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Quizcat

EAA SAA Revolvers?

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4 minutes ago, Quizcat said:

Sorry it took so long to reply, I had surgery last week, and I'm just now getting back into the swing of things...I'm getting closer and closer to actually deciding to shoot the Colt. 

 

But, even though the Colt carries the mystic of it being a Colt, I have my doubts, and it's just a feeling I have when handling it, as to whether a Generation 2 Colt SAA has the kind of durability, or even the reliability, of some of the currently available clones when applying them to the rigors of Cowboy Action Shooting. 

 

I'm torn...I want to keep an actual Colt SAA, do and don't want to shoot it, do and don't want to sell or trade it...LOL, I'm in such a funk of indecision over it, that it would probably be less torture to purchase one of the clones as a backup at FFL cost, and keep the Colt, than to agonize over the decision to part with the Colt. 

 

I have never visited Nick's although, of course I am aware they are there.  I didn't realize they had a wide selection of SAA clones.  Since I hold an FFL, I don't visit many gun stores, since I have access to almost anything and everything I want at dealer cost.  The Gun Stores that are in my area have a relatively finite selection to choose from in SAA clones, even the big box stores have finite inventory on SAA clones.

 

Sounds like you need to put that Colt back in the safe and then call EMF and order some Piettas, either Alchimistas or Californians; both are close to second gen Colts from what I understand. 

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5 minutes ago, Quizcat said:

I didn't realize they had a wide selection of SAA

 

Nick's has some 6,000 guns on display and many others he doesn't have room to put out.  Open Wednesday through Saturday. 

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19 minutes ago, Quizcat said:

Sorry it took so long to reply, I had surgery last week, and I'm just now getting back into the swing of things...I'm getting closer and closer to actually deciding to shoot the Colt. 

Hope you're doing well after the surgery!

 

But, even though the Colt carries the mystic of it being a Colt, I have my doubts, and it's just a feeling I have when handling it, as to whether a Generation 2 Colt SAA has the kind of durability, or even the reliability, of some of the currently available clones when applying them to the rigors of Cowboy Action Shooting. 

Yes, the 2nd Gens are indeed up to the task of Cowboy Action Shooting!  I run a pair on .357s and the only thing I've done to them is to change out the Trigger/Bolt Springs after several years of shooting.  There are many of us using real Colts.  Routine care, and the occasional swap out of a worn part, will keep it running for more than your lifetime.  Same with a Pietta GWII.

 

I'm torn...I want to keep an actual Colt SAA, do and don't want to shoot it, do and don't want to sell or trade it...LOL, I'm in such a funk of indecision over it, that it would probably be less torture to purchase one of the clones as a backup at FFL cost, and keep the Colt, than to agonize over the decision to part with the Colt.  I have a commemorative in .45, also.  But, I'm not a collector, I'm a shooter.  I don't want a gun I can't shoot, to me, that's just more "stuff" collecting dust.  Yep, I shoot with the commemorative.   

 

The closest thing out there today to a Colt SAA at reasonable prices is the Great Western II line of revolvers from EMF.  Give them a look.   If you are a SASS member, let them know when ordering, you'll get a discount.  https://www.emf-company.com/store/pc/1873-Great-Western-II-Revolvers-c64.htm

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Howdy

 

I don't know anything about Freedom Arms.

 

Other than that, I can tell you why we usually say that Rugers are Built Like Tanks.

 

This is a New Vaquero, stripped down to show all the parts. Notice how many parts there are. This is because Ruger has always used coil springs or wire springs in their revolvers, never old fashioned leaf type springs. Even going back to the old Three Screw Blackhawks, they always had coil springs inside. Coil springs almost never break. This is because at maximum compression there is far less bending of each part of a coil spring than there is with a leaf spring.

