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Old 08-05-2010, 10:10 AM
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.36 Caliber pistol bullets

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I have a Reproduction Remington 1858 Navy .36 caliber pistol, and I would like to find some conical bullets for it. I know that it uses .375" round balls, but it shaves a bit when loading the cylinder.
If the same happens with a conical, it should be okay, right??? If not, does anybody know what I can use and where to get them?
Thanks in advance.
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Old 08-05-2010, 01:59 PM
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The shaving means you have a good seal to help prevent flashover from the barrel/cylinder gap to the other cylinders. Your grease patch also assists in that function. I haven't tried shooting conicals in my .44, but expect a tight fit is also desirable for the same reasons. You just don't want it to shave so much that it unbalances the bullet.
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Old 08-06-2010, 06:45 AM
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Not sure where you can buy the conicals, but F&M Reloading carries the Lee mold for them: http://www.fmreloading.com/Merchant2...k+Powder+Molds .
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Old 08-08-2010, 07:00 AM
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I have one of those Lee molds for the 130 grain round nose. I've tried them in three different revolvers and in no case were they as accurate as the round ball. That bullet has a rebated base which is intended to help guide the bullet into the chamber, but it is too small to really help keep the bullet straight. A ball dropped into a slightly smaller hole will always center itself. The bullet with an undersize base followed by an oversize ring doesn't offer that advantage. The LEE bullet would probably be more accurate if the base were just a snug sliding fit to the chamber but C&B revolver chamber diameters vary wildly from one gun to another of the same nominal caliber so one would need a mold custom cut for the individual gun.
Civil War vets who had some interest in guns generally felt that the .36 roundball over a chamber full of powder, as commonly used by Confederates was a better man stopper than the .44 with pointed conicals as issued in paper cartridges to Union forces. But maybe the blue bellies were just easier to stop, due to knowing they were on the wrong side.
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Last edited by CoyoteJoe; 08-08-2010 at 07:04 AM.
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Old 08-08-2010, 08:25 AM
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Originally Posted by CoyoteJoe View Post
. . . I have one of those Lee molds for the 130 grain round nose. I've tried them in three different revolvers and in no case were they as accurate as the round ball. . .
I've often read/heard the same thing but have not tried the conical in my Colt Army. Thanks for your input, it saves me from buying a mould that I will probably be dissatisfied with.
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Old 08-08-2010, 09:11 AM
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they're hard to get seated straight. Have had decent accuracy with conicals, about as good as ball, but to do it have to take the cylinder out and load the conicals with an arbor press with a bullet-fitting ram. Not worth the trouble for me, can't really load at the range, and transporting a charged/bullet seating revolver (and only those shots as you can't easily load at the range)doesn't have a whole lot of appeal for me.
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Old 08-08-2010, 09:53 AM
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Yes, I subscribe to the KISS method for everything. I even use Speer swaged balls in my 1860 clone so I don't even have to line up any sprues. Thinking makes my head hurt.
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Old 08-09-2010, 08:01 AM
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Originally Posted by CoyoteJoe View Post
But maybe the blue bellies were just easier to stop, due to knowing they were on the wrong side.
Watch it Joe! Tou're talking about half of my family. Of course, the other half were Jonny Rebs. My wife's family were straight Confederate. By the way, like your new picture! Back on the subject, I have shot both ball and conicals out of my .44 cal. 1858 Remington and the balls were always more accurate.
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Old 08-13-2010, 09:22 AM
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In my experience, balls are almost always more accurate than conical bullets.
However, my Uberti-made 1858 Remington shoots the Lee .44-caliber bullet into 1.5-inch groups at 25 yards, from the benchrest.
Here are the details:

Lee 200 gr. conical, cast of pure lead

Lubricated with Gatofeo No. 1 Lubricant (named after me, the lubricant is a mix of 1 part mutton tallow, 1 part canning paraffin and 1/2 part beeswax. All portions are by weight, not volume).

Goex FFFG black powder -- 26 grains

Remington No. 11 percussion cap

This is the only conical bullet I've found that can compete with the lead ball for accuracy. Lead balls will match this accuracy, if carefully loaded, so I don't see much point in using the Lee conical just for punching paper or tin cans. I don't hunt with my revolvers.

