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Old September 14, 2012, 08:03 PM   #1
charliek
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Best SAA on the market

With USFA seeming to be on the way out, what is the best single action currently available? Freedom Arms is out of the question for me, but what about Colt and some of the clones?
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Old September 14, 2012, 08:08 PM   #2
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US Firearms
http://www.usfirearms.com/
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Old September 14, 2012, 08:08 PM   #3
Bob Wright
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As I've posted lately, Cimarron Arms Model P has caught my attention.

But my favorite of favorites are my highly modified three screw Rugers!

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Old September 14, 2012, 08:16 PM   #4
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Behold:

Super Blackhawk:



.44 Special Blackhawk, Ex-.357 Magnum:



Blackhawk .357 Magnum:



Uberti .44 Special Model P, and Uberti Flat Top .45 Colt:




Convinced?

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P.S. The .357 Magnum I have had over fifty years, put over 17,000 rounds through it. Bought it as a young soldier in 1958.
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Old September 14, 2012, 08:56 PM   #5
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Colt is still the best.
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Old September 14, 2012, 09:51 PM   #6
Jim March
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There is only one SAA on the market. Colt. Nobody else makes an SAA. USFA doesn't claim to make one, neither do any of the Italian outfits. Using SAA generically is an insult to Colt, though God only knows they've insulted themselves often enough over the past 30 years but that's not here nor there.

The best SA revolvers are by Freedom Arms, period, no argument possible...well...'cept for maybe a full-on custom by a top Rugersmith like Hamilton Bowen .

The best reproduction of the original Colts are the USFAs, again, far and away if you want an original look, original feel, original action. I would go so far as to say some are closer to the pre-WW2 Colt SAAs than the post-war Colts made on different machinery (because the 1st Gen tooling was literally left out in the rain during WW2).

Ruger has the best bang for the buck in anything "SAA-like". Not as authentic as some of the Italians in terms of the action type (and things like the particular steps in the reloading cycle - Rugers don't have a half-cock fr'instance).

Oddly enough, if you put a SuperBlackhawk lowered hammer on a Ruger New Vaquero it won't "look right" but the reach to the hammer will be closer to a 1st Gen Colt than a post-WW2 Colt SAA (2nd through 4th Gens). The Ruger New Vaquero's frame size and general feel is a near-clone of the post-war Colts. I've taken careful measurements comparing post-war Colts, pre-war Colts, a USFA Rodeo and my NewVaq357 with an SBH hammer mod. All put the hammer tip at the middle joint of my thumb EXCEPT for the post-WW2 Colts.

I believe that the lower hammer on the original Colts was one reason why strong-side thumb cocking was more popular back in the day than the off-hand-cocking seen among the SASS/CAS guys today when they're in a class that can shoot two hands on one gun. Bat Masterson specifically wrote about getting his thumb up on top of the hammer by the knuckle, which would have been more difficult with the high hammers that have dominated since production started back up in the 1950s.

The high hammers may have been influenced by Hollywood "fast draw" myths...
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Old September 14, 2012, 11:02 PM   #7
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Aren't Ruger's Blackhawks rumoured to be the strongest SA type on the market?

I'm seriously thinking of getting one in .45 LC and running some of Buffalo Bore's loads thru to my hearts content
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Old September 15, 2012, 12:41 AM   #8
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I think the Freedom Arms or the Super Blackhawk would have the most strength.
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Old September 15, 2012, 06:36 AM   #9
charliek
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Ruger Grips

Bob,

Those are great looking grips on the Rugers. What was the source?
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Old September 15, 2012, 12:56 PM   #10
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The Super Blackhawk are rosewood from Lett, now defunct. The walnut and mesquite (on the .357) are from CaryC grips (http://www.clccustomgrips.com/ )

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Old September 15, 2012, 01:04 PM   #11
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Jim March,

I stand corrected, and apologize for my careless use of SAA, and you are, of course, right.

However, as to best, I must confess to be turned off by Freedom Arms looks, as they certainly don't have the eye appeal of the Ubertis. Colt, good as they are, have yet to come up with a good SA .44 Magnum revolver, nor a stout .45 Colt.

My measure of "good, better, best" is what my target looks like downrange, and I'm hard pressed to tell any difference between Colt, Ruger, and Uberti. That, plus the eye appeal, is my criteria for a good sixgun. I do have Colts, but find more often than not, when leaving for the hunt or the range, chances are I've got a Ruger with me.

