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Author Topic: Howell .22 conversion for Colts  (Read 29446 times)

Offline ssb73q

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Howell .22 conversion for Colts
« on: August 01, 2015, 04:42:01 AM »
Hi, I just received an email from Old South Firearms that they now have full length barrel Howell .22 conversion cylinders for Colts, see:
http://www.oldsouthfirearms.com/HowellConversions-1860ArmyPietta.44to.22caliberconversion.aspx

They have the conversions for the .38 1851 and .44 1860. The photo of the full length barrel installed in the 1851 suggests that they use the same barrel insert for both models. The picture of the 1851 with barrel liner sticking out the muzzle is ugly IMO.

However, adding the full length barrel liner should do wonders for accuracy and velocity compared to the 2" barrel inserts.

Regards,
Richard
There’s nothing better in the morning than the smell of bacon and black powder smoke!

Offline Mad Dog Stafford

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Re: Howell .22 conversion for Colts
« Reply #1 on: August 01, 2015, 05:26:43 AM »
I just got OSFs e-mail ad too.  L@.

Offline ssb73q

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Re: Howell .22 conversion for Colts
« Reply #2 on: August 01, 2015, 06:25:56 AM »
Hi Sam, I ordered the 1860 .44 model. I will give it a testing and report back.

Regards,
Richard
There’s nothing better in the morning than the smell of bacon and black powder smoke!

Offline Mad Dog Stafford

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Re: Howell .22 conversion for Colts
« Reply #3 on: August 01, 2015, 06:35:07 AM »
Way to go Richard!  L@.

I would like to get me one for my 51/44 but...I'm trying like Heck to save money because I want the 1847 Colt Walker and the 1860 Colt .44 by this X-mas.  ;)

Offline PaleHawkDown

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Re: Howell .22 conversion for Colts
« Reply #4 on: August 03, 2015, 09:49:48 AM »
We're hoping to get the second run of these pretty soon. The new batch will be even more refined.

We tested what I guess you'd call the Mark 1 at the beginning of the summer and got a thumb sized group at what I thought (after pacing it out) was a bit over 25 feet, supported and using S&B bulk ammo. The group was low, but didn't have any horizontal drift. Basically a sight adjustment would be in order if you wanted to turn it into a tack driver. Offhand the groups opened up to "coke can" at that range and using Kentucky Latitude to account for the sights.

We did get a couple of flyers in later groups but since this was loose ammo out of a bucket and we were sweating like pigs in the Alabama sun I'm inclined to think that either the ammo or sweaty handed fumbling played their parts in that.

What we sold over the weekend could pretty much be called the Mark 2 cylinder with the Mark 3 barrel.

The commercial version will feature a simplified version of the fittings and barrel (what the Brits would call a MK 3*).

For best results the .44 to .22 of this batch fits the 1860 .44 perfectly and the .36 to .22 fits the 1851 .36 perfectly.




 

Offline ssb73q

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Re: Howell .22 conversion for Colts
« Reply #5 on: August 03, 2015, 10:54:13 AM »
The new batch will be even more refined.


Hi Lee, what will be the refinements?

Regards,
Richard
There’s nothing better in the morning than the smell of bacon and black powder smoke!

Offline StrawHat

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Re: Howell .22 conversion for Colts
« Reply #6 on: August 04, 2015, 04:26:26 AM »
The cost of 22 ammunition makes this a costly way to shoot.  I'll stick with caps, lead and loose powder.

Kevin
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Offline ssb73q

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Re: Howell .22 conversion for Colts
« Reply #7 on: August 04, 2015, 05:06:58 AM »
The cost of 22 ammunition makes this a costly way to shoot.  I'll stick with caps, lead and loose powder.

Kevin

Hi Kevin, it wasn't that long ago where one could get good .22s for $16/1000. I stocked up back then. Shooting .22 with BP revolvers provides another option for the BP revolver. Ladies like using the .22 conversions to shoot compared to the recoil and muzzle flash from full bore BP revolvers.

