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Author Topic: Poor Man's Cap & Ball Revolver  (Read 9473 times)
akumabito
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« on: January 16, 2009, 09:01:28 pm »

Instructions as found on the internets:





Looks fun, as long as you don't take the whole idea too seriously Tongue



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Gryphon
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« Reply #1 on: January 17, 2009, 12:44:27 am »

Interesting.  I've been mulling over a conceptually similar idea, except that I would start with a real cap & ball revolver so as to have an airsoft revolver capable of velocities in the 320-400fps range.  Each cylinder chamber would be lined with a brass airsoft adaptor, basically a 6mm ID tube silver-soldered or brazed to a standard percussion nipple; to convert a percussion cylinder to airsoft, one would remove its nipples from the back and thread the inserts in their place.  The barrel could either be a switchout, dedicated 6mm smoothbore airsoft barrel on percussion Colt clones, or a 6mm brass  barrel insert for topstrap models like the 1858 Remingtons, Spiller & Burr, Starr, etc. 

BBs would be seated from the cylinder face.  The charge for each chamber insert would be nothing more than a standard #10 or #11 percussion cap - if these proved to propel a .20g airsoft BB in excess of 400 fps, one could shorten each insert slightly to allow more gas to escape between the cylinder and the barrel.  The real beauty of this scheme is that one's cap & ball revolver could be easily and quickly converted to airsoft for a game, then just as easily converted back once the game was over - and also that, when the inserts are in place, the gun would be completely incapable of chambering or firing a lead ball over a blackpowder charge, thereby temporarily rendering it a "non-gun."

Is this taking the whole idea too seriously? Wink
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akumabito
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« Reply #2 on: January 17, 2009, 12:50:44 am »

The real beauty of this scheme is that one's cap & ball revolver could be easily and quickly converted to airsoft for a game, then just as easily converted back once the game was over.

I was with you, until I read that! Tongue

I can imagine the odds of rather dramatic errors increasing rapidly if you allow for a quick exchange between blackpowder and airsoft operation.. Sad
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Gryphon
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« Reply #3 on: January 17, 2009, 01:32:55 am »

Well, not THAT quick!  One would still have to sit down with a nipple wrench, unthread and remove each chamber insert, then thread each nipple back into place, and then also remove the 6mm barrel insert.  Plus cleaning and oiling, of course.  The whole process would take at least half an hour, at the end of a day's play.  It would be foolish in the extreme to bring an unconverted cap & ball revolver to a game and would probably earn one banishment from the field of play.  The idea is to convert the revolver BEFORE going out to play and to leave the nipples, wrench, powder and balls AT HOME when planning on playing airsoft.
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akumabito
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« Reply #4 on: January 18, 2009, 12:07:55 am »

You'll want a clearly visible indicator on the outside of the gun to be VERY sure you won't accidentally shoot and kill someone. I know the Remingtons have a cylinder that can be removed real quick - I'd suggest ordering a spare cylinder, modding it permanently for airsoft use (ie. making it utterly impossible to fire lead ammo) and painting it a distinct different color so you'll instantly know it's the 'safe' cylinder when you're aiming at your friends Tongue
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Gryphon
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« Reply #5 on: January 18, 2009, 09:10:52 pm »

My thought was to color-code the nipples, which are clearly visible - paint the nipples on the adaptors bright red or brass-plate them or something similar, although I think the chances for mishap are extremely low if the conversion is done at home before the game AND the powder/lead shot/nipple wrench are left at home.  As further insurance, each airsoft gun is always inspected, chronographed, and marked as approved for play by myself or one of my referees prior to every airsoft game I organize.  While the idea of switch-out cylinders sounds good on the face of it, I would probably ban their use during a game and here's why - having dedicated switch-out cylinders could actually increase the chances of mix-up, since it is MUCH faster to preload and switch out the cylinders than to remove and replace each nipple on a single cylinder, or even to reload a single cylinder.  The less conscious effort an action takes, the more likely a person is to do it on autopilot, especially when under fire and full of adreneline.

A good argument for a dedicated cylinder would be legal - a vented, permanently airsoft-adapted cylinder and barrel set with adaptors brazed, welded, or sweated in place would probably qualify the piece as a non-gun with most insurance companies virtually anywhere in the US.  Perhaps I'll just permanently convert a cheapo brass-frame 1851 clone....
« Last Edit: January 18, 2009, 09:25:10 pm by Gryphon » Logged
Professor Damien Tremens
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« Reply #6 on: January 18, 2009, 09:45:50 pm »

I love the idea, and if it was made available I'd probably look into getting one.
It would actually make for a good training device to allow you to practice in your
garage or basement for S.A.S.S. or other cowboy shooting events, just like the
semiauto airsoft pistols do for IDPA or IPSC practice.

