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

Possibly unsafe?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by hipoint, Jan 31, 2013.

  1. hipoint

    hipoint Well-Known Member

    someone is selling locally a taylor 1871 "open top converted" .45 colt... it seems as if the top strap has just been removed somehow. Were these things designed to operate like this? The bottom of the frame looks to be the only thing holding this contraption together and it is not a solid piece, that looks like it is held together by a screw or two...

    it seems like all that is holding this gun together are those screw(s) at the bottom of the frame, and those would get some serious abuse since they would get a bending type force on them rather than a straight pull...

    am I right for steering clear of this thing?
  2. hipoint

    hipoint Well-Known Member

    I have a pic, but don't have an account with any image hosting sites...
  3. BCRider

    BCRider Well-Known Member

    You had me at the "Taylor" reference. But a quick google tells me that these are Uberti replica guns sold by Taylor.

    The open top style replaces the top strap of the usual frame with a very stout cylinder arbor. The barrel is then held to the gun by a wedge that passes thru this arbor and a support pad on the lower portion of the frame. The design showed up in the early Colt single action revolvers such as the 1851 and 1860. They were later converted to handle the then new cartridges and were sold as cartridge conversions. So your Taylor/Uberti 1871 is actually a more or less faithful rendition of the old original.

    You have nothing to worry about if you stick to normal spec .45Colt loads that do not exceed 16K of pressure.

    Even then I suspect that the guns will shoot loose with full pressure loads of smokeless over not a lot of time. It won't blow up. But you'll likely find that it's not as tight as it used to be. But if you reduce the loads a little or shoot black powder loads then the gun will be highly reliable and durable.
  4. hipoint

    hipoint Well-Known Member

    I think I figured out how to post a pic...

    Attached Files:

  5. hipoint

    hipoint Well-Known Member

    so the arbor that the cylinder spins on is attached to the rear of the frame as well? unlike the arbor of say, my blackhawk that just kinda rests in there.

    it just looks wrong and scary :D
  6. hipoint

    hipoint Well-Known Member

    I knew the "old" ones were made like this, the term "converted" in the ad made me leary though. I'll probably pass on it even if it is "safe" as I would imagine as you said that it would get loose pretty quickly. Probably just hold out for another ruger.
  7. BCRider

    BCRider Well-Known Member

    The arbor is threaded and lock pinned into the recoil shield. It ain't goin' no where without a stick of Dynamite or a zip disc cutter.... :D

    You can see the small end of the barrel wedge sticking out a little just below the rear of the ejector housing in your picture. The way to remove it is to use a hardwood or brass punch and tap it out. It'll come partway out the other side. At that point you can wiggle the barrel a little and pull forward at the same time and the barrel and ejector will slide or pop off depending on how clean or sticky the gun is. At that point the cylinder can slide forward off the arbor for cleaning.

    When you put the cylinder and barrel back on resist the urge to hammer the wedge back in with a big mallet. They do just fine with a firm finger push or at most a light tap with a small block of hardwood such as maple.

    Don't sweat the strength. They are fine with the sort of loads I suggested in my last post. A lot of us enjoy shooting the old Colt open top designs in both "proper" cap and ball black powder versions and the "Johnny come lately" conversions like yours :D Just do NOT stick any hot loads such as a lot of folks would use from a Ruger for hunting into the gun. It's not made for that sort of stuff. Stick with cowboy action or moderate loads that peak at around 12K to 13K and the gun will last and endure in fine condition for YEARS to come.

    And I can vouch that there is nothing "mouse fart" like about a 12 to 13K .45Colt load. Unless you're a Magnum recoil junky such loads will give your hand a solid but friendly kick to let you know you're shooting something quite serious.

    Show this gun off in the Black Powder forum and the guys will chuckle to themselves at your concern before writing you a reply that says much the same as I've posted.

    You're a very lucky sort of guy to have one of these. For some reason they charge a pretty premium price for them. They are often VERY nice shooters. As I said, Uberti makes a nice gun and the bore and muzzle recieve all the right sort of attention to ensure a very good level of accuracy for the gun.

    You'll likely find that it shoots best with cast lead bullets. Something reasonably soft so it can obturate and bite into the rifling with the fairly low pressure levels. And if you don't already reload in .45 Colt then you sure want to start. Not many of us are willing to pay for factory ammo for anything that starts with a ".4" other than .40S&W. With reloading your own you can easily keep the cost down to around 20 cents a round. That's $10/50. Compare that to what factory .45Colt costs.

    EDIT- Oops I see that you're still considering buying the gun. For some reason I jumped to the assumption that you already had it.
  8. Steve C

    Steve C Well-Known Member

    The gun is a modern replica of the cartridge conversions done in the mid 1800's to percussion Colts. These where converted by various gunsmiths of that time and not by Colt as Smith and Wesson held the patents for the self contained cartridge. They are primarily marketed to Cowboy Action shooters who want a less common historical type revolver.

    The gun appeals to those who want an unusual piece and want to enjoy shooting it for its uniqueness and historical nostalgia. If you want a shooter there a lots of better modern single action revolvers choices made by Ruger.
  9. hipoint

    hipoint Well-Known Member

    something to think about... I am just getting started in reloading. Haven't set up my press yet, but my .41 mag blackhawk is ganging up with my wallet to demand that i start soon! I'm looking at getting another revolver and possibly getting rid of my autos. auto's are cool, but I honestly don't like them and never have... besides I don't see myself needing to shoot 15 zombies anytime soon :D

    I'll see what I can get it for, "worth" to me is not about money but what I like about a gun, I do like how this one looks scary and I would like another .45 colt since my last one went away. However I also like to handgun hunt more and more, in our thick appalachian jungle terrain it is so much easier than packing a rifle around and long shots are unheard of here.

