1860 COLT ARMY Cartridge Conversion

The cap and ball disease has hit me……..it’s usually fatal to your savings account. Having a set of 1858 Remingtons and a set of 1851 Confederate Navy pistols left a glaring hole for a set of 1860 Colt Army revolvers.

I really like the 5 1/2″ barrel lerngth of the Sheriff model. A quick search showed that EMF Firearms  http://www.emf-company.com/   had Pietta reproductions  in stock and at a sale price!

A pair was ordered! These would be converted to cartridge with Kirst Cartridge conversion cylinders. So a pair of cylinders was ordered through “Hoof Hearted”    http://cartridgeconversion.com/     and they arrived in quick order and beautiful to behold!

The pistol are just about perfect mechanically. Timing is spot on and the actions are smooth as can be. Pietta has really figured out how to maqke fantastic revolvers right out of the box.

The cylinders were installed and fit perfectly and function 100%. I couldn’t be more pleased.

The loading slot was cut simply using a 1/2 grinding wheel in a Dremel tool and a little cold blue when done. Didn’t take more than a few minutes.

I will be using “Cowboy 45 Special” brass and Big Lube 45SLIM 170g bullets. Both black powder and Trail Boss will be used depending on the mood.


UPDATE June 2017…..

After five years and thousands of rounds fired through these revolvers, the cylinder slots have worn out to the point where the cylinder stop doesn’t always stop the cylinder in the right place and the firing pin hits the rim of the cartridge rather than the primer. I ordered a new pair of cylinders and all is well again.

Because these cylinders are designed to be drop in, and the diameter needs to be slightly bigger than the original C&B cylinder, the “stop” area of the cylinder slot needs to be relieved. Some Piettas don’t drop the cylinder stop enough to release the cylinder to turn on the next cocking. This leaves VERY little material for the cylinder stop to bang against and after lots of slip firing, they are peened to unusable




On the old cylinders I’m going to TIG weld this area up and recut and adjust the cylinder stop for perfect engagement. Who knows, it just might work!

Interesting to note, that I did not ask for any compensation when ordering new cylinders. I informed Kirst of the situation only to say I was pleased the original cylinders lasted so long with thousands upon thousands of “slip firing” abuse.

A few days later Kirst sent me a $40 refund on the cylinders I ordered. A real stand-up company! THANKS!


Added extractors. Although I like the looks of the loading levers, and they actually assist in getting the revolvers back into the holsters quickly, at the unloading table, using a brass shaft I made was becoming laborious.

So I added extractors available from Kirst



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2 comments on “1860 COLT ARMY Cartridge Conversion”

  1. Earl Reply

    Just purchased two 7″ barrel 1860 Army’s myself and future plans are to convert with Kirst Conversions. Your Sheriff models are absolutely splendid and are so eye-catching … photos are exquisite. Thanks for sharing and providing the motivation to follow in your footsteps.

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