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Old May 13, 2013, 05:32 PM   #1
Roshi
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Uberti versus Pietta - IMHO

Thought I'd get some juices flowing.

Uberti versus Pietta

I thought I would make some general observations on Uberti and Pietta cap and ball revolvers based on my recent experience.

First some history. My first cap and ball revolver was a brass frame .44 cal 1851 Navy from Navy Arms that I purchased in a gun store in Connecticut in 1969 as a Christmas present to myself. I wanted a handgun and cap and ball were the only type I was legal to buy at the time.

I didn’t shoot it until late summer of 1970 since a move to Florida intervened. I loaded it with 3F holy black and covered the balls with Crisco to avoid chain fires. The Crisco and Florida heat and repeated firings created quite a mess but it was fun. So much so that I ordered a Remington 58 replica from Dixie Gun Works. I don’t remember what brand it was. I shot both pistols quite a bit until I save up to buy my first Colt 1911 in 1972. From there on they took a back seat to my 1911 and a Colt Frontier .22 revolver.

I moved to Saudi Arabia in 1975 and gave both the 51 and 58 to a friend who was interested in cap and ball.

For the next eleven years I didn’t do much shooting. When I returned full time to the USA and moved to Nevada in 1988 I returned to shooting in a big way. I was competing in IPSC with 1911’s and shooting replicas of guns from the 1750’s to 1900 for fun. I was shooting an Pietta 1860 Army that I ‘antiqued’ and my son was shooting a Pietta 1851 Navy. I swear the 60 Army was progressive rifling but I don’t have it anymore. I also purchased but never shot (too expensive to shoot) a Colt 2nd Gen 1860 Army with fluted cylinder and a Walker. The Colts that I assume were a product of Uberti by way of Colt Black Powder Arms were much better fit and finished than the Pietta’s but functionally didn’t seem any better. I lost most of my guns and all my cap and ball pistols in a 1998 divorce.

Tired of IPSC (I’ve fired over 250,000 rounds of .45 ACP in practice and competition), I gravitated back to cap and ball in 2012. In the last year I have owned and shot two Pietta 1851’s and an 1860 Army, and an Uberti 1849 Pocket, 1847 Whitneyville Hartford Dragoon, 1851 Navy 5 inch barrel, a Remington NMA, and an Navy Richards Mason Conversion in .38. I didn’t keep the 1849 Pocket (too small) or the 1847 WH Dragoon (too big).

These are my observations:

Pietta
In general, Pietta’s are less expensive than Uberti’s and mostly you get what you pay for.

I don’t understand why Pietta has the barrel markings on the sides instead of under the loading lever like Uberti’s. You would think they would learn.

Fit and finish are OK on the less expensive models like the standard 51 and the 60. Fit and finish on the higher end “Wild Bill” engraved 51 was as good as Uberti. When I removed the finish from them to antique them, machining marks and out of round on the 60 barrel were evident. During defarbing to remove the Made in Italy and Black Powder warning markings it was evident that the flats on the lower cost 51 weren’t as flat as the ones on the Wild Bill.

The wood grips fit well and the finish was much like an original Colt,
All have good cocking actions and great triggers.

All the 51’s had “Pietta tail” that I corrected. All had minor issues with bolt fit. The 60 had a back strap screw that defied removal until I resorted to Kroil, heat, and an impact driver. The frames on the 51’s were free of burrs but the Wild Bill was better. The 60 had obvious casting marks and burrs.

The Wild Bill hit to point of aim at 25 yds but the regular 51 and 60 shot way high. The front sight on the Wild Bill is visibly taller. All are good shooters but the Wild Bill shoots smaller groups even with the 25 grain charges of Pyrodex P that I prefer.

Uberti

Uberti revolvers are more expensive than Pietta’s. I attribute this to their better finish and in general better fit of parts. No markings except under the loading lever are another plus.

While the grip shape of the Uberti’s is accurate, the high gloss coating isn’t. On my latest acquisition, a 51 Navy with 5 inch barrel, it took 7 applications of paint remover to get it off.

