Author Topic: Which Colt conversion?  (Read 2357 times)

Offline Kent Shootwell

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Which Colt conversion?
« on: July 29, 2021, 02:11:36 PM »
First let me assure you I DON’T need a open top of any type, but I want one. Since many here buy, sell, trade on what seems like a regular basis your experience with them would be of interest to me. Let’s assume I’m capable of doing the common gunsmithing that is inherent to replicas and the chosen one will be shot and expected to hit close to were I point it. A 45Colt or 38 special are both exceptable and I favor longer barrels. Blued and cased are required with no thoughts on grip size or material. I eagerly await your guidance!
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Offline Coffinmaker

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Re: Which Colt conversion?
« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2021, 02:31:32 PM »

 :) Hi Kent  :D

Just a few thoughts.  I have been shoot and working on Colt Pattern Open Top guns for 25 years.  Unless you want to build your own, your choice is limited to Uberti built reproductions.  ALL Uberti built Colt Pattern open top guns suffer the same flaw.  For whatever reason, Uberti builds the guns with abysmal fit of the Barrel to Arbor.  Instead of the Arbor bottoming in the Bore in the Barrel Lug, there is a gap.  Enough gap, when the wedge is seated, the barrel tilts enough to bind against the cylinder face.  Before the guns are put in service, and before any action work, this flaw MUST be corrected.  I refer you to the articles authored by Larsen E, Pettifogger.  With one additional . . . you can almost always correct the fit by dropping a #10 Stainless Split Washer down the lug bore and reassemble the gun.  Simple expedient that is cheap and works.

I am not a fan of the 45 Colt in the Open Top nor the Colt pattern Open Top Conversions.  the cylinder wall is just to thin.  Makes me nervous.  If your not interested in 44s, my suggestion is 38 Special.  38 Special runs well and doesn't stress the gun.  The Open Top and the Conversions are super fun after set up.  Out of the box, I consider them really good looking "KITS".  You will also be well advised to reduce or change out the OEM Main Spring.  Way over sprung.

Offline Kent Shootwell

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Re: Which Colt conversion?
« Reply #2 on: July 29, 2021, 05:36:08 PM »
Yes I’m well aware of the arbor issue, having done machine work it puzzles me why a single number change in a program is beyond Uberti’s ability.
Now I hadn’t considered a 44 because I have plenty of 38 and 45 stuff to play with. After all what’s another hundred bucks for reloading when you’re looking at pistols that aren’t needed. ;) Are the 44s set up for our standard bullet sizes today?
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Offline Abilene

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Re: Which Colt conversion?
« Reply #3 on: July 29, 2021, 06:10:05 PM »
Since your requirements are simply a longer barrel in .45 or .38, there are a number of options.  The '71/72 OT has 7 1/2" barrel and both Navy and Army grip available for that barrel length.  Then there is the '51 Richards-Mason, Navy grip only, 7 1/2" octagon.  I've got 4 of these because I love the octagon barrel.  Then there is the 1860 Richards-Mason and 1860 Type II Richards (I have 2 of these as well).  Both of those will be 8" barrel and Army grip only.  I think all of these will be about equal in reliability and function.  The conversions have a conversion ring which can come loose, but rarely does.  The OT rear sights are on the rear of the barrel and the conversion sights are the hammer notch.  So that is a personal preference issue.  In .38, any of these guns may or may not have an issue where the ejector rod doesn't quite line up with the cylinder hole for ejecting (have to do it like a Ruger).

I shot some of mine for years with no problems before the experts started insisting you need to fix the arbor length issue.  Various sizes of washer down each arbor hole did tighten them up, though.

Offline Drydock

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Re: Which Colt conversion?
« Reply #4 on: July 29, 2021, 06:35:51 PM »
The .44s are set up for modern .429 bullets.  I highly recommend them.  Most will take a .44 spl case, but I load .44 Colt in all of mine.  I have a 5" and an 8", both with Navy grips.  You can also shoot .44 Russian in them as well.  3 to 4 grains of Red Dot and a 200 grain bullet, or fill the case with 3f Black.

