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Let's talk single action revolvers....


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Was thinking the other day, yes, dangerous for me.  

 

A genuine Colt will always be the gold standard I reckon, but what's second best, USFA?  AWA?  Something else?

 

And for cost, Colt being the highest, then maybe USFA and AWA?

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27 minutes ago, Grizzly Dave said:

Was thinking the other day, yes, dangerous for me.  

 

A genuine Colt will always be the gold standard I reckon, but what's second best, USFA?  AWA?  Something else?

 

And for cost, Colt being the highest, then maybe USFA and AWA?

I have enjoyed shooting Shanley's first pistols...USFA!

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USFAs

Back when they were making them, they were the best out of the box, IMHO.

They didn't require an expensive action job to make them easy-shooting revolvers.

And they were reasonably priced.
I bought 8 of them over the years.
Wish I'd gotten a pair of 38-40s

--Dawg 

Edited by Prairie Dawg, SASS #50329
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I think the finest Colt style SAA made, hands down, bare none was the USFA guns. But, they are no longer made.

 

 If you don`t mind that it`s made in Europe, the best now is the Great Western II`s from EMF made by Pietta. These are the hammer mounted firing pin version like the original. Not their newer transfer bar guns.

When EMF decided to import these, EMF`s sent one to me for a look-see. They told me take it apart, shoot it, whatever I wanted to do. These guns are 2nd gen configured, even the thread pitch is the same. They even have firing pin bushings like the originals but EMF did have them change the weakest link in the colt action, the leaf type hand spring. They changed to the Ruger style coil spring and plunger. The bolt fingers are more rounded like the 2nd gens and the cam on the hammer is a hardened pressed in cam like the 2nd gen colts. unlike the cast in cams and pointy fingers bolts these don't wear the cams down causing the dredded ring around the cylinder.

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First, I don my surplus Navy Damage Control Fire Suit . . . . And put fourth A CAVEAT:  I am by no means a Coltist.  Ok, another CAVEAT:  Strictly from the eyes of a humble Gunplumber.  Or not so Humble.

 

I don't consider the Colt to be the "Gold Standard."  Hugely popular . . Yes.  Over Priced . . Yes.  Colt however, require the exact same action work to make them user friendly as most other reproductions.  Next up would be USFA.  Unfortunately, no longer produced.  Much better guns than recent Colt guns.  With USFA, change the Main Spring and convert to Spring and Plunger for the hand and you're done.   The only AWA even remotely in consideration would be the AWA Ultimate from AWA USA, not to be confused with the first AWA.  Those guns were built my Armi San Marco.

 

Best Value for Dollar, todays market,  is hands down the Pietta built Great Western 2.  Ringer for a Second Generation Colt Improved.  Seconding Nate Kiowa Jones here.  Pietta eliminated the weak link with a Coil Spring and Plunger Hand.  Change the Main Spring and yer done.  Well, I also suggest you remove the last 3/16 of the Cylinder Base Pin to eliminate that pesky "Drop Test Safety."  When Boyd Davis of EMF asked for samples for the new Great Western 2, the Pietta was the only gun to meet his requirements.  Uberti tried and failed miserably.

 

Next CAVEAT:  I haven't seen enough of the Standard offering to comment.  However, in the "Value for Dollar" department it falls very short.  Very over priced.  A shooter can get two or even three Great Western 2 for the price of a Colt or a Standard.  While the Great Western 2 may not have the reputation nor the mystique of Colt, it is a much better value for dollar.

 

Almost Forgot . . . PLUS ONE for Prairie Dawg 

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I have Colts and USFAs.  Both needed work; when I bought them they were about evenly priced.  Both types have worked well for me.  Imports are cheaper and better value for the dollar, but they're not Colts or USFAs.  Whatever floats your boat, as they say.

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30 minutes ago, Colorado Coffinmaker said:

Best Value for Dollar, todays market,  is hands down the Pietta built Great Western 2.

