Is my 1878 .45 safe with smokeless powder?
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Thread: Is my 1878 .45 safe with smokeless powder?

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    Is my 1878 .45 safe with smokeless powder?

    I have a Colt Bisley made in 1900 that is late enough to be considered safe with smokeless powder. My Model 1878 double action pictured here was made in 1900 and serial number is 432XX. Does anyone know the serial number on the Model 1878 when it's safe to use smokeless according to the factory?


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    According to popular data, 1898 is the transition year to smokeless so I think modern ammo loaded to cowboy pressures would be safe.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wyatt Burp View Post
    I have a Colt Bisley made in 1900 that is late enough to be considered safe with smokeless powder. My Model 1878 double action pictured here was made in 1900 and serial number is 432XX. Does anyone know the serial number on the Model 1878 when it's safe to use smokeless according to the factory?

    Yes, it should be safe to shoot with modern smokeless powder factory loads and lead bullets. I would recommend though, that the Cowboy action loads be used, as they are lower velocity/pressure.

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    I wonder if anyone ever considers this same smokeless question on the Long Flute SAA revolvers. They left the factory in the teens, well into the smokeless era, but who knows how long the spare or leftover 1878 cylinders had been sitting in the parts bin?
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    I would not use smokeless powder in it. You do not know when the cylinder was manufactured. Colt would keep parts in stock and use them up as necessary. The cylinder could have been made years before so there is no way to know for sure if smokeless would be safe in it. Black powder while messy is my choice in any Colt without a VP (Verified Proof) stamp on it.
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    Just keep in mind that it is the load more than the powder. Black powder guns don’t blow up just because you use smokeless as long as the pressure is within limits.

    The US military transitioned to .38 Colt smokeless ammo in 1900 for the DA Colts and continued using the revolvers, most of which were manufactured before, until 1909 (and later if you consider the 1918 refurbishment) without any structural modifications. The same applies to other Colts of the transition era.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RevoReno View Post
    I would not use smokeless powder in it. You do not know when the cylinder was manufactured. Colt would keep parts in stock and use them up as necessary. The cylinder could have been made years before so there is no way to know for sure if smokeless would be safe in it. Black powder while messy is my choice in any Colt without a VP (Verified Proof) stamp on it.
    Quote Originally Posted by Tx4445 View Post
    I wonder if anyone ever considers this same smokeless question on the Long Flute SAA revolvers. They left the factory in the teens, well into the smokeless era, but who knows how long the spare or leftover 1878 cylinders had been sitting in the parts bin?
    Yes, I have advised previously that although Single Action Army revolvers are safe to shoot with smokeless powder beginning about 1905 manufacture, I would refrain from shooting a Long Flute model as, although manufactured 1913 to 1915, the cylinders were originally created for the Model 1878, which was discontinued in 1905. The cylinders could very well be years or decades earlier. For this reason, Model 1878 revolvers and Long Flute SAA revolvers are black powder only!


 

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