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Repro single action in .38/.357. Is it worth it?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by EvilGenius, Jan 26, 2013.

  1. EvilGenius

    EvilGenius Well-Known Member

    Looking at getting a reproduction Cimarron (Uberti) 1875 Remington.

    This would be my first single action (heck, first revolver) and probably the only one for a while.

    The lusting part of me wants it as close to the original as possible and that includes the .45 bore, but .45 has been getting expensive for years and recently hard to find. The up side is that Cimarron offers them with a .45acp cylinder to swap in so I could at least have it use the same cartridge as my 1911, but I'm wary of the accuracy/reliability being affected by firing a modern cartridge from an outdated design. (Not same bullet diameter? Too much recoil/pressure?)

    However they also offer it in .38/.357, which is much cheaper and even .38 can be had in large quantities now unlike any of the other common handgun cartridges. My fear though is that even though I'd like to be able to shoot it often and cheaper and have the option to get some kick out if it by putting in .357, but that maybe there'll still be that lingering feeling of it just not looking, feeling or sounding "right" with out those .45s in there.
  2. CraigC

    CraigC Well-Known Member

    This is not a concern whatsoever. Get whichever one you like best and think you'd most enjoy shooting. Just don't NOT buy a .45 convertible because you're worried about durability. It's not an issue.
  3. MAKster

    MAKster Well-Known Member

    I went through this same issue. Since I was getting a single action revolver for the Old West nostalgia I really wanted it to be in a historically accurate caliber. I ended up buying a 45 Colt because I only planned to shoot the revolver a few times a year so the high cost of the ammo wasn't as big a deal. The guys who are involved in cowboy action shooting usually use 357/38 revolvers because they would go broke shooting 45 Colt.
  4. Upstater

    Upstater Well-Known Member

    I can't speak to the Uberti version, but I can tell you and fdefinately recommend the Ruger New Vaquero single action in .38/.357, mine is 4 5/8" it shoots and handles like a dream from the heaviest load right down to cheap plinking ammo.
  5. MikeJackmin

    MikeJackmin Well-Known Member

    I understand exactly where you are coming from. You want the .45.

    .45 acp works perfectly in the single actions, no problems with accuracy or pressure. Only difference is that it's easier to eject - if this cartridge existed in 1889, it probably would have been the standard round for this platform. My ruger convertable is among my very favorites.
  6. CraigC

    CraigC Well-Known Member

    ...handload for economy. Otherwise very few would be as good as they are. Most use the .38Spl because of the low recoil.
  7. foghornl

    foghornl Well-Known Member

    I am not familiar with that Uberti; however, I have a 2003 vintage "Sheriff's Model" Vaquero in .357 (built on Ruger's larger .44/.45 frame).

    That revolver handles everything well, from the Ultra-Light Cowboy and wadcutter loads, up to the just this side of Thermo-Nuclear "Buffalo Bore" hunting loads.
  8. EvilGenius

    EvilGenius Well-Known Member

    Looks like this.

  9. PRM

    PRM Well-Known Member

    I've got a single action Cimarron Lightning chambered in 38 Special and it's kind of nice since I have a lever action rifle chambered in .357 which will handle the .38 Special.

    I also have a Colt SAA chambered in .45LC that I sent back to the Colt Custom Shop and had a .45 ACP cylinder fitted to it. Mainly because of the .45 ACP being cheaper. It has long since paid for itself. In fact, the .45 ACP seems to be a little more accurate in my gun.

    I've been well served and pleased with both. Not sure this post helps with your decision - you will probably be happy with either. And, which ever you choose will open up future possibilities.
  10. Dudemeister

    Dudemeister Well-Known Member

    and most of the ones that do handload, make light loads (cowboy loads) to reduce the recoil.

    A reduced cowboy load with something like TraiBoss powder doesn't any more "perceived" recoil than a factory .38spl.
  11. Hoppy

    Hoppy Active Member

    I sometimes wish I had bought my Ruger Vaquero in 45LC, but I bought the .357 instead because I already had a Marlin 1894 lever action in .357.

    It was worth it.
  12. bannockburn

    bannockburn Well-Known Member

    Both my single action revolvers are in .45LC, as I just like the caliber and I have a Rossi M92 carbine to go with them as well.

    Really like the look of the Remington Model 1875. Get it in whatever caliber works best for you.
  13. EvilGenius

    EvilGenius Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the replies guys!

    I'm still on the fence about.

    I want it to be a shooter, able to put lots of rounds through, but I want it "original" too. The. 38/.357 would be super cheap if I start reloading it, but I've already got the majority of the parts needed to start reloading 45acp minus an actual press.

    I guess I need to sit down and figure out what I really want to do with it. I got a couple of months or so.
  14. Dudemeister

    Dudemeister Well-Known Member

    Once you have the brass, reloading for the .45LC costs about 15-16 cents a round.

