I've been contemplating future gun purchases, and one of the most romantic line of guns that has ever caught my eye has been the break-open revolvers. For me, I think they are a work of art. Now that Berettas has come out with their own break-open revolver, I would love to have it in my collection one of these days. I'm looking for opinions and feedback as to how sturdy these guns are. I understand that because of the break-open design, they will not be as robust as a single action (I know someone is going to start comparing them to Rugers...).
Image courtesy of Gunsamerica.com.
How would these guns hold up if you were shooting .45 colt loads through them that were a bit stronger than the run-of-the-mill cowboy loadings?
If you enjoyed reading about "How does the Beretta Laramie hold up?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
June 2, 2006, 05:54 PM
I have no idea re: that specific clone of the S&W SA breaktops, but the usual advice on these in 45LC is to run very low power levels indeed - "cowboy loads" only.
This one sure looks neat though - they've improved the safety, the critter should be good for six-up carry. I would rather have it in 38Spl...I'd be willing to bet it could take at least a small diet of Remington 158gr LSWC-HP+P.
And there has to be SOME speedloader that will fit :).
But I wouldn't go so far as to slap a laser on it. That would be too much :evil:.
On edit: here's Beretta's page on them - with a 5" barrel in 38, heck yeah.
They kinda have to be able to handle any SAAMI spec loads. Anything higher pressure than that and I'd thunk you'd be askin' for trouble. keeping the loads within the realm of what this style of revolver was designed for would be the best and most enjoyable bet.
While these are marketed by Beretta, they're simply the Uberti made Schofileds wearing Beretta logos. Same with Beretta's other reproductions (Beretta owns Uberti) The Beretta ones do have a bit nicer finsih and they do offer this model in a high gloss nickle also where I don't believe Uberti does.
They are indeed a classy design and one will be in my inventory before long. I think I'll go with the Uberti just becuse I don't see the Beretta maked one being worth the extra couple hundred dollars.
June 2, 2006, 09:14 PM
Should last forever with std loads.
I'm liking that .38 also:D
June 2, 2006, 10:42 PM
While these are marketed by Beretta, they're simply the Uberti made Schofileds wearing Beretta logos. Same with Beretta's other reproductions (Beretta owns Uberti)
That is not my understanding. What I have heard from Beretta is that the "Berettas" do have internal changes regarding higher quality specs. Someone correct me if you have evidence otherwise.
June 2, 2006, 10:55 PM
I think one would be fun to have in .38 special, but I would think that these guns could handle some slightly warmer loads than cowboy. Maybe something along the lines of the Buffalo Bore medium range .45 Colt offerings. I believe they fire a 255 grain bullet at around 1000 fps. I know the design of the gun limits the strengths, but shouldn't the new steel and production practices of the modern age make this revolver slightly stronger than its 1875 grand-dad?
June 3, 2006, 07:33 AM
Even though Beretta owns Uberti, the Beretta marked guns are different from the others.
Notice that in this case this is a "real" Model 3 clone. It has the correct barrel latch abd griop shape.
Most other so called Model 3's are simply a Schofield redone with longer cylinder/frame.
The one I examined felt positively wonderful. And at that price it should be.
June 3, 2006, 08:25 AM
What are these running $$ wise?
June 3, 2006, 02:52 PM
It should handle standard pressure loads just fine and would keep you safe with such. Remember cowboy loads are not standard loads at all. Rem and Win still offer 255's going 860fps in 45 whereas cowboy loads typically run around 700fps. Regarding that BB load its your call, if you've ever shot a 250 going 1000fps you'll know what I mean. Watch out for that hammer.
June 3, 2006, 04:31 PM
I saw on another thread that CCI had some blazers in .45 Colt that ran a 200 grain bullet at around 1000 fps. I assume these are standard pressure, correct?
June 3, 2006, 05:17 PM
Guys, let's not forget that when S&W brought back a limited run of this sort of critter, they chambered it for the 45Schofield, a slightly shorter round now being loaded to CAS/SASS levels specifically so that modern 45LC won't fit.
I have no doubt the Beretta is a fine gun of modern materials. But I would be willing to bet the recent-production S&W was too.
A jacketed round will produce more pressure than lead, all else being equal. So a 200 - 225gr jacketed round doing 1,000fps or more is going to be a BIG jump up from the CAS/SASS levels that S&W restricted their gun to.
Now if somebody is loading an all-lead hollowpoint at around 850 - 950fps, that might be something worth looking at in a defensive slug for that gun. But failing that, I'd rather have a Remington 158gr lead hollowpoint doing about 900 - 950fps from a 5" barrel and that's why to me the 38spl version of the gun is more appealing than the 45.
