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Peacemaker with Color Case Hardening & Transfer Bar

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by jcochran1111, Mar 20, 2012.

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  1. jcochran1111

    jcochran1111 Member

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    I am wanting to get a Colt Peacemaker style revolver in the $300-$600 price range, and have been researching several different models. Outside of general configuration and caliber, there are two features that I have decided I would like to have:

    1. A transfer bar – I just really like the idea of being able to carry with a full 6.
    2. True color case hardening – bone/charcoal/leather or salt/cyanide method that actually impregnates the color into the metal as part of the hardening process (not a finish added after hardening).

    The problem that I am having is that I can’t seem to find a model that has both. They seem to either have a transfer bar and “fake” color case, or real color case hardening (carbon or chemical) but no transfer bar.

    Is anyone aware of a model out there that has both these things?
     
  2. BCCL

    BCCL Member

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    Boy I can't think of a single one with a transfer bar and real CCH.
     
  3. Greg528iT

    Greg528iT Member

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    Been looking at them the last couple weeks as well. Word I heard, Ruger had a fake CCH years ago, but it didn't hold up well. I went with a stainless New Vaquero, figuring if I really really wanted the CCH effect, I can paint it, if it wears thin I at least have corrosion resistance.
     
  4. DPris

    DPris Member

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    You won't find both.
    Denis
     
  5. jcochran1111

    jcochran1111 Member

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    I just got an email back from EAA (European American Armory). I asked if their Bounty Hunter model had both a transfer bar and real CCH. The response I got back said that they do have both. Does anybody have any experience with the EAA Bounty Hunter?
     
  6. BCCL

    BCCL Member

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    I just got an EAA Bounty Hunter in .45 Colt last month (mine's nickle plated though).

    [​IMG]

    Overall I like it, the action out of the box is not as smooth as some guns, being the old Ruger safety conversion type, trigger pull is heavier than most Colt copies, but not so bad you can't shoot it fine, and they can be slicked up. Accuracy was really good.

    This was 15 yards standing up two handed, not bench rested, in my first range session with it.

    [​IMG]

    After shooting mine, I wouldn't hesitate to buy another one if the price was right.

    I did a bunch of reading up on them before buying one, and this was one of the better articles on them.

    http://www.gunblast.com/Paco_WineRoses.htm
     
  7. loadedround

    loadedround Member

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    Get a Ruger Vaquero for a transfer bar and CCH finish. I own several and the "case hardening finish" has held up extremly well in mine. Ruger can and will refinish your handgun at a reasonable price if it ever becomes necessary. Ruger makes perhaps one of the finest SA revolvers on the market today.
     
  8. CraigC
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    CraigC Member

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    The EAA colors look fake to me.

    Ruger doesn't do case coloring anymore. They've abandoned their chemical finish and gone to full blue.

    I know of no maker who does real case colors and has a transfer bar. Personally, I'd forget about the transfer bar and get a Uberti from one of various importers.
     
  9. BCCL

    BCCL Member

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    I'm with CraigC, I have only seen 1 EAA with CCH, and it did not look like real CCH to me, the colors were not deep enough IMO, so I'm curious what they mean by it being real???

    loadedround may have your easiest answer, I have 2 original Vaqueros with their CCH "finish" and it's held up just fine.

    Just a note though, "if" you send one back to Ruger for refinishing, they will blue it, they will not redo the CCH finish.

    One other gun that comes to mind, is the Beretta Stampede, it has a transfer bar, but is built by Uberti....the few I've seen had very nice CCH color, but not sure if it's "real" or a "finish"???
     
  10. DPris

    DPris Member

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    I've worked with an EAA single-action, I do not believe the case colors are genuine case-hardening.
    Denis
     
  11. Driftwood Johnson

    Driftwood Johnson Member

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    Howdy

    True Case Hardening is done by placing the parts in a closed container packed with carbon bearing materials like leather and charred bone. The container is then placed in a furnace and heated. Sorry, I don't remember the specific temperature. The raised temperature causes carbon from the leather and bone to migrate into the surface of the steel. How much carbon migrates into the steel depends on how long the parts are heated. The container is then removed from the furnace and the parts are quenched in water.

    Raising the carbon content at the surface of the part increases the surface hardness of the metal. True case hardening can be done with both iron and steel. The carbon does not migrate very far into the surface of the steel, only around a millimeter at the very most. Usually considerably less. So the surface, or Case, of the metal has been hardened, while the underlying metal retains whatever ductility it originally had. This combination of surface hardness and underlying ductility is ideal for parts like revolver frames, hammers and triggers that need the surface hardness for wear resistance but need to retain ductility so they will not shatter from impacts.

