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SAA Clones?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Deanimator, Nov 24, 2018.

  1. Deanimator

    Deanimator Member

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    I'm currently pondering the purchase of an SAA clone. My REQUIRED features include:

    • .45 Colt
    • ~7 1/2" barrel
    • Original Colt style lockwork. That means no Rugers, Berettas, etc.
    • Fixed sights
    • Basic traditional SAA finish (no stainless or brass).
    This gun is going to be a range toy. It's NEVER going to be carried loaded. Modern safety modifications are unneeded and unwanted. I'm also not willing to spend $2,000 on a gun that's strictly for idle amusement.

    I used to hear good things about Cimmaron and Uberti, but have recently heard stories about lockwork changes which change the character of the gun.

    Any brand recommendation which meet my requirements?
     
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  2. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    Deanimator

    Don't know about some of the newer SAA copies but I believe my old EMF U.S. Cavalry Hartford Model made by ASM is fairly close to the original Colt lockwork.

    fhXSO4Y.jpg
     
  3. Armored farmer

    Armored farmer Member

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    I would get a Cimarron 7th cavalry edition.
    There's one on Gunbroker now.
     
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  4. Barry loyd

    Barry loyd Member

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    Cimmaron, Uberti, Tiffany, etc are all the same from what I can find. Heritage makes a SAA clone. I don’t have any of those guns but I do have a Heritage .22 that’s pretty fun to shoot.
     
  5. Crunchy Frog

    Crunchy Frog Member

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    The two current Italian manufacturers of Colt SAA repros are Uberti and Pietta. Cimarron and Taylor’s are importers.

    Pietta makes its revolvers in different configurations to meet importers’ specs. They make revolvers with transfer bars and without. If I wanted a revolver that is faithful to a Colt I’d buy a Great Western 2 from EMF.

    Uberti’s Cattleman 2 features a retracting firing pin on the hammer. They seem to be phasing out the earlier version but the more traditional Ubertis are still out there.
     
  6. Armored farmer

    Armored farmer Member

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    FYI
    Tanners Sport Center on Gunbroker sells Uberti revolvers below dealer cost.
    I bought one there recently.
     
  7. tcj

    tcj Member

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    +on a Uberti based one; I recently bought a Cimarron Arms (aka Uberti) 1873 Evil Roy (5 1/2") in 45 Colt that has a beautiful case hardened frame and beautiful blue barrel and cylinder as well as nice walnut grips. Extremely smooth and a great shooter.

    Only significant difference from a "real" Colt are that there are only 3 clicks vs 4 due to the safety system...and the safety system. It looks like the Colt but has a floating firing pin that is "fixed" when the trigger is pulled. If you were looking at it and didn't know what to look for you probably would never notice it.

    It is my new, favorite range toy. :)
     
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  8. Driftwood Johnson

    Driftwood Johnson Member

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    Howdy, that is incorrect.

    Cimarron is an importer. They do not manufacture anything. The same with Talylors and a few others.

    Uberti is a manufacturer, in Gardone V.T., a suburb of Brescia, Italy. They have been in the replica firearms business since about 1959. They got into it at the approach of the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War. These days Uberti is owned by Beretta, one of the oldest manufacturing companies in the world.

    Pietta is another Italian replica arms maker.

    Can't tell you anything about Tiffany, that's a new one on me. However, back in the late 1800s New York based Tiffany and Company, the jewelry store, bought some Smith and Wesson revolvers and embellished them with silver, gold, and jewels. These revolvers were not meant to be fired, they were only for display. Here is an example. As the legend says, this one is in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

    141009172821-tiffany-guns-5-horizontal-large-gallery_zpsfoh11ent.jpg




    Back to the main subject. Last year, Uberti changed the design of the hammers on their replica revolvers. Although the mechanism is still basically the same as a Colt, no transfer bars or anything, they changed the design of the hammer. Although the firing pin is still located in the hammer, it retracts so normally it will not contact the primer of a cartridge. When the trigger is pulled, a small actuator pushes the firing pin forward so that when the hammer falls the firing pin will strike the primer and fire the cartridge. This was done because traditionally it is unsafe to keep a live round under the hammer of a conventional Colt style revolver. With a revolver using the traditional Colt style mechanism, it is only safe to carry it loaded with five rounds, and an empty chamber under the hammer. If the gun happens to be dropped onto the hammer spur, with a live round under the hammer, there is a very good chance it will fire. Which incidentally is why Ruger uses a transfer bar to transfer the energy of the hammer blow to the frame mounted firing pin. If you load a modern Ruger up with six, you can pound on the hammer spur all day and nothing will happen other than damage the hammer.

