Break-Open Revolvers?


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Kylaen
February 1, 2011, 10:06 PM
I know they're used in cowboy action shootion, but do any of y'all carry them? I think it'd be an interesting alternative to your basic double-action. I know little more, so here are my questions. I'd be really grateful if somebody could answer them all:

1. Is single-action the only option? A break-open double action would be sweet.

2. I hear you can only load 5 cartridges, that it'll fire if you release the hammer on a full cylinder. Is there any way to avoid doing that, and still load 6 shots?

3. How does a .45 Schofield compare to a Long Colt and an ACP in ballistic performance? I know and trust the ACP, and if I can get the same or similar performance, I'll be happy.

4. For that matter, is .45 ACP even an option as a chambering in a break-open? The ACP is cheap enough in my town.

5. While I'm at it, compared to the .45 ACP, what are the price ranges for the Schofield and Long Colt? If they're any more than $10 more expensive per box, I'll scrap the whole break-open idea.

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41
February 1, 2011, 10:14 PM
I don't know much about this, but my grandad has a break open .22 double action, so it is possible that there is a center fire break open that is double action. I don't know if anyone makes one though.

toivo
February 1, 2011, 10:24 PM
Is single-action the only option? A break-open double action would be sweet.

I don't have any hands-on experience with the Schofield replicas, which seems to be what you're interested in, but there are definitely double-action top-break revolvers. I have an Iver Johnson Supershot Sealed Eight that is SA/DA. It's a .22--not exactly a cowboy action or a carry gun, but a lot of fun.

http://i589.photobucket.com/albums/ss331/tomi245/IverJohnsonSS.jpg

cane
February 1, 2011, 10:58 PM
All the Uberti copies of the S&W #3s (schofield, russian, and larmie) are available in .45 long colt. Don't discount the various Webley revolvers in .455 and many converted to .45ACP (with moon clips) and .38 S&W. The Ubertis are single action but the Webleys are all DA. I can safely carry 6 in my Uberti "larmie" as it has a rebounding hammer.

Jim K
February 1, 2011, 11:08 PM
For several reasons I don't want to get into this late, top break revolvers are not practical with cartridges of any great power, which is why they faded away. I know about some modern ones that have been highly touted as the best thing since sex and sliced bread, but they never succeeded in the marketplace.

Jim

1911Tuner
February 1, 2011, 11:15 PM
If you can find an old .455 Webley that isn't about to fall apart...that's about as good as it gets with a serious caliber...assuming you can find ammunition for it.

Kylaen
February 1, 2011, 11:18 PM
@Cane- Thanks for the advice. I'll look into it. I am looking for a 4 to 5" barrel, though.
@Jim- not to be a bother, but would you or someone else mind telling me the mechanical advantages and disadvantages of the break-open design?

WAID
February 2, 2011, 12:14 AM
I really want one of these NAA Ranger (http://www.naaminis.com/breaktop_ranger.html)(but in .22LR) as well a Schofield replica to go with my H&R 999 sportsman.

FIVETWOSEVEN
February 2, 2011, 12:26 AM
@Jim- not to be a bother, but would you or someone else mind telling me the mechanical advantages and disadvantages of the break-open design?

The gap thats between the barrel and the frame where it locks up is where the problem is. Firing causes the barrel and frame to hit each other and bounce around and can cause the gun to open up unintentionally.

At least thats what I remember hearing, hopefully a expert will chime in soon.

MICHAEL T
February 2, 2011, 12:27 AM
I have a S&W lemon squeezer made around 1915 in nickle with stag grips Its a 32 short Not a power house but I carry now and then . Fun to shoot ammo expensive.
Had a Iver Johnson in 38 S&W again no power house but people used and carried these pistols for SD in the old days .

BCRider
February 2, 2011, 05:07 AM
Uberti in Italy makes a fine replica of the old S&W break open cowboy guns. But it's well known that they are only good for cowboy action mild to mid power loads.

I suspect that the weak point was the hooks that held the frame closed and the pin that was the pivot point of the catch that had the hooks on it. Since it's up top and close to the axis of recoil it would be like hitting that pin with a hammer each time. And since no one wants the top strap or catch to be TOO thick you're limited in how big you can make these parts that are in close proximity to and take most of the brunt of the punishment from the recoil. To prove this point if you go back and look at the guns that use this design few of them are chambered in cartridges with much snap to them. The manufacturers didn't avoid using them in .38Spl and .357Mag guns because they thought there would not be a market for them. They avoided using that design because it was inherently weak without making the guns look very cumbersome and heavy.

451 Detonics
February 2, 2011, 08:52 AM
Quite a few top break Webleys were converted to 45 acp like this one http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/ViewItem.aspx?Item=214477656 , just have to keep an eye peeled for them.

MrAcheson
February 2, 2011, 09:54 AM
Quite a few top break Webleys were converted to 45 acp like this one http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/Vie...Item=214477656 , just have to keep an eye peeled for them. You don't want a Webley that has been converted to .45 acp. .45 acp operates at a significantly higher pressure than the .455 the gun was designed for. It's only a matter of time before latch fails and bad things happen.

ulflyer
February 2, 2011, 11:06 AM
"You don't want a Webley that has been converted to .45 acp"

Unless you reload and make them mild?

MrAcheson
February 2, 2011, 12:00 PM
Unless you reload and make them mild? Except that most the .45 acp Webleys were imported years (decades?) ago and have gone through multiple owners by now. Which means you have no idea what their shooting history is. I guess you could inspect them for overpressure damage around the latch, but you're still taking a risk.

Kylaen
February 2, 2011, 04:41 PM
Alright, I think I'm scrapping this idea. I'd rather have a solid DA revolver without any unpredictable designs or whatever. Besides, I was considering it for carry. I'm not too interested in shooting mild loads, either. Luckily I was pointed to an S&W 625, so I think if I can find one, I'll be all set. Thanks anyway, y'all.

The Lone Haranguer
February 2, 2011, 09:04 PM
Kylaen, all revolver frames are subject to stretching when fired. The latching system and forward hinge of a top-break, no matter how strongly they may be built, are an unavoidable weak point in the design and restricts them to very low powered cartridges. I have heard of the Russians developing one that can handle modern ammo - with a polymer frame, no less! - but you can't get them here. (And from a picture I saw, they are also horribly ugly.)

For several reasons I don't want to get into this late, top break revolvers are not practical with cartridges of any great power, which is why they faded away.
That makes me worry a little about chambering them for .45 Colt. They may be OK with the light "cowboy action" loads, but somebody, somewhere, is liable to try a Buffalo Bore or something in one. :uhoh: For that matter, I can't see one lasting long with a steady diet of even standard pressure .45 LC.

1911Tuner
February 2, 2011, 09:29 PM
That makes me worry a little about chambering them for .45 Colt.

The Smith & Wesson Schofield replicas can be gotten chambered in .45 Schofield caliber, which closely approximates standard .45 ACP ball. A 225-240 grain SWC at 750 or so fps ain't exactly a weak sister. They're single-action, though, and don't really fit the OP's criteria. For practice, download to about 600 fps and they should be pretty durable.

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