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Old 01-18-2016, 03:25 PM   #1
Dalillama
 
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Default Lever action rifle to revolver conversion

A PC in my Weird West (late TL 5 ) game currently has a Winchester model 1873 rifle. The player now wants a revolver type action, in order to be able to more conveniently change out specialized (magical) ammunition in the cylinder. My three questions are:
1) Is it easier to swap out the ammo in a swing out cylinder than in a magazine?
2) If so, is it possible to convert the existing gun to do this?
3) If so, how hard is it?
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Old 01-18-2016, 03:29 PM   #2
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Default Re: Lever action rifle to revolver conversion

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Originally Posted by Dalillama View Post
1) Is it easier to swap out the ammo in a swing out cylinder than in a magazine?
2) If so, is it possible to convert the existing gun to do this?
3) If so, how hard is it?
1) Yes, it is easier to load/reload a revolver cylinder than it is to load/reload an integral tube magazine like the 1873 uses.
2) Not really. The two designs have very few parts in common. You might be able to salvage the barrel, trigger, and hammer, but all the internals are quite different.
3) Harder than building a revolver rifle from scratch.
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Old 01-18-2016, 03:44 PM   #3
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Default Re: Lever action rifle to revolver conversion

It's probably more efficient for your player to just trade in his lever-action Winchester for a Colt 1855 Revolving Rifle or 1873 Revolver Carbine, the former converted from caplock to cartridge. (The latter appears to be a very rare and custom-order rifle.)
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Old 01-18-2016, 03:56 PM   #4
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Default Re: Lever action rifle to revolver conversion

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Originally Posted by Dalillama View Post
... a revolver type action, in order to be able to more conveniently change out specialized (magical) ammunition in the cylinder.
If he usually has a horse to carry his weapons around, and can afford two guns, he'll do better having one with each kind of ammunition loaded. Loading either a revolver or a tubular magazine is pretty slow in combat time.
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Old 01-18-2016, 03:59 PM   #5
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Default Re: Lever action rifle to revolver conversion

A better bet would be for him to sell the Winchester and buy a revolving rifle or carbine (probably a Colt) and make certain it's been converted to fire cartridges rather than used as a caplock.

He should find the revolving rifle before he sells the Winchester. Depending on when he's looking they could be cheap and relatively easy to find or not so much.

It has the additional benefit of being written up (HT Adventure Guns p26 (writeup) and 35 (stats)). If you're using a conversion, then the reload will be somewhat faster, and the risk of his character eventually being nicknamed 'stumpy' will be much lower.

Ninja'd by tbrock1031

Last edited by Badmash; 01-18-2016 at 04:00 PM. Reason: ninja'd by tbrock1031
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Old 01-18-2016, 07:53 PM   #6
Fred Brackin
 
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Default Re: Lever action rifle to revolver conversion

It's a problem that none of the mentioned revolving carbines has a swing cylinder or even top break action. I think they're all loading gate even in cartridge conversion. Very little is slower to load than a loading gate revolver.

Swing cylinder dates to 1892 (early TL6) anyway.

The Winchester can already be loaded one round at a time with special loads on top of what's in the tube quite easily.

Oh, and if "special loads" means silver bullets those don't work very well in blackpowder guns anyway. Lead obturates (changes shape to seal the barrel and engage the rifling) at only 5000 psi. Silver doesn't do it at less than 35,000 psi.

For most special ammo you probably want a shotgun because smoothbores needs no obturation.
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Old 01-18-2016, 09:12 PM   #7
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Default Re: Lever action rifle to revolver conversion

Supposedly, there was such a thing as a Mershon & Hollingsworth Revolving Cylinder Automatic Rifle. Get one of those. Convert to cartridge. Or, set it up to pop the whole cylinders out and back in, like a speed-loader. Many revolvers worked that way in the percussion cap days. They weren't very fast, but I suspect you aren't looking for realism. Charge a Perk for "Early Adopter" and you are done.
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Old 01-19-2016, 02:40 AM   #8
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Default Re: Lever action rifle to revolver conversion

This video might give you some idea of what would be involved in such a conversion (not exactly the same, but historical attempts to convert riffles in the 1880s):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E7B1RqiQAdM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jckv3dfwvSY
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Old 01-19-2016, 11:39 AM   #9
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Default Re: Lever action rifle to revolver conversion

What cartridges woud likely fit into a converted 1855? I figured .56 56 spencer but that's a pure guess.
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Old 01-19-2016, 12:46 PM   #10
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Default Re: Lever action rifle to revolver conversion

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Originally Posted by Fred Brackin View Post
Oh, and if "special loads" means silver bullets those don't work very well in blackpowder guns anyway. Lead obturates (changes shape to seal the barrel and engage the rifling) at only 5000 psi. Silver doesn't do it at less than 35,000 psi.
You could embed a silver penetrator in a lead base, though.
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