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Author Topic: Modify Uberti 1858  (Read 16139 times)

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Offline ssb73q

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Modify Uberti 1858
« on: March 19, 2015, 06:57:44 AM »
Hi, I am starting this thread to document the modification of an Uberti 1858 Remington to be able to use Pietta cylinders.

The first question one may ask is why would anyone want to use Pietta cylinders in an Uberti 1858. The reason is simple if you already own lots Pietta 1858 cylinders, both cap & ball and conversion. Another reason is for economy, on sale Pietta cylinders are less than half the price Uberti cylinders.

The subject of this Uberti modification is an Uberti 1858 carbine I recently purchased, but it relates to any current production Uberti 1858. When a forum member offered to sell his Uberti 1858 carbine that was modified to use Pietta cylinders, I jumped at the chance. I have lots of Pietta cap and ball cylinders and two conversion cylinders that I use with my seven Pietta 1858s. The previous owner purchased the carbine modified from another forum owner (unknown to me) because he also had lots of Pietta cylinders. The carbine's previous owner shot the carbine many times without any difficulties using his Pietta cylinders. His shooting reports showed the carbine to be in excellent condition.

Yesterday I received the carbine. It is in beautiful external condition, unmarred bluing and excellent figured and finished stock. Here are two photos of the carbine as received:





On first blush, one may think that all one needs to do is file down the forcing cone to be able to accept the longer than Uberti Pietta cylinders. However, there's more to be considered. Bolt width, cylinder rotational to frame alignment, cylinder chamber to bore alignment, and base pin size are just a few of the necessary considerations.

There is a saying that beauty is only skin deep, that's the case with this carbine in its current condition. The first thing I noticed was that there was a lot of Pietta cylinder wobble suggesting a sloppy bolt to cylinder bolt slot lockup. Is that of practical importance? Probably not for casual shooting, the forcing cone cures lots of cylinder to bore misalignment ills. Disassembly of the carbine showed that someone in the past ground down one side of the bolt edge where it comes through the frame bolt slot hole. That's one source of the wobble. The other source of cylinder wobble is that the bolt width is now too small for the cylinder bolt slot. I inserted a ground OD brass tube of 7/16" down the barrel into a Pietta cylinder chamber to lock the cylinder to bore in alignment. Looking down through the frame bolt hole shows an almost perfect cylinder alignment to the frame bolt hole. If anything there is a very slight misalignment of a few thousands on the opposite side of where the bolt was ground down. Now it is possible that a previous owner was trying to use old manufacture Pietta cylinders that have a narrower bolt slot than current Pietta production cylinders, but he still ground down the wrong side. I have a new Uberti bolt on order.

A few measurements as carbine received:
Bolt width - 0.155"
Bolt width portion ground to - 0.132"
Pietta cylinders bolt slot width - 0.154-0.156"
Cylinder to forcing cone gap - 0.008"
Uberti base pin - 0.2705"
Pietta base pin - 0.274"

After disassembly the carbine parts were cleaned in hot soapy water and dried in the oven for 1/2hr @250 degF. These are the parts before oiling:



This new adventure begins.

Regards,
Richard

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Offline Yolla Bolly Brad

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Re: Modify Uberti 1858
« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2015, 01:31:47 PM »
Just a thought on cylinder play. The base pin holes in my Uberti frame measure .276" to .277". If a Pietta base pin would drop into your gun you could eliminate a little radial clearance.  I would have tried swapping a Pietta base pin into my Uberti but it's one of those 5.5 " barrel models that you can't remove the pin from.
Brad Potter, hardware junky.

Offline ssb73q

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Re: Modify Uberti 1858
« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2015, 02:00:35 PM »
Just a thought on cylinder play. The base pin holes in my Uberti frame measure .276" to .277". If a Pietta base pin would drop into your gun you could eliminate a little radial clearance.  I would have tried swapping a Pietta base pin into my Uberti but it's one of those 5.5 " barrel models that you can't remove the pin from.

Hi Brad, thanks for your reply. With all extra Pietta parts I now have, I have an extra Pietta base pin that I already installed in the Uberti carbine. It is a little longer than the Uberti base pin, but the hammer clears easily. There is that extra ~0.004" that really minimizes side to side wobble.