    The colors of true Case Hardening are a by product of the process, nothing more. They do not impart any strength to the part. The colors can fade with exposure to harsh chemicals and even sunlight over time. In the past, the colors of true Case Hardening became a major selling point for gun manufacturers, so each maker jealously guarded their process. Modern refinishers like Doug Turnbull have recreated some of the old methods of producing brilliant colors, but the colors are still only a byproduct of the process. Turnbull can also create brilliant colors on Rugers, but he is not actually Case Hardening them.

    Case Hardening was a good solution using the low and medium carbon steels of the 19th Century for hardening the surface of the metal. Ruger uses a modern steel for their frames and they heat treat the steel so it is hardened all the way through, not just on the surface as with Case Hardening. That is why Ruger was using a 'fake' process for putting colors on the Vaquero frames.

    Case Hardening is one of many techniques for adding carbon to the surface of iron and steel. The general name for these processes is Carburizing. One very common application is for screws. Metal screws sold as Black Oxide have been treated to raise the carbon content at the surface. Another common way to surface treat steel to raise the surface hardness is a chemical called Kasenit.

    There is a video floating around on U Tube that shows part of the process for assembling Uberti revolvers. One scene clearly shows the frames being dipped in a chemical bath of some sort and the narrator says this is the hardening process. Clearly not true Case Hardening.

    I agree with CraigC, the Bounty Hunter colors do not appear to be true Case Hardening. Bottom line is, true Case Hardening is labor intensive which makes it expensive. If you want real Case Hardening, you are going to have to buy a Colt or a USFA and pay for it.

    **********

    I own Colts, Rugers, and Ubertis. If you want a transfer bar, buy a Ruger. They have been putting them in since the 1970s, everybody else is a Johnnie Come Lately.

    Otherwise, buy an Uberti and learn how to load one, skip one, and load four more. It is not difficult.
     
  12. Hammerdown77

    Hammerdown77 Member

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    That's interesting, because when I was talking to Ryan at HCP Gunsmithing (they handle gunsmithing services for Cimarron) about widening the rear sight notch on my Model P, he said something about chewing up mill bits due to the hardness of the frame (from the case hardening). Sounds like real case hardening to me. Maybe he'll see this and comment.
     
  13. CraigC
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    CraigC Member

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  14. Maj Dad

    Maj Dad Member

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    Doug Turnbull Restorations

    Turnbull restorations will do a CCH job on your pistol/firearm that will make you bug-eyed. If you can't find one with both, start with the pistol, then let DT turn it into an eye-popper for you. My USFA SAA with his Carbona blue & CCH is so nice almost everyone who sees it says "You aren't going to shoot this, are you?", and I smile & say "Yep."

    [​IMG]
     
  15. Driftwood Johnson

    Driftwood Johnson Member

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    As I said earlier, there is more than one way to surface harden parts than true Case Hardening. Watch the video that CraigC posted. You will see the frames being dipped into a hot salt bath and then quenched in water. The narrator of the film makes several mistakes. One of them is calling that process Case Hardening. It is not true Case Hardening done the way I described, although it will raise the surface hardness of the parts somewhat. I guarantee you that you will not get true bone Case Hardening with a gun in the Uberti price range. True Case Hardening is labor intensive, much more complicated than dipping parts into a bath, and it is expensive. If you want true Case Hardening done the old fashioned way, you will have to pay more.

    As I said, the narrator of that video makes several errors. For instance guns are not proofed at three times normal operating pressure. More like 1.2 to 1.5 times normal operating pressure. Three times would have destroyed the gun. But the video is very useful for seeing some of the processes that Uberti uses to make their guns, for instance forging the frames from red hot ingots and then final shaping on CNC equipment. The way the wooden grip is shaped with the metal grip parts is also interesting, that is the way it has been done for well over a century.
     
  16. CraigC
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    CraigC Member

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    I thought I saw recently where somebody was gonna offer a New Vaquero with a Turnbull refinish job. Might've been one of the major distributors or Turnbull himself.

    The most interesting part of the video to me, aside from the frame forging (which I heard were cast), is how they install the barrels and torque them. Exactly how one would turn a barrel at home to correct a windage problem.
     
  17. jcochran1111

    jcochran1111 Member

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    Thanks for all the good responses!

    I see on Wikipedia (the compendium of all accurate knowledge) that Niter Bluing is a hardening process with similar color results as true bone/leather/charcoal color case hardening. This sounds like the techniques of hardening that I have heard described using salt baths etc. that are often called color case hardening. Obviously not the good old fashioned way, but still actual hardening with color being endued into the metal - just a lot cheaper. This process will have to do for me, as I cannot afford or justify a new Colt or USFA at this time (I can always trade up later).