Not to mention it'll be cheaper to feed, and given the number of six-shooter 38/357 DA guns available it seems REAL likely that some speedload will fit it! Lord only knows what sort - GP100, S&W N-Frame, some kinda Colt?
July 28, 2006, 02:25 AM
I have a Beretta Laramie in .38 special with a 6 1/2" barrel. I have had a Navy Arms Schofield and a S&W model 2000 Schofield, and the Laramie is the nicest of the bunch. The Laramie is a close copy of the "New Model" No. 3. This was the last version of the No. 3 top-break and has a grip shape similar to the later hand ejectors. The improved grip makes the gun easier to shoot accurately, at least for me. The Laramie also has a windage adjustable rear sight which none of the other replicas have. The more I shoot it the better it gets. The top-break design requires lighter loads than a solid frame gun if you what it last. As much as I like it, I getting ready to trade it in, on a .38 Laramie with a 5" barrel. The long barreled gun looks better, but is just too nose heavy.
July 28, 2006, 12:33 PM
I believe the S&W was chambered for 45 Schofield for the sake of historical accuracy, not because of any strength issues.
The Uberti & Berreta clones are chambered for 45 Colt and either are perfectly OK with any SAAMI load or else the makers are out of their minds because there is always some fool who doesn't believe the manual. I doubt the latter case.
It remains that cowboy loads are a bit lighter than standard loads so they will be easier on the revolver regardless of make and model.
Some top break designs of yester year were weak just as some solid frame designs were weak, but the top break is not inherently weak in and of itself. A Webley Mk VI with a gross overload will blow the cylinder before the frame will budge.
A good deal of the Ruger vs S&W strength controversy has nothing to do with the frame or cylinder anyway, but rather with the method of locating the cylinder fore and aft. This is the S&W hand ejector's Achille's heel. Makes it easy to shoot one loose. I have no idea how the S&W top break design is in this respect.
July 28, 2006, 02:54 PM
Yup, not a bad looking gun, and I am starting to covet one. Making a larger rear sight was a stroke of genius, as the vintage one was dinky to the point of not being usable. In fact, in the pics on the factory site (link in earlier post) the original rear sight is evident, being just the two prongs on the front of the lift-up latch.
Anybody know if the new larger rear sight is similar to a target version, which S&W must have been making back then?
Also, this model has the knurled screw on the top of the frame, so we can remove the cylinder without using a tool, at least I think that is what it does.
But, as asked before, what is the price it actually is selling for?
July 28, 2006, 02:59 PM
I saw one at Sportsman's Warehouse in the high $700 range.
It's a good thing they don't make them in .44-40. :D
There actually was an adjustable sight New Model 3 S&W available in the 1870s.
July 29, 2006, 06:20 PM
Well, it'll be a while before I think about getting this gun. I've still god two smiths and a CZ ahead of it! However, if I do get it, I'll get it in .45 Colt. standard pressure use wont hurt it too badly, and cowboy ammo is still fun to plink with.
December 29, 2006, 11:51 AM
I know this is an old thread but has anyone else bought one of these things? Is the cylinder replaceable? Can you have a second cylinder already loaded ala Mr. Eastwood in Pale Rider?
December 29, 2006, 12:19 PM
The weapons used in Pale Rider were a different design. They were, if I'm not mistaken, Remingtons.
January 4, 2008, 04:44 AM
I have found that an HKS Model 27-A Speedloader works excellent for this revolver. With a little bit of practice I have become accustomed to placing my left thumb against one of the cylinder flutes to keep it from rotating as I twist the speedloader release knob. Lightning fast! I can go through 18 rounds before I could have the second loading half accomplished in my Vaquero.
January 4, 2008, 09:52 AM
I had a schofield 45 colt 5" barrel, and have had no problems with standard loads. I still have an HKS 29 speed loader filled with 250 XTPs that worked great with it. Money got tight and I had to sell it. Really miss that gun!
January 4, 2008, 10:09 AM
As said, the Laramie is proof tested for SAAMI spec loads. I still think the Buffalo Bore 255 @ 1000 load would eventually shake one loose from sheer recoil even at standard pressure. Not that you couldn't use a few if that was all you had for self defense, just like I carry .38+P in an Airweight.
The Laramie has the butt of a No 3 New Model, a rear sight somewhat similar to a No 3 N.M. Target, and the big topstrap takedown screw of the Russian. Be hard to make a convincing fake out of one.
I think it a crying shame they do not make it in a reasonably authentic caliber like .44 Special for which SAAMI specs and ammunition are available.
The .38 Special is somewhat popular for the lower ammo cost and low recoil, but the small holes in barrel and cylinder make it a heavy gun, poorly balanced. I have an original No 3 NM .38-44 Target and can see why Walter Winans went back to .44 Russian after trying the .38 he nagged S&W into building for him.
