Peacemaker with Color Case Hardening & Transfer Bar


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jcochran1111
March 20, 2012, 11:28 PM
I am wanting to get a Colt Peacemaker style revolver in the $300-$600 price range, and have been researching several different models. Outside of general configuration and caliber, there are two features that I have decided I would like to have:

1. A transfer bar – I just really like the idea of being able to carry with a full 6.
2. True color case hardening – bone/charcoal/leather or salt/cyanide method that actually impregnates the color into the metal as part of the hardening process (not a finish added after hardening).

The problem that I am having is that I can’t seem to find a model that has both. They seem to either have a transfer bar and “fake” color case, or real color case hardening (carbon or chemical) but no transfer bar.

Is anyone aware of a model out there that has both these things?

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BCCL
March 21, 2012, 12:17 AM
Boy I can't think of a single one with a transfer bar and real CCH.

Greg528iT
March 21, 2012, 12:49 AM
Been looking at them the last couple weeks as well. Word I heard, Ruger had a fake CCH years ago, but it didn't hold up well. I went with a stainless New Vaquero, figuring if I really really wanted the CCH effect, I can paint it, if it wears thin I at least have corrosion resistance.

DPris
March 21, 2012, 03:14 AM
You won't find both.
Denis

jcochran1111
March 21, 2012, 08:16 AM
I just got an email back from EAA (European American Armory). I asked if their Bounty Hunter model had both a transfer bar and real CCH. The response I got back said that they do have both. Does anybody have any experience with the EAA Bounty Hunter?

BCCL
March 21, 2012, 09:22 AM
I just got an EAA Bounty Hunter in .45 Colt last month (mine's nickle plated though).

http://i102.photobucket.com/albums/m103/Bear_Claw_Chris_Lappe/Gun%20Collection/Single%20Action%20Sixguns/EAA-Bounty-1.jpg

Overall I like it, the action out of the box is not as smooth as some guns, being the old Ruger safety conversion type, trigger pull is heavier than most Colt copies, but not so bad you can't shoot it fine, and they can be slicked up. Accuracy was really good.

This was 15 yards standing up two handed, not bench rested, in my first range session with it.

http://i102.photobucket.com/albums/m103/Bear_Claw_Chris_Lappe/Gun%20Collection/Single%20Action%20Sixguns/MagTech-2-Upload.jpg

After shooting mine, I wouldn't hesitate to buy another one if the price was right.

I did a bunch of reading up on them before buying one, and this was one of the better articles on them.

http://www.gunblast.com/Paco_WineRoses.htm

loadedround
March 21, 2012, 10:52 AM
Get a Ruger Vaquero for a transfer bar and CCH finish. I own several and the "case hardening finish" has held up extremly well in mine. Ruger can and will refinish your handgun at a reasonable price if it ever becomes necessary. Ruger makes perhaps one of the finest SA revolvers on the market today.

CraigC
March 21, 2012, 10:59 AM
The EAA colors look fake to me.

Ruger doesn't do case coloring anymore. They've abandoned their chemical finish and gone to full blue.

I know of no maker who does real case colors and has a transfer bar. Personally, I'd forget about the transfer bar and get a Uberti from one of various importers.

BCCL
March 21, 2012, 12:00 PM
I'm with CraigC, I have only seen 1 EAA with CCH, and it did not look like real CCH to me, the colors were not deep enough IMO, so I'm curious what they mean by it being real???

loadedround may have your easiest answer, I have 2 original Vaqueros with their CCH "finish" and it's held up just fine.

Just a note though, "if" you send one back to Ruger for refinishing, they will blue it, they will not redo the CCH finish.

One other gun that comes to mind, is the Beretta Stampede, it has a transfer bar, but is built by Uberti....the few I've seen had very nice CCH color, but not sure if it's "real" or a "finish"???

