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Old January 16, 2005, 02:38 PM   #1
Ninjato
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American Western Arms (Uberti) COLT SAA replica

Well over the last few weeks after my thread on the allure of SA revos, I have acquired 2 new SA revos.

-Ruger New Model Blackhawk .357 6.5"

-American Western Arms (Uberti) Colt SAA Peacekeeper .45LC 5.5" barrel, nickel plated. (oops corrected terminology)

Out of the box, the Ruger is accurate and may be one of my most accurate revolvers. It is the one revolver I can shoot one handed and have groups equal to shooting my DA revolvers two handed shooting bullseye at 15yrds. The balance is a little heavy and the cylinder is "overbuilt" imo which makes the gun a little on the heavy side, although there is a slight advantage in stability and perceived recoil.

The AWA Colt SAA on the other hand has a neutral balance that just makes the gun a joy to hold. The action is clean and smooth and cockig the hammer back is effortless. The pointability is excellent, and the nickel finish is smooth and slick. One can really understand how fast these guns were for the day. Those who have a real one or similar clone will understand what I am saying. It truly imparts that cowboy feel.

Now the only issue I have w/ the SAA clone is the way it shoots. It has a fixed rear V-notch sight w/ a really really tall sight blade. Looking at it w/ my naked eye, I can see that the V-notch is not cut in exactly center and after snadbagging/shooting the gun, proves it because all my shots are grouping a little left at 15 yrds. The really tall sight blade also screws up my shooting. If I were to sight this gun in in the traditional way we all learn to sight, the gun will shoot about 8-10" low. I literally have to have 1/2 the front sight blade sitting over top the rear fixed sight. This makes for some serious inconsistency and poor groupings.

I am thinking to first try to have the rear sight re-filed so it sits center...is this a viable way to go?

What about that HUGE front sight blade? Do I file it down too?

Should I not worry about this and practice more shooting from the hip w/ this gun?

Those of you who have a Colt SAA or clone, do you treat it as a target level gun or more of a nostalgic piece. Are you satisfied w/ the way it shoots?

How so you shoot your SAA? Off the hip or using sights?

I am new to this single action thing and after the unbelieveable accuracy the Ruger has, the SAA Peacemaker is making me "confused" as to what to expect w/ a gun like this.

Any help or suggestions is greatly appreciated.

I will submit pics shortly.
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Last edited by Ninjato; January 16, 2005 at 04:01 PM.
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Old January 16, 2005, 03:40 PM   #2
Sir William
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I am sorry you bought the AWA. They are well known as POJ. They were made by Armi San Marcos in Italy. ASM and AWA both went out of business due to poor quality and other problems. The AWAs clone is known for poor finishes, soft metal, bad actions and less than honest tolerances. I strongly suggest you have your AWA checked by a gunsmith who is aware of SAA safe tolerances. AWA had a bad habit of producing less than acceptable repairs and bad gunsmith practices. They went out of business and I understood several people were owed deposits on products that were air. I would again suggest a trip to the gunsmith before firing that ASM manufactured-AWA assembled SAA clone. Some of them have KBd. USE CAUTION!
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Old January 16, 2005, 03:56 PM   #3
DPris
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Hi Ninjato,
First- you do not have either a Single Action Army or a Peacemaker, you have an Italian copy of the Colt named a Peacekeeper. Please don't confuse the terminology, there's a world of difference between them.
Second- a high front sight has been fairly standard in recent years, for decades many of the Italian clones had a low front blade that caused the guns to shoot high.
Third- You bought a plated gun, which means you're kinda stuck regarding what filing you can do on it. Normally, you'd file the front blade down to match your load, your hold, and your average distance you'd want it sighted to. If you do it on a plated gun, you'll obviously eat through the plating. Same with filing the rear notch. Neither is advised.
Two alternatives for windage adjustment on plated guns are having a gunsmith turn the barrel slightly and hope for the best, the other is carefully and judiciously bending the front blade. A third, not worth the money on your gun, would be to have the plating removed and then file the sights as needed.
You're just kinda stuck when you buy a plated gun.
Good luck.
I don't know anybody who shoots an SA from the hip, that's Hollywood and trick shooting stuff. My Colts, my USFA clone, and my two Italian clones will all group inside three inches or less from the bench at 25 yards, depending on ammo used.
If all you want to do is hipshooting, then you're apparently looking at your AWA as a toy, in which case it doesn't matter where the sights are. I don't shoot from the hip, I prefer to hit what I'm shooting at.
Mine are far from target level guns, but I don't regard them as toys, either. Nostalgia is a good part of shooting them, but they were not acquired to be toys. I see no point in having them if they can't shoot at least decently well, and mine can. Because of the problems you mention, I have no plans to buy a plated gun with fixed sights.
Denis