    Uberti is in the process of changing over all their replica Colt revolvers to this system, however a few of the older style revolvers, with the firing pin fixed in the hammer, are still available. I had a chance to fire one of the new ones a couple of months ago. I did not have any problem with it, but the lady who was shooting it had such a smooth, controlled trigger pull that the gun did not fire every time she pulled the trigger. It fired every time I yanked the trigger. I believe she bought it from Taylors. I believe she sent it back to have it fixed. Have not heard anything further.

    Some of the older style hammers with the fixed firing pins are still at the distributors, but they are disappearing fast.

    Here is a video that describes the new Uberti retractable firing pin.



    Eventually, the older style Uberti revolvers with a fixed firing pin in the hammer will no longer be available, as new stock with the retractable firing pin replaces them.

    So far, Pietta is still making their replica revolvers the old way, with a Colt style lockwork and the firing pin is still fixed in the hammer.

    I have had a few Uberti clones over the years. This 45 Colt Cattleman, marketed by Cimarron, with its 7 1/2" barrel is the only one I still own. I bought it used about 10 years ago. Nothing wrong with Ubertis, but I have been replacing them with Colts over the years.

    cattleman%2003_zpsjglfbwc6.jpg




    This revolver has had some work done to it by a cowboy gunsmith. He smoothed up the action. While he was at it he replaced the original split trigger/bolt spring with a wire spring. The original leaf style springs are the ones that can break fairly often.

    trigger%20bolt%20screw%20with%20arrow_zps7ppwwdb8.jpg




    Like this broken trigger/bolt spring from a Colt.

    broken%20bolt_zpstrr4xbao.jpg




    The smith also replaced the hammer spring with a lighter aftermarket spring.

    grip%20frame%20and%20grip%2004%20sn%20modified_zpsiwrelyal.jpg




    Here is the Uberti hammer, fixed firing pin and all. There is a bit of wear to the case colors from being fired lots of times.

    hammer_zpsdxeolkhz.jpg




    Anyway, if you want one of the Ubertis without the retractable firing pin, hop to it.
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2018
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  9. Choctaw

    Choctaw Member

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    The last few Cimarron's I have purchased have all been Piettas. They are gorgeous and really make my Ubertis look plain.
     
  10. texagun

    texagun Member

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    Buy a Cimarron Frontier (made by Pietta) with a 7 1/2" barrel (mine has the 5 1/2" barrel). It has the traditional 4-click action and the standard Colt style firing pin. Really an excellent gun and one of the few that still uses the traditional C-O-L-T action. It does have the longer than normal cylinder bushing pin that that is easy to fix if you need to. I just ignore it and don't insert the pin that far in.

    N2ea5mD.jpg
     
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  11. MAKster

    MAKster Member

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    Cimarron Model P revolvers are made by Uberti. The Cimarron Frontier is made by Pietta. I think Uberti and Pietta and all the different importer names they sell under are fine. My suggestion is to avoid the models with the firing pin block add-ons. Both Uberti and Pietta sell versions of the same models with and without modern safety devices.
     
  12. JN01

    JN01 Member

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    +1 for the Cimarron Frontier.
     
  13. BobWright

    BobWright Member

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    The learned and esteemed Driftwood Johnson said, and I quote:


    "The original leaf style springs are the ones that can break fairly often" :rofl:

    In my experience, they only break once.

    Bob Wright
     
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  14. Speedo66

    Speedo66 Member

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    Re: the Tiffany enhanced guns, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC has several of them on display in the arms and armor section. Beautiful works of art.
     
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  15. Driftwood Johnson

    Driftwood Johnson Member

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    Hi Bob

    You cracked me up with that one. Yes, they usually only break once.

    What I meant to say, and I'm sure you know this, is the leaf style trigger bolt spring can be prone to breakage. Not guaranteed to break the first, or event the millionth time you use it. But they can break, as illustrated by the Colt spring I posted a photo of. Same with leaf style hand springs. They can break too. Not necessarily the first time you cock the gun, but they can be prone to breakage. Which is why Uberti went to a coil type spring to operate the hand quite a few years ago. I'm sure you knew that too.

    P.S. Regarding the number of clicks you get when you cock the hammer: When I am shooting I can never tell how many clicks there are. First off, I have ear plugs in, so I can't hear the clicks anyway, and when you cock the hammer fast it is difficult to tell if it was three clicks or four clicks anyway.

    The only time I can actually hear all four clicks in a Colt (or replica) is when I am shooting bad guys while watching them on TV. And hopefully (knock on wood) the gun is not loaded.
     
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  16. red rick

    red rick Member

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    I will not buy an Uberti with the retractable firing pin , I like the four clicks . I think the Cimarron Frontier made by Pietta is the one I would buy now , no more Uberti SAA's for me with the change .

