5.2 Master of Conversions

Chapter 5 – Centaure Conversions the Next Level of the Evolution?

5.2 Master of Conversions













Master of Conversions

Inspired by the Highwayman

The Master Profile

Nedbal Pieces of Gunsmith Art



Inspired by the Highwaymen


These first 3 lines quoted from The Devil’s right hand, written by Steve Earle, performed by the Highwaymen Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, and respectfully amended by FROCS #1 aka Panhandle Paden’s 4th line say it all:


“My very first pistol was a cap and ball colt,

Shoots like lightning but it loads a mite slow.”

“Loads a mite slow and I soon found out,

Needs to be converted that’s what it’s all about”



The Master Profile


Now is the proper time you make the acquaintance of the master gunsmith and conversion artist who made most of these Centaure conversions on this website a reality and then some. Pards & pardettes, please, meet Karl Nedbal of Waffentechnische Werkstätte NEDBAL KG inVösendorf near Vianna/Austria

5.2.2_1 May 23, 2008, in Vösendorf/Austria: Master Nedbal explains the Centaure RNMA #4079 Richards (R1)  a few seconds before I hold her for the first time


Obviously, there are different ways to proceed once you took the decision to have this prized percussion revolver of yours converted to shoot metal cartridges. Eventually you may want to get a gunsmith involved to execute such a delicate task. This seems to be of particular importance if historical correctness of the making is high on your want-list.

Here is the dilemma. How do you find your ideal conversion artist? For what it is worth and after some trials and errors here is my conversion artist checklist. He or she

#1: Knows the gunsmith profession inside out including his/her limitations, is proud of his/her work, and is a competent toolmaker as well,

#2: Has a proven record of repairing, tuning and/or restoring cowboy guns in general but particularly classic single action systems,

#3: Has done similar conversions before and can proof it,

#4: Can draw on original guns as model gun for the conversion project from his/her collection or has access to one, and does the reengineering from there,

#5: Listens carefully to my wishes and ideas, and finds suitable solutions to satisfy them, is not telling me what I want unless I ask for it.

Finally, I like a

#6: Firm quote for my project. Because from the start I want to know how much it will set me back. But, equally important, I like to know from the start when my conversion will be completed. I would be irritated and hesitant when a date beyond 12 months is suggested. I expect the smith to meet his or her commitments … usually.

#7: I expect my gunsmith to inform me regularly about the progress of the work and I don’t mind some sense of humour included, either.

This is what sets Karl Nedbal apart from many of the rest.

I am very pleased Karl eventually joined the ranks of the FRiends Of the Centaure Society (FROCS) as FROCS #50 aka Luger Master in the fall of 2009. A couple of years later in 2017 after the completion of many more conversions for others, myself and unique guns built from scratch Karl was presented the FROCS Hall of Fame Lifetime Achievement Award on occasion of the 8th Annual Meeting of the FROCS in Klein-Umstadt/Germany.



Nedbal Pieces of Gunsmith Art


Pictured below are a few of Karl Nedbal’s many outstanding contributions of gunsmithing art. They created significant vibes in the gun collectors’ community and shooters of 19th and 20th century weaponry the world over. The guns presented here were selected because they are close to our subject of Western arms. I would love to see them listed in the Guinness Book of Records, but Karl is way too humble a person for such kind of fuss. Others might feel it is not politically correct.