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Old September 15, 2012, 01:24 PM   #12
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Well, guess what? I just opened Wikipedia and there they show a photo cationed "USFA Single Action Army fully cocked.


Quote:
(and things like the particular steps in the reloading cycle - Rugers don't have a half-cock fr'instance).
Mine do.

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Old September 15, 2012, 01:41 PM   #13
Jim March
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Wikipedia is wrong. Not the first time.

Go to USFA's site and look *carefully* at what they call their guns. They don't the term "SAA".
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Old September 15, 2012, 10:48 PM   #14
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It would/will (?) be a very sad day indeed if USFA goes under. I've got an older Rodeo .44 Sp that I had antiqued after-the-fact and tuned "just so" that's a stellar piece--as they say all the good stuff inside their "premium" models have. I've also got a ca 2008 Colt SAA--in an uncatalogued .44 Sp--that appears to be what folks have been saying about the "4th" Gen (late 3rd - 2003 on) guns - great in all respects.
IF one leaves Freedom Arms and possibly Colt out of the equation for price, and USFA for possibly being gone soon--say it ain't so--I'd say Ruger New Vaquero/Flattop .44 Special, which I also have. You get the newer indexing the large-frame Ruger models still don't have AFAIK, and you can load 'em up pretty stout, unlike (what you're supposed to) .45 Colt in the same midframe. Also have a Uberti (Cimarron P) .44 Sp that's great.

A safe full six-up capability and Ruger's legendary durability would still put the Ruger midframe .44 at #1 for me if I could only have one. IF the lack of the new indexing doesn't bother on the large frame--and yes you can put a free spin kit in to partially rectify--then certainly a 4-5/8" or 5.5" .44 Mag Super BH (or original Vaquero) or same frame .45 Colt BH is right up there. I love my .44 Mag Vaquero, even without the spin enhancement. IIRC, the BH .45's still have the aluminum grip (but possibly steel ERH reported now?) Which still makes the short barreled big bore Blackhawk a mighty handy trail piece. All'n'all, I seem to hear an awful lot of accolades about the .44 Sp Flattops with words to the effect of "best gun I've ever owned" seeming to show up regularly.
I'm not too keen on Freedom Arms even if I could afford it. I think I'd rather have two to three Rugers, or at least one Bowen (et al) -customized one!

All that said, back down to earth in the sub-$700 world, I admit the Cimarron "P" (or insert Pietta if you want) sure wins the current prize in the "fondleability" and "admiring" department.

Edit: if a $1200-or-so check were to plop into my lap with a caveat attached "for use on one SA only" - especially since i already have satisfied my Colt itch (for now ), I'd call Trail Creek up for a USFA "Pre War," or look for one of the Double Eagle birdsheads that were out for only a year. . The Pre War (actually, all USFA's in their Single Action and former Rodeo lines) have the "backpowder" chamfer I don't believe you can get even as optional on Colt's current BP models, as well as CCH'd hammer (ditto not current Colt). One of those USFA's would certainly be heirloom-worthy keepers.

Last edited by gak; September 15, 2012 at 11:38 PM.
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Old September 16, 2012, 02:53 PM   #15
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I currently own Colt's, Rugers (OM and NM), and S&W's. I have owned USFA SA's and have never owned a Freedom Arms (To damn ugly and the grip frame and I just don't agree.) If I had to lay my money down on the table today for what I thought was the best buy for the amount invested it would surly be one of the new midsize frame Rugers, NM Vaquero's or NM Flat Top Blackhawks. I have not seen one yet that hasn't been a good shooter or not well finished. I believe all the guns I mentioned are good guns and worth the price, but to me being one half to one fifth the price of the other guns these new Rugers excel.
That being said the last revolver I bought was a A. Uberti 1858 Remington New Army and a R&D 45 Colt Conversion Cylinder. It's a hoot to shoot with a 255 gr. bullet and a full charge of 2F black powder. It's hard for most people to extract the advantages of the more precision built guns having fixed sights as found on the cowboy style guns for sure when in nickel or stainless.
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Old September 18, 2012, 09:33 PM   #16
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Anyone know what's up with USFA? I don't see any models on their web site except SAA. For example, gunslinger, rodeo, etc. Maybe I'm just not trying hard enough, but I didn't ever have trouble before.
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Old September 19, 2012, 05:19 AM   #17
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I also believe the best goes to freedom arms but like the OP, it's well out of my reach. I have not had the chance to shoot one but have handled a few and was stunned by the quality. I have had the chance to fire Uberti, Taurus, Colt and a Rodeo, all along side my Ruger New Vaquero and I can honestly say I like my Ruger the best. It obviously a personal bias, I've had the Ruger for some time now and shoot it pretty well. However, there are some undeniable pro's about the Ruger that give it a real edge over the others. Things like durability, affordability, simplicity of design, tons of after market stuff and a lot of variants to choose from makes the Ruger very attractive.
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Old September 19, 2012, 07:09 AM   #18
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I'm really partial to my polished stainless Rugers... while not "traditional", I do like the carry 6 feature... I have 3... all Montados, a pair I shoot CAS, & one I customized to a snubbie with buffalo horn birdshead grips ( to me, this is the ultimate belly gun ) I have several Blackhawks & Super Blackhawks... I've not had the chance to shoot a USFA, or a FA revolver, & not shot enough Colts or replicas to really appreciate any differences between the Rugers & those... the FA revolvers I've handled were really nice, I could see getting one for a big magnum caliber, but for the money on a standard caliber, I'm happy with the Rugers

