View Full Version : Pietta "Quality" Strikes Again

April 29, 2010, 06:38 PM
Big surprise huh? Not that I expect these things to be perfect. But the obvious issues should never leave the factory IMHO. So in this thread (http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=406320) I told you I was ordering a Pietta SS 1858 shorty and a Pietta 1860 shorty.

The 1860's quality was acceptable. Not perfect but good enough for the $190 I paid for it. The left grip panel to grip frame interface isn't great but its acceptable. Its not something that I'd be willing to trade out just to get a replacement with bigger issues.

The 1858 shorty, for the most part, is decent. Its not exactly a Ruger Old Army but I only paid $240 for it even though the "normal" Cabelas price is $420. However, there is just one thing that I can't live with. I know some of you will think I'm picky but with Cabelas 100% satisfaction guarantee I'm gonna swap this sucker out. I'm sorry but this revolver should have NEVER been rigged the way it was then sent on it's merry way. Check out the loading lever stