Colt Walker question ...

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AJMD429
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Colt Walker question ...

Post by AJMD429 »

.
The latest American Rifleman issue had 'Josey Wales' on the cover, and it reminded me of a question...

I've fired replicas a few times and I never could understand why the loading lever didn't have an effective latch to keep it against the barrel. Of the three or so different times I've shot replicas, the lever always seem to drop down with recoil. Was that something that didn't happen with the original ones? Or if it did, how did people using them in the real world for more serious purposes and shooting tin cans and paper targets get around that?
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Re: Colt Walker question ...

Post by JRD »

The lever did flop down in original Walkers… which is why it was redesigned when Colt came out with the Dragoon.

Some poorly fitted repros flop around like crazy, but if the detent is stronger it only flops occasionally.

Granted, I’ve never shot an original Walker no been there to see one used in the old west, but that is my understanding and my gunsmithed Eyetalian Walker isn’t terribly problematic.

Reportedly period solutions included a leather thong wrapped around the barrel to hold the lever.

The Walker improved on the earlier Paterson, and was itself improved on several times in the Dragoon series which also were improved on in the Navies and Armies. It was an evolutionary design that kept getting improved a little at a time.
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Re: Colt Walker question ...

Post by Ray »

A simple and easy wrap of electrical tape......
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Scott Tschirhart
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Re: Colt Walker question ...

Post by Scott Tschirhart »

I don’t know that there were a lot of Walkers being carried on the hip in those days.

There weren’t a whole lot of Walkers made.


But compared to a single shot muzzle loader, that Walker was a big step up!
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Re: Colt Walker question ...

Post by Ray »

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Scott Tschirhart
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Re: Colt Walker question ...

Post by Scott Tschirhart »

Mike’s article is quite interesting. Especially about the Picket bullet.
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Re: Colt Walker question ...

Post by Pat C »

A leather thong around barrel I have seen before.
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Re: Colt Walker question ...

Post by Bill in Oregon »

Thanks for that link Ray. It was indeed a fine article and free of all the padding that some writers seem obliged to add these days.
My great-great grandfather enlisted in Hays's First Mounted Texas Volunteers in Austin in May of 1847, but his company did not see combat in Mexico, instead being deployed to the north to punish Indians along the Brazos in the vicinity of present Waco. I wonder if he was issued a Walker, but somehow doubt it.
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Re: Colt Walker question ...

Post by horsesoldier03 »

Deleted comment. I just noticed it was directly with Colt Walkers Only.
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Re: Colt Walker question ...

Post by Rube Burrows »

You're looking back on the evoloution of hand guns with modern thoughts.

The original Walkers had the same issue with the loading lever falling. The dragoon corrected that problem and a couple other problems.

I have seen photographs of originals somewhere with a piece of rawhide or wire wrapped around the barrel and loading lever.


Of course with the replicas, some do it more than others. I have a Walker that has never done it. Now, granted, I have only shot it 30-40 rounds so maybe it just hasn't loosened up.
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Re: Colt Walker question ...

Post by Grizz »

if i had a drooping loading lever i might attatch a magnet to it and stick it to the barrel. Mr. J. B. Weld comes to mind. :)
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Re: Colt Walker question ...

Post by Bill in Oregon »

Grizz, that's ingenious. I wonder if one of those small neodymium magnets could be milled to match the radius of the barrel and trimmed to reduce its footprint. I dunno how they are made -- or if they might take Oxpho Blue. 8)
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Re: Colt Walker question ...

Post by Ysabel Kid »

Doc, I can't add much to what has already been said. Yes, originals had a problem with the loading lever dropping. Field fix was often a pigging thong or something similar, as a dropping lever isn't just annoying, but can lock up the revolver when most needed. Subsequent models (Transitional, 1st, 2nd & 3rd Dragoons, 1851 Navy, 1860 Army, 1861 Navy, 1862 Pocket Police and 1862 Pocket Navy) all had a better latching system. The modern Italian reproductions of the Walkers have the same issue. I guess they are trying to stay authentic. ;)

I have heard that some of the Dragoon's, despite their better latching system, can have the same issue with stout loads and/or weak, poorly fitted, or damaged latches.

