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Old April 1, 2010, 11:50 PM   #1
CajunPowder
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Uberti 1858 quest for positive lock.

Two months ago I ordered a Pietta 1858 New Army Model 44 in stainless steel with the 8" barrel. It was on sale for $299.00 at "C's" online sporting goods "Department store".

- It was date marked as a 2009.
- The cylinder pin was loose as a goose at the ears and where it inserted into the back of the frame.
- The cylinder rattled like a snake ready to strike.
- The cylinder over rotated past two of the cylinder notches. Scored the cylinder up real good right off the bat.
- The daylight coming through the flash gap was like a kid's kaleidescope, real purty, changed shape as I cycled through the chambers and everything.
- After removing the cylinder, getting the cylinder back in was an olympic event. Fine training!
- The loading lever at the tip had 1/4" of play in either direction.
- The hinge where the loading lever met the loading rod reminded me of the cymbals on a tambourine, looked like they were made in Tora Bora.
- The tip of the hammer would not fit into any of the safety notches and slipped off with any pressure against the cylinder. I mean ... crazy!
- The front sight was bent slightly to the left
- The interior of the frame was scored and ragged with file and tool marks, disgusting.

I sent it back to Cabela's the next day and it took 3 weeks to get a refund.

Dey said dey wuz sorree yeah! That cost $19 bucks in shipping.

So let me take a breath and thank all of you for supporting this forum. I've learned a tremendous amount about this pistol, about Uberti and Pietta and Euroarms, etc... from all of you. I really enjoy learning from the folks in this forum. Now I just want an 1858 as good as the ones you have!

I want one like they show in them nice pitchers on the websites!

I decided I would not risk ordering a Pietta again so I ordered an Uberti of the same type from "T's" except I upgraded to the target model. The rear sight fell off on the second shot. I thought I might lose a range buddy to multiple hernia brought on by hysterical laughter.

I sent it back the next day, big disappointment. I got a prompt refund. Generally it was a little better than puke and we weren't scairt to blast a bit with it. The barn door survived.

I recently ordered the same make and model Uberti from "D's". I had them promise me that the gunsmith would select from over 40 units they had in stock to make sure they got me one that locked up good and tight. I told them I would be more than willing to sacrifice a bit of beauty in the finish and wood to metal fit, etc... for a revolver that locked up good and tight.

I am composing them a letter which outlines the following:

1. Cylinder timing:

- the bolt is marking the cylinder, (it's doing this at consistent points on the cylinder almost exactly as it should).

- the bolt is falling too late and has peened the lead in edge of the bolt notches on the cylinder, (from cocking the pistol).

- as well, the bolt is too short on one side, or the bolt face is not level, (it's not making full contact with the interior of the bolt notch)


- close observation of the bolt face shows shiny on one side only, (shiny narrow triangle across the bolt face pointing to the non-contact area).


2. Cylinder lock up:

- because the bolt is not engaging the interiors of the bolt notches completely, the cylinder does not lock up tight at full cock or hammer down position.

- the bolt is engaging only one side of the bolt notch on the cylinder, thus some lateral cylinder play, (rattle).

- holding the piece by the barrel at the base pin ears, (trapping the base pin ears), and lightly tapping the butt in my hand I hear the slight rattle.

- sanding or filing the bolt down, (to level the bolt), will shorten the bolt. I think the bolt needs to be replaced it may be defective.

- there could be many reasons the bolt is behaving in this manner.

3. Very rough and coarse filing and/or grinding on the underside of the topstrap:

- goes without saying that cosmetically it moves the revolver closer to the "ugly" level.

- this very rough surface will collect black powder residue quickly, (it will cake), and will resist cleaning, it will pit and corrode quickly.

- the revolver was ordered in stainless steel to make cleaning easier and to avoid these issues, (and because the stainless is shiny and pretty).

- that this rough area will collect fouling much more rapidly will cause it to impede the function of the cylinder more rapidly during extended sessions.

There are significant file and tool markings in the bottom of the interior of the frame as well. Both the underside of the topstrap and the bottom of the interior of the frame show oxidation and darkening as a result of being left unpolished. The surfaces would be eaten up quickly by black powder residue that would be nearly impossible to clean out of these surfaces, pitting would result quickly.

