At a gun show earlier this year, I had a chance to buy an old CVA brass framed .31 Remington - still had the box, and even a few round balls for it - for $125. I checked it out best I could (pulled the cylinder, checked the bore, action, lock-up, etc) and in decided contrast to the other Remmie brasser the guy was selling (an old "Buffalo" model that had seen better days), it looked to be in good shape. And, that was a VERY good price for a used 1863.
But, as always, I was on a tight budget, and elected to spend the money on a Need rather than a Want - namely .41 Magnum ammunition loaded by a guy whose ammunition I had used in the past. He makes a nice 210 grain JSP that lets me practice with my Blackhawk without costing me over a dollar per shot (I carry it with 210 grain JHP, and that's what the sights are adjusted for), and he had finally gotten more brass in to do a run. I wasn't greedy - didn't buy ALL that he had available, but I bought a lot of it.
But, even though that lets me shoot the big Ruger more often just for the FUN of it, I'll confess to wishing I could have afforded the ammunition AND that little Remmie. If you'll excuse me sounding like a schoolgirl, it was just so darn CUTE. (And literally pocket sized - I tried it in the jacket I was wearing.)
As far as being "practical", well, it meets the First Rule of a gunfight (Bring a GUN) and that's about it. But, then, for "practical" purposes, pretty much any cap and ball revolver I've ever shot or even seen pictures of is a "mouse fart" gun relative to my Blackhawk. (To forestall debate - my practice ammo has a muzzle velocity of 1300 FPS, the carry loads are 1425 - if I've done the math right, that's about 780 and 940 ft lbs of muzzle energy, respectively, with a 210 grain bullet. The best published results I've seen for a Walker, or a .44 Remmie stuffed to the gills are about 470-485 ft lbs.)
Long story short - the 1863 is a nice looking little gun that should be a lot of fun to play with. If I ever run across another deal like the one earlier this year, assuming I have the funds, I'll jump all over it. I wouldn't care to bet my life on it, but, I already HAVE a revolver I'd bet my life on. Sometimes, just having something unusual to go out, and make a little smoke with, and punch some little holes in a target, is worth the expense in terms of grins retured per shot.