I recently took my first steps into the world of black powder shooting with the purchase of a Pietta 1858 New Army brass frame revolver. This is a brass frame replica of the Remington 1858 New Army revolver.
A little history. The Remington revolver was patented in 1858 but most were produced after 1860. It was not the first choice of the Union army as it was 50 cents more per unit than the competing colt revolver. But after the fire in the colt production plant in 1864 large orders of the Remington were put in to keep up production for the war. The pistol was very popular with those who used it and was stronger than the Colt and faster to load as you could switch out the cylinder much faster on it than you could on a Colt. The “top strap” solid frame design gave it much of its durability. The cylinder can be switched in 12 seconds or less after a little practice, making this the first of the revolvers to have a “speed loader’ which also helped with its popularity. The revolver also had one of the first safety features with with milled safety slots in between the loaded chambers this way you can have the hammer down and locked in position between the primed chambers.
The model I have is the brass frame model and while it is true that many pistols were built in the confederate states of america using brass frames none of the Remington’s were made this way. I don’t mind that its not historically accurate because after shipping and on sale from cabbalas i paid 200 dollars for the revolver. Thats a great value for a revolver that normally sales for around 300 plus tax and shipping. I figured as my first experiment in black powder that was a good price point to start with. The gun came in and was lovely. It needed to be cleaned as it had a layer of oil on the revolver to protect it from rust but after it was cleaned it was a beautiful pistol.
I had to wait a little while to shoot it as Christmas was coming and the holidays are a busy time at home and at work. And lucky for me I waited as I received everything I needed to shoot the gun for Christmas. I have a brass powder horn, a adjustable powder measure, pyrodex FFF powder, caps and balls. I was able to finally get out last weekend and shoot it and it performed beyond my expectations. At twenty feet it shot a 1 inch three shot group not bad for a pistol with fixed sights shooting round ball ammo.
I have to say overall I am very pleased with the pistol. It does take some time to load and I would not want to have to load it in the field, but I am planning on getting a spare cylinder to carry when I am out and about with it. This is going to be a wonderful plinking gun and I am going to use it as a side arm when I am out trekking on my parents land. We have the occasional snake and such that needs to be dispatched.
Overall I would greatly recommend the pistol if you have any interest in black powder shooting. It is not very expensive and is a great and reliable way to get started.