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Old February 18, 2000, 03:22 PM   #1
AUTiger73
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U.S. Arms Abilene SA Revolvers

Are there other owners of U.S. Arms Abilene Revolvers out there?

Other than Gun Parts Inc.(formerly Numrich)does anyone have a source for parts? Gun Parts Inc. is out of some of these parts but still has the all important trigger spring.

I have 2 of these revolvers that were made prior to Mossberg's takeover of production.
Both are .357 Magnums. The one with a serial number below 2000 that has the cylinder pin screw on the right side and cross-ways in the frame. The other one has a serial number in the low 3000 range and has cylinder pin angled in the front of frame.

I've found these guns to be extremely accurate and durable. The only parts breakage so far has been the trigger spring. The fit and finish is excellent. The cylinder in the earlier gun has about .001 barrel gap and not much better at the rear of cylinder.

These guns are a reloader's dream. The .357 is really a .44 Magnum cylinder blank simply drilled for the .357 caliber. Unlike the Ruger Blackhawk, the frame is all steel as is the ejector rod housing. However, they are absolute intolerant of high primers and care must be taken in full resizing of brass and seating of primers. Very tight tolerances here.

History has it that Ruger sued U.S. Arms over the patent infringements related to the transfer bar safety. The company fell upon hard times and Mossberg bought them out. Like everything else Mossberg has acquired, the company died from neglect.

I would welcome any comments or experience others may have with these guns.



[This message has been edited by AUTiger73 (edited February 18, 2000).]
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Old January 10, 2007, 11:10 PM   #2
Seville
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see www.singleactions.com

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Old January 10, 2007, 11:28 PM   #3
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Strictly out of curiosity, John, what made you decide to answer a question that is about 7 years old? How did you even find it?

For what it's worth, AUTiger73 hasn't been back to TFL since 2002.
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Old January 10, 2007, 11:39 PM   #4
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abilene

I am a collector. I found your site about 4 months ago. But am not all that savy about how to get on. I post a lot on sixgunner. My Father Sig Himmelmann designed and produced the Abilene in Riverhead New York. I was about 8 at that time. All I did was search Abilene. He also designed and produced the Seville and El Dorado made in Hauppauge New York. Then we moved to Az and made the Seville and Seville Stainless. I thought it would be nice to see if someone would repond to the thread again. Do not know whether the man is even still here.

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Old January 11, 2007, 07:05 PM   #5
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How you doing John, I read your posts on e-gunparts forum a while back. I found them very informative and interesting Where in AZ. I'm down in the Goodyear area.
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Old January 11, 2007, 07:28 PM   #6
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I have had my AIG Abilene in 44 Magnum (short barrel) for over 20 years,
someday I will get another.
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Old January 11, 2007, 07:44 PM   #7
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I settled in Tucson. This is where my dad moved the company in 1980 from Bisbee. I like it here most of the time. Dad lives a little north of Tucson. The Mossberg abilene's are ok but I think the ones made prior are smoother, mostly because of the action changes Mossberg had to make in the wake of the Ruger lawsuit. Agian Lee Martins web site is very informative www.signle-actions.com. I also post at www.sixgunner.com
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Old January 22, 2007, 04:47 PM   #8
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abilene

The web site is www.singleactions.com.

Sorry for the error.

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Old January 24, 2007, 01:49 AM   #9
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Wow, Sig Himmelmann's grandson, and in Tucson, what an honor. I am a fan and in great respect of what your grandfather designed and built. Rumour has it he was the catalyst that split US arms and started United Sporting Arms over quality, and for that, thanks. The world needs more men with commitment to quality.

Ray
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Old January 24, 2007, 09:02 AM   #10
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abilene

Hi Ray,

I am actually his son. My son who is 10 also lives here in Tucson. Sig is alive and well, just turned 78. I now realize how much what he did really meant to the gun industry. Althoght looking back now he does not get the accolades some did.

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Old January 24, 2007, 11:23 PM   #11
Lee Martin
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Sig Himmelmann....

John,

Your dad hasn't gotten the credit he deserves. Hopefully our article will bring to light many of his accomplishments, such as:

1) The first stainless 44 Magnum
2) The first use of 17-4PH stainless in a single-action
3) The first single-action to handle the Maximum & SuperMag rounds (pre-dating the Ruger Max by almost a year)
4) One of the first revolvers Elgin Gates used for his 375 SuperMag
5) The first commerically available 454 Magnum (one year before Freedom Arms released the Model 83, though Dick Casull had been building them on a custom basis)
6) And most importantly, the first commercial premier grade single-action. Some folks think they shoot like a Ruger....then they put Sevilles & El Dorados on paper and see why the model was so special.

I'm sure I'm forgetting a few things, but I feel it's important that folks know your dad brought forth these advances.

