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questions and advice about colt clone BP revolvers

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by ivankerley, Aug 4, 2013.

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  1. ivankerley

    ivankerley Member

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    I dont get much opportunity to see let alone handle many BP guns in my local shops but yesterday i got to handle a .36 cal Uberti (1861? navy i think), beautiful revolver but the grip was a little small (got big hands).

    So my 1st question: the difference between the grip and over all size between a say 1860 Army and the 61 Navy, is it a dramatic difference or slight?

    2nd question: is there any difference between a uberti/pietta sold through say cimmaron or taylors vs. Dixie, cabellas etc.?

    I'm finally in a position to buy myself a BP revolver, had my heart set on an 1860 Army for a couple years and was hoping for some insight. ive read all the uberti vs pietta threads and im kinda leaning towards the uberti as ive handled a couple of theirs, F&F seemed excellent, havent had the opportunity to handle a pietta though
    Thanks
    Gene
     
  2. brushhippie

    brushhippie Member

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    The 60 has a bigger grip, dramatic.....kinda...and I kinda lean toward Piettas nowadays.
     
  3. Ifishsum

    Ifishsum Member

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    The '60 Army is my favorite, both for aesthetics and for shooting - especially since installing a taller front sight. I also have a '58 rem, both are recently manufatured Piettas and I've got no complaints on the fit/finish/function of either but I did adjust the bolt timing a little bit on the 60. I've looked over a few Ubertis as well and I'm not sure they have much on Pietta honestly, which I gather hasn't always been so. Pietta is worth a look in my book anyway.
     
  4. Prairie Dawg

    Prairie Dawg Member

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    Army grip is bigger & longer by about 3/4 inch.
    Big difference in 1860 Army & 1861 --Size of gun, length of barrel, size of grips 44 vs 36 caliber. Army is bigger in every way.
    I like Piettas & have many of them.
    Ubertis are nice & I have a couple of them, but Piettas are fine guns & are much lower in price.
    Most of my guns are Cabelas.
    I have some Cimarron & Navy Arms, & Taylors
    But, by the time you tune 'em, they are all about the same IMHO
    --Dawg
     
  5. swathdiver

    swathdiver Member

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    DO you have large hands? If so you may appreciate the longer Army grip while using the Navy grip most fellas curl their pinky under it which aids in support.

    If you like the Army but like the Navy grip, well you can simply swap them out within brands generally.
     
  6. J-Bar

    J-Bar Member

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    Follow your heart and buy the 1860.

    You will eventually wind up with a variety of 'em anyway!
     
  7. CraigC
    • Contributing Member

    CraigC Member

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    Not really. The 1860 Army and 1861 Navy are almost identical. Same barrel profile and far as I can tell, Uberti 1861's are 7½", while Pietta's are 8". The `60's grip is only a quarter inch longer (not 3/4") and that is the only difference in grips. The 1860 has the rebated cylinder for .44cal but otherwise, they are almost the same sixgun.

    Everybody's hands are bigger than the Navy/SAA grip. What makes them manageable is to stop trying to cram all your digits on the grip frame and tuck that pinky under.

    Strong%2005b.jpg
     
  8. ivankerley

    ivankerley Member

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    thanks guys!

    i appreciate the advice and insight, im indeed sold on the '60 Army; just need to figure out who to buy from etc.
    is there any advantage to buying Cimarron or Taylors? Are they finished to a higher degree or do they cherry pick theirs? Also are they marked differently?
    Thanks
    Gene
     
  9. CraigC
    • Contributing Member

    CraigC Member

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    They 'say' they're held to higher QC standards but I have seen very little difference in guns from Cimarron, Taylor's, Dixie Gun Works and Uberti-branded guns imported by Stoeger. I'd go with the best price. I would have historically gone for Uberti's but the new Pietta's are very, very good guns and fully equal. Maybe, possibly, perhaps even a little better.
     
