Classic Arms gun kits


April 18, 2011, 10:04 PM
hello everybody! Does anyone here have and building experience with classic arms pistol kits? i have heard so many mixed reviews i don't know what to think about them. i have heard everything from "They are the Saturday Night Special of the blackpowder world" to "they are a very fine pistol kit and go together easily, get one!" so as you imagine i am a bit confused. :confused:
any input would be appreciated! Stay safe and God bless America ~Levi

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Acorn Mush
April 18, 2011, 11:19 PM
My brother had both the 4-barrel "Pepperbox" and the "New Orleans Ace" in kit form. They were both JUNK:barf:, poorly designed and poorly machined. The barrel of the Ace in particular looked like it had been hogged out with a chipped drill bit.:fire: The threading for the breechplug extended 3/4" into the bore but the plug itself was only 3/8" long. That means there was 3/8" of threads in the powder chamber, which would hold large amounts of fouling and possibly a live ember or two.
If you are thinking about getting either one of those models, I would urge you to save your money and get something of better quality.

Since this is a family-type forum, I can't tell you what I really think of these, ......... items.:cuss::cuss::cuss:

April 18, 2011, 11:42 PM
i can see what you mean there. is it that they are not poorly machined but just require a lot of work? like rough diamond?

April 18, 2011, 11:51 PM

Acorn Mush
April 19, 2011, 02:27 AM
Poorly machined in the two examples I cited as well as rather crude design and poor quality of the parts themselves. By this I mean weak springs, soft pins, and bad geometry in placement of the moving parts.

April 19, 2011, 02:49 AM
I like the Snake Eyes and Twister designs. I have literally had them all. When I was in the Navy I worked in Repair Division, as an HT on a destroyer. We had loooong hours of boredom, and access to tools.So, I bought about a kit a month, mail order.The Pepperbox was a crude hand indexed model,with a dentent stop and bar hammer, but it worked. The Duck Foot, New Orleans Ace, and Elgin Cutlass [a New Orleans Ace with a knife on it] were stupidly designed, and only worked about half the time. The hammers did not line up with the nipples, the springs were weak, and on the ''cutlass'' pistol, only about two inches of blade protruded past the end of the barrel....on the plus side, Ive seen what you can make starting with a broken BB gun's barrel, so these might just qualify as ''diamonds in the rough'' for someone with your skill-set.

April 19, 2011, 03:26 AM
Mark Twain, (Samuel Clemmens) once made a very public statement concerning the nature of pepperbox pistols...

"The safest place to stand, around one of those guns, is directly in front of the barrel."


I guess Classic Arms, which is pretty much defunct at this time anyways, and everyone, and I do mean EVERYONE is OUT OF STOCK on ALL models... Is attempting to maintain the fine traditions and high standards of the pepperbox guns Mr. Twain was reffering too...

If I spend $160.00 on the kit, another $80.00 on the finishing supplies, and around $200.00 to fix the broken kit... Am I money ahead ???

I think it would be alot more fun, and chalanging, to fashion these kinds of guns from seperate components and pieces, gathered from hither and yon, some custom machined to fit, than it would be to start off with someone elses badly designed mistake, and try to fix that.

Besides, the CA Pepperbox Kit, has barrels that have to be hand rotated, most pepperbox guns of the time, rotated the cylinder by cocking the hammer, just like revolvers do.

I suppose, you could load one, with just the plastic toy gun cap, and a little foam ball, and give it to one of your little nephews as a toy... As a childs toy, firing foam rubber pellets, I think the kid would love it to death, he could go spider hunting with it, and hunting other such dangerous household beasts...



ElvinWarrior... aka... David, "EW"

April 19, 2011, 08:31 AM
Years ago I assembled the 'Twister' derringer from Classic Arms and found it to be an accurate representation of the Wheeler derringer from Civil War times. I actually was able to compare it to an original on display at the Gettysburg battlefield museum and it was a dead ringer. I found the kit to be adequate and once assembled, it shot well for it's type. Now this was 32 years ago, so the quality may have changed in the interim, but I liked this 'Twister'. I sold it to a younger shooter in upstate NY last year. I believe he is enjoying it too!

April 19, 2011, 02:06 PM
i like the twister pistols, they look like they would make a decent snake gun or a decent trail gun. if i were to get one i would probably polish the barrel but blue the frame as well as engrave some floral patterns on the barrels and maybe use stag for the grips! that would look cool! and maybe even something to help with the aiming.

April 19, 2011, 02:19 PM
THR member TheClaw was recently selling a bunch of older factory finished Classic Arms guns which on average were probably built much better than many of their later kit parts guns. TheClaw's are all sold now but check out this thread and related links to learn more about the Twister kits and where they may still be available.

April 19, 2011, 02:41 PM
Here's a link back to the posts where sixshooter was receiving my old Wheeler derringer....

April 19, 2011, 03:45 PM
I bought the New Orleans Ace in the mid 70's. I suppose it is about what one would expect for a 35 dollar gun. .

April 20, 2011, 12:53 AM
Actually, a lot of those old pepper boxes were double action. hard to cock a bar hammer single action...

April 28, 2013, 05:06 PM
I got a 45 calibre New Orleans ACE by Classic Arms just last week from Deer Creek Products (765-525-6181) in Waldron, Indiana and it works just fine. It's not a model airplane. You don't just throw it together. The hammer fit tight so I took a micron or two off each side and dressed up the inside of the reciever a little. The ramrod mounts needed dressing up a little too.

DoubleDeuce 1
April 29, 2013, 03:07 AM
My experience... JUNK. They wouldn't even make a poor bumper on a Yugo.:cuss: Save your money and look for something else.:cool:

April 29, 2013, 07:48 AM
Having owned both I will say the Yugo was a good idea with bad execution. I was teaching economics at the time and the Yugo had to attractants, 1. a teacher could afford it, 2. It was an example of the perils of "Market Socialism" which was the neither fish nor fowl ( yet foul) system the Yugo was produced under. The Classic Pepperbox does in fact make a decorative paperweight. The trigger pull on my factory assembled one makes the old H&K VP 70 pistol seem like a hair trigger......and one gun writer described the V70's trigger as 23 pounds and spoungy.

I would trade mine in a heart beat for a working but ugly .31 or .36 brass frame Colt clone. I picked it up at a pawn shop for misguided historical research of a sort and it appears to be one of the Sportsman's Guide factory assembled guns as it has three initials on the top of the hammer bar as SG is always trying to sell as a plus sale.

There are photos in a thread on Mouse guns started by Busyhands.


April 29, 2013, 04:00 PM
I am still trying to figure out why the sightless Ace was also offered with a rifled barrel. The rifled model also needed a different caliber ball.

A buddy was considering making up a smooth bore barrel 14 to 16 inches long to screw into the brass receiver in place of the barrel and a stock made to look something like a walking cane handle so as to have something like a buggy gun that looked like a walking cane. He got fearful of Government types suggesting he was in violation of the laws on making guns look like something other than guns and dropped the idea even if it was still a BP muzzle loader.

I considered doing a set of offset sights on the rifled model much like the offset sights on a Hall Rifle. Played with the idea of just setting a bushing on the receiver to make the barrel index with the ram rod rings on top and just putting the sights there. Also considered doing things with the grip shape like making it a saw handled pistol.

Other things have been much higher priority though.


April 29, 2013, 07:30 PM
Aww common, everyone should own a Duckfoot! I had two and gave one to a friend. They both go bang and are fun. If you are 5' from the door, you can't miss!:neener:

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