But for the well-made Dragoons, I can also say they can hold up to stout loads without an issue. :) I recently created a fantasy gun (for me) with an Uberti 1st model Dragoon reproduction as its base.
Had the recoil shield channeled and replaced the cylinder with a Kirst Konverter (who did the channeling) in .45 Colt. Recently shot 50 rounds through it and the loading lever never dropped. These were not modern stiff loads, but certainly were full powered loads. :)

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It's a fantasy gun as the Ysabel Kid from the J.T. Edson "Floating Outfit" western series carried a 1st and 2nd model Dragoon (depends on which book you read), and never replaced it. So I thought that if he was finally tempted to going to a cartridge firearm, he'd convert his "ol thumb buster" to fire cartridges rather than buy a new one.
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Re: Colt Walker question ...

Post by Scott Tschirhart »

I’d like to have one, but only for the rare occasion when I need to slap a surly bartender upside the head.

https://youtu.be/OLNshIY2W-Y?si=q18Y-ms6xmx7ch0_
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Re: Colt Walker question ...

Post by Bill in Oregon »

Jay, that is a very cool "fantasy" Dragoon you have there. I bet it would stand up to some heavier loads ...
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Re: Colt Walker question ...

Post by Grizz »

Bill in Oregon wrote: Thu Feb 22, 2024 8:41 am Jay, that is a very cool "fantasy" Dragoon you have there. I bet it would stand up to some heavier loads ...
what i am wondering is why Jay's Fantasy has a loading lever !?!
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Re: Colt Walker question ...

Post by Rube Burrows »

Scott Tschirhart wrote: Wed Feb 21, 2024 10:02 pm I’d like to have one, but only for the rare occasion when I need to slap a surly bartender upside the head.

https://youtu.be/OLNshIY2W-Y?si=q18Y-ms6xmx7ch0_

Have always liked that scene.
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Re: Colt Walker question ...

Post by Ray »

If I ever acquire an extra barrel I hope to do something like this.....

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=83RN5tm7I8E

With expectations of closer groups of course.....
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Re: Colt Walker question ...

Post by lthardman »

I absolutely love your fantasy gun, Jay! Very cool. It is giving sime ideas about how to get more use out of my 3rd Model Dragoon.

Now I am assuming that once you make those mods there is no going back, correct?
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Re: Colt Walker question ...

Post by Ysabel Kid »

lthardman wrote: Thu Feb 22, 2024 8:08 pm I absolutely love your fantasy gun, Jay! Very cool. It is giving sime ideas about how to get more use out of my 3rd Model Dragoon.

Now I am assuming that once you make those mods there is no going back, correct?
Thanks Gary. Actually, I can just use the original cylinder to shoot it cap and ball fashion. The only real modification to the gun itself was the channel cut in the recoil shield to accommodate loading cartridges. If anything, it may make placing percussion caps a bit easier.

That's the primary difference between the Kirst Konversion cylinders and the Howell Conversion cylinders. Both are two-piece, but the Kirst has a loading port on the base, as well as a single firing pin. The Howell has five or six firing pins (depending on the model) that rotate with the cylinder body. Colts & clones need to be disassembled to load and unload. The Kirst, with the recoil shield modified, do not.

Both work with the original hammer on the percussion revolvers, so no modification there (and thus the flexibility to switch back and forth).

You can remove the loading lever and add the traditional spring-loaded shell extractor, but I didn't do that. Grizz, BTW, this is why I left the loading lever. I can switch back to C&B very quickly. The wood dowel is to punch out empty brass. :D
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Re: Colt Walker question ...

Post by Ysabel Kid »

Ray wrote: Thu Feb 22, 2024 7:39 pm If I ever acquire an extra barrel I hope to do something like this.....

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=83RN5tm7I8E

With expectations of closer groups of course.....
Future project for me too. I've always wanted an "Avenging Angel"!
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Re: Colt Walker question ...

Post by Grizz »

Ysabel Kid wrote: Thu Feb 22, 2024 8:37 pm
lthardman wrote: Thu Feb 22, 2024 8:08 pm Both work with the original hammer on the percussion revolvers, so no modification there (and thus the flexibility to switch back and forth).

You can remove the loading lever and add the traditional spring-loaded shell extractor, but I didn't do that. Grizz, BTW, this is why I left the loading lever. I can switch back to C&B very quickly. The wood dowel is to punch out empty brass. :D
Amazing! I would love to shoot that one. It always seemed to me that the best battle plan for a Horse Pistol would be 20 loaded cylinders, or so. . :)
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Re: Colt Walker question ...