There is a significant pit in the rear of the frame just to the left of the hammer, it's a big pit and will collect powder residue and other detrius and will hold moisture which will hasten the increasing depth of that pit. I figure that's about as much cosmetic sacrifice as one would have to make in order to assure the excellent mechanics of the cylinder and good tolerances all around. Everytime you look down the sights of the pistol, you see the pit and it will only get bigger with time and probably rapidly. Cleaning it out regularly with a pick will produce a hole quickly. I didn't expect this type of serious cosmetic flaw in a stainless steel revolver. And that sacrifice didn't get me positive cylinder lock.

Is this really one of the best out of almost 50 Uberti revolvers of this model?

4. Another area of concern with respect to tolerances is the installation of the front sight. There is some real daylight between the underside of the frontsight ramp and the top of the barrel. Three new $20 bills fit under the rear of the ramp. This area under the frontsight ramp, (especially in front of the dovetail near the muzzle), will pick up powder residue and will hold dirt and moisture and will hasten the pitting and degredation of the top of the barrel under the frontsight assembly. I do not see any method normally used in the regular cleaning of stainless steel black powder revolvers that will facilitate the care of this area.

It is unfortunate that I and others found the trigger exceptional and crisp, truly a fine, fine trigger and everybody who has looked at the piece lamented giving it up because of the trigger. The action is generally a pleasure also. I can only expect an exchange that will truly be a joy.

=========================================

So ... I'm not going to buffalo, and then midway, then texasjacks.com, then timbuktu and giving all of them a chance.

I've decided to stick with this vendor until I get a decent revolver from them. When I send this revolver back I will have spent $70 on shipping and return shipping and no joy.

I figure I'll give these folks at "D" one more try and then take what I get and spend $100-$150 on it at the gunsmith's.

I'm looking for suggestions on what to do here as I'm the point man for three other gentlemen who are all interested in getting one of these pistols. They are range buddies and one wants a cheap, efficient solution for putting down feral swine he is trapping off his property with one shot at close range.

Eventually, after we get 4 decent target model revolvers we would like to start shooting matches, hunt, etc ... We want to smoke some powder yeah?

I'm trying to make some lemonade here, anybody want a cup? It's free!

Last edited by CajunPowder; April 2, 2010 at 01:04 AM. Reason: Learned something!
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Old April 2, 2010, 04:57 AM   #2
Doc Hoy
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Funny post, CP

I have sixteen revolvers and all of them have some side to side movement of the loading lever. 1/4 is a bit much. The rest of the problems you spoke of are distressing.

I have seen a couple new pistols in which I felt they could have taken an extra fifteen minutes at the factory to get a better finish. The inner surfaces of the frame on a Remington in my experience are frequently overlooked. I can smooth up some brass (I know yours is SS) myself but it bothers me when I examine a pistol that was blue before it was polished correctly. I think most manufacturers are getting (or have gotten) better at this.

I worry that "D"s told you they would sell your the best one out of forty. It is bad business no matter who gets the best one because that means somebody has to settle for second best. And how much does the worst one cost? It is an absolute admission that they will knowingly sell crap to the customer.

As regards pigs, I got invited to go wild boar hunting when I was stationed on Guam in my younger days. I was befriended by a couple of the locals who like to shoot. I thought it might be some fun. Then they told me that you hunt pigs with a knife. I didn't have a .44 caliber knife so I passed n the offer.

Box up the lemonade and send it to Chesapeake. I am thirsty.
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Old April 2, 2010, 06:12 AM   #3
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Sorry your having problems getting a good revolver. Keep in mind that the Italian revolvers may need work out of the box, some more than others.

The lateral movement at the end of your loading lever is normal.

Quote:
- as well, the bolt is too short on one side, or the bolt face is not level, (it's not making full contact with the interior of the bolt notch)
Again this is normal, the bolt is slightly off-set from the cylinder pin center line. The top of the bolt is at an angle for full contact in the cylinder notch.

Rear sights on these need to be tightened carefully, very small screw size. I would loc-tite after you get them set.

All my 1858's are Pietta or ASM, I haven't shoot a Uberti version.

The poor machining inside the frame is normal, this should be smoothed with a hand slot stone and files. The brass grips are an easy repair, sand/file to shape then polish.


