Freedom Arms - why only single action?


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casual
November 17, 2004, 08:01 PM
can anyone tell me why Freedom Arms only produces single action revolvers?

i've heard great things about their firearms and like the look, but why only single action?

i'd buy one of theirs in a second if i could get a double action revolver

along the same lines, why are there so few revolver makers?

you can basically pick from Smith & Wesson, Ruger, Dan Wesson, when there are dozens and dozens of respectable autoloader producers with excellent products


casual

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targetshootr
November 17, 2004, 08:09 PM
I would guess they decided to do one thing very well and stick with it. And, single action are probably the best overall revolver for hunting purposes. And certainly for big bore calibers.

Jim March
November 17, 2004, 08:54 PM
The secret to FA's accuracy in both the '83 large frames and '97 mid-frames, centerfire and rimfire, is "line bored cylinders". The frame and barrel are assembled, and then a cylinder "blank" is fitted. It's then drilled out for each bore through the barrel. The alignment between each chamber and the barrel is absolutely perfect as a result.

That's how you make a revolver pull MOA. All FAs are close, some actually hit that.

With a DA, the flex in the crane both on each closing of the action and over time due to wear would screw that up.

FAs may seem expensive, but once you check the prices for a custom Ruger SA with a line-bored cylinder (done by Jim Stroh, John Linebaugh or the like) you realize the FAs are actually a good deal for the level of accuracy you're getting.

They're the *cheapest* way to get a line-bored gun :eek:.

MrMurphy
November 17, 2004, 09:00 PM
The single action design is strong, simple, and accurate. For hunting, which is primarily FA's reason for being, the SA design makes sense. In a hunting situation the second shot can be made by hand cocking about as fast as an accurate DA second shot would be able to be fired.


Dan Wesson's DA revolvers are probably the best out there for extremely strong, accurate DA designs in the hunting field, though the Rugers are close behind.


At one time (the 1870s) there were dozens of revolver makers. In the 1970s, there was still S&W, Colt, Ruger, Iver Johnson, Dan Wesson, Charter Arms, and probably a couple more in the DA market.

Now that automatics rule, S&W Colt Ruger and Dan Wesson, plus the resurrected Charter Arms are still around.

In the single action market, there's AWA, EMF, Pedersoli/Uberti, Navy Arms (importer of those) and others too.

Old Fuff
November 17, 2004, 09:24 PM
Freedom Arms is a small company that manufacturers a speciality revolver, and does so exceptionally well. The single action platform is ideal for what they make. A double action revolver of similar quality would be more expensive to produce (and therefore sell) and not offer most of they're customers any particular advantage.

JNewell
November 17, 2004, 10:04 PM
Some of the specs for their SA revolvers couldn't even be translated to a DA revolver. Mine will not accept a .0015 feeler blade between the barrel breech and the cylinder face. I don't think you could build a usable DA revolver to that spec and still have it open and close reliably for any meaningful period of time, much less rotate freely.

Bless people who know what they do well, stick to it, and avoid doing things half-way.

Standing Wolf
November 18, 2004, 06:33 PM
...why are there so few revolver makers?

The revolver market has been shrinking a long, long time. The initial capital investment would be substantial, and the skilled work force isn't standing around on street corners.

Someone could enter the revolver market with highly specialized guns at very high prices, but it would be first and last a labor of love.

unspellable
November 18, 2004, 07:00 PM
The Dan Wesson revolvers are also line bored. On the Super Mags the nominal cylinder gap is 0.003 inch.

The single action is simpler and easier to produce than the double action, particularly if your double action has a swing out cylinder which is pretty standard these days.

Given that you are going to make a DA, it can be made just as strong, accurate, and long lasting as the SA. Most of the crane fit problems I see are due to sloppy manufacturing. Most of the remainder are probably due to abuse brought on by slack jawed owners watching too many movies where the hero spins the cylinder and slams it shut.

Jim K
November 19, 2004, 09:53 PM
Simple question, simple answer. Money. It costs a whooole lot more money to make a double action revolver than it does to make the fairly simple single action. Tooling is more complex, materials more demanding, and production more difficult. A company doing well with single actions would be very hesitant about investing big money (assuming they had it) in double action revolver manufacture. If they want to expand the line and keep in the handgun field, they would likely be better off making an auto pistol

Jim

Vern Humphrey
November 19, 2004, 11:40 PM
I'd suggest getting hold of a really big double action revolver -- say a Colt New Service with hot .45 Colt loads -- and try firing it double action.

There really isn't any point to having a double action capability in large, heavy revolvers built for big, brawny cartridges loaded to the gills. Freedom Arms revolvers are hunting tools (and for some specialized competition games) where double action -- even if it were practical -- would be no advantage.

Magnum88C
November 20, 2004, 08:42 AM
My big question for Freedom Arms, is why no 6-shot .45 Colt, .44-40, .44 Magnum/special/russian/american? Seems they'd open themselves up to the entire Cowboy shooting crowd, some of whom have to go to custom smiths to get a really high-end revolver.

Now an FA 6- shot .45 Colt with an octagon barrel I could really go for!

Old Fuff
November 20, 2004, 09:51 AM
Vern Humphrey:

>> I'd suggest getting hold of a really big double action revolver -- say a Colt New Service with hot .45 Colt loads -- and try firing it double action. <<

This could be an extraordinarily bad idea. The Colt New Service revolver was made from 1898 through about 1942. While it was a big revolver the metallurgy of the time wasn’t up to handling what is generally considered to be a “hot” .45 Colt load today. Reloading handbooks and labels on commercial cartridge boxes usually specify Ruger Blackhawk,Redhawk and Freedom Arms revolvers or Contender pistols.