BTW, please check your private messages. I'm pestering you again. If you choose you can reply to this thread the results of your measurements because it would be useful for the data archive.

Regards,
Richard
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Offline ssb73q

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Re: Modify Uberti 1858
« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2015, 05:01:14 AM »

Hi Brad, thanks for your reply. With all extra Pietta parts I now have, I have an extra Pietta base pin that I already installed in the Uberti carbine. It is a little longer than the Uberti base pin, but the hammer clears easily. There is that extra ~0.004" that really minimizes side to side wobble.

BTW, please check your private messages. I'm pestering you again. If you choose you can reply to this thread the results of your measurements because it would be useful for the data archive.

Regards,
Richard

Hi, thanks to member Brad (Yolla Bolly Brad) we now have some numbers to show that current production Pietta and Uberti cylinders are interchangeable in vertical chamber to bore dimension. Thank you Brad.

Pietta base pin hole to chamber wall thickness - 0.135"
Uberti base pin hole to chamber wall thickness - 0.136"

Brad also measured the chamber hole circle:
Pietta cylinder 0.997"
Uberti cylinder 1.001"

This is very good news for any choosing to use Pietta cylinders in their Uberti 1858s.

Regards,
Richard
« Last Edit: March 20, 2015, 05:34:56 AM by ssb73q »
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Offline ssb73q

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Re: Modify Uberti 1858
« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2015, 10:07:27 AM »
Hi, I just found another issue with this Uberti 1858 carbine. Someone filed or ground off the lower front edge of the hammer. My guess is that a previous owner removed more of the normal lower front edge to improve safety locking the hammer into cylinder safety cuts. The idea is sound, but too much metal was removed from the carbine hammer. A test was conducted by cutting a thin strip of paper and placing that paper strip over the cylinder nipple while dropping the hammer. That test leaves an impression on the paper showing the amount of cap being impacted. What one wants to see is a complete circle nipple impression on the paper. This test shows that the carbine hammer doesn't completely cover the nipple end. A small portion isn't covered. This suggests that there could be excessive powder blow back from the portion of the nipple not hammer covered. The hammer also marginally covers the firing pins on the conversion cylinder. The modified hammer on this carbine has to go.

I found a reasonably priced stainless steel Uberti 1858 hammer on eBay, see:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/111607691621?_trksid=p2060353.m1438.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

Not that I wanted a stainless steel hammer, but that was the lowest priced Uberti 1858 hammer I could find. It may even offer a pleasing contrast to the carbine, or not.

I'm about ready to start a campaign to have all hacksaws and files removed from the tool box of BP firearm users.  )L$ (?^ ->i

Regards,
Richard
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Offline ssb73q

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Re: Modify Uberti 1858
« Reply #5 on: March 21, 2015, 07:23:27 AM »
Hi, since my Uberti 1858 carbine will be used with preloaded cylinders (both cap & ball and conversion), I installed a neat quick cylinder release device manufactured by Howell, see:
http://www.oldsouthfirearms.com/1858Remingtoncylinderquickrelease.aspx

Installing the device took a bit of patience because the plunger and plunger spring kept tipping during installation. As the spring took more of a set when fiddling with the device the installation became easier. Only after I got it installed, I discovered that the quick release lip was just a little too high and the base pin was blocked from removal. Per Howells instructions a few thousands of metal was removed from the lip until the quick release was properly sized. The bare metal was cold blued, oiled, and then the device installed. The quick release replaces the loading lever.

This device is an amazingly slick method to allow easy removal and insertion of 1858 cylinders. One size fits both Uberti and Pietta 1858s. There is also available a stainless steel version for those with stainless steel 1858s.

I was concerned that addition of that device would look ugly compared to the loading lever, but find the appearance attractive on the carbine. IMO the cost is high for the machining work, but considering the limited number that will be sold, Howell must make a profit. Considering the improved cylinder changeout function it is worth five times the cost.  {?| {?| {?|

Regards,
Richard
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Offline ssb73q

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Re: Modify Uberti 1858
« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2015, 08:44:32 AM »
Hi, this is a photo showing the Uberti 1858 carbine loading lever removed and replaced with Howell's quick release:



I think that the quick release will best serve those with either very long or short 1858 Remingtons. I don't think it is any more useful than the loading lever on either a 5.5" or 8" 1858. Of course, opinions vary.

