline Jake MacReedy

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Re: Cartidge Conversions prior to 1868
« Reply #7 on: November 08, 2021, 01:56:40 PM »
The Remington New Model Army revolvers converted in 1868, with S&W's blessing and a royalty paid, were chambered with a 5-shot cylinder in .46 rimfire.  These were the first "factory conversions" to come out.

Offline Rube Burrows

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Re: Cartidge Conversions prior to 1868
« Reply #8 on: November 17, 2021, 07:49:42 AM »
Try finding a copy of McDowell's on 'A Study of Colt Conversions and Other Percussion Revolvers'.

It's long out of print, but can be found on the tertiary market.

And stop watching movies for actual historical content - 'artistic license' is a byword for Hollywood.

Scouts Out!

Agreed. At least Tom Selleck tries really hard to get as close to accurate in a movie as can be. He really tries to have period things and use something other than the average 1873 Colt.
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Offline Cheyenne Logan

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Re: Cartidge Conversions prior to 1868
« Reply #9 on: February 25, 2023, 01:10:11 PM »
 ;) They could have done a LOT better with the arms used.....like where did the engraved Henry come from?  They did better in Quigley, in the final shootout, when Marsden is laying there, you can see his revolver is an 1860, with percussion caps on the nipples!

Offline Coffinmaker

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Re: Cartidge Conversions prior to 1868
« Reply #10 on: February 25, 2023, 07:51:15 PM »

 :)  Grade8  ;)

Yes.  There were conversions being made by various Gunsmiths.  Most "early" conversions were .38s.  .44 conversions were done, but initially were converted to use .44 Henry Flat.  Later suplimented by .44 Stetson (The Open Top).  Colt factory conversions after the death of the Bored Thru patent, were often converted to .44 Colt.

Now.  When it comes to Hollyweird, anything goes.  NEVER watch Hollywood,  Bollywood, or Spaghetti Westerns looking for firearms period authenticity.  You WILL be disappointed.

People ARE Hazardous to Yer Health

Offline Abilene

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Re: Cartidge Conversions prior to 1868
« Reply #11 on: February 25, 2023, 09:46:41 PM »
...NEVER watch Hollywood,  Bollywood, or Spaghetti Westerns looking for firearms period authenticity.  You WILL be disappointed....
Bollywood made westerns?  Now I want to see one.  ;D
Don't forget Korean!  The Good, The Bad, and the Weird is awesome!  Gotta read subtitles, but worth it.  :)

Offline Story

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Re: Cartidge Conversions prior to 1868
« Reply #12 on: July 18, 2023, 11:22:28 AM »
Bollywood made westerns?  Now I want to see one.  ;D

Oh yes, there are a plethora
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Indian_Western_(genre)_films

Offline Abilene

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