Post by oldebear1950 »

and here I thought I was the only one read J. T. EDSON
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Re: Colt Walker question ...

Post by Ysabel Kid »

oldebear1950 wrote: Fri Feb 23, 2024 12:04 pm and here I thought I was the only one read J. T. EDSON
Certainly not! :D
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Bill in Oregon
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Re: Colt Walker question ...

Post by Bill in Oregon »

The darned Walker repros are tempting, but every Youtube I have seen shows the ramrod dropping and some serious cap sucking with the attendant advancing the cylinder by hand. It just seems to be a system that works only part of the time. But Rube is right -- in its time even with issues it was a huge advance over the Paterson.
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Re: Colt Walker question ...

Post by Ray »

Bill in Oregon wrote: Sun Feb 25, 2024 11:29 am The darned Walker repros are tempting, but every Youtube I have seen shows the ramrod dropping and some serious cap sucking with the attendant advancing the cylinder by hand. It just seems to be a system that works only part of the time. But Rube is right -- in its time even with issues it was a huge advance over the Paterson.
Everybody assumes that the originals and their manipulators had no miss-fires or cap jamming.....b u t.....

Period obituaries abound with something along this line.....

"jones suffered a tragic accident in the wee hours of sabbath past. mrs. jones woke the unfortunate gentleman after hearing a bump and clatter in the second floor hallway. jones pointed a pistol into the gloom and endeavoured to fire it. the revolving colt's cock snapped on a cap and when he looked to see if the offending chamber was indeed charged, the load fired late and the ball struck him in the forehead....."

As for cap jams, does anyone really believe that horse pistols were adroitly handled in each hand like the comestible & tobacco fetching scene from "josey wales" ? .....

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=0WclbiyYj ... hpZQ%3D%3D

I think not.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ASbDnicII9o

Fast forward to 5:00 minutes or thereabouts re. era caps and their deficiencies.....

The following video is by our own Griff.....

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=6A8LjzUp1 ... e=youtu.be

Though only a game and not a real gunfight, notice the unhurried, deliberate focused gun handling. This has to be much closer to historic truth than hollywood depictions.....
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Re: Colt Walker question ...

Post by Ysabel Kid »

Bill in Oregon wrote: Sun Feb 25, 2024 11:29 am The darned Walker repros are tempting, but every Youtube I have seen shows the ramrod dropping and some serious cap sucking with the attendant advancing the cylinder by hand. It just seems to be a system that works only part of the time. But Rube is right -- in its time even with issues it was a huge advance over the Paterson.
Bill, as Ray notes, the originals in their time also had issues. The dropping loading lever was indeed one of the drivers for the Dragoon series (a better latching system), as well as shortening the barrel, reducing the cylinder length (and thus powder capacity), and IIRC correctly, better metal was also introduced. Cap-sucking is largely an issue of poorly fitting caps. I replace my C&B revolvers with either Slix-Shot or Treso nipples, and both work great (much better than either Uberti or Pietta original nipples). If I shot my Walkers more often I would figure out a cheat to improve loading lever retention, but I'd rather just shoot the Dragoons when I want to shot "big iron". But for the best functionality, balance, pointability, and feel, nothing beats the 1860 Army - in my book anyway! :D
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Re: Colt Walker question ...

Post by Ray »

the fragile & finicky paterson colts in action.....

https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/ent ... -battle-of
a37987328058bff3771965b2a4d9e941.jpg
"powder burn them !"
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Re: Colt Walker question ...

Post by 765x53 »

Ray wrote: Sun Feb 25, 2024 9:44 pm the fragile & finicky paterson colts in action.....

https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/ent ... -battle-of

a37987328058bff3771965b2a4d9e941.jpg

"powder burn them !"
The guy popping that one next to the horses face probably took himself out of the chase. :lol:
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Re: Colt Walker question ...

