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Freedoms Arms worth the price?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by iScream, Oct 17, 2010.

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  1. iScream

    iScream Member

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    Hey Guys,

    I haven't bought a gun since the beginning of the year so I'm going to treat myself to something a little nicer. I really like the looks of the Freedom arms revolvers and I'm thinking of a model 97 in 357. Do any of you guys actually own one?

    I know they're supposed to be very accurate but are they actually durable? I plan to shoot the thing if I get it and I'd like to know it will last a long time, even with 5 - 8 thousand rounds of 38 a year through it.

    Any advice?

    Thanks,
    Chris
     
  2. Tequila Mockingbird

    Tequila Mockingbird Member

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    I have one...

    In my opinion, you won't find a better made revolver. Fit and finish are superb, as is accuracy. They're definitely intended to be shooters, not collectors items. I don't put 5000 rounds a year through mine, but I don't see why you couldn't. I haven't heard of anyone who's actually worn out a Freedom Arms revolver.

    Are they worth the price? Well, you're paying for what is essentially a hand-fitted custom revolver. They're probably about three times the price of a Ruger Blackhawk, and a good Blackhawk will shoot almost as accurately. But once you've handled and fired a Freedom Arms revolver, I think you'll agree that a Blackhawk, as good as it is, just isn't in the same league as an FA. I don't think you'll be disappointed if you decide to spring for a Freedom Arms revolver. In fact, you may decide you need more than one...:D
     
  3. LightningMan

    LightningMan Member

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    Hello, Just last week I was at Cabellas and they had in their special gun room a Freedom Arms revolver .454 Casull w/7 1/2" barrel. I asked the clerk whom I know if I could handle (drool over it) it, of course he said. Anyway all I can say is "awesome". Workmenship is fantastic, never had I felt a cylinder lock up like a vault when that hammer is pulled back to full cock, and the trigger was as crisp as they come. IMO they are worth the money, now I just need to come up with a couple grand. LM
     
  4. CraigC
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    CraigC Member

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    Only you can answer that question. Some folks think they are just exhorbitantly priced and couldn't possibly be worth what they're asking. Others, including myself, consider them to be the finest revolvers in existence and a bargain considering what you get. And what you get is a single action revolver that is made as precisely as possible, while maintaining a certain level of affordability. They are also arguably the strongest and most durable sixguns on the market so blast away.
     
  5. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    If I had the money I would buy a Freedom Arms revolver immediately. They are the most accurate revolvers I know of. I'm guessing the fact they are line bored has something to do with it. Like said above, you are buying a had fitted custom revolver. I will buy one some day and it will be in .45 Colt.
     
  6. huntershooter

    huntershooter Member

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    Subjective question.
    Worth it to me. The tightest, best shooting handgun I own.
    Here's my 97 in .45 Colt, I have the .45 ACP cylinder but have never shot it...


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  7. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    First of all they are built like a tank.

    Second, they are the most accurate production revolver that's available because the chambers are line-bored to insure they are absolutely concentric with the bore.

    Line boring means that each chamber is individually drilled while the cylinder is locked in the frame. Other production revolvers cylinders are drilled while the cylinder is clamped in a machine. If there is the slightest misalignment between the slot in the cylinder and the chamber, that chamber will not be concentric with the barrel. Other makes of revolvers usually allow a little "wiggle" in the cylinder when a chamber is locked so that when fired the bullet can self align with the bore.

    If you want the very best, Freedom Arms revolvers are well worth the money.
     
  8. tuckerdog1

    tuckerdog1 Member

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    I have a Model 83 in 454, and a Model 353 ( which is a Model 83 in 357 ). Fantastic guns. I've never regretted spending the money.

    Here is a link to an older article that may attest to their strength. It's written about the 353 ( a Model 83 ), and not the model 97. But I suspect a 97 will outlast you, no matter how many rounds ( especially 38s ) you put through it.

    http://www.sixguns.com/tests/tt353.htm

    Tuckerdog1
     
  9. kolob10

    kolob10 Member

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    FA worth

    Absolutely worth the price. They will last a lifetime, superbly accurate, and nice to look at also. I have a couple and have had no problems whatsoever. I have owned two others and they too were great weapons. I'm waiting on a good deal on a 22/22mag model 97 and I will own 3 FA revolvers. Save up your pennies and make the plunge. Good shooting
     
  10. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    In spite of the fact that the 97 has a transfer bar action and the 83 has a "safety bar" that apparently engages in the quarter cock position, FA still sternly warns you to Never carry a round under the hammer, as though it were a conventional SAA. This leaves you with a four-shooter in any caliber larger than .357.

