Not mine, but wow...just WOW!

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noahmercy

Single-Sixer
Joined
Jun 13, 2015
Messages
219
A friend wanted me to build some loads for a "44" that's been in his family for several generations. I asked him to bring it by so I could look it over to make sure it was safe to shoot and get some measurements since some older firearms weren't as "standard" as they are today. (I also wanted to ensure it wasn't a rimfire!) So he shows up, brings out an old ratty gun rug, zips it open, and my jaw hit the floor.

There sat a Colt Frontier Six Shooter 44WCF (44-40) with 4 3/4" barrel, silver and gold plating, and factory Nimschke engraving! It was made in 1905, a year after Nimschke died, so it was done by one of his apprentices. It has eagle and shield mother of pearl grips. The original holster his grandpa got when he bought the gun new kinda' crumbled into nothingness, unfortunately. No, the finish isn't perfect, but for a 117 year-old firearm that was actually carried and used, I'd say it's better than good!

The gun locks up tight as a bank vault and the bore is minty. All it needed was a detailed cleaning, a quick polish of the cylinder bushing, and some slickum throughout. I loaded him up some BP-equivalent ammo using Trail Boss and some 200 grain RNFPs I cast and lubed. I used an OLD set of RCBS dies, which are sometimes nec essary to get the proper shoulder dimensions on antiques in this caliber. It shoots pretty much as good as it looks...the first five bullets went into about an inch at 15 yards.

What a pleasure to get to fondle and shoot a gun as fine and valuable as this.
 

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9,324
A friend wanted me to build some loads for a "44" that's been in his family for several generations. I asked him to bring it by so I could look it over to make sure it was safe to shoot and get some measurements since some older firearms weren't as "standard" as they are today. (I also wanted to ensure it wasn't a rimfire!) So he shows up, brings out an old ratty gun rug, zips it open, and my jaw hit the floor.

There sat a Colt Frontier Six Shooter 44WCF (44-40) with 4 3/4" barrel, silver and gold plating, and factory Nimschke engraving! It was made in 1905, a year after Nimschke died, so it was done by one of his apprentices. It has eagle and shield mother of pearl grips. The original holster his grandpa got when he bought the gun new kinda' crumbled into nothingness, unfortunately. No, the finish isn't perfect, but for a 117 year-old firearm that was actually carried and used, I'd say it's better than good!

The gun locks up tight as a bank vault and the bore is minty. All it needed was a detailed cleaning, a quick polish of the cylinder bushing, and some slickum throughout. I loaded him up some BP-equivalent ammo using Trail Boss and some 200 grain RNFPs I cast and lubed. I used an OLD set of RCBS dies, which are sometimes nec essary to get the proper shoulder dimensions on antiques in this caliber. It shoots pretty much as good as it looks...the first five bullets went into about an inch at 15 yards.

What a pleasure to get to fondle and shoot a gun as fine and valuable as this.
Thanks for sharing! Good job!
gramps
 
Joined
Dec 8, 2005
Messages
3,545
That is a great looking revolver. I've seen other Nimschke engraved Colts and they are magnificent to say the least.

The only concern I have is giving the owner ammunition that you reloaded. Not saying you are reloading anything incorrectly, but what if someone else shoots the gun and something happens and it is pointed out that you loaded the ammunition and even manufactured the bullets? A lawyer could have a field day with this. You might win a court case but at what cost? I load ammo for one and only one person - ME.
 

noahmercy

Single-Sixer
Joined
Jun 13, 2015
Messages
219
That is a great looking revolver. I've seen other Nimschke engraved Colts and they are magnificent to say the least.

The only concern I have is giving the owner ammunition that you reloaded. Not saying you are reloading anything incorrectly, but what if someone else shoots the gun and something happens and it is pointed out that you loaded the ammunition and even manufactured the bullets? A lawyer could have a field day with this. You might win a court case but at what cost? I load ammo for one and only one person - ME.
I understand the concern with liability, however I believe there are ways to mitigate virtually all of the potential for catastrophe when handloading. I have loaded (commercially) over a million rounds and had zero squibs and zero kabooms. Over fifty thousand rounds used in Cowboy Action & PPC competition- plus practice- by my wife and me with the same record. For this ammo, I loaded on a single stage press in batches of fifty, so I could visually verify every step. The bullets were soft, sized correctly, and randomly weight-checked. It is categorically impossible to get enough Trail Boss in the case to run pressures up to a dangerous level (and the visual check means no chance of an uncharged/undercharged case leading to a bore obstruction). I used new brass, and the loads were checked for velocity, pressure signs, and bullet pull in another gun prior to putting it in his. These are actually milder than the factory "cowboy" ammo produced by a couple major manufacturers, so genuinely no worries here.
 