DPris
March 21, 2012, 12:25 PM
I've worked with an EAA single-action, I do not believe the case colors are genuine case-hardening.
Denis

Driftwood Johnson
March 21, 2012, 12:46 PM
Howdy

True Case Hardening is done by placing the parts in a closed container packed with carbon bearing materials like leather and charred bone. The container is then placed in a furnace and heated. Sorry, I don't remember the specific temperature. The raised temperature causes carbon from the leather and bone to migrate into the surface of the steel. How much carbon migrates into the steel depends on how long the parts are heated. The container is then removed from the furnace and the parts are quenched in water.

Raising the carbon content at the surface of the part increases the surface hardness of the metal. True case hardening can be done with both iron and steel. The carbon does not migrate very far into the surface of the steel, only around a millimeter at the very most. Usually considerably less. So the surface, or Case, of the metal has been hardened, while the underlying metal retains whatever ductility it originally had. This combination of surface hardness and underlying ductility is ideal for parts like revolver frames, hammers and triggers that need the surface hardness for wear resistance but need to retain ductility so they will not shatter from impacts.

The colors of true Case Hardening are a by product of the process, nothing more. They do not impart any strength to the part. The colors can fade with exposure to harsh chemicals and even sunlight over time. In the past, the colors of true Case Hardening became a major selling point for gun manufacturers, so each maker jealously guarded their process. Modern refinishers like Doug Turnbull have recreated some of the old methods of producing brilliant colors, but the colors are still only a byproduct of the process. Turnbull can also create brilliant colors on Rugers, but he is not actually Case Hardening them.

Case Hardening was a good solution using the low and medium carbon steels of the 19th Century for hardening the surface of the metal. Ruger uses a modern steel for their frames and they heat treat the steel so it is hardened all the way through, not just on the surface as with Case Hardening. That is why Ruger was using a 'fake' process for putting colors on the Vaquero frames.

Case Hardening is one of many techniques for adding carbon to the surface of iron and steel. The general name for these processes is Carburizing. One very common application is for screws. Metal screws sold as Black Oxide have been treated to raise the carbon content at the surface. Another common way to surface treat steel to raise the surface hardness is a chemical called Kasenit.

There is a video floating around on U Tube that shows part of the process for assembling Uberti revolvers. One scene clearly shows the frames being dipped in a chemical bath of some sort and the narrator says this is the hardening process. Clearly not true Case Hardening.

I agree with CraigC, the Bounty Hunter colors do not appear to be true Case Hardening. Bottom line is, true Case Hardening is labor intensive which makes it expensive. If you want real Case Hardening, you are going to have to buy a Colt or a USFA and pay for it.

**********

I own Colts, Rugers, and Ubertis. If you want a transfer bar, buy a Ruger. They have been putting them in since the 1970s, everybody else is a Johnnie Come Lately.

Otherwise, buy an Uberti and learn how to load one, skip one, and load four more. It is not difficult.

Hammerdown77
March 21, 2012, 12:58 PM
That's interesting, because when I was talking to Ryan at HCP Gunsmithing (they handle gunsmithing services for Cimarron) about widening the rear sight notch on my Model P, he said something about chewing up mill bits due to the hardness of the frame (from the case hardening). Sounds like real case hardening to me. Maybe he'll see this and comment.

CraigC
March 21, 2012, 03:00 PM
There is a video floating around on U Tube that shows part of the process for assembling Uberti revolvers.
Yep!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qYOJa8ZNxmE

Maj Dad
March 21, 2012, 06:35 PM
Turnbull restorations will do a CCH job on your pistol/firearm that will make you bug-eyed. If you can't find one with both, start with the pistol, then let DT turn it into an eye-popper for you. My USFA SAA with his Carbona blue & CCH is so nice almost everyone who sees it says "You aren't going to shoot this, are you?", and I smile & say "Yep."

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=152061&d=1320454755

Driftwood Johnson
March 21, 2012, 07:28 PM
That's interesting, because when I was talking to Ryan at HCP Gunsmithing (they handle gunsmithing services for Cimarron) about widening the rear sight notch on my Model P, he said something about chewing up mill bits due to the hardness of the frame (from the case hardening). Sounds like real case hardening to me. Maybe he'll see this and comment.