Last edited by DPris; January 16, 2005 at 04:58 PM.
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Old January 16, 2005, 04:07 PM   #4
Ninjato
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Quote:
First- you do not have either a Single Action Army or a Peacemaker, you have an Italian copy of the Colt named a Peacekeeper. Please don't confuse the terminology, there's a world of difference between them.
You are correct. I misread it. It wasn't intentional.

Quote:
I don't know anybody who shoots an SA from the hip, that's Hollywood and trick shooting stuff. My Colts, my USFA clone, and my two Italian clones will all group inside three inches or less from the bench at 25 yards, depending on ammo used. If all you want to do is hipshooting, then you're apparently looking at your AWA as a toy, in which case it doesn't matter where the sights are. I don't shoot from the hip, I prefer to hit what I'm shooting at.
I agree...I don't look at it as a toy. That is why I asked this question. I wasn't sure of how these are used. I also prefer to hit what I am shooting at. This is a new interest of mine and I am a bit "uneducated" to the whole thing. I wasn't aware that the AWA were that "crappy". Mine looks pretty good and went bang everytime I pulled the trigger and feels quite nice. I was in no way trying to compare it to a real COLT. It is just this small issue w/ the sighting. I just need to know what my options are.
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Old January 16, 2005, 04:28 PM   #5
Sir William
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I didn't intend to rain on your parade. I simpy see too many people getting ripped off on these AWAs. I simply know of too many that have either fallen down on their owners, KBd or simply never worked NIB. Caution is the word. As DPris mentioned, plated firearms with fixed sights are just something you live with. I feel that your best course to take is to rid yourself of the AWA. I am sorry. It is the safest course of action. In all the hubbub over the AWA, I forgot to congratulate you on your Ruger. Mine have served well.
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Old January 16, 2005, 04:53 PM   #6
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Nin,
Didn't mean to come down too hard on you, it just sounded like you didn't know that much about SAs (that's single actions, not SAAs) in general, your gun in particular, or how they're usually used.
One of the grounds for Colt's lawsuit against AWA was the Peacekeeper model name and the pony on the black grips, they felt too many people were thinking the Colt Peacemaker & the AWA Peacekeeper were the same gun, but they're definitely not in quality. If you mis-read Peacekeeper for Peacemaker, then I guess you've proved Colt's point to at least a small degree. Peacemaker is not a generic term, SA (or single action) is, SAA (or Single Action Army) is not.
As Willy says, quality control was spotty with the AWAs, you'll hear people either say they're the best SAs they own or were the worst they got rid of. Yes, you can say the same about other importers too, but AWA seemed to have more volume in the extremes. Specifically, early nickled guns had problems with the plating flaking, I believe they corrected that toward the end. They also offered chrome plating; yours may have that, and if it does it's a superior plating to nickel, if applied correctly.
Other issues were mainsprings that didn't maintain correct tension, cylinder indexing, misfires due to light primer hits, and occasional premature parts wear.
Most "looked good" out of the box.
If you start to file on ANY plating, and run down to base metal, you create the very strong potential for rust and flaking, don't do it.
One thing to try before you give up on the elevation, if you haven't already tried it, is to try shooting the AWA one or two-handed freestanding, not off bags or any kind of rest. A rest is good for checking accuracy and coarse tuning the sights, but throws actual elevation off. You may find the point of impact raises just by shooting the gun without a rest. Your post mentioned sandbagging, I don't know if you've tried that gun freestanding or not. Same actually goes for the Ruger, and any other handgun, too. Fine tune your adjustable sights using the type of hold you'd normally use to shoot it.
Your options are the three I mentioned, plus trying the freehand shooting.
Also, something else you might try is different ammunition. Ammo types can make a difference in point of impact. Shooting a heavier bullet will bring POI up, shooting a faster & lighter bullet will take it down.
I'm not suggesting you sell the gun, just giving you a little background on it. Aside from the sights, you may have one of the good AWA guns, and it could hold up for you for quite a while.
Denis
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Old January 16, 2005, 05:07 PM   #7
Jim Watson
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I have a Cimarron Model P made by Armi San Marcos before AWA took over ASM and Cimarron went to Uberti for guns. It is a decent gun unlike some you may hear about. But it did not shoot where it looked, either. I had the V notch rear sight cut to square and favoring the right side to make up some of the windage change needed. The rest of the needed windage was corrected by tweaking the barrel a little to the left in its threads. Elevation corrected by filing. Changes are not obvious because it is a blue-case hardened gun, not plated. I put hard rubber grips on it to match my third generation Colt which I did not want to pay for a mate to.