Regards,
Richard
There’s nothing better in the morning than the smell of bacon and black powder smoke!

Offline PaleHawkDown

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Re: Howell .22 conversion for Colts
« Reply #8 on: August 04, 2015, 07:23:16 AM »
The new batch will be even more refined.


Hi Lee, what will be the refinements?

Regards,
Richard

In the current version the nut and the muzzle-end brass are a single machined part. The nut will be eliminated to take some of the weight off the muzzle. It is also unnecessary since the whole thing should only be made hand-tight. The final version will also have a different brand barrel liner that should be even more accurate, but since it comes in lengths that would leave less waste it will cost exactly the same on our end.


Offline PaleHawkDown

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Re: Howell .22 conversion for Colts
« Reply #9 on: August 04, 2015, 07:33:43 AM »
Dad and I used to clean out Academy Sports, Wal-Mart, and further back in time, K-Mart after Christmas every year. Those companies would stock up on "collectible" tins, banks, crates, decorative trunks and the like to sell for Christmas. Right after Christmas that stuff would be marked down ridiculously cheap - usually a lot cheaper than the ammo by itself.
I have a NASCAR Remington collectible car filled with .22s right now that, if the tag is to be believed, cost me a penny a round. PLUS I got a racecar tin that eBay tells me is worth almost as much as what I paid for the whole shebang.

I still have a good bit of ammo saved up this way, but back when I could practically get ammo for free and still sell the package it came in I went through it fast. It wasn't anything then to go through 500 rounds on a Saturday.

Luckily I misplaced my backstock during the worst of the panic or I would have sold it all, and wouldn't have had any left.

Offline ssb73q

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Re: Howell .22 conversion for Colts
« Reply #10 on: August 04, 2015, 08:05:22 AM »
The new batch will be even more refined.


Hi Lee, what will be the refinements?

Regards,
Richard

In the current version the nut and the muzzle-end brass are a single machined part. The nut will be eliminated to take some of the weight off the muzzle. It is also unnecessary since the whole thing should only be made hand-tight. The final version will also have a different brand barrel liner that should be even more accurate, but since it comes in lengths that would leave less waste it will cost exactly the same on our end.

Hi Lee, thanks for the info. The front bushing of my .22 full length barrels was drilled eccentric so that it can be adjusted for poi. Even with a 0.020" offset, the poi was low. However, it was useful for windage adjustment. See:





If windage is an issue for the Howell in my 1860 or .44 1851 I will machine an eccentric bushing to bring the windage on. The .22 shooting low is the worst case in that the front sight needs to be filed down since the sight covers the target. Doing so will make the high shooting BP even worst.  A Catch 22 (a pun?). Now if it was high shooting, Kentucky windage would work since one can see the poa. Low shooting with .22s may destroy any market for the .22 conversion cylinders.

Regards,
Richard
There’s nothing better in the morning than the smell of bacon and black powder smoke!

Offline ssb73q

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Re: Howell .22 conversion for Colts
« Reply #11 on: August 07, 2015, 12:01:11 PM »
Hi, I received my Howell .22 conversion cylinder with full length barrel today. This will be my initial impressions on this conversion:

First off, I am a bit disappointed in Old South Firearms in shipping. I ordered this conversion on Saturday 8/1/15 8:22 AM and it wasn't shipped until  8/3/15 4:26 PM. The conversion arrived today at 8/7/15 2:00 PM. This long shipping time with Priority mail isn't what I had expected from Old South.

