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Colt SA Navy, current, not black powder?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Arp32, Aug 2, 2011.

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  1. Arp32

    Arp32 Member

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    First time posting on here, hopefully in the right forum.

    I've always liked the look of the old Colt Navy SA revolvers, as opposed to the Army style which most current revolvers seem to resemble.

    Are there any current Navy-style revolvers in production besides the blackpowder models? Something in a modern caliber like .38, .357 or .44? If so, does anyone have any experiences they'd like to share? Thanks for any input.
     
  2. awgrizzly

    awgrizzly Member

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    I assume by SA Navy in black powder you are referring to the old open top Colt navy percussion revolver. When Colt brought out their SA Army model it had a frame across the top which made it far stronger than the old navy. That was the end of the old open top.

    Since then there have been no 'navy' model Colt single actions made that I know of. Back then, when the Colt cartridge revolver was being introduced Colt retro fitted their navy percussion revolvers to fire the cartridges. They were called SA Navy Conversions. Today you can get reproductions of these in various modern calibers. I have one made by Uberti that fires the .38 Special. Other than that the only 'navy' Colt revolvers that I'm aware of are some of the first double action revolvers Colt made around the turn of the century.
     
  3. Arp32

    Arp32 Member

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  4. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

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    I also really like the look of the old 1851 Navy. But you really give up a lot of strength and frame flex without a top strap.

    The only thing I found difficult about the 1851 was the lack of a place for the rear sight...it is very odd to aim with the notch in the hammer
     
  5. owlhoot

    owlhoot Member

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    The revolver you want is the "open top" model 1872 which is a Colt copy manufactured by Uberti. This revolver was designed as a cartridge revolver so is a little more user friendly than the conversions. It is available in .38 special, .44 Russian and .44 Colt. There were plans to also offer it in .45 Colt. I don't know if that ever happened or not, but I don't think it is a very good idea. I've had a pair of these revolvers for over twelve years. I've used them heavily. Love them.

    I also have a pair of the Mason Richards Conversions. I love them too. I think you'd be happy with either choice.
     
  6. Lawdawg45

    Lawdawg45 Member

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    "Are there any current Navy-style revolvers in production besides the blackpowder models? "

    For an 1851 Navy conversion revolver, look at Taylor's Firearms or perhaps Cimarron Firearms. I wouldn't mind a matched set myself, if it was good enough for Wild Bill!

    LD45
     
  7. StrawHat

    StrawHat Member

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    The revolver that won the Armys testing for a cartidge firing revolver was the Colt Open Top chambered in 44 Colt. It was only at the miltiary's insistence that Colts redesigned it to include a top strap and increased the bore to 45 caliber.

    Someone with the Colt book may be able to scan that paragraph and post it. I do not have the book.

    Also, the flex and such is more of a perceived thing than an actual fact. Personally, I have used both the RIchards conversions and the Model P Colts revolvers and have come to prefer the Open Top style of revolver, when using a single action.
     
  8. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    StrawHat

    I found two possible paragraphs that you were referring to in your post, from R.L. Wilson's book, "COLT An American Legend". In the chapter on Colt conversions, Wilson wrote that the barrel, frame, and cylinder of the Model 1872 Open Top .44 were made for metallic cartridges, attesting to their strength and durability, and that the Ordnance Board thought favorably on the possibility of adopting a new model Colt as the next service revolver.

    However in the following chapter on the Single Action Army, Wilson wrote that the tests conducted by the U.S. Ordnance on the Model 1872 Open Top .44 had not been all that impressive, and that just a couple of months later, Colt submitted the solid frame Single Action Army for consideration. The solid frame design proved to be much more secure and durable over the older percussion era design of securing the barrel and cylinder by means of a wedge.
     
  9. madcratebuilder

    madcratebuilder Member

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    The top strap is no stronger than the open tops massive arbor. The arbor is what gives the open tops it's strength. The major improvement between the open top and top strap colts was loosing the the wedge and it's associated problems.