Lee Martin
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Old January 24, 2007, 11:36 PM   #12
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seville/abilene

I truely beleive it is your article that takes the credit for helping people to understand more about the history of Unted Sporting Arms. I am and was glad to have been able to help you in your writing of your article. I beleive your original writings were what started a process to get information out there to help everyone to really understand the blood , sweat , and frankly some tears that went into the company. Dad today, even at 78, still thinks about the company and with some small series of changes, and maybe some better luck, where it could be today. If only the issue of the big money that is needed today to start over. I have been to Prescott and toured the Ruger investment casting company. Even back then it was a hugh facility. I can not think of what it is today. Just as the original Seville in Hauppauge were made with NO CNC equipment as it could be today. It is really nice to see, even after so many years people still have an interest to learn aout the guns. As I read things that are written it sometimes takes me back to realize just what dad did. I remeber telling you that when Elgin Gates sent a Dan Wesson to us for a 375 Barrel. Well dad still has the original 357 barrel on his bench at his home in his garage.

Also to add I always love these sights (spelling noted) as they bring the thoughts back of everything I remeber.

John Himmelmann
Seville

Last edited by Seville; January 24, 2007 at 11:39 PM. Reason: correction
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Old January 25, 2007, 12:00 AM   #13
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Building guns....

John,

Like you and your father, my dad and I have been building guns and wildcats for years now. Long after we're gone, they'll still be around and maybe someone will want to know their history. What's important is that the history is recorded and that's why I'm so thankful for all of your help on documenting Sporting Arms, Inc.

As for the Seville, El Dorado, and Abilene, they were truly special guns....I too am glad that there's a renewed interest in them. When I first started collecting them in 1992, most people viewed them as a Ruger clone. Hopefully you and I have changed (and will continue to change) that opinion.

BTW, my first Seville was 10.5" 375 SuperMag. The first time out, it cut less than an 1" at 25 yards off the bench (using old WW680 and a 220 grain Hornady). Needless to say, I was hooked on them from the get go.

Lee Martin
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Old January 25, 2007, 12:09 AM   #14
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I remember test firing the 375. There was an older man here in Tucson, who is now gone, named Lee Klink. He ran Klink's Custom Ammo. We had bought like 10,000 rounds of 375 winchester brass and cut it all down to size, on a manuel lathe, I might add. Lee loaded all that ammo for us to use for testing that first gun. I loved the feel of the 375 USA MAG. I even had a personel license plate for my car that read that. Which I still have. the plate, unfortunately not the 1967 Firebird. That Caliber really shot well. Flat, less recoil then the 44 mag, I thoght anyway. But it was just such a pleasure to shoot.

I hope people read this and really get an understanding of the guns. Well all of my guns will someday go to my son, bow 10, and hopefully with the understanding of how lucky I was to work with and for my Dad. They will be around long after me and hopefully he will pass them along as well.

By the way what was the nuber of your first Seville?

John Himmelmann
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Old January 25, 2007, 12:23 AM   #15
Lee Martin
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First 375 SuperMag

John,

I think it's SN 3-00382. I'll have to dig it out of the safe and check. It's your basic 10.5" model with Pachmyrs and a 2 pound trigger. Like you mentioned, those sights are hard to beat.

-Lee
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Old January 25, 2007, 01:05 AM   #16
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Do not worry about pulling it out. I was just wondering on the number if new or old series. Is the cylinder fluted or not, if you know?
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Old February 19, 2007, 07:51 PM   #17
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357 Abilene

Just picked up a 357 Abinene. Very nice.
Read all your posts...Thanks for the info on everything- Seville. U da man
10-0020xx is the SN.
One of the Riverhead, NY Abilenes.
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Old February 19, 2007, 09:30 PM   #18
Seville
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Your first post, Nice to have you here. I am somewhat new here too. Chime in anytime. Does it have the transfer bar?
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Old February 20, 2007, 04:53 PM   #19
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Thanks, for the reply.
Yes it is in very good condition. Also has a transfer bar.
What kind of gun is this a collectable or some rare piece. I've read the big article on the Seville very good info. I'm not sure if I want to shoot it, it's
tooo prettty.
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Old February 21, 2007, 05:31 PM   #20
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I guess you need to decide. the early Abilene's with the transfer bar are rather hard to find. I have 2 a 44 and a 357 that I have never fired. One nib, New in box 44.
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Old April 18, 2007, 10:43 AM   #21
AUTiger73
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U. S. Arms Abilene & AUTiger73 returns

AUTiger73, after a long absence, is back. I left when the FiringLine Forum was closed, and only recently noticed activity had resumed on this discussion board. After doing a site search for U. S. Arms, I found my original posting received a reply 7 years later. That must be a record for this forum. I also see other discussion threads on this subject. It appears that the U.S. Arms Abilene is finally achieving the respect it deserves.

As stated in the original posting I have 2 of these guns. One of them has been holstered and carried frequently and the other is in 100% as new condition. Both of these guns are of pre-Mossberg manufacture, but there are differences. The lower serial numbered Abilene's base pin (or cylinder pin) is simply held in place by a screw that enters the frame at a 45 degree angle. The higher serial numbered Abilene's base pin has a horizonal spring loaded device that secures the cylinder base pin similar to the earlier Ruger SA. I have no earthly idea why this was changed.

