Author Topic: A study of the Armi San Marco Hartford model Colt clone pistol  (Read 1809 times)

Offline The original bad bob

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Hi all, I think this form is a great resource for anything and everything old west related and I thought I would contribute by illustrating what I have learned about collecting the Armi San Marco (ASM) Hartford Connecticut Model pistols which are no longer ( unfortunately IMO) being manufactured.

I would encourage others who own these pistol to post photos of them in this thread so there can exist an illustrated , affirmative , documented source of information on them because there are quite a few misconceptions and inaccuracies on the internet about these.

I have attached a photo of some of these ASM pistols I have acquired over the past 10 years... when these were new and still being sold new I wasn’t of an age or financially able to buy them.. I just lusted  over them in ADs in shotgun news magazine and I thought there was plenty of time for me to acquire them later...Then I heard that ASM went out of business.. So these that I do now own I purchased used.

As to the subject of parts interchangeability with real 1st Gen Colts, here is what I have found to be true:

Real Colt saa barrels (1st and second gen) will screw into the ASM frames, Colt trigger guards and back straps will screw into ASM frames but the ASM frames are approx 30 thousands of an inch longer and wider than a real Colt frame so unless you were to sand down ASM frames the Colt SAA parts are going to sit back from edges of the ASM frames.. Colt trigger guards installed in ASM frames are 50 thousands longer than ASM trigger guards and a Colt trigger guard installed on an ASM frame will partially cover the ASM serial number because of this..... Colt 1st and 2nd gen cylinders won’t fit the asm frames unless you file approximately 10 thousands of an inch of material off of the Colt cylinder ratchet and the base pin bushing as well as file some material off of the ASM barrel forcing cone area..Colt cylinders are 6-10 thousands of an inch longer than ASM cylinders.. I have measured them with calipers to confirm this ( I own several real Colt s as well as spare Colt cylinders)I have fitted a real Colt 1st gen cylinder to one of the pistols in the photo I posted below...1st 2nd and 3rd gen Colt hammers will fit the ASM frames.. if the Colt hammer has a black powder cone shaped firing pin you will have to enlarge the firing pin hole in ASM frame...3rd gen Colt SAA horse eagle  grips will fit an ASM but the ASM backstraps are approx 40-60 thousands of an inch bigger than Colt saa backstraps so if you put these Colt hard rubber grips on an ASM the ASM bottom of the back strap will extend proud of the grips 40-60 thous...ASM frames do not have removable firing pin bushings like Colts do. most other small Colt parts will fit ASM with small modifications if necessary.

The most unusual ASM pistol I own is one that was made by ASM but imported by Cimarron.. it is marked on top of barrel:” Cimarron PT. FA MFG Co-New Model P-
And on under side of barrel it is marked:” CFA-Fredericksburg Texas- ASM Italy”
It is a US cavalry model and has a different profile front sight than the usual ASM Hartford model and the grips have the cartouche on the right side instead of the left side of walnut grips

The ASM seemed to have suffered from spotty quality control issues and here are some problems I have experienced with these pistols:

ASM hammers being too soft and hammer notches wearing prematurely or breaking.. the nickel plated pistol in my photo had a broken half cock notch when I bought it and it went off in my hand as I was loading it once because I touched the trigger.

Some ASM Hartford model pistols have ejector housing threaded studs brazed into barrels, some just have a hole threaded into barrel for ejector housing screw to engage.. I have had the brazed in bushing fail on one of my pistols so I had to buy a Colt saa Barrel stud bushing and peen-crimp it into ASM barrel to prevent the ejector housing assy from flying off during shooting.

ASM hammers have the notches machined a few thousands of an inch higher than the Colts... This results in having to manipulate the cylinders to eject spent cartridges to avoid them hitting the frame of ASM guns

ASM screws are very soft and prone to “buggering”

You can replace them with Colt screws but Colt back strap and trigger guard screws have smaller diameter heads by approx 10-15 thousands of an inch

Broken trigger bolt springs.. a Colt part or a Wolff will fit fine




Offline Virginia Gentleman

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Re: A study of the Armi San Marco Hartford model Colt clone pistol
« Reply #1 on: October 31, 2021, 02:33:42 AM »
I thought some Pietta and Uberti parts fit the ASMs too?

Offline Kent Shootwell

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Re: A study of the Armi San Marco Hartford model Colt clone pistol
« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2021, 09:22:59 AM »
I had a pair of Hartford models but I thought they were EMF guns. They were dandy pistols.
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Offline The original bad bob

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Re: A study of the Armi San Marco Hartford model Colt clone pistol
« Reply #3 on: November 02, 2021, 08:46:35 PM »
The problem with uberti saa revolver clones is that they kept changing dimensions and made proprietary hammers, bolts, hands and triggers that have smaller holes in them... for example the trigger and bolt frame screws on older uberti 1873’s are smaller than a Colt or ASM and are definitely not interchangeable.

The older Uberti hammers have that goofy looking built in safety in them , which I simply do not care for based on esthetics.