    Are they just playing lawyer games or is their action less safe than say a NM Ruger's?
     
  11. CraigC
    • Contributing Member

    CraigC Member

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    They are playing lawyer games because they have been sued over the stupidity of others and lost.
     
  12. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    They are superbly made, if that is the question.
     
  13. Buck Snort

    Buck Snort Member

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    If I had kids I'm sure my two Model 83s would get passed down for several generations. They're built like a bank vault.
     
  14. Ultima-Ratio

    Ultima-Ratio Member

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    Buy a pair of Rugers and used the change to buy ammo!
     
  15. JellyJar

    JellyJar Member

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    If you pull back the hammer of a model 83 after engaging the safety bar is there anyway to make the weapon fire without pulling the trigger?

    With or without a round under the hammer.
     
  16. Prosser

    Prosser Member

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    Chris:
    I own 2 FA 83's , and sold a 252, that's a target 22 lr.

    I think they are worth 1000-1500 dollars. That's about what the used market is for em. 97's are harder to find, have a better safety then the 83's.

    Other people make their barrels, and frames,so your accuracy is dependent on barrel quality, and Bob Baker's test crew.

    The question becomes can you find a BFR for 500-1000 bucks, which is perhaps as strong, if not stronger, and uses standard ruger parts or an FA, depends on area.
    People sell FA's in my area. The only BFR I've ever been able to find used in this area was 1000 dollars, more then a new one.:confused:

    The BFR short frame guns are still a bit more on the size of the 83 not the 97.

    My issues with the FA is one, a 5 pound trigger on a 2500 dollar gun, that then requires 100 bucks for a trigger job, to get it to 3 pounds. Might be different with the 97's, but ask.

    Also, Bob Baker tends to treat his guns like an over protective father, so, if you have ANY discussion, be very diplomatic, or he might react like you spit on his 7 year old.

    FA support is supposed to be second to none. That said, I doubt I'll ever use it, since both my guns started as FA's, and have been converted by Jack Huntington Advanced gunsmithing. 454 to .475, and, .475 to .500 JRH.

    They are 17-4, frame cylinder, and I think, most parts.

    As for durable: Don't know about the 97's. 83's have been shot with very heavy 454 loads, for very long times. The forcing cone might errode, or the barrel, but Baker backs his guns, and usually those things are taken care of free.
    17-4 is REALLY strong. I can't imagine .357 even scratching it.

    5-8 thousand rounds of .38, and I don't think you'll even take the finish off the forcing cone in 20 years.

    Bob Baker is not one of my favorite people, but I respect the product he puts out.
     
  17. iScream

    iScream Member

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    Thanks everybody. I'm trying to decide between a new revolver from FA or a custom 1911. I reload 38 Special and I really like the idea of shooting the same loads as I do with my S&W 686 P.

    I do have a 1911 but it's chambered in 9mm (STI Trojan). It almost seems wrong to not have a proper 1911 in 45 though.

    If I get the revolver, I'm thinking I want the 7.5 inch barrel. I agree with the statement about paying an extra $100 for the lighter trigger on a gun in this price range but I'll probably go ahead with it. Otherwise I'm sure I'll always wish I had done so.

    I don't really know what the difference is between the model 83 and 97. Are there differences beyond what has been mentioned so far in this thread?

    -Chris
     
  18. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    The 97 is considerably smaller.
     
  19. Geno
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    Geno Member

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    Yes, they are made with a fit and finish seen on few revolvers. I had the .454 Casull. The recoil was extreme for me; I should have purchased a .44 Mag instead.

    Geno
     
  20. iScream

    iScream Member

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    OK. Somehow I missed that fact looking on their site. I prefer a pretty heavy gun at the range so maybe the 83 is actually what I'm looking for.

    -Chris
     
  21. Prosser

    Prosser Member

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    The 97 is 80% of the 83 IIRC. My 83's average 3- 3.2 pounds loaded.
    The 97's are about 36 oz unloaded, for a 45 colt, and loaded probably what, 42 oz?

    I'd get my hands on one and try it. I find the standard grips on the 83 too small for me, and needed custom grips by Jack Huntington, fitted to my large hand size.

    Shooting .357, even with a 40 oz gun, should be a piece of cake.