I'd be at the top of the list for a pair or three of .38-40's, but I don't think they chamber that one. :mellow: 44-40 would be OK... I guess... 

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I guess Colt could be the "gold standard", since USFA, Standard, AWA, Cimarron-Uberti/Pietta, are all clones of the 1873 Colt single action. 

That doesn't mean Colt is made better, just that it was the first, and the rest are all clones of it. 

Usually, we pay for the name. Colt could, and more often than not, has a higher purchasing value, and resale value. You are buying a name, you are buying history. 

I have a older ASM clone, with a "pinched frame". I paid $350 inflated yankee dollars for it, a few years back. I saw a Colt "pinched frame" for sale on one of the gun sites, and the asking price was $175,000. I would think that would qualify as a "gold standard"...wouldn't you say? 

A few years back, I paid over $2,000 for a 2nd generation Colt in .44 special. The most I ever paid for a cone, was $1,150, for a USFA, that I had my dealer special order to my specs from USFA, when they were in business at the old Colt Hartford plant. Ahh...those were the days!!! 

Regardless of the perceived quality, or what we would consider too high of a price, or what we would consider some inferiority, if it is a Colt, in the buying public eye, as fickle as that may be, the Colt will be a more desirable revolver to purchase, and own, and pass down to their heirs. 

Again...right, wrong, or sideways, given the choice, many would purchase a Colt single action, over a clone.

It may not qualify to someone as the "gold standard", but it is, never-the-less, a "standard" by which things are judged. 

I am not saying that is right, or correct...just sayin' that is how it is. 

It's the name, it's the history, it's the mystique, and also the history, and stories, of those that used it, back in the day. The clones may have really superior quality, and workmanship, and skilled labor, involved in producing them....but,...they don't have the history, or the mystique, and can never have that.

As good as the clones are, and I have many clones in my closet....they are an "also ran"...a mirror image imitation of a Colt single action.

None of this is new. Even back in the 19th century, Remington, Smith & Wesson, and the rest, were all vying for second place, behind Colt.

In sales, Colt was the "Secretariet" to all the other "horses" in the race. 

As the late Walter Cronkite used to say, when he signed off the evening newscast...."That's the way it is..."

 

 

   

 

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I can only go by what I have....

First Gen Colts
Second Gen Colts
Third Gen Colts
Uberti
Armi San Marco

Great Western  {original}
JP Saur

I like my 2nd Gen Colts best.

First and Third are a close second.
And I think I'd have to go with the Armi San Marco's in third, as they are the "least different" from the Colts.   The "silly safety" is just a double notched cylinder pin.  Nothing weird with the hammer, no rotating pins, no transfer bar or frame mounted firing pin.  That being said, the others are all of good quality and are reliable shooters.  

Of course my Smith and Wesson New Model 3s are a whole different kind of cool.

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I have both Colt and USFA SAA's.  The USFA is a much better gun than the Colt.  They are all .44-40's.  I paid much more for the Colts than the USFA's but it would take much more money for me to get off the USFA's than the Colts.

Edited by Pee Wee #15785
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Freedom Arms made (makes) EXCELLENT Single Actions.  But at over 2 grand each, not seen much.

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I have six Uberti's. At the time they all averaged about $350 each. 2 - 44-40s, 2 - 357's, 1 - 45 Colt, 1 - 44 Magnum. All have been road pretty hard over the past 10-13 years. All from various importers. One has been handled nearly every day.

Only one of the 357's needed work and it was bran new. It was rather "ruff" when the action was manipulated. Took them home, opened them up and cleaned them. Smoothed everything down and it/they were fine. The 44 Mag broke a "hand" and it looked to have started from a ruff-cut that was not smoothed out. I eventually slicked most of them, not that they needed it. No problems with any of them parts wise, except the Mag's hand

$350 for a new Uberti vs $1,200 for a new Colt....no way is the Colt worth the difference! I didn't say not "worth the money", I said not worth the difference!

