Uberti .38 special SA OLD WEST DEFENSE ?


May 10, 2012, 10:13 PM
Ok, so I've got the newest issue of GUNS OF THE OLD WEST, and they have a sweet little single action chambered in .38 special called the old west defense. Looks like a super fun gun. It's a birdshead type, that looks really easy to carry. 3 1/2" barrel, and 9" overall, 32ounces in weight. I think I may need to get one to carry around on the farm. Does anybody have any experience with this model, or the uberti brand period? I've never shot a Uberti before. How's the quality compared to a Ruger SA? Any advise on this will be greatly appreciated.

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May 10, 2012, 10:34 PM
The Uberti won't be as strong as the Ruger, however, considering its a .38, that's not really a concern. The ones I've handled are well made and have great triggers, IMO much better than my Vaquero. They do require you carry it 5 up, unlike the Ruger that lets you carry six. You mentioned carry around the farm so that might be something you take into consideration.

May 11, 2012, 03:12 AM
Buy with confidence. Uberti makes fine reproductions of the Single Action Army models.

Keep in mind though that the Uberti and Pietta clones are faithful to the old design. They do NOT have a transfer bar or any other fancy goodies like the New Vaqueros from Ruger. This means you want to do the usual method of load one, skip one, load four. Then pull the hammer to full cock while looking along the recoil shield to ensure you're lowering the hammer onto the empty chamber. This is the proper and safe way to carry these guns. If you load 6 then the original Colt style firing pin is sitting on a primer. And if the gun is dropped things may get "interesting".

If the Uberti or Pietta guns are any weaker than the Ruger New Vaquero guns then it's not enough to matter. Lots of folks shoot .45Colt from their Italian guns and they work for years and years.

While workmanship on Uberti guns is very good they do use some leaf style springs where Ruger uses coil springs. Leaf springs can and do break after some time. But there's a healthy aftermarket that can supply wire replacements for some of the springs.

May 11, 2012, 07:41 AM
Haven't seen the article, but, I have owned a Cimarron Lightning for about 10 years now. It's one of my all time favorite guns. The Cimarron is about 20% smaller than the original SAA and makes carrying it really easy.

The Cimarron is made by Uberti.


I like my so well, I had Jerry Meacham trick it out with a set of elephant ivory grips a few years back.

May 11, 2012, 08:01 AM
I don't own that model but all my Uberti guns have been excellent. Just a little stonework on the action coupled with new springs and you've got a slick little single action. Although I don't know if SAA springs will fit the scaled down version. Been tempted to get one in .41Colt.

May 11, 2012, 08:09 AM
Springs don't interchange - but, they are available through Cimarron and Uberti suppliers.

May 11, 2012, 11:45 AM
I downloaded a PDF of the article and the model in the pics show the Uberti with the rounded birds head grip frame. The Cimarron Lightning's grip frame is more in line with the double action Colt Lightning of that by gone era.


I've been a single action fan for over 30 years. Got several Colt SAAs and a Colt Bisley. The smaller Cimarron is just an easier carry when you in the woods or on the farm.

May 11, 2012, 02:10 PM
PRM--- thats one sweet wheelgun you've got there.
Thanks for all the advise and recommendations. Looks like Uberti makes a quality firearm. Now if only I could decide which to get first, the Ruger single six convertible, or the old west defense.... Decisions, decisions...

May 11, 2012, 05:41 PM
I have three two of which are Cattleman models in 4.75" barrel and 5.5" barrel with the 3rd a Cimarron version of the 7.5" barrel Uberti Cattleman. Now all three guns are excellent and they can't nor would I try to shoot the loads a Ruger can shoot. However all of mine are 45 Colt and the Cimarron also has a cylinder for 45 acp. They do handle standard SAAMI loads without problem, though mine I shoot black powder thought but had shot the over the counter smokeless loads. Here is an a piece from How it is Made from the Uberti plant http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qYOJa8ZNxmE&feature=related

Oh and Cimarron just smooths out the action and finish if necessary as well as changes some grips on some of their models.

May 11, 2012, 09:27 PM
Since this new one is on the reduced size frame, any word on if they are +P rated?

May 11, 2012, 09:48 PM
Mine is a 2002 issue. Unless they have changed the specs on the newer guns, they are rated for .38 Long Colt and .38 Special. They are a heavy built gun and would probably handle an occasional +P, I've never ran any through mine. But then, I've never been a fan of the +P or magnum calibers.

Cimarron also offers them in: 22 LR, 32-20/.32 H&R Dual Cylinder, and .41 Colt.

Old Fuff
May 11, 2012, 10:05 PM
I believe that this small-frame .38 Special has a 5-shot chambered cylinder. As it does not have any positive safety the hammer should be rested on an empty chamber. This leaves you with 4-to-go.

For a carry in the woods gun this wouldn't concern me, but before you pick out what to buy give it some consideration.

May 11, 2012, 10:12 PM
Fluff, it's a six shot. It has the frame mounted firing pin - but no transfer bar/safety. I keep mine loaded with five.

Old Fuff
May 11, 2012, 10:16 PM
Well at my age memory is the first thing to go. I thought I remembered that the .32 S&W Long/.32 WCF was a six-shooter while the .38 Special only held 5.

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