I had an 1851 Colt replica that I hated. I spent more time cleaning it than shooting it due to its brass frame. Go with a steel frame for sure. The issue of multiple rounds firing at once is called "chain firing" and I had that happen twice. It's scary. Crisco will help, but chain firing is a risk anytime with smoke wagons. I agree with the idea of buying a convertible so you can fire cartridges later, but consider ammo cost when factoring this in. .45 long colt rounds are not cheap, and the .36 BP conversion allows for firing the cheaper .38 rounds.
Shooting cap and ball revolvers can be a ton of fun. I have a nice stainless Ruger ROA made in 1976, a Liberty Model. The gun shoots very well and has a surprising amount of power. As others have stated, avoid any brass framed revolvers. The reproductions by Pietta and Uberti are well made and strong.
On other caveat. Double check your laws in California. As a Massachusetts State Police licensed firearm instructor I know there are many laws that people are unaware of. As an example, you can buy any black powder firearm available without a license to carry in the Bay State. But you need a class a or b license to walk out the door of your home with your cap and ball revolver. If it is a long arm like a muzzleloading rifle or shotgun, no license is needed. So make sure you can walk out the door with it. I am not familiar with California law so you need to double check that. Our society is far less forgiving on such things.
The Following User Says Thank You to bigbore442001 For This Useful Post:
Bush Class Basic Certified
I have 2 58 Remington patterns and 1 51 Colt. All in 44. I can tell you the Colt is a faster, lighter shooter but no where near as strong. I shoot round balls at 15 yards and can hit playing cards. Super fun Saturday wasters.
Also be aware that some municipalities may have additional restrictions on arms, including BP arms. California is one of the states that allows local restrictions on firearms IIRC.
For durability and good adjustable sights, try to find a used Ruger Old Army (they aren't making any more now). If you want more authenticity, Uberti or Pietta. Uberti will be better quality than Pietta, but the Piettas are accurate enough and they do work.
May want to double check the laws in your state/municipality.
You say you are a history major. Head over to the law school, and have them research firearms laws in CA, specifically concerning black powder guns and reproductions. Get copies of the statutes, with numbers and citations. Or make friends with a law student and have them do it for you. That would be a much cheaper way to do it than consulting an attorney about it, which is my other suggestion.
Don't take the word of people on the interwebz about gun laws. Easy way to end up in a world of trouble.
Connected via SkyNet
I have a ruger old army had a couple asm 1851s and a pietta sheriffs model 1851 there a ton of fun here in florida they are not considerd firearms AS LONG AS THEY ARE A EXACT REPLICA or the real deal here is some good reading http://www.rawles.to/Pre-1899_FAQ.html
do your home work as suggested above
There are two more advantages that the Remington has over the Colt. The Colt's rear sight is a notch in the hammer. When you fire the weapon, your rear sight disappears, falling out of your sight picture. The Remington has the rear sight built into the top strap which of course stays put upon firing. This set up is more conducive to accuracy. The other thing is that the Remington has a shorter, faster hammer throw. This means that the time between you releasing the hammer and the hammer striking the cap is shorter, again more conducive to accuracy. Don't get me wrong, I like Colt single actions. They feel good in the hand and look great. But the Remington is a better gun on many levels.
I recommend the Remingtons over the Colts. They are stronger and have much better sights. The Pietta Remingtons from Cabela's are good guns at reasonable prices.
Less common are the Ruger Old Army, which is an Old Model Blackhawk modified into a percussion revolver. They are the apex of percussion revolver development, but went out of production a few years ago. Also worth considering is the Euroarms Rogers & Spencer, which is available from Dixie Gunworks. Euroarms was bought and the R&S went out of production early last year, but Dixie still has them in stock, along with spare parts. I have a London Gray finish R&S and it's become my favorite black powder revolver.
Check out the Black Powder Essentials thread on thehighroad.org. It is an excellent source of information on the topic. Reading it can help you avoid common mistakes, and enable you to get the most out of your gun.
Even though Ruger no longer makes the Old Army, you can still find them. Gunbroker usually has a few for sale. You might check them out. Also they make conversion cylinders for them as well. They are also more expensive than the Uberti and the Pietta 1858's, but they are well made and a lot stronger than the Italian guns.
Please check California laws thoroughly. It would not pay to be on the wrong side of this issue. I also recommend you find a mentor to teach you how to shoot these firearms effectively and safely. There are probably gun clubs near you that you could join that will provide the training and camaraderie.
In CA, weapons manufactured before 1898 that do not fire a cartridge, and replicas thereof, are considered "antiques" and not firearms. Thus they are exempt from state firearm laws, which means you are not required to undergo a background check or waiting period. Apparently they are also exempt from the 18-yo requirement. This is consistent with federal law.
Download this document and do a keyword search for "antique." It also gives you all the other laws about firearms in CA - direct from the source (state Attorney General):
The referenced federal laws in the above document are explained here:
So, in short, I think you should find a different gun store. They don't seem to know the law.
Secondly, there are exceptions to the "antique" provisions in both state and federal law for black powder weapons that can be converted to fire cartridges. These are considered "firearms" and are subject to all relevant laws.
Finally, as others have said, you should do your own homework. I am not giving you legal advice. Proceed at your own risk.