January 4, 2008, 11:57 AM
... and can see why Walter Winans went back to .44 Russian after trying the .38 he nagged S&W into building for him.
Sometimes the references I find cryptic on THR lead down unexpected paths.
Walter Winans (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_Winans)
Favorite firearm, (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Webley-Fosbery_Automatic_Revolver) hunh?
What is that thing - a 1901 top-break Mateba, perhaps?
January 4, 2008, 01:27 PM
Obviously a Webley Fosberry has much more style and quality than an Eyetalian Mateber.
I have seen it said that it was Ira Paine behind the .38-44 Target and I don't have the book at hand to see for sure whether it was Paine or Winans.
There is also a .32-44 Target that I have seen credited to W.W. Bennett and his brother Frederick.
Note that there is NO connection between the .38-44 Target of the late 19th century and the .38-44 High Velocity of the 1930s.
The .38-44 Target cartridge case is the full length of the cylinder and has a roundnose bullet seated below the case mouth. The intention being to eliminate the jump through the cylinder throat and feed the bullet straight from the case into the barrel.
Pictures of some of the old time shooters are shown in a book excerpt at
Fine times when a shooter could get the sort of recognition now limited to professional ball throwers.
January 19, 2008, 12:32 AM
I'm copying my message I had actually posted in the wrong section a couple weeks ago. I just realized it now. The reason for this repost is some new problems have arisen from the Laramie.
The Nickel Finish on the frame of my .38 Special 6.5" model had been applied over a metal surface that still had obvious machine marks. A few of these could even be labeled "deep" The barrel was much better in this regard, being almost mirror polished.
When the hammer is put on "half-cock" as is recommended by the manufacturer for safety, the cylinder is free to rotate. Whenever I set it on the shooting table the cylinder rotates as the handle settles to the table surface. For some reasoon it always disconcerts me to watch it happen. When you then pick it up... or when you remove it from a holster the cylinder can be in any position. It is so strange to look at a revolver with the chambers not lined up to the barrel. Of course all this is corrected when you fully cock it. No matter where it started, the action smoothly puts the cylinder in the proper place. When you fire less than a full cylinder though, I recommend leaving the hammer all the way down so there is no chance of the next live round being skipped.
The rifling is horrendous. It looks like you pushed a bunch of rocks through it. I've never seen such a rough bore. Actually that's not true, a new Uberti Nickel Plated .45 in the same shop had an equally bad bore, not to mention an even worse finish. It looked as bad as a late war German P38. HOW IT GROUPS SO WELL IS BEYOND ME. The groups are far tighter than my Vaquero or Scout.
Where the groups are located is another matter...
At 60 feet, this revolver shoots 7.5" HIGH. Almost an unbelieveable figure. This is with the 158gr RNFP Cowboy loads I shoot with my other revolvers. As I see it, my three options are; 1.) File and reshape rear sight blade. By doing this I can lower the rear sight by 1/8" 2.) Load faster, possibly lighter grain bullets. This may lower the point of impact. 3.) Send it to Beretta for repair.
I'm thinking 1.) and 2.) might do it if done together.
Hope this helps. I'm not trying to discourage anyone from buying one. I just might have gotten a lemon in the finish/bore dept. Certainly my past experiences with Beretta have been nothing short of excellent.
For $1,200.00 I had expected better.
New goings on...
I had noticed an uncommon amount of residue (lead?) hitting my cheek when I shot. While cleaning the Laramie I made sure it was empty, then shined a light down the barrel. What I could see was a crescent shaped portion of the clyinder. The cylinder was advancing too far. It was shortly after that I noticed the last three digits on the frame didn't match the three digits stamped on the cylinder. All of my other Uberti's have matching numbers.
Well, I sent it off to Beretta with a detailed letter. My past experiences with Beretta warranty service has been very favorable, so my hopes are high.
I will post the results of the repair.
January 19, 2008, 03:42 AM
I have the Uberti with the 3 1/2" barrel. Speedloaders for the S&W M25 work OK. The front sight had to be filed down to about 1/4" above the barrel for it to shoot POA. It groups into 2.5" at 25 yards if one is real careful about sighting, which is not easy with the very rudimentary notch and low front sight. Had a holster made for it and carried it at work a couple of times just for grins & giggles. I work where a wheelgun marks you as prehistoric, one of the rookies asked one of the sergeants, "exactly when did the boss get on the job?". The sergeant assured him that I came on when Teddy Roosevelt was Commissioner.
I shoot any SAMMI spec ammo with no problems, would not go above those pressures though, even though the gun is really well built out of modern steels.
February 2, 2008, 10:00 PM
This is a follow-up to my earlier post.
Beretta sent me an entirely new .38 Special 6.5" Nickel Laramie Revolver.
This revolver is truly a sight... and is everything my other one wasn't.
