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Questions About Current Percussion Replica Revolvers

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Crooked River Bob:
Thanks to all who responded.  This has been very informative.

If anybody who followed this thread is interested in knowing more, check this out:  Second Dragoons On Trial

The link takes you to an online article by Gun Tests magazine.  The article was evidently published in July, 2006, but I just found it today.  I always read magazine reviews with some skepticism because the writers are evidently afraid to say anything negative.  Not these guys!  They tell it like it is.  They compared three Second Model Dragoon replicas:  a blued Cimarron (by Uberti), an EMF with antique finish (also by Uberti), and a Second Generation Colt Blackpowder model, made by Iver-Johnson with I-J and Uberti parts.  I learned a lot.

Essentially, the Colt looked best on the outside, with correct markings and a nice blue job and color case hardening, but it was mechanically deficient and did not shoot well at all.  They found the chambers were .016" smaller than the bore (groove) diameter.  They did not give the actual measurements, but indicated the only way to fix the problem would be to ream the chambers and have a custom oversized mould made, so I'm assuming the bore was oversized.  I don't think I'll get a Colt!

The antique finish on the EMF was reportedly achieved with an acid dip.  The barrel was evidently not plugged during this operation, so the bore was also "antiqued," complete with pitting!  There was also some serious rusting on other parts where the acid had not been "killed."  They said Cimarron uses the same process to achieve their "Original Finish"... Maybe Abilene can tell us more about that.  In any event, I don't think I'll pay extra for the antique finish!  Other than the rust problem requiring detailed cleaning before testing started, and the bore requiring fire lapping,  the EMF performed pretty well.

The Cimarron was reportedly the best of the lot, although not without a couple of minor issues.  One of these was the loading lever latch would not hold.  The EMF had the same problem.  However, the reviewers rated the Cimarron very highly overall.

There's more, but if you were interested in this thread, or if you're thinking of getting a new percussion revolver as I am, you'll probably get a lot out of the Gun Tests article.  As noted, the article was published in 2006, so prices are different, and I don't think EMF sells the Dragoon revolvers any more.  However, the essential points still seem pertinent.  I expect I'll order a new Uberti and send it to Mike as the Professor recommended.

EDIT:  See Abilene's post (below) regarding Cimarron's "Original Finish."

Best regards,

Crooked River Bob

Abilene:

--- Quote from: Crooked River Bob on April 08, 2019, 07:28:34 PM ---...The antique finish on the EMF was reportedly achieved with an acid dip.  The barrel was evidently not plugged during this operation, so the bore was also "antiqued," complete with pitting!  There was also some serious rusting on other parts where the acid had not been "killed."  They said Cimarron uses the same process to achieve their "Original Finish"... Maybe Abilene can tell us more about that.  In any event, I don't think I'll pay extra for the antique finish!  Other than the rust problem requiring detailed cleaning before testing started, and the bore requiring fire lapping,  the EMF performed pretty well....

--- End quote ---

Regarding antique finish:  Almost all finishes like this come from the manufacturer, in this case Uberti.  I antiqued a very few guns for Cimarron years ago when someone wanted one and only blued guns were in stock.  It was very labor-intensive (no dipping involved - just exterior surfaces).  Cimarron also paid some guys to antique a bunch of 1878 (TTN) hammer shotguns some years back.  Most of those looked like crap.  They also paid a guy to antique some pistols, but they also looked kind of like crap.  Especially the wood.  So, mostly it has just been Uberti.  They are supposed to plug cylinder chambers and barrels.   Maybe they don't always.  Pietta sent some samples of an antique finish once.  It was supposed to be "semi" antique, more of a worn finish with some blue still left on the gun.  Looked like crap, not like real wear.  It is a chore to try to make a pistol look very worn without taking away all the finish.  I do have one Cimarron antique finish 7 1/2" .45.  It looks exactly like my 1st gen .45 from 1901 (no finish) and I shoot them as a pair.  I also antiqued my TTN myself and it looks great.  Antique finishes are not for everyone.  I have shiny guns for when I'm more dressed up.  And I just ignore folks who say we shouldn't shoot antique finish guns because we are portraying folks shooting them when they were still newish.

As regards percussion guns, my choice would be Uberti just because I think they look better (there are exceptions, like those little Captain Schaeffer snubbies!).  The guns will need work no matter who made them.

Crow Choker:
Well it's been almost 2 weeks since the last post on this subject. CR Bob possibly you've already ordered/received a 2nd Mod Dragoon. If not, here's my 2 cents, maybe someone else is contemplating the same decision. I have a Uberti/Cimarron 2nd Model Dragoon I've had since 2007 and I love it to all the pieces it's made of. If I were to choose just one of the ten percussion revolvers I have (8 Ubert's, 2 Pietta), it would be the one and only. Like the looks, heft, caliber, and history. I agree mostly with what all has been posted reference the Pietta/Uberti difference. All of my Uberti Colts have mostly been trouble free except minor timing issues on a few. Four of them needed no arbor adjustment, I slicked up the innards on all just because they needed it..The one Pietta Colt (51 Navy 44 cal) worked fine and didn't have the terrible metal/metal and wood/metal fit I use to see in so many Pietta's. Minor stoning of the innards was all that it needed. The Pietta Remington I have works fine. Uberti 1860 Army Colt 2nd choice, Pietta 1851 Colt 44 caliber 3rd choice in case anyone is curious.

