Who Has the Best Repro BP Revolvers?


April 28, 2003, 01:50 AM
Hey all,

I have become interested in this Black Powder thing, I have never shot one before and it looks like fun. I started looking at some of the options for buying a gun to try and it seems that everyone and their brother has them for sale.
I am talking about the 1851 Navy, 1860 Army and the 1858 Army; I can't make my mind up which one I like the best. Anyway, i have seen the ones from Cabelas (both the normal finish and the antique finish), Navy Arms, Uberti and a few others that I cannot recall right now.
Are all of the guns at each different company the same? Is one company better than the others? I have heard a few say that they like the antique finish guns from Cabelas, are they as good or better than the other company's stuff?
I know that I would rather have a genuine Colt Black Powder gun, but alas, my bank account cannot handle that. I could get all 3 for the price of 1 Colt.
So what is the best ones to start with? I don't want a piece of junk that I will be unhappy with.

Thanks for the help and advice.


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April 28, 2003, 11:25 AM
There are essentially two Cap and Ball BP revolver makers, Pietta and Uberti. Both are Italian. Piettas are cheaper than Uberti but also of lower quality, especially their Colts. IIRC Cabelas carries mostly Piettas.

Incidentally I don't think the Colt Custom Shop BP revolvers are actually Colts either. I believe they are just a dressed up Italian gun.

April 28, 2003, 11:38 AM
I also try to dive in that BP thing and I am in the stage of reading everything I can get about the topic. MrAcheson is right, the Ubertis are considered the best replicas (Colts are just rediculous expensive, they say they are made with original tooling in Belgium).

Check out www.taylorsfirearms.com

They have marked in their price list if the revolver is an Uberti.

April 28, 2003, 03:35 PM
I ordered a few black powder cap and ball revolvers from Cabela , they have very good customer service and no hassle return policy a very good thing when you don't really like the look and feel of the one you order.I also order a Colt Dragoon repro from Dixie arms which is Ubertie made. I can not tell the difference in quality between Pietar and Ubertie .They are all shoot fine but very very high at 25 -50 yards. You should get the Army 60 because it is the most popular revolver ,it is very nice looking ,well balance and trouble free revolver .Most of the cap and ball revolver shoot at my local range are Army60

April 29, 2003, 08:29 AM
I have a Ruger Old Army, one of the first ones, that shoots the .457 bullet or ball, and I have tried every recipe I can think of and it still barely puts them all on a paper plate at 25 feet. I have an old brass frame Remington replica something or other in .451 that my wife bought me from Cabela's 10 or 15 years ago for $79.95 and it is a little better, but not much. I hear other guys talk about how accurate their BP pistols are, and I envy them.

April 30, 2003, 11:39 PM
I bought a Pietta Remington 1860 New Army Replica in stainless steel with target sights a couple years back. Excellent shooter!!!
Got extra cylinders for it about six months after and they both fit and function flawlessly. I was skeptical because it looked like some hand finishing was done to the frame to get the original cylinder to fit, but it does not affect fit or function. It took a little getting used to shooting and shoots high out to about forty yards, but I can put all six balls in a snuff can out to about 60 yard from a rest. Stainless cleans up really easy too.

Oleg Volk
May 12, 2003, 04:46 PM
Shot a .44 Pietta yesterday. Groups are 1" at 20ft with round ball. Best trigger of any SA repro of a Remington design I've fired. Finish was not impressive though.

May 12, 2003, 05:27 PM
Ubertis are of better quality than Piettas, but that doesn't mean that the Piettas are bad. I have a pair of Pietta 1860 Armies for cowboy action shooting, and they work great. My only complaint is that they shoot pretty high. Still, at 50 feet, I've been able to get a 6-shot group in a 2 or 3 inch circle. Like Oleg said, the triggers are very nice - especially if you're used to DA autos.

May 23, 2003, 06:42 AM
FWIW, Colt Black Powder shut down last June.

Good news/bad news for me anyhow.

I wanted one,,,but I just know I wouldn't (couldn't?) have resisted shooting it. Methinks the Colt BP are going to skyrocket in value in the next few years.

May 23, 2003, 07:40 PM
Correct me if I am wrong, but I thought most fixed sighted (elev. wise) shot high out of the box. I thought the point was to find a load you wanted to shoot the most and at a certain distance, then the file comes out to file down the front sight until you are on target. I asked a gunsmith this question a few years ago and this is what he told me.

May 23, 2003, 08:34 PM
I have a Walker Colt that is one of the Colt Signature series guns.

It is cool. The fit and finish rival anything I have in centerfire guns.

