Opinions on a WESTERN style 45 Long Colt Six-Shooter Please


Aug 28, 2022
3 States
Hello gents. I am a HUGE Western and Equine fan. I horseback ride, and my favorite movies and TV shows have always been Westerns. I have a home theater decorated in Western and Equine theme. Just a sample to convince you;


As an avid reloader and gun owner, I am (believe it or not) JUST getting into the 45 Long Colt. Better late than never. I am considering many different six-shooters. I would like the opinions of members here, because I have come to respect the opinions of our members.

First, what do the members here think of the Pietta 1873 US Marsall? I do not know much about Pietta. My local gun store owner is fond of this gun.
As a bonus, it comes with a 45 ACP cylinder, and I would like that. I have a large amount of 45 ACP components and sold my 1911 a long time ago, so that would give me another cartridge to load along side the 45 LC, with components and dies that I already have.


I am also considering the Ruger Vaquero and a few others from another thread I started on loading 45 LC. And, of course, I will consider any others that the members here may think are excellent WESTERN style guns.

Thanks in advance. I look forward to your opinions.
Both the Pietta and the Ruger will serve you well... provided that you don't go crazy with your reloads. Some folks may find that the Ruger is just a little stronger/better [?] but there are a couple of others you might consider, including the Taylor & Co. and the USFA. I also suspect that eventually you will want a Colt -- 1st, 2nd or 3rd gen. -- but a Colt... and then maybe more than one! Some may suggest that the additional cost of the Taylor, USFA and Colt isn't worth it, but there is a difference, at least in my hand. I still can't hit anything because I'm just a lousy shot, but the Colt just feels different. However.... the biggest issue may be the caliber. If the "gun that won the west" is the Winchester 1873, it wasn't originally available in .45 lc, which in part led to great western debate over "2 calibers or 1." Since you're a reloader, you might want to consider a 44-40 or even a 32-20 because ammunition in those calibers is now so difficult to find for folks that don't reload that the price on those firearms is sometimes a little lower. Just a thought. Thanks for the pictures -- they all look great, but now we're going to have to see what you decide to add to your "decor." Thanks again!
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There are a lot of people more knowledgeable about such things than I am. But the "New Model Ruger Vaquero" would be where I'd start looking. The original Vaquero's were built on a larger, stronger frame that would take really hot 45 Colt loads that the original Colt's and most reproductions won't handle. To my eye and hand the New Model Vaquero looks and feels like the original Colt SAA. It won't handle those hot loads, but that's not why I'd be buying it.

I just don't know enough about the other reproductions, but they certainly do have a following. At least some of them. But the Ruger is a safe bet IMO.
I have only one S/A .45 "convertible." I guess a blue version would be more authentic. Joe
Everybody has Colt clones .... Yawn
I do have a Ruger New Model Blackhawk, which is almost a Colt clone.

My favorite clone is a 1875 Remington Outlaw
Great information and opinions, gentlemen. What a valuable forum this is. Thank you.

I am not into hot loads. I do not do progressive loading. I have an RCBS "Piggyback" progressive adapter for my Rock Chucker, but I have not used it in over 20 years. My enjoyment and mission at the reloading bench thes days is ammunition "Crafting". I enjoy slow and accurate load crafting, single stage, well within the tolerances of the firearm. That's not to say I am going to load pop gun ammunition, but I don't push the envelope either.
Either Pietta or Uberti. If historical accuracy means anything to you the Ruger has no place in the conversation as it's nothing like a Colt. Some of Uberti's offerings have a transfer bar and a three click hammer. I think the old style frame without the transverse cylinder latch is the only one with a hammer mounted firing pin and four click hammer. they call it the bp frame but it's safe for modern smokeless ammo. I'm not sure but I think all Pietta's have a hammer mounted firing pin and four click hammer
if a decently priced pietta 45lc/acp convertible revolver is readily available now, i would jump on it. my brother’s 357mag, single-action italian clone (uberti i think) is perfectly fine as his range toy and house gun. i swear by my ruger blackhawk convertibles in 45lc/acp and 357/38/9, but i got them 8-10 years ago for half of their cost today.
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That’s a good looking revolver and is definitely Western. Pietta quality is good.

Many many many other options are available. And all of them, plus many others, will be offered up here 🤣
The original Colt 1873 safety mechanism for carrying the gun fully loaded was just a safety notch on the hammer, which is engaged when the hammer is cocked back ~1/4" off the frame to keep the firing pin from touching the live primer of the round underneath it. As time went on, it was realized that this was not actually a rock solid reliable drop safe mechanism, and as a result a lot of modern clones built today have mechanical safeties that try to make them safer to carry fully loaded while still keeping the 1873 feel and aesthetic. This is why there is often talk about '4 click' and '3 click' hammers regarding 1873 clones. The 4 click is the authentic safety notch hammer, and the 3 click hammer has the safety notch removed, since there is another type of modern mechanical safety incorporated, like a transfer bar, hammer block, etc. By the way, those clicks are 1= safety notch, 2=half cock, 3=bolt dropping, 4=full cock.

