Best Black Powder Revolvers (2020): A Detailed Overview

Best Black Powder Revolvers - Feature Image

Finding the best black powder revolver may be a challenge for some gun handlers. However, if you have an entry-level understanding of how they work, function, and what they are used for, then you will be able to find one without much difficulty.

If you load your rounds with black powder, you will need a black powder revolver that is compatible with such rounds. That way, you will have a handgun that can handle such rounds and will less likely cause any reliability process while you are shooting.

To assist you in finding the best black powder revolver for your own personal use, we have compiled and put together a list of some of the best revolvers that are currently available on the market. Before we get to the article list itself, we will talk about how they work and the characteristics of some of our favorite models that we have hand-picked for this list.

Though gun fans swear by the smell and smoke of black powder, a lot of black powder revolvers can be fitted with a cartridge conversion cylinder. Many are drop-in cylinders, meaning that they can be installed with little to no need for any fitting.

On the other hand, some may need a loading gate to be cut into its rear cylinder guard or minor fitting (meaning to file away extra material) to be used. How they work is that the percussion nipple is substituted by an individual firing pin for each cylinder. 

Usually, the rear of the cylinder can be removed, the rounds inserted and the back of the cylinder replaced. The Remington 1858 can essentially swap cylinders, acting as the speedloader of the Old West. On the other hand, cartridge conversions come with a restraint. Just like reproductions of early cartridge revolvers (such as Colt Single Action clones with the exception of the Ruger Blackhawk), great care must be taken in the ammunition variety.

Ammunition in older times shaped far less chamber pressure than most modern ammunition does. That means that high-power loads (such as modern .45 Colt +P loads or .38 Special +P) are preferable to be avoided. That being said, there are black powder and “cowboy” loads (loadings developed for Cowboy Action Shooting with comparable loadings of smokeless powder to the original black powder loads) that can be used safely in cartridge-converted revolvers.

But whether you use a cartridge conversion or stick to powder and balls, it is largely up to you. There is no conversion for muzzle-loading black powder pistols, so it’s good for you to go back to the range and practice for dueling.

Revolvers Name Editor’s Comment Rating Get The Best Deal
Pietta Model 1851 Navy Yank .36-Caliber Black Powder Revolver

Most Recommended Option

1. Accurate at 50 yards with small targets, 100 yards with larger targets
2. Great across many applications
3. Durable and well-constructed

10/10 Currently unavailable
Uberti Reproduction Remington 1858 New Army Stainless Steel .44 1. Simple to disassemble for cleaning and maintenance
2. Cylinder pops out easily for reloading
3. Excellent build and durability
9.5/10 Currently unavailable
Colt 1851 Navy 1. It can be effective against targets situated from 75 yards out
2. Hammer and trigger pull is decent
3. Super-durable construction
9.0/10 Currently unavailable
Colt 1860 Navy 1. No mechanical issues after 50 or more rounds
2. Shoots fine, no reliability issues to speak of
3. Consistently accurate at 50 yards or more
9.0/10 Currently unavailable
Uberti Reproduction Colt 1860 Army 1. Fun to shoot and perfect for many applications
2. Cylinder saves a good bit of weight
3. Easy to load
8.5/10 Currently unavailable

The Criteria, Models and Brands Characteristics

We didn’t opt for these revolvers on our list on a whim. We came across these guns and chose them to be part of our review based on the characteristics and features that stand out to us interesting. Here are some of those characteristics you should look out for while finding the best black powder revolvers for your own.

Pricing

If you are on a tight budget, there are some black powder revolvers that are within affordable pricing for you. The important thing to take note of is that you should spend on the best possible quality and performance rather than saving a few dollars and opting for cheaper choices. We made sure to provide budget options while choosing these models at times for our review.

Round Capacity

These revolvers come in numerous capacities. That way you can choose one with the number of shots you wish to have for yourself. If you want five rounds, so be it. Not enough? Choose a six or eight shot capacity. Nonetheless, there is no such thing as having enough rounds (or not having much) to fire off.