Think of these boxed revolvers as kit guns that need finishing and you well not be as disappointed. It's sad to say that, but it's the truth unfortunately. Good luck.
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Old April 2, 2010, 06:52 AM   #4
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I see two problems:

1) the bolt may need to be reworked/replaced, although the description doesn't lead me to think the problem is serious. It's not good, but also not terribly unusual. I'd simply get another bolt, shape it to fit better and proceed.

2) expectations are a bit too high. These are Italian replicas made for a mass market, not custom finished guns, and I remind you of your charge to the supplier that you'd accept finish flaws for better function. Given your description of the cosmetic problems I'd say you got what you asked for. And what you paid for (not including the shipping fees, which are not acceptable).

By the way, the statements about powder residue caking, filling up pits and causing corrosion might be true if the gun were never cleaned, but bp residue is easy to remove with plain water; it does not stay in pits and crevices if the gun is regularly cleaned.
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Old April 2, 2010, 08:19 AM   #5
horseman308
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In my Pietta '58, which is just the basic .44 New Army model, there is a little wobble in the loading lever, but it's not ever caused a problem and everyone else seems to have it.

As far as the other issues you've noticed, that sucks. Is there anyway you can just go in person to some one of the stores and check them out in person?

Another option if you really want and 1858-style pistol is that you could find a used Ruger Old Army. There are a few different models, but they are all basically a worked-over version of the 1858. Everyone I've talked to says they've got the best quality, fit, finish, etc. on the market. But they're more expensive, they're now out of production, and they're NOTICEABLY different from some of the other 1858 reproductions. Still, it might be worth chance.
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Old April 2, 2010, 11:31 AM   #6
kwhi43@kc.rr.com
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This is a Pietta I bought new from Deercreek Products about 4 years ago
for 174.00 at Friendship. Spent another 400.00 on it for a target barrel
and line bored. Tight, perfect. A shooter. total cost 600.00 Worth it YES.
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Old April 2, 2010, 11:37 AM   #7
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I've been lucky, I think, in that two of the three Piettas that I've bought have been just fine out of the box. The third, an 1860 Colt, had lockup problems - the bolt would engage the cylinder stops too soon and kind of jam up right on the edge of them, causing the whole gun to lock up. The "fix" was that I disassembled everything and put it back together again. Go figure.

I won't make any excuses for the Italian reproductions - they are what they are, which is a low cost, mass produced copy of century and a half old designs. I suppose that you could go into the purchase with the idea that you may have to spend some more money to do some tuning, major or minor, depending on the condition of the gun. I know that doesn't seem right - you expect a functioning product out of the box. But that's how these guns go. I think that most of the time (most being more than 50%) everything works fine, but some of them have problems varying from slight to major. It's also possible that I have terribly low standards (but I don't think so .)

Horseman308's two suggestions may be your best options. Of course, if there's no store in your area, I guess that really makes it one suggestion, but I guess that there's a reason why the ROAs are expensive!

Best of luck to you - don't give up!
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Old April 2, 2010, 12:47 PM   #8
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Horseman308 + 1

Yes....Go get yourself an ROA. It doesn't really pass for a Remington look-alike. It is close but won't pass.

Everybody needs an ROA.

I say again...

Everybody needs an ROA.

The prices on used ones are down now.
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Old April 2, 2010, 01:10 PM   #9
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Quote:
Everybody needs an ROA.
No not everybody Doc. I wouldn't have one.
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Old April 2, 2010, 01:22 PM   #10
kwhi43@kc.rr.com
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Buy mine Hawg , and I won't tell anybody
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Old April 2, 2010, 01:55 PM   #11
Doc Hoy
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Hawg,

To each his own. You have been around a long time and you know what you are talking about. If you don't like em, there must be a very good reason.

I like handling my Colts. I like cleaning my Remingtons. I like shooting my ROA.
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Old April 2, 2010, 02:44 PM   #12
kwhi43@kc.rr.com
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And I like fondling my Flintlock
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Old April 2, 2010, 02:56 PM   #13
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Doc, the Ruger is a good gun, well made and dependable. I just rank it up there with the .44 caliber 51 Navy. It's a gun that never was, historically speaking that is. I don't care for the Ruger SAA's either even tho they resemble a Colt the lock work is nothing like one.