Regards,
Richard
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Offline ssb73q

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Re: Modify Uberti 1858
« Reply #7 on: March 21, 2015, 09:39:00 AM »
Hi, I discovered a potential safety issue using Pietta cylinders in an Uberti 1858. The Uberti hammer face is too wide to fit in Pietta cap and ball cylinder safety notches.

Hammer face width:
Pietta hammer face width - 0.135"
Uberti hammer face width - 0.160"

It would be useful if someone with a recent manufactured Uberti 1858 cap and ball cylinder could tell us the safety notch width of their cylinder. That would confirm my observation.

It's too bad that someone hacked away at the bottom of my carbine's hammer because there wasn't any way the Uberti hammer would ever fit well in the Pietta C&B cylinder safety notches that are 0.150-0.154" wide.

Regards,
Richard
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Offline Omnivore

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Re: Modify Uberti 1858
« Reply #8 on: March 21, 2015, 11:02:37 AM »
I was tempted to buy that carbine, and there was ample time to do so, but it just didn't feel right. Now that I read what was done to it (much of which I had anticipated) I'm glad you got it and not I.  Knowing how it's been (ahem) "modified", it would have to be nearly free of charge before I'd take it.  And that eight thou cylinder gap?  Yikes.  Sure, it'll shoot, but it's  going to nullify much of the potential added velocity the 18" barrel could provide.  I'd have had no choice but to remove the barrel, turn the shoulder back one thread pitch length, probably turn a new forcing cone into it, refit the gap, and refit the loading lever latch.

As for the hammer nose, I'd just file it down to fit the safety notches.  Who cares what the actual width of an Uberti notch is in thousandths of an inch?  You want the new hammer to fit Pietta notches regardless.
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Offline ssb73q

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Re: Modify Uberti 1858
« Reply #9 on: March 21, 2015, 11:31:05 AM »
Hi Omnivore, IMO that 0.008" cylinder/barrel gap isn't all that bad. Low pressure .45 Colt loads don't have that much pressure to lose. My S&W 337 38 P+ Special carry revolver has an 0.008" gap. You may find this post of interest:
http://1858remington.com/discuss/index.php?topic=2912.msg47880#msg47880

I have a Pietta 1858 Buffalo and shoulder stock, but I couldn't legally use my .45 Colt conversion cylinders because the 12" barrel of the Buffalo would make the firearm an illegal short barrel rifle. That's the main reason I considered the carbine. Another reason is to be able to use conversion cylinders that allow easy cleanup and keep my face free of cap and powder debris.

That's a good suggestion on narrowing the hammer, thank you.

Yeah, while the carbine appears like a prom queen, it has issues. However, I'm enjoying this reclamation project and it's helping to send VTI Gun Parts children to college.  )L$ )L$ It is also a good exercise on how to use Pietta cylinders in an Uberti 1858.

I appreciate your comments, keep them coming.

Regards,
Richard
« Last Edit: March 21, 2015, 11:53:35 AM by ssb73q »
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Offline Yolla Bolly Brad

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Re: Modify Uberti 1858
« Reply #10 on: March 21, 2015, 11:34:37 AM »
It would be useful if someone with a recent manufactured Uberti 1858 cap and ball cylinder could tell us the safety notch width of their cylinder. That would confirm my observation.



At the bottom of the notch it's .180".
Brad Potter, hardware junky.

Offline ssb73q

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Re: Modify Uberti 1858
« Reply #11 on: March 21, 2015, 11:41:29 AM »
It would be useful if someone with a recent manufactured Uberti 1858 cap and ball cylinder could tell us the safety notch width of their cylinder. That would confirm my observation.



At the bottom of the notch it's .180".

Hi Brad, you sure come through when needed, thank you. Your measurement proves that the safety notch width is different between Pietta and Uberti cylinders. One either needs to narrow the hammer face width or simply say "screw it" when it comes to cap and ball cylinder safety when using Pietta cylinders in an Uberti 1858.

Thanks again for the information.

Regards,
Richard
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Offline Yolla Bolly Brad

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Re: Modify Uberti 1858
« Reply #12 on: March 21, 2015, 12:54:06 PM »
No problem, the cylinder and calipers were still sitting next to my computer from the last time.  ;D
Brad Potter, hardware junky.