    Ultimately for me it will come down to what I can find in my price range at Tulsa in a week and a half. I just wanted to know more about some of the information that is not readily apparent with a casual handling.

    Another transfer bar model I am curious about is the Colt Cowboy. It seems to have been discontinued for a while now, so I probably won't see one, but I am curious as to it's quality and finish (since Colt is known for doing the old fashioned CCH). I expect it was produced more cheaply since it cost half as much, but has anyone had any experience with that model?

    PS Maj Dad - That gun is indeed nice! If I might ask, how did finish job cost? Doug Turnbull's website says around $150? If I find a Ruger cheap enough on the 31st, I may just swing by the Doug Turnbull booth too!
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2012
  18. royal barnes

    royal barnes Member

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    The Cowboy was not a true Colt. It was a poorly executed attempt to get a piece of the Ruger Vaquero market. It failed miserably. The frame was case colored. If you see one for sale.................run away!
     
  19. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Colored maybe.

    But it was not case hardened, and certainly not colored case hardened.

    Some poorly done artificial finish, and an embarrassment to Colt was all it was.

    rc
     
  20. Driftwood Johnson

    Driftwood Johnson Member

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    Howdy Again

    Actually, although there were quality problems at first with the Colt Cowboy, later on most of those problems were corrected and the Colt Cowboy was not too bad a gun. A pard of mine had a couple and he let me fire them. They were not as bad as most people think. But most people have not actually fired one.

    As stated, the Cowboy was brought out to compete at the same price point as the Ruger Vaquero. It was introduced in 1998. The frames were cast, not forged. I have heard rumors that Ruger's Pine Tree Investment Castings branch may have actually made the frames. They were assembled by Colt employees at the Colt factory.

    But unfortunately, even though most of the quality problems were cleaned up, the gun had already gained a bad reputation and production ceased a few years later.
     
  21. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    I have fired two.
    Yes, they shot O.K.

    I have looked at several new unfired ones pretty good that I didn't shoot.

    I have also been able to see daylight through the frame/guard joint of more then one if you held them up to the light just right.

    They were not even close to as good as the lowest quality Ruger ever made, in my opinion.

    rc
     
  22. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    Ah..... No it isn't.

    Nitre Bluing was a process where a formulation of chemicals, mostly consisting of "Nitre," (Potassium Nitrate) which in powder form was put into an iron tank and heated until it melted and became a clear liquid. This occured at around 500 degrees F. Small parts such as screws, pins, triggers etc. were put in a wire basket and lowered into the bath. Thereafter they were observed until they turned a bright blue-blue, and then quenched. The metal was not hardened becase no carbon (which is necessary to surface harden) was not involved. The color was pretty, but it did not wear well.

    Brownells (www.brownells.com) sell the equipment and supplies to do many different kinds of metal finishing, and this includes true bone & charcoal case hardning and Nitre Blue. They describe the various processes and methods in they're catalog, and on request will send one a printed copy of the exact directions. They are far more reliable then anything you will read in Wikipedia
     
  23. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Exactly what Old Fuff said.

    I can't believe Wackypeedia could be that wrong!

    But I guess they let any fool write "facts" on there.

    What worries me is, tomorrows leaders of this country are skating through collage copying Wackypeedia facts for term papers.

    And the teachers are checking the facts on Wackypeedia when they grade the papers!

    Yikes! :what:

    rc
     
  24. jcochran1111

    jcochran1111 Member

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    Again, thank you all for your input. (I half expected Wikipedia to be wrong... of course.)

    The Beretta Stampede was mentioned earlier. I have read a few reviews from 5+ years ago that seemed to be kinda down on them for poor fit finish and quality. However, I understand that they currently own Uberti, and perhaps use some Uberti parts in the Stampede? If the Stampede is essentially a high end Uberti with a transfer bar, I might need to take a much longer look...

    Has anyone had any experience with any more recently produced Stampedes? If there were problems, have they been corrected? And, of course, do they use the same hardening and color process as Uberti, or is it an after application like the Rugers were?
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2012
  25. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    Beretta is a major European manufacturer that bought up Uberti (big fish swallowed little fish), but it was a good thing because they built Uberti a whole new factory and equipped it with more modern machinery.

    Since Beretta was the big dog in this picture, and selling the Stampede under they’re own name, it was made the very best that Uberti could do. Unfortunately it did not become popular because those that wanted a transfer bar safety tended to buy Ruger’s, and other who liked the Stampede wanted it without the transfer bar.

    So I believe the Stampede has been discontinued, but if you find one on the used market it might well fill your needs.
     
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