 The 'biggy' on my Whitneyville (Transition) Dragoon and 2nd Model Dragoon was the vertical loading lever catches (vs the horizontal ones on all of the other revolvers) that would fail a lot of times to hold the lever in place when firing. My Colt Walker has its own unique loading lever that needed its own Rx. What I had to do with the Whitneyville and 2nd Dragoon was file the V notch a bit deeper on the barrel catch on both by trial and error until it would hold the lever in place while firing. I generally load 40-45 grains of FFF in both. 30 grains didn't bother much, but that's a squib load in those big horse hoglegs. After careful filing, it took usually two attempts so the lever would stay in place. I can't recall who, but someone posted on the forum once (think in the STORM) that he had good luck replacing the spring in the loading lever with one with a little more resistance. Have been going to try that also, but haven't got around to it yet.The horizontal lever catches as on the 51 Navys, 60 Army, 61 Navy, and Remington have never been a problem. I do have a Uberti Remington 44 kit that is still under construction so it is no effect. I have a unfired 3rd Mod Colt Signature  Dragoon that is also of no effect---timing is good on it, guts will need stoning if I ever get around to shooting it, arbor need checking, mostly a safe queen.

 Interesting article by 'Gun Tests'. Mostly mirrors everything I've ever heard about the 2nd Gen Colts, Uberti's, EMF's, and other once upon a time' firearms. As previously noted, Pietta's once had terrible outside cosmetics, better now, I've always preferred Uberti's as they looked better, the minor internal needs always outweighed the once crappy looking Pietta's. Professor---interesting take on forged vs cast. As Coffinmaker posted, I neither have seen advertising listing the choice between forged or cast. Guess wasn't looking at the advert hard enough. Have to check it out also. I prefer Colts to Remington's, but enjoy the Rems, fun shooters too.

Note: Checked the 'r-cheeves' ref replacing the loading lever spring with one stronger. It was Montana Slim who did so in his Dragoon and he advised he never had the lever drop again.

45 Dragoon:
C.C.,  I too "enhance" the given setup on the loading lever (vert.or horiz.) by installing a "helper" spring which will do the trick. It's the same "fix" I used on my personal open top revolvers. As far as your Uberti's, they all have short arbors, I haven't seen one of any make that wasn't short except for the Piettas of the last several years (unless it has already been addressed). Proof would be a simple washer in the arbor hole and re-assembly. They'll all need "addressing". The Whitneyville is defiantly my favorite of the Dragoon series!! (You have excellent taste!!)
  The Dragoon for the OP will be acquired this Mon. or Tues and is a 1st Mod. (already on hold) which will be given the "Outlaw Mule" service which will include a coil spring conversion of the action, a cap post,  action stop, a bolt block, an action shield, a 3 1/2 lb hammer draw, a 2 3/4 lb trigger pull and a set .0025"-.003" barrel/cyl clearance.  A full diet of max loads is expected for the rest of the Dragoon's life!

Mike

Crow Choker:

--- Quote from: 45 Dragoon on April 21, 2019, 10:56:35 PM ---C.C.,   As far as your Uberti's, they all have short arbors, I haven't seen one of any make that wasn't short except for the Piettas of the last several years (unless it has already been addressed). Proof would be a simple washer in the arbor hole and re-assembly. They'll all need "addressing".

--- End quote ---


45 Dragoon, I know what your saying and respect that. Coffinmaker says the same, BUT-back when I went about doing my Uberti made cap and ball percussion revolvers, the four I didn't adjust the arbors on "really didn't need anything". Before doing anything I bought some of the Dillion brass buttons that Pettifogger recommended in his "How to do" information, but as I was busy at the time went the split washer route. Not liking the stainless steel 10mm (or whatever size they were), I bought four thicknesses of brass washers of the same diameter as the arbor and used them for all of my arbor fixes. Some took two, others were fine with one, just had to find the right combination. Liked them lots lots better, hold them in with a dab of grease, haven't lost one yet during disassembly. The four cappers I didn't do were so close to being perfect, even the thinnest brass washer I had was to thick. Thought of stoning them down, but have no problem with any of the four. Could they be adjusted to the Nth degree by using Pettifoggers or your method, probably so, but they were so close that the meaning of 'close' would need redefining.

 Of my three Uberti conversion type cartridge revolvers, one was right on, no matter how I checked its mating. My 44 Open Top needed adjustment as did my 38 Spec Richards/Mason. My 44 Richards II was a gem in a box of rocks, arbor fit no need of fixing, checked it every way possible. One of these days I hope to getting around to doing the Pettifogger Dillion brass button treatment on them. I realize you and Coffinmaker have had a lot more experience with the Uberti's and not trying to put that down, but I have five Uberti's that didn't need adjustment. Have read comments by others who advise they have found Uberti open top style revolvers also that were fine, not the normal, but I believe they're out there. Enjoy your posts, thanks for posting and educating us--- always informative.  Crow Choker


Crooked River Bob: I went to Taylors website and read what you posted about Taylors 1858 Remington Uberti choice's cast vs forged. Interesting--never knew Uberti offered a choice other than barrel length and finish on them. Never saw that, guess I wouldn't have as I haven't really been in the quest for another Remmie, never have seen any talk or writings about it either until you posted it. The Pietta I do have I bought used from another shooter and my Uberti is a work in progress kit I bought some years back, but like I advised, "a work in progress'.

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