Intention and Purposes

As mentioned previously, these black powder revolvers are preferably used for a few intentions. But there may be one that stands out as a revolver that can outshine at one presentation. For instance, one black powder revolver can be useful for general and everyday firearms purposes. However, it may go above and beyond its capabilities in a competitive shooting application.

Best Black Powder Revolvers – Reviewed

1. Pietta Model 1851 Navy Yank 36-Caliber Black Powder Revolver

Pietta Model 1851 Navy Yank .36-Caliber Black Powder RevolverMost new buyers said this Pietta model 36 Caliber Black Powder Revolver is the perfect choice for those who are casual or competition target shooters. Some mention that they prefer shooting bigger targets with this 60 Caliber black powder revolver since they managed to go no lower than 60 yards and no higher than 100 yards when it comes to effective precision.

The Pietta model revolver is nicely built and is considered as one of the most useful models on the market. Not forgetting to mention, the Pietta model has the aptitude to travel quite far. Furthermore, its firing ability is pretty non-complicated. Loading it will be a breeze and very easy (despite it being a little rigid at first). But no worries, once you get the hang of this revolver, using this Pietta model will become your second nature.

This Pietta model 36 caliber revolver would be a great choice for target shooters. If you are going to spend a lot of time in outdoor shooting ranges, you will be quite satisfied with this revolver being part of your collection. Don’t be surprised if this Pietta model ends up being the last revolver you have in your inventory to acquire for a while, due to its durability and overall construction.

2. Uberti Reproduction Remington 1858 New Army Stainless Steel 44 Caliber Revolver

Uberti Reproduction Remington 1858 New Army Stainless Steel .44A lot of new gun owners liked using this 1858 New Army 44 caliber black powder revolver for the purpose of target shooting and hunting small game. One gun user said he uses it for both purposes since they travel at pretty solid distances. He was able to hit a small varmint target located some 75 yards away from him. With larger paper targets, he was able to hit the bullseye from approximately the same distance.

This 1858 New Army 44 caliber black powder revolver is a reproduction of yet another model that was favored by the United States Army. This was considered a favorite sidearm of many infantrymen and soldiers back in the pre-Civil War era. The 44 caliber black powder revolvers’ fit and finish are astounding and keep the classic black powder revolver look alive. One of the main parts that make it stand out is its walnut grips. Not only does it retain the classic look of old and its walnut grip, but this 44 caliber revolver also does a good job providing superior gripping ability and control while you are using it to open fire.

This will be a great 44 caliber black powder revolver for those who not only partake in target shooting but also would like to spend some time firing off shots at small varmint targets. You may have some concerns with animals damaging your property. So take care of the issue the best way in any way you possibly can. You can start off with this 44 caliber black powder revolver as a good solution.

The Uberti Reproduction Remington 1858 New Army Stainless Steel 44 Caliber revolver may be the kind of revolver that will come in useful if you have a bit of a varmint problem. The 44 caliber black powder revolver can shoot straight and rapidly. As soon as you have used this 1858 New Army 44 caliber black powder revolver a few times, it just may become your most trusted 44 caliber black powder revolver for almost any usage.

3. Colt 1851 Navy

Colt 1851 NavyA lot of newer buyers of this gun were quite happy with this revolver. They used this mostly for outdoor target shooting and get to hit their shots from about 60 to 70 yards out. Operationally, the hammer cocking and the trigger pull were quite easy for them and have very little to no issues at all.

This revolver is chambered to fire 36 caliber caps. They are pretty operative when used on target shooting competitions and applications. Not forgetting to mention, it is the kind of caliber that inclines to go the distance when it comes to target shooting. At the same time, .36 rounds are relatively easy to load. By the sound of all of this, it may just be the easiest revolver you have used.

This will be perfect for those who frequent the outdoor ranges. Furthermore, it is the best revolver you can find that can fire black powder rounds. That means if you want an old school replica of a revolver that will do some serious and honest damage at impressive distances, then this may just be the right revolver for you.

The Colt 1851 Navy may be one of the best black powder revolvers on the market for a few solid reasons. It is easy to load, travels far and fast, and can do quite a solid bit of damage. If those are the features that you are looking for in a revolver, then this can be exactly what you are searching for.