I wish someone would definitively say what the deal is with the Colts. I have heard that they are Italian guns but then why would Colt have had a black powder division?

Anyway what you get depends on what yer gonna do with it. If I shot a lot, I might go get a cheaper Italian gun just so I could bang it around at the range without fear of ruining somthing really pretty. Just by the nature of having to load the powder and the wad and the bullet and then seal the cylinder and then cap the thing you will handle the pistol a lot more than you do your regular centerfires.

The Italian guns are nice looking and they function fine. I have never heard of one of the Ubertis or Piettas blowing up.

My Walker is very accurate and consistent shooting at 25 to 50 yards is no problem. They had a special on TV the other night about Magnums and the Walker was the most powerful handgun available up until the 80's (according to the documentary). In any case it will whip a .44 cal ball out the barrel at over 1200 FPS with a boom and a whoosh of smoke that will put a smile on your face all day:D

Old Fuff
May 23, 2003, 10:43 PM

Most of the replica C&B revolvers have front sights that are way too low. Thus you can't file them down - at least very much. Back in the 19th century it was a common practice to have the barrel dovetailed and a new sight mounted. It could be driven in the dovetail to correct for windage and filed down (because it was higher in the first place) for elevation.

kentucky bucky
May 26, 2003, 12:08 AM
Dittos to what Coltdriver said about the Colt Signature Series Walkers, I love mine just to look at it. It shoots consistant, but high. I've heard that this is common for all makes and models of the colt BP revolvers. As for the Colt being made in Italy, I believe that they were made by a company in Brooklyn, NY owned by a fellow with an Italian name, like Joe Imperato or a similar sounding name. I don't know if they made the guns from scratch, but they had a hand in building the guns. Maybe the Italian name started the rumor.???

June 3, 2003, 10:26 PM
The Uberti replicas have the best finishes...look like show guns. I've fired my 1860 Army .44 Uberti...loved it the best of the replicas. Had two Remington 1858 .44's...forget who made 'em, but liked the Colt replicas better for looks and ease of changing cylinders...traded both away. Also have a modern-made 1851 Navy .36 (to me the prettiest gun ever made) from the Colt shop, unfired, and an 1862 Colt Pocket Police .31 by Navy Arms, also unfired. By far the most accurate is my Ruger New Army .44.

Frankly, for shooting fun you can't go wrong with any of them! Go for what you feel is the prettiest.:D

June 4, 2003, 01:07 AM
The "Colt" Signature series repros were assembled and finished by the John Jovino outfit in NY. All of the component parts were of Italian manufacture purchased under contract to their specs.

Colt had nothing to do with their manufacture. They licensed the use of the name and the facsimile signature markings to Jovino.

The level of fit and finish on them may have edged Uberti a bit, and Pietta a good deal. But then again, they retailed for over twice as much, too.

Colt actually did manufacture some BP repros several years ago. They weren't hot sellers, and bring collector prices now.

The folks who bought the "Signatures" thinking that they were genuine Colts (and would greatly appreciate in value over time) got taken. They aren't Colts, just a up-market repro. They will never bring what the genuine 2nd generation Colts will.

Functionally, an Uberti will work, shoot, and last every bit as well as Jovino's stuff at half the price. For the money, Piettas are a good value for the person who wants to try BP revolvers without breaking the budget.

In my personal opinion, Davide Pedersoli makes some of the very best of the C&B and cartridge repros anywhere. More expensive, but very high quality.

4v50 Gary
June 16, 2003, 10:34 PM
Was talking to a gunsmith who has worked on many Italian guns. He told me that the metallurgy is bad (sears & hands to rotate the cylinder wear) in many of them but that Uberti is probably the best of the lot. Stay away from the brass frame jobs too he told me.

September 27, 2009, 10:56 PM
I bought a Pietta .44 cal in stainless last year. I have only shot it a few times and cleaned it very well as I do all my guns after shooting. I recently noticed some slight pitting on the hammer and cylinder pin. At first I thought it was powder residue I missed but then realized it was corrosion. Come to find out some of the parts are magnetic stainless, 400 series and not the better 300 series that I thought these pistols were made of. Any one encounter the same thing????

TNX..... JL

September 28, 2009, 09:47 AM
JoeLee--all "stainless" guns are made of magnetic, nickel-free stainless with about 12 to 13% chromium, (types 410 and 416) no nickel. The non-magnetic stainless grades, such as type 304 (18%Cr 8%Ni) are much more corrosion resistant but are softer, lower in strength and do gall like hell. 410 and 416 will pit from salt, specifically chloride salts. So corrosive caps, if there still are any, and definitely Pyrodex will pit them.
"Stainless", or "Inox" to our European members, is a nice marketing term. Around 1910 either the British, or more likely Krupp, invented these high chromium grades. They were, and are, so much better than plain carbon steel as to deserve the term "Stainless/Inox"
Clean your stainless gun anyway.