I figure you have three choices.
Try to hold Kentucky windage and Tennessee elevation and miss a lot.
Correct the sights and if it makes the finish look rough, call it "character."
Find a buyer.

Four: Try some different bullet weights and hope for the best.
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Old January 16, 2005, 05:35 PM   #8
DPris
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Nin,
With all due respect to Jim, if you do file through the plating, what that'd be called is not "character", it's called "reduction in re-sale value" on a gun that needs every + point you can maintain on it to find a buyer later on if you do sell it. You won't match the finish surfaces if you file to base metal, anybody who knows anything at all about guns will probably notice at least the front blade area, and it can cost you money on a gun you already won't get a lot out of.
Some people like plated guns, but those who do generally want the plating to be intact, unless it's on a collector gun. Your AWA is not a collector gun.
Still, your gun, your choice. If you really want the sights to be dead on & can't get there through the above methods, then it's up to you. Just trying to make sure you have the info to make your decision.
If you want to sink any more money into it, you can always have it stripped & blued for maybe $100-$150. In my opinion, the gun isn't worth it, but you may feel differently.
Denis
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Old January 16, 2005, 05:48 PM   #9
Ninjato
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Thanks for the replies.

After looking over the gun, and comparing the plating to my nickel S&W 19 and my wife's nickel Python, the finish is not as "yellow" so it may be chrome plated. It does seem not to 'scratch' like nickel and feels real smooth w/ a high mirror polish. On the bottom front of the gun facing forward under the cylinder pin it has 2000 stamped on it so I am guessing it was made in 2000.

Jim, I think your solution is closest to what I was thinking and actually my wife suggested to cut the V-notch to square favoring a little on the right to actually get it "center" looking w/ respect to the whole line of sight. I don't mind a little filing on the fixed rear to true things out. I am in no rush and will talk to a gunsmith about it. I am not into reloading yet but I am collecting and saving all my brass so I can decide what kind of load I like. If I can get a good trade on it then that may be another option.
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Old January 16, 2005, 06:13 PM   #10
DPris
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Nin,
We were dealing with AWA pretty much from birth to death. The chrome has a brighter & less yellow tone to it than nickel, so that's what you very well might have. If so, it wouldn't have been made in 2000, that's before the third management offered chrome as an option. Chrome would have been '02 or '03.
Again, to make any significant difference in your windage, you'll have to file through the plating. When you do that, besides looking obvious in the mismatched surfaces, you run a certain amount of risk in rust and corrosion that can spread under the plating and cause it to flake and spread.
Filing through plating is rarely a viable way to go unless you absolutely have to have that gun working dead on. In this case, unless you either plan to keep it forever (unlikely with an AWA) or are willing to further devalue it & take more of a loss in selling it someday, I'd seriously advise against it.
I've never screwed up the plating on a gun, but I have "modified" one or two over the years to fit what I thought I wanted at the time & later regretted it on selling it off. The theory is not to make irreversible mods on a gun you're not absolutely committed to keeping unless the mods are a pretty definite improvement in the eyes of most people (i.e. your potential re-sale market).
Clone SAs generally don't have much re-sale value to begin with, your gun will have a slightly higher market value if it's plated (marginally higher still if it has the hard chrome plating) & you can find the right buyer, but not if that plating is deliberately mutilated.
Denis
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Old January 16, 2005, 07:24 PM   #11
Jim Watson
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Denis,

