Jump to content
SASS Wire Forum
Sign in to follow this  
Birdgun Quail, SASS #63663

1851 Navy cap/ball Revolver - Pietta vs Uberti (UPDATED w/photos)

Recommended Posts

My wife is going to buy a 1851 Navy cap & ball Revolver for me as my Christmas gift.  She wants me to pick it out for myself.  It is to replace a Pietta Navy I eventually threw in the trash.

 

Pietta 1851 revolvers ($275) are less expensive than Uberti 1851 revolvers ($355).  Which would you recommend?

 

Background:

Back sometime in the early 1990's, I bought a Pietta 1851 Navy revolver and it was of such poor quality that it's action became inoperable.  It wouldn't even stay cocked.  I eventually broke the revolver apart and put it into separate trashes.  So I have trepidation on buying a Pietta.  But I believe I've heard that the Pietta of today is not the same quality as when I bought a Pietta almost 30 years ago.  My SASS pistols and rifle are Uberti firearms and they have served me most satisfactorily.  I have a nice display box, 36 caliber balls, powder, caps, wads, and powder flask, but no revolver.  I now am going to replace that Navy revolver.  It will not be used for SASS.  Recommendations please!!!

 

Edited by Birdgun Quail, SASS #63663

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The newer Piettas are much better quality than the old ones. I have two that I upgraded per Larsen Pettifogger‘s old article. They work fine! Dead bang accurate! 

0C02317E-05A3-422C-BC67-33B5C269DE85.jpeg

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I understand Pietta has improved greatly.

Have a Uberti that runs like a Swiss watch.

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think either would serve you well BQ, but I would recommend the Uberti, simply because you have had good experiences with Uberti guns.  No matter how good a Pietta may be, the last horror show of a gun they made will always cause you some doubt.

 

PS I tried to  join the local Baptist Church here in Madison and I used you as a character reference.  My application was denied and I was referred to the Unitarians. :D

 

  • Like 1
  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you get Pietta you’ll need to check the bolt to cylinder notch fit; if you get an Uberti the arbor may be a bit too short.  Both are easy fixes.  Both will benefit with Treso cones.

The Pettifogger tips will help you on this.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a Uberti 1851 and 1861, two Pietta 1851 Yanks in .36cal (short barrells 5" and 3") and a Pietta 1860.

 

I dont think you can go wrong with either, its what looks/feels right to you.

 

If you want a one off period correct gun that is just going to be for occasional fun plinking I would get the Uberti. I think they look a little better and my 1861 is so accurate I use it at the local target comps and I am not doing to bad against ROA with target sights. You will probably need to do some minor work and I would change out the nipples to Slix (but I would say the same for the Pietta- just less work). My Uberti 1861 had very tight tolerances and a freind adjusted the Cylinder cone gap to make it a little easier to cock after firing.

 

If you think you may get a 2nd one and shoot Cowboy with them think long and hard about getting the Pietta 1851 Yank in .44cal (or the shorter barrel Sheriff (I cant remember the name- the ones with the white grips) model in the above photo, we cant get them in Aust). My two Pietta's were fine out of the box (I changed the nipples to slix) and I never had a problem. I then bought 3" barrels and they fitted fairly easy (one with no work and one needed a minor adjustment to fit).

 

Uberti for looks and fun, Pietta for Cowboy.

 

Your Mileage may Vary:D

 

P.S.  By the way I just ordered a Pietta 1851 Yank in 44cal and they are $545 ASD and its a minimum 6mth wait:(

Edited by Major Crimes

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Both brands should be considered kits that require some work.  For me, tweaking the Pietta's bolt/cylinder notch fit is easier than correcting the Uberti's short arbor flaw.  So these days I would give Pietta the nod.  I've owned and competed with both.  I agree that Treso/Ampco nipples are the biggest single improvement you can make to the Italian open tops.

 

Have fun and Merry Christmas.  We should all have wives that buy us guns!!  :D

Edited by J-BAR #18287
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I prefer Piettas for C&B pistols. I have had both Navy and Army grips and prefer the Army grips. Whether Uberti or Pietta do Larsen Pettifogger's mods and replace the nipples with Slix or Tresso.  Buy some Remington #10 caps, Real BP and properly sized round balls and you are all set for fun. 

 

Personally I would get a pair as shooting Frontiersman is a blast. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
 

Both brands should be considered kits that require some work.  For me, tweaking the Pietta's bolt/cylinder notch fit is easier correcting the Uberti's short arbor flaw.  So these days I would give Pietta the nod.  I've owned and competed with both.  I agree that Treso/Ampco nipples are the biggest single improvement you can make to the Italian open tops.

 

Have fun and Merry Christmas.  We should all have wives that buy us guns!!  :D

My wife bought me a Uberti 1873 rifle in .44-40 for Christmas in 1982.  It failed me for the first time about a year ago: wouldn't feed from the magazine.  Johnny Meadows fixed ir for next to nothing.  He told me that some idiot had never cleaned the magazine tube and he got a coffee can full of crud out of it.  He put in a new stainless spring and it runs like new now.

