What's so special about Freedom Arms?


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BigBlock
July 23, 2008, 02:40 AM
I recently looked at a Freedom Arms SAA clone in .45 Colt. Nice gun...but more than $2,000?! To my untrained eye it looks like a Blackhawk. Sure, it's probably more finished inside, but come on, I can buy a pickup truck for less than $2,000!

What makes them worth so freakin' much? I think I could spend $500 at a gunsmith and have a Blackhawk that shoots just as sweet and looks even better. What am I missing?

I know they make some 5 shots in bigger calibers than Ruger, but the one I was looking at was a 6 shot .45 Colt.

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Jim March
July 23, 2008, 05:28 AM
Besides general fine workmanship, at a level WAY higher than Ruger?

The answer is: line boring.

What they do is, they make the frame first. They then put in a cylinder that has no bore holes in it, and size that cylinder to that frame. They then bore the holes based on a drill fixture that attaches to the frame, in the screws where the barrel is going to go.

In other words, every cylinder is custom to that particular frame. The alignment between bore-holes and barrel is always 100% dead on, for every bore.

The resulting accuracy is like nothing else in the wheelgun world. Some have been reliably tested as capable of MOA - "minute of angle" - accuracy.

That means 1" groups at 100 yards.

Rifle grade accuracy.

Ohen Cepel
July 23, 2008, 05:54 AM
They are some of the finest weapons made in America now.

Also, remember, you're looking at MSRP, not street price. They often are found around for $1k or so. Not bad compared to a Ruger (which I also love) but when you buy a Ruger for $400 and spend another $500 on it you're not really ahead in the comparision.

The FA guns are pretty much in a league of their own.

farscott
July 23, 2008, 06:43 AM
The fitting on the FA is perfect. The steel is 17-4PH, one of the best stainless steels that has a pressure vessel rating. The grips fit the frame with no transition because they are hand fit. The line-bored cylinder fits the frame so that the forcing cone gap is around 0.001". Accuracy is amazing. A Blackhawk is a nice gun, but the FA guns are a different beast. A lot more labor on the FA guns that on the Rugers.

I have three: one in .454 Casull which I use for deer and boar hunting, one in .357 Magnum with fixed sights which I carry while on my property, and one in .22 LR I use as a plinker. The plinker outshoots my S&W M41. The .357 outshoots my Marlin 1894C in .357 Magnum.

Great guns backed by great customer service. I bought the FA 97 in .22 LR with the octagon barrel used via an Internet sale. Got it home and it started to have action problems. Called FA, told them I bought it used, and they asked me to send it to them. They had it a week, told me the action had been "bubba"d, and replaced quite a few parts. They also did an action job on it for me. They shipped it back to me. Total cost: shipping both ways.

Seafarer12
July 23, 2008, 06:57 AM
Its a custom made gun vs. a production gun. It's like comparing a Springfield to a Les Baer. Except more so in my book. Personally I would rather have a Python than a FA of the same price but I would rather have 2 or 3 of some other kind of guns. I am just one of those guys that doesn't like spending more than 500 on a gun.

Old Fuff
July 23, 2008, 10:06 AM
The difference is that off of a machine rest it can interlock holes on a target at 100 yards... :what:

That's becase of the overall precise fitting and line bored chambers.

Of course what the gun can do, and what the shooter can do can be vastly different. :uhoh:

Colt46
July 23, 2008, 10:17 AM
if you had everything torn down, kept the grip frame and had a very capable smith do the work for you. Only downsides are: Those kind of smiths are always a year behind on everything, and you'd pay just as much or more to rebuild a gun that you could get off Freedom's 'assembly' line.
They make the finest revolver and then price it according to what it cost them to produce. Virtually all other manufacturers start with the attitude that they need to appeal to a certain price demographic.