Personally, I like the 100% authentic 4 click clones, it just feels right when getting into that full historical experience at the range. In addition to the four clicks, that double click to reach half cock and free up the cylinder when reloading feels cool... on something like the Ruger Vaquero you don't get that; the hammer remains down when reloading, simply opening the loading gate frees up the cylinder. I just shoot my 1873 at the range though, if I wanted to carry one for self defense I would be more interested in the modern improvements that allow a full 6 rounds to be safely carried.
3sport, If you go with the Pietta[damn good choice], with the .45 acp cylinder, this will be be a very good decision. I have one, the "Gun Fighter" model. These are good revolvers.
Smooth and just plain good looking guns. Any more info needed, here or PM is fine.
BTW, like that Western room you have going on there. Bar included.
I have posted this one before. When I got it, it had a one piece wood grip, standard sight and a 45 long Colt cylinder. I immediately replaced the grips with smooth elk. It was not long before I fit the ACP cylinder and “lost” the long Colt cylinder. The front sight, well, I like it.



The barrel is marked “Armi Jaeger”. Not sure who made it, got it back in the early 70s. A good shooter and has dropped quite a few white tails.

I agree with the statement “…Ruger has no place in a Western themed setting…”. If you want a heavy modern piece, they are great in that role!

I agree with the statement “…Ruger has no place in a Western themed setting…”. If you want a heavy modern piece, they are great in that role!

While watching a tv documentary about the OK Corral fight, I noticed in a closeup that one of the re-enactors in Tombstone was using a stainless Ruger Vaquero. Made me laugh.
While watching a tv documentary about the OK Corral fight, I noticed in a closeup that one of the re-enactors in Tombstone was using a stainless Ruger Vaquero. Made me laugh.

That's funny. Nice catch. I try and notice things like that with all my Western movies and TV show viewing. With HDTV and 4k, it's easier to spot the actual firearm they are using, especially now that you can freeze frame in HD.

This also reminded me, when I was looking for a Lever action Western style 357, my gun shop talked me into a stainless Rossi. I really like it but a STAINLESS for an authentic Western firearm really was odd to me. I remember the gunsmith (whom I really respect) at the shop said to me, "Let me tell you something for sure. If cowboys would have had access to a stainless firearm, they would have carried one." So I bought it.

I do know, however, that for the 45 LC revolver that I am in the market for now, I would rather go with blued. Same with a 45 LC Lever later this year. Blued finish most likely. This way I can put them on display at times in the Western home theater room and they will look a little more period correct than a stainless would look.
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I bought a Uberti Cattleman 4 5/8” .45 Colt in the 1990’s.They are nice looking guns, and mine shot well so I was happy. I also bought a shiny stainless old style Ruger Vaquero, which I kept and gave the Uberti to a friend when he moved up to Idaho.

Of the two, the Uberti was more “correct”, as it looked and felt a lot like a Colt, and it was loaded with 5 for safety. To me the Ruger is not a perfect “Western clone”, but it is hell-for-stout and fun to tote. (And safe with 6 if you are out on a hike or horse.) The “New Vaqueros” in .45 Colt are built on a smaller frame than the old ones, so they look and feel a bit more like a SAA but can safely hold 6. (The .45 Colt versions shouldn’t be loaded as heavy as the old Vaquero can be.)

I added a .45 Colt Blackhawk a few years ago. It feels like the Vaquero but has a much better sight picture.

Once you start down this rabbit hole you may find yourself looking for a rimfire understudy like the Single Six, Heritage or Wrangler. Or, maybe a .44 Special or .32 caliber little brother help to while away the time.

You can also go traditional with a “plow handle” grip that hangs low in the hand, these are universally known to point well for most shooters and they roll back nicely under recoil. Ruger puts out their version of a humped “Bisley” style grip that sits higher in the hand and gives a different feel, and several gunmakers offer a “Birdshead” grip that is really compact. All of them are fun to shoot in my book.

Rossi and others make .45 Colt lever guns. Of my three pistol-caliber lever guns the .45 Colt is my favorite. There is nothing better than loading a bunch of those cigar butt sized cartridges into the magazine and thwacking over my steel critter silhouettes without getting beat up with rifle-caliber recoil. (Motorcycles are extra!)

Best part of loading .45 Colt rounds is they take just about any .452” bullet and can shoot them into nice groups with several powders. My favorite is Unique, 8.0 gr with a 250 gr RNFP or even a 185 gr SWC. Both of those are fun all afternoon.

If you are looking for a wall hanger too, there are several “patinaed” SAA clones made that give the look of years in the holster right out of the box. Others make guns styled after movie guns, like an actor playing an outlaw or Wyatt Earp would tote. I think one of those would look super cool in your parlor. (The 1875 Remington is a favorite of mine!)

Whatever you choose, let us know what you get and how it shoots for you :thumbup:

Stay safe.