 

Exploded%20View%20New%20Vaquero_zpsw19pt

 

 

 

 

Another reason Rugers tend to last forever is the cross section of the interior parts is stouter than what you will find in a Colt or colt replica. The thicker cross section parts will simply function longer with less wear and tear. This close up allows a closer view of some of the parts. Notice that the two coil springs in view, the hand spring just below the hammer and hand, and the bolt spring, just above the trigger guard, each has a separate plunger attached. Coil springs generally need a separate plunger to push against the part it pushes against. This increases the part count a bit. Generally speaking, leaf springs are formed so they will exert force directly against a part, so no separate plunger is needed. The odd squiggly shaped piece is the loading gate spring. The flat piece above the loading gate spring is the bolt, or cylinder stop. A simple stamped piece of steel, it will last forever, unlike the complex bolt of a Colt or clone, which is made of spring steel and  every once in a while they can break.

 

Exploded%20View%20New%20Vaquero%20Lockwo

 

 

 

 

Here are all the parts inside a 2nd Generation Colt. Yes, that is a wire bolt/trigger spring just above the trigger guard. It is not original. I substituted it for the original bolt/trigger spring because sometimes they break.

 

2ndGenColtExplodedView.jpg

 

 

 

 

Like this. This bolt/trigger spring actually came out of a different 2nd Gen Colt. It broke one day during a match. Luckily I had my 'original model' Vaqueros with me that day as backups. This is absolutely typical of the way this spring can break. As the spring flexes many, many times, stress builds up where the spring flexes the most, which is right at the base of one of the legs. Eventually this one let go. No. I am not saying these springs are guaranteed to break, I have some Colts that are over 100 years old with their original springs. But this is an example of why Ruger has always used coil springs.

 

broken%20bolt_zpstrr4xbao.jpg

 

 

 

 

This photo shows all the parts of the lockwork in a Colt. That's all there are, just four. Hammer, trigger, bolt, and hand. This hand has the traditional leaf type spring mounted to it, and yes, that spring can break too. Yes, most of the modern Italian made Colt copies have substituted a coil spring for the hand spring. A hole is drilled in the frame for the coil spring and plunger, or sometimes the same hole for one of the frame screws is used for a coil spring and plunger. While we are looking at this photo, notice how thin the upper tip of the trigger is. That is the part that engages the cocking notches on the hammer and it is referred to as the sear. Again, notice how thin it is. If the hammer were cocked to the so called 'safety notch' the uppermost notch on the hammer, and a strong blow were struck to the hammer spur, there is an excellent chance the sear would break off and allow the hammer to strike a cartridge under the firing pin. That is why we always only load five rounds and lower the hammer on an empty chamber. All Rugers made since the mid 1970s have a transfer bar which 'transfers' the blow from the hammer to the frame mounted firing pin. If you look back at the Vaquero photos the transfer bar is the vertical piece that pivots on the trigger. When the trigger springs forward, it pulls the transfer bar down away from the firing pin, so it cannot transfer the blow to the frame mounted firing pin. Regarding licensing the transfer bar from Ruger, I doubt it.  Iver Johnson invented and patented the transfer bar a long, long time ago. I'm sure the patent has expired by now.

 

interiorparts02.jpg

 

 

 

 

Here is the other reason Rugers are 'built like tanks'. Left to right is an 'original model' Vaquero cylinder, a New Vaquero cylinder, and a 2nd Gen Colt cylinder. All are chambered for the 45 Colt cartridge. The 'original model' Vaquero cylinder was larger in diameter than either of the other two. The frame was larger, to accommodate the larger cylinder.  Notice how much more metal there is between the adjacent chambers in the 'original model' Vaquero cylinder. Also, if you look very carefully you will see the locking slots for the bolt are cut off center of the center of the chambers.  The thinnest cross section of metal in most revolver cylinders is the cross section between the bottom of those slots and the the chambers. By offsetting the slots on the Ruger, they had a thicker cross section in that area, contributing to the strength of the cylinder. That is why the 'original model' Vaqueros could be chambered for 44 Magnum. In the middle is a New Vaquero 45 Colt cylinder. Obviously less metal between chambers. But the locking slots are still cut off center, so that contributes to the strength of the cylinder. Ruger recommends staying with SAAMI Max 14,000 PSI loads with 45 Colt in the New Vaquero. Many on the internet claim it can take higher pressure, but that is what Ruger recommends. Last but not least is the Colt 2nd Gen cylinder on the right. Sorry, it was a little bit dirty when I took the photo. Somewhere I have the measurements for all these cylinders regarding how much metal there is between chambers, but I cannot put my hands on it right now. Suffice it to say there is approximately the same amount of metal between chambers of the New Vaquero and the Colt. Lastly, the locking slots on the Colt are cut so that one edge is directly in line with the center of the chamber. That means that there is less metal between the chamber and the locking slots in the Colt cylinder than any of the other two. Most Italian replicas of the Colt have pretty much the same arrangement and same dimensions.