    As for a choice between that and a custom 1911, I'd shop, and shop, until I found either a FA used between 1000-1500, or, I'd have a look at the
    Dan Wesson/CZ 1911's. At 1000 bucks I should have bought one. At 1300, they are now a poor man's Ed Brown.

    Also Wilsons can be had in the same price range.

    In defense of FA pricing, they have been pretty much the same for a very long time, IIRC. I can't say that about custom 1911's, since they have inflated faster in price then Michelle Obama.

    FA's are tested at the factory for accuracy, and only a few bad ones get out.
    My guess is the gunwriters get the cream of the crop, since everyone writes the same boring thing:

    "This is the most accurate revolver I have ever shot."

    Should be if it's the cream of the crop from FA.
    If in a bigger caliber, BFR's are in the hunt value wise, and, maybe better then either Ruger or FA. Still kicking myself I didn't have a couple thousand dollars around when CDNN had a 500 dollar a gun special on BFR revolvers.
     
  22. Prosser

    Prosser Member

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  23. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    Geno,
    You can fire .45 Colt ammo in that .454 Casull much in the way you can fire .38 Special ammo in a .357 Magnum revolver. Firing .45 Colt ammo in a .454 Casull is a real pleasure for practice. Give it a try if you already haven't done so...
     
  24. Prosser

    Prosser Member

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    ArchAngelCD:

    Bob Baker insists that's not safe, and, that you should get another, .45 Colt cylinder.
    See if I can explain this in short.
    .44 mag works at 40k, and has much more cylinder metal. Usually proofs, meaning what is required to blow the cylinder, at about 100K. Safety margin is 150%.
    .454 operates near 60k, hence horrible, sudden recoil, with cylinder proofing/going at 90k: safety margin is 50%.

    Now in a .44 mag, the little build up created by shooting the .44 special in it would create a little ring. If you get the .44 mag in, the little build up ring causes the bullet
    to be held in place longer, since it creates extra pressure where the bullet is seated.
    No big deal in the .44, far less in the .357 magnum. So, even if you don't do a great job of cleaning no problem.

    FA's are made to far tighter tolerances then you can get, even with a custom, fantastic gunsmith, unless he remakes the entire gun. That goes for the cylinder, as well.
    So, in the 454, you have very tight chambers. Now that little ring becomes a big deal.
    If you shoot 45 colt in it, then manage to chamber .454, you have a little pressure ring build up that will hold the bullet in place longer. With average loads of around 50-55k,
    and now you have the ring holding the bullet in place longer, you have the potential for a very high pressure spike,blowing a cylinder.

    Even 17-4 stainless will blow, given such a situation.

    John Linebaugh found this out when he, and Dick Casull started messing around with heavy loaded .45 Colt, like .454 level .45 Colt, in Ruger frames with 17-4 cylinders.

    Linebaugh's solution was a tight cylinder, and, you could load the new .45 Colt brass
    to .454 pressure levels, without fear of blowing the cylinder. Frame might stretch, top strap cut, forcing cones errode, but his cylinders would hold at .454 pressures.

    I was just looking at the H110 loads we used to use back then. 360 grain bullet, with 27.5 grains of H110. That's nearly 4 grains over the max load Hodgdon lists now.

    Heck, we used to take a .45 Colt case, put as much H 110 as we could in it, and put 230 grain ball ammo on top of that, super hard cast, for practice. Looking at the loading tables, this was probably going near 2100 fps, though I barely believe that while typing it. If felt light in recoil compared to the heavy bullets, and had a HUGE blast and was really loud. FUN!

    The gun I/we used was based on a Seville, had a custom barrel, and handmade cylinder, in 17-4 by JL.
    Looked like this:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    This was the development stage of such stuff.
    [​IMG]

    This is what the gun looked like after Jack Huntington put custom grips on it, a beautiful blue job, and fixed a 20 year old problem, the gun going out of time.

    You see every time you pulled a trigger on a heavy load, the gun would jump out of time, and, you'd have to use your finger to rotate the cylinder back into alignment. The answer was deeper cuts in the cylinder.

    Did make for some exciting stories from Ross Seyfried about hunting cape buffalo with the sister gun to mine.
     
  25. tuckerdog1

    tuckerdog1 Member

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    In 357, the 97 is a 6 shot and the 83 is a 5 shot. Subtract 1 each if you keep an empty under the hammer, as advised.

    Tuckerdog1
     
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