I would be interested in hearing from someone that is knowledgeable of the history and design changes in the Abilene.

Much has happened since my original posting. My U.S. Abilenes have been retired to my gun safe in favor of 2 modified stainless steel Ruger Birdshead 45Colt SA revolvers carried in a double shoulder holster. But that is another story.

It is good to be back with the FiringLine folks. I'll try to drop by more frequently in the future.
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Old April 18, 2007, 12:09 PM   #22
Seville
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Abilene

I found the site and started looking around for posts of things that interested me. I started with the Abilene, Seville and Kart names. I actually heard from a site administrator about the post I put on being some far from the original post. I like to beleive everything happens for a reason and finding the site and also the topics was for a reason. You can read a lot more info about Abilenes and Sevilles at www.singleactions.com under United Sporting Arms. The site and article are by Lee Martin who is a collector and shooter.

the frame at a 45 degree angle this was done to combat recoil. The bae pin would "jump out" under heavy loads. The screw was added to keep it from jumping out.

Please continue to post as I am interested in keeping the history alive .
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Old April 18, 2007, 02:20 PM   #23
AUTiger73
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Seville:

Thanks for the reply. Yes, I'm aware of the base pin recoil issue with the Ruger guns. I experienced this problem with a 44 Magnum Super Blackhawk. However, I thought it rather strange that the my older (earlier serial numbered) U.S. Arms Abilene has the frame drilled and tapped for a base pin screw. This screw enters the front of the frame at approximately a 45 degree angle to the base pin. The newer Abilene (having the later serial number) is the one with the "Rugerish" horizonal spring loaded base pin retaining device. Therefore it appears that later production changes moved to the horizonal spring loaded device which would be prone to recoil upset. All of this was prior to the Mossberg production of these guns.

Nevertheless, both of my Abilenes are .357 magnums and heavy enough that recoil would not likely be a problem in dislocating the base pin.

Yes, I agree that the U.S. Arms Abilene's history needs to be kept alive. While I own a number of Colts and Ruger SA guns, my Abilenes are the most treasured. My first Abilene was acquired at a Ft. Lauderdale, FL gun show in trade for my Winchester 94. That Abilene has a 4-5/8" barrel and, even though a bit heavy, it was the gun I carried into sawgrass country. I had a holster custom made for it and carried it frequently on my excursions south of Everglade City. Unfortunately it now shows a lot of holster wear and some rust pits on the ejector rod housing. It could be easily restored with a new ejector rod housing, but they are NIS at Gun Parts Inc. (However, I do have a few spare trigger springs and varous screws for these guns.)

My older Abilene is the most accurate of my .357 revolvers, having consumed many factory loads and some of my nastiest reloads. This Abilene is more accurate than my S&W Model 19 and various Ruger revolvers both SA & DA.

My newer Abilene was acquired a few years ago at a gun shop in Dothan, AL.
The first owner apparently never fired it and I've since fired it 6 times to confirm it is at least equal to my first Abilene. The deep blue finish reminds me of the early Colt revolvers (i.e., Python et.al.). It will remain in my gun safe and will receive periodic cleaning and maintenance. It is a treasure that is not likely to be found again.

You have much to be proud of in your father's involvement in the design and manufacture of the Abilene. In time, I believe the U.S. Arms Abilene will be recognized for their high quality, accuracy, and collectibility.

Hope we hear from other Abilene owners, especially related to the various production changes found before the sellout to Mossberg.
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Old April 18, 2007, 02:37 PM   #24
AUTiger73
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Correction:

Looking at my original post, I may have gotten the base pin change backwards. It would appear the earlier serial numbered Abilene has the spring loaded horizontal base pin retainer and the later serial number Abilene has the 45 degree screw entering the from of the frame to retain the base pin.

Oh well, it comes with age (62) and a full gun safe (29). Could be that I finally reached the point of having too many guns ??? or maybe it is the years of collecting and shooting that has fogged-up my brain.

Nevertheless, knowing that Ruger had a patent infringement suit again U.S. Arms, maybe the change in base pin retention was to appease Ruger. In fact, I never heard the outcome of that law suit.
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Old April 18, 2007, 07:59 PM   #25
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abilene

My understanding is the cross lock for the base pin was the original. That is what my dad says. The front 45 degree angle screw came after he left US Arms in Riverhead. So the lower number would be the original gun. The latter being Mossberg but with some of those having a transfer bar. As to the lawsuit, Ruger sued both US Arms and United Sporting Arms. My dad went to William B Ruger SR. office in Conn and basically settled the lawsiut with him. The big problem was Ruger had all the money. As dad tells it Ruger told him the only ones benefiting from the law suit was the lawyers. It was really creating a going broke situation for United Sporting Arms. Dad and Ruger agree to end the litigation between the 2. Then United Sporting Arms agreed Ruger had a valid patent and Mossberg was sunk. They had to change the transfer bar as Ruger, at that time, licensed us to use his patent. The company had never done that before. Ruger told dad the only reason he did it was the quality of the Seville and El Dorado line.
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