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Old August 10, 2007, 12:44 PM   #1
charles isaac
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Looking for a good Colt Clone

I originally posted this in the CAS forum and got a few answers and figured the revolver forum might get me some better answers. I am very impressed with the amount of firearms knowledge displayed here.

Here is the original message:

I heard you guys know whats on the up and up when it comes to old time sixshooters and would be able to get me some answers. I have been reading the posts and there is definitely some knowledge here!

I am looking to buy a Colt SAA Copy. I had a Colt about 25 years ago, but do not want to pay that kind of money. I just want a good holster gun/shooter with some wear, not a new gun at a new gun price.
I want a non standard barrel length because the standard ones are either too long or too short. The standard grip is too short so I would like it to have an 1860 Army Model grip in 45 Colt/45 acp. It has to be the same size as an original Colt, so no oversized Rugers and no Italian Clones. I have seen too much breakage with them while my Colt kept going. This gun will emulate the Colt of my lost youth.

Here is the list for quick reference:

6" to 6 1/2" barrel.

M1860 Army grip.

45 Colt and 45 ACP.

Walnut grips

Fixed sights

No Italian clones or Rugers

A vintage Tom Threepersons style holster by Heiser, Lawrence or SD Meyers.

Where is a good place to find this? What are my choices for manufacturers?What would a setup like this cost?


If no one can give me any answers, at least point me to where I can get some.
Thanks, Charles

End Old Message

I guess it is a tall list but any help would be greatly appreciated.
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Old August 10, 2007, 01:30 PM   #2
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Beats me, most of the ones I know of are made in Italy. The others, like U.S. Firearms, I don't know all the models they make and if they are in your price range or not.

If you don't get the answers here you might try and find a CAS ( cowboy action shooting ) or SASS ( single action shooting society ) forum/website.
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Old August 10, 2007, 02:21 PM   #3
Jim Watson
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Your wants are not a SAA copy and will not come at an Internet Reasonable Price.

All I can suggest is to go to
http://www.sassnet.com/Links-Main-001A.php
and start calling gunsmiths.
Also Peacemaker Specialists and Hamilton Bowen


6" to 6 1/2" barrel.
Nonstandard length, buy a 7 1/2" and have it cut, crowned, and sight reset.

M1860 Army grip.
No US maker I know of, have Italian grip straps fitted to SAA frame.

45 Colt and 45 ACP.
Buy a .38 or .44 cylinder and have rechambered to whichever caliber did not come on the gun, probably .45 ACP.

Walnut grips
Might come with the 1860 grip frame might have to buy.

Fixed sights
OK, but see above about barrel length, installing a Colt style front sight is not simple or cheap.

No Italian clones or Rugers.
Leaves Colt and USFA.

A vintage Tom Threepersons style holster by Heiser, Lawrence or SD Meyers.
El Paso Saddlery is making the Meyers lineup.

Where is a good place to find this? What are my choices for manufacturers?
Like I said, Colt and USFA.

What would a setup like this cost?
Many, many hundreds of bucks, probably over $1000 on your gun.
USFA Custom Shop might do it but it would cost more rather than less.
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Old August 10, 2007, 02:38 PM   #4
DPris
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You won't find it, as you specified it.
If you don't want new, and you don't want Ruger or Italian, your choices are a used USFA or a Russian Bounty Hunter SA in general. The USFA will still be expensive & I doubt you'll find one with both cylinders. The Russian (EAA imports) are big, and not strict copies of the Colt. They used to offer them in 6.5-inch barrel lengths, and the one I tested in .45 Colt came with longer grips, but the guns have transfer bars like the Rugers. I don't recall them being available with ACP cylinders, either.
Your post is mildly confusing. If you're looking for a place to build what you want, again it'll be relatively expensive, and it'll be either Colt or USFA. If you're looking for a place to search for a used gun in that configuration, good luck.
The non-standard barrel length and the 1860 Army gripframe are the killers.
Call Colt or call USFA and talk prices. The gripframe is a problem in that you can find a number of sources for the 1860 Army frame (VTI to start with), but being Italian they may or may not be easily adaptable to a standard 1873 Colt Peacemaker style main frame. Even if they are, it'd take some careful fitting. The longer/taller grip problem can be solved much easier and cheaper by just having somebody build you a longer set of grip panels that extend below the standard gripframe and meet at the bottom.
What you're looking for is a custom built gun, and since you don't want to spend money on it, you're SOL.
On the leather, I'd normally suggest watching Ebay, but since they're dropping gun parts in an act of corporate cowardice, I'm not sure they'll still allow auctions with holsters. Anyway, you'll run into the same problem there. Non-standard barrel lengths do not result in lots of vintage leather floating around to fit them. For a new high quality Threepersons holster, you can have one made to fit a 6 or 6.5-inch barrel by El Paso as noted above, but it'll cost money. I have one from them for a four-inch S&W, and it's very well done.
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Old August 10, 2007, 02:50 PM   #5
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Hard to find a decent non-Italian clone. The USFA's are very beautiful and very expensive. Taurus makes one, I think, but I wouldn't gamble on Taurus quality control.

