Traditions/Pietta 1851 "Old Silver" .44 Navy


Cincinnati Slim:


I've been seeing these on the 'net and at my Local Bass Pro for a while. Decided to go ahead and order one before the rurmored Italian gun price increases kick in. Polished white steel "Navy" in .44 caliber sold by Traditions made by Pietta. Found one on-line for less than $ 250.00. Impact Guns had the best price but are now sold out. Described as " hardened polished steel similar to stainless that resists rust", not sure if it is "real" stainless or not. It is magnetic but some varieties or stainless are while some are not. Not a REAL "Navy" since it has a stepped/rebated cylinder frame and is .44 caliber. I have a Pietta 1860 and cylinders and other parts interchange fine including R&D conversion cylinder sold for Pietta "Army".

Grip frame is smaller Navy/SAA size. Walnut grips are quite nice w/attractive grain and semi-gloss oil finish. Much better than Uberti's thick red varnish woodwork. Metal is very nicely polished. Overall impression is very good for the money spent. I think the frame was case colored and then polished bright silver. I found traces of case-colors inside the cap channel groove on the breechface where polishing would be difficult and the manufacturer's stampings on the side of the frame were partially polished away !

There was a build-up of polish residue in the bolt notches of the cylinder. This prevented the hammer from going to full cock on two of the chambers. After a good clean-up I was pleased to discover a very tight action with a light crisp trigger pull and virtually no hammer overtravel past full cock. Fortunately, unlike so many new Italian six-shooters these days, none of the screws were overtorqued and the wedge could be knocked out fairly easily.

How does she shoot ? ???

Pretty good. I replaced the nipples w/TRM cones #11 Remington caps, .454 ball, 30 Gr. fff and wonder wads for a load. shootin' twohanded at about 15 yards made 2-3 inch groups hitting about 4-5 inches high of point-of-aim. Front sight is terrible, tiny and really hard to see; I'm sure I could have done much better with a better front sight. Cylinder got really draggy real quick. Only shot three cylinders and had to stop. Not enough of a cylinder gap. Forcing cone is touching front of cylinder at the top. Arbor is bottomed in barrel so it is not a problem of the wedge being in too tight.

Back at the bench I can see that the forcing cone is at a slight angle; not square with the face of the cylinder. I break out the Arkansaws Stones and go to work. Took just a little off the back of the barrel and got her squared up real nice now. Also used the Dremel to round off a few sharp edges on the tip of the hammer and trigger for a smoother draw. Also stoned the wedge so a little more would protrudethrough the right side of the barrel to make dissassembly easier.

I'm taking some blackpowder .45 Colt reloads and the R&D conversion with me to the range next time I go. Just got a dovetail cutting jig and file so I'll be able to get rid of that tiny little "Acorn" brass bead front sight and mount a proper sight blade tall enough to see and hit with! ;)

All in all I think it's an attractive six-hotter at a really good price. Like any Italian revolver a little TLC goes a long way. Better too tight than too loose; a little trimming, smoothing and polishing will make a fine shooter out of 'er. :)

Happy Trails,

Cincinnati Slim


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