Author Topic: Conical for a .31 cal  (Read 1695 times)

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Offline Thorr40

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Conical for a .31 cal
« on: December 30, 2016, 10:33:13 PM »
Has anyone thought of using a conical in a .31 cal. revolver? I was thinking since the .36 and .44s can shoot conicals why not the .31s. It could be that the cylinders are too small for powder and conical. I have searched and may have looked right pasted it. Thanks for any thoughts on this subject.

Tom

Offline Thorr40

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Re: Conical for a .31 cal
« Reply #1 on: January 01, 2017, 01:25:49 AM »
I should also add I don' t own a pocket revolver.

Offline rodwha

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Re: Conical for a .31 cal
« Reply #2 on: January 01, 2017, 08:26:52 PM »
I have considered the pocket Remington and prefer conicals. I have had Accurate Molds create me various WFN designs with smaller lube grooves so that I get a heavier projectile with a wide meplat that is no longer than a ball. For my .44/.45 it is 0.460" long and weighs 195 grns. I also made a shorter version that is 0.400" long and weighs 170 grns.

As the pocket models are anemic with small powder charges I'd likely opt for something around .300" long that weighs close to 60 grns.

But as much as I like the looks of the Remington I think I'll eventually get an Uberti Colt Police. But I may end up with a Remington too...
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Offline Omnivore

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Re: Conical for a .31 cal
« Reply #3 on: January 02, 2017, 11:54:32 AM »
Conicals were used in large number in the pocket guns, back in the day.  Several manufacturers made "combustable  envelope" cartridges in 31 caliber, and as far as I know NONE of them used round ball.  Shown is an example from the book, American Manufacturers of Combustible Ammunition, by Terry White.  Round ball would have been used only in the loading of "loose ammunition".

One label is for carts for the self cocker, but they made carts in 31-100ths calibre for years and years prior to that, and they all had conical bullets.

Just judging from production numbers, which ran into the millions per year, well after the Civil War, I'll go out on a limb and assert that the combustible cartridge was the predominant ammunition used in these guns, starting sometime before the Civil War and going well into the 1880s and even the '90s.

That's a very broad statement, but the point is; yes.  Conicals were widely used in these revolvers during the percussion era.  The Italians are making prop guns that, as a bonus, can actually be fired, but they don't seem terribly interested in the real history of them.  In several cases, an Italian "repro" must be modified before you can use conicals, but the originals were made to use them.  I don't know about the Pietta Remington Pocket.
« Last Edit: January 02, 2017, 12:09:32 PM by Omnivore »
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Offline Thorr40

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Re: Conical for a .31 cal
« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2017, 09:47:53 PM »
Thanks for the info. Wonder why no one uses them?

Offline Omnivore

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Re: Conical for a .31 cal
« Reply #5 on: January 05, 2017, 04:53:45 PM »
Today, balls and ball molds are much easier to come by.  That, and these guns aren't used for serious defense other than by a miniscule few, therefore the gun's ballistic performance isn't really a concern.

On the other hand, you can now go to Accurate Molds, and at least one or two other mold makers, and order any custom mold you can dream up.  It's just that your average buyer of a percussion revolver replica isn't privy to such things.  Also; the Italians aren't always reproducing the loading lever and loading port to original specs, and so for example a Pietta Remington Army won't take most conicals worth beans until it's been modified.  The same model procuced by Uberti will take them just fine.  I don't know about the little Pocklet model repros.

The Italians, so far as I've seen in any of their manuals or promotion litterature, don't even mention conicals as an option for these guns.  As I've said before; they are selling prop guns, that, as a bonus, will actually shoot lead.  They're not interested in reproducting the period loads and achieving period ballistic performance.  They're for Europeans who get together for a social gathering at the community range and shoot paper targets, or for collectors, or for Civil War movie producers and reinactors.  Not for any of that do you need a gun that performs to the intents and purposes of the 1860s when they were state-of-the art defense weapons.  And besides; you could shoot your eye out.
But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.   James 1:25 (KJV)

So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.   James 2:12. (KJV)

Offline Capnball

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Re: Conical for a .31 cal
« Reply #6 on: July 19, 2018, 04:34:50 AM »
I have an antique mold that cast one round and one conical for the .31. It is about 4-5" long and has rather small handles. No spru cutter. I have used it, but the conical takes up too much room in the cylinder, so the RB is best for that tiny capgun.

Offline Omnivore

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Re: Conical for a .31 cal
« Reply #7 on: July 19, 2018, 04:22:22 PM »
Capn; You may want to chronograph those loads.  I've found several conical loads that generate higher velocity than the same charge shooting a round ball.  Not just more energy, mind you, but higher velocity, so MUCH more energy.  So it MAY be that, even with your conical and the reduced powder capacity, you'll get at least a bit more energy than you're getting in a round ball.

Also the highest energy I've gotten in 44 Army was with the heaviest bullet I've tried (240 grains).  You'll never come close to that energy using round ball, even with the extra powder room.

There are other formulae that work as well (just different itterations of essentialy the same thing), but the one I use is;
Velocity squared (that's in feet per second), x bullet weight (in grains), divided by 450,400.00 equals ft lbs energy.

In metric system units (grams and meters per second) of course it's simply E=MV2, without the big conversion number, and you get the energy in joules (but who knows what to do with that, being that all the loading manuals and old texts use the old English units?).
But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.   James 1:25 (KJV)

So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.   James 2:12. (KJV)

Offline Omnivore

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Re: Conical for a .31 cal
« Reply #8 on: July 19, 2018, 04:49:50 PM »
Oh and, rodwha and I, and others, have been working with "compact" bullets, meaning they are short-for-length because they have short ogives, wide meplats and short lube grooves, meaning they leave more room for powder for a given bullet weight.  The period-style molds make long, pointy bullets by comparison, and thus take up more space in the chamber that could have been used for powder.

The "compact" bullets, from custom molds, may require more modification of the gun's loading window, and the wide, flat meplat may require a flat-ended loading plunger (ALWAYS seat bullets while the cylinder in in lock-up when using a flat-ended plunger), but the results have been quite satisfying.  I'm sold on the concept, and so I've modified a number of guns (in 36 and 44) to take this style of bullet. 

The Accurate Molds 38-100C, 45-200S and 45-225L are of this style, among others.  Rodwha has one in 44 in the 170 grain range, which you will find on there as well, among the "45" listings, but I like a bit more weight, being that I hunt deer with this technology in a 44 Colt Walker and Remington 44 revolving Carbine.  The 45-225L represents years of my experimentation (trials and much error) with the compact bullet style, and it is quite good.  Emulating it (basically just scaling it down) for a 31 would be my choice, if I were so inclined.

There are the "Big Lube" style bullets, which are a fine design intended to carry all the lube needed within the bullet to keep the gun running in high-volume shooting events.  I like the intent, but they make for a far longer bullet in a given weight. 

Thus the much reduced lube grooves in the compact design.  Less lube capacity means more powder capacity.  If you want more lube capacity, put it in a "lube cookie" (card, lube pill, card)behind the bullet, and you've losting nothing (actually the cookie will do a better job than the same amount of lube inside the bullet grooves), but the shorter bullet gives you the option of loding up with more powder by eliminating the cookie.

THEREFORE; I use cookies in my paper cartridges for general fun shooting where I fire lots of shots, but for hunting I have the option of maxing out on the powder.  Since I'll only fiire one shot, two max, I care not a whit whether I have lube in there at all.

So that's the whole explanation of the compact bullet theory.  Take it or forget it, based on your intent for the gun.
But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.   James 1:25 (KJV)

So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.   James 2:12. (KJV)