A lot of value for money – Pedersoli’s Remington replica
It is not easy to enter the market of percussion revolvers. There are quite a few big names on the market producing good quality replicas, however the number of competition grade revolvers is much less. If you want to take up precision shooting with cap and ball revolvers, you don’t have too many choices. First of all, you will need a solid frame revolver, like the Remington or the Rogers and Spencer. Second, you need a gun that is capable of putting every bullet into the ten ring.
In the pastoptions were limited: the Feinwerkbau Rogers and Spencer and the Hege Army match Maximum dominate the score sheets of the MLAIC revolver matches. These two guns are both beautiful items. The quality and accuracy are superb, but the price is also high. In the lower price segment, you can find the Pietta Shooter’s Remington with the progressive rifling, and also the Euroarms Rogers & Spencer revolvers with Lothar Walter barrels. Pedersoli’s goal was to offer shooters the highest quality possible at a reasonable price , so the serious competitor does not have to compromise between quality and price.
When Pedersoli launched its Remington replica, the goal was simple: to get to the top of the result lists. This was not an easy task, but the company took the challenge. It was a long road to achieve this, but in 2011 a Spanish shooter, Jose Galan Ramon Talens won the European Championships with Perdersoli’s replica in Finland. The competition in Mariette discipline is always strong: the number of shooters is the highest of all events, and it is not easy to enter the first ten range with 95-96 scores. The Jose Galan and the Pedersoli Remington succeeded in this incredible task.
The barrel of the Pedersoli Remington Pattern Target .44 revolver
This gun was designed with the precision shooter in mind. The heart of the gun is the PMG (Pedersoli Match Grade) barrel, which is brooch rifled. The twist rate of the rifling is 1:18”, which allows extremely low loads as well. The bore has seven grooves. Thanks to Pedersoli’s special barrel making process, the bore is shiny on the lands and in the grooves as well. This is achieved by pushing a button through the bore after the rifling is done to compress the material at the bottom of the grooves. The shiny surface means less fouling and less fouling means an accurate barrel through many shots. The internal diameter of the bore is .450” between the grooves and .443” between the lands. It is important to measure these parameters as this will determinate which size of ball to use in the gun. The easiest way to measure the bore is to push a slightly oversize pure greased lead slug through the barrel with a brass or wooden rod. (never use any harder material for this job, as you can easily ruin the rifling).
A common problem of today’s replicas is when the diameter of the powder chambers does not match the groove diameter of the bore. I had many low quality replicas in my hands with chambers sizing the ball to .440-445”, while having a bore land-land diameter of more than .445”. We don’t have to be mathematicians to understand that a barrel like this will not give a spin to the bullet. In fact, in a case like this, a smooth bore would be better… The chambers of the original percussion revolvers were different from today’s replicas. The powder chamber of the original Remingtons tapered towards the nipples. The chambers did not size the bullet, but the balls stuck somewhere in the chamber, at the desired depth. The replicas have uniform diameter chambers, so the walls are parallel, and they are intended to calibrate the ball to the desired size.
Pedersoli payed attention to this common problem. The chambers of their replica size the bullets to .450 -.451”, exactly to the groove to groove diameter. This way we will have a complete fill in the bore, so the gases cannot escape between the bullet and the barrel wall. In fact you can still have an accurate gun, if the chambers size the bullets 0.001-0.002” under the necessary diameter, but it’s much better have a complete fill.
For target shooters
All the moving parts of the gun are highly polished, so the action is smooth, not creeping. The trigger pull is light enough, so you don’t need any modification, and it breaks like glass. The frame of the revolver is manufactured of forged steel not cast steel like other replicas. The front sight is dovetailed, it is easy to adjust it horizontally, and it is long enough so you have plenty of material to set the elevation according to your favorite load. The surface of the gun is matt black in favour of the target shooters. You can be sure that the light will not be reflected from this elegant finish.
It is important to pay attention to the grips as well. It is a common problem that the size of the Remington grip is too small for the hand of most shooters. It is important to understand that the MLAIC rules do not allow any modification to the gun that would affect its authenticity, but between certain parameters, you can adjust the thickness of the grip without disqualification. The factory grips are made of oiled walnut and they are thicker than the original, but you also receive a spare, unfinished pair of grips, so you can make your own if you wish.