Post by Ray »

765x53 wrote: Mon Feb 26, 2024 1:07 pm
Ray wrote: Sun Feb 25, 2024 9:44 pm the fragile & finicky paterson colts in action.....

https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/ent ... -battle-of

a37987328058bff3771965b2a4d9e941.jpg

"powder burn them !"
The guy popping that one next to the horses face probably took himself out of the chase. :lol:
Obviously that is a romanticized cartoonish depiction but I wonder if horses back in the day were purposely inured to gunfire like Hollywood acting horses were/are. In the golden age, studio corral grooms were said to acclimate young horses by having one large/heavy groom stand on the horse's neck while another fires a cylinder full of cinematic blanks in the vicinity of the poor beast's face. They would repeat this once daily until the horse eventually ceased to flinch/flounder. As cruel as that sounds, standing on a horse's neck while pinching the snout through the nostrils was common in the "carrot/stick" method until the advent/invent of battery powered direct current prods. Seems like using a shock stick on a horse unless it is securely immobilized is a good way to get severely hooved/bitten.

Perhaps cowboy action mounted competitors can share how modern horses are trained to ignore two cylinders full of blanks being fired over their heads in under a half a minute.
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Re: Colt Walker question ...

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The .45 colt was designed to shoot horses. War isn't pretty. The best way to unseat a cavalry troop is to shoot his horse. It's a very big target. In westerns you'll see bandits chasing a stage coach. In reality if one wanted to stop a coach you'd simply kill one of the horses. The remaining horses and coach would wreck, likely killing or at least injuring the remain horses and passengers. Pretty darned easy to rob dead or dying folks.
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Re: Colt Walker question ...

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jeepnik wrote: Tue Feb 27, 2024 8:37 pm The .45 colt was designed to shoot horses. War isn't pretty. The best way to unseat a cavalry troop is to shoot his horse. It's a very big target. In westerns you'll see bandits chasing a stage coach. In reality if one wanted to stop a coach you'd simply kill one of the horses. The remaining horses and coach would wreck, likely killing or at least injuring the remain horses and passengers. Pretty darned easy to rob dead or dying folks.
I wholeheartedly concur b u t.....long before the talkies, hollyweird decided the pelicula viewer(s) would not abide depictions of equinicide.

When the kids were little and had graduated from veggie tales to shoot-em-ups, what you describe above was evident to them. In one film, whilst a wagon load of barrels of gunpowder behind a team of four was racing towards the fort's main gate, my four or five year old son simply asked, "why don't they just shoot the horses ?" To which I replied, "it wasn't in the script."
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Re: Colt Walker question ...

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Ray wrote: Tue Feb 27, 2024 9:05 pm
jeepnik wrote: Tue Feb 27, 2024 8:37 pm The .45 colt was designed to shoot horses. War isn't pretty. The best way to unseat a cavalry troop is to shoot his horse. It's a very big target. In westerns you'll see bandits chasing a stage coach. In reality if one wanted to stop a coach you'd simply kill one of the horses. The remaining horses and coach would wreck, likely killing or at least injuring the remain horses and passengers. Pretty darned easy to rob dead or dying folks.
I wholeheartedly concur b u t.....long before the talkies, hollyweird decided the pelicula viewer(s) would not abide depictions of equinicide.

When the kids were little and had graduated from veggie tales to shoot-em-ups, what you describe above was evident to them. In one film, whilst a wagon load of barrels of gunpowder behind a team of four was racing towards the fort's main gate, my four or five year old son simply asked, "why don't they just shoot the horses ?" To which I replied, "it wasn't in the script."

Your son asks good questions. My question is how is it that movie horses are accorded greater deferential respect than the peoples in the same movies?

I have read horseicide factored into the 45 ACP cartridge as well.
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Re: Colt Walker question ...

Post by oldebear1950 »

my two granddads were old town marshalls in Oklahoma during the 1920s and 1930s, and they always said people they knew that had cap and ball pistols , would use a piggin string to tie the loading lever a a walker so it did not flop around,
and also said people used black powder guns, both rifles and pistols, cause they could not afford the cartridge guns and ammo. and were still using em on the farms and in the Ozarks of Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Missouri, until after WWII.
It worked, and could make their own flints in the case of flintlocks.
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Re: Colt Walker question ...

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Ysabel Kid wrote: Sun Feb 25, 2024 8:48 pm But for the best functionality, balance, pointability, and feel, nothing beats the 1860 Army - in my book anyway! :D
No argument from me on that point Jay. My favorite by far. Not to mention that the 1860 Army is also one handsome revolver.

While I know we are talking C & B Revolvers here, I just love shooting this Cimarron Arms Colt 1851 Navy Conversion so much I wanted to show it off again. It was made to resemble the gun Clint Eastwood wielded in The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. Appropriately named the "Man with no name gun." It is chambered in .38 Special.
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