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questions and advice about colt clone BP revolvers

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by ivankerley, Aug 4, 2013.

  1. ivankerley

    ivankerley Well-Known Member

    I dont get much opportunity to see let alone handle many BP guns in my local shops but yesterday i got to handle a .36 cal Uberti (1861? navy i think), beautiful revolver but the grip was a little small (got big hands).

    So my 1st question: the difference between the grip and over all size between a say 1860 Army and the 61 Navy, is it a dramatic difference or slight?

    2nd question: is there any difference between a uberti/pietta sold through say cimmaron or taylors vs. Dixie, cabellas etc.?

    I'm finally in a position to buy myself a BP revolver, had my heart set on an 1860 Army for a couple years and was hoping for some insight. ive read all the uberti vs pietta threads and im kinda leaning towards the uberti as ive handled a couple of theirs, F&F seemed excellent, havent had the opportunity to handle a pietta though
  2. brushhippie

    brushhippie Well-Known Member

    The 60 has a bigger grip, dramatic.....kinda...and I kinda lean toward Piettas nowadays.
  3. Ifishsum

    Ifishsum Well-Known Member

    The '60 Army is my favorite, both for aesthetics and for shooting - especially since installing a taller front sight. I also have a '58 rem, both are recently manufatured Piettas and I've got no complaints on the fit/finish/function of either but I did adjust the bolt timing a little bit on the 60. I've looked over a few Ubertis as well and I'm not sure they have much on Pietta honestly, which I gather hasn't always been so. Pietta is worth a look in my book anyway.
  4. Prairie Dawg

    Prairie Dawg Well-Known Member

    Army grip is bigger & longer by about 3/4 inch.
    Big difference in 1860 Army & 1861 --Size of gun, length of barrel, size of grips 44 vs 36 caliber. Army is bigger in every way.
    I like Piettas & have many of them.
    Ubertis are nice & I have a couple of them, but Piettas are fine guns & are much lower in price.
    Most of my guns are Cabelas.
    I have some Cimarron & Navy Arms, & Taylors
    But, by the time you tune 'em, they are all about the same IMHO
  5. swathdiver

    swathdiver Well-Known Member

    DO you have large hands? If so you may appreciate the longer Army grip while using the Navy grip most fellas curl their pinky under it which aids in support.

    If you like the Army but like the Navy grip, well you can simply swap them out within brands generally.
  6. J-Bar

    J-Bar Well-Known Member

    Follow your heart and buy the 1860.

    You will eventually wind up with a variety of 'em anyway!
  7. CraigC

    CraigC Well-Known Member

    Not really. The 1860 Army and 1861 Navy are almost identical. Same barrel profile and far as I can tell, Uberti 1861's are 7½", while Pietta's are 8". The `60's grip is only a quarter inch longer (not 3/4") and that is the only difference in grips. The 1860 has the rebated cylinder for .44cal but otherwise, they are almost the same sixgun.

    Everybody's hands are bigger than the Navy/SAA grip. What makes them manageable is to stop trying to cram all your digits on the grip frame and tuck that pinky under.

  8. ivankerley

    ivankerley Well-Known Member

    thanks guys!

    i appreciate the advice and insight, im indeed sold on the '60 Army; just need to figure out who to buy from etc.
    is there any advantage to buying Cimarron or Taylors? Are they finished to a higher degree or do they cherry pick theirs? Also are they marked differently?
  9. CraigC

    CraigC Well-Known Member

    They 'say' they're held to higher QC standards but I have seen very little difference in guns from Cimarron, Taylor's, Dixie Gun Works and Uberti-branded guns imported by Stoeger. I'd go with the best price. I would have historically gone for Uberti's but the new Pietta's are very, very good guns and fully equal. Maybe, possibly, perhaps even a little better.
  10. ivankerley

    ivankerley Well-Known Member

    thanks! i kind of suspected that. Being my first BP revolver i suppose the only thing im concerned about is being underwhelmed with the F&F especially if im buying new.
    Unfortunately i havent handled or seen a pietta in person, have seen and handled a few different ubertis... Understand tinkering regardless of brand is to be expected, just want to avoid alot of F&F fixes before any other tinkering goes on if you know what i mean
  11. toolslinger

    toolslinger Well-Known Member

    Just within the last 3-4 years I have acquired 4 Piettas and 1 Uberti. I see very little difference in quality. They all seem very nice, well timed and well finished. I also got the big hands and you will definitely like the Army grip better. Soon as I can find proper grip frames my Navy and Griswold and Gunnison are getting Army grips. I hate curling my pinky.
  12. BHP FAN