  10. ivankerley

    ivankerley Member

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    thanks! i kind of suspected that. Being my first BP revolver i suppose the only thing im concerned about is being underwhelmed with the F&F especially if im buying new.
    Unfortunately i havent handled or seen a pietta in person, have seen and handled a few different ubertis... Understand tinkering regardless of brand is to be expected, just want to avoid alot of F&F fixes before any other tinkering goes on if you know what i mean
    Thanks
    Gene
     
  11. toolslinger

    toolslinger Member

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    Just within the last 3-4 years I have acquired 4 Piettas and 1 Uberti. I see very little difference in quality. They all seem very nice, well timed and well finished. I also got the big hands and you will definitely like the Army grip better. Soon as I can find proper grip frames my Navy and Griswold and Gunnison are getting Army grips. I hate curling my pinky.
     
  12. BHP FAN

    BHP FAN Member

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    ....get a Remington. no, seriously-if you want an ''Colt'' 1860, and always have, get a pair of them. the 1860 was probably the ultimate evolution of the Colt pattern revolver. even the elegant 1861 .36 is just a down sized 1860 .44. I would get Piettas from Cabelas. They have a no BS return policy, the best I've seen. I used to say that Uberti made the best guns, but that's in the past. Uberti's guns have got no worse, but Piettas have come waaay up in quality over the years, the main differnce now, is price.
     
  13. ivankerley

    ivankerley Member

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    i will use your suggestion when my wife asks why on earth i needed 2 of them:D
    Remmies are fine just not for me ive had a thing for the colts since i was a kid, my dad had an old cap gun from when he was a kid that was a '60, lever worked and everything, beat to death but still cool
    Thanks
    gene
     
  14. BHP FAN

    BHP FAN Member

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    I had the same cap gun! My first ''real'' gun was a .22 when I was ten or twelve, my first handgun was an old Navy Arms ''Colt'' '51 Navy .36, with a short barrel. It balanced well, but lacked in the accuracy dept. When I got my first Remington, there was no looking back. Go with the Colts though, you need to scratch that itch! Nothing else ''feels'' like a good 1860, the smooth, elegant lines, the well designed, practical loading lever. Like the Walker and the Dragoon, it was an ''open top'' .44, but a whole lot handier to carry.
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2013
  15. Rom828

    Rom828 Member

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    I'm sorry to say this but for a first-timer I'd get the Remington. That or get very good at knocking out the wedge that retains the barrel and putting it back together. You'll want to wipe it down every other cylinder full to keep it clean and operating. Why the Remington? Pull down the loading lever, pull out the pin, and the cylinder falls right out. Nothing kills the enthusiasm like a gummed up revolver or one that's stuck because a piece of cap fell down into the lockwork. Black powder revolvers are like playing golf. You'll have very good days and others, not so good.
     
  16. ivankerley

    ivankerley Member

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    while i appreciate the advice the remmies (while fine guns im sure) do nothing for me, and ive read all about the pains and joys of open tops :D
    but i will not be deterred, its an 1860 army!
    Thanks
    Gene

    ps heck im even on the fence with the Ruger old army, i swear just cause it looks more like a remmie than a colt:D
     
  17. Driftwood Johnson

    Driftwood Johnson Member

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    Howdy

    I'm glad CraigC corrected the misinformation about the size of the 1860 Army.

    The grip is indeed only about 1/4" longer than the 1851/1861/SAA grip. I too ALWAYS grip a SAA type revolver with my pinky under the grip. That is how it was designed, no point trying to cram the entire hand onto the short grip. With the 1/4" longer 1860 grip, it is too big for me to get my pinky under, and a little bit too small for me to cram my entire hand on. With my pinky under the 1860 grip, I have to regrip in order to reach the hammer spur to cock the hammer. With my entire hand on the grip I can reach the hammer spur, but I have to regrip again to shift my hand down just a smidge so that I have good trigger control. If the grip was another 1/4" longer, it would be good for me, but it ain't. I strongly suggest trying both grips, and going through the entire exercise of cocking the hammer, then seeing if the hand needs to shift in order to shoot the gun comfortably. Don't drop the hammer, just ease it down. See which one fits best, both with the pinky under the grip and with the entire hand crammed onto the grip.

    The frames of the 1851 Navy, 1860 Army, and 1861 Navy are all exactly the same size. What Colt did with the 1860 Army was take the Navy 36 caliber cylinder, and add metal to the front end, in order to fit six 44 caliber chambers in. but the rear of the cylinder where the nipples are remained the same diameter. The frame then had a relief cut to accept the larger diameter of the front of the cylinder. But other than that relief cut, the frames are exactly the same size.


