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In the market for a revolver. what’s the best authentic reproduction?

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Zonie

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As I've said many times, all of the parts in a Colt 2nd Gen and 3rd Gen pistols were machined in the USA. None of the internal parts were machined in Italy.

The raw, unmachined castings were made in Italy but none of these castings were used in their raw cast condition.
 

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I would agree if one is referring to NIB revolvers as they come from the factory, particularly Uberti Colts. Once one understands how the Colt geometry works with the barrel, cylinder, arbor, and wedge, a bit of TLC will produce a more accurate firearm than the Remington. How does one adjust/change the barrel/cylinder gap on a Remington?

Jim
The obvious answer is if a Remington has bad barrel/cylinder gap, send it back to the factory, otherwise a new barrel and/or a new cylinder would need be fitted.

I have never put a Colt or Remington BP revolver in a Ransom Rest, so I can't rule out it may be possible to get a Colt to shoot more accurately FROM the rest.

However, where the Colt fails in real world/practical accuracy for shooting at targets is the rear sight is a notch in the hammer, that disappears when you pull the trigger.

This is why so few Colts are used for serious target competition, such as NSSA events.

Gus

P.S. Most the Pietta Colts I ran across at NSSA Spring and Fall National Championships were the guns made before their 2002 CNC machining upgrade. I stand behind my statement that in the 1990's, Pietta revolvers were all too often at best second rate and many poorly made. So the answer I believe we can both agree on is get one of the post 2002 CNC made Pietta's if one wishes to buy a Pietta.

Gus
 
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.36Rooster

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Man, I would go with the 1851 pietta colt navy in .36. 7 1/2" barrel, white brass. I love mine. The .36 caliber is nice. I use 9-12.5 grains of powder for squirrels. Performance, noise, and recoil is identical to a .22 with that low of powder, best I can tell. Or, you can load it hotter if you wish. Something to keep in mind is that the .36 navy is the black powder version of a .38 long, it was sort of the precursor to the .38 which to me is kind of cool.

Keep in mind there was NOT ever a .44 navy. The .44 was the army.

For workmanship and quality, beauty, and durability, the piettas won't let you down. I had no need to even look at a uberti, and I can't really comment on theirs.

The only thing I would do, besides pairing it with a good western holster, is at some point, compare the measurements of the cylinder to bore diameter, and ream them out to match the bore. It will tighten your 20 yd groups for you, but this whole process is optional. Gun is fine for silhouettes, cans, and bandits just the way it is. It will make you happy.
 

Bill Rowe

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I liked my stainless Ruger, Not as accurate as a Remington copy astatically, but the best shooting revolver around. When you compete , most only load one chamber in the cylinder , and it is the same cylinder for each of the competition shot's . As I have found that all six chambers do not print paper the same. It helps on weight also. This does not work with combat matches as you are times. I too would stay away from Brass Frames. I have seen base pins pulled right out of the frame because they over loaded the cylinder , and with all that loading lever tonnage to seat the ball flush, leveraged it loose.
 

jlatz

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Over the years I have used a number of replica percussion revolvers. I have used the Colts and Remingtons. Both have been good. I have liked the Uberti 1851 .36 Navy.
 

FishDFly

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As far as accuracy goes in a revolver, it is the Remington 1858.

If you go to a "As Issue" line match, the dominate pistol is the 1858 because of the strength of the frame.
 

William Lincoln

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It is interesting to observe the various opinions on Black Powder Revolvers in the forum.
There is a never ending brand competition going on between Pietta & Uberti. To me they
both go bang and are fun to own and shoot. I have had several great Ubertis and a Pietta
1858 with adjustable sights. They all shot accurately IF I SHOT ACCURATELY. I have noticed
that prices are rising 10-20% across the market due to the supply-demand problem. The
forum advice to actually handle the revolver is important. CHECK THE BORE. In the past I
have bought beautiful revolvers, including stainless versions, and several had serious bore
damage from failure to clean. EXPECT WHAT YOU INSPECT. Ask to see a bore photo.
Generally, there is great advice here and while another person's question is answered, I find
pearls of wisdom that often add to my knowledge as well. Great Forum.
 

Stantheman86

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+1 a Uberti 1851 Navy .

You pretty much cover every historical time period of interest from the Crimean War to the 1900s. They were used by a lot of different nations and "groups " over countless conflicts.