 

Old%20Vaq%20New%20Vaq%20Colt%202nd%20Gen

 

 

 

 

Here is an earlier photo showing an Uberti Cattleman cylinder on the left, the Ruger 'original model' cylinder in the center and the Colt 2nd Gen cylinder on the right. I seem to remember the Uberti dimensions are very similar to the Colt dimensions.

 

cylinders_01.jpg

 

 

 

 

Just for reference, here are two photos of a burst cylinder from an antique Merwin Hulbert revolver. Notice how the break started right at the thinnest cross section where the locking notches are.  Notice the two adjacent chambers almost let go too, they were starting to fold.

 

blownmerwinhulbertcylinder02_zpsd6b45aad

 

 

 

 

The break then propagated along the 'top' of the cylinder. The missing part took the topstrap with it. Typical of how a cylinder bursts from an overcharge.

 

blownmerwinhulbertcylinder01_zpse057ebd4

 

 

 

 

Is a 2nd Gen Colt up to the rigors of CAS? Absolutely. I shoot my mismatched pair of 2nd Gens in almost every match, unless I am shooting antique Smith and Wesson Top Breaks. Mine have been lightly tuned, the hammer springs have been thinned a bit to lighten the hammer draw and trigger pull. Both have trigger pulls of about 2 1/2 pounds, which is right where I like it. The one at the top of the photo is the one with the wire trigger/bolt spring, the one at the bottom is the one whose trigger/bolt spring broke that time. I do not shoot super fast, yanking the hammer back extra fast with the thumb of the off hand probably puts more stress on the lockwork than shooting one handed. The thumb of the strong hand does not have enough mechanical advantage to yank the trigger back as hard as the off hand thumb can.  I also only shoot Black Powder loads out of these Colts, which do not generate as much pressure as modern Smokeless loads, but I would not be hesitant to shoot Sammi spec Smokeless loads out of them that did not exceed 14,000 psi. Most Cowboy ammo does not develop that much pressure.

 

SecondGens_zps1cfdcbb0.jpg

 

 

 

 

Just for fun, here are all the parts in an old Three Screw Flat Top 44 Magnum Blackhawk from 1958. Notice there are no leaf springs.

 

FlatTop44MagParts.jpg

 

 

 

 

No transfer bar either. The hammer smacks the frame mounted firing pin directly. So this one is also only safe to carry with an empty chamber under the hammer.

 

Frame%20Mounted%20Firing%20Pin_zpshci353

 

 

 

 

I'm on a roll here.

 

Just for fun, here is a patent drawing from 1896 for the Iver Johnson transfer bar.

 

 

 

iverjohnsontransferbarpatent_zpsc295985f

 

 

 

 

Which led to Iver Johnson's famous Hammer the Hammer advertising campaign.

 

ARG1_070_zpsayl9grfi.jpg

 

 

 

 

And advertisements like this.

 

2b._iver_johnson_accidental_discharge_zp

Edited by Driftwood Johnson, SASS #38283
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Thanks for the good essay Driftwood.   But I'm an old dowg and can't learn new tricks.  I just can't warm up to Rugers.  I tried and just couldn't make a transition.  