If one wants to try double action shooting in a “big” revolver by all means try a New Service if one is available, but stick to standard loads of the kind recommended for Colt Single Actions, or similar clones.

Magnum88C:

Freedom Arms use 5-shot cylinders for the additional strength that thicker chamber walls provide. Their revolvers represent a great value considering the accuracy and strength they offer, but it is unlikely that given the price, enough cowboy shooters would purchase the revolver is sufficient quantities to cover the cost of tooling.

Vern Humphrey
November 20, 2004, 02:29 PM
By "hot loads" I mean those duplicating the original black powder loading -- around 1,000 fps with a 255 grain bullet. These generate around 19,000 PSI and are quite safe in my 1906 New Service.

Magnum88C
November 20, 2004, 05:29 PM
Freedom Arms use 5-shot cylinders for the additional strength that thicker chamber walls provide. Their revolvers represent a great value considering the accuracy and strength they offer, but it is unlikely that given the price, enough cowboy shooters would purchase the revolver is sufficient quantities to cover the cost of tooling.

Maybe, but they DO make other 6-shooters. The tooling for boring the cylinder and timing the action wouldn't be that much, and you DON'T need that much metal to handle ANY .45 Colt. Hell, with proper metalurgy and heat treating, Ruger demonstrated you don't need it for the .454 Casull. But, I'd just like an FA revolver that's CAS-legal.

Old Fuff
November 20, 2004, 06:20 PM
Vern Humphrey:

In 1906 a typical factory .45 Colt load with a 225-grain bullet was rated at 960 FPS at 15,000 PSI.

The problem is that in your first post you didn't specify what a "hot load" was. Consequently someone could take it to mean that the New Service could handle something that should be limited to a Ruger or Freedom Arms. Given that some of those who follow this forum don't have your experience or knowledge it is essential that these points are always made clear. :) :)

Vern Humphrey
November 20, 2004, 06:39 PM
Quote:
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The problem is that in your first post you didn't specify what a "hot load" was. Consequently someone could take it to mean that the New Service could handle something that should be limited to a Ruger or Freedom Arms. Given that some of those who follow this forum don't have your experience or knowledge it is essential that these points are always made clear.
---------------------------------

You'll have to admit that someone who did that would get some valuable experience, real quick.

You are right, of course -- I failed to remember that nowadays, the .45 Colt is loaded a lot hotter than any standard round was back in the good old days.

JNewell
November 20, 2004, 06:43 PM
The cowboy action world is a totally different market segment than what FA has always been in. It's mostly driven by authenticity and price. FA's distinguishing elements are custom quality and accuracy in a bulletproof platform. It'd be a totally different market and product...the products look the same on paper but in real life I don't think they overlap at all.

targetshootr
November 20, 2004, 06:55 PM
The five-shot cylinder also means the cylinder notch is between chambers which probably adds to the strength. The only thing I wish FA would offer is more finish options. Otherwise, they are wonderful guns. I only have a model 83 right now but someday I plan to have a 97 in 44 spl.

unspellable
November 22, 2004, 09:13 AM
<< There really isn't any point to having a double action capability in large, heavy revolvers built for big, brawny cartridges loaded to the gills. Freedom Arms revolvers are hunting tools (and for some specialized competition games) where double action -- even if it were practical -- would be no advantage. >>

I rarely if ever shoot my heavy double action revolvers in self cocking mode. However, I still prefer them over a single action, in part of the swing out cylinder, but mainly I just do not do as well accuracy wise with a single action. I suspect this is because of the difference in grip shape.

Vern Humphrey
November 29, 2004, 09:36 PM
Quote:
----------------------------
I rarely if ever shoot my heavy double action revolvers in self cocking mode. However, I still prefer them over a single action, in part of the swing out cylinder, but mainly I just do not do as well accuracy wise with a single action. I suspect this is because of the difference in grip shape.
------------------------------

It looks like we have three different issues here:

1. Trigger action. Freedom Arms revolvers are designed for uses where double-action is not an advantage, and chambered for cartridges that make control in DA firing "probelmatical" to say the least.

2. Reloading. FA revolvers are chambered for brutal cartridges (and for brutal loads in more modest cartridges). The solid frame that goes with traditional side gate loading is stronger, and less liable to develop problems under continuous pounding of heavy loads.

3. Grip shape. The traditional FA grip shape is well adapted to dealing with heavy recoil, and is also pretty good for shooting from field positions.

It seems to me that the traditional Single Action format is ideal for big brutes of revolvers, and that going to double action, swing-out cylinders, and different grip shapes doesn't add any value.

Jim March
November 29, 2004, 11:44 PM
Pretty much.

S&W has of course bucked this trend pretty hard with the 500. And as there are some people who just don't get along with SA wheelguns (John Ross springs to mind), there IS a market for DA handcannons covered passibly well by Ruger with the SRH in 454/480 and the S&W 500.

But: you can get a lighter gun that's just as shootable via SA and some variant of the "plowhandle" classic grip. And it will probably be more reliable, more amenable to emergency field repairs in harsh conditions, etc.

Remember, John Linebaugh got very close to S&W500 performance with the Linebaugh Longs built on Ruger 357Maximum Blackhawk frames, and Magnum Research is doing that today with the actual S&W500 cartridge or the 45-70 on a Ruger-clone SA 5-shot platform.

What FA hasn't done yet is build a stretch-frame that can cope with really long cartridges. Betcha good money they're working on it.

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