Back at the beginning of the year I picked up a Colt 1851 Confederate Navy muzzle-loading revolver, this is a new reproduction made in Italy by F.LLI PIETTA and is a .44 cal. I know, the originals were just .36 cal…but hey!… who can afford an original, besides would you even want to shoot an original? This is the first gun I have ever bought or owned, and I have not shot a gun in over 25 years. Today I got the chance to break it in. I started with a few loadings at 25 grains, then a few at 30, back down to 25 and even a few at 20. My target was a small piece of plywood about 10″ square set at about 20 to 25 yards. I did manage to hit it a number of times and had to grab a log later on, as over 20, .44 caliber holes, in a 10″ square of ply does not leave much to shoot at. I was pleased to know that after over two decades of abstinence I could still hit the proverbial side of a barn. I had some minor jams due to percussion cap debris getting in the works but figured small loads and lifting the barrel after the shot keeps those at bay.
One of the challenges was trying to get a picture of the shot, and still shoot at the same time. I ended up using the intervalometer on the D90 as a remote…pull the guns trigger then immediately press the remote with the other hand. I got a few that did turn out, and a few that missed. The video I shot was pretty lame…the sound is weak and the images and shots seam way out of sequence. Tori said she might join me in the next round so perhaps we can get some better footage.
I must admit the BOOM of the .44 is pretty cool and the smell of black power adds to the coolness. In the distance I could hear other shooters with regular, lesser firearms, and some with some semi autos…me with my 6 shots then 5 minutes to reload and back at it.
I learned to shoot as a kid from my dad, who spent many years on the police pistol team. The revolver is neat but I’m still thinking the mountain man in me needs to get a .50 cal or greater muzzle loading rifle, to be authentic in mountain man stuff, it would need to be a flint lock. I remember shooting one back in my mid teens and have always remembered that kick. This 1851, doesn’t seem to have the same kick I remember from my uncle’s .44 mag…but then again black powder is a slower propellant.
A few spectators happened by, Intrigued by the smoke and the big BOOM. I did allow a young man (a city kid up with his mom and some friends) to fire 0ff a round…at first he was pretty resistant but afterward he said it was “way cool”, I was glad I could, as Clint would say, “make his day”.