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22 hours ago, Driftwood Johnson, SASS #38283 said:

...I can tell you why we usually say that Rugers are Built Like Tanks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fantastic job, so informative...this needs to be permanently enshrined in the forum somewhere.  It is better presented than anything I have ever seen in a gun magazine.  So, which one brand/model of the other clones do you feel is closest to the Ruger with respect to durability, and why?  Does any other brand or model come close?

 

 

Edited by Quizcat

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2 hours ago, Quizcat said:

Does any other brand or model come close?

 

Opinions very.  Rugers do break also.  Many make some or lots of mods to them - needed or not.  From Ron Powers, Powers Customs,  you can change about everything on a Ruger to make it more like a Colt.  Ruger supports a cottage industry modifying and repairing them. 

 

I coil spring better?   In 50 years of shooting Remington 58, Colt, Uberti Cattleman, etc,  I've had one bolt trigger spring go dead on a Uberti.  Truth be known, coil springs are cheaper to make. 

 

See what Driftwood shoots!  Colts. 

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5 hours ago, Quizcat said:

So, which one brand/model of the other clones do you feel is closest to the Ruger with respect to durability, and why?  Does any other brand or model come close?

 

None of them. Rugers pretty much stand alone as far as ruggedness is concerned.

 

As I said earlier, I shoot Colts. They work fine as long as I don't try to shoot them too hard and too fast. If I did, parts would start wearing out. I have not owned any of the other brands other than a couple of Uberti Cattlemen. As far as I can tell, they are just about as robust as a Colt, except they have a coil spring for the hand instead of the traditional leaf spring. Other than that, the dimensions of the internal parts are pretty much the same.

 

I bring a pair of 'original model' Vaqueros to every match as backups to my Colts. So far in close to 20 years of CAS I have needed one of the Rugers twice. Knock on wood.

 

Every once in a while the transfer bar on a Ruger will break, then the gun is useless until the transfer bar is replaced. Other firearms forums are amazed at this, they have never heard of a transfer bar breaking. But given the amount we shoot, it does happen every once in a while.

 

Look up Transfer Bar Pinch.

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On 10/23/2019 at 11:05 AM, The Original Lumpy Gritz said:

Only the 2 six shot versions are SASS legal.

That the .357 and the 327.

Rest of the FA's are 5 shot.

http://www.freedomarms.com/firearms/m97pr/index.html

YES-they are ready to run out of the box IMHO.

OLG

 

Shame they are not available in SASS legal 45 Colt

A pair of those would be capital

 

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On 10/28/2019 at 9:42 AM, McCandless said:

 

The closest thing out there today to a Colt SAA at reasonable prices is the Great Western II line of revolvers from EMF.  Give them a look.   If you are a SASS member, let them know when ordering, you'll get a discount.  https://www.emf-company.com/store/pc/1873-Great-Western-II-Revolvers-c64.htm

 

In looking at the EMF website, and checking out the .357/38spl. versions...I noticed that the Dakota II is about $100.00 less than the Alchmista II, and the Californian model is about $50.00 less than the Alchemista II.  The Alchemista II became the subject of my comparison as I reviewed all three versions of the Alchemista.  There are three versions, Alchemista I, II, and III.  I noticed that the difference between the Alchemista line appears to be a shortened hammer spur compared to the Californian and the Dakota II, both of which have the longer hammer spur.  But, other than that distinction, when you factor in the price, is there anything else that makes the Dakota II or Californian inferior to the Alchemista? The Dakota II is really very inexpensive, but I wonder if there is something that makes it particularly inferior to the California and Alchemista II, which are much more closely priced.

Edited by Quizcat

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12 minutes ago, Quizcat said:

 

In looking at the EMF website, and checking out the .357/38spl. versions...I noticed that the Dakota II is about $100.00 less than the Alchmista II, and the Californian model is about $50.00 less than the Alchemista II.  The Alchemista II became the subject of my comparison as I reviewed all three versions of the Alchemista.  There are three versions, Alchemista I, II, and III.  I noticed that the difference between the Alchemista line appears to be a shortened hammer spur compared to the Californian and the Dakota II, both of which have the longer hammer spur.  But, other than that distinction, when you factor in the price, is there anything else that makes the Dakota II or Californian inferior to the Alchemista? The Dakota II is really very inexpensive, but I wonder if there is something that makes it particularly inferior to the California and Alchemista II, which are much more closely priced.