    1000 250gr. lead bullets (Missouri Bullet Co) $95
    1000 Large Pistol Primers (CCI/Winchester) $35
    1000 Powder loads (~1LB) $20
    Total Cost $150 for 1000 rounds, or 15 cents /round

    I suggest you buy a few boxes of factory ammo to shoot, and save the brass. You can also buy some brand new brass. Starline brass can be had for about $23 for 100 pieces from Midway.

    Once you have that, everything else CHEAP.
  15. EvilGenius

    EvilGenius Well-Known Member

    I actually bit the bullet yesterday and ordered a RCBS rockchucker supreme and a Lyman case cleaner/sifter.

    I'll have to invest in casting/lubing equipment since I've got about 350lbs of pure lead in the garage.

    But in the mean time I'll just buy bullets.
  16. BCRider

    BCRider Well-Known Member

    They key to all this is to reload your own. It greatly equalizes the cost of shooting either caliber and lowers both to less than buying factory .38Spl.

    Loaded to regular pressures or lower .45Colt brass lasts a LONG time. I've seen examples of .45Colt where the brass had to finally be retired due to the heads being mashed down so far that you could no longer read the stampings and the rims being swelled so they no longer fit into the cylinder recesses. I can't imagine how many loadings THAT took. But she said that the brass was about 6 to 8 years old and she's a regular at our monthly CAS shoots and often went up mid week for practice.

    In the end the difference will be due to the cost of the actual bullets and one cent more for the powder for equivalent loadings between .38Spl and .45Colt. If you buy equivalent bullets the .38's will be about 2 to 3 cents cheaper per bullet strictly due to the lower amount of lead. So all in all you stand to save at about 4 to 5 cents per round if you go with .38/.357 over .45Colt.

    Up this way in Canada the cost difference is SLIGHTLY higher. To load my .38Spl cowboy reloads is 16 cents. My buddy spends 23cents for each .45Colt.

    Oddly enough I can reload for about 1.5 cents LESS if I shoot Berry plated bullets.

    In any event if you do the math you'll see that all of these options result in reloaded ammo for less than $10 for 50 rounds. And in the US where you can often buy the bullets for cheaper it should be significantly less.

    And you still have to pull the handle on the reloading "slot machine" the same number of times regardless of what you're loading. So it comes down to "do you want to spend the extra nickel per shot to get the full meal deal with the .45Colt?"
  17. fatcpa

    fatcpa Well-Known Member

    Like others, I highly recommend buying the 45 colt and using that as an excuse (reason) to start reloading. The 45 colt cartridge, to me, is about the easiest caliber to reload and is an ideal starting point, especially with some of the modern powders. A few pieces of brass, some large pistol primers, a few 250 grain flat round nose lead bullets and a container of Trail Boss powder and you'll have a ball. Lee dies are not too expensive and worth the money. Pick up a fairly inexpensive single press. With Trail Boss you don't really even need scales to start with (although you'll soon want them). Trail Boss is designed to pretty much fill up the case, to the point where the bullet seats. Impossible to get the dreaded double charge. Go for it!
  18. Driftwood Johnson

    Driftwood Johnson Well-Known Member


    A pard owns an 1875 Remmie that I have been trying to buy off of him for years. I have shot it a bit, as a matter of fact he loaned it to me one day for a CAS match. Look carefully at the photo and compare it to a Colt SAA (or Uberti replica).



    Notice how the grip shape is a bit different on the Remmie. There is a bit more space between the grip and the trigger guard on both the 1875 and the 1890 Remmies than there is on a SAA. Some shooters prefer this as it allows more space between the rear of the trigger guard and the knuckle of the middle finger. This means less knuckle whacking with heavy recoiling loads. On the other hand, it is further for the thumb to reach the hammer spur on the Remmie than on a Colt. Notice the difference in hammer spur shapes. So some shooters find it uncomfortable to reach the hammer on a Remmie than on a Colt or clone.

    The best advice is to actually try shooting one and see how you like it.

    As for what caliber, that's easy. If you don't intend to reload, buy the 357mag/38 Sp. Factory 45 Colt is much too expensive to shoot very many rounds. When I first got into shooting CAS, my pistols were chambered for 45 Colt. I knew right away that I was going to have to start reloading if I wasn't going to wind up in the poor house. So the first cartridge I learned to relaod was 45 Colt, and yes, it is a perfect caliber to learn on. Everything is nice and big. Although I do recommend you buy a scale.
  19. EvilGenius

    EvilGenius Well-Known Member

    Thanks again guys!

    I sat down and started designing a workbench for the garage today with reloading in mind. (Under the condition that I put the gf's dirtbike back together first.) And my brother and I will start building this weekend.

    I've got a small digital scale I bought off another shooter back during the summer and a pound of IMR 700 and a couple hundred primers. I'm more or less good to go except for getting a replacement loading guide for the one I lost moving, but that'll get sorted in the mean time.
  20. BCRider

    BCRider Well-Known Member

    A great reloading guide for all the Hodgdon and IMR powders is available online at the Hodgdon web site.


    It might just tide you over until you can buy a book that lists some other powders.

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