Rugers aren't clones. They're bigger and heavier and don't balance like a real SAA - even the current downsized Rugers don't handle as sweetly as a Colt.

Based on a Gun Tests review of a year or two ago, current Colt quality control is terrible. They bought a very expensive gun with a number of functional and finish issues, and they rated it below clones costing $1000 less.

What about the Beretta clones?
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Old August 10, 2007, 03:56 PM   #6
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I'd cheerfully call BS on any Gun Tests review that rates a current Colt Model P below a clone costing $1000 less. With all due respect, current Colt Peacemaker quality is not terrible. Colt has finally realized that a certain percentage of buyers pick them up to actually (gasp!) SHOOT 'EM, as opposed to the long-standing thought by Colt management several years ago that people only bought them to hide away as collector items & therefor they only had to look good on the outside. Current Peacemakers are actually decent guns. They run a bit over-sprung & can always benefit from some action work (same with USFA), but the overall quality of materials & heat treatment is much better than the Italian clones, and a properly set up Model P will last years longer than a typical clone running $1000 less, retaining its value while doing it.
The Berettas are Italian, built in the Beretta-owned Uberti factory.
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Old August 10, 2007, 04:02 PM   #7
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Closest your going to get is a Freedom Arms...

That's a HUGE step up from a Colt, and, you'll have to do a LOT of shopping to find the right gun...

DR JDS
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Old August 10, 2007, 04:25 PM   #8
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They are excellent US-made guns, but definitely not Colt clones, and definitely not cheap, even used!
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Old August 10, 2007, 04:41 PM   #9
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First off, the Italians and esp. Uberti have gotten pretty good of late. Getting bought by Beretta even more recently has helped too. Guns similar to the Ubertis but with transfer bar safeties are available under the Beretta brand name ("Stampede" and "Stampede Marshall") or you can get safety-less Ubertis.

Second, the Ruger "New Vaquero" is built on a new "mid frame" smaller and handier than the 44Mag-frame guns. The New Vaq is VERY similar in heft to the Colt SAA, although the loading drill remains a hammer-down affair. They at least corrected the loading gate issue - at each "click" there's a nice well-centered cylinder bore unlike the larger frame guns. I have one in 357 and have NO regrets, esp. after running a lower SuperBlackHawk type hammer .

Finally, the ONLY moderately-low-price American-made quality Colt SAA clone is the USFA "Rodeo". This is a plain-finish gun with zero safety, otherwise made to the same high quality and accuracy standards as the rest of the USFA product line. They can be had used for about $500 and are highly regarded...and if you ever want 'em refinished pretty, Turnbull or the like can do so later. The higher-end USFAs with finishes by Turnbull or the like go for over a grand and are OFTEN described as "better than a Colt".
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Old August 10, 2007, 04:49 PM   #10
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Why would someone want a Colt clone then rule out the Italian makers? That is like saying I want the best sports car money can buy and then saying "nothing made in Europe."

