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Author Topic: Euroarms 1858 'Bisley' conversion in .44 Colt  (Read 285 times)

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Offline Tinker Pearce

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Euroarms 1858 'Bisley' conversion in .44 Colt
« on: December 29, 2018, 10:19:37 AM »
Finishing up the latest project-gun based on a Euroarms 1858. I cut and bored the cylinder for .44 Colt (original) and added a breech-plate with a rebounding firing pin. I cut 'nail-nicks' in each chamber to aid with unloading/pulling empties; I've found this works very well and find it easier than using a proper ejector. Of course if a shell sticks you still need a tool to get the empty out. I cut and welded the grip-frame to approximate the grip of a Colt Bisley, and made a set of Curly Maple grips. I modified the hammer and lowered the spur to work with the new handle-shape.



The new grip shape and lowered hammer spur work out great for my hand. I still need to tweak the timing a bit and finish the grips, maybe replace the front sight. When it's all sorted I'll tear the whole thing down and rust-blue it. I have a wooden case for the gun that I'll set up as a 'kit'- need to get some red or green velvet for the lining.

Offline Yolla Bolly Brad

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Re: Euroarms 1858 'Bisley' conversion in .44 Colt
« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2018, 10:44:03 AM »
Nice work Tinker Pearce!  (T^  I would be interested in seeing more pictures of the details of your modifications. Also a description of the process you used to modify or create the parts. Some forum members have expressed interest in a lowered "Bisley" hammer and I'm sure they'd love to hear how you did that. I'd like to see some close ups of the recoil plate and know if it's floating or attached to the frame, plus look at how you did the rebounding firing pin.
Brad Potter, hardware junky.

Offline Tinker Pearce

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Re: Euroarms 1858 'Bisley' conversion in .44 Colt
« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2018, 02:22:36 PM »
Nice work Tinker Pearce!  (T^  I would be interested in seeing more pictures of the details of your modifications. Also a description of the process you used to modify or create the parts. Some forum members have expressed interest in a lowered "Bisley" hammer and I'm sure they'd love to hear how you did that. I'd like to see some close ups of the recoil plate and know if it's floating or attached to the frame, plus look at how you did the rebounding firing pin.

Happy to oblige, but I  haven't got many pictures of the process- to busy doing it to take photos.

Here's a pic of the hammer- I undercut the spur first, then placed the hammer in a vice and heated the spur with a torch until the base and part of the hammer-body were red, then gently tapped the spur until it looked right. It's only about 1/4" of difference, but that's all it takes! I'll be cutting some serrations in the hammer-spur to give a more positive grip.


 The breech-ring is free floating, though there are stand-off on the cylinder to allow room for the case-heads. The firing in was turned from 3/16" rod on a lathe, and the spring is a section cut from the spring in a retractable pen. The breech-ring is made from 1/4" thich 5160 spring steel, and is half-hard.



I removed the nipples from the cylinder, then turned down the back around the sprocket on the lathe, then bored it through from the front using a milling vise on my drill-press. I then reamed the chambers straight-through with a .454" reamer. Original .44 Colt used a .451" heel-base bullet that is the same outside diameter as the casing, so there is no need for a 'step' in the chamber.

The grip-frame happened in two parts- the first was cutting and reshaping the backstrap, then gas-welding on more material to lengthen the grip.


This did not result in a satisfactory shape, so I inletted the front of the grip frame and added more material to get the 'hook' that I wanted.

I hope that this is helpful, and feel free to ask if you have more questions.

Offline Yolla Bolly Brad

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Re: Euroarms 1858 'Bisley' conversion in .44 Colt
« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2018, 07:40:45 PM »
Thanks for the pics and text Tinker. Now I know what you meant by "nail-nicks" in the cylinder. I assume you're reloading the 44Colt cartridges. If so what brass are you using, what bullet mold and what's your powder charge?
Brad Potter, hardware junky.

Offline Omnivore

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Re: Euroarms 1858 'Bisley' conversion in .44 Colt
« Reply #4 on: December 29, 2018, 09:09:55 PM »
Really nifty, and bold, project there, Tinker!  Kudos!  Do you have a crimping tool for 44 Colt, or do you plan to crimp the cases at all?  I too am curious about the loads you'll be using.

I'm curious about the stand-off ridges at the turned shoulder.  I'd have thought that the remainder of the cylinder's rear recoil surfaces, being against the frame as before, would serve that purpose.  Or are they to keep the conversion ring in place?

Did turning the ratchet diameter down so far change the timing?

Yolla; Starline Brass now makes 44 Colt cases;
https://www.starlinebrass.com/brass-cases/44-Colt-Brass/
Too bad they don't list specs on them though.

One could use 44 Special or 44 Mag cases I'd think, but they're spec'ed out at .456" OD according to Speer, so you'd have to size them down a bit, and possibly turn the rims to smaller diameter.  They should be pretty close though, being as they evolved essentially out of the old conversion revolvers.
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 Tinker Pearce

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Re: Euroarms 1858 'Bisley' conversion in .44 Colt
« Reply #5 on: December 29, 2018, 09:38:04 PM »
I have a crimping die. I'm using shortened .44 Special brass and bullets that I swage from 200gr LRNFP or 200 Gr. HG68 Semi-wadcutters.  I've also experimented with .440" hollow-base wadcutters that I swage from 200gr LRNFP that I load with .44 Special dies.

This is the HB bullet I swage from HG68 LSWCs


Here's the 'high-tech' swage I use for the bullet above-


These are swaged from 200gr. LRNFP


Right now I am loading these bullets over 6.5gr. of Trail Boss with a CCI300 large pistol primer.  I'm loading the HBWCs over 5.5gr. of Unique, also with the CCI primer. Not that these are not 'cowboy' loads; I'm looking to replicate the performance of the original BP load.

All of these bullets perform reasonably well. I seat the HBWCs a bit above the lip of the case rather than entirely inside it. I haven't tried the HBWCs at further than 7 yards, but they showed no sign of keyholing at that distance.


Offline Mad Dog Stafford

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Re: Euroarms 1858 'Bisley' conversion in .44 Colt
« Reply #6 on: December 29, 2018, 09:47:13 PM »
Nice! I like your grips.
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Offline Tinker Pearce

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Re: Euroarms 1858 'Bisley' conversion in .44 Colt
« Reply #7 on: January 06, 2019, 09:22:37 AM »
I swapped in my home-made .450 Adams cylinder to test it in this gun, and the results were pleasing; the long barrel really does good things for this cartridge, recoil is mild and accuracy is good. The gun still need some tweaking, but I think I may keep it in this configuration. The sights- and my shooting- need work, but I'm liking this a lot. Target was shot off-hand at seven yards.

Offline Yolla Bolly Brad

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Re: Euroarms 1858 'Bisley' conversion in .44 Colt
« Reply #8 on: January 06, 2019, 01:22:23 PM »
Good job! They say the proof is in the pudding.
Brad Potter, hardware junky.

Offline Tinker Pearce

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Re: Euroarms 1858 'Bisley' conversion in .44 Colt
« Reply #9 on: January 09, 2019, 11:47:13 PM »
Just finished relining and partitioning the case. Worked out nicely.

Offline Omnivore

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Re: Euroarms 1858 'Bisley' conversion in .44 Colt
« Reply #10 on: January 10, 2019, 12:36:29 AM »
Lookin' good!
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)