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Pietta Sheriff's model 44 caliber

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This is information most of ya'll probably already know, but for those who are curious.

I was gifted this gun a few years ago. It was a new in the box, Pietta Sheriff's Model, 44 caliber with a brass frame and a 5 1/2" barrel. It has sat in my vault unmolested and unfired until yesterday. I do not have a specific reason as to why it sat so long other than there were other guns I wanted to shoot. After looking at it and cleaning the factory oils out of the gun I decided to take it out to the club. Time was short but I did fire 30 rounds from the guns and earned a few things about this particular revolver. It is the shortest barreled 44 caliber I own and only one of 2 brass frame guns. The other is a reproduction of a Spiller and Burr in .36 caliber.

You hear a lot of "stuff" about brass frame percussion revolvers. Such as:

"They will shoot loose with anything but light loads"

They are cheap and not accurate"

"They are poorly made and rough"

I have also heard:

"The brass frames are as strong as the iron frames used in the oldin' days"

"A brass frame is just as good as any other Italian replica"

"The brass frame throws the gun's balance off and is dimensioned differently than the steel frame guns"

and so on and so on.

I believe it is best to find out some things for one's self.

As to the cheap statement about brass frames. Well, it was a gift so......... I did check, a new one seems to sell for around $300.00 at most places. I don't know if that is "cheap". $300.00 pays for a few water bills in my area but does not buy much in the way of groceries these days.

I did discover that this gun's action is smooth as silk, once I removed the factory grease/oils that was gumming up the works. I also discovered that it seems to be well fitted and balances well.
I also discovered that that short little loading lever is very difficult to use (meaning nearly impossible) when seating a roundball. I cheated and used a short length of copper pipe to "extend" the loading lever. The rammer at the end of the leverappeared to be for a .36 caliber revolver. It worked it just kind of looked odd.
As to accuracy, I fired a 3 shot group at 15 yards that stayed in 1 1/2 inches, albeit the rounds impacted about 14 inches above my point of aim. The group was fine for windage. Elevation was, as noted, very high.
I fired 30 rounds without any stoppages, cap jams, or issues of any kind. The little gun just rolled right along like it was its job.
Recoil was pleasant and not an issue.
I might also add I was shooting 30 grains of Schuetzen FFFG, a homemade felt wad, a .457 cast roundball, and Remington #11 caps. This load did fill the chamber and when seated the ball was just below the cylinder mouth.

I did not see any looseness after 30 rounds, nor did I expect to have that issue. Maybe after a few hundred rounds of that load???

I do not have a clue as to the strength of modern brass frames vs 1800's era iron frame guns. I did not measure the frame so I am unsure as to dimension differences. I do know that with the load I used the cylinder seemed "fuller" than my longer barreled guns. This gun seems to be based on an 1851 frame so that would make sense it being in .44 caliber.

I am very curious as to the speed of that ball from the 5 1/2 inch barrel. The next visit will include some chronograph data being gathered.

Since this is a fantasy percussion revolver, I think replacing the front bead sight with a brass blade and opening up the notch in the hammer a bit will improve POA/POI.

What I have in mind is getting the sight issue handled and then carrying the gun as a backup when I am hunting with a rifle. It should be just fine for that use and compact enough to make carrying it around the woods comfortable.

Having a, for free to me, accurate, dependable, short handy revolver is a good thing.

FYI, providing I didn't mess up the video, I had to hold at the bottom of the black rail on the plate rack to hit the plate anywhere near center.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/RUSmvYoQEek7b1MQ6
 

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Jake,
I have the same gun in a steel frame. Nice gun, good shooter, they just feel good in the hand. My nephew shooting it with a full load of 3f.
I too use a cheater pipe.
 

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When I use a ball that fits without shaving much lead mine are easier to load. I shoot reduced loads and the brass frame guns are still as tight as my steel frame guns. Other than a sabertooth chipmunk occasionally I don't hunt so heavy loads not necessary. I love my brass frame guns. My brass frame sheriff is a favorite. A taller front sight was necessary.
 
I've yet to see a cap and ball revolver that hits POA out of the box or used. Unless its been modified. Some file the hammer sight deeper, some change out the front sight. I've seen a few comments,
Aim at the groin and you'll hit the chest.
I work on these revolvers for a hobby and pleasure. These are a few brass I've received over the years. The Colts I believe had too much cylinder to barrel gap. The Remington I'm not sure.
 

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The reports are they all shoot high and in some cases, seriously high. 4 inches is not an issue, put a sight spot on the bottom of the target and you can shoot that one and then use the middle one. 14 inches is wild.

Annoying as the fix would be easy, ship with tall front sights and the user can determine what POI he wants for the POA. A lot of us shoot 25 yards for target so being on at that range would be great. Most of us don't hunt with them and most of us don't carry for SD.

Its a shame the Italian makers don't take feedback. My Pietta NMA Target shoots 16 inches high (or did, I raised the front sight .150 to get it close to POA.
 
I have the 1858 Remington Sherrifs model in brass frame. I absolutely love that gun and it smacks steel plates with authority. I use 30 grains of triple 7 and the recoil tells me it's a pretty hot load. If it ever hammers itself into the rear of the frame and loosens itself up, then I'll machine out the recoil shield and make a steel insert. I've been considering making a double action kit for mine just because I haven't ever seen one.
 
My brass frame Pietta 58 shot perfectly when new . problem is if you shoot it 100 rnds or so a week by the time you get really attached to it its worn out... My steel frame the trigger is not as nice as my brasser but despite twice as many rounds through it the cylinder is still nice and tight. The brasser is really loose now.
 
I have a Pietta Remington Steel Frame Sherriff's Model that has a dovetail front sight. I found tall target front sights at S&S Firearms internet site. With a little filing the base width they slide right in snug on the barrel. They come tall so you can file them to your desired height. I have this shortened sight on the gun at present to shoot some long-distance steel plates. The tall one on the left under the gun here is how the come at full height. It's next to a standard one next to it. Mine shot a little high at close paper targets and I will file a tall sight down to be a bit higher than standard for those targets. I found I can swap them easy and still keep a tight fit. I like that they look like stock sights.
IMG_3641.JPG
 
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