R&D/Howell's Conversion Cylinders (General)
Hi, I have a question about this technology for Mr. Flatnes and for the group as a whole. In searching suppliers for the Howell's Old West Conversion/R&D Conversion cylinders for the Uberti Remington 1858, the market seems to have two versions available.
Some sellers that do business here in the USA (I live in Virginia) offer a six-chamber cylinder, while some offer a five-shot version. I've checked with Taylor's, Midway and Buffalo Arms, as well as the Howell's Old West Conversions website.
I'm not sure why there are two versions, as it seems like under any conditions six would be more efficient than five shots. Can anyone clear that up? For example, are there loading limits for cartridges in the six shot cylinder that don't apply to the five chamber model (given the thickness of the steel in the chamber walls)?
I ask this because every 19th century source I have come across (U.S. Army small arms test reports, etc.), and 20th c. sources (authors like Elmer Keith and John Taffin) emphasize the versatility of the .45LC cartridge with max. black powder loads of 40(forty!) grains of powder under a 255 grain conoidal bullet. Backing off that maximum, a couple of my sources write that the army came up with combat loads of 30-ish grains of powder with military ball ammo (prob. soft lead bullets the same weight as the max. load or near it), yielding muzzle velocities that are comparable to the 1911 .45 ACP cartridge. That was the typical army .45LC round that the 1873 Peacemaker used. Taffin writes that his tests using RCBS bullet mould 45-255 and 38.6 grains of FFFg resulted in a muzzle velocity of 949fps and were "most accurate."
I want to be able safely to shoot up to Taffin's .45LC tested black powder load in my Uberti 1858 Remington using a conversion cylinder.
My other question concerns the engineering of the R&D cylinders. Mr Flatnes' great article shows clearly that his version of the 45LC cylinder has the Remington safety notches between each chamber, milled into the backplate. In my view, this is hugely important, as it allows the weapon to be carried safely with all six chambers loaded, just as can the cap-and-ball cylinder for this gun. It is one of the Remington revolver's best features.
However, most of the R&D conversion cylinders I've seen on the market don't seem have this feature. Why is that? Taylor's tells me that I would have to carry the pistol with the hammer on an empty chamber for safety. Not the best option, surely? So, where do I find one of these cylinders that can take the army/Taffin load, and has the Remington 1858 safety notches?
Thanks for any advice you have.