I agree.
Cut through plating will never be the same, and I doubt you could get a good replating job for the value of the gun.
But he can have a shooter or a looker, not both.

I think I'd find a sucker and buy a New Vaquero. Stainless or blue, you could file as required and it hardly show.
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Old January 16, 2005, 08:30 PM   #12
Sir William
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There seems to be agreement. Leave it alone and live with it or, dump it. KY and TN W&E adjustments along with load changes can bring your revolver into a measure of accuracy. One problem I noted on AWAs revolvers was the barrels I saw were secured in place with red Loc-Tite. They aren't easily tweaked to account for windage.
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Old January 16, 2005, 11:22 PM   #13
Ninjato
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You guys make some very good points and I agree. I'll probably clean it up and put it up on consignment at my local shop, and look for a Vaquero or Super Blackhawk. The Rugers are a little on the heavy side but so far, I have been happy w/ all my Rugers w/ the accuracy. Chalk one up for inexperience.

The issue I have also is many gun dealers are totally forthright w/ their recommendation. It makes it very hard for a newbie like me to make an informed decision.
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Old January 17, 2005, 01:06 AM   #14
Sir William
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We have all been taken for a ride. I think experience is available and it can be valuable. The appeal of a goodlooking chrome finish is hard to resist. Some companies know this and produce loaded, flashy firearms in order to sell us something. Don't feel put out or be put off at all. I know I have been bitten by the impulse bug before. The AWAs were slick actions, slick finishes and slick marketing. Some of their firearms were actually functional and reliable. Most weren't though. Think AMC Pacers.
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Old January 17, 2005, 10:30 AM   #15
Jim Watson
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Ninjato,

Heavy side? I didn't stutter, I said NEW Vaquero. Check the ads, Ruger is bringing back the old original .357 Blackhawk frame size in a 50th anniversary Blackhawk and a NEW Vaquero that is only a smidgen larger than a Colt. To be available in .357 and .45. The Old Vaquero will be continued in .44 magnum for those who want a fixed sight gun instead of a SBH.
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Old January 17, 2005, 11:34 AM   #16
DPris
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There's only about two ounces difference between my 5.5-inch old Vaq & my New Vaq in .45 Colt.
That may or may not make much of a difference, but there's a definite difference in the grips. New one is markedly smaller.
Ruger management says ALL old Vaqs are out of production, including the .44 Mag.
Either somebody put out erroneous info on the .44s being continued to begin with, or Ruger changed their minds later on.
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Old January 17, 2005, 01:04 PM   #17
Jim Watson
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Two ounces?
Hardly enough to fool with, by itself, but the XR3 grip will sell a lot of guns.