The Open Top is slick handling, good looking, less complex, and often cheaper than the "Conversions".   

 All made by Uberti.  The .44 is probably the most historical of the open top/conversion calibers.  The .38s are built on the .44 frames and cylinders, and feel chunky and not as well balanced as the 44s. (IMHO)  I can say that as I have one of the 1851 .38 Conversions.  Highly accurate, but does not feel as good in the hand as the 44.  You are aware of the issues, though mine have given no trouble.  All mine do have the springs replaced with Lee "Gunslinger" spring kits.
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Re: Which Colt conversion?
« Reply #5 on: Today at 06:32:23 PM »

Offline Black River Smith

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Re: Which Colt conversion?
« Reply #5 on: July 29, 2021, 06:41:28 PM »
Are the 44s set up for our standard bullet sizes today?

Yes, the Uberti conversions have a standard 0.429 barrel groove/bore (or thereabout).  The chambers are mainly 44Spec, but can handle modern 44Colt and 44Russian cartridges.  If you buy used then watch out for older OT that have been chambered to 44Colt length only.  I have a 2002 OT that is 44Colt but handles the larger rim of a 44Russian.  Sometime after that Uberti or Cimarron change to mainly 44Spec chambers.

Sorry Drydock posted while I was still typing a similar response.
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Offline Kent Shootwell

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Re: Which Colt conversion?
« Reply #6 on: July 29, 2021, 07:24:17 PM »
OK, now I’m leaning to 44 so how about point of aim? How close do the current offerings come to dead on? The standard Colt percussion habit of hitting a foot or so high will cut to deeply into my grouse hunting, I aim for the neck but settle for head shots.
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Offline Drydock

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Re: Which Colt conversion?
« Reply #7 on: July 29, 2021, 08:36:59 PM »
The Open Top sights are both on the barrel, mine shoot POA at 10 yards with a 200 grain bullet and a case full of OE 3f.  Your results may vary.  I have had very good luck with my Single Actions.
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Offline Tuolumne Lawman

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Re: Which Colt conversion?
« Reply #8 on: July 29, 2021, 10:26:16 PM »
I have two 1872 Open Tops in .45 Colt, one 78.5" and one 5.5", both with Army grips.  I shoot .45 Schofields with either a 200 or 230 grain bullet.  both shoot to point of aim at 10-15 yards.  I have a Pietta 1860 I converted with a Kirst Konverter and ejector assembly, and it is a few inches high at 10 yards with the same .45 Schofield loads.  love them all!



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Offline Oldgold

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Re: Which Colt conversion?
« Reply #9 on: July 31, 2021, 09:37:03 AM »
Dang, that Saber River is a pretty gun!

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Re: Which Colt conversion?
« Reply #10 on: Today at 06:32:23 PM »

Offline Black River Smith

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Re: Which Colt conversion?
« Reply #10 on: July 31, 2021, 11:09:42 AM »
"OK, now I’m leaning to 44 so how about point of aim? How close do the current offerings come to dead on? The standard Colt percussion habit of hitting a foot or so high will cut to deeply into my grouse hunting, I aim for the neck but settle for head shots."

Kent,

I cannot directly answer your question as asked.  Because I used my 44OT for CAS shooting, not target.  What I can say is that the OT 7 1/2" barrel with Navy grips is a very 'pointing friendly' revolver.  It is comfortable in the hand and points easily.  With that said, mine shot were I aimed at, at standard 7 to 15 feet distances, but not pinpoint accuracy.  It did not have the issue of hitting 6 to 12 inches high or low, using a standard 44Russian load.  Also the Richards Type II in 44Spec with 8" barrel, shooting my slightly over standard loads of 44Spec, surprised me in the same manner.  Shot where I was trying to hit, not the extremes like it parent percussion version.