Offline ssb73q

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Re: Modify Uberti 1858
« Reply #13 on: March 21, 2015, 12:55:11 PM »
Hi, the new bolt arrived today. A little stone work to decrease the thickness of the bolt and now that bolt locks up the Pietta cylinders solid like a rock, it's a beautiful thing. There is no perceivable rotational movement, it's perfect. My 7/16" test tube moved right down the barrel into a chamber without a hitch.

This convinces me that either the first owner was a complete idiot, or he was trying to fit the older manufacture Pietta cylinders that have a narrower cylinder bolt slot than current production Pietta cylinders to the Uberti carbine.

There are still a few things I need to do before testing this carbine. Fit the new hammer and I'm ready to do some shooting. Melting another 4ft of snow at my range may also help some.

Regards,
Richard
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Offline Gunslinger9378

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Re: Modify Uberti 1858
« Reply #14 on: March 21, 2015, 02:48:28 PM »
Dear Friends,
            As the previous owner of the much discussed Carbine here, I did the filing on the hammer nose to make it bite deeper into the safety notch, and it worked fine for me!  I also did not notice anything wrong with the cylinder indexing, and did not have a SINGLE MISS-FIRE, OR FAILURE TO FIRE IN THE TWO OR THREE HUNDRED ROUNDS I PUT THROUGH THE GUN.  THE only REASON I SOLD IT, WAS TO get a different Single Shot rifle, of a heavier caliber, that would "Reach Out And Touch Something," in the nature of a game animal! I felt, rightly or wrongly, that the .44 cal, even at about 1200 fps, did not have enough,"Bite To The Fight," to put down with one shot a larger Game Animal.
            Being a very poor man, I just could not afford to keep the thing, and buy another long gun!  The hammer sank into the safety notches of MY cylinders very well!  I never had the cylinder twist in the loaded gun when I travelled with it to the desert. It was always in the "Safe," position when I got to where I shoot. And ALL rounds ALWAYS went off FULL POWER wen I shot it!
            I do not possess a range of high power calibration gauges, or delicate measureing instruments!  I try things by using them, and if they work, that's good enough for me.
            Frankly, I'm not too happy about being made to look like some Ham-Handed Klutz!  I was the one who had a rather nasty hole blown through my left hand, when a pistol that I dropped, went off, when the Factory Hammer failed to get a good grip in the safety notch of my revolver, and when the second bounce was on the hammer spur, I had a very nasty wound as a result. I spent some time thinking about how it could possibly have happened, and upon my return from the hospital, I very carefully examined all three revolvers, and found that none of them had more that a ONE MILLIMETER "BITE." in the cylinder safety slots.
            So upon getting the carbine, the safety notch was one of the first things I looked at, and it too had a ONE MILLIMETER "BITE."  Which I took care of in my usual manner SUCCESSFULLY!  The entire real surface of a percussion cap does not have to be struck by the hammer to go off successfully!  One has to consider the thickness of the wall of the nipple, and the size of the hole in the centre of the nipple.  At the top end of the nipple the walls are about ONE mm thick so as long as the hammer strikes the top of the nipple with just TWO millimeters of contact, the cap will fire. (Provided it is a Remington Cap!!!)
            ALL THREE OF MY REVOLVERS HAVE HAD THEIR HAMMERS ALTERED IN AN IDENTICAL FASHION.  ALL THREE OF THEM ALWAYS FIRE WITHOUT ANY HESITATION, AND HAVE DONE SO FOR ROUGHLY THE LAST TWO THOUSAND ROUNDS!
            i SOLD THE GUN TO GET ANOTHER TYPE OF GUN THAT WOULD BE MORE SUITED TO MY NEEDS!  I DID NOT SELL IT BECAUSE IT WAS SCREWED UP!  The thing functioned very well for me!  BUT then I don't go around putting Micrometers of every part of a weapon I have!  To me, if a gun goes off every time I press the trigger, If it hits what I aim it at, if it doesn't jam up, and does what I want it to, EVERY TIME I ASK IT TO DO SOMETHING, Then as far as I am concerned, it's a good gun!
            I shall think twice before I sell another gun to a certain person on this forum!
                                                                                                          Johnnie Roper,Alias:Gunslinger9378.










































« Last Edit: March 21, 2015, 04:04:02 PM by Gunslinger9378 »
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