Beretta makes one of the most authentic replicas of Colts available and the Uberti firearms are great clones.
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Old August 10, 2007, 05:11 PM   #11
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The Italians, after many years of pressure by US importers, have improved markedly in recent years. The new Uberti factory has helped quite a bit, Beretta ownership is starting to show an effect. For three or four years after Beretta bought Uberti, every time I'd ask people inside the Uberti system what indications Beretta was giving out for upgrading QC, the answer was, "Nothing yet." Beretta-marked "cowboy market" guns are now getting good treatment, and they appear to be a cut above the run of the mill Uberti guns.
No Italian Peacemaker clone I've worked with has been anywhere near the quality of a genuine Colt.
USFA makes a far closer and more authentic Colt clone than anybody else I've seen, and the Rodeos are a good basic Peacemaker replica with good materials & workmanship. I'm not sure a used one will fall within the price range I'm sensing, and it certainly will not have that barrel length or gripframe.
The Beretta-marked Ubertis are nicely done, but not a very authentic replica of the Colt.
New Vaqs are quite close to a Colt in size.
But, since the OP doesn't want Italian clones or Rugers, he's severely limited in his choices, and this is all largely irrelevant.
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Old August 10, 2007, 05:17 PM   #12
Jim March
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If he thinks Italian guns are complete junk and Rugers are all oversize, he's working off a real old playbook.

Still, the Rodeo is close to what he wants and is available used at his price point.
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Old August 10, 2007, 05:20 PM   #13
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Why would someone want a Colt clone then rule out the Italian makers? That is like saying I want the best sports car money can buy and then saying "nothing made in Europe."

Beretta makes one of the most authentic replicas of Colts available and the Uberti firearms are great clones.

+1
This entire thread reminds me of a "I want to have sex with Pam Andersen" thread. If you do, you aren't going to get it cheap, and, she is from Canada.

Anyway, the only american made gun I can think of that's close to this is the New Vaquero. That said, your only real hope is to go to as many gun shows as you can, and hopefully, you'll find something that meets your requirements. Your price requirements are clear, really, since 25 years ago a Colt cost less then 500 dollars, and, aren't many SAA going for that around here, not with your specs.

You might find an old Seville, or El Dorado for a good price, and, they are better then anything Colt ever dreamed of.





Finest 6 guns made in a long time, but, they aren't an antique Colt...

Dr JDS
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Old August 10, 2007, 05:33 PM   #14
Jim Watson
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Hadn't thought of Freedom Arms.
But they have fine quality, kind of a crossbreed SAA/Bisley/1860 grip, and available extra cylinders and odd barrel lengths.

$1718 for a '97 five shot .45 Colt (The '83 is just so darn big.)
$ 272 for an extra cylinder .45 ACP
$ 78 for nonstandard barrel length
$2068 total retail

I doubt you could get a Colt or USFA munged up to suit you for much less, and one of the big names like Bowen would charge more.
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Old August 10, 2007, 05:57 PM   #15
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454's are often around for about 1000 dollars, used. It's real hard to do harm to a FA, so a used gun is a good bet.

I don't find the FA 83 big at all. Just right. Colts aren't small either. You can, and should, switch cylinders for 45 Colt ammo, or, just load the 454 brass to 45 Colt speeds.

The 97 has a transfer bar, the 83 is much like the old colts, no loaded round under the hammer, no real safety. Course comparing a Colt to an FA reminds me of comparing a Winchester 70 rifle to a Holland and Holland, but, that's just me. The fact that the prices come out near the same is a sad commentary on people's values in the American gun market...

Dr SJD
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Old August 10, 2007, 06:26 PM   #16
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Quote:
The Beretta-marked Ubertis are nicely done, but not a very authentic replica of the Colt.
Actually, I read a few articles about the Beretta Stampede Bisley before buying one. The articles all said it was the most authentic clone of a Colt ever produced (with the noted except of the transfer bar safety). Most of the articles even went as far as to say the Stampede matched the Colts in quality and a couple even said it supassed the Colts due to the added safety features and modern production capabilities.

If you are buying for the combination of quality AND history there is no other gun that matches the Colts...but if it is just the quality you are after there are alternatives.
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Old August 10, 2007, 07:59 PM   #17
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Berettas load on the half-cock like a Colt. Ruger's New Vaq doesn't. Other than that they're pretty similar.

The Ruger's bonus is that it's especially easy to modify . If that's your thing, the Ruger New Vaq can take any hammer/trigger/gripframe meant for the larger frame series, so there's aftermarket stuff galore. Sorta like a Harley, VW Bug (aircooled) or Chevy 350 'cept it's a gun.
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Old August 10, 2007, 10:26 PM   #18
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You might try this:
http://www.cimarron-firearms.com/Mod...Front6Shtr.htm
They are in the $750.00 range for a new frontier six shooter series BUT that series is assembled and finished in the U.S. (using italian parts I assume).