    The open tops do not transition to cartridges well. With a cap and ball the recoil impulse is centered around the arbor and absorbed into the recoil shield. With a cartridge conversion the recoil impulse is moved to the top of the recoil shield, behind the case. This adds significant stress to the bottom of the frame and can cause cracks the form around the screw holes.
     
  10. CraigC
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    CraigC Member

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    IMHO, the strength issue, particularly with modern replicas, is greatly exaggerated. For the pressures involved, with modern steels rather than soft iron, the "topless" Colt replicas are entirely suitable to their appropriate uses. They're a lot of fun to shoot and I carry the Open Top .44Colt below to the woods quite often. For me, the 1860 Richards Type I and Type II are the most attractive, as they utilize the percussion barrel. While the Open Top is the most refined of the line and the most usable. Its dedicated cartridge receiver, rather than a conversion, is a little more refined. The sights on all of them are miniscule but serviceable. The 1851 Richards-Mason is one I still need to add to my collection. I think the little 4¾" model is the coolest thing since sliced bread and the .38Spl cartridge is good for cheap plinking.

    [​IMG]
     
  11. Jim K

    Jim K Member

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    The Colt SAA does in fact use the "navy" grip; the so-called "army" grip was that used on the 1860 Army and is longer than the "navy". Of the guns shown by Arp32, the first is not a Navy, it is an 1849 pocket pistol in .31 caliber; the guns in the second photo are decoractor dummies.

    Jim
     
  12. awgrizzly

    awgrizzly Member

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    The only problem I've had with it was damage to the case hardening color by a cleaning solvent. These guns have a fake case hardening painted on the surface of the steel that, unlike real case hardening, are easily damaged. But that's what you get for the price.

    I said it was a Uberti, which is true, but it's assembled and sold by Cimarron. The front and rear portions of the frame are held together by a steel wedge that presses into place and is held by a retaining screw. You must remove the wedge to disasemble the gun for thorough cleaning. Here's a pic of it.

    [​IMG]
     
  13. Arp32

    Arp32 Member

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    Thanks for the input, guys. I appreciate it.

    CraigC and awgrizzly, very nice - either of those would fit the bill. I'll admit, my interest is really about the look of the gun. For as few rounds as I'd probably put through it, ease of maintenance and 20,000 round reliability really isn't a major consideration. If that were it, I could have bought a single Glock years ago and saved a lot of money in the meantime.
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2011
  14. CraigC
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    CraigC Member

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    Cimarron buys guns from Uberti and they sell them. They have QC personel on site at Uberti. They don't assemble anything.
     
  15. awgrizzly

    awgrizzly Member

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    I've been misinformed then.
     
  16. CraigC
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    CraigC Member

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    The do their antiquing and engraving but the guns come complete from Uberti.
     
  17. DPris

    DPris Member

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    AW,
    You were misinformed.
    Cimarron does not do custom work or assembly themselves.
    Denis
     
  18. Ro1911

    Ro1911 Member

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    I bought this one about a month ago its very accurate,and I like it alot better then the SAA.

    http://www.cimarron-firearms.com/default.htm

    mine is a cimarron richards transitional model in 45 colt

    1792.jpg
    here is mine

    these are off cimarrons website

    1793.jpg

    1794.jpg

    1795.jpg
     
  19. Ro1911

    Ro1911 Member

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    Oh and if your not used to it good luck getting it in to half cock, i took it to a gun show to find a holster and I had to do it so they could check it.

    I was lmao
     
  20. CraigC
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    CraigC Member

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    Nice! I've been wanting to either cut mine to 5½" or buy one in that length. I saw an original Colt that had been cut, was very worn and had old yellowed ivory grips on it and have been wanting a new gun just like it ever since. May just order one from Cimarron with their original finish and ultra antique TruIvory.
     
  21. Ro1911

    Ro1911 Member

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    I went to a LGS and this was the only one they had, I said great its the only one i wanted, I love the 5 1/2 inch barrel.
     
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