As I said earlier, there is more than one way to surface harden parts than true Case Hardening. Watch the video that CraigC posted. You will see the frames being dipped into a hot salt bath and then quenched in water. The narrator of the film makes several mistakes. One of them is calling that process Case Hardening. It is not true Case Hardening done the way I described, although it will raise the surface hardness of the parts somewhat. I guarantee you that you will not get true bone Case Hardening with a gun in the Uberti price range. True Case Hardening is labor intensive, much more complicated than dipping parts into a bath, and it is expensive. If you want true Case Hardening done the old fashioned way, you will have to pay more.

As I said, the narrator of that video makes several errors. For instance guns are not proofed at three times normal operating pressure. More like 1.2 to 1.5 times normal operating pressure. Three times would have destroyed the gun. But the video is very useful for seeing some of the processes that Uberti uses to make their guns, for instance forging the frames from red hot ingots and then final shaping on CNC equipment. The way the wooden grip is shaped with the metal grip parts is also interesting, that is the way it has been done for well over a century.

CraigC
March 21, 2012, 07:32 PM
I thought I saw recently where somebody was gonna offer a New Vaquero with a Turnbull refinish job. Might've been one of the major distributors or Turnbull himself.

The most interesting part of the video to me, aside from the frame forging (which I heard were cast), is how they install the barrels and torque them. Exactly how one would turn a barrel at home to correct a windage problem.

jcochran1111
March 21, 2012, 08:14 PM
Thanks for all the good responses!

I see on Wikipedia (the compendium of all accurate knowledge) that Niter Bluing is a hardening process with similar color results as true bone/leather/charcoal color case hardening. This sounds like the techniques of hardening that I have heard described using salt baths etc. that are often called color case hardening. Obviously not the good old fashioned way, but still actual hardening with color being endued into the metal - just a lot cheaper. This process will have to do for me, as I cannot afford or justify a new Colt or USFA at this time (I can always trade up later).

Ultimately for me it will come down to what I can find in my price range at Tulsa in a week and a half. I just wanted to know more about some of the information that is not readily apparent with a casual handling.

Another transfer bar model I am curious about is the Colt Cowboy. It seems to have been discontinued for a while now, so I probably won't see one, but I am curious as to it's quality and finish (since Colt is known for doing the old fashioned CCH). I expect it was produced more cheaply since it cost half as much, but has anyone had any experience with that model?

PS Maj Dad - That gun is indeed nice! If I might ask, how did finish job cost? Doug Turnbull's website says around $150? If I find a Ruger cheap enough on the 31st, I may just swing by the Doug Turnbull booth too!

royal barnes
March 21, 2012, 08:38 PM
The Cowboy was not a true Colt. It was a poorly executed attempt to get a piece of the Ruger Vaquero market. It failed miserably. The frame was case colored. If you see one for sale.................run away!

rcmodel
March 21, 2012, 08:42 PM
The frame was case colored.Colored maybe.

But it was not case hardened, and certainly not colored case hardened.

Some poorly done artificial finish, and an embarrassment to Colt was all it was.

rc

Driftwood Johnson
March 21, 2012, 09:34 PM
Howdy Again

Actually, although there were quality problems at first with the Colt Cowboy, later on most of those problems were corrected and the Colt Cowboy was not too bad a gun. A pard of mine had a couple and he let me fire them. They were not as bad as most people think. But most people have not actually fired one.

As stated, the Cowboy was brought out to compete at the same price point as the Ruger Vaquero. It was introduced in 1998. The frames were cast, not forged. I have heard rumors that Ruger's Pine Tree Investment Castings branch may have actually made the frames. They were assembled by Colt employees at the Colt factory.

But unfortunately, even though most of the quality problems were cleaned up, the gun had already gained a bad reputation and production ceased a few years later.

rcmodel
March 21, 2012, 10:38 PM
But most people have not actually fired one.I have fired two.
Yes, they shot O.K.

I have looked at several new unfired ones pretty good that I didn't shoot.

I have also been able to see daylight through the frame/guard joint of more then one if you held them up to the light just right.

They were not even close to as good as the lowest quality Ruger ever made, in my opinion.

rc

Old Fuff
March 21, 2012, 11:25 PM
I see on Wikipedia (the compendium of all accurate knowledge) that Niter Bluing is a hardening process with similar color results as true bone/leather/charcoal color case hardening.