The information that the .44 Vaquero would be continued came from a Ruger rep on the SASS Wire several weeks ago. Maybe they looked at their sales figures and changed their minds.
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Old January 17, 2005, 01:26 PM   #18
DPris
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Jim,
The weight difference is not a big deal, but you're right on the gripframe & I think that'll help sell the gun as much as anything. Sizewise, the new Vaq is a tight fit in a couple Colt holsters here, but it does fit. Overall size is smaller than the old Vaqs.
There'd be another fraction of an ounce difference in comparing an old Vaq with a steel ejector rod housing to a new Vaq, the old Vaq I weighed to compare has an aluminum housing. Again, not really much practical difference.
I think Ruger included that .44 Mag thing in their initial press releases they sent me via email, that's why I was surprised when I was told during a phone conversation with them about a week before Christmas that all old Vaqs are out of production. I asked if it included the .44 Mag & was told yes. It was Ruger that was circulating the info, I don't know if it was an error on their part or if they did change their minds later on.
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Old January 17, 2005, 01:45 PM   #19
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If you haven't already been there, you might also try

http://www.sassnet.com/cgi-bin/ubbcg...?ubb=forum;f=2

and do a search on your gun for more/different opinions and information on your AWA.
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Old January 17, 2005, 03:43 PM   #20
Ninjato
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Those of you w/ Vaqueros....

Did they shoot straight out of the box? What is the relationship of POA and POI. Did you have to file the rear and front sights any?

I am getting a little discouraged w/ fixed rear sights after this experience. I can adjust for elevation but adjusting left and right SUCKS!!!!
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Old January 17, 2005, 06:34 PM   #21
Sir William
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I do suggest adjustable sights. My RVs did need the front sight filed down, the rear sight cut deeper and widened. I shot them in CAS for 4 years. I am currently looking over my options in 45 Long Colt. Taurus Gauchos if they have adjustable sights may be my next purchase. If I can't go that route, I will most likely consider flattops.
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Old January 18, 2005, 07:27 PM   #22
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You must have liked it when you bought it. Hold on to it for a while and shoot it some more. Try to take it for what it is - a reproduction of a revolver from the 1800s. The sighting equipment isn't as precise as what is available now and it's not supposed to be. Just because somebody else has had bad luck or has a bad opinion of a gun or company doesn't mean you have to. You have been talked into selling it in less than 8 hours with 13 posts. Give it a chance and decide whether YOU like it or not. If it doesn't function as you want it to or you just can't warm up to it, you can always sell it later.
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Old April 20, 2009, 01:42 PM   #23
RustyIV
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AWA

AWA "They went out of business and I understood several people were owed deposits on products that were air." Sir Williams, AWA has never went out of business. Look at any of the papers that have the toll free phone number on it, it is 1-877-AWA-GUNS (292-4867). They moved from Delray Beach, Florida to Hialeah, Florida. So the local phone number did change to 305-828-1982. I know many poeple that have AWA Peacekkepers ang love them.
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Old April 20, 2009, 08:32 PM   #24
DPris
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Rusty,
I'll post on this forum for the first time in several months.
Already sent you a PM, but I'll include it here.
The current AWA is not the original AWA, there have been several owner/management groups. The current entity does not make the Peacekeepers, which were dropped when the previous outfit let the company go after a protracted lawsuit by Colt.
And, I'll add that Sir William, with whom you are trying to argue four years later, is dead.
Denis
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Old April 21, 2009, 09:20 AM   #25
Mark Milton
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Meanwhile, back in the real world most Peacemaker clones have better metallurgy than the originals did back in the 1880s and 1890s....



While it may be softer on the innards than a modern Peacemaker made by Colt, in reality, its got steel in its parts that's been heat treated .Colt didn't start heat treating their steel until after World War II.

The old Colts were usually very well fitted and finished but the metal they were made from was steel which was basicaly not even heat treated, hence softer than todays replicas.

Something to keep in mind when insulting Peacemaker clones....

I think a lot of the problem with "soft parts" in clone peacemakers is guys who tend to want to do fast draw and fanning, which is abusive to just about ANY single action that has not been modified for it.

So long as you don't abuse your gun with such hollwood foolishness, it should do just fine.
I also have a nickeled Peacemaker clone and I learned to live with Kentucky windage. Old Mitchell/Uberti.
Like other clone peacemakers, the sights are way off, but boy does she print a tight group.
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