4. Colt 1860 Navy

Colt 1860 NavyNew pistol owners are quite happy with the Colt 1860 Navy revolver overall. They are mostly target shooters who get to hit bullseyes from around 50 yards out. A few of them used this to efficiently hunt smaller animals like varmints.

This revolver is a replica of the 1860 version used by the US Navy just over 150 years ago. The revolver itself has a classic look that makes it look like it is frozen in time. Firing it looks and feels like you are shooting an old school revolver that can go the distance. So if you want something that can work just as perfectly as if it were the real thing back in the 1860s, you will be hard-pressed to find something else like this anywhere else on the pistols and guns market.

This will most likely stand out as a revolver that can be used for outdoor range shooting and possibly varmint shooting too. No matter what the application is, this revolver will make it laid-back to load and fire whenever you are fully loaded. So if you want something that is simple for outdoor usages that warrant the use of a revolver, then this may be right up your alley.

The Colt 1860 Navy is a model that you can like very much for the purpose of most outdoor applications. As soon as you give this a tryout, you probably will not want to try out another black powder revolver ever again. This will give you a reliable firing power and a whole lot of precision every time you use it.

5. Uberti Production Colt 1860 Army

Uberti Reproduction Colt 1860 ArmyA lot of newer buyers and gun owners are happy with this Uberti 1860 Army revolver being quite affordable and is within their budget. They managed to load this with little to no issues and fired off shots without much jamming or other reliability problems. In terms of accuracy, they mentioned that the shooting was effective at ranges between 40 yards to 60 yards. They also added that the revolver is pretty easy to clean once it has been disassembled.

This revolver is a replica of an old model that was used by the U.S. Army (Union) in the Civil War era. The Uberti’s 1860 Army brass trigger guard is designed so sturdily and is one of the small details that make this revolver stand out to people like something that’s been preserved for many decades. Though its brass trigger guard is considered a reproduction, the model looks like an authentic make straight out of the 1860s. If you are looking for something that is accurate, reliable, and aesthetically sharp, then this Uberti 1860 Army black powder revolver can be what you need.

This will be one of the greatest great black powder revolvers for new and amateur users. If you have never used one before, then this is the perfect black powder revolver for you to start out with. It is easy to load and pretty straightforward when it comes to cocking back the hammer and firing it. If simplicity is what you look for in a revolver, then this may be exactly what you are looking for.

The Uberti Reproduction Colt 1860 Army Revolver will probably be the best amateur-friendly model if you have never fired a black powder revolver before. It is great for so many usages, so you will not have to worry about whether it is effective or not – because it will be.

Conclusion

There are plenty of guns available that use black powder. As there are a lot of black powder revolvers on the market, choose one that best fits your needs. Guns that use black powder are usually the kinds that are often associated with classic looks of old – often used by the confederate navy, American civil war, the American army, and other firearm usages in history. 

Black powder pistols are in abundance on the market. Just remember to choose the right black powder pistols (single action, ones that feature brass trigger guard and brass frame, percussion revolvers, single-action revolvers, great firepower, and designs, etc).

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here are some frequently asked questions (FAQs) some gun owners may have.

Q: Are black powder pistols good for self-defense?

As it happens, black powder revolvers legitimately are good for self-defense. For obvious reasons, they are used for many years as defensive firearms and also effectively.

For example, the Walker Colt was the most powerful production revolver to have ever existed from its production launch in the 1840s to the advent of the 357 Magnum revolver in the 1930s. The Walker, for example, sat a ball or conical projection of about 140 grains over 50 grain to 60 grain of black powder, which is good for 1,000 to 1,200 feet per second and upward of 500 foot-pounds of energy.

Granted, this is for the firmest loads. Cowboy or black powder ammunition in 45 Colt yields performance that is equivalent or slightly less than that of 45 ACP, so 830 fps and 400 foot-pounds will be at the upper end of such ammunition. It may not be super powerful, but it certainly is adequate for self-defense purposes. Therefore, you may consider black powder revolvers for safety purposes.

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