The conversions cylinder proper is very high quality, typical what to expect from Howell. However, the barrel is questionable IMO. The barrel is ~8-7/8" in length and fit very well in my Pietta 1860 revolver with tight tolerances. The bushings are nice and tight, but I question the narrow OD of the barrel, 0.310". The barrels I used for my Pietta 1858 have an OD of 0.3675". The thin walls of the Howell barrel gives me some concern. Kind of reminds me of the car aerial .22 zip-guns I made in my youth. The conversion cylinder cycled well with out any problems, but the barrel gap is a huge 0.010". That's much too large for .22s IMO. Interesting that only the right side of the hammer hits the firing pins. Howell appears to have either used epoxy or locktite to attach the rear barrel bushing to the barrel. If the rear bushing wasn't glued to the barrel, it would have been possible to set a more optimal barrel/cylinder gap. Since the front bushing is threaded central to the 1868 barrel, there isn't any method to adjust the poi.

Unless you are very lucky, the poi will not equal the poa. A eccentric front bushing is required to do that adjustment. Only accurate firearms are interesting IMO. I suspect that I will fit one of my 1858 barrels to the 1860 in the future where I can adjust poi.

I have been drinking so not able to test accuracy with this conversion cylinder/barrel combination today. That testing will follow at a future date.

IMO if Howell doesn't provide a method to adjust poi, this conversion cylinder/barrel combination isn't recommended. I also question the suitability of such an unsupported thin walled barrel for use with .22 high velocity ammo.

Regards,
Richard

There’s nothing better in the morning than the smell of bacon and black powder smoke!

Offline StrawHat

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Re: Howell .22 conversion for Colts
« Reply #12 on: August 08, 2015, 03:32:42 AM »
...Only accurate firearms are interesting IMO ...

Regards,
Richard...

Richard, If what you say is true, you are starting with the wrong revolver to make an accurate 22.  Start with a S&W M17 or a Ruger Autoloader.  This idea of using a C&B revolver to satisfy all of one's needs in a revolver is wrought with problems.  They really were built for only one purpose.  Use them as they were designed and enjoy them.

If you want to compete with a 22, get the proper tool.

Kevin
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Offline ssb73q

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Re: Howell .22 conversion for Colts
« Reply #13 on: August 08, 2015, 08:17:56 AM »
Hi, a followup to my initial impressions of the Howell .22 1860 conversion cylinder:

I took a Pietta 1860 revolver with the conversion cylinder and .22 barrel installed out back to do some accuracy testing. I loaded up 6 and moved to 25yds from my steel targets . After cocking and aiming, I pulled the trigger, click. I tried 3 more times, click, click, click. After the first attempt I assumed it was just a bad .22 primer, but after more failures, there's a problem here with this conversion. A little study shows that the bottom of the hammer area just below the sight cutout was hitting on the rim of the conversion cylinder and not allowing the hammer to drive the firing pins home. To test if this was just a fluke on the one Pietta 1860, I tested another Pietta 1860 and Pietta .44 1851. All these Pietta revolvers where purchased new in the last 3 years. They all failed to fire. It appears that a solution is to grind down each of my hammer ends, that's something I will not do. The rear of the conversion cylinder can't be narrowed any more since the firing pin bushings are already at the cylinder edge.

Needless to say, this new Howell .22 conversion cylinder with full length barrel is a bust, it's going back for a refund. It amazes me that this prototype ever got out of Howells door. I'm disappointed.

Regards,
Richard
There’s nothing better in the morning than the smell of bacon and black powder smoke!

Offline ssb73q

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Re: Howell .22 conversion for Colts
« Reply #14 on: August 08, 2015, 11:36:26 AM »
Hi StrawHat, who said anything about competing with a .22 conversion 1860? Having said that, every firearm I own is expected to shoot to the potential of the firearm. If it doesn't get there it gets kicked to the curb. I have lots of reasons to equip my replica BP handguns with conversion cylinders, too many to articulate here at this time. How about giving me the benefit of the doubt when it comes to my selection of handguns and parts that enrichs my shooting hobby. How about a deal, I won't criticize your choices, and you won't criticize mine?

Regards,
Richard
There’s nothing better in the morning than the smell of bacon and black powder smoke!