Chuck
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Old August 10, 2007, 11:49 PM   #19
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Uberti clones are not authentic copies of the Colt. Their parts do not interchange, and their metallurgy is not the same. Specs are slightly different. They are single-action lookalikes that appear to be the same until you compare them closely side by side.
If the articles you read said the Beretta Stampede was the "most authentic clone of a Colt ever produced", they were wrong. The Stampede uses a frame-mounted firing pin, a transfer bar, different dimensions in several areas, and is simply not an "authentic" Colt clone.
Does the Stampede use a forged frame like the Colt? Does it have a firing pin bushing in the frame? Does it use a removable and freely rotating cylinder bushing? Are the case colors genuine, or chemically applied? Does it use the same internal mechanism?
I'm not knocking the Stampede, I'm just saying it is not the equal of the Colt.
You want the most authentic Colt clone on the market today, look at USFA. Hamilton Bowen, in building a custom six-shooter, does not start with an Italian replica, believe me. No high end custom smith I know does.
That's not saying the Italian guns are junk, they're not.
Denis
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Old August 12, 2007, 12:49 AM   #20
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Taurus Gaucho.
http://www.taurususa.com/products/pr...egory=Revolver
http://www.taurususa.com/products/pr...egory=Revolver
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Old August 12, 2007, 06:10 AM   #21
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There have been more complaints about the Gaucho on this forum, THR and SASSNET than Uberti, Beretta and Ruger combined. And the Gaucho has a lot less market share.
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Old August 16, 2007, 07:49 AM   #22
charles isaac
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What are the problems with the Goucho? Can you get one with a 6" barrel?

I looked at a USFA at a local pawn shop and it is a very nice pistol but the barrel is too short on this one.
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Old August 16, 2007, 11:24 AM   #23
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Well, this USFA Pre-War doesn't fit all your criteria, but it does fit some - walnut grips, and the best Colt clone money can buy. This new one, in .45 Colt with a fitted .45 acp cylinder is much more than you appear to want to pay, but I don't think you can find a better fit and feel in a SAA today.



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Old August 16, 2007, 02:54 PM   #24
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Charles,
Six inches is a non-standard barrel length in single-actions, period. Standard lengths are 4 3/4, 4 5/8, 5 1/2, and 7 1/2 inches. Occasionally, you may see a 6.5-inch barrel, such as some of the Ruger center & rimfires. Ruger also does a 9-inch .22 LR Single-Six. EAA sells a 4 1/2-inch Bounty Hunter at the shorter end.
You will have to pay to have one made, unless you beat lottery odds and find one for sale that somebody else already had shortened or custom ordered.
You can go with Colt or USFA for the best quality, and order one with that barrel length from their custom shops, which will be expensive but much more of a known quantity than ANY of the other clones.
You can buy a new or used whatever, with a longer barrel & have it shortened locally.
Your chances of meeting all of your criteria in a QUALITY gun already built to your specs are zero, if you insist on the 1860 Army gripframe and a custom barrel length. You've reduced your options for success even without the gripframe, if you're only willing or able to spend a low-dollar amount.
Don't mean to be harping on you, but you're pinning your hopes on a gun that doesn't exist without at least some form of custom work.
Denis
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Old August 16, 2007, 05:29 PM   #25
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Charles, trouble reports on the Gaucho are sort of all over the map. Most involve problems with small inner bits rather than major parts giving way, so it's generally not a safety issue (they're not blowing up or anything).

DPris is right: the original barrel length for military contract Colt 45s was 7.5". A later batch was made for officers and others (and civilians) in 5.5", and then the shorter mostly-civilian-only "gunfighter" length of 4.75" came out. More or less anything other than those were custom-ordered or special run for MANY years. 4.75" puts the end of the barrel flush with the ejector rod.

You'll sometimes see 5.5" referred to as "Artilleryman's" but that's not completely historically accurate.

Ruger shortened the ejector rod very slightly so their standard "gunfighter pattern" barrel length was 4.68". For a while they did 6.5" as a standard option and sometimes 10" for some models, but more commonly they stuck with the old standards of 5.5" and 7.5".

Because EVERY manufacturer of single action guns makes a 5.5", none make a 6". Too similar. The 5.5" is historically accurate.
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