The pistol comes with beryllium bronze nipples, another important feature for the target shooter.
At the range
I tested Pedersoli’s 2011. European Champion edition revolver with several loads. The gun comes in a practical APS case, with several important accessories, like 100 .454” roundballs, a powder flask, nipple wrench and a DVD about the use and maintenance of blackpowder arms.
To have a tight group, a good quality gun is essential, but not enough. You have to learn how to load your gun properly to achieve maximum accuracy. First of all, select the diameter of the bullet. In the case of Pedersoli’s Remington, this can be .451” or .454”. Weigh each and every bullet you use for competition and keep only the ones within +/- 0,5% weight deviation. Measure the powder into small containers, never load your gun directly from the flask, as if a spark occurs in the chamber, you can easily injure yourself. Use filler to raise the bullet to the face of the chamber, so when it starts to move, it will engage the rifling immediately. Always use the same force to push the bullet down on the powder, because if you crush the powder, you’ll have unequal gas pressures from shot to shot.
Pay attention to the powder charge you use. First of all, you don’t need a big bang to have an accurate gun, in fact the opposite is true: every grain of powder must burn in the barrel to create uniform gas pressure. If you overload the gun, you’ll have an unpredictable amount of unburnt powder leaving the muzzle. For this reason, it is better to use fast burning powders like 3Fg or 4Fg with moderate charges.
It is also important to choose adequate lubrication. A good grease has several tasks to complete. First, it keeps your fouling soft, so all bullets can clean out the residue of the previous shot. It also seals the small gaps between the bullet and the barrel, so no gases can forerun the bullet in the bore. Good grease is insensitive to the temperature, can work in winter time and will not melt out of the chamber on hot summer days.
Before shooting, wipe out all the grease from the chambers and the bore and snap a cap on each nipple. Never shoot the first shot into the target. On MLAIC competitions, you have a chance to declare a fouling shot before starting the 13 shot relay. Use this to clean out the remaining oil from the barrel and to add a thin layer a blackpowder residue, necessary for the accuracy. If you don’t do this, your first shot will be high for sure.
I usually measure the powder by volume, not weight. According to my experience 0.1 grain difference in the powder charge does not make any difference in performance. But, of course, if you are preparing for an important match, do everything by the book, and use that scale to check every charge.
I tested the Pedersoli Remington with several loads and achieved good accuracy with 15, 18, and 21 grains of 3Fg Swiss powder. All the three loads threw the bullets into the size of the ten ring shot from a sandbag rest. I guess this is not surprising from a Pedersoli gun. It does what it has to. That day I fired eight full chambers with the revolver without loosing accuracy. My lube and the shiny bore did the job well: they kept the fouling soft, so the accuracy did not suffer. I also realized one more thing: the cylinder did not jam, I did not have to clean the axis even after the eighth cylinder. This is not common among the Remington replicas. Usually the gases escaping between the cylinder and the breech of the bore jam the axis after 18-20 shots. However the gap of the Pedersoli replica is so small that it limits the amount of escaping gases, saving the cylinder axis from the residue.
I like really low loads for target shooting, so I decided to do some experiments with extremely low loads as well. I started to reduce the the load of the revolver to determine the most cost effective but accurate set up possible. In several steps, I reduced the 4Fg Swiss charge to as little as 5 grains, but the revolver still kept perfect accuracy. The recoil was as light as a 22LR pistol, but the bullets hit the target well inside the size of the ten ring group, 20 cm below the center of the target. The sound was really funny, and you could actually see the bullet flying, but it worked.
The Pedersoli Remington is capable of match winning scores. It is up to the standards of the big names like Hege or Feinwerkbau, while its price and maintenance are much more cost effective. The cost of the gun is only 2/3 of the great competitors’ prices, and also feeding the gun is really cheap. It’s like buying the newest Mercedes-Benz for 2/3 of the price and running it on 3 liters of fuel consumption on 100 kms (or 90 miles to the gallon for our non-European readers!).