Hawk
July 23, 2008, 10:56 AM
From our friends at Gunblast:

http://www.gunblast.com/images/Freedom_83-475/Mvc-001fa.jpg

JB696
July 23, 2008, 11:58 AM
When I got my .44 Special Model 97 it came with a test target shot from a rest at 25 yards. The bullet diameter is .430 and the size of the hole in the target at its biggest point was .625. More accurate than I will ever live to be. Probably you either.

rcmodel
July 23, 2008, 01:38 PM
I can buy a pickup truck for less than $2,000!
That's not even near as crazy a price as the $3,570 Kimber SuperAmerica 1911 in this months American Rifleman.

There is NO 1911 in the world that is worth that much money, or costs that much to hand fit and finish, unless it is fully covered by Class-A engraving & gold inlay!

rcmodel

MCgunner
July 23, 2008, 01:44 PM
You can keep the Kimber, but I will have a Freedom Arms in .454 Casull some day. Not hard to find in the 1300-1400 range. I don't know if they still do, but they even chambered a .22LR in that gun. Now, seems beefy and expensive for a .22, for sure, but hey, the accuracy is worth it to some folks. I love accurate guns, personally.

MrBorland
July 23, 2008, 02:04 PM
Alas...if only they'd make a double action revolver too...sigh...

Cosmoline
July 23, 2008, 02:11 PM
They're worth it. They're tougher than a Ruger and better made than anything from the Smith custom shop. I would argue they're better made than any single action Colt produced in its entire history.

The prices on FA's are not inflated considering the quality, and you can find them used. For someone who likes to mess around with SA revolvers from time to time they're probably not worth it, but if you're going big game handgun hunting or looking to have a top of the line single action magnum they're the ones to go to.

telecaster1981
July 23, 2008, 02:20 PM
I often wondered the same thing until we dropped into the Freedom Arms plant while driving through Wyoming last year. I handled every model they make and I've never been more impressed with the fit and finish on ANY gun. Makes a Ruger look like a loose, sloppy mess!

JNewell
July 23, 2008, 08:09 PM
I don't mean to be impolite at all, not even a little when I say this. If you had a chance to handle one and it didn't convince you, it isn't worth it. Mine reminds me of a combination of a Mercedes Benz, a Rolex and the door on a vault at Ft. Knox.

machinisttx
July 23, 2008, 08:32 PM
You'd have to spend more than $500 on a ruger at a smith to get something that's close to the quality and precision of a FA. Even then, all you'd have is a ruger, and it won't be worth nearly what you have in it. The Freedom Arms guns retain their value well, and with the precise fitting plus the 17-4 construction, good luck wearing one out. A freedom arms gun will safely fire loads that would destroy a ruger in short order.

.38 Special
July 23, 2008, 08:35 PM
Bowen, among others, will turn a Ruger into the equivalent of a Freedom Arms. Just as strong, just as accurate, and better looking, IMO.

Of course, he charges about as much as Freedom Arms -- and you have to supply the gun for him to work on.

Which I think illustrates the value of the Freedom Arms very nicely.

Hawk
July 23, 2008, 10:00 PM
Of course, he charges about as much as Freedom Arms -- and you have to supply the gun for him to work on.

Which I think illustrates the value of the Freedom Arms very nicely.

I believe that summarizes it pretty well.

It is indeed possible to turn a 1979 Ford Pinto into something that runs like a 240,000.00 Ferrari. However, it will cost you 250,000.00 plus the cost of the Pinto.

You'll have something unique and your own but there are more efficient ways to go about it.

Wes Janson
July 24, 2008, 12:00 AM
I often wondered the same thing until we dropped into the Freedom Arms plant while driving through Wyoming last year. I handled every model they make and I've never been more impressed with the fit and finish on ANY gun. Makes a Ruger look like a loose, sloppy mess!

It's an interesting place to visit, I've got to agree..although there's not a tremendous amount to see. Definitely fine people...and handling a cutaway FA .44 Mag was truly cool. If anyone happens to be visiting Jackson Hole, WY, it's worth the drive down to Freedom.