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Gold standard for many of us would be a Ruger. ;)

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13 hours ago, Joe LaFives #5481 said:

Freedom Arms made (makes) EXCELLENT Single Actions.  But at over 2 grand each, not seen much.

 

BFR makes durn good revolvers for lower price than FA and they offer some very unique and exciting caliber choices too. Most not suited for CAS though but you do get bragging rites with a buffalo caliber handgun. :D

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19 hours ago, Grizzly Dave said:

Was thinking the other day, yes, dangerous for me.  

 

A genuine Colt will always be the gold standard I reckon, but what's second best, USFA?  AWA?  Something else?

 

And for cost, Colt being the highest, then maybe USFA and AWA?

Since everyone is roaming off the OP, I'll answer what I think. The second best SAA in my humble opinion is the USFA, I had a couple Rodeos in .45 and they were well built and smooth as silk. I've seen and handled other USFA's and I was impressed. I'm a Colt lover (I have 4 ) but the USFA's are really great! 

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I'm late in the game but ramped up last year to a bunch of Colts. First, second and third generation.  I love them all. Somehow now all my Uberti and Pietta feel like the ugly sister you got stuck with. 

 

The two Pietta Cimerron Eliminater 8s were a mess. I have several Stoeger imported Cattleman that were built right.  I just replaced the springs and ran a hone around.  Had to do a lot of work on the Taylor's Smoke Wagon Deluxe 44WCF to get them reliable and shooting well. 

 

One thing I've noticed while working on Colts is the parts are much harder.  Pietta parts are really soft. Uberti maybe harder than Pietta. 

 

973582099_FiveColtstocleanOct2020.jpg.f7838e2ca399b5c100aa48bd6349dca7.jpg

 

The Colts I shot Josey Wales at last match last fall.

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22 minutes ago, Warden Callaway said:

I'm late in the game but ramped up last year to a bunch of Colts. First, second and third generation.  I love them all. Somehow now all my Uberti and Pietta feel like the ugly sister you got stuck with. 

 

The two Pietta Cimerron Eliminater 8s were a mess. I have several Stoeger imported Cattleman that were built right.  I just replaced the springs and ran a hone around.  Had to do a lot of work on the Taylor's Smoke Wagon Deluxe 44WCF to get them reliable and shooting well. 

 

One thing I've noticed while working on Colts is the parts are much harder.  Pietta parts are really soft. Uberti maybe harder than Pietta. 

 

973582099_FiveColtstocleanOct2020.jpg.f7838e2ca399b5c100aa48bd6349dca7.jpg

 

The Colts I shot Josey Wales at last match last fall.

Nice display!! ;)

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5 minutes ago, Tex Jones, SASS 2263 said:

Warden, are they oldest to newest, left to right?

 

 

 

Two on left are second generation 45 Colt. The nickel one in the center is Frontier Six Shooter 44WCF first generation black powder frame - 1881, I'm thinking.  Next is a third generation 1996 in 38WCF. The one on far right is a first generation made in 1906 in 38WCF. 

 

I used the 45s as my rifles,  38WCF as my pistols and the FSS as my shotgun. 

 

I left two at home.

 

I've always watched for Colt large caliber in the "shooter" price range that was affordable and not junk. Some reason, I kept running into them.  Couple I bought outright and couple I was able to trade safe queens for. 

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Have had 2nd and 3rd gen colts. The only thing spectacular about them I'd the name and all the history and romanticism. Hands down USFA is higher built quality. Across the board they had same quality build with every model, only difference would be in the options. Next for me would be pietta frontier and great western II. Uberti falls back because of hammer safety's. Standard does not match quality of USFA and are way overpriced. My .0000002 cents worth.

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Gold Standard doesn't necessarily mean the best.  I'd trade you a pound of gold for a pound of palladium in a heartbeat.  I'd give ya 10 lbs of gold for a pound of rhodium.  But gold is the Gold Standard because that's what most people know and it's pretty darn good. 