    BHP FAN Well-Known Member

    ....get a Remington. no, seriously-if you want an ''Colt'' 1860, and always have, get a pair of them. the 1860 was probably the ultimate evolution of the Colt pattern revolver. even the elegant 1861 .36 is just a down sized 1860 .44. I would get Piettas from Cabelas. They have a no BS return policy, the best I've seen. I used to say that Uberti made the best guns, but that's in the past. Uberti's guns have got no worse, but Piettas have come waaay up in quality over the years, the main differnce now, is price.
  13. ivankerley

    ivankerley Well-Known Member

    i will use your suggestion when my wife asks why on earth i needed 2 of them:D
    Remmies are fine just not for me ive had a thing for the colts since i was a kid, my dad had an old cap gun from when he was a kid that was a '60, lever worked and everything, beat to death but still cool
  14. BHP FAN

    BHP FAN Well-Known Member

    I had the same cap gun! My first ''real'' gun was a .22 when I was ten or twelve, my first handgun was an old Navy Arms ''Colt'' '51 Navy .36, with a short barrel. It balanced well, but lacked in the accuracy dept. When I got my first Remington, there was no looking back. Go with the Colts though, you need to scratch that itch! Nothing else ''feels'' like a good 1860, the smooth, elegant lines, the well designed, practical loading lever. Like the Walker and the Dragoon, it was an ''open top'' .44, but a whole lot handier to carry.
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2013
  15. Rom828

    Rom828 Well-Known Member

    I'm sorry to say this but for a first-timer I'd get the Remington. That or get very good at knocking out the wedge that retains the barrel and putting it back together. You'll want to wipe it down every other cylinder full to keep it clean and operating. Why the Remington? Pull down the loading lever, pull out the pin, and the cylinder falls right out. Nothing kills the enthusiasm like a gummed up revolver or one that's stuck because a piece of cap fell down into the lockwork. Black powder revolvers are like playing golf. You'll have very good days and others, not so good.
  16. ivankerley

    ivankerley Well-Known Member

    while i appreciate the advice the remmies (while fine guns im sure) do nothing for me, and ive read all about the pains and joys of open tops :D
    but i will not be deterred, its an 1860 army!

    ps heck im even on the fence with the Ruger old army, i swear just cause it looks more like a remmie than a colt:D
  17. Driftwood Johnson

    Driftwood Johnson Well-Known Member


    I'm glad CraigC corrected the misinformation about the size of the 1860 Army.

    The grip is indeed only about 1/4" longer than the 1851/1861/SAA grip. I too ALWAYS grip a SAA type revolver with my pinky under the grip. That is how it was designed, no point trying to cram the entire hand onto the short grip. With the 1/4" longer 1860 grip, it is too big for me to get my pinky under, and a little bit too small for me to cram my entire hand on. With my pinky under the 1860 grip, I have to regrip in order to reach the hammer spur to cock the hammer. With my entire hand on the grip I can reach the hammer spur, but I have to regrip again to shift my hand down just a smidge so that I have good trigger control. If the grip was another 1/4" longer, it would be good for me, but it ain't. I strongly suggest trying both grips, and going through the entire exercise of cocking the hammer, then seeing if the hand needs to shift in order to shoot the gun comfortably. Don't drop the hammer, just ease it down. See which one fits best, both with the pinky under the grip and with the entire hand crammed onto the grip.

    The frames of the 1851 Navy, 1860 Army, and 1861 Navy are all exactly the same size. What Colt did with the 1860 Army was take the Navy 36 caliber cylinder, and add metal to the front end, in order to fit six 44 caliber chambers in. but the rear of the cylinder where the nipples are remained the same diameter. The frame then had a relief cut to accept the larger diameter of the front of the cylinder. But other than that relief cut, the frames are exactly the same size.

    Sorry, but I disagree. Of all the Black Powder revolvers, the 1858 Remington is the worst for binding up. That is because 1. there is no cylinder bushing to keep fouling blasted off the cylinder pin, and 2. the pin is very narrow and binds up quickly. While Colts also lack a cylinder bushiing, the cylinder arbor is much larger in diameter, and that spreads out the fouling more. In addition, the Colt design incorporates a helical groove running around the arbor which creates clearance for fouling to be deposited in. A properly lubed Colt open top type C&B will run longer without binding than a Remington, at least that is my experience. I can shoot an entire CAS match with my 1860s without wiping down anything, or driving out the wedge. With my Remmies, I have to stop and wipe off the cylinders and the cylinder pins every other cylinder full or they will bind up. Of course, the mechanics of the Remmie does make this easier to do than with a Colt type.
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2013
  18. Pancho

    Pancho Well-Known Member

    I had one of those cap guns too. I asked my mom for a "Fanner-50" and she bought the Colt instead. I was about 11 at the time and that colt was BIG.
  19. Fingers McGee

    Fingers McGee Well-Known Member

    What Driftwood said +1
  20. BowerR64

    BowerR64 Well-Known Member

    I agree with you, i have 2 of the colts and 3 remingtons and i like the way the remingtons work the best.

    I always prefer guns that you can tear down without needing any tools.

    Ive seen people just push the wedge out but mine are not like that at all. I have to use a cloths pin and a hammer to get mine out.

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