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Old July 6, 2014, 05:28 PM   #1
Hunter Customs
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Freedom Arms SA Revolver

I've been considering a Freedom Arms SA revolver.
I'm thinking I would like to have a 5.5 inch, fixed sight in 45 Colt caliber.
Is there any Freedom Arms SA revolver shooters here?
If so what caliber and what's your opinion of the revolver?

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Old July 6, 2014, 05:42 PM   #2
Saint Dennis
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I am not fortunate enough to own one, but they are a superior revolver. Very accurate. I question your choice of fixed sights, but to each his own. I have never seen an FA with fixed sights, but they may exist.
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Old July 6, 2014, 06:06 PM   #3
Paul105
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Freedom Arms makes a fixed sight .45 Colt - the smaller M97. In my opinion (yes, I know about opinions) fixed sights would be a big negative with the enormous range of bullet weights and velocity levels that can be used in the .45 Colt.

There is, what appears to be a viable option, or at least used to be -- interchangeable fixed front sights with the fixed rear notch in the frame.

http://www.gunblast.com/Freedom_NewSight.htm

I have an adjustable sight 4 1/4" FA97 in .45 Colt. The front sight base is slotted and has a set screw that allows you to easily change the front sight blade style/height. Adjustable sights are an extremely useful option.

Don't know if it's a consideration, but resale value seems to be negatively effected if your gun is a fixed sight version.

Incidently, the FA97 is one of my favorites, it just works for me. In the L48, the FA97 .45 Colt combo should handle any outdoor task you might encounter.

I've put over 20,000 rounds this one (bottom revolver in picture) and I bought it used. Difference in frame size is noticeable as seen in the picture -- the FA83 is about one pound heavier (35 oz vs. 49 oz in this case). Obviously, different calibers and barrel lengths will effect gun weight.



FWIW,

Paul
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Old July 6, 2014, 07:00 PM   #4
smokin54
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I owned a model 83 fixed sight 454 with about a 4 3/4 inch barrel , it was brutal with full power loads . I traded it off and bought another model 83 in 454 but this time it had a 10 inch barrel , after i put a scope on it i could shoot 1inch groups at 50 yards from a bench . I think a better pistol shot could do one inch at 100 yards , a good friend does it regular with his model 83 44 mag . I also have a 9.5 357 mag , It a very nice gun but i have not shot it enough to wring out what it can do .I have owned and shot a wide variety of top quality revolvers and i think the Freedom arms are the most accurate of them all .
As you can see i am a big fan
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Old July 7, 2014, 11:30 AM   #5
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I have the 4-1/4" model 97 in .357. Bought it shortly after they came out.
The accuracy is incredible.
My trigger had a trace of creep when I first bought it, but that disappeared quickly and now it's perfect.
The grip shape is nice for handling recoil.

Negatives?
Well, you can't see if it's loaded because of the recessed chambers, not that big a deal.
The cylinder is relatively short on the 97, so no long nose bullets.
The grips are very smooth, they could use a little texture. Been thinking if getting my micarta grip panels checkered.
I broke a cylinder lock spring early on, and an action spring (their term) a couple years ago.
Of course they were fixed very quickly and at no charge.

The few negatives are nothing compared to the satisfaction of owning and shooting one.
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Old July 7, 2014, 11:54 AM   #6
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I've been a fan of FA for many years, but finally had to give up on the .454 as my wrist just can't handle it anymore. I owned the fixed sight in 4 3/4 inch and it's the only one I didn't care for. I would strongly suggest going with the adjustable sight. I have probably had half a dozen of their revolvers over the years with different barrel lengths, but all in .454. I can definitely say that one I had with a 6 inch barrel was my favorite of all. It was just a good middle of the road barrel length and made a great holster gun.
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Old July 8, 2014, 08:30 PM   #7
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My Model 97 in 45 Colt shoots pretty good:






As a previous poster noted, the fixed sight version is less desirable because you lose the ability to sight in for different loads. I generally shoot fairly light loads in this gun, but occasionally I'll shoot full-bore "Ruger only" loads. The Model 97 handles those with aplomb...
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Old July 9, 2014, 02:35 PM   #8
BigJimP
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I have a model 83 ( large frame ) .... 5 shot, 4 3/4" Octagonal barrel, I had made in .357 Mag....adj rear sight, fibre optic front sight ...and I paid for the action job...and specd the trigger at 3.5 lbs...