 

 

The Grip Frames are different on the Californian and the Dakota(I think). My preference is the Californian.

The Dakota has that matte black finish that I don't care for. Any of them will be fine for this game.

 

The last Californians I bought were ready to go out of the box and I've heard the Alchimistas are also smooth and ready to go. I wouldn't be surprised if the Dakota's needed lighter springs and some TLC. Call EMF and talk to them.

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1 hour ago, Quizcat said:

 

In looking at the EMF website, and checking out the .357/38spl. versions...I noticed that the Dakota II is about $100.00 less than the Alchmista II, and the Californian model is about $50.00 less than the Alchemista II.  The Alchemista II became the subject of my comparison as I reviewed all three versions of the Alchemista.  There are three versions, Alchemista I, II, and III.  I noticed that the difference between the Alchemista line appears to be a shortened hammer spur compared to the Californian and the Dakota II, both of which have the longer hammer spur.  But, other than that distinction, when you factor in the price, is there anything else that makes the Dakota II or Californian inferior to the Alchemista? The Dakota II is really very inexpensive, but I wonder if there is something that makes it particularly inferior to the California and Alchemista II, which are much more closely priced.

The Alchimista also has the larger 1860 grip, the Californian has the standard 1873 grip. I don’t have large hands and I tried Ruger Bisleys and they didn’t fit me so I went with a pair of EMF Californians and just love em!! 
 

 

FEF244C9-5DA5-48C3-A365-810D14515973.jpeg

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2 hours ago, Quizcat said:

 

In looking at the EMF website, and checking out the .357/38spl. versions...I noticed that the Dakota II is about $100.00 less than the Alchmista II, and the Californian model is about $50.00 less than the Alchemista II.  The Alchemista II became the subject of my comparison as I reviewed all three versions of the Alchemista.  There are three versions, Alchemista I, II, and III.  I noticed that the difference between the Alchemista line appears to be a shortened hammer spur compared to the Californian and the Dakota II, both of which have the longer hammer spur.  But, other than that distinction, when you factor in the price, is there anything else that makes the Dakota II or Californian inferior to the Alchemista? The Dakota II is really very inexpensive, but I wonder if there is something that makes it particularly inferior to the California and Alchemista II, which are much more closely priced.

 

I'm away from home now, and looking at the GWII line on my phone.  I don't see the Dakota in that line.  If it's not a GWII, it will have a rougher action and be over-sprung.  GWIIs are ready to go right out of the box.  

 

The Alchemists have the longer Army grip frame, with slimmer grips.  The Californian has the standard Navy grip frame and grips.

 

The models with the lower, wider hammer are very nice for shooting duelist or gunfighter.  A lot of people like the standard hammer for a double-handed grip, as the lower hammer can catch the web of the hand if you grip the gun too high.

 

Colt's revolvers have a very narrow trigger, that sets forward in the trigger guard.  The models with the wider, set-back trigger, (similar to a Ruger Bisley trigger), have less take up and don't need to reset as far.  

 

There are some models in the Pietta line that have Transfer Bar Safeties.  It will say so in the description.  Stay away from them.  They have been problematic.

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3 hours ago, Tyrel Cody said:

 

 

The Grip Frames are different on the Californian and the Dakota(I think). My preference is the Californian.

The Dakota has that matte black finish that I don't care for. Any of them will be fine for this game.

 

The last Californians I bought were ready to go out of the box and I've heard the Alchimistas are also smooth and ready to go. I wouldn't be surprised if the Dakota's needed lighter springs and some TLC. Call EMF and talk to them.