JNewell
July 24, 2008, 08:21 PM
Bowen, among others, will turn a Ruger into the equivalent of a Freedom Arms. Just as strong, just as accurate, and better looking, IMO.

Of course, he charges about as much as Freedom Arms -- and you have to supply the gun for him to work on.

Which I think illustrates the value of the Freedom Arms very nicely.

There ya go. 's the TRVTH, as the Romans used to write.

1858
July 24, 2008, 11:36 PM
Alas...if only they'd make a double action revolver too...sigh...

:what: I was looking at the FA site this morning and hadn't realized that they're all single action revolvers!!

Looking at their website again, I can't find any information where they mention if their revolvers are SA or DA. The triggers look to be set far back with the hammer down so is that the big clue?

HA!! After looking at their catalog, now I see the loading gates. :o

1858
July 24, 2008, 11:55 PM
... and what's "an optional trigger stop" and what purpose does it serve i.e. why do we need to stop the trigger, and if we need it, why don't all revolvers have this?

.38 Special
July 25, 2008, 12:01 AM
Yes, the trigger set to the back of the trigger guard generally lets you know you are looking at a single action. Really, if you look at it and see "cowboy gun" it's a single action.

A trigger stop prevents the trigger from moving much past the point that the hammer is released and the gun fires. That movement is known as "overtravel" and can be anywhere from mildly annoying to absolutely ruinous. A properly fitted trigger stop (or overtravel stop) can be a real improvement. It is not done on all guns because A) some guns benefit very little from it, B) it adds cost to the gun, and C) simply adding a stop can really make a mess out of certain guns, Ruger single actions in particular. These guns can benefit from a stop, but without a fairly serious amount of additional work, just adding the stop can make things much worse.

HTH!

Lucky Strike
July 25, 2008, 12:21 AM
They're one of my dream guns and I will own one in .44 magnum or .45 colt within the next five years....granted i'd want to find one in the $1300 range

ArmedBear
July 25, 2008, 01:00 AM
I just found one for $1500 used, in perfect condition, a nice stainless .44 Mag. I bought a stainless Super Blackhawk instead; it was $285 used, and while I could tell the difference in workmanship by looking, the Ruger will shoot as well as I can hold it.

Again, I can see the difference. If I had the money and it was no big deal to me, I'd buy the FA in a heartbeat; it's truly a perfect gun. But Ruger sure does make a pretty damn good revolver for those of us who don't have or want to spend quite so much. It's all up to you.:)

HOME DEPOT GEORGE
July 25, 2008, 10:29 AM
What about the BFR, I handled one a while back and the workmanship was excellent, are Freedom Arms really worth 2 to 3 times the cost. I've never had the opportunity to see one in person.

SAWBONES
July 25, 2008, 03:07 PM
What about the BFR, I handled one a while back and the workmanship was excellent, are Freedom Arms really worth 2 to 3 times the cost.

Dunno about 2-3 times the cost, but having handled both, I'd say a BFR compares to a Freedom Arms as a Ford Taurus compares to a Maserati.
Approximately. Nothing wrong with the Taurus, but the Maserati is in a completely different league.

RancidSumo
July 25, 2008, 04:36 PM
They are made in Freedom, Wyoming. The gunstore here in Rock Springs, WY sells them for $1,300 new. Is that a fair price?

hksw
July 26, 2008, 12:25 AM
They are made in Freedom, Wyoming. The gunstore here in Rock Springs, WY sells them for $1,300 new. Is that a fair price?

What are the specs of the gun? Sounds like a Field Grade (1 year warranty) 83 or possibly a fixed sight 97.

BroughtEnoughGun
July 26, 2008, 03:05 AM
I found a slightly used filed grade in .454 casull with a 7.5" bbl. I was happy because it was the size and caliber I wanted to have ordered for me, but since I got it used, it costed me $1200 out the door. Pretty good deal. Now Im going to Put an SSK TSOB mount on it and the Leupold VX-III 2.5-8x scope, and have some minor cosmetic work done to it such jeweling and polishing the trigger and hammer, and some pinstripes on the cylinder and barrel.