Ah..... No it isn't.

Nitre Bluing was a process where a formulation of chemicals, mostly consisting of "Nitre," (Potassium Nitrate) which in powder form was put into an iron tank and heated until it melted and became a clear liquid. This occured at around 500 degrees F. Small parts such as screws, pins, triggers etc. were put in a wire basket and lowered into the bath. Thereafter they were observed until they turned a bright blue-blue, and then quenched. The metal was not hardened becase no carbon (which is necessary to surface harden) was not involved. The color was pretty, but it did not wear well.

Brownells (www.brownells.com) sell the equipment and supplies to do many different kinds of metal finishing, and this includes true bone & charcoal case hardning and Nitre Blue. They describe the various processes and methods in they're catalog, and on request will send one a printed copy of the exact directions. They are far more reliable then anything you will read in Wikipedia

rcmodel
March 21, 2012, 11:34 PM
Exactly what Old Fuff said.

I can't believe Wackypeedia could be that wrong!

But I guess they let any fool write "facts" on there.

What worries me is, tomorrows leaders of this country are skating through collage copying Wackypeedia facts for term papers.

And the teachers are checking the facts on Wackypeedia when they grade the papers!

Yikes! :what:

rc

jcochran1111
March 21, 2012, 11:38 PM
Again, thank you all for your input. (I half expected Wikipedia to be wrong... of course.)

The Beretta Stampede was mentioned earlier. I have read a few reviews from 5+ years ago that seemed to be kinda down on them for poor fit finish and quality. However, I understand that they currently own Uberti, and perhaps use some Uberti parts in the Stampede? If the Stampede is essentially a high end Uberti with a transfer bar, I might need to take a much longer look...

Has anyone had any experience with any more recently produced Stampedes? If there were problems, have they been corrected? And, of course, do they use the same hardening and color process as Uberti, or is it an after application like the Rugers were?

Old Fuff
March 21, 2012, 11:57 PM
Beretta is a major European manufacturer that bought up Uberti (big fish swallowed little fish), but it was a good thing because they built Uberti a whole new factory and equipped it with more modern machinery.

Since Beretta was the big dog in this picture, and selling the Stampede under they’re own name, it was made the very best that Uberti could do. Unfortunately it did not become popular because those that wanted a transfer bar safety tended to buy Ruger’s, and other who liked the Stampede wanted it without the transfer bar.

So I believe the Stampede has been discontinued, but if you find one on the used market it might well fill your needs.

DPris
March 22, 2012, 03:45 AM
The Colt Cowboy frame and some other parts were cast in Canada.
Denis

Hammerdown77
March 22, 2012, 10:13 AM
As I said earlier, there is more than one way to surface harden parts than true Case Hardening. Watch the video that CraigC posted. You will see the frames being dipped into a hot salt bath and then quenched in water. The narrator of the film makes several mistakes. One of them is calling that process Case Hardening. It is not true Case Hardening done the way I described, although it will raise the surface hardness of the parts somewhat. I guarantee you that you will not get true bone Case Hardening with a gun in the Uberti price range. True Case Hardening is labor intensive, much more complicated than dipping parts into a bath, and it is expensive. If you want true Case Hardening done the old fashioned way, you will have to pay more.

As I said, the narrator of that video makes several errors. For instance guns are not proofed at three times normal operating pressure. More like 1.2 to 1.5 times normal operating pressure. Three times would have destroyed the gun. But the video is very useful for seeing some of the processes that Uberti uses to make their guns, for instance forging the frames from red hot ingots and then final shaping on CNC equipment. The way the wooden grip is shaped with the metal grip parts is also interesting, that is the way it has been done for well over a century.
In the literature that came with my Cimarron, it says the gun was proofed at 1.5 times pressure of factory loaded ammo.

You are right about the grip fit. It's rare to find anyone (other than the custom grip makers) who fit grips like that. Certainly not for a gun in the Uberti/Cimarron price range. The grips on mine are a seamless fit with the frame, perfect all around. Feels like one continuous, smooth piece of wood.

