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Opinions of the Colt Bisley


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Long story short, I will soon own one.  I've only ever held one once, and I admit that it felt awkward to me somehow.   As to how "suited" it is to our game, I don't know.   I'm a bottom of the pack shooter anyway, so I'm not too worried about it slowing me down.   I know they were created for competitive target shooting, not the kind of game we play, but that's not important to me.

I feel that I should have one in my collection, and now I do.   But for those of you who have one, what is your opinion of it?  What is your experience of shooting it, either informally or in a CAS context.

 

FYI, mine was made in 1904, is a .32-20, 4-3/4" barrel.   Here pics of it...

 

1124931572_BisleyRight.jpg.19061f50ee747985f080a9d406370613.jpg

 

707043547_BisleyLeft.jpg.380311fd6af81f20a414d5147c0dc58b.jpg

 

Happy birthday to me!  :)  (Sunday)

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Well, happy birthday.  Some folks find they tend to shoot low due to the grip, but they were designed to be shot with a bent elbow which makes them point better.  

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If you have large hands, the grip will feel good. You will need to get used to the angle. Mine is a 1905 in .38-40.

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It is different. 

It is unique.

You have to learn it.

You can't compare it to a traditional single action. 

Variety is the spice of life. The Bisley is very spicy. 

A Bisley can be interesting, challenging, different, unique, and yes, fun! (Yes...I said challenging!!!)  

Like anything different, it is an acquired skill, and that comes with practice, and time. Not everyone has the patience. 

You forked over inflated yankee paper-cloth federal reserve notes, to purchase this. Federal reserve notes that took some precious moments of your limited life to work for, and earn, over time. It cost you money, and time. You wanted it, and now you have it. So...make the most of it, and learn to like it.

 

 -I like mine, and liked it from the get-go.-   

 

Heck, just looking at it, you automatically can see it is different. 

 

Don't complain...go conquer it, and master it, and enjoy it. It is part of our history. 

Nothing worthwhile was ever easy. 

 

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I’m jealous; I have never fired an authentic Colt Bisley, only tried Ruger’s derivatives.  So I’m eager to hear your range report!

 

Calvera/Eli Wallach carried a Bisley in the original Magnificent Seven.  Just in case you are searching for a role model!

 

:)

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Very cool looking Colt!  I understand the Bisley grip was designed for a bent elbow style of target shooting but I think Colt sort of missed the mark.  The "Bisley" grip associated with Elmer Keith is similar to the grips found on what Ruger calls a "Bisley" are much better suited to heavy loads and target shooting IMHO.

Edited by July Smith
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A few years ago, I handled a pair of Colt Bisley clones at Cimarron Firearms in Fredericksburg, TX. I have large hands, and they turned out to be too large for the Bisley grip. There was almost zero clearance between my knuckles and the rear of the trigger guard. The Bisley grips on OM Vaqueros, which closely resemble Keith No. 5 grips, fit me perfectly.

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A Bisley got me into SASS/CAS in about 2003. I'd never been a handgun guy; rifles and shotguns. My dad had a couple of .38 and .357 Smiths at the time of his death, and I took a .38 model 12 in the divvy with my brothers. Got me interested in revolvers, at at the gun store I saw an Uberti .45 SAA clone with Bisley grip.

 

I thought it looked great, bought it, found SASS. I like not only the grip, but the hammer and trigger.

 

I really like Ruger Bisleys, but their grip is really pretty different than the Colt Bisley. The Ruger Biz is great for big hands.

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I’ve been shooting a pair for the last 15 years or so. I love em. Mine have 2nd generation 38 special barrels and cylinders. They in no way feel or handle like Ruger bisleys. Also the clones are not the same feeling or profile as the originals. The main springs under the grips of the clones have an entirely different profile than the original Colts. I would like to see if the USFA’s matched the originals inside but they are extremely rare and I have never seen a set up close. 

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If you shoot two handed, there is nothing better than a Colt Bisley.  The hammer is low, the trigger is wide and better contoured, and the grip does not move in your hand after every shot. The grip was designed for target shooting where reestablishing a proper grip after every shot is a bad idea.  The SAA grip was designed to roll under recoil.  

As others have pointed out, the Ruger Bisley grip has absolutely no relation to the Colt.  It is much bigger.  Even the reproductions are different than the originals.  
 

The real Colt Bisley grip is not great for one handed shooting in my opinion.   I have been shooting Colt Bisleys since I started shooting CAS in the 80s and they are great.  Frankly, I don’t understand why more people don’t shoot them. Give it a try and don’t worry about comparing it to the SAA grip.  It is it’s own thing. Enjoy your new gun. It looks like a good one.  

Edited by Doc Coles SASS 1188
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Well, it arrived today.   And I have to say that I like it.  My initial reaction to it was that it seems to be a bit heavier than a comparable standard SAA.   (5.5" in the same caliber is not as heavy.)   As far as it fitting my hand and being a good pointer goes, I found that if I try to grip it with all 4 fingers of the shooting hand, it seems awkward, but if I curl my pinky under the grip, like on an SAA, it fits the hand very well and points very naturally.

I think that I'm gonna go shooting tomorrow.   I gotta check ammo on hand, but if I've got enough .32-20 in hand, I'll be using this gun.

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It is different, but I liked mine from the get-go. Yep..it does take some getting used to.

But, you don't follow the crowd, hence you wanted one, and liked it enough to buy one. In the world of 1873 style single actions, the Bisley can be overlooked, or passed by.

So, embrace the difference, and wade out to meet the challenge of getting the hang of this. It is not for everyone. It is for the select few.

It is fun to figure out new techniques, for handling/shooting the Bisley, and for changing your techniques from using/shooting the 1873 Colt single action, type revolver/clones, and retraining your muscle memory.

Hey...I found getting used to the Bisley was a lot easier, and more fun, than getting used to shooting my Pietta single action Starr, or my Euroarms Rogers & Spencer, cap & ball revolvers.  Thumbing back the hammer on a Bisley is heaven, compared to the Starr, or the Rogers & Spencer. 

It would be a super boring world if we did not have the challenge of experiencing something different. 

The Colt Bisley IS history...our history.  

Us Bisley owners are rootin' for you.

 

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I had a Colt Bisley in .32 WCF soon after starting cowboy action, when I hoped to have one set of race guns and ome set of originals.

I sold it two years later to fund better shotguns.

It had been chromed (not nickeled) some time after WWII and was tight as a tick.  Shot well.  Under the grip was roughly inscribed Yamika Log Camp 1908.

I prefer .32s in the older guns, especially the Win 1873.  More metal, less powder.

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While on the subject of Bisleys, do the springs from Uberti's replica work in Colt Bisleys?

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9 hours ago, DeaconKC said:

While on the subject of Bisleys, do the springs from Uberti's replica work in Colt Bisleys?

If your talking about the hammer main spring, the answer is no. It has a completely different profile than the originals 

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On 10/14/2021 at 12:44 PM, irish ike, SASS #43615 said:

I had a pair of Uberti clones in 44-40. I shot them at a few matches. Sold them off. I didn't like the grip or angle of the grip.

I had the same exact experience!

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12 hours ago, doc roy l. pain said:

If your talking about the hammer main spring, the answer is no. It has a completely different profile than the originals 

Thanks Doc, appreciate it.

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