While all my Uberti’s have short arbors, this hasn’t caused me any grief. Maybe it will as the wedge needs to be driven further into the barrel.
Bolt fit and timing has been good on all of them. The screw that holds the ejector housing on the 51 RM Conversion can’t be removed. I’ve tried heat, Kriol, and an impact driver to no avail. I have a spare screw and someday I will drill out the stuck screw if I have to.

Cocking action and trigger pulls are excellent on all. All shoot high as expected except the Remington NMA which shoots to point of aim at 25 yards. I opted for the full casehardened frame Remington version from Taylors and it is one magnificent looking and shooting revolver.

My Conclusion

Pietta’s are reliable shooters. If you intend to “antique” them and are reasonably handy with tools then don’t spend the extra money to get a better finished Uberti. The 1851 Wild Bill at Cabela’s on sale for $ 299 is a great value that you shouldn’t pass up if you like 51 Navy pistols.

Uberti’s simply are better finished and better looking without all the markings you see on the Pietta’s. They are also more expensive. If you can live with a short arbor and the same cap sucking problems as an original Colt there is really nothing you need to do to start using an Uberti out of the box. If you like glossy wood finish you are good to go. If you don’t, you have some work cut out for you.

There is room for both Pietta and Uberti in our world and room for improvement in both brands.

If I could only keep two of my revolvers, it would be the Pietta Wild Bill 1851 Navy and the Uberti Remington NMA.
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Old May 13, 2013, 07:36 PM   #2
mykeal
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Quote:
I also purchased but never shot (too expensive to shoot) a Colt 2nd Gen 1860 Army with fluted cylinder and a Walker. The Colts that I assume were a product of Uberti by way of Colt Black Powder Arms...
If they were truly 2nd Gen Colts they weren't made by Colt Black Powder Arms. Colt Black Powder Arms made the 3rd Gen Colt replicas.
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Old May 13, 2013, 07:44 PM   #3
Roshi
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Uberti versus Pietta - IMHO

Then they must have been Gen 3
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Old May 13, 2013, 08:57 PM   #4
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I know that this is going against everything ever written on this board and in cap 'n ball gun books, but I own both a 2nd Gen Colt 1860 and a 3rd Gen Colt Signature Series Colt 1860 and the Signature series is a better gun. The 2nd Gen model has cleaner engraving on the cylinder, but the Signature Series pistol has a smoother action, and is more accurate than the 2nd Gen pistol.

I have also owned Euro Arms and Uberti Remington '58s over the years but my Pietta Remington made in 1999, is by far a better made piece. Luck of the draw I guess.

P.S. My first cap 'n ball pistol was a brass framed .36 Navy that I bought in 1969. Seems like a lot of us started with those.
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Old May 13, 2013, 09:39 PM   #5
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I own both a 2nd Gen Colt 1860 and a 3rd Gen Colt Signature Series Colt 1860 and the Signature series is a better gun.
Anything's possible when comparing one gun with another.
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Old May 14, 2013, 09:19 AM   #6
Noz
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I have owned and competed with ASM, Uberti and Pietta revolvers. 1860s, 1858s(36 and 44)and a couple of 1851s.

I now own only 1860 Piettas.
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Old May 14, 2013, 10:02 AM   #7
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I think i have owned most of the repros, and I have to say, I really love my Pietta's. The only major problem gun I ever had, was a short arbored uberti, which, after a minor bit of work, shoots like a dream.
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Old May 14, 2013, 02:01 PM   #8
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I like em all. Have owned examples from most - if not all - of the manufacturers. Some were better than others, and have run the gamut from needing lots of TLC to competition ready out of the box.
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Old May 14, 2013, 03:01 PM   #9
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I never met a Colt I didn't like. I never had a cap and ball that didn't function as advertised. Some are just slicker than others. I've never managed to break one, either, and not for lack of trying. Forget the internet, and judge what's in your hand. That's the name of that tune.
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Old May 14, 2013, 04:16 PM   #10
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I also have owned 'em all in regards to the ASM, Pietta and Uberti - have never owned a 2nd or 3rd Gen. Colt. Yes . . .some of them are nice but for what they bring price wise . . . well, I buy guns to shoot, not look at because they're too expensive to shoot.