Best repro? I just got into percussion revolvers this past year. I was extremely disappointed in my Uberti 1860 army, the hand (pawl) digs in to the ratchet with heavy loads of black, so that it will not rotate. Got a Spiller & Burr and it only locks up when cocked s-l-o-w-l-y. I don't shoot it as I am concerned one day I'll be in a hurry & send 1/4 of the ball off to the side somewhere.

Yes, I too envy those who are happy with their Italian concoctions.

Got a Ruger Old Army, still available on gunbroker.com New in Box around $500-550. Oh it is a joy. It shoots, no bad habits. On a good day, a really good day, I can make 3" groups @25yards one-handed. An associate in our club tells me of much tighter groups off a rest. It so far has not jammed badly from cap pieces, nor does it stop from fouling at least for 36 shots.

I prefer the Colt styling but I really do like guns that actually shoot. Which for me, so far, is the Ruger.

September 28, 2009, 09:58 AM
The absolute best cap and ball revolver. I can't speak from experience because I have never handled or seen one, but a German company makes a Rogers and Spencer repro that is supposed to be very much superior to even real colt or Ruger Old Army. They are very rare in the US and generally for top notch target shooters or guys with too much money.

There are some other manufacturers and brands that are seldom encountered.

For the most part Uberti is the Buick and Pietta is the Chevy. Ruger would be a Lincoln.

That being said, quality today is much better than thirty years ago. I have an older Uberti, which has some timing issues and has been rarely fired. I have a recently made Uberti pocket police that is very frustrating from caps falling into the works, but otherwise is top notch.

for what is supposed to be the rolls royce of C&P revolvers: poke here;


September 28, 2009, 10:12 AM
Who has the best B/P revolvers ?? I do of course ...bet everyone feels that way .

September 28, 2009, 10:31 AM
Right now, I'd rate the repros in the following order:

1. Feinwerkbau Rogers & Spencer
2. Hege Army Match Maximum (Remington repro)
3. Pedersoli Remington 1858
4. Pedersoli Rogers & Spencer
5. Pietta Shooter's Model Remington

I own the first two, have handled or shot everything else.

You have to remember that the primary market for most of the Italian repros is reenactors and plinkers. These guns are made to a price point. If the gun looks OK, doesn't explode, and sends a bullet in the general direction of the target, they are happy. So you can't expect super-high quality...unless you are prepared to pay for it.

And if you think a FWB Rogers & Spencer is expensive, try pricing the top-end 1911s. You could buy a FWB R&S and a FWB AW-93 (top-end .22 autoloader) for what they want for a Wilson Combat 1911.

September 28, 2009, 11:15 AM
The "Colt" Signature series repros were assembled and finished by the John Jovino outfit in NY. All of the component parts were of Italian manufacture purchased under contract to their specs.

Not entirely correct. In fact, not even close. Jovino was involved in some marketing the for the "Colt Blackpowder Arms Company", other than that he had nothing to do with the 3rd gens. There are already to much bad information about the 2nd and 3rd gens to keep adding more.

This is from Dennis Alder's book.