 

I've favored Uberti guns ever since that time, but I have recently ordered a Pietta.  Their quality has improved greatly since we started selling them at The Flintlock in Anaheim many years ago, and Uberti doesn't make one like I want, so Pietta got the order.  From  my research I don't think there's much difference between the two companies any more.  Springs and nipples and some minor tweaking should give you a great gun in either case.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Very happy with two 1851 Navy .44 Sheriffs and a 1858 New Army Remington Sheriff that I have bought new this year, all Piettas.

My two-cents is that Ubertis look more correct and have better finishes, and Piettas have higher mechanical quality.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mike @goongunworks.com  is the guy to really talk too.

I'm 100% happy with my Pietta 51's .

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I own multiple models of ASM, Pietta, Uberti, and pedersolis. One thing I have found to be consistent with all of these makes is that they are inconsistent with regards to quality.  For example one of my  Uberti  Colt 1862 pocket police .36  models has two pins pressed into the lower part of the frame to locate the barrel, while the other one  has the pins, but they are not pressed in, they are actually part of the frame casting and were machined to shape. In so doing when they machined the frame for the rebated relief a .36 frame requires, it removed half of the diameter of the pins, kinda hokey if you ask me, but both shoot fine.

I had to send back a Pietta 1851 .36 Colt Navy for replacement because the hammer pivot screw hole in the frame was crooked, making the hammer walk off to the left when you cocked the hammer, Navy arms sent me another one and it had awesome wood grips and  gorgeous bluing and case hardening, but two of the cylinders did not align with the barrel and it would spray you with lead, so I sent it back. Finally, the third one was a charm, but had  brushed instead of polished bluing, and plain Jane grips...but it is the most accurate .36 cap and ball revolver I own.   My ASM 1860 Colt .44 Army kept folding up the barrel wedge, so it had horrible accuracy. After destroying three of the wedges, I had one custom made from heat treated steel and blued it myself,  and now it's a great shooter. 

 

I always used to say to myself,  and told people that is why they are inexpensive reproductions... you get what you pay for, but that has changed too. They used to be $100-$200 depending on who was selling them. Now, with escalating prices, ( $300-500) man am I glad I got most of my cap and ball revolvers and long arms  back in the 80 and early 90s.

 

When I first got into Italian black powder pistols over 30 years ago, I was told by an expert at the time that they all came from Brescia, and that the raw forgings and castings all were done by one firm. The difference between brands was the care and quality that each company used to machine and finish the parts. Additionally, they were all hand fit, so parts from say one Pietta may, or may not fit another identical Pietta. Also, certain USA importers who were very competitive made deals to buy what in effect were "seconds" to get a better price. Money always explains everything!

Edited by Jayster

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

First, thanks to all for your comments and recommendations.  I decided to order the Uberti principally because there are no roll stamped markings on the side of the barrel.

 

Yesterday (12/09/2019), I received my new Uberti 1851 Navy .36 caliber revolver from Dixie Gun Works for the price of $295.00 plus $16.95 shipping. 

I also received yesterday six Slix-Shot nipples ($36.00 + shipping) from Badman Bullets.

 

After opening the box and removing the revolver from the plastic wrapper, I wiped the gun down to remove the storage preservative.

I checked the revolver over visually and saw nothing of concern.

I cocked the hammer back and immediately noticed the action was very rough with a momentary binding/hang up at about 2/3 cock.  Also, noticed a scratch on the right side of the hammer. 

First, with a fine file I remove a burr on the frame causing the hammer scratch.  Smoothed with emery board.

Then I completely disassembled the revolver and inspected all parts and screws.

Noted a burr on the side of the bolt and removed that burr with file and emery board.

Found the problem that was causing the hang up.  The hand was being pushed against and around the arbor.  I could see factory file marks on both side of the hand.  After some judicious filing and numerous checks, I finally got the hand to move without binding.

I wiped down all parts and screws, added lube and gun grease as appropriate, then reassemble the revolver.

The action now works fine.  Timing is excellent and there is no binding.

Replaced the factory nipples with Slix-Shot nipples.

Placed my new Navy revolver in a presentation case that the old thrown away Pietta had once occupied.

 

Photos of my new Uberti 1851 Navy 36 now with Slix-Shot nipples

Qimtu8.jpg

 

5NIbVi.jpg

 

5J5qvP.jpg

 

jBCEtw.jpg

 

BWtTaq.jpg

 

2kN3hC.jpg

 

t9JoGn.jpg

 

Now I'm looking forward in the next few days of taking my new Ubert 1851 Navy 36 to the range.

 

Thanks again pards for the comments, advice, and recommendations!!

 

Birdgun

 

 

Edited by Birdgun Quail, SASS #63663
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.