BlkHawk73
July 26, 2008, 07:33 AM
recently looked at a Freedom Arms SAA clone in .45 Colt. Nice gun...but more than $2,000?! To my untrained eye it looks like a Blackhawk. Sure, it's probably more finished inside, but come on, I can buy a pickup truck for less than $2,000!

What makes them worth so freakin' much? I think I could spend $500 at a gunsmith and have a Blackhawk that shoots just as sweet and looks even better. What am I missing?



You can buy a BH and have an excellant, strong revolver. You could buy a FA and have a finely tuned, finely fitted and super strong revolver. As good as the Rugers are the FAs are the creme de la creme of that niche. The old you get what you pay for fits here very nicely. Kinda like buying a $2000 truck - you don't get much.
$500 in Ruger work isn't that much either if it's from one of the better gunsmiths that specializes in the Rugers.

wcwhitey
July 26, 2008, 09:40 PM
The one and only Freedom Arms I have had the pleasure to shoot was the Model 97. Hard to explain but you can feel the quality. I am not up on all the particulars but I can see why people sing their praises. I would love to find one at a reasonable price.

Taffnevy
July 27, 2008, 09:42 AM
Are they only sold new through Freedom Arms, or do they have distributors as well?

farscott
July 27, 2008, 12:44 PM
The Freedom Arms web site mentions a list of distributors and gives a number to call to get that list. That being said my FFL just called FA and ordered my guns.

Taffnevy
July 27, 2008, 02:44 PM
So is it possible to order a new gun to your specs at a price lower than that listed on the site?

Ultima-Ratio
July 27, 2008, 03:15 PM
Firstly, IF the FA needs line boring it would seem that each frame may have variances from the original blue print?

Having a bit of shop time and seen parts machined to a tenth of a thousandth even on a rotary vice fixture as used by several smiths in making their own five shot cylinders.

BTW, no pics of a MOA FA group? The pic from Gun Blast was simply underwhelming, most bullseye shooters I know would not keep that target.

Having shot dozens of both line bored and non line bored guns over the years I'll quote John Taffin, each gun is a rule unto itself.

For Jim March, MOA has been done repeatedly with sixguns, I first read about it a gunrag circa 1956-1957 referring to the then new model 29 S&W and I'll wager it was done in the 30s with the then new model 27.

hksw
July 27, 2008, 10:41 PM
So is it possible to order a new gun to your specs at a price lower than that listed on the site?

You could try going through your gun dealer/shop. When I ordered an 83 in .475L, I had specified 7" octagonal barrel through a local gun shop and, IIRC, it was slightly less than the list price with options cost.

Gator
July 27, 2008, 10:54 PM
The Line Boring Myths

:confused:

Line boring produces a much more accurate revolver, that is no myth. But it is more expensive and time consuming to do and contributes to the greater cost of the gun.

MCgunner
July 27, 2008, 10:57 PM
Again, I can see the difference. If I had the money and it was no big deal to me, I'd buy the FA in a heartbeat; it's truly a perfect gun. But Ruger sure does make a pretty damn good revolver for those of us who don't have or want to spend quite so much. It's all up to you.

I agree 100 percent with this. My Blackhawks will outshoot me, at least with iron sights. I will have an FA in .454 some day, though, when I can more afford it.

tipoc
July 27, 2008, 11:16 PM
I've seen guns with better finishes on them than the FA guns. I've noticed they often could use a deburring around the loading gate, rear sights, and front sights. The action is also unique unlike either Ruger or Colts. The tolerences are rather tight and can be unforgiving of dirty powder, mud, etc.

It's in the shooting that they excel. They are more accurate than your average production single action, for about the same cost and have a guarantee that is excellent.

The FA guns are semi custom production guns to get the same level of accuracy you need a custom built gun.

tipoc

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