Kwhi, I'll give ya a dollar for it. Maybe I can trade it for a ragged out Uberti.
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Old April 2, 2010, 04:05 PM   #14
kwhi43@kc.rr.com
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Tell you what. I will sell it to you for 20.00 That's a 20 Dollar gold piece
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Old April 2, 2010, 04:36 PM   #15
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Greetings CajunPowder, and welcome aboard.

You are not alone. I too have the same gun from the same source, and with similar problems.

I suspect the sight wasn't bent, but the barrel wasn't aligned properly. If you look at the gun carefully, the flats are probably out of square with the rest of the frame. My first gun was so far off, I had to return it. The second one is better but not perfect.

With regard to the hammer not fitting the safety notches, I posted "Product Safety warning - Pietta Remington" a few weeks ago. In my case the hammer will fit in the notches, but a sharp shoulder on the back of the cylinder prevented the hammer from entering the notches. An eMail to Pietta about this condition remains unanswered. You solution could be: Chamfer the corner on the cylinder shoulder, relieve the bottom of the trigger to clear the shoulder (what I did), or send it back (what I should have done).

We all appreciate the fact that reproduction guns can be significantly improved by putting in the time that the factory didn't in fine tuning and finishing. However, IMHO, this shouldn't extend to the safety devices -- they should function right out of the box. It's one thing to tinker with a new gun to make it smoother, more accurate and prettier, but safer shouldn't be on that list.
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Old April 2, 2010, 05:36 PM   #16
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Quote:
Tell you what. I will sell it to you for 20.00 That's a 20 Dollar gold piece
Do you know how many Uberti's I could buy with that?
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Old April 2, 2010, 05:41 PM   #17
kwhi43@kc.rr.com
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Yea, but how many would shoot 1 1/2 inch five shot groups at 50 yds. from
a Ranson rest? Hu Hu ?
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Old April 2, 2010, 05:57 PM   #18
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Get one of these.



It costs a lil more but has the smoothest action and lightest hammer of any 58 Remington I've seen. Fit and finish are great too.
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Old April 2, 2010, 05:59 PM   #19
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Yea, but how many would shoot 1 1/2 inch five shot groups at 50 yds. from
a Ranson rest? Hu Hu
As long as I can keep them on a softball at 25 offhand I'm happy.
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Old April 2, 2010, 08:22 PM   #20
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Hawg,

Like the 1851 Colt built like a Leech and Rigdon or Griswold and Gunnison in .44 Cal.

Right?
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Old April 2, 2010, 08:28 PM   #21
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Quote:
Like the 1851 Colt built like a Leech and Rigdon or Griswold and Gunnison in .44 Cal.

Right?
Right. If they're .36 they're fine but not .44

I'm not trying to put anybody's knickers in a twist. Is just me.
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Old April 2, 2010, 11:30 PM   #22
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The longest post I will ever make :)

I want to be thorough as I've been welcomed warmly by all of your participation, knowledge, expertise and wisdom.

I will be taking some pictures of this 3rd revolver that I've ordered this weekend and will be seeking some more feedback on it from range buddies, etc ...

Doc Hoy:

If that was the best one out of more than 40, then we are left thinking of what quality might the other units be from that lot? Out of the box, we might have to 'throw' those revolvers at the barn door. And if any of the pieces fell off over the course of it's 25 yard flight I'd never find them. The upside is that powder and boolits would be less of an expense.

The area under the topstrap is a real mess, it's worse than any of you might want to imagine, it almost has the texture of rough cement. The inner surfaces of the frame on the first revolver I ordered from "C's", (the Pietta), had considerable filing marks, and then the same was observed on the first Uberti I ordered from "T's". I could have worked all that out with a dremel and if I'm going to be serious about any of this I think its time to acquire a dremel and some basic accessories.