But one thing to keep in mind for any weapon that is converted from a real one,
or has the potential to be modified into a real one...

There is *no* way that any of the larger airsoft organizers would let you actually
play using this during an organized event. I work regularly with one of them when they
have their events in Texas, and the potential liability in even having something like that
on the field is just not even worth considering. *If* it was converted so that it used
air or gas as the propellant it *might* be able to sneak through in very specific
circumstances, but using an actual percussion cap would disqualify it so fast your head
would spin.
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Gryphon
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« Reply #7 on: January 19, 2009, 01:08:01 am »

Oh, yes, you are absolutely right.  My own standard event insurance allows NO pyrotechnic devices of any kind, not even toy capguns as props.  The "pyro rider" on the insurance can double the production cost of an event.

What I had in mind for the percussion airsoft conversion revolvers was a closed, invitation-only mid-1800s themed event hosted on our club's private field and made up of airsofters and SASS shooters I personally know and trust.  With Tanaka in legal trouble in Japan and the others apparently discontinuing production of 1800s-style models, there really is no airsoft manufacturer catering to this market at this time.  I think I can scratchbuild a nice-looking Remington-Keene rifle using a VSR-11 springer as the base gun, but engineering a single-action pneumatic airsoft revolver from scratch is a much, MUCH taller order; however, I'm certain that my percussion-cap conversion could be made to work without too much (mechanical) ado.  That said, it is emphatically not the sort of thing I would provide to the general public....
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Otto Von Pifka
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« Reply #8 on: February 10, 2009, 11:08:47 am »

you could probably drill cross holes in the bse of the tube used as the barrel, to drop the velocity, if it came out too high. a cronograph would be handy to figure it out. maybe also some sort of barrel insert that you dropped in to show its changed over. it could stick out the front and be brightly colored. something along the lines of those rifled barrel inserts for shotguns. that way if someone screwed up , it would just most likely mangle the gun.

a popular way to practice shooting when I was a youngin was to drill out the primer pockets in .38 brass and fit it for shotgun primers. you pressed the front of the brass into warmish parafin of about 1/2 inch thick like a cookie cutter.

it worked fine in revolvers, didn't foul the barrel, it was pretty potent but not quite lethal (still could kill you if you got hit in the head no doubt) the clean up was easy, the wax pretty much shattered when it hit anything hard. a simple wood box made a good target box and it held up well, the wax made holes through the targets the same size as a real bullet.

some of the older geezers shot them in the basement, but I think they stuck with the regular boxer primers and just bumped up to small rifle primers.

I bet casting wax balls and just using the caps would be good practice too.

hmm... .36 cal paintballs?  I suppose someone could make a mould and cast RTV miniball bullets made more like air rifle pellets. cover .36 and .44 and maybe even mold in a bit of cotton to hold marking paint or velcro dots to stick to fuzzy vests and chaps. to drop velocity you could still drill vent holes in the nipple stems.

maybe cast replacement cylinders in resin so that there is just a small hole inside to allow gas to the bullet and just enough room to seat a rubber bullet? they could be colored to be easily seen.

if standard caps are way too powerful maybe the little red caps for capguns could be enough?

maybe I need to drag out the old confederate navy and the cronograph.....gah, yet another project.
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akumabito
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« Reply #9 on: February 10, 2009, 05:57:19 pm »

There are 6mm paintballs, meant for airsoft guns. Works out to .236 cal
Should be doable to have a barrel/cylinder insert to the appropriate size.
Velocity is gonna be way high though. Plus the paintball is likely to be shattered by the force.
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Adan Shepard
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« Reply #10 on: March 29, 2009, 03:14:13 pm »

I was thinking about your idea, it sounds interesting. Here's something I found for a conversion.

1st step is the barrel liner. I saw an interchangeable subcalibured Webly that had a capped liner that was inserted from the breech end and was held in place by a taper ended nut in front of the muzzle. The breech end of the liner had a cap that kept it from dropping through the barrel and was threaded on the muzzle side for the nut that both held it in place and centered the liner.

2nd part of the conversion was a cylinder. You would need a spare cylinder for this part. Dixie gun works or Numeric could help with that. The cylinder was shortened in length so it would clear the the cap on the barrel liner. This would do 2 things it would give you a pretty positive way of knowing which way you were set up and it would make it tough to accidentally get it set up the wrong way or get parts mixed up. In addition I would do something like have your air soft cylinder nickle plated to give you another visual que. If budgeting is a factor there are kits out there for re-silver & gold plating jewelry you could do that with inexpensively. I would suggest that the cylinders be very different in color to give you another que as to which way it's set up. Just another way to help keep it safe.

Hope this helps, Adan

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