I will update this thread with photos of measurements of ASM cylinders and Colts as well as other differences soon.

Offline willy

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Re: A study of the Armi San Marco Hartford model Colt clone pistol
« Reply #4 on: November 06, 2021, 05:07:09 PM »
Thanks for a very informative post,,,I’m just a bit disappointed knowing you are collecting ASM revolvers,,I don’t need anymore competition out there ! ,,I have a few ASM revolvers. All are the black powder frame with colt SAA barrels with the single action army polished off the side,But still have the colt address on the top.

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Offline Coffinmaker

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Re: A study of the Armi San Marco Hartford model Colt clone pistol
« Reply #5 on: November 19, 2021, 08:53:17 AM »

 :) Sorry for being late to the Party  ;)

KENT:  Yes.  Hartford was/is the trade name for part of EMFs line of guns.  EMF was/is the importer.  Their primary supplier of western handguns was Armi San Marco.  That relationship almost broke EMF, Cimarron and Navy Arms with the huge number of warranty claims.

Yes, some Pietta parts will fit or can be fit to ASM guns.  Unfortunately, a large measure of the later ASM guns were simply trash.  I personally had an affinity for the ASM line of Richards type 1 conversions.  Some of the conversions were never/never guns but were gorgeous none the less and a Gross PITA to keep running.  One must consider, most ASM replacement parts DID NOT fit ASM guns.  Go figure.  The ASM guns that were well put together were truly fine guns.

Play Safe Out There

Offline LouisChannell

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Re: A study of the Armi San Marco Hartford model Colt clone pistol
« Reply #6 on: April 25, 2022, 11:38:53 AM »
This collection looks very cool. And interesting and detailed about the guns. Thanks for sharing.
I have recently been inspired by guns and military themes because I have read a lot of literature for my project about book with the old breed on a website https://freebooksummary.com/category/with-the-old-breed with free summary samples for students. At the moment I am considering buying a gun, but decided first to get acquainted in more detail on the forum among knowledgeable people. In any case, I am sure that going to the store and buying the first thing the seller offers is clearly not the best idea, because in the interests of the seller to sell would get more profit.

Offline Niederlander

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Re: A study of the Armi San Marco Hartford model Colt clone pistol
« Reply #7 on: April 25, 2022, 05:55:37 PM »
I've been shooting Hartford Cavalry Model #2552 for thirty some years.  Of course, it now wears a Colt barrel (The sight channel was milled into the bore.  Kept blowing the front sight off), a Colt hammer (1st Generation with checkering), Colt trigger, bolt, etc.  Runs great now!
"There go those Nebraskans, and all hell couldn't stop them!"

Offline Man With No Name

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Re: A study of the Armi San Marco Hartford model Colt clone pistol
« Reply #8 on: May 14, 2022, 07:27:05 PM »
I have been looking for years online regarding more information about the EMF Hartford series made by ASM, I found this thread on the CAS City forum and the information by Original Bad Bob has been very helpful.  I figured I would try my best at making a photo op session and take a couple of pictures of the one I got a long time ago.  I even managed to dig up the old EMF catalogs that I found in my collection of misc. catalogs.  Please forgive the qualities of the pictures, I am not very experienced in uploading pictures online.

This was purchased way back yonder around 1998 at the local gun store.  It is the Hartford Premier model which came with a tuned action job and a “fancier” finish than the regular Hartford lineup.  I say “fancier” because I really do not know exactly what is different about the finish as compared to the finish on the regular Hartford series, maybe more hand polishing? It also came with the Colt type eagle grips, but being that I am more partial to the look of wood, I replaced the hard rubber grips with wood grips.

The action is very smooth and the trigger pull is very light.  But I have not had a lot of exposure to other single action army revolvers to where I could compare the action/trigger pull to mine, so my comparison of the action/trigger feel is limited in scope.  Part of the smooth action and light trigger pull seemed to be due to the mainspring that came on the gun which felt in my opinion very weak.  The mainspring is tapered to a narrow thin band other than where it screws into the bottom and also where it rides the hammer.  Although it gave a very light trigger pull, I experienced a few light primer strikes which caused a failure to fire when shooting my handloads that were using CCI primers.  I always check to make sure the primers are seated as far in the primer pocket as possible when priming cases, so I do not think it was the seating of the primers.  I have heard that CCI primers are on the harder side compared to other brands, but I do not know enough about it.  Eventually, I replaced the mainspring with a Wolff reduced power mainspring.  The original mainspring that came on the revolver looks just like the one sold in the action job kit by Lee’s Gunsmithing that I remember seeing in the Brownell’s catalog.  I also replaced the sear/bolt leaf spring with a Heinie coil wire spring.

I am curious to find out what other folks who own these ASM revolvers are getting on their cylinder throat diameters.  Mine measures at .452”~.453” and .454” on one of the cylinders, but this was measured using calipers so it may not be the most accurate.  Is this typical for these ASM Hartford revolvers?

Thanks again to The Original Bad Bob for starting a thread on these EMF Hartfords made by ASM to shed some light about these revolvers.

 

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