CraigC
March 22, 2012, 12:13 PM
The Cowboy was not a true Colt.
It was a true Colt. Sorry but Colt and Colt fans have to own up to that. I handled a few and found it to not be a bad sixgun, until you looked at the price.

I wouldn't call the Stampede a "high end" Uberti. IMHO, their case colors were not as good but overall, the guns are comparable.


And the teachers are checking the facts on Wackypeedia when they grade the papers!
NOOOOO, not the one I live with. ;)

Jim K
March 22, 2012, 11:29 PM
"Case Hardening was a good solution using the low and medium carbon steels of the 19th Century for hardening the surface of the metal."

Not steel, iron. The old guns were made from wrought iron and since iron can't be hardened by heat treating like steel can, the only way to prevent wear from the mechanism was to surface (case) harden the frames. The color was secondary, a product of some hardening methods. When the switch to steel was made c. 1890, many companies, like Winchester, went to bluing. Others, like Colt, kept the color case hardening as a trademark for purely cosmetic reasons.

Jim

Driftwood Johnson
March 23, 2012, 09:31 AM
Not steel, iron.

With all due respect, I beg to differ.

Yes, Colt used malleable iron for frames and cylinders of the early SAA, as well as their percussion guns. But by mid 1883 they started using steels that we would characterize today as transitional low/medium carbon type steels for the frames and cylinders of the SAA. In 1898 Colt began using medium carbon steels. The frames made from both of these steels were Case Hardened to reduce surface wear. By 1900 Colt had perfected heat treating their cylinders enough to be able to factory warranty the SAA for Smokeless powder. *

Case Hardening is still a viable way to infuse extra carbon into the surface of iron or steel in order to raise the hardness at the surface for wear resistance. Smith and Wesson was still Case Hardening hammers and triggers right up until they switched over to MIM parts.




*Source: The Colt Single Action Revolvers Shop Manual, Volumes 1&2, by Jerry Kuhnhausen, page 71.

CraigC
March 23, 2012, 10:08 AM
Case hardening is still viable and used today for purposes other than cosmetic. For instance, Power Custom case hardens their hammers and triggers before polishing and then bluing. Let us also not forget that Tenifer and Melonite are basically just modern techniques for case hardening. Process is different, result is basically the same. So "modern" steel can still benefit from case hardening.

Jim NE
March 23, 2012, 10:19 AM
Driftwood Johnson, Thanks for the great post on case hardening. I love posts that educate. - Jim

Maj Dad
March 23, 2012, 09:51 PM
PS Maj Dad - That gun is indeed nice! If I might ask, how did finish job cost?

Thanks :) I bought the finished pistol, so I can't tell you what percentage of its cost it was (I can tell you I paid about $300 too much, but I love it and don't sweat it). If his website lists $150, then I would certainly trust that, but putting a pistol together with a nice finish is going to take A Few Dollars More, to coin a phrase... You can't cherry pick some aspects of gun building, and a beautiful finish will require some careful smithing to keep it that way. Decide what you want, how much you can spend, and proceed forthwith... :cool:

bluethunder1962
March 23, 2012, 09:57 PM
Man they beat me to it. I wanted a colt peacemaker till I saw this.
http://www.budsgunshop.com/catalog/product_info.php/cPath/52/products_id/42639

bluethunder1962
March 23, 2012, 09:58 PM
oh it is $536 there

jcochran1111
March 23, 2012, 10:21 PM
I called Beretta, and they unfortunately said that the color case on their Stampede models is just a surface treatment and not an actual hardening process... Sounds like I just need to learn how to color case harden myself! ha ha

From all this and my other research, it looks like my choices are:

1. Buy a Vaquero and maybe get it refinished at some point.
2. Buy a Cimarron/Uberti and forget about the transfer bar for now.
3. Find an EAA with a color pattern that actually looks good.

Of course it will all depend on what I can find for a good price at Tulsa. Anyway, thank you for all your comments, they have been very helpfull and informative!

