American Western Arms 1860


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SC45-70
February 9, 2014, 12:00 AM
I have a converted revolver in 38 special with the barrel marked American Western Arms on top and 38 special marked on the side.

There are no proof marks or country of manufacture marked on the gun that I can find.

The gun has matching 2 digit serial numbers on all parts and is unfired. I have the box but no papers.

The box says 1860 but the gun looks like a 1861 conversion to me.

Can anyone give me any information on this gun?
http://i977.photobucket.com/albums/ae252/sc4570/AWA%201860/2_zps0fedd3bb.jpg (http://s977.photobucket.com/user/sc4570/media/AWA%201860/2_zps0fedd3bb.jpg.html)

Thank you

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Crawdad1
February 9, 2014, 01:31 AM
I know they always built absolutely beautiful firearms!!! They were also sued by Colt as some of their revolvers got a little to close.

StrawHat
February 9, 2014, 06:32 AM
Your revolver looks like the Armi San Marco version of the First Richards conversion of the 1860. I am not sure of the connection to Western Arms other than WA was an importer.

I have a pair of ASM Richards on 44 Colt. I like them. Not a perfect copy but close enough for me.

CraigC
February 9, 2014, 12:06 PM
Awesome! It's a hybrid of sorts, basically an 1861 Navy with an Army grip frame. That one's got particularly nice case colors. Let me know if you want to part with it.

jgh4445
February 9, 2014, 12:13 PM
Beautiful revolver. Would look awesome with some old elephant tooth on it!

sltm1
February 9, 2014, 12:30 PM
Actually its an 1861, started life as a 36 that's why it's a 38 now. Is the bbl sleeved? BTW....it's georgous....me want !!

SC45-70
February 9, 2014, 01:55 PM
Thanks for the responses so far.

The gun is a factory made reproduction, has a .357 bore. I think it's Italian made but can't find any markings.

The action is smooth as glass and has a light trigger pull with no creep.
The finish and case color seem much better than any import that I've ever seen and are on par with my second generation Colts.

FYI the serial number is less than 75.

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Crawdad1
February 9, 2014, 05:19 PM
Give them a call,

http://www.awaguns.com/products.html

SC45-70
February 10, 2014, 05:40 PM
Crawdad1

The phone number don't work and I am still waiting for them to answer an e mail, that's why I thought I'd try the forum.

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Curator
February 10, 2014, 10:56 PM
I got its brother #49. I bought it at a gun show from a dealer who was going out of business. He claimed he had it on display for 15+years and never an offer. Mine has a very slick action and fine trigger. It feels like it was "slicked up" for some SASS shooter. Be careful when taking it apart as it has an unusual "spacer" between cylinder and barrel that falls out and can easily get lost.

Crawdad1
February 12, 2014, 08:25 AM
Here's some good information.

"American Western Arms bought raw parts from Armi San Marco and assembled and finished them here in the U.S. They were marketed here under the name Peacekeeper. The name is what caused the Colt lawsuit as it was a name that Colt already had copyrighted that and the grips had the rampant colt and Peacemaker was too close to Peacekeeper. Colt actually won the lawsuit. AWA was reformed as American Western Arms and is still in business making some really fine SAA but not named Peacekeeper."

What you have there is rough forgings made in Italy and assembled and finished here in this country by AWA and the reason that there is NOT a proof mark on it. Where AWA's factory/machine shop is located, I don't know but its somewhere in this country.

SC45-70
February 12, 2014, 01:03 PM
Thank you Crawdad1
That's is what I wanted to know.

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Hoof Hearted
February 12, 2014, 03:19 PM
You sure the barrel legend is American Western Arms and not American Frontier Firearms?

By the way the "peacekeeper" was a Single Action Army not a cap and ball............

Crawdad1
February 12, 2014, 04:05 PM
I agree HH, but it appears that before Colt's lawsuit they made a bunch of different revolvers including this one. :)

SC45-70
February 12, 2014, 04:49 PM
Hoof Hearted
The barrel stamp is AMERICAN WESTERN ARMS in all capitol letters, I'm holding it in my hand as I type to make sure.

As you can see from the picture it is definitely a percussion conversion and not a single action army.

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Hoof Hearted
February 12, 2014, 06:18 PM
I would be more than happy to explain the history of that piece, if you want the truth.............

I only mentioned the "Peacekeeper" was the name inscibed on the AWA line of SAA pistols to try to clarify that the info posted above did not directly apply to your 1860.

Regards, HH

SC45-70
February 12, 2014, 08:08 PM
Hoof Hearted

Yes please tell me the truth!

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Curator
February 12, 2014, 09:10 PM
HoofHarted:

Tell me too since I also have one of these. Pretty nifty gun and accurate too. I suspected AWA didn;t doo too well selling them---

BowerR64
February 13, 2014, 03:54 AM
Are any of these made in a .44 special?

Hoof Hearted
February 13, 2014, 11:24 AM
Well here we go (and this is just a synopsis from my memory):

Dave Anderson, a cartridge conversion gunsmith from the Pacific Northwest, contracted with ASM to make him specialized parts for his "hybridized" Richards/Richards Mason revolvers back in the early 1990's. These parts were assembled by him for revolvers that were roll marked American Frontier Firearms. They had no importer or proof marks as they were assembled, fit and finished in the US much like the 2nd gen Colts were.

