Sunday, 24 April 2011

Pietta Remington 1858 .44 Black Powder Revolver - "sight trials" at the shooting range

My "new" black powder revolver, a second hand purchase from another fellow shooter (who, in fact, just barely used it), a Italian made, Pietta, replica of a 1858 "New Army" Remington .44 just went trough a "sights trial" session on April 23rd 2011 at the Carregueira (Belas, Portugal) shooting range - planning to use it for MLAIC competition (ISSF precision target at 25 meters / 27 yards with a 200 mm / 8 inc bulls eye).

Using a load of 16 grains of FFF black powder and 14 grains of corn semolina, with Davide Pedersoli .454 round ball (approx. 140 grains), sealed with common vaseline, there's a drop on the impact point of approx. 15 cms / 6 inches. I was unable to use the classic 6 o'clock hold (sights with a white spacing just bellow the lower section of the bulls eye), and only with the sights converging on the top of the paper limit I was able to do some preliminary group testing).

16 grain powder and 14 grains semolina loads
on the "ready to use" Eppendorf tubes

With a "impossible" alignment of the sights,
just on the upper limit of the target paper,
grouping was approx. 15 cm / 6 inches lower.
The left deviation comes from the absence of horizontal references when aiming so high
- the barrel blocks the bulls eye and all aiming is done "staring at the white"



The front sight is quite high - approx. 4,5 mm / 1/6" inch from the "V-ish" shapped base - and some file work will be the next task - of course more shooting, notes and measure should take place due to the irreversible nature of this "hard" intervention.

The amount of "file work" to be done can be estimated by the sight radius (25 cms) divided by range distance (25 meters) times distance off center of target (approx. 15 cms). On the present case this should be close to 1,5 mm (almost one third of the factory size of the front sight).


That would allow a "on the spot" sight in - but the 6 o'clock hold requires a higher impact point (a white space section plus half the size of the bulls eye - so, 200 mm / 2 = 10 cms for the bullseye and lets add some 5 cms for the white space., another 150mm to manage) - the overall impact would be quite impressive on the filing of the front sight (approx. 60% "down").


Another corrective measure could be, off course, to increase the powder load - but, first of all, I'm already using 16 grains - right on top of Pietta's recommendation and, furthermore, and the real "key argument" for not increasing the load, I will need to use some extra ("hot") loads to deal with the 50 meter / 55 yard "D. Malson" MLAIC competition. If I get a "to much hot" load for the standard 25 meter I will be unable to "upgrade" it for the 50 meter. And, last but not least, let's not forget the physical limitations of the cylinders - the round ball, on top of the semolina and powder must be bellow the "cut line" where it comes in contact with the barrel - and there's not that much "room left" even with "standard loads". And no - I will not reduce or cut the semolina - has some "hardcore" shooters might suggest. Good practises are to be kept!

Pietta recommended min-max loads for the .44 Reminton 1858

My "work bench" for MLAIC competition at the shooting range


Disassembling my 1858 for cleaning




Close up on the cylinder .44 "tubes" and on the octagonal 8 inch barrel 

  

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