Honestly, I've liked them all. I have a '61 Navy made by ASM that is beautiful - nice grips, great fit and finish . . . and yet I've seen some ASM pistols that weren't that good. The same goes for Pietta and Uberti.

I've owned a number of different makes of '51 Navies - at the present, I'm shooting a Uberti with a square back trigger guard. It's a nice pistol. On the other hand, I once was interested in getting a '49 Pocket (still am) and when I looked at several Ubertis at Cabelas, they were terrible. Gritty actions, poor lock-up, poor finish. . . . they were not well made at all. Who knows though . . . another day, another time, another store and I might have run across a Uberti '49 that was fantastic.

I currently have a Pietta .36 Navy (what is sold as a "Police"??) that is a great revolver - beautiful fit and finish, smooth action - I like it. Ive had several Piettas and they were nice revolvers.

I have a Euroarms Rogers & Spencer that is also very nice - good fit and finish, well made. Based on my experience with that pistol, I'd have no hesitation to get another Euroarms.

Personally, I think it all boils down to what you get when you buy it regardless of the make. All of the companies have put out some junk and they have also put out some fine revolvers. I've seen the same with "modern" handguns as well. When I buy a BP C & B, I much prefer to see it in person and check out what the pistol is rather than buying it sight unseen. That way, you know exactly what you're getting quality wise. Just my 2 cents . . .
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Old May 14, 2013, 08:05 PM   #11
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Quote:
Personally, I think it all boils down to what you get when you buy it regardless of the make. All of the companies have put out some junk and they have also put out some fine revolvers. I've seen the same with "modern" handguns as well. When I buy a BP C & B, I much prefer to see it in person and check out what the pistol is rather than buying it sight unseen. That way, you know exactly what you're getting quality wise. Just my 2 cents . . .
Nonetheless, right on the money.

(Sorry, I couldn't resist that)

Well said.
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Old May 15, 2013, 02:31 AM   #12
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I own both

The 5 year old Uberti London edition is prettiest, has the BEST action of any revolver I own and also broke it;s cylinder hand in about 450 shots!
My other guns are Piettias and one CVA9 JUNK!)
The Piettias are wonderfull pieces of work, the cycle and are fitted very well and are very stronglly built!
Uberti is a good gun Co.
Piettia is trying hard and succeeding at building a good reputqtion for quality! CVA ire wallhangers.
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Old May 15, 2013, 04:26 AM   #13
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CVA is an importer. They no longer import traditional guns but their revolvers were ASM and Pietta.
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Old May 15, 2013, 08:49 AM   #14
Bob Wright
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My only experience has been with cartridge revolvers, and that soley with Uberti. My first Uberti was ca. 1975 and imported by Iver Johnson. It was an extremely well made gun and nicely finished, but not made with shooting in mind. The front sight was waaaaay too short, and the firing pin cratered up the frame so that primers flowed back and tied up cylinder rotation.

I hasten to add that in the meantime, quality has improved in that respect so that Uberti's reputation surpassed that of Pietta, and Pietta got a pretty bad name. I understand now that restrictions imposed by the importers has led Pietta to look into quality control, and those who do shoot currently made Piettas compare them favorably to Ubertis.

Again, from word of mouth, not from my experience, Uberti quality fell slightly when taken over by Berretta, but now has been brought back up to standard.

For whatever its worth.

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Old May 15, 2013, 09:37 AM   #15
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I'm new to C&B revolvers and recently bought an 1858 and 1860 Pietta's. I couldn't ask for better finished guns and am very satisfied. The timing on both is great and the parts fit is nearly perfect as well. The case hardening on the 1860 is beautiful.