As to the boar hunting, that's a challenging way to get bacon for breakfast, (but a time saver), ... angling for the best strike that will put the animal down, (as well as dress it at the same time), all on the run while avoiding the other members of the sounder is quite efficient. Perhaps that's why the natives tend to be so low in body fat. They might have really good lemondade over there and plenty of it.

madcratebuilder:

After a look at this 2nd Uberti, (and the first experience which was a Pietta), I can see the design of the loading lever and the history of it's design do lend themselves to some wiggle, especially if they are going to be used often. Thanks for putting it in a nutshell, I will consider them more as kits from now on, that seems to be the basic nature of the beast. On this third revolver I've ordered, the rear sight assembly seems to be in good shape and wether I keep this one or not I will watch this issue carefully and obtain a tiny screwdriver to work with it. After sighting the keeper in, I will blue loctite them per your and other's consistent advice on this issue.

mykeal:

The bolt issue isn't tragically serious and it does index well enough, but it certainly does not lock up tight and I expect after a month and a few hundred rounds I will regret not getting it setup tight to start. It certainly is peening the edges of all the bolt notches, (as it is falling exactly on the edges of all the notches).

My expectations are too high and I've considered pursuing the purchase of a Pedersoli 1858 pattern but then I've got the issue of a conversion cylinder and what might be a wretched expense to make that happen on the Pedersoli, and my expectations might again be set too high even for a Pedersoli when shelling out upwards of $900 for a new Pedersoli. I'm settling down into that "kit mentality" and I think all in all my funds might be better spent on some basic tools and some woodshed here in these forums and CAScity.

That's good feedback on cleaning, I'd pictured it as more of a chore than it probably is.

horseman308:

Thanks for continuing to confirm the issues with the loading lever. Interestingly enough, the third revolver I've obtained from "D's" has a loading lever that is tighter at the hinge with the ramming rod than any piece I've ever heard of, it's almost sticky and creaky in it's operation as if it might be "too tight". I'm sure it would loosen up with some use; and there's one issue to put it into the keeper category as I'm moving more and more into the "Kit" mentality and the "finish it yourself" attitude.

The biggest issue now is the peening on the edges of the cylinder bolt notches and the lack of tight lock up.

I have considered a road trip to Texas Jack's in Fredericksburg, Texas as they are the "Cimarron" vendor of high regard, (and some mystique), for Uberti. I expect I might find a very nice unit there for inspection. I should call them ... They are a little over 7 hours drive by car from me so it's quite a trip but could be done - there and back in a day. Such is my passion for a nice 1858 and to start all of this off the right way. They are open on both Saturday and Sunday. It would be a fine trip in this nice spring weather and a good excuse to clean out the Northstar, (whistles Dixie).

If they were still making ROA's new, I would have snatched one up in an instant, and that purchase might be for later. What attracts me most to the Uberti Remington 1858 is the installation base, it's one of the most popular of the BP revolvers and parts are readily available for it. The knowledge base is very widespread as well. I'm also attracted to it's historical look and feel. I shot a cylinder full of smoke out of one of these as a young teen with my dad and his buddy, a real original in fine condition, I won't forget that day.

kwhi43@kc.rr.com:

Thank you for that exceptional picture! What length is that barrel I wonder?

I'm noticing that prices on both the Uberti and the Pietta's have gone up considerably in the last two years. I think I'm seeing at least a 25% - 40% increase in prices since 2007. I certainly would be willing to put an additional $300 over the long course to have a super duper example of a '58.

Hardcase:

Yes, it sounds like you were lucky. LOL! Took it apart and put it back together again. I'm looking forward to becoming that knowledgeable about these Remmies. Gee, I guess I'll need another now, LOL! I am modifying my expectations a great deal. Low standards can be a good thing! I get a lot more dates that way and whose to say it's not a wise idea, yeah? I have just begun ... to buy.

Hawg Haggen:

Buy the ROA from kwhi43@kc.rr.com, box it up, and send it my way, I'm getting real good at paying postage anyway! You'll have plenty of change left over from that $20 GOLD piece.

zippy13:

Thank you for the welcome. I was unable to inspect the barrel as I had vomited on it. Perhaps Pietta was working on a design for the kind of gun that shoots around a corner! The saftey notch thing really bothers me, it's like ... HERE! hold on to this lit stick o' dyneemite! Don't move now! ...
When I pulled the first Pietta out of the box and got down to inspecting it, I actually got mad for a little while, I said to myself ... what did I ever do to those Italian guys! ? !

Hawg:

I think I've entered this thing in a very lucky way. The only BP revolver that I like at all is the Remmie. I really, really like the authenticity of it, and I'm going to keep telling myself that because I can't afford this hobby if I branch out.