As happened many times during ASM business life the parts were eventually sold to other vendors who built the guns with their own roll marks (I have seen USPFA and AWA) and as complete guns (with importer and proof marks). Navy Arms, Traditions, Cimarron, to name a few pistols can be found.

I have/have seen 1851, 1860/1861 and 1871 OT versions. These tend to be "mixed" as many folks identify the 1860 as an 1861 even though it has an army grip but does not have a stepped frame and enlarged cylinder. Of all of them the 1871 (navy grip) Open Tops tend to be the most correct.

The revolvers have been reported to be of "poor" quality with "soft parts" reported. I have seen very crisp or "hair" triggers and poorly welded studs on the ejector assy (they break off quite easy). I have looked, extensively, and there are no parts available so the best way to own one of these, as a shooter, is to own a "spares" gun and have the mechanical ability to make repairs.

Gaucho Gringo
February 13, 2014, 01:47 PM
As Paul Harvey says: here's the rest of the story.

ASM, after making parts for Anderson for awhile, decided to stab him in the back and started making their own conversion's using the very same parts he had designed. He couldn't compete on price, unfortunately he was driven into bankruptcy. He never recovered from his loses and later died from what I have read. In this same time frame ASM was selling guns with Colt markings on the barrels. These were supposedly left over barrels from their contract to supply Colt with barrels for their 2nd Generation BP revolvers. Colt sued them and won. I have never seen one of Anderson's gun live, only in pictures. But I am still kicking myself for not buying one of Bob Millington's 1848 cartridge conversion's when I had the chance for around $400.00 as I recall.

HH seems to have picked up the banner from the old guard. He is the go to guy for conversions these days.

Hoof Hearted
February 13, 2014, 02:21 PM
The above statement by Gaucho Gringo is one version of the story that has been passed around but as we all know there are many sides to every story. I did not know Dave Anderson personally although I do have contacts within the industry. It is fairly common knowledge that ASM had quality control issues with many guns and or parts returned to them. It has also been said that many times these guns and parts were "re-purposed" again and again to whomever would buy them. This is why there are so many issues and such a bad reputation. Plainly put the good was good and the bad was bad.....everyone complains about the bad.

ASM appeared to have been greedy in their business practices and even though they claim not to have been involved in the Chaparral debaucle we all know how that went. It appears the only direct ASM association that survived (meaning the whole line was produced there) is EMF.

HH

SC45-70
February 13, 2014, 06:28 PM
G G and H H

Thank you for the information.

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Willie Sutton
February 13, 2014, 08:26 PM
So just to continue the questions about repurposed parts, I bought a pair of ASM 1860's imported by Richardsons and so marked, that have the Colt roll marks on the top of the barrels that are absolutey indistinguishable from the Second Generation Colt markings. Over-run barrels from Colt contracts used for other production?

Quality of fit and finish on these is excellent, BTW. Not shot them so can't speak to their mechanicals, but they look great. Finish is as nice at the Gen 2 Colts. Hoof, was actually thinking about using one as a donor for a gated conversion while keeping the other original, to have a set of two, one each C&B and cartridge. Mebbe I'll send one when I get home for you to look over.


Willie

.

Hoof Hearted
February 13, 2014, 08:58 PM
Willie

I REALLY like the look of the original markings and you have my attention, keep me in the loop!

HH

Willie Sutton
February 14, 2014, 09:57 AM
^^

Defarb of the Richardson markings and a charcoal bright blue would make these awful purty...


Willie

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Gaucho Gringo
February 14, 2014, 10:13 AM
So just to continue the questions about repurposed parts, I bought a pair of ASM 1860's imported by Richardsons and so marked, that have the Colt roll marks on the top of the barrels that are absolutey indistinguishable from the Second Generation Colt markings. Over-run barrels from Colt contracts used for other production?

Quality of fit and finish on these is excellent, BTW. Not shot them so can't speak to their mechanicals, but they look great. Finish is as nice at the Gen 2 Colts. Hoof, was actually thinking about using one as a donor for a gated conversion while keeping the other original, to have a set of two, one each C&B and cartridge. Mebbe I'll send one when I get home for you to look over.


Willie

.
Willie read my post #21 for the answer on the Colt roll marks.

Willie Sutton
February 14, 2014, 10:54 AM
^^
Which is pretty much what we've heard for years about these.

This brings us to the "what parts were the second gen Colt's made from?" We read about the ASM barrels, and their later use in ASM production and Colt's lawsuit, but we also read that Uberti provided parts as well.

Ideas on that?

Hoof, the more I think about having the pair of Richardsons defarbed leaving the Colt markings, with,one converted to gated cartridge, and then both charcoal blued and boxed as a matched set, the more I like the idea. Need to make sure that the internals are good but... it sounds like a nice plan.


Willie

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Willie Sutton
February 15, 2014, 08:53 PM
Knock Knock Hoof: I scored a third of the Richardson "Colt Marked" 1860's today.

We need to talk.... :)


Willie

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