I have a Uberti "London Navy " and its perfect. Just a lot of fun to shoot.
 

chix2111

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Last time I shot a ML revolver there was no such thing as a "black powder substitute". I'm getting a bit of interest reading posts here and the first question that comes to mind is in this regard. So what's the deal...is it black powder only or are you guys using 777, or any other sub?
Brings back my last experience with a .36 Navy (an Italian made for sure). I was going to my local range which was adjacent to a state run pheasant release site. I was almost to the range entrance when a big fat rooster ran across the road in front of my Jeep and hid in the ditch. I got out and pulled the trusty six shooter. I was real close before I saw him but he didn't fly. I carefully aimed for a head shot and fired, and missed. (I only ever had 5 chambers loaded).I missed his head three more times and he never moved. Finally I decided to shoot him in the body with my last ball. I held real careful like and squeezed off the last round. After the smoke cleared I walked up to pick him up and he jumped out of the ditch and walked down the road while I stood with the smoking empty gun.:confused:
 

lenl349

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The obvious answer is if a Remington has bad barrel/cylinder gap, send it back to the factory, otherwise a new barrel and/or a new cylinder would need be fitted.

I have never put a Colt or Remington BP revolver in a Ransom Rest, so I can't rule out it may be possible to get a Colt to shoot more accurately FROM the rest.

However, where the Colt fails in real world/practical accuracy for shooting at targets is the rear sight is a notch in the hammer, that disappears when you pull the trigger.

This is why so few Colts are used for serious target competition, such as NSSA events.

Gus

P.S. Most the Pietta Colts I ran across at NSSA Spring and Fall National Championships were the guns made before their 2002 CNC machining upgrade. I stand behind my statement that in the 1990's, Pietta revolvers were all too often at best second rate and many poorly made. So the answer I believe we can both agree on is get one of the post 2002 CNC made Pietta's if one wishes to buy a Pietta.

Gus
hi, wass jusst curious what problems you found with the pre-2002 piettas. i have a 1994 navy. it's ok but not great shooter.
 

William Lincoln

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THE OLDER UBERTIS & PIETTAS WERE HAND TOOLED. SO YOU WOULD TUNE THEM AND REMOVE
BURRS AND SUCH (Labor of love) . Sometime around 2002 the newer computer run machine tools
became more widely available. Newer Ubertis made on Beretta's machines are awesome finished.
Don't know why but my most accurate revolver is a Pietta 1858 target. Always bragged on my
Ubertis, but so much for bragging. Situation with black powder is that it is stable over time if you
decide to put some away. Black powder varies among brands and particle size. All my older manuals
(1969-73)charted 4f for revolver use for a hotter load. 4f Swiss really steps out. However, substitutes
are less explosive, safer and therefore more available. Pyrodex is fairly stable and a little hotter than
3f Black. Triple 7 I cannot say much on lacking first-hand experience. Reports are that it degrades faster
over time and does poorly when strongly compressed. I'm one of those older guys who moves a little
slower and gets along fine with plain old Black powder. I don't need to be first over the line.
 

William Lincoln

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Meaning hand fitted. When you look at the parts you see tool marks and rough places.
Edges are not smooth. Burrs. Machining marks inside etc. The older production is
fine and functions, but the newer guns are more precise and maybe better finished.
Those are the reports I'm seeing. Wish I had the extra coin to buy a new Ubert/Beretta 1858.
When they become available again at reasonable prices.
 

jonathan butcher

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OP, this is sound and informed advice as always from Jim aka Sourdough. I've learned and benefited more from his observations and hands-on experience than I can count. The best of the suggestions, find a place where you can put 'hands-on' a couple of examples, get a feel for what they feel like to you. All of the reproduction c&b revolver types can make excellent shooters. But how they each feel in your hands makes the difference.

While I don't find fault with your observations, the OP is new to this BP revolver "cult", so I will point out a few of my observations.

I find that there is a huge difference in the feel of an "1858" (I really dislike that misnomer) Remington NMA (New Model Army) .44 / NMN (New Model Navy) .36, neither of which were produced in 1858 but in 1863, and any of the Colt 1851 Navy .36, the Colt 1860 Army .44, and the Colt 1861 Navy .36 revolvers. I suggest the OP find a source wherein he can hold them in hand to compare. I am a huge fan of the replica 1851 Navy .36 "type" revolvers as I have a collection that includes Confederate replicas like the Leech & Rigdon, Rigdon & Ansley, Griswold & Gunnison, J.H. Dance & Brothers, Schneider & Glassick, et al. All "parts guns" put together by myself. I use the Pietta 1851 Navy .36 CNC guns (made post ~2001) as a base donor revolver.

I realize this maybe more than the OP can digest at this time, so I will not delve into the Walker, Dragoon, or various Pocket revolvers.



During the current pandemic, Italian production of revolvers is a scant fraction of what it was a year ago, if that. Prices on the used or pre-owned new market have skyrocketed on auction sites like GunBroker. Last Saturday I managed to win a Navy Arms/Pietta Spiller & Burr .36 revolver at auction for $355 that would have been readily available in pre-pandemic times for $250. Used part of my stimulus check for it. The new Italian gun drought is far from over.



I wholeheartedly concur, especially with a brass frame.

