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showing and shooting the Colt Paterson cap and ball revolver (includes video) Login/Join 
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Got the Paterson to the range for its first shots. My cap and ball 'smith informed me that at least 2 chambers were misaligned with the bore and told me to check with a light; I couldn't make any conclusive determinations that way so I made a .354" dowel and it slipped down the bore and into the chambers ok (the end of the dowel may have been tapered too much for truly accurate measuring) so I decided to shoot it. It shot okay when the caps went off, but I imagine it had been dry fired or the cones shaved/worn down somewhat OR the hammer is only impacting the top edge of the cones or something; anyway in many cases it took 2-3 strikes for the caps to ignite. I tried multiple brands and sizes. Also the caps kept falling off of the unfired chambers due to either blowback or recoil or whatever, and even the Remington #10s werent' small/tight enough to prevent this. I believe CCI #10s on my last try worked better but I'll have to do some more experimentation.

Anyway, it's an experience to shoot. I get powder or maybe lead back into my face, and that may be due to the square-faced rear of the barrel (rather than the rounded design that came later on the percussion Colts) or maybe it's spitting lead due to being misaligned. But it shot about a 3-4" group from my wobbly rest at 18 yards which is apparently about what is to be expected with these.

Ergonomically it's a nightmare and after a few cylinders (and having to re-cock the hammer multiple times for re-strikes) my hand would start cramping up. The design of the grip and frame is poor, and the hammer is very high and back farther than on the Dragoons/Navys/Army/SAA, which are great fun to shoot and very ergonomic. On the Paterson I have to hook my pinkie under the gripframe and then place the middle of my thumb pad on the center of the hammer spur and draw it directly rearward, rather than on the more ergonomic later designs that allow you to use your thumb more on the side of the hammer spur and roll your thumb in a more natural fashion. I could see why this revolver, though very important, didn't take over the world at the time and of course the first Samuel Colt firearms concern went bankrupt until being revitalized by Sam Walker's request for a durable, powerful, .44 caliber horse pistol for his Texas Rangers.

Here's a video showing off the Paterson, shooting benched and offhand, and elaborating the ergonomic issues for any interested.

https://youtu.be/BZRAQzU4FsE


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Posts: 2819 | Registered: February 27, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I have a Colt Navy repro in .44. BP, even Pyrodex was so dirty you had to take it apart to keep it from binding up with crud. Then having to totally take it apart now and then to clean in inside was a pain in the ass. It is now a wall hanger.


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Posts: 574 | Location: Illinois | Registered: December 03, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Originally posted by p08:
I have a Colt Navy repro in .44. BP, even Pyrodex was so dirty you had to take it apart to keep it from binding up with crud. Then having to totally take it apart now and then to clean in inside was a pain in the ass. It is now a wall hanger.
Yeah, Pyrodex sucks IME. I've gone over 100 shots without disassembly or cleaning 2x in 1860 armys, but pyrodex pellets choked one. Loose pyrodex went over 100 shots but it sure is stinky.

"Pyrodex vs blackpowder" and 777 torture test/s if interested.
https://youtu.be/ouYrlqvp1Uw
https://youtu.be/th-nAQVU37Y


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Posts: 2819 | Registered: February 27, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Neat! Timely, too. I recently picked up a cased replica Paterson from an auction house. After some debate, I dropped it off at Track of the Wolf last week on consignment. I decided that I have plenty to entertain myself among the other eight or ten C&Bs. I was surprised that my Paterson (a Replica Arms) had a date code of 1964; but sure enough, it was listed in an old 1964 edition of Gun Digest. A really early replica that had never been fired.

I agree on how weird the Paterson feels. Still, for its time, it must have seemed like THE HAMMER OF THOR if you were used to dealing with single-shot flintlock pistols.
 
Posts: 665 | Registered: January 17, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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That’s cool. Got any pics?


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Posts: 2819 | Registered: February 27, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I'll get the one picture I took posted, but Track will probably have it on their website before I fumble-finger my way thru posting. I dropped another Remington replica off with the Paterson (last Tuesday) and today when I looked, they already had the Remington listed with a "sale pending".
 
Posts: 665 | Registered: January 17, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I have a tool to make your own percussion caps out of aluminum cans. All you have to do is make the fulminate of mercury!


Always the pall bearer, never the corpse.
 
Posts: 574 | Location: Illinois | Registered: December 03, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Originally posted by mesabi:
I'll get the one picture I took posted, but Track will probably have it on their website before I fumble-finger my way thru posting. I dropped another Remington replica off with the Paterson (last Tuesday) and today when I looked, they already had the Remington listed with a "sale pending".

 
Posts: 665 | Registered: January 17, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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^^ Nine inch barrel, no loading lever. That's a Number 5 Belt Model, affectionately known as the Texas Paterson. Some of the 20th Century replicas were 7.5" barrels, which was a standard length for the Number 5 but the pistols used by the Texas Rangers were nine inchers.

A few months ago, I did extensive research on how these pistols came into the hands of the Texas Rangers. It's an interesting story. The Ranger's Patersons (most of them) came to them by way of the Texas Navy.
 
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I cut a picture out of a magazine a few years ago of a "cut-down" version of a Paterson with a short barrel, maybe 3"in length, and a shortened grip. I'm pretty sure it was a reproduction, but no clue who built it. Has anyone seen a Paterson that fits this description?
 
Posts: 1829 | Registered: March 07, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Mesabi thanks for the pic. That looks like a cool set!


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Posts: 2819 | Registered: February 27, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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