================

Thank you all for your feedback and support as I dive into this ... hobby. And with the way our fine President is handling the economy and the cheerleader is guarding the Texas border, the revolver actually qualifies as an excellent surival tool and provides some peace of mind. I've got plenty of layers of chicken and swine dirt available down the road that have been percolating for more than 50 years.

After more 'think and look' I'm seeing that the hole tapped for the screw that fixes the rear sight assembly onto the topstrap passes all the way through the topstrap, (which I don't think was necessary but perhaps a matter of expedience). The end of the screw does not protrude out of the hole and the end of the screw was not shaved or cut off, (the screw is not long enough to warrant tapping the hole completely through the topstrap).

This hole in the underside of the topstrap worries me over the longer term as it may gather powder residue and moisture and over time the threads on the end of the screw will begin to degrade and rust as well as wick moisture up further into the hole ... so I think that hole needs to be sealed. I will watch for this issue on the exchange and on future target models.

I am going to return this one for an exchange as the edges of the cylinder bolt notches are peened from simply cocking the hammer, there's way too much daylight under the front sight assembly and it does not lock up tight, and other issues as discussed.

I did not get the tight lockup on the cylinder I wanted even though I was willing to let some cosmetic issues go. What I got was some very real cosmetic and finishing issues on what might be the cream of the crop model, (the stainless steel target model), of the cream of the crop replica maker, (Uberti).
So no lock up and no increased mechanical quality in trade-offs for the cosmetic issues.

I'm paying $375.00 for this revolver, it's reduced in price from a regular price of $395.00. I'm willing to pay another shipping charge for them to have another try at providing me with a cylinder that locks up tight.

Just food for thought:

As there is no 'V' machined into the topstrap for a rear sight channel ... which was an interesting piece of information to come by through all of this. In some state of wishful thinking, (that the piece has no 'V' groove cut into the topstrap), might make the topstrap on these models a bit stronger and might make the topstrap on these models a better candidate to mount a scope upon.

In summation of this experience and in thanks for the good feedback I've recieved from veteran members of this forum:

1. Any of these Italian reproductions will require some degree of final finishing, tuning and setup out of the box; that all of this is more of a 'kit' than a fine, finished product by any means, (out of the box), is the best attitude to take. Pure luck is the only element getting you anywhere near perfection 'out of the box'.

2. Replicas "on sale" are "on sale" for a reason.

3. If a vendor has over 40 units of a particular model in stock and some of those are over 2 years old, there's a reason for that overstock.

4. If a vendor is willing to handpick, or cherrypick for you, that could be an issue that is not necessarily in your favor.

5. If you get an obvious lemon from a vendor, move on. When you get an almost acceptable unit, exchange and hope for better and stick with that vendor to work things out.

6. By and large Uberti gives you a better product to work with towards a really nice shooter but Pietta might not be far behind.

7. Keep your expectations low, your tools sharp and your powder dry.

8. People are nice here. (and well armed).
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Old April 3, 2010, 04:52 AM   #23
Doc Hoy
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CP,

Good post.

Now that I think of it, I don't recall any of my Guamanian chronies ever reporting that they had killed a pig. Maybe they SAID they were going hunting just as an excuse to drink the lemonade.

I would be inclined to agree with each of your eight points....especially the last one. With the possible exception of yours truly, there are some smart folks here.
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My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government. Thomas Jefferson
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Old April 3, 2010, 06:40 AM   #24
Hawg
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Join Date: September 8, 2007
Location: Mississippi
Posts: 11,718
You sell yourself short Doc.
I've been lucky I guess, never had a bad Pietta. They all worked like they were supposed to right out of the box and had no cosmetic flaws.
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Old April 3, 2010, 10:32 AM   #25
kwhi43@kc.rr.com
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Join Date: August 21, 2008
Location: Kansas City
Posts: 1,180
The barrel length is 6 inches. He asked me what I wanted and that's what I
said . He could have made it any length. I am a old guy 67, and only target
shoot. The shorter barrel is better for me. After you shoot 10 matches a day
I need something light. Did manage to win 1st place at the Nationals last year
in the 50 yd. match. Shot a 87 with it. Thats on a standard NRA pistol target.
Good luck to you.
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