I bought it new - about 2 yrs ago / its a great gun ...very accurate. I like it - and shoot it quite a bit ! Its worth every penny I paid for it...

http://thefiringline.com/forums/atta...0&d=1339790943

I have a lot of S&W revolvers in .357 mag ( model 27 in a 4" Nickel is also one of my favorites )....and as good a gun as the model 27 is, I'd be hard pressed to give up either one of them.../ while I have revolvers in .22, .357 mag and .44 mag....357 Mag is my favorite ....but if I order another Freedom Arms...it might be in .44 Mag...( I'm just not a big .45 Colt fan )....the weight of the large frame guns -- make shooting most calibers pretty easy ( especially in something like a .357 Mag, .44 mag or .45 Colt )...

----------
the smaller frame doesn't fit my hands very well...and I wouldn't buy it without the adj rear sight.

Last edited by BigJimP; July 9, 2014 at 02:44 PM.
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Old July 10, 2014, 01:12 AM   #9
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If they would only sell the 97 with .45acp as the primary caliber...
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Old July 10, 2014, 11:43 AM   #10
BigJimP
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For anyone that doesn't know....you can purchase a cylinder in .45 acp / from Freedom arms - to fit a gun chambered in .454 Casull... for about $ 325.

I suspect the cyclinder is cut - so it doesn't require moon clips with the .45 acp...but I don't know for sure..../ I got an email from Freedom Arms their .45 acp cylinder does not require any kind of a moon clip or anything to hold the round in place - which makes sense ...
---------
The extra $ 325 seems like a good deal to me...if someone really wants a Freedom Arms made in .45 acp...

But if you called them - they might very well make it in .45 acp for you as well.
----------
I've talked to the factory on 2 occasions...and they were very good to deal with / answer questions on my gun / or via email - they've responded quickly to my questions.

Last edited by BigJimP; July 11, 2014 at 11:16 AM.
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Old July 10, 2014, 11:57 AM   #11
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Moon clips are not needed on a single action (SAA type). They are only required on swing out cylinders for the purpose of ejection.
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Old July 10, 2014, 03:01 PM   #12
Jim Watson
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I looked hard at the 97 .357 in my late days of CAS but did not buy and now do not cowboy.
That is the only place I would want an expensive gun like the FA with fixed sights; I just can't make out the hogwallow well enough for good accuracy.
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Old July 10, 2014, 06:09 PM   #13
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I have a bit of an itch for a single-action (I don't CAS, but I am a wheelgun guy and I do like my DA Smiths). This thread prompted me to poke my head into FA's site.

Nice guns. Really nice, actually. If I were to get a SA, I'd want a 44 Special (already set up to reload for it, as opposed to 45 Colt). Looks like their 44 Spl's are 5-shot - evidently, they aren't on a real large frame (can't get a sense of scale by the pics).

For some reason, the lack of a sixth round bugs me. Revolvers are supposed to be six-shooters, in my mind.

Five or six, they're still beautiful guns.
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Old July 10, 2014, 09:11 PM   #14
MQP
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Friends,
I like revolvers.
I shoot Colts, S&W N, L, K and J frames, Ruger single and double actions, and Freedom Arms M83 in .454 Casull/.45 Colt and M97 in .41 Magnum.
The marked difference between all the others and the FA comes down to quality.
None of these is shabby.
I cannot outshoot any of them, so I can understand all of them are "good enough" for my use.
But, for me, the pleasure and joy I feel when shooting the 83 and 97 sets them apart.
I like revolvers and I really, really like Freedom Arms revolvers.
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Old July 11, 2014, 07:12 AM   #15
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Paul105 and JayCee thanks for the pictures, those are some fine looking revolvers.

I want to thank everyone that responded to this thread, I picked up a lot of good info.

There's no doubt the FA97 is the gun I want, I like the shorter barrel (4-1/4) inch for ease of carry and I'm liking the adjustable sights more.

I've found some decent buys on used guns but they are all FA83 models, so it looks like my only option may be to order a new FA 97.

Thanks again for all the responses.