    Buds , $442 .
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2018
  17. AlexanderA
    • Contributing Member

    AlexanderA Member

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    I have one also, and comparing it to my Colt 2nd Generation SAA, they are extremely close. The ASM had the "Swiss safety" type cylinder base pin, but I replaced it with an Uberti standard base pin, which was a drop-in fit. The bigger problem I had with the ASM was the poorly-fitting one-piece grip. I substituted an Uberti Cavalry Model grip which, although not a 100% perfect fit, is still a lot better than the original grip.
    The current Uberti Cattleman II's have the retracting firing pin in the hammer. Prior to that, Ubertis had a hinged block on the hammer that served the same purpose. The good news is that either of those hammers can be replaced by an Uberti standard hammer with neither of those features. At least until recently, VTI Gun Parts had the standard hammers for $90 plus shipping. (This is something for the authenticity nerds among us, because functionally these safety features are probably a good idea.)

    Another thing I'd like to point out is that Ubertis have a coil hand spring, in a hole in the frame, as opposed to the leaf spring on the hand itself. Again, this is probably an improvement, although it does detract from authenticity. Unlike the hammer, there is nothing that can be done about this. (The ASM had the traditional leaf spring on the hand.)
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2018
  18. Deanimator

    Deanimator Member

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    Thanks to everyone for the information, especially the detailed pictures.

    It looks like I'll be getting the Cimmaron Frontier.
     
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  19. Deanimator

    Deanimator Member

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    If I were doing cowboy action shooting or carrying it while hunting, that would be a consideration.

    Since I'm NEVER going to carry it loaded (and indeed don't even plan to buy a holster for it), and would in any case never use a solid frame single action revolver for self-defense, all the "upgraded" safety features do is detract from the SAA experience.
     
  20. AlexanderA
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    AlexanderA Member

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    Cavalry holsters are neat. You carry them on the right side, backwards, and draw the gun with a twisting motion of the wrist.
     
  21. Deanimator

    Deanimator Member

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    A practice which continued through WWI, I believe.
     
  22. Deanimator

    Deanimator Member

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    This may turn into a project.

    Cimarron doesn't show a recognized dealer closer than 500 miles.

    I've seen random Cimarron guns at random gun stores here in the past, before I became aware of the lockwork issues.

    Bud's doesn't appear to have the 7 1/2" Frontier.

    So, barring pure luck, I'm probably going to have to special order it, either online or from a local store.
     
  23. Ratshooter

    Ratshooter Member

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    Did you hear three clicks or four clicks? Well, in all the excitement I kinda lost count myself. So you gotta ask yourself, do you feel lucky punk? Well do ya?

    Sorry, I couldn't help myself.:rofl:

    But like most of you I wouldn't want the retractable firing pin myself. I like the traditional lockwork. But then again I like the replacement bolt spring shown in the picture by Driftwood and its a good idea. So I am not sure what I would get. Probably the old style lockwork and replace the bolt spring and not tell anyone.:D
     
  24. 35 Whelen

    35 Whelen Member

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    My suggestion would be to peruse Gunbroker. The barrel length you want is not extremely popular, meaning the 7 1/2" revolvers don't move as fast as the 4 3/4" or 5 1/2", so there's more new old stock out there.

    The revolvers with the "original" trigger and firing pins are easy to tell from the new ones with the retracting firing pin (RFP). With the hammer fully lowered, note the position of the trigger in the trigger guard on this model with the original hammer and trigger-

    Cattleman_zpsif4y89oa.jpg

    Now the new model Uberti (which is now known as the Cattleman II) with the RFP-

    Cattleman%20II_zpsqvw6673z.jpg

    Here's a gorgeous non-RFP 7 1/2" Uberti https://www.gunbroker.com/item/789953270
    And a bit more plain, yet less expensive example- https://www.gunbroker.com/item/791935177

    Many more examples are available.

    I JUST bought a new (2017 production)5 1/2" Uberti in 32-20 from Dixie Gun Works and it is non-RFP-

    Uberti%2032-20-3_zpswtygfpxg.jpg

    If your just wanting it for a range gun, you might consider a Uberti Flat Top in 45 Colt-

    Full%20right_zpsujwvhx3y.jpg

    They're imported exclusively by Dixie Gun Works. I'm not sure if they have them non-RFP, but it'd be worth checking on. I bought one in 44-40 and fitted a .44 Special cylinder to it. It's the most accurate revolver I've ever owned or fired.

    Uberti%20Flat%20Top%2075%20yds%20edit_zpshnvifyai.jpg

    Good luck!

    35W
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2018
  25. AlexanderA
    • Contributing Member

    AlexanderA Member

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    If you look closely at Driftwood's picture, you notice that the head of the retaining screw is marred. That's not anybody's fault this side of the Atlantic. Those screws are often overtorqued at the factory, and they are a bear to remove. That's why I would leave that alone unless the spring is actually broken.
     
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