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Speaking of Colts,  it's 63 degrees right now.  So I got out my "Stimulus Colt" first generation in 38WCF that I had Bill Fuchs of Spring Creek Armory refinish and tune up last fall. 

 

296169074_StimulusColtSAAin38WCFFeb2021.jpg.f1169103bb9ed78632eb461c50d88b74.jpg

 

This is the first time I've tried shooting a group from rest. Shot from 10 steps, seated at a picnic table,  resting wrists.  My BlackMZ cowboy loads. 

 

892193487_StimulusColtSAAin38WCFtargetFeb2020.jpg.a06ac730d9db1160341c11f0013b6de6.jpg

 

The first 5 are the lower circle with near white spots. I was using a 6 o'clock hold.  Second 5 shots in red was just to right of bullseye.  I was holding at top of black.  The third 5 in pink was shot off hand with my right hand. 

 

I'm not including my shots from left hand.   I need to practice.  But they all fell "minute of cowboy".

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Goody I have a Texas Longhorn Arms in .44WCF with a .44 Mag cylinder.  The gun is engraved and has ivory grips, was used in SASS for several years.  About the size of a Ruger but the heat treat isn't the best on the internals.  It was given to me by my dead first wife.  It is much better than a lot of the third generation Colts.  I have a nickel set of Colts that I haver seen better looking first gen nickels.  Granted mine has shot a SASS match or 20.

Edited by Pee Wee #15785
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The OP said "Lets Talk Single Action" so by golly I went to look I have about 15 revolvers that I call single actions.  Not counting cap guns and old slab sides.  However, they are obviously not what most of the people on here call single actions.  Mine are mostly Rugers lots of different flavors, some have transfer bars some do not.  They all shoot well and they all hit were you point them.  I don't seem to worry much about the investment value because I basically have no plans to sell.  I would however be surprised to learn that their value hasn't keep pace with the economy despite the fact that most of them have have thousands or more rounds though them.   I have two that are custom guns a Linebaugh and Bowden made to hunt dangerous game.  I really prefer the Rugers to the Freedom Arms although the FA is a beautifully made pistol.  From personal experience I can tell you that a Ruger can take a beating and keep on ticking.  I didn't need an investment Banker to purchase them and should they ever break to buy parts for them.  I have a number of S&W's and Colt's but the Ruger's are the ones I pick up when there is a job to be done.

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I’ll second/third/fourth what others have said. How is Colt the gold standard? Are they more durable than a Ruger. I don’t think so. Does Colt treat their customers well? No, quite the opposite. Are they more accurate than any other clone out there? I’ve never seen evidence of that.  Better built than a Freedom Arms? I don’t think so.

 

They live off their heritage, that’s it. Yeah, I have several and they’re good guns, but gold standard? Not to me. I’ll take a NMV over a Colt any day.

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Colt is and always will be the Gold Standard of single actions. .  Because all the others are copies.  Some are very good copies, but copies none-the-less.

 

 

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7 minutes ago, Abilene, SASS # 27489 said:

Colt is and always will be the Gold Standard of single actions. .  Because all the others are copies.  Some are very good copies, but copies none-the-less.

 

 

A NMV is not a copy of a Colt. 

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4 minutes ago, Captain Bill Burt said:

A NMV is not a copy of a Colt. 

The term Single Action describes a gun, and describes an action.  The gun it describes it the SAA.

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The only reason Colt is so well know is the western movies and TV.  Colt couldn't even make his Model 73 till White's patten ran out.  S&W was there before Colt.  The Colt is a copy of the Remington Army with a loading gate and slimed down.  Colt is a copy cat, he liked the open top as was easier to make.  Col. Colt was not even around when the 73 came out.

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I need one more pistol made before 1900 to have a full set of vintage guns to shoot in a match.  I have several pre-1900 rifles and a bunch of old shotguns.  But only the Frontier Six Shooter that is pre-1900. 

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