    Sorry, but I disagree. Of all the Black Powder revolvers, the 1858 Remington is the worst for binding up. That is because 1. there is no cylinder bushing to keep fouling blasted off the cylinder pin, and 2. the pin is very narrow and binds up quickly. While Colts also lack a cylinder bushiing, the cylinder arbor is much larger in diameter, and that spreads out the fouling more. In addition, the Colt design incorporates a helical groove running around the arbor which creates clearance for fouling to be deposited in. A properly lubed Colt open top type C&B will run longer without binding than a Remington, at least that is my experience. I can shoot an entire CAS match with my 1860s without wiping down anything, or driving out the wedge. With my Remmies, I have to stop and wipe off the cylinders and the cylinder pins every other cylinder full or they will bind up. Of course, the mechanics of the Remmie does make this easier to do than with a Colt type.
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2013
  18. Pancho

    Pancho Member

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    I had one of those cap guns too. I asked my mom for a "Fanner-50" and she bought the Colt instead. I was about 11 at the time and that colt was BIG.
     
  19. Fingers McGee

    Fingers McGee Member

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    What Driftwood said +1
     
  20. BowerR64

    BowerR64 Member

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    I agree with you, i have 2 of the colts and 3 remingtons and i like the way the remingtons work the best.

    I always prefer guns that you can tear down without needing any tools.

    Ive seen people just push the wedge out but mine are not like that at all. I have to use a cloths pin and a hammer to get mine out.
     
  21. Ifishsum

    Ifishsum Member

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    I also agree with Driftwood - the wedge on the 1851/1860s isn't a problem with the right technique, and the combination of the open top (gives the fouling somewhere else to go) and the large cylinder arbor allows for more rounds before the crud starts slowing things down. The Remy goes about 3 cylinders before I need to at least pull the pin and wipe it down, the Colt will usually go many more for me. I lube the arbor with virgin olive oil (same with the cylinder pin on the Remy).

    I have one of those small Lyman hammers with interchangeable brass, steel and plastic heads and a brass punch stored in the handle. Great for helping tap the wedge in or out. Also find a couple of older pennies made of real copper, they are handy to help tap out the wedge without marking it up.
     
  22. J-Bar

    J-Bar Member

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    If you have to really work hard to remove a wedge, then you have driven it in too far in the first place, or it was not fitted properly originally. After making sure that the arbor is fitted properly to the barrel, some judicious filing may be needed. Others can describe fitting a wedge better than I, I am sure.

    I like mine to seat firmly enough that either hard thumb pressure or a tap with a plastic screwdriver handle can dislodge it. And I make sure there is a film of some kind of lube on it when I put it back in.
     
  23. realitycheck

    realitycheck Member

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    everybody will say different.no right or wrong. but a long time ago,the first blk powder revolver i got was a Pietta 1851 Confederate Navy 44, from Cabelas, and it came looking beautiful.th mechanics were tight,the wood looked like fancy grade,the blue and brass were shiny,and everything seemed to work well. It was the least expensive one they had.Piettas use .454 balls best. In my opinion though,you should choose a steel frame instead of brass,because theyre stronger and last longer.
    Regards
     
  24. ivankerley

    ivankerley Member

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    thanks, nice to hear a glowing review of a budget pietta, guys are making it hard to just say Uberti and be done with it ;-)
    Also i will be going with the steel frame, later on i'll get a brass frame im sure
    Thanks Again
    Gene
     
  25. Driftwood Johnson

    Driftwood Johnson Member

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    Well, I will be the naysayer.

    A few years ago Cabellas had Pietta 1860 Army revolvers on sale. Don't remember the price, probably about $200. So I ran up to the nearest Cabellas and bought a pair.

    Nice guns, but I WAS NOT pleased with the burrs that had been left on the surface of the frames and then the case hardening finish applied over them. The proper thing to do would have been to polish off the burrs BEFORE case hardening the frames. As it is, if I were to grind off the burrs now, it would look like heck and stand out like a sore thumb.

    When you buy something cheap, there is a reason it is cheap. Here is one Cowboy who wishes he had spent a little bit more money on a pair of Ubertis.
     
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