Regards,

Jim
 

Desperate Lee

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I know not about all the above. I have an older SS Pietta '58 NMA that shoots and functions very well. Easier to clean up also.
DL
 

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TFoley

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My hands down choice would be an out of production Euroarms Rogers and Spencer Revolver because they have both the accuracy of the enclosed/solid frame and BY FAR the best feeling grip of all repro revolvers, BUT since they will all be used guns, it would be best to have someone go over the revolver well before you buy it.

Euroarms Rogers & Spencer Match Revolver | Reproduction Firearms | Gun Mart

Gus
I heartily second that opinion - the example I bought in 1981 had been made in 1978 and although well-used, was good and tight and shot like a dream with just 25gr of 3Fg and .451"ball.

I kept it, and won a lot of club matches with it, until 1996, when a club noob who was severely disabled in Gulf War 1 took a yen to it. I couldn't not sell it to him. He died last year - nothing to do with the present Chinese plague - but I haven't heard what happened to his guns - all BP. Maybe it will turn up on the local circuit.
 

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hi, wass jusst curious what problems you found with the pre-2002 piettas. i have a 1994 navy. it's ok but not great shooter.
Hi Len,

Primarily what I did on UnCivil War guns at NSSA Spring and Fall National Championships over half the years between 1974 and 2005 was "trigger jobs" and general gunsmithing that Skirmish Shooters needed or wanted. (Basically I was always there when the Marine Corps did not have me too far away to attend the Nationals and then after I retired from the Corps.) However, BP revolvers require an additional level of inspection for mechanical function that also affects accuracy, beyond what is needed for other UnCivil War firearms.

I was not "factory trained" to work on BP Revolvers, but since in modern times the only factory in the U.S. who at least assembled BP revolvers was Colt, most gunsmiths aren't. I was factory trained at S&W on their modern revolvers, though, and a surprising amount of that training was applicable to BP revolvers.

One extremely important mechanical aspect for accuracy is the diameter of the cylinder holes must be slightly larger than the bore diameter. If the barrel diameter is larger, there is no hope the revolver will shoot accurately as the ball or projectile won't engage the rifling. Now, this problem is not common on repro BP revolvers, but it happens often enough that one learns this is one of the first things that must be checked. You need at least precision calipers to check these diameters and better still precision button head gages or precision pin gauges. When this is the problem, most of the time you can only send the revolver back to the factory, as it is too costly to fix this otherwise.

The second mechanical aspect that is not super common but still found too often in repro BP revolvers is the cylinder holes don't align properly with the barrel when locked in place to fire. When that happens on one or more cylinder holes, the ball/projectile "shaves" lead on one side when it hits the rear of the barrel, before it can enter the bore. S&W trained Armorers have a tool called a Ranging Rod to check for this and I had some made for BP revolver calibers in various sizes to fit a wide range of BP Revolvers. This tool has a precision ground "Head" that precisely fits the barrel diameter and a rod that allows you to check how each cylinder hole aligns with the barrel, by how the precision head fits into each cylinder hole. Most of the NSSA teams had at least one Team Member or knew of someone who could look through the barrel when light was shined on the cylinder face to check for this misalignment. If you can easily see misalignment by "eyeball," then you have a real problem that is going to be expensive to fix, if the cost of the fix can be justified compared to buying a properly made revolver.

Minor misalignment can be fixed by using a special "pull through" tapered reamer in the rear of the barrel. I thought about purchasing the tooling required for doing it, but then T.F. "Muley" Ball began setting up at the Nationals and doing this service for the shooters. So when I found unacceptable misalignment when everything else checked out that was not causing the problem and that could be fixed using that technique, I sent the Shooters to him to have it done. "Muley" was convinced that was a good thing to do on all BP revolvers shot in serious competition, btw, and I pretty much agreed with that, though many accurate BP revolvers never needed this technique done.

Other things that can cause that misalignment is when the notches in the cylinder for the "cylinder bolt" were cut in the wrong place at the factory (very uncommon) or the bolt itself did not properly fit into these notches. Sometimes this could be corrected by working on the cylinder bolt or fitting a larger or oversize cylinder bolt, though not all the time.

Actually when "Muley" Ball began setting up at the Nationals, I often referred most revolver work (except trigger jobs) to him, because I was the only Armorer at the Nationals who did trigger jobs on
Smith Carbines at the Nationals and got swamped with that work as well as trigger jobs on long arms.

What I found most often on the "Pre 2002 Pietta Revolvers" was the parts and frame were often full of sharp edges, which meant they did not correctly do basic deburring of the parts after machining. Also, the parts involved with doing trigger jobs often didn't fit well and sometimes not hardened and annealed well, so it made doing trigger jobs much more difficult and expensive than other revolvers.

Actually, there was so much additional work needed to be done on Pietta Revolvers back then, that was not required on other revolvers, I got tired of taking the time to explain why it cost more to work on them and just told shooters I did not work on them.

Gus
 
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