I’ve had the pleasure of shooting several modern reproduction cap-and-ball conversion revolvers, and I’ve enjoyed every one of them. The latest is Cimarron’s Colt Model 1862 Pocket Navy Conversion that’s made by A. Uberti of Italy and chambered for .380 ACP.
Historically, the .36-caliber cap-and-ball Colt Model 1862 Pocket Navy was not typically converted from percussion to centerfire (the shorter-barreled Model 1862 Police often was), but most modern replica conversions use the Richards-Mason design. Usually, with this style of conversion, the rear of the percussion cylinder is bored through, a breechplate with loading gate is added to the frame, the percussion loading lever is replaced with an ejector rod, and a firing pin and a rear sight notch are added to the hammer.
Cimarron’s Model 1862 Pocket Navy Conversion has a five-shot cylinder, a brass trigger guard and grip frame, a 6.0-inch round barrel, and one-piece walnut grips. You can see from the photos that it does not have an ejector rod or a loading gate, and the frame does not have a topstrap over the cylinder. Because of that, it’s referred to as an open-top revolver.
The company warns that due to the lack of a loading gate, when loading, the muzzle must be pointed down in order to cock the hammer. If the muzzle is tilted up, the cases will start to fall out of the chamber and will bind up the cylinder. At all other times, the alignment of the cartridge and frame will hold the cartridge in place.
I followed that procedure during my shooting session. And I have to say I like how it shoots. Even though the sights are rudimentary (the front is a simple brass bead, and the rear is a small, fine groove notched into the nose of the hammer), I achieved good accuracy at 25 yards. The gun averaged 4.15 inches overall for five-shot groups with five different factory loads.
Best accuracy came with the SIG SAUER 90-grain JHP ammunition; it averaged 3.69 inches. The best single five-shot group measured exactly 3.0 inches. Velocity with that load averaged 1,044 fps, measured 12 feet from the gun’s muzzle. That’s 100 fps higher than the same load fired in a SIG SAUER P238 semiautomatic pistol with a 2.7-inch barrel.
The smooth, consistent, and crisp trigger pull helped achieve that good accuracy. It averaged 3 pounds, 8 ounces, according to 10 measurements with my RCBS trigger pull scale. Variation did not exceed 4 ounces.
Firing the rimless .380 ACP cartridges in the Cimarron Model 1862 Pocket Navy Conversion does not require the use of moon clips, and since it’s a single-action revolver, fired cases dropped out one at a time with a little help from my fingernail.
Like other replica conversion revolvers I’ve fired, Cimarron’s sleek, slim Model 1862 Pocket Navy Conversion combines the nostalgia of a classic 19th-century revolver with the convenience of modern ammunition. I like it a lot.
Cimarron Model 1862 Pocket Navy Conversion .380 ACP
- Manufacturer: Cimarron Firearms; cimarron-firearms.com
- Type: Single-action revolver
- Caliber: .380 ACP
- Cylinder Capacity: 5 rounds
- Barrel: 6.0 in.
- Overall Length: 11.0 in.
- Width: 1.32 in.
- Height: 4.49 in.
- Weight, Empty: 30.1 oz.
- Grips: One-piece walnut
- Finish: Blued/color-casehardened with brass grip frame and trigger guard
- Sights: Fixed; groove in hammer rear, brass bead front
- Trigger: 3.5-lb. pull (as tested)
- MSRP: $570.70