1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Cimarron Richards Mason..any experience?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by ChasMack, Sep 22, 2011.

  1. ChasMack

    ChasMack Well-Known Member

    I am tempted to buy a Cimarron Richards Mason 38spl. I have read in a couple places where they do not hold up well even with light cowboy loads. Is this true, does anyone know? Seems like shooting maybe 38spl with black powder might be a way to go, but I suppose even that could be hard on a "delicate" gun. If anyone knows about these type of revolvers, I'd appreciate some feedback!
  2. CraigC

    CraigC Well-Known Member

    Got your PM but thought I'd just post in your thread instead.

    I haven't done much shooting with my Cimarron Richards Transition Model .44Colt but I have done a lot of shooting with my Open Top in the same chambering. I did a little bit of stoning on the action, swapped the springs, had it fitted with one-piece TruIvory and it is a delight to shoot. Very smooth, perfectly timed (no ring!), shoots to the sights and is plenty accurate. Enough so that I carry it on my hip in the field quite often. It has held up quite well and is as tight as the day I got it. IMHO, much of what you hear about these guns is armchair rhetoric. Folks have the impression that because they have no top strap that these guns won't let you get through a box of ammo before shaking themselves to pieces. I think as long as you run sensible loads through them, they should hold up just fine. The metallurgy in these guns seems to be much better than your average percussion gun. I would not hesitate to buy another, an 1851 Richards-Mason is on my short list.

  3. ChasMack

    ChasMack Well-Known Member

    How about the little cross piece that holds the barrel? You must not have had any trouble or you would have mentioned it. That is what I read goes first and or the most often. It shoots loose and stays that way. Never read where if that happened that you could replace it. I too was wondering about taking it in the woods with me when I squirrel hunt :) Thanks for your response (from someone who really knows). Way too many internet experts out there with no real world experience about what they comment on. I appreciate your help!
  4. Coyote3855

    Coyote3855 Well-Known Member

    The little piece is called the barrel wedge. I believe it can be replaced, although there should be enough taper to allow adjustment for some wear.

    I shot a pair of .45 Cimmaron open tops in SASS for a couple of years without any problems at all. I shot with Ruger Vaqueros and several different Colt SAA clones. The open tops were the most naturally pointing handguns I've ever used, including a batch of semi autos in other sports.

    I think standard .38 special loads would not harm the gun at all. No plus P of course, and "cowboy" loads would be pleasant to shoot. Buy it and don't look back.
  5. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam

    That's a mighty pretty shootin' iron, CraigC!
  6. BCCL

    BCCL Well-Known Member

    ^Yeah, what Standing Wolf said! Great looking piece CraigC. I've been on the fence about some tru-ivory for one of my guns, and that picture is just about the best ad for them I've seen!!!
  7. CraigC

    CraigC Well-Known Member

    Thanks gents!
  8. ChasMack

    ChasMack Well-Known Member

    That is a pretty revolver! Is that a charcoal blue? I would say it is,but not really sure. I have been looking around and see where the charcoal blue is a little more money. I am for sure going to get an open top since hearing good advice here. I think they are pretty guns, historical but easy cleanup. I have a few BP and I have to set aside time to shoot knowing that after I need to clean up :(
  9. CraigC

    CraigC Well-Known Member

    It's regular hot salt blue, the blue hue is just glare from the sky. What they call "charcoal" blue on the imports is really nitre blue and is very fragile. Real charcoal or carbona blue is very durable but done through a completely different process.
  10. StrawHat

    StrawHat Well-Known Member

    I have a Richards Conversion of the 1860 by ASM in 44 Colt. After I rebuilt it (all the internals were too soft) it is a fine revolver.


    I have not heard of problems with conversions in 38 Special or 44 Colt, but I have heard that the conversion chambered for the 45 long Colt can split at the forcing cone, not enough metal in that area and probably why Colts never offered the conversions in that chambering. I would have to think a 38 Special, with the additional metal in all areas would hold up fine. I would not use anything but cast lead and black powder but that is just me.
  11. ChasMack

    ChasMack Well-Known Member

    I had posted a question about using BP for reloading 38spl, so that's what I'll do for the conversion pistol I get. Thanks for the info Craig about charcoal blue. I didn't know anything about it, other than seeing some pics of revolvers with it and I thought they were "too" blue and didn't look that good...made the gun look like a toy or something.
  12. CraigC

    CraigC Well-Known Member

    It's a shame the ASM guns were not better made. I found a wonderful little 1861 Navy .38Spl a couple years ago for a good price but couldn't pull the trigger on it. To my knowledge, they're the only maker to have ever offered a cartridge conversion on the 1861.

    The import "charcoal" blue is little funky looking. Although I almost pulled the trigger on a used Uberti 1873 half-octagon, half magazine .44-40 a few years ago that was charcoal blue. The price was right and it called to me but I left it where it stood.

    I would love to have Bob Millington build me a Richards Type I out of a 2nd or 3rd generation Colt 1860. I'd want Turnbull to put his beautiful case colors on it and apply a real charcoal blue finish to the rest.
  13. ozarkguy

    ozarkguy Well-Known Member

    I wish someone(Uberti or Pietta) would make a more "correct" replica of the Type l. That ASM is really pretty but the cylinder is not rebated and the conversion ring does not overlap the cylinder like the originals. Wonder why they didn't do that when they went to the trouble of correctly putting the firing pin on the frame?

