Author Topic: Colt Bisley use  (Read 510 times)

Offline LongWalker

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Colt Bisley use
« on: February 25, 2021, 06:26:05 PM »
In 1892, after tests at Governors Island NY, the Krag Jorgenson rifle was adopted as the standard rifle for the US military.  In 1893, historian Frederick jackson Turner said the American frontier was gone.  In 1894, Winchester brought out the 1894 rifle, and Colt introduced their Bisley model. 

The 1894 Winchester was quickly adopted, and was used by lawmen, outlaws, revolutionaries, and "just folks".  The Bisley . . . "not so much".  It was a favorite of Pancho Villa; some of the Dorados and Villistas adopted it (when available) out of admiration.

But was the Bisley used by any other notable lawmen/outlaws?  I couldn't sleep the other night, and got to wondering about this (because when you can't sleep, why not?).  Anyone have any examples?
In my book a pioneer is a man who turned all the grass upside down, strung bob-wire over the dust that was left, poisoned the water, cut down the trees, killed the Indian who owned the land and called it progress.  Charles M. Russell

Offline St. George

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Re: Colt Bisley use
« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2021, 06:59:35 PM »
The Bisley saw use South of the Border simply because it was in stock - not because it was admired.

if you look closely at photos of the Villistas, you'll see S&Ws, OpenTops, Forehand & Wadsworths,, Hopkins and Allens, Iver Johnsons - pretty much every revolver that was on the shelf and had ammunition was usable.

By the time of introduction, the Frontier West was done, save for the Dime Novels - 'civilization' and the railroad saw to that - making trail drives short-distance affairs - and the Army pretty well ended any threat from hostiles, so the Bisley likely was purchased because there weren't any SAAs at the dry goods and the buyer didn't want to wait.

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Offline Sir Charles deMouton-Black

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Re: Colt Bisley use
« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2021, 01:03:07 PM »
The Bisley was developed, as it's name implies, for bullseye target shooters. Colt was competing against English revolvers notably the Webley. The grip angle and lowered hammer spur were what British shooters were accustomed to.

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Offline Tascosa Joe

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Re: Colt Bisley use
« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2021, 01:29:56 PM »
The town Sherriff in Creede, Colorado carried a Bisley as a duty weapon in the 1970's and 1980's.  It was either .45 or 38 WCF, I do not remember which.  Just a bit of trivia.

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Offline Jake MacReedy

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Re: Colt Bisley use
« Reply #4 on: March 04, 2021, 03:17:22 PM »
That's a great bit of trivia, Joe!  Good to hear that fine old firearms were still being put to go use on those days!  Was in Creede in the early 70's...wish I had paid more attention to things like that!
Jake

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Re: Colt Bisley use
« Reply #5 on: Today at 03:47:29 AM »

Offline LongWalker

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Re: Colt Bisley use
« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2021, 09:23:44 PM »
Thanks for the thoughts guys.  Lately I've been trading off a bunch of guns and stuff, and I've been offered a couple-three Bisleys in trade.  Wasn't sure if I was missing something.

I can remember seeing sheriffs carrying single-actions as "parade guns", but don't recall ever seeing a Bisley in that role.  This owuld have been mid-late '70s.  I did see a deputy carrying a SAA in Nevada, roughly '74. 
In my book a pioneer is a man who turned all the grass upside down, strung bob-wire over the dust that was left, poisoned the water, cut down the trees, killed the Indian who owned the land and called it progress.  Charles M. Russell

Offline DeaconKC

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Re: Colt Bisley use
« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2021, 08:26:41 PM »
Have any of you compared the Uberti or Pietta Bisleys with a Colt? I have a Colt in .38WCF and would like to match it up with another for CAS.
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Offline LongWalker

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Re: Colt Bisley use
« Reply #7 on: March 07, 2021, 02:46:56 PM »
Have any of you compared the Uberti or Pietta Bisleys with a Colt? I have a Colt in .38WCF and would like to match it up with another for CAS.

The batch of various 32-20s I was able to pull together for my limited test included 2 original Bisleys.  (Limited HA!!  5 guns, 2,000 rounds didn't seem limited at the time!) While doing this test, I was offered a .44 Special Uberti Bisley in trade.  I didn't do a detailed comparison, but at 5' the differences I noticed between the originals and the Uberti were in finish used, and the grips. 

In hand they felt much the same, and the stance that gave best results with the Colts had the Uberti right on target.  I was told that the Uberti uses a one-piece grip frame, but that 2-piece grips will interchange between the originals and repros (though as usual, fitting might be required).  The original holster, time-moulded to fit the 5 1/2" Colt Bisley fit the Uberti like a glove. 

Sidebar: In my (limited expertience, "matching" a pair of first-gen Colts in bottleneck cartridges is an exercise in heartbreak.  The times I've tried it, the chamber dimensions varied so much that I had to full-length size every case.  I was getting incipient case head separations in fired 2x brass.  If it were me, I'd either get to repros of the same vintage from the same company, or get two originals and have custom cylinders made.  Either way, brass life would be better. 

Edited to add: No, I didn't trade for the Uberti.  As a general rule, I don't like shooting Colt Bisleys.  But I think the old Bisley pistol match sounds like a blast!
In my book a pioneer is a man who turned all the grass upside down, strung bob-wire over the dust that was left, poisoned the water, cut down the trees, killed the Indian who owned the land and called it progress.  Charles M. Russell

Offline Abilene

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Re: Colt Bisley use
« Reply #8 on: March 07, 2021, 04:53:57 PM »
Deacon, Pietta doesn't make a Bisley, and I don't know that Uberti makes one in 38wcf.  The Cimarron branded Ubertis are only in 4 calibers these days, .357, .45 Colt, 44 Special, and 44-40.  Possibly they were previously made in 38wcf, not sure, as they have downsized a lot of their product lines over the years.  Now, you can always throw money at it.  Buy one in any caliber and replace the barrel and cylinder (could resell the pulled parts to recoup some bucks). 

Or change your goal.   :)

 

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