    I'll see what happens with it, who knows, might end up with a fancy/scary gun tomorrow.

    yep, I'm pretty wishy washy on guns... if I can get it for a reasonable to me price I might come home with it, but I would really rather have another blackhawk if the price is going to be similar.
  10. buttrap

    buttrap Well-Known Member

    They worked fine in 1870 and still work just fine now. And back then for a buck 50 colt would convert one for you too. In fact Colt used to sell them new till about 1875 or so.
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2013
  11. StrawHat

    StrawHat Well-Known Member

    Here is one of mine, a Richards conversion of the 1860. This is chambered for the historically correct 44 Colt. The only cartridge the 1860 was converted to handle.


    The 1851 and 1861 were chambered for a 38 caliber cartridge as were the 36 caliber pocket revolvers. They were a very good revolver in the time frame and still are. I like mine a lot.
  12. Driftwood Johnson

    Driftwood Johnson Well-Known Member


    Slight correction. The patent in question is the Rollin White patent on bored through chambers in a revolver cylinder. This patent did not cover self contained cartridges, there were plenty of early cartridges in use at the time. What it covered was the idea of boring the chamber holes straight through a revolver cylinder so cartridges could be loaded. Previously all revolvers had been percussion, with stepped chambers and nipples at the rear. When Smith and Wesson formed their revolver company in 1857, they tried to patent the idea of bored through chambers, only to find out that a former Colt employee named Rollin White had beat them to the punch. White refused to sell his patent out right to S&W so instead he entered into a licensing agreement with them where they paid him a royalty of fifty cents on every revolver they produced. The White patent was in force until about 1869 or 1870, sources vary. S&W were very aggressive about policing the White patent, as a matter of fact it was written into the agreement that it was White's responsibility to police the patent. Lawsuits were filed and most of them were successful, but a few companies managed to get around the White patent because of the need for revolvers during the Civil War. But for the most part, because they had the exclusive arrangement with White, no other American manufacturer could legally produce a cartridge revolver. That is why the only cartridge revolvers used during the Civil War were S&Ws, despite the fact that the technology had been available since 1857.

    Cartridge conversions were very popular until the White patent expired. It was difficult to prevent individual gunsmiths from converting percussion revolvers to cartridges. S&W did reach an agreement with Remington to convert percussion revolvers to cartridge, but that was the only instance of factory conversions while the White patent was still in force. When the White patent expired around 1870 Colt introduced several conversion models, some being converted from percussion guns, others designed from the ground up as cartridge guns. It was not until 1873 that Colt finally introduced the Single Action Army with its topstrap, designed from the ground up for cartridges.

    Regarding the current crop of conversion revolvers, none of them were ever originally chambered for 45 Colt, the largest were the 44 caliber revolvers. The idea of putting 45 Colt into a conversion revolver is a completely new idea. Because of the relatively thinner cylinder walls with the 45, chamber pressure should be restricted to SAAMI max pressure of 14,000 psi.
  13. hipoint

    hipoint Well-Known Member

    thanks folks, that's alot of great information! I see now that they are relatively robust despite their looks.

    dude wants $500 for it, may or may not be a good deal, but for the money I think I'll just stick with ruger since I can load them up IF I ever chose to do so. besides the one in the pic has no rear sight, might not be a problem for most, but I'm relatively new to handgun shooting so no need to further complicate things for me when I'm just learning how to be really accurate.
  14. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    It has a rear sight.

    A notch in the hammer you can only see when it is cocked is the rear sight on a Colt.

  15. hipoint

    hipoint Well-Known Member

    ahhh, my ignorance is flying it's flag at full mast on this one!
  16. shafter

    shafter Well-Known Member

    They are great firearms with alot of historical appeal. I doubt I'd pay $500 for one even though they are very high on my list of handguns to buy.
  17. PRM

    PRM Well-Known Member

    There are four on Gun Broker right now by Cimarron. Between $417 and $499
  18. StrawHat

    StrawHat Well-Known Member

    Actually, the rear sight on the one in my photo is mounted on the conversion ring between the cylinder and the frame. It can be seen, faintly, just in front of the hammer.

    Earlier, the C&B revolves had the rear sight on the hammer as mentioned by rcmodel, and later conversions by Colt, had the rear sight either mounted on the rear of the barrel or on the hammer.

    A lot of folks think the hammer mounted sight is a poor choice but a lot of good scores have been turned in by those willing to practice.
  19. TomADC

    TomADC Well-Known Member

    Just keep Cowboy loads in it and it will shot just fine, no jacketed ammo, I have conversion cylinders for my Remington 1858 I shoot mild reloads using Trail Boss powder and lead cast bullets its 45 Colt, and a 1851 Colt that I shoot 38 Special hollow base wad cutters in.
  20. Jim K

    Jim K Well-Known Member

    Granted that modern steel is a whole lot better than the wrought iron used in the original frames, but it is worth noting that Colt, faced with the desire of the Army for a more powerful round than the .44 Colt, scrapped the open top design and went to a top strap in the SAA.


Share This Page