Best Regards
Bob Hunter
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Old July 11, 2014, 11:32 AM   #16
BigJimP
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The biggest difference in the model 97 ( their medium sized frame ) and the model 83 ( large frame) ...at least to me, is how the grip fills your hands. The model 83's are a little longer and broader in the grip area...giving me enough mass for a full hand grip on the model 83's..../ where the model 97's feel shorter and narrower - with my pinky falling off the grip with my strong hand( kind of like the Colt single actions ).../ which is why I went with the model 83 in my .357 Mag...( and 5 rounds hasn't bothered me ).

I do have a holster for my model 83 ....but to me, its primarily a range gun ( even with a 4 3/4" octagonal barrel, my gun is right at 55 oz - so while I could carry it in the woods - I would go with a S&W N frame ( .357 Mag or .44 mag ) in a 3" or 4" instead.

If you go to the Freedom Arms website...at the bottom of the page on "guns" it lists a revolver spec chart....and all the model 97's ( medium frame ) in .41 Mag, .44 Spl and .45 Colt are 5 shot cylinders..../ and the model 83's are all 5 shot cylinders ( even in .22 lr ). In the catalog - they do not offer the .44 special in a model 83 ( large frame) - but they do offer the .44 Mag...
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Old July 11, 2014, 01:35 PM   #17
Ole 5 hole group
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One thing that hasn't been mentioned is FA's barrel twist rate - if you look, you'll notice it's a bit slow.

I have the 97 in 45 Colt - for outstanding accuracy you have to push the bullets hard, so don't plan on getting FA's claimed great accuracy from mouse fart loads.

One other tidbit - the FA97 has a short cylinder, so if you plan on shooting a 300 grain or larger cast bullet, you'll need a custom mold or you'll need to purchase cast bullets from those who cast specifically for the FA97 - Beartooth bullets is one such company.
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Old July 11, 2014, 03:50 PM   #18
Paul105
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It's true that the M97 has a "short" cylinder -- you're max OAL will have to be held right at or very close to 1.600". You may have to get a bit creative with bullets that exceed this OAL when crimped in the crimp grove. You can trim cases, crimp over the front drive band (SWCs), or crimp on the front ogive. I've have good results using each method. In fact my every day load uses an RCBS 270 SAA crimped above the front drive band.

I've used LBT 300 Gr LFNGCs crimped on the front ogive over H110 that chronoed 1,100 fps from a 3 1/2" (3 1/2") FA97 .45 Colt with no sign of crimp jump and good accuracy. Have had the same results loading the LBT 335gr LFNC to the same vel.


In addition to the ref Beartooth Bullets, The Lee 300gr (mine go 320gr) FNGC dual crimp grove bullet and the RCBS 300gr SWCGC (also 320gr) are both readily available as molds or from commercial casters. These can be crimped in the crimp grove provided. The RCBS is my go to bullet for consistent accuracy.

The Lyman 452651 RFNGC dual crimp weighs from 325 to 335gr (depending on source) and can be crimped in the top grove and will function fine in the M97. This bullet has a smaller meplat than the others mentioned herein.

Both Speer and Hornady make 300gr Jacketed bullets with dual crimp groves that work just fine (crimped in the upper grove) in the M97.

In fact Buffalo Bore makes a 300gr JFP specifically for the M97 .45 Colt https://www.buffalobore.com/index.ph...t_detail&p=149

Here are a couple of sources for the above and also the 305gr SAECO SWCGC which has a large meplat and short nose and functions in the M97 when loaded normally.

http://www.mattsbullets.com/index.ph...38777dbc2ab86c

http://westernbullet.com/45pica.html

I have used all of the above bullets (except the Beartooth) with complete satisfaction and have never found the "short" cylinder to be a problem that can't be easily solved.

REMEMBER, YOU NEED TO REDUCE YOUR POWDER CHARGE IF YOU DEEP SEAT BULLETS.

FWIW,

Paul
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Old July 11, 2014, 06:25 PM   #19
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45Colt Freedom Arms...

Echoing what Big Jim mentioned, the M83 is heavier and more hand-filling than the M97. So from that aspect, the M83 may be more comfortable on that basis alone.....at the expense of weight.

