January 2000

Cowboy Options: Buy R&D Gunshop’s 1851 Navy Conversion

Kenny Howell’s reworked cowboy conversion is superb, but pricey; Cimarron’s gorgeous Open Top is a best buy. One EMF revolver is worth a look, but you should pass on a second.

[IMGCAP(1)] Shortly after the advent of Colt’s Model P Single Action Army, range-riders, lawmen, desperadoes, and even average citizens suddenly wanted a revolver that handled the new self-contained brass cartridges. However, many shooters liked the feel of their old Navy or Army cap-and-ball six-shooters, and didn’t want to give them up all that quickly. Solution: They could have their percussion pistol converted to a breech-loader.

During the 1870s, many percussion revolvers were converted to handle cartridge-type ammunition. Gunsmiths drilled out the existing percussion cylinder, added a breech plate with loading gate and ejector rod, and fitted a firing pin to the hammer. Afterward, t...

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