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  1. #1
    Junior Member OldAmmoGuy is on a distinguished road

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    Colt M1877 (Thunderer), .41 Extra Short CF

    This focus of this forum appears to be primarily modern Colts, but I'm hoping there is also an interest here in the older models. I am trying to determine whether or not any of the Colt Model 1877 Lightning revolvers were marked for the .41 Extra Short center fire cartridge, or if any of the Colt publications mention this cartridge. This was a lighter loading of the .41 Short cartridge, with a short 130 grain bullet and 20 grains of powder rather than the standard 160 grain bullet and 22 grains of powder. The US Cartridge Co is the only ammunition maker that I am aware of that made the .41 Extra Short cartridge, and the only box I have seen is pictured below. The RIFLE CARTRIDGES overlabel was most likely intended to circumvent a tax that many Southern states levied against handgun cartridges and similar markings are fairly common on rimfire and centerfire cartridges produced in the 1890s.




  2. #2
    Supporting Member BigG is on a distinguished road
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    This is only a guess but those guns were usually bored straight through so they could take any length that would fit.

    If you wonder whether they were actually marked .41 Colt Extra Short, probably just .41 Colt would be the marking.

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  3. #3
    Senior Member Gunsmoke is on a distinguished road

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    The Bocfa mentions that the Thunderer was chambered in .41 Long and Short Colt (pag 325).

    There is however no mentioning of the .41 Extra Short CF.
    Who's the idiot that sold-off New-Amsterdam? I could have been reading this board in Dutch!

    If guns are the cause of gunviolence, pens are responsible for writingerrors.

  4. #4
    Senior Member hmaag is on a distinguished road

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    Not to forget: all the Colt 1877 DA (Lightning, Thunderer and the rare .32 Rainmaker) are Black Powder Revolvers.
    Hans
    Hans Maag, Switzerland

  5. #5
    Junior Member OldAmmoGuy is on a distinguished road

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    There is no question that the cartridge was intended for the Model 1877 DA; the box label supports this. The .41 Extra Short is a black powder cartridge.

  6. #6
    Senior Member kevin hines is on a distinguished road

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    Are you sure about those loadings? I thought the .41 Long Colt took 19 grains of powder. Maybe this is a rifle load, which USCC found would fit the "Thunderer" anyway and figured they could sell a few more boxes advertising it that way.

  7. #7
    Senior Member mike hudson is on a distinguished road

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    all of the colt .41 revolver cartridges will function in the so-called thunderer (it was never called that by colt). the black powder/smokeless powder thing is a canard as well, since the smokeless .41 rounds were loaded to pressures not exceeding the bp rounds. in fact, original bp rounds generated greater velocity and kicked harder as well.

    whether one wants to shoot these things or not is of course a matter of personal choice. the are, after all more than 100 years old. but i have shot both the .41 lightning and the various new army and navy's with western smokeless ammo produced in the 70s and with handrolled smokeless stuff made up by gad custom cartridge with no ill effect.

  8. #8
    Senior Member mike hudson is on a distinguished road

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    kevin...the black powder loading varied because case lengths produced by various manufacturers were different, and also because of bullet type and whether an old style balloon-head or a modern solid case were used. standard .41 lc bp loads were as follows...

    1. Original balloon-head BP case (0.932") for heel-base bullets = 18.5gr.
    2. Original balloon-head BP case (1.132") for hollow-base bullets = 21.5gr.
    3. Original solid-head BP case (1.132") for hollow-base bullets = 19.5gr.


  9. #9
    Senior Member kevin hines is on a distinguished road

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    Quote Originally Posted by mike hudson View Post
    kevin...the black powder loading varied because case lengths produced by various manufacturers were different, and also because of bullet type and whether an old style balloon-head or a modern solid case were used. standard .41 lc bp loads were as follows...

    1. Original balloon-head BP case (0.932") for heel-base bullets = 18.5gr.
    2. Original balloon-head BP case (1.132") for hollow-base bullets = 21.5gr.
    3. Original solid-head BP case (1.132") for hollow-base bullets = 19.5gr.
    I would've thought the two balloon-head cases would hold about the same amount of powder- the OAL of the cartridges are the same and the bullets virtually the same (195 vs 200 gr.), leaving the same amount of room for powder.

  10. #10
    Senior Member mike hudson is on a distinguished road

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    kevin...you'd have thought wrong. as kieth repeatedly shows in his classic "sixguns," the balloon head cases had a greater capacity regardless of cartridge.


 

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