Many folks in your situation who have landed on a 45 Colt, end up getting a M83 in 454 Casull and opt for the aux cylinder in 45 Colt, giving you a supremely versatile package from mild to wild. Hunting, target shooting, whatever. That is why it's their most popular gun by a long shot. Also, the other wildcard is that the probability of finding a well cared for USED one in this configuration is far greater than finding a M97 in 45 Colt.

I also echo the comment about the adjustable sights. Better for resale, better for varying loads, etc.

The option of a M97 brand new is also a good one, although I'd try to handle one first if you think that the smaller grip size might bother you.

Lastly, just an observation from my shooting experience with the M83 and limited with the M97. A full power 45 Colt in the lighter M97 IS snappy, especially with a shorter barrel. The same load in the heavier M83 is much more mild due to how overbuilt that frame is (originally designed for pressures generated by the 454Casull). I have 2 454 M83's and one 44 Mag M83 and the 44 mag is a complete pussycat in the Model 83, even with full power loads. They are very manageable and borderline SOFT compared to similar loads in a S&W Model 29, for example.

Once again, the downside is that the M83 feels like a boat anchor compared to the Model97 (excuse the crude reference for such a fine firearm). The M97 is the way to go if a more handy and carryable gun is a high priority. I like them both and will try to add a Model 97 to my collection in the near future, probably in a 41Mag or 22LR.

Both models are awesome guns that exude quality and precision. If you appreciate those sort of things, and what it ends up costing to get it, you will never regret the purchase.

IC

Here is my 44 mag M83 6 inch (sunglasses not included)


FG M83 454 Casull


PG M83 7.5 inch 454 & PG M83 44Mag 6inch

Last edited by Inspector-Callahan; July 11, 2014 at 06:37 PM.
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Old July 11, 2014, 06:57 PM   #20
Hunter Customs
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Thanks for the additional info Gents, it gives me more things to consider.
However there's no hurry on my end as I want to do it right the first time.

Inspector-Callahan, thanks for the pictures, looking at beautiful well made guns is the next best thing to being able to handle them.

I do have a question, I've been told the FA97 has a transfer bar safety system so it can be carried with a full cylinder, where as the FA83 does not have a transfer bar and needs to be carried with the hammer on a dead chamber, is this true?

Best Regards
Bob Hunter
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Old July 11, 2014, 07:59 PM   #21
Jim Watson
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As I read the instructions, the FA83 has a safe position that you can manipulate the hammer into. But they still tell you not to do it. What do I want with an expensive 4 shooter?
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Old July 11, 2014, 10:23 PM   #22
Paul105
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The M97 has a transfer bar.

This might explain some of the owner's manual stuff.

http://trib.com/news/state-and-regio...e4397f72b.html

Jim Watson -- what is the problem that you may encounter that require more than 4 rounds to solve from a single action, especially one in .454, .475 or .500.

Not ment to be argumentative -- just sayin'.

FWIW,

Paul
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Old July 11, 2014, 11:47 PM   #23
GaryED50
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This is new to me.

I thought the 454 could fire 45 colt ammo without modification.

Gary
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Old July 12, 2014, 06:12 AM   #24
Jim Watson
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Ruger went to transfer bars after several expensive lawsuits demonstrated that their customers were not legally expected to follow instructions. Apparently FA went the same way with the 97 but has not changed the 83. The older model has some sort of hammer block but you have to fiddle with the hammer to engage it and they still tell you not to load the gun all the way. I guess four will have to be enough for the monster magnum crowd.

There was one Monster Magnum Maker (I don't recall who, maybe the old NAA large frame or a Ruger converter.) who said not to leave an empty chamber because the recoil could break the loading gate axle if it were not supported by a round under the gate.

My only use for a SA is CAS and I need a sixshooter to be loaded with five.

FA wants to sell you a .45 Colt cylinder and not shoot the shorter cases in their pristine .454 chambers. I gather they are so tight that the Internet Spectre of a band of fouling left by shooting Specials in a Magnum might hamper chambering of .454s.
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Old July 12, 2014, 07:47 AM   #25
Gdawgs
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An FA is at the top of my bucket list. I've always wanted a 41 mag, so some day I'm thinking I'll get a 97 chambered in that. Although I'm always a sucker for 357, so who knows.
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