powder smoke

Hawkeye
Joined
Aug 16, 2005
Messages
6,340
Must be proud congrats on resurrecting a classic revolver! Let the Na Sayers say what the like.
Put the feather in your cap and walk away proudly! You done good! ps
 

BROKENBEAR

Bearcat
Joined
Jun 25, 2016
Messages
90
Nice looking old gun ..not sure if it's year of manufacture clearly makes it Black powder or smokeless but I include a chart that is actually for shotgun load BUT it clearly demonstrates the propensity black powder vs smokeless has when used in rifle,pistol or shotgun ..

I have read many times that there are NO smokeless powders that can match BP's limited spike of pressure as well as it's time of burn

Had a discussion with the folks at Hodgdon Powder one time as I had/have a Colt SA 38WCF and wanted to do the exact same ..shoot low pressure loads in a very old gun

It all boiled down to when you got the smokeless charge down to where it could not spike above the BP limits ..the smokeless load was so "underloaded" (cartridge capacity vs minuscule powder quantity vs haphazard powder disbursement) that the reduced load would/could become dangerous in itself

I had done for my own use exactly what you have done until my session with Hodgdon ..So the one work a round I did was I used cream of wheat, oatmeal and finally settled on kapok which best firmly head the small dab of powder to the cartridge base

I switched all loads for the old Colt gun over to Tripple Seven years ago and now have full performance full house 38WCF loads

1649647248754

Bear
 

noahmercy

Single-Sixer
Joined
Jun 13, 2015
Messages
219
Nice looking old gun ..not sure if it's year of manufacture clearly makes it Black powder or smokeless but I include a chart that is actually for shotgun load BUT it clearly demonstrates the propensity black powder vs smokeless has when used in rifle,pistol or shotgun ..

I have read many times that there are NO smokeless powders that can match BP's limited spike of pressure as well as it's time of burn

Had a discussion with the folks at Hodgdon Powder one time as I had/have a Colt SA 38WCF and wanted to do the exact same ..shoot low pressure loads in a very old gun

It all boiled down to when you got the smokeless charge down to where it could not spike above the BP limits ..the smokeless load was so "underloaded" (cartridge capacity vs minuscule powder quantity vs haphazard powder disbursement) that the reduced load would/could become dangerous in itself

I had done for my own use exactly what you have done until my session with Hodgdon ..So the one work a round I did was I used cream of wheat, oatmeal and finally settled on kapok which best firmly head the small dab of powder to the cartridge base

I switched all loads for the old Colt gun over to Tripple Seven years ago and now have full performance full house 38WCF loads

View attachment 1104
Bear
Good point for those who may be unfamiliar with the differences between BP and smokeless, and think that just because a load duplicates the velocity of an original BP load, then it must be the same pressure.This is a smokeless-proofed gun, the powder I used is the highest-bulk smokeless powder on the market (80% case capacity at the starting load), and the bullets were sized for the gun at .427". Peak pressure will be under 7,800 PSI with my ammo, so below what BP produces (those old bottlenecked pistol cartridges generally ran around 8-10,000 PSI). I load smokeless, black powder, and subs in cartridges, and have several firearms that are BP-only, so I am familiar with the differences in pressure curves and the dangers that can pose, especially in Damascus-barreled guns. I avoid the use of fillers whenever possible, and if I must use them, I stick with Puff-Lon or shot buffer, both of which are designed for use in loading cartridges/shotshells and won't absorb moisture or potentially create a bore obstruction. There have been a couple guns blow up at Quigley matches caused by handloads containing fillers, and now they have banned the use of fillers with double-base powders, a policy I agree with. Best practice when loading large-capacity cases originally designed for BP is to use a smokeless powder which is position-insensitive like 5744 (rifles) or Trail Boss (pistols and some rifle), or stick with real black powder (mandatory in guns that are not nitro proofed).
 
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