Incidentally, in the .44 calibers I use balls of .454 or .457 inch, preferably those made by Speer. Hornady is okay, but I always seem to find a few culls in each box of Hornady; not so with Speer.
I don't use the recommended .451 inch ball; haven't for years.
The slightly larger ball creates a wider bearing band when seated, to better cling to the chamber ball. This keeps the balls from shifting forward from recoil. That wider bearing band probably aids accuracy by providing more of an area for the rifling to grip. At least, that's what I postulated years ago when I began recommending the larger balls years ago.

In my .36 caliber revolvers I use a .380 inch ball, instead of the recommended .375, for the same reason. The .380 ball is more difficult to purchase, neither Speer or Hornady offer it. Dixie Gun Works does, though. Lee and Lyman also make moulds to cast the .380 inch ball, if you want to cast.

The Lee .44 bullet is accurate, but I also shoot the Lee .36 and not found it nearly as accurate. I've tried both .375 and .380 inch diameter Lee conical bullets.
The .380 Lee Conical bullet mould for cap and ball revolvers is long out of production, but I found a new one on Fleabay a few years ago. I haven't seen any accuracy difference between the current Lee .375 conical bullet and its .380 version.
Both have bearing bands larger than .375, so either offers a good seal.

Neither .375 or .380 Lee conical bullets will work in my Pietta-made .36 Remington. The bullet is too long to fit under the rammer, even after seating the bullet's heel into the chamber.
I also have a rare Remington .36 target revolver, made in 1973 probably by Uberti. The Lee conical won't work in it either, for the same reason. However, the .375 and .380 Lee conicals will fit under the rammer of my Colt 2nd generation 1851 Navy.
The discontinued Lee .380 conical has a slightly larger heel that I'm barely able to start into the Colt 1851 chambers. That bullet's heel is too large to enter the Remington replicas, in addition to being too long.

I was able to start the Lee .375 conical bullet into a chamber on the side of the Remington revolvers, but it still stuck out too far to be rotated under the rammer.

My other .36 is a reproduction Colt 1862 Pocket Pistol: forget it. That bullet is far too long to go under the rammer when the cylinder is rotated.
However, Dixie Gun Works sells very short conical bullets expressly made for the 1862 Colt, based on Colt's original design.

A large variety of conical bullets are available from Dixie Gun Works, including bullet designs authentic to Remington, Colt, Starr, etc. I am unsure but I think Dixie also sells the Lee design.

I've also tried the Buffalo Bullet, in both .36 and .44 caliber, but not found them as accurate as a ball -- and they're a lot more expensive. The Buffalo Bullet is a wadcutter, shaped like a tiny oildrum.
A box of 50 Buffalo Bullets costs as much or more as a box of 100 balls made by Speer or Hornady. The greater cost and lesser accuracy, at least in my revolvers, keeps me from using Buffalo Bullets anymore.

The biggest problem with conical bullets is getting them rammed straight in the chamber, especially if they don't have a heel that goes partly down into the chamber to aid seating.
Most conicals want to tip one way or the other. Every once in a while I read of someone trying lead .45 ACP bullets in their Remington .44, but accuracy is almost always terrible. I've tried it myself.
Without a stepped heel on the bullet, to start it into the chamber, the bullet always wants to tip. If you ram it while tipped, the bullet enters the chamber angled, which makes it longer on one side than the other. Inaccuracy results from that imbalance.

Some folks have experimented with the 148 gr. hollowbased wadcutter, made for the .38 Special, in the .36 cap and ball revolver. The bullet is undersized, but they wrap paper around it until it gives a tight fit when rammed. I've never tried this; seems like a lot of bother. I would also be concerned about smoldering paper on yet-unfired bullets setting off the charge beneath them.
I don't suggest it.

Conical bullets are okay for playing around, and for when you need a bullet with greater weight for hunting, but balls are cheaper, almost always more accurate, readily available and will make a hole in a paper target or tin can just as big as a conical bullet.
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