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Old May 23, 2009, 09:09 AM   #1
olmontanaboy
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Colt 2nd generation

I've heard lots of conflicting storys on the 2nd Colt percussion revolvers (I had two and let them slip through my fingers) and thought this article very interesting. http://www.gunsandammomag.com/cs/Sat...l+Resurrection
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Old May 23, 2009, 12:29 PM   #2
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The artical is a good read ... thanks
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Old May 24, 2009, 10:54 PM   #3
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There have been countless tales how Colt's dusted off the old tooling from the 1851 and began manufacturing new guns at Hartford, which would have been very interesting had the tooling not been destroyed when a fire razed most of the factory on Feb. 4, 1864. As for the tooling used to make the later percussion models produced through 1873, it was simply discarded over the years, so Colt's could never have brought back the 1851 Navy, or any other percussion era model had it not been for Forgett, Uberti and, ultimately, Lou Imperato.

Imperato, who founded Colt Blackpowder Arms Co. in 1993 (which produced the 3rd Generation Colt Blackpowder line through 2002), recalls that Forgett sold Colt's the components (rough castings) to build the first 2nd Generation 1851 Navy revolvers, which were completed at the Hartford factory from 1971 through 1973


Okay all the Colt bp tooling was either lost to fire or "discarded" So, how did the Italians ever get all the specs for these Colt pistols in order to reproduce the first replicas? Did they copy Colts old tooling or just have access to specs and build modern tooling from those? Or maybe they actually had old Colt pistols to use for reference and produced copies from them? And what ever prompted them to even consider producing bp replicas in the first place? That seems like a bizarre business venture for an Italian gun maker to take on.

I read different histories of the Colt repos and these fundamental questions are never addressed.
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Old May 24, 2009, 11:36 PM   #4
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I thought the preceding two paragraphs answered that question:

The tale of the 2nd Generation Colt black-powder line actually began in the late 1950s with Val Forgett, founder of Navy Arms, and Italian gunmakers Vittorio Gregorelli and Aldo Uberti. They chose the Colt 1851 Navy as the first percussion revolver to be reproduced in Italy in 1958.

After a dozen years and thousands of Colt reproductions, the success of the Italian-made '51 Navy--which Aldo Uberti frequently supplied to filmmaker Sergio Lione and Clint Eastwood for early spaghetti westerns--had finally come to the attention of the company that invented it.


IIRC, specs for the pistols was obtained by reverse engineering a 2nd Model '51 Navy.
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Old May 25, 2009, 12:06 AM   #5
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IIRC, specs for the pistols was obtained by reverse engineering a 2nd Model '51 Navy.

Okay that answers one of my big questions, the other is how did a small gun maker in Italy even see a market for reproducing obsolete firearms for sale in the US? It is a big investment starting up a business like that.

The tale of the 2nd Generation Colt black-powder line actually began in the late 1950s with Val Forgett, founder of Navy Arms, and Italian gunmakers Vittorio Gregorelli and Aldo Uberti. They chose the Colt 1851 Navy as the first percussion revolver to be reproduced in Italy in 1958.



I guess it was Val Forgett who actually saw the market and Uberti and Gregorelli were his business partners.
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Old May 25, 2009, 06:26 AM   #6
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I read that the original gun they used to reverse engineer had a dent in it. They made the prototype so well, it even had the dent. Needless to say the dent was removed in the
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Old May 25, 2009, 07:54 AM   #7
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Yeah, the trigger guard was bent.
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Old May 25, 2009, 09:39 AM   #8
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Did they get their hands on originals of all the models they eventually copied? Did someone loan them a Walker for them to reverse engineer?
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Old May 25, 2009, 10:00 AM   #9
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Probably so or the lever on the repros wouldn't fall like the originals did.
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Old May 25, 2009, 11:53 AM   #10
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I have heard the modern Italian replicas, are good enough such the parts will actually fit and work with original guns. Since I don't have any orginals, I can't verify that, but I don't doubt it's true.

I've also read that the real driving force behind the Italian replica gun industry was the American movie business. It was too expensive for moviemakers to buy original antique weapons. Western movies were big in the 1950's and 1960's. Then when the Italian-made spaghetti Westerns came along in the 1960's and 1970's, there were no original guns to buy in Italy.

