This will not be of interest to most lads, but comes in part from a longer discussion among lads who wanted to look at Civil War firearms closer to the way Civil War soldiers did. Meaning, rather than just being involved in blank "musket," carbine, or revolver firing... taking some time aside to make up Period cartridges with Period bullets and charges not only to "feel" what it was "like," but maybe to see how well or poorly they can shoot.
In some cases, one can make up Period cartridges and simulate what it felt like, but it gets complicated when one wants to emulate the experiences. Why? I know a few who strive to shoot a Period cartridge in a Period bore (as far as possible) for the "more historic" rather than the blank fire of reenacting,, living history, and presentations.
The Fly in the Ointment lies with the firearms. Obviously, originals in mint or excellent condition such mechanical sound and not having worn or shot out bores are best. But, most lads use Italian reproduction firearms and there lies the rub. It can get really complicated fast when it comes to Italian reproductions, and especially say Italian reproduction revolvers beyond just bore size. On can split hairs and ponder whether a .54 repro Sharps is the same as a .52 original when fired. Or a .54 repro Gallagher Carbine versus a .50 original.
But, revolvers are the worst.
Historically, the Italians started out the repro business in the face of a determined opposition or resistance from Civil War arms collectors, historians, and writers that reproducing again CW revolvers would lead to wide spread fakery and counterfeiting. So, one of the "compromises" was to changed the number of grooves and/or change the direction of the rifling twist to be a dead giveaway.
Another was a matter of production costs and economics.... so even or straight button cut rifling replaced the gain twist brooch cut rifling of original Colt and Remington revolvers.
AND, in the knowledge base and climate of the 1950's and 1960's, it seemed that folks did not realize that martial arms were fed with arsenal or contract made cartridge packs or packets made with conical bullets and not everybody "running round ball" home-making their own (kind of a "civilian' thing for folks too cheap or too far from stores to buy commercial ammunition).
Original Colt and Remington revolvers were made with well-finished, brooch cut rifling that was deeper at the muzzle than it was at the breech. For example, original Remington M1863 New Model Army revolvers had a cylinder end rifling twist of 1:60 and 1:18 at the muzzle.
So, they shot conicals fairly well or well enough for the 25 yard concept with 30 grains per Ordnance or sometimes in the mid to upper 20's...and setting aside Colt's flimsy rear sight notch on the hammer nose that disappears and eliminates one's sight picture when the trigger is pulled. Or, the slightly better 'groove' in the Remington's upper frame."
BUT, with their uniform depth rifling, Pietta uses a 1:30 twist and Uberti a 1:32. Both shoot a round ball best, for the longer a conical is, the less stable it is in a faster twist (in general the opposite of a round ball in a fast twist).
Lads I know will compromise on the conicals, by trying to cut the velocity by reducing the powder charge down from the Ordnance spec of 30, down to 25, 21, 18, or 15 for example.
Yeah, somewhat of a "historical mess." Meaning, for the lads who want to shoot a historical cartridge with the Period charge, bullet, and cartridge form are largely defeated by Italian revolvers not being historical copies. Which either leaves the modern shooters unknowingly shooting round balls, or perhaps looking to be "competitive" and so they shoot a round ball that CW soldiers were not issued.
And last.. I have not followed it as I do not shoot sight modified 'target' versions of CW revolvers. Anyways, sights aside, for the extra cost, one can buy "target revolvers" with gain twist rifling. Pedersoli now has released a new "Pedersoli Premium Match Grade" (PPMG) and/or 'Premium Match Grade" (PMG). barrel line that can be had on a Remington M1864 NM Army that is modified with action and sights as well, an dis finished in a matte black so as not to throw glare on sunny days...
After the success obtained in the target shooting with Rogers & Spencer “Pedersoli” Target model and under specific requirements from shooters, we introduced this new target revolver, produced on the Remington model. The materials used are of the best quality, enhancing the ballistic characteristics of the barrel, of the cylinder and of the trigger set mechanism. The gun has been expressly “customized” by our crafts-workers and shooters, with the purpose to give the gun a good functionality with the very first use. The non-reflecting barrel, the anti-wear cylinder and the rifling twist have been designed to give the shooter the best chance."
Once Upon a Time I was listening to a presentation from two Berdan Sharpshooter reenactors at Antietam instructing the crowd. One said that the Sharps NM1859 Rifle fired a six inch bullet. And with their Sharps NM1859 Rifles, Berdans could hit targets out to one (1) mile. It seemed to me that the reenactor had never live fired his repro Sharps to see what they actually could do...