All my shooting is one handed only.

I did not have to do any front sight filing to move impact points for my CAS size targets and defense style shooting.  But with your experience, I do believe you would not have issues doing any modifying, if yours' was not to your satisfaction.

The 44 OT and conversions are versatile in cartridge and bullet weight options.  44Spec, 44Colt, 44Russian casings with bullet weights from 200 to 251grs.  I load to original / traditional velocities and weights.
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Offline Kent Shootwell

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Re: Which Colt conversion?
« Reply #11 on: July 31, 2021, 11:59:22 AM »
Well these are getting harder to choose all the time. I do favor the Richards 2nd to the 71 just because what it represents. 44 has the lead but 45 is still in the running because of availability. CAS shooting is big targets very close so to judge the pistols for hitting things I’m a bit nervous. Maybe a few of you with couple of baskets of pistols and ammo would stop by so I can try them!  ::) 
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Offline Major 2

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Re: Which Colt conversion?
« Reply #12 on: July 31, 2021, 01:07:21 PM »
I'm quite partial to my Type II Richards , and shoot 44 Colt
it has been and is my main match since 2010



I also have a Kenny Howell Type 1 conversion since 2008
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Offline Smokey Dave

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Re: Which Colt conversion?
« Reply #13 on: July 31, 2021, 01:40:19 PM »
There's something to be said for the Kirst gated conversions. I built mine about 3 yrs ago, and I love it. It's fired many, many rounds downrange. It's a .45 Colt and I only shoot black powder.

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Offline Abilene

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Re: Which Colt conversion?
« Reply #14 on: July 31, 2021, 03:41:39 PM »
Kent, if you choose the '71-72 OT, you have the option of changing barrels and cylinders for different calibers.  With the conversions, you can switch between 44 and 45 the same way but not .38.  And I think the OT extra barrels and cylinders are more numerous and easy to find as well.

Offline Kent Shootwell

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Re: Which Colt conversion?
« Reply #15 on: July 31, 2021, 04:13:06 PM »
Each of those have their merits and if I found one I’d give them a hard look. This has me intrigued at the moment but the out of stock of coarse. Blued and cased hardened.

1860 Richards Transition Model®, Type II .44 Special, 8"

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Re: Which Colt conversion?
« Reply #16 on: July 31, 2021, 05:43:11 PM »
at Coffinmaker's request to post his pair  ...I'm happy to oblige
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Re: Which Colt conversion?
« Reply #17 on: July 31, 2021, 06:09:37 PM »
at Coffinmaker's request to post his pair  ...I'm happy to oblige

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Offline Black River Smith

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Re: Which Colt conversion?
« Reply #18 on: July 31, 2021, 07:04:49 PM »
Kent,

I do like my Type II because of the historical aspects and it is just sleek looking like the 1860.  But I have only had my since 2018 and have not had a lot of range time with it.  But is a favorite even over the SAA for looks and style, function is the same as any SAA.  I have had more time and shooting with the OT, though.

Something to know, even back when I ordered mine from a dealer, to his distributor, I placed order in Sept of 2017 and receive it one week short of one year in Sept of 2018.  The Cimarron version is very nice fit and finish.  The main spring is lighter on the Cimarron over the standard 1860's, you could buy.  It only had one issue that had been identified in these forums.  I had a high spot around the firing pin hole on the face of the recoil shield.  A little meticulous stoning and re-blueing and then no more issues.

Only one more thing to let you know.  The sights on the Type II are basically the same as an 1860 Army percussion.  IMO not 'target grade'.  To me not an issue but to you well.....don't know.  I guess you could V the groove more, like most do on 1860's, but I did not want to do that.

Good luck on your decision, they are shooters just like any other single action firearm.
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Offline Drydock

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Re: Which Colt conversion?
« Reply #19 on: July 31, 2021, 07:48:41 PM »
I can find 5" open tops, but the long barrels are pretty thin right now.
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