"A little over a decade passed between the end of the 2nd and beginning of the 3rd Generation Colt percussion revolver lineup. “It needed the time, the market needed to be cleansed, and after 11 years passed, my son Anthony and I decided to bring them back one more time,” explains Imperato. They organized the Colt Blackpowder Arms Company in Brooklyn, New York in 1993. A year later, the 3rd Generation Colt Blackpowder Signature Series was introduced under a licensing agreement with Colt’s Manufacturing Company, Inc. Under this new “licensing” arrangement, Imperato not only manufactured the 3rd Generation black powder revolvers, he was also responsible for quality control, final inspection, marketing, advertising, sales, distribution and shipping to distributors or customers. This “licensing” arrangement was significantly different from the “subcontractor” type agreement he had with Colt’s for the production of the 2nd Generation percussion revolvers.
Under the old “subcontractor” agreement to produce 2nd Generation percussion models, Imperato’s only responsibilities were to manufacture the revolvers to Colt’s strict specifications and then ship the finished product to Colt’s facilities in Hartford. Colt’s then performed final inspection and shipped the revolvers to their distributors. This is why Colt historical letters for 2nd Generation percussion revolvers contain exactly the same type of information one finds in letters for original percussion models, Single Action Armys and other firearms that Colt’s produced. Historical letters for 3rd Generation percussion revolvers that contain any kind of detailed information are rare. If a letter can be secured at all, they typically omit most of the details one finds in other Colt historical letters because these revolvers never passed through their facilities where production and shipping information was painstakingly recorded. The first 3rd Generation model offered was the traditional 1851 Navy, followed by the 1847 Walker, 1860 Army, and 1849 Pocket, the one gun that had been omitted from the 2nd Generation line. With these first guns a new tradition was established. More than a reissue of the models offered from 1971 to 1982, each was embellished along the backstrap with the flamboyant signature of Sam Colt. On steel frame guns the signature was inlaid in gold, and engraved on silver-plated and polished brass backstraps. The Colt signature added a new sense of heritage to the guns, as well as a distinguishing characteristic from the 2nd Generation Colts. By 1996, Lou and Anthony Imperato had recreated all of the original models, as well as adding two new historic Colts to the line that were not offered in the 2nd Generation, the aforementioned 1849 Pocket Dragoon, literally a scaled down First Model Dragoon chambered in .31 caliber, and the 1862 Trapper, a pocket-sized .36 caliber revolver of which Colt only produced 50 original examples in 1862. A variation of the 1862 Pocket Police, the Trapper was fitted with a short 3-1/2 inch round bar-rel without loading lever and accompanied by a brass ramrod measuring 4-5/8 inches and designed to fit through the loading lever channel in place of the plunger.
The 3rd Generation Colts have become landmark models, expanding the variety of guns available to the collector and shooter. Within three years of their introduction, there were more than a dozen Signature Series Colts on the market, covering every caliber, size, and model produced in Hartford, including the transitional Whitneyville Hartford Dragoon, originally built in 1848. This was the first model assembled in Colt’s new Hartford, Connecticut, plant, and only 240 were made before the First Model Dragoon went into production."

Lou Imperato continued to do as he did with the 2nd gen Colts. That is to import raw barrel, cylinders and in some cases the back straps from Uberti. The remainder of parts came from in-house or other USA venders.

For anyone interested in more info on the 3rd gen Colts, read this.

Back to the OP question of "Who Has the Best Repro BP Revolvers?"

The new production Italian replicas are generally good revolvers. They well some times need some fine tuning. The 2nd and 3rd gen Colts are superior in fit and finish, small parts are of much better quality. Like any manufacturer, there are a few that made it past QC that may need some minor work.

September 28, 2009, 02:04 PM
I'vd had good luck with my Pietta's....

September 28, 2009, 06:08 PM
Hummm Brand X ?

September 28, 2009, 09:42 PM
I own a couple of 2nd gen Coilts, a few ASM and a few Piettas, One Uberti and 1 Palmetto. My favorite shooter is a .44 Pietta Hartford from EMF. It shot well out of the box. I just feel comfortable holding it and there is a difference in the feel of the same models.

September 28, 2009, 10:42 PM
Like I said, I'vd had extremely good fortune with my Pietta Remington 1858 New Model Army .44's. No complaints at all....

September 29, 2009, 12:41 AM
He who has one has the best one... (or more :O)

September 29, 2009, 01:16 PM
I used to give Pietta 36 cal 1851 Navy revolvers to 18 yr old boys who were showing promise of being men. They were $99 each then. Every one was a good deal and given to the right boy at the right time.
Last week end I went hunting BP Whitetail, Eastern Washington. The (now son in law) hunting partner brought it along for his side arm. He's now had this pistol for 13 years (since I gave it to him). Hit the six inch bull about 30% of the shots at 35 yards.
He has used it to convert gun haters and skeerdycats to shooters with this gun. It's just too much fun, and the whole loading and shooting process takes the fear factor out of guns for many people.
I took my Pietta 1851 Sheriff stainless 44. Peter was impressed. It's my favorite. Not as powerful as my 2nd dragoon, or as sturdy as my remington, but it's handy, and suprisingly powerful and accurate. It easily outranges a 45 ACP. Shooting it a dusk (after legal hunting) is a blast- what a fireball!!

tx gun runner
October 4, 2009, 02:10 PM
Been 20 yrs since I shot this gun . Shot these 2 targets friday . A pic is worth a 1000 words


This is the other I shot . Both at 25 yds .


October 4, 2009, 02:13 PM
Long term storage didn't seem to hurt either one of them. Good shooting.

October 4, 2009, 02:18 PM
Looks like you've got that one dialed in just fine. Nice.

October 4, 2009, 03:22 PM
I have an 1858 Pietta Remmy, target model that I've never fired. I just pulled it out of the safe and checked it out.
It's really not as clunky compared to an 1851 Navy as I had thought.
Hmmm. :scrutiny:

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