Sent them an email, and was suprised that they answered already, EMF customer service said, "The internals are identical.  Just the "window dressings" (grips, hammer, trigger) are different.  They are all great out of the box."  Typical sales type of response.  I have my doubts that the Dakota II line is the same as far as having as smooth a function as the Alchemista line.

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2 hours ago, Buckshot Dobbs said:

The Alchimista also has the larger 1860 grip, the Californian has the standard 1873 grip. I don’t have large hands and I tried Ruger Bisleys and they didn’t fit me so I went with a pair of EMF Californians and just love em!! 
 

 

FEF244C9-5DA5-48C3-A365-810D14515973.jpeg

 

I don't have large hands either, so maybe the Californian would be the better fit for me as well.

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14 hours ago, Quizcat said:

 

I don't have large hands either, so maybe the Californian would be the better fit for me as well.

The one thing I don't like about the alchemistas is that they are a replica of something that never existed. Unless perhaps some gunsmith in the west did a custom job. Not sure anyone would have, though, and certainly never seen one in person or even a pic anywhere. Rugers are also a clone of something that never existed, but at least they look the part.....mostly

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17 hours ago, Quizcat said:

 

I don't have large hands either, so maybe the Californian would be the better fit for me as well.

 

Go to a match and find out. Someone will have either some Californians or something very close.

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One point about the Rugers: The frames are not case hardened like Colt's. (I'm not sure about any of the replicas). Ruger uses alloy steel, either 4140 or 4340, I forget which, but the metal is heat treated throughout. This gives it higher tensile strength. Of course, that doesn't mean you can run the pressures up without limit, and the cylinders of the New Vaqueros do have the thinner walls between chambers, like the Colt's. The cylinders are also smaller in diameter than the Old Model Vaqueros, which precludes chambering for .44-40 because the rims would overlap! :( 

I have shot nothing but my Old Model Vaqueros in CAS matches, with interchangeable cylinders in .44-40 and .44 Extra Long Russian (that's .44 Mangle-em with loads reduced to match the .44-40's).  I have personally never had a transfer bar break, but it can happen.  While it is possible to blow up a Ruger or ANY gun, I doubt you will ever wear one out!

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I did a little more research on EMF's Dakota Series of Revolvers, not part of the GWII series, and found out that the Dakota series of revolvers do not have removable cylinder bushings, whereas the Alchemista and Californian series does, I think???

 

And, of course the other cost savings that makes the Dakota Series very affordable, are that they are blued, not case hardened, and based on the photos the grips seem a little rough to me, comparatively.  Even though the Dakota Series is about $50+ less than the Californian Series, and $100+ less than the Alchemistas series, I prefer the look of the case hardened finishes, nicer grips, etc...the reduced price of the Dakota series of EMF revolvers wouldn't probably motivate me to buy one, other than perhaps as a backup.  

 

Except, guys, what about that feature of the Dakota series not having a removable cylinder bushing...what's the down side to that?  Perhaps a reduced smoothness of operation,  which would be important to Cowboy Action Shooting?

Edited by Quizcat

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3 minutes ago, Quizcat said:

Except, guys, what about that feature of the Dakota series not having a removable cylinder bushing...what's the down side to that?  Perhaps a reduced smoothness of operation,  which would be important to Cowboy Action Shooting?

 

The whole removable bushing vs fixed bushing vs no bushing situation is debatable. 

 

Colt had removable bushing from beginning until about 1978.  They went to a pressed in short bushing.  Traditionalist revolted.  Colt finally went back to the old removable bushing.   The idea being,  the removable bushing would be a wear item and could be replaced to reduce endshake or other wear. The pressed in short bushing can be replaced but it's a job for a professional with the right tools.

 

Ruger does not have a bushing at all. If the hole wears or it develops excesive endshake,  I don't know what you'd do.  Pistolsmiths can bore out the cylinder and install a bushing.  Maybe Ruger would take the gun back and repair it somehow.

 

Most Uberti and Pietta have removable bushing.  Some don't - as you have found out. 

 

A non-removable bushing is considered by many as a cost cutting design.  

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