The cylinder is in perfect time, and locks up solid.
The finish is mirror with no machine marks.
The bore is also a mirror.
Trigger pull is light and crisp.
Hats off to the excellent people at Beretta who stood behind their product. I had my new revolver in hand 14 days after sending it in! Bravo!
-- On a side note, this one shoots high like the other one. The new rear sight blade I made has point of aim right where I want it.
February 3, 2008, 05:44 AM
If the trurning cylinder deal drives you nuts just pull the hammer back slowly and stop at the first click.That will engage the hammer block with the cylinder bolt still up and locked. Its a pain to do but if carefull you can stop just before the sear engages and the bolt pops down.
March 27, 2008, 09:47 PM
i just got a laramie and it had a stampede manuel in the box so i need to know how to remove cyl and what does the big screw on top do
March 28, 2008, 07:51 PM
The Laramie also has a windage adjustable rear sight which none of the other replicas have. The more I shoot it the better it gets. The top-break design requires lighter loads than a solid frame gun if you what it last. As much as I like it, I getting ready to trade it in, on a .38 Laramie with a 5" barrel. The long barreled gun looks better, but is just too nose heavy.
Before hearing about the Laramie I purchased a Uberti Schofield, Wells Fargo model, .38 Special, with 5" barrel. Shooting this at 15 yards, I discovered my pattern was about 4" to the left and 4" high from point of aim. I sure would have appreciated the windage adjustable sights of the Laramie, but some material would have to be removed from the top of the front sight if the Laramie shoots the same as my Uberti. I do like the 5" barrel, since I had looked at a Navy Arms 7-1/2" version that I also found too nose heavy.
April 6, 2008, 07:15 PM
the ones at the gun shop were blued, i would rather nickle or stainless myself. i liked the gun overall, the balance felt nice to me, and i found it easy to find the sites. i can't wait to fire one. i pan to start shooting sass soon if i can, and i'm liking this revolver.
April 7, 2008, 07:50 PM
I'm thinking about buying a Beretta Bisley with nickel finish.
Noticed the comments about nickel finish problems with the Beretta cowboy style guns (made by Uberti subsidiary).
Does anyone have more experiences to share regarding finish or action/mechanical problems with new in 2007 or 2008 Beretta sixguns?
Or going the other way, anyone with positive experiences with beautifully finished Beretta old west sixguns also made in 2007 or 08?
Hate to buy a gun with problems right out of the box!
April 15, 2008, 02:49 AM
RE; Mlundertaker question.
The new manual from Beretta which features the Laramie instead of the Stampede STILL doesn't mention removing the cylinder. I had to learn myself. Here's what I found;
First, I wipe off a patch of the cylinder so that the metal is clean and free of oils. Right where a flute is is best because there is less metal. I then place a piece of scotch tape along the side of the cylinder and fold a 1/4" extra over the edge where the chambers are located.
Then I loosen the top screw and remove it. Use as wide a screwdriver as possible (I had to hone one down until it was thin enough) Remove the screw. Turn the cylinder so that the scotch tape is under the metal tab once secured by the screw. Now, since your gun is new, you might need to gently ease a screwdriver between the tab and cylinder and GENTLY lever the tab back slightly. It doesn't have to move far... hardly at all.
You can now slide the cylinder back. The tape ensures the tab won't scratch the cylinder wall when sliding it back and out. (Found that out the hard way)
I am surprised that Beretta doesn't feature any take-down info in their manual concerning the cylinder removal. Mine gets so fouled so fast it is absolutely necessary to remove it and clean.
About reassembly; Again since your revolver is new, it might take a couple attempts to get that tab properly lined up so that the screw is perfectly centered in its place. Be SURE to have it properly centered or the edges of the screw (Knurled) will rub against the metal around it and remove the delicate fire bluing. Tighten screw. (Check after a few shots to make sure it is still tight)
Hope this helps.
December 5, 2008, 02:59 PM
"When the hammer is put on "half-cock" as is recommended by the manufacturer for safety, the cylinder is free to rotate. Whenever I set it on the shooting table the cylinder rotates as the handle settles to the table surface. For some reasoon it always disconcerts me to watch it happen. When you then pick it up... or when you remove it from a holster the cylinder can be in any position. It is so strange to look at a revolver with the chambers not lined up to the barrel. Of course all this is corrected when you fully cock it. No matter where it started, the action smoothly puts the cylinder in the proper place. When you fire less than a full cylinder though, I recommend leaving the hammer all the way down so there is no chance of the next live round being skipped."
I have a real NM3 Russian that will do this also.
I am looking at buying a Laramie and was wondering what people are seeing for Prices on the Nickel 38 and 45?
If you enjoyed reading about "How does the Beretta Laramie hold up?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!