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Cimarron Revolvers

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by tkcomer, Dec 4, 2010.

  1. tkcomer

    tkcomer Well-Known Member

    I'm looking at buying an old time Cimarron revolver. Does anyone know the difference between the 1860 Richards-Mason conversion and the 1872 open top? They look almost like the same gun but the open top can handle 45 Long Colt loads, so to me, that suggests a stronger frame. I have an 1860 reproduction Pietta black powder Colt and love it. Thought I'd get a gun that looks like it that shoots cartridges. Any help on deciding between these two guns would be appreciated.
  2. CraigC

    CraigC Well-Known Member

    The 1860 is a bonified cartridge conversion. It will have the same S-lug barrel as the Open Top but it is a percussion gun converted to fire cartridges. It will have a conversion ring and the rear sight is a notch in the hammer. The 1872-1872 "Open Top" model is actually a replica of Colt's first dedicated cartridge revolver. It is not a conversion but was designed strictly as a cartridge gun so there is no conversion ring, a revised loading gate design as well as a different hammer. It is a refinement of the 1860. The rear sight is at the rear of the barrel so the sight radius will be shorter. It is my favorite of the three. It was designed for the Army but was rejected in favor of a .45 caliber, solid frame. William Mason went to the drawing board and the Single Action Army was the result. Thus the Open Top had a very short but also very meaningful life.

    IMHO, the 1860 Type I and Type II (like Cimarron's Transition model) are the most elegant in that they utilize the percussion barrel. Which to me is more attractive. The Open Top is the most refined and probably better as a using gun. I have one of each and actually use the Open Top quite often. Both are chambered in the period-correct .44Colt but all three models are available in .45Colt. None should be considered stronger than another. All should be used with mild loads at or below SAAMI standard pressures.

    If you want to learn more about cartridge conversions, Dennis Adler has some excellent books. His Colt books always have a generous section on them but his dedicated "Metallic Cartridge Conversions" is a must-have. Lots of history and full color pictures.

    1871-1872 Open Top:

    1860 Type II:
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2010
  3. tkcomer

    tkcomer Well-Known Member

    At least you have better pictures than the website. I can see the differences between the guns better. So you like the open top as a shooter better? I do plan to shoot this gun. I was thinking 44 Special with Trail Boss as I load for 44 mag and have a lot of bullets to chose from. It's that or 38 Special as I load for that also. I do like the look of these guns.
  4. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Well-Known Member

    I see that the original Colt model 1872 revolver - serial No. 1 - is going to be auctioned today. Ah... no... I won't be bidding. :eek:

    Sort of interesting that it has a Navy, not Army set of backstraps, trigger guard, and stocks.

    On shooting the reproduction models, remember the barrel is held on with nothing but a wedge (key) going through a slot in the cylinder pin. This is a very weak style of construction that was O.K. with black powder that has a relatively long and low pressure curve. However is in not something you want to use hot-dog smokeless loads in. Be very careful.
  5. tkcomer

    tkcomer Well-Known Member

    I won't use hot loads, that's for sure. That's why I mentioned Trail Boss powder if I went with the 44 Special. I do like the look of the Transition models the best. But I do want a shooter.
  6. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Well-Known Member

    Trail Boss is a good powder for the purpose, but If I was in your shoes I would use specific .44 Colt or .44 Russian, rather then .44 Special loading data - and I would consider sticking to black powder, as at least one well known authority in the field does. If the cylinder basepin cracks at the front corners of the slot you'll find the barrel downrange somewhere.

    I have considered one of the Colt C&B>Cartridge conversion replicas, but it's most likely to be chambered in .38 Special or .38 Colt, and an 1851 Navy is the most likely contender.
  7. CraigC

    CraigC Well-Known Member

    I like the Open Top a little better as a shooter. After a little stoning and a spring swap the action is very slick and the trigger is light and crisp. It hits to point of aim with a 240gr SWC over 4.0gr Titegroup. The ejector also works much better than the 1860. Don't know if it's typical of the Richards-Mason but my Transition model shoots well above point of aim, like the percussion guns do.

    Personally, I think concerns about strength are exaggerated. These guns are made of modern materials with steels far superior not only to the originals but also better than the modern percussion replicas. They are fully proofed for standard pressure factory loads. They tend to stand up well to the rigors of cowboy action shooting.
  8. Jesse Heywood

    Jesse Heywood Well-Known Member

    Here is an 1860 Richards conversion that is in the hands of a family member. Dad said he was 6 when he took it rabbit hunting. He didn't hit any rabbits. The gun was called a Texas Navy model due to the scroll work on the barrel. Caliber is 44 Colt. Gun is in 98% condition. Last time it was fired was in the 30's. When grandpa died the gun went into storage. I only wish it was stored in my safe.