    I have a recently purchased Cimarron Type ll in .44 Sp that I really like and would like to also have a Type l.
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2011
  14. ChasMack

    ChasMack Well-Known Member

    Interesting posts! What are Type I and type II's? I have my eye on a Cimarron 7.5", 38spl....looks decent. I had a USFA SAA that Turnbull had CCH and blued the rest...very pretty, never shot it. Sad to say I sold it, one of about 6 guns I wish I had kept. I just emailed him about doing a Ruger Blackhawk in CCH and refinishing the rest. A little pricey considering the price I paid for the gun, but I have seen some Blackhawks he had worked his magic on and he does some fine work! Very nice Blackhawk...really stands out from my other BH's!
  15. ozarkguy

    ozarkguy Well-Known Member

    ChasMack, I could give you a reasonable explanation of the Richards Type l and the Richards Type ll metallic conversions (the Type ll is sometimes called the Transition model) of Colts 1860 Army percussion revolver. However, I am going to defer to CraigC on this as he knows so much more about these conversions. I know just enough to be dangerous!

    CraigC? How about it?
  16. ChasMack

    ChasMack Well-Known Member

    Would the type I be a conversion based on the 1851 Colt style, and the typeII would be like the 1860 Army Colt? Just me thinking :)
  17. ozarkguy

    ozarkguy Well-Known Member

    ChasMack, no the difference is not based on whether it's a Navy or Army frame. The Type l is like the picture of StrawHat above. His is an 1860 Army frame that has the old ball rammer removed, and an ejector rod assembly attached in its' place. It also has a "conversion ring" behind the cylinder with a gate to allow the insertion of cartridges. The Type ll's also have these features.

    The difference between the Richards Type l and ll is that the Type l does not have the firing pin on the face of the hammer. Instead it has a spring loaded affair incorporated into the conversion ring. The face of the hammer on the Type l has been ground flat so it can strike the frame mounted firing pin.

    I think the main reason they went to the Type ll is because it required less machining. The Type l was more complicated to machine.

    After the Type ll, another Colt employee, William Mason came up with an improvement to the Charles Richards improvement, which became the Richards-Mason conversion, a whole nother animal.

    Everyone, please correct any of my errors as I'm sure I made a bunch of them and oversimplified the whole explanation!
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2011
  18. CraigC

    CraigC Well-Known Member

    I'm running completely from memory but I don't see any errors. I agree though and really don't think an in-depth discussion of all the finest details is really necessary. :)

    I can add some stuff though.

    As said, the type of conversion is not related to the model. The Richards Type I and Type II were only applied to the 1860. Only the later Richards-Mason was applied to the 1851.

    Both Richards conversions utilized the percussion barrel. I think this makes them the best looking of the bunch. The Type I had the floating firing pin in the conversion ring with the flat-faced hammer. Also the rear sight was in the conversion ring.

    The Type II had the rear sight notch in the hammer, as well as the firing pin. This was an easier, more cost effective conversion to produce. There are some other minor differences in parts like ejectors and the loading gate spring but you get the gist of it.

    Then the Open Top came along in the 1871-1872 period and was the first purpose-built cartridge sixgun. Not a conversion. It utilized an all-new frame and barrel. While it resembled the 1860 and its conversions in appearance, it was indeed a dedicated cartridge gun. The Army rejected it in 1872 in favor of a solid frame and .45 caliber and William Mason designed the Single Action Army in a matter of months, offering it to the Army in late 1872. The rest is history.

    As Colt ran out of percussion barrels, both Charles Richards and William Mason went back to the drawing board and began utilizing the Open Top's S-lug barrel on the 1860 conversion. Which became known as the Richards-Mason conversion. This is the only conversion applied to the 1851 model.

    If you're really interested in this stuff, I'd highly suggest Dennis Adler's book on the subject, Metallic Cartridge Conversions. He also covers them in his other books, though to a lesser extent, Colt Single Action: From Patersons to Peacemakers and Guns of the American West. I'd suggest the first one first, because it is out of print and subject to limited availability. His stuff is excellent and I'll probably buy every gun book he writes. I even got the leatherbound edition of Guns of the American West from Easton Press.

    I really think these new replicas are the best thing since sliced bread. I blame Tom Selleck and his movies for much of it. I'd love to eventually have at least one of each variation. I've really got the hots for an 1860 Type I with a 5½" barrel, antiqued finish and heavily aged ivory stocks. Which is a scratch I may decide to itch by modifying my Richards Type II. I've also been lusting after the little 1851 Richards-Mason with the 4¾" barrel. I'd like to also eventually have Bob Millington build me one out of a genuine Colt.

  19. ozarkguy

    ozarkguy Well-Known Member

    Like you CraigC, I would like to have one of each of the conversions and an Open-Top. And like you, I really enjoy Adler's books. I have his "Colt Single Action-From Pattersons to Peacemakers" and his "Black Powder Revolvers - Reproductions & Replicas". I'm also planning on getting the one on Metallic Cartridge Conversions. I even got his one on Bill Ruger and his Guns. His books are loaded with beautiful color plates and are just outstanding.

    So far, I only have two conversions, a Cimarron Type ll and a Cimarron 1851Richards-Mason. They are both beautiful. I'd like a 5.5 inch 1860 R-M conversion and a 7.5 inch Open-Top. And like you, I really think the 4.75 inch 1851 R-M looks especially cool. If I only had more money! Below are my two conversions.

  20. ozarkguy

    ozarkguy Well-Known Member

    As a side note, Dennis Adler has an article in this quarter's Guns of the Old West magazine titled "Wild Bill's Last Gun". It's about the Richards Type l and is pretty interesting with some good pictures. Just FYI.

Share This Page