Uberti and others still supply most of the guns for modern movies such as the recent (great film) Appaloosa, in which all the revolvers were Uberti, as they did for most the Clint Eastwood westerns and Civil War movies.

My guess is that the public and BP enthusaists soon saw the opportunity to own these same guns and created the industry as we know it now.
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Old May 25, 2009, 11:58 AM   #11
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There are some who claim that the Italians found a prototype of a DaVinci time machine buried in the Gardone Valey around 1956 and once they got it working, used it to travel to 2003 to collect examples of replicas they could reverse engineer.

Can't remember where I heard it; but......... it could happen .
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Old May 25, 2009, 02:46 PM   #12
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Really??
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Old May 25, 2009, 03:18 PM   #13
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OldMontana-very interesting- same author I quoted in the "for sale" forum- now this quote from the article states the same info- it reads as if the barrels, cylinders, backstraps were Italian castings, finished in USA- but the frames, center pins, nipples, screws, springs were made in USA parts start to finish. It specifically states one set of parts was Italian cast/finished USA- but the others were made by Ivers Johnson- giving the impression the frames and arbors were not Italian at all.

In this case, the 2nd gen guns would be superior and the guns to buy

from the OP link, scoll down to the 10th paragraph- a deliberate, specific effort was made by Imperato, to avoid the Italian frames, and use made in USA frames by Ivers Johnson I've seen a few vintage Ivers Johnson BP CB guns at recent gun shows, one was a Rogers & Spencer, they appear to be a premium made gun:



http://www.gunsandammomag.com/cs/Sat...l+Resurrection

"Unlike their first arrangement, Imperato was now responsible for the entire production of Colt black-powder models. "They were all hand-fitted. There was no way to do mass production," explains Imperato. "We had the barrels, cylinders and backstraps cast in Italy (as Forgett had done), but we finished them off in-house. We made the frames, the center pins, nipples, all of the screws, springs, and built every F Series gun at Iver Johnson Arms. We even used the old style color-case hardening method with the charcoal and bone meal, and Colt's exclusive Colt Blue Finish. They turned out pretty good. In fact, I think our finishes were actually better than Colt's single actions being done in Hartford."

Last edited by CaptainCrossman; May 25, 2009 at 04:34 PM.
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Old May 25, 2009, 04:56 PM   #14
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William B Edwards (with Val Forgett) was responsible for a lot of the early efforts at getting BP revolvers (Colts at first, then others) back into production. He sent guns out to Italy by various means for them to study. The story is told in a final chapter of his Guns Of The Civil War. At the time the collecting fraternity were very hostile about it, fearing that the appearance of brand-new guns would devalue the worth of their own collections. Such fears have proved groundless; the market was perfectly capable of distinguishing between the value of originals and of reproductions and pricing them accordingly. Forgery also proved to be largely a groundless fear, with several features, e.g. threadforms, to differentiate between old and new.
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Old May 27, 2009, 08:53 AM   #15
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Today I contacted both Ivers Johnson and Imperato, to get more information on this 2nd Generation/Ivers Johnson parts issue. They're going to get my message later this week, and reply.

we're gonna peel this onion, once and for all
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Old May 27, 2009, 09:17 AM   #16
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Today I contacted both Ivers Johnson and Imperato.

Lou Imperato owned the Iver Johnson Co. I believe his son is the owner now. You'll need to tune up your Ouija Board to contact Lou, Mr. Imperato has passed.
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Old May 27, 2009, 10:37 AM   #17
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I didn't say Lou.

his son


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Old May 27, 2009, 06:56 PM   #18
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Old May 27, 2009, 06:58 PM   #19
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Old May 27, 2009, 06:59 PM   #20
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Old May 28, 2009, 07:41 AM   #21
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Imperato got back to me last night- that previous quote about the frames/nipples/screws/springs/cylinder pins, was his dad's- his email below:

"I can only assume that we have to take his quote as gospel. I believe those parts were made here in the US but how the frames were made I do not know. The market is really becoming very small, insignificant. With the Italian-made spaghetti westerns of the 50's / 60's they (Italians) decided to get into the business. Colt had no interest as they were on the verge of making a ton of M16's for Vietnam. Honestly I think the blackpowder repro market is dead, and I don't forsee anyone tooling up to make better guns. The market calls for $99 imports, that's what most people want to pay."





sounds to me, like the later 2nd Gen Colts had made in USA frames, and those cheap POS import brass frame guns, flooded the market, and ruined it- and drove overall quality down.