    Attached Files:

  9. DPris

    DPris Well-Known Member

    Both are "open tops" in the sense that they have no topstraps, and for that reason neither is particularly strong, not as strong as a solid-top frame.
    Mild .38s would be a better bet for longevity, and certainly don't push either type very hard pressure-wise.
  10. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Well-Known Member

    I will be buying a 1871-1872 Open Top in the near future. The only question is from who?
  11. tkcomer

    tkcomer Well-Known Member

    If they actually have them in stock, Buffalo Arms has them. Funny thing is, a pawn shop up the road from me is is listed as an Uberti dealer on the Uberti web site. Probably after the first of the year I need to drive up there. He's the one that ordered my Swiss K-31.
  12. StrawHat

    StrawHat Well-Known Member

    Here is a photo of the Richards conversion I own and use. This is an older one built by ASM and rebuilt by me. Chambered for the 44 Colt and still so chambered. (If I get an 1873 or 1966 lever rifle, I may rework one or the other so both use the same cartridge.)


    While these are available in a variety of cartridges, I tend to prefer the original design. As for the 45 long Colt chambering, on one of these models the shooters that play the CAS sport have reported a problem with the forcing cone cracking. Colts originally cut them for 44 and opening them up to 45 removes a lot more metal. Yes they are all proofed before sale but some of the 45s have developed problems. As you are a handloader, you might consider the 44 Colt. You will be able to use the same sizing dies as your 44 Magnum/Special and if you shorten the seating and crimp dies, they will be usable in all three also.
  13. tkcomer

    tkcomer Well-Known Member

    For those that load for them, do you find the barrels to be true? As in .357 for the 38 and .429 for the 44? I have a Rossi lever gun that hates .429 plated bullets. I use .431 lead or .429 jacketed with it. Barrel is a little large on it. The .357 Rossi is spot on. And what's the big difference between the Uberti and Cimarron models?
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2010
  14. StrawHat

    StrawHat Well-Known Member

    I use a 431 bullet in mine, as that is what drops from the mold. I have used 430 and 429 but see no improvement in accuracy. In the 44 Colt I use a 200 grain RNFP bullet. My 357 and 38 Specials are routinly fed .360 cast bullets and have never given me problems. I match the diameter to the throat of the cylinder and am good to go. If I have to, I ream the cylinders to equal the groove diameter of the bore.
  15. tkcomer

    tkcomer Well-Known Member

    I may be wrong but I think the 44 Colt uses the same bullet as the 44 Special. I so plan to buy softer “cowboy action” type bullets for this gun as the 44 bullets I have now are extremely hard. And I will get flat points as I see an 1873 lever in my future also. How tight are the wedges in these guns? That Pietta was a pain to get apart the first time. I need to get brass punches. That steel one was hard on it the first time I took it apart.
  16. DennisT

    DennisT New Member

    I hope you see this, because I was happy and surprised to see your photo of your ASM 1860 Conversion. About a month ago I traded for the exact same thing at a gun show. I was quite thrilled but have been searching for ammo info as I am not set up for re-loading yet. I did find 5 boxes of Black Hills .44 Colt ammo for this revolver. So far, I'm reluctant to shoot the BH factory stuff until I get some feedback as to safety. I think if it is safe, and I shoot up this batch, I'll probably need to re-load for the lightest load I can find that will produce decent results.

    I'm thrilled with this revolver and already want an 1872 Open Top.

    I'd love to hear your comments and what you did when you, "rebuilt," your 1860. Lastly, how do you feel about the ASM quality??? (Mine is also an older production piece, but in mint condition)

    Dennis in E WA state
  17. XxWINxX94

    XxWINxX94 Well-Known Member

    Great shooters, bad sellers!
    I've been sitting on mine for awhile :banghead:
  18. ironhead7544

    ironhead7544 Well-Known Member

    I have an Open Top in 38 Special. Very slick and accurate. Going to fit up a 44 Special cylinder and barrel so I can shoot both rounds.
  19. brushwolf

    brushwolf Member

    Help---uberty 1871/72(new) shot a fuew times. The action freezes up. Had to remove barrel/cylinder. Does not freeze when dry fired, however, freezes with just fireing a primed 44 colt case. That happen to anyone else? Whats the fix? Thank you. radrunner3006@yahoo.com
  20. Jesse Heywood

    Jesse Heywood Well-Known Member

    Are you using factory ammo or reloads? If reloads, check the primer seating. It needs to be just below the case head.

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