one thing I like about Rugers "polished stainless" is it's a user maintainable finish... with the satin finish / bead blasted stainless finishes, holster wear, scratches, & dings, are not easy to fix... a little polish & the polished stainless looks like new again...

not that there is anything wrong with a nicely blued or case colored gun ( I actually prefer them ) they just aren't "shooters" guns like the polished stainless Rugers IMO
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Old September 19, 2012, 08:43 AM   #19
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Quote:
not that there is anything wrong with a nicely blued or case colored gun ( I actually prefer them ) they just aren't "shooters" guns
That is one man's opinion . Mine is the 'wear' on a blued gun just gives it character.... A SS gun has no character ... if fact it just looks 'unfinished' IMHO . And every gun I own is a shooter!

As for best SAA.... I always heard Colt had problems, while the USFA was considered the best.... Price wise and quality wise. For best utility and price, the Ruger wins. For the best Single Action quality wise the FA wins, but you pay for it.... The other clones fall somewhere inbetween.... All about what you are looking for and how much you are willing to pay.
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Old September 19, 2012, 09:01 AM   #20
Magnum Wheel Man
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sometimes things happen that horrify us...

my 1st carry gun was an air lite S&W J frame in 32 H&R Mag... ( black )... my lesson learned, was with a cheap Uncle Mikes nylon holster ( because that was the only holster the LGS had on hand, & I wanted to get started carrying right away )... the 1st time I got out of my 4X4 pick up, the gun came out of the holster & skittered across the parking lot ( the black "painted" aluminum frame had some nasty chips & gouges in it... 2nd time it happened, I retired the Uncle Mikes, but the gun was IMO, "beyond charictor"... at least with the polished stainless finish, all but the deep gouges could have been polished out... ( now I'm almost embarassed to carry that lil J frame, because of the finish damage, not because of the "charictor"

& as far as finish wear, I'm actually OK with that only on my CAS guns ( don't want to look like a total newbie )... otherwise my goal is to keep them all as nice looking as possible
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Old September 19, 2012, 09:17 AM   #21
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Best SA's? Ruger and Freedom Arms hands down. Best colt clones? USFA followed by the rest (including todays colts).
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Old September 19, 2012, 05:25 PM   #22
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I just visited USFA's website. Man you would expect just making the SA model and only in 2 barrel lengths that they would be putting fire arms out there. Must be their down to 2 or 3 people now. I hope they hang in there they make a nice gun for those who buy them. Maybe Obama can help them out like he helped out his banking buddies.
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Old September 19, 2012, 09:07 PM   #23
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Whats the deal with USFA? Did I miss something. Are they going out of business?
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Old September 20, 2012, 11:28 AM   #24
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Quote:
" Whats the deal with USFA? Did I miss something. Are they going out of business?"

Seemingly so, judging from internet scuttlebutt (in forums like this including more specialty forums, with some posters with reportedly "direct" or close second-hand connections) as well as USFA's increasingly sparse catalog of products on their website. That and no denials from USFA itself or even attributed to anonymous staffers. Strictly from a business point of view, one would think that there'd be some statement to quell the rumor mill if 'tweren't true..
Again, very sad if true. Top quality and made in America.
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Old September 20, 2012, 11:42 AM   #25
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According to the SASS Forum (USFA Section) Gary Granger is no longer associated with USFA. His loss will be felt. He was the Customer Service guy and was very helpful in my dealings with him. Looks like they are down to producing what they produced best, 4 3/4" and 5 1/2" SAA's. They are still taking orders on those guns.
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