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Old May 28, 2009, 08:03 AM   #22
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Old May 28, 2009, 08:43 AM   #23
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Makes my day.
boy, I'll say...

That reply from from Anthony Imperato.

He doesn't run Ivers Johnson.

He owns/runs the Henry Repeating Arms Co.- the original inventors of the lever action rifle of the 1800's, that Winchesters were later patterned after. All their guns are made in USA- he's putting a picture of my son on their website, opening his new Henry 22 lever action rifle on Christmas Day 2008.

Here's the company logos:

"HENRY RIFLES WILL BE MADE IN AMERICA OR THEY WON'T BE MADE AT ALL"
"Made In America and Priced Right"
"Load On Sunday, Shoot All Week Long"


you won't see any crappy import parts, or soft, low-quality steels in the Henry guns. I suggested they make cap/ball revolvers, because I firmly believe if they made them, they'd sell like hotcakes with this high standard of made in USA quality. It appears the market volume is insufficient, to justify the investment needed to produce cap/ball revolvers in USA.

check this movie out

http://www.henryrepeating.com/videotour_wmv.cfm

if I was going to buy a big bore lever action cowboy gun, it wouldn't be an Italian import- it would be another Henry. This 22 we have, blows away the import stuff- and it only cost $250 at Walmart

http://www.henryrepeating.com/rifles.cfm

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Old May 28, 2009, 08:50 AM   #24
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Lou Imperato owned the Iver Johnson Co. I believe his son is the owner now. You'll need to tune up your Ouija Board to contact Lou, Mr. Imperato has passed.

please post the source of this statement of yours, because it's obviously incorrect- not even the same company.

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Old May 28, 2009, 12:21 PM   #25
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I've heard lots of conflicting storys on the 2nd Colt percussion revolvers (I had two and let them slip through my fingers) and thought this article very interesting.

I got a few more replies lately- the Colt Factory called me today. They said the Colt 2nd Gen guns are far better made than the Italian replicas. Referred me to an author on the subject who wrote the 2nd Gen Blue Book.

So I called the author, he verified Colt 2nd Gen is a much higher quality gun than the Italian replicas- and he has a 5 sheet internal Colt document, that states the various QC specs on the Colt 2nd Gen.

He could not prove or disprove Dennis Adler's statement, that the frames/nipples/springs/screws/cylinder pins in later 2nd Gen guns, were made in USA by Ivers Johnson.

He did say, 1000's of Italian parts were REFUSED by Colt, and sent back to Uberti and ASM, because they didn't meet spec for the 2nd Gen guns. Some of the specs were:

cylinder to barrel clearance must be .001"-.008" when assembled.
spring on wedge must protrude out other side of barrel slot, when assembled
cylinder pin must be firmly in place in frame- any looseness means rejected
cylinders and barrels must must not have any voids or delineations/lines in it, or casting imperfections

and much more- I intend on getting a copy of the tech sheet for reference, from him

He also stated: all 2nd Gen guns were cast frame, but 1st Gen guns were FORGED FRAMES. I replied in that case, 1st Gen guns from the 1800's are superior to any replicas.

His reply, with laughter, was "WITHOUT A DOUBT"- 1st Gen guns are superior to replicas.

He stated, 2nd Gen guns are superior to 3rd Gen- because overall the quality is better, and 2nd Gen was boxed/sold/lettered by Colt- whereas 3rd Gen was made/sold/shipped outside of Colt, and only licensed by Colt. You can get a good or bad 3rd Gen gun. But all 2nd Gen guns will have a higher standard of quality.

source: he's the author who wrote the 2nd Gen blue book on gun values.

The Colt employee who called me, stated the bluing, material hardness, and case hardening on 2nd Gen guns, is far superior to any Italian replica. He bought a Uberti from Cabela's, just to compare to a 2nd Gen Colt- he said no contest, the 2nd Gen is vastly superior in quality.
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