451 Detonics
March 23, 2012, 11:59 PM
Ruger Flattop in 44 Special on the smaller .357 frame...a limited run for Lipsey's, bluing and case colors by Turnbull...

http://i188.photobucket.com/albums/z271/reloader1959/handguns/ruger3.jpg

DPris
March 24, 2012, 03:17 AM
The Uberti and EAA will not have genuine case hardening.
EAA will have the bar.
Just need to decide what you can & can't live with.
Denis

jcochran1111
March 24, 2012, 04:22 PM
Very nice gun! The more of them I see, the more I am wanting a Ruger with a Turnbull finish... sooo nice!

CraigC
March 26, 2012, 01:26 AM
It's hard to beat a nice Ruger with Turnbull case colors!

http://photos.imageevent.com/newfrontier45/blackriver905/large/P1010029.JPG

bannockburn
March 26, 2012, 01:48 PM
jcochran1111

I have a Beretta Stampede of more recent vintage and I can say that after looking at a lot of SAA copies, this particular model seemed to be the best buy for my money. Nothing fancy looking with its blued and case color finish, along with its black plastic stocks, the gun is very well built with a tight lock-up and a nice crisp trigger. Accuracy is good at around 15 to 20 yards and the balance feels just right in my hand.

Jaxondog
March 27, 2012, 07:21 AM
How much is a turnbull job and turn around on a revolver? All of these are beautiful.

Driftwood Johnson
March 27, 2012, 09:10 AM
How much is a turnbull job and turn around on a revolver? All of these are beautiful.

Howdy Again

You can look up Turnbull's prices here:

http://www.turnbullmfg.com/store.asp?pid=19567&catid=19872

mackg
March 28, 2012, 12:39 AM
The Colt Cowboy frame and some other parts were cast in Canada.
Denis
Hi Denis

Could you elaborate on that? I'm always curious to see what's alive this side of the border, considering how scarce parts are...

DPris
March 28, 2012, 01:47 AM
Done by Alphacasting.
Frame.
Gate.
Hammer.
Backstrap.
Triggerguard.

Colt did barrels & cylinders, and I believe other small parts were vendored in the US.

Denis

mackg
March 28, 2012, 09:22 PM
Thank you, Denis.

monet61
March 29, 2012, 12:46 AM
Maj Dad:
That is a beautiful gun.

jcochran1111
April 1, 2012, 02:50 PM
Well Tulsa has come and gone (for me anyway). I decided on a plain jane blued Ruger Vaquero with a 4.75" barrel in .357 mag. Very nice gun as it is. Next step... save up some cash for a complete Turnbull job! ha ha

MachIVshooter
April 1, 2012, 03:20 PM
So I believe the Stampede has been discontinued, but if you find one on the used market it might well fill your needs.

They're still listed:

http://www.berettausa.com/products/stampede-blue/

As has been said, it's not true CCH, but it's the closest the OP will come to his requirements without spending big $$$.

They are very nice revolvers. I love my 5.5" bright nickel .45 Colt.

BCCL
April 1, 2012, 03:29 PM
I just picked up this Stampede NIB last week, while it isn't true CCH, it does look pretty good, even in this bad picture.

http://i102.photobucket.com/albums/m103/Bear_Claw_Chris_Lappe/Gun%20Collection/Single%20Action%20Sixguns/Stampede-1R.jpg

wlewisiii
April 2, 2012, 02:30 AM
For what it's worth, I went with a Ruger Blackhawk over the ubiquitous SAA clones. While I love the look of real case hardening, blue was acceptable to get the extra safety of the transfer bar on my .45 colt. You simply have to decide what's more importants to you. For me, I have a beautifully colored Stevens shotgun. I have a beautifully safe revolver. I like both of them ... ;)

CraigC
April 2, 2012, 11:06 AM
Safety is between the ears. As long as you know how to handle a traditional single action properly, it is no more or less safe than any other.

MachIVshooter
April 2, 2012, 11:16 AM
Safety is between the ears. As long as you know how to handle a traditional single action properly, it is no more or less safe than any other.

This.

No transfer bar? Just rest the hammer between chambers; The FP will catch the edges of the case rims, preventing the cylinder from rotating. I keep all 6 loaded in my SAAs.

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