I've never even held a Uberti but they must be great. I bought both thru Cabela's and may have gone with Uberti except they don't offer the 1858 and 1860. For the price of the Pietta's I'm happy.
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Old May 15, 2013, 09:39 AM   #16
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I can compare

A Pietta 1873 Colt clone with an Uberti 1873 Colt clone (Cap and Ball cylinder) but you have to accept that I don't shoot as often as most of the other folks on the forum.

I found very little difference in the two revolvers. I sold both of these revolvers before I had shot a hundred rounds.

For the person who puts a lot of rounds through the revolver or who shoots for competition and demands a lot from a revolver, the differences in the two manufacturers may be more apparent.

I did not see it though.

As far as the other revolvers I own, the newer Piettas are quite good. I don't see a difference in the Uberti's that makes them worth the extra money.

I don't own and have never handled a Cimarron much so I can't speak to those revolvers.
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Old May 16, 2013, 11:16 AM   #17
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I would've agreed with the OP until recently. I've owned a bunch of Uberti's since the first in 1986. They have all been good guns and they've improved them markedly in the last ten or so years. Bought a pair of Pietta 1860's 7yrs ago and while I thought they were a good value, they were a measurably step down from Uberti quality. That said, they've never given me any trouble. For the last few years I've been hearing about how good the new Pietta guns were and was very skeptical. All that went by the wayside when I got a new 1851 London earlier this year. This sixgun is beautifully finished, has a smooth action with a decent trigger. It is easily as good as any of my Uberti guns and better than the 1849 Pocket I got at Christmas. I think the gap is a thing of the past.
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Old May 16, 2013, 12:12 PM   #18
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Great thread as I am new to the world of 'Cowboy Action Shooting" but I am a student of firearms history and have a decent understanding of their place in American History/Folklore.

I am looking into purchasing a Colt Walker 1847 as I have been enamored with the gun ever since I watched as a kid with my family (people used to actually do that ) the Classic mini-series "Lonesome Dove" where Robert Duvall's character, namely, Texas Ranger Augustus McCrae carried the classic revolver (almost a mini-rifle ) as his main sidearm.

I will rarely shoot this and it will mostly be a collector's item of which I may mount over my mantle and educate the yougsters on its place in our History.

I assume Cabela's is the best price for the Uberti model?

Any advice would be much appreciated.

Thanks in advance.
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Old May 16, 2013, 02:31 PM   #19
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I've got three Ubertis: a one year old Dragoon, a five year old Cattleman and a 30 year old 1860. I've got three Piettas: an 1862 Sheriff, an 1860, and an 1858. They're all two or three years old.

The Uberti Dragoon is really the peach of the bunch, but the 1862 Sheriff is awfully close. I think that the difference, to me, is the roll marks. I've had timing problems with the Uberti 1860 and with the 1858, both of which were easily fixed.

I've had problems with the screw that locks the arbor on the Cattleman coming loose, but I'm not sure whether to blame Uberti or Samuel Colt.

Every now and then I stop by Cabelas and look at the Piettas that are sitting around there. It seems to me that the fit and finish of the guns in the case are better than the 1860 and 1858 that I own, so I agree with the contention that Pietta's manufacturing processes are getting better. And even if Uberti has a slight edge in appearance (which does count), the Pietta's are definitely a great value because of the price. I suppose that if your goal is a defarbed gun for reenactment (or just because you can't stand the lack of authenticity), the Ubertis may be a better starting point.

Either way, I'm glad that we've got the choice!
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Old May 16, 2013, 06:30 PM   #20
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Quote:
I assume Cabela's is the best price for the Uberti model?
No.
http://www.cabelas.com/product/Shoot...3Bcat104503680
http://www.dixiegunworks.com/advance...walker&x=8&y=8
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Old May 16, 2013, 08:39 PM   #21
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MJN77,

Thanks for the link (I'll take a 5+% discount anyday though I will calc total costs to determine best deal). I see the kits as well but I would really need to study the art of these classic guns prior to taking on such an endeavor.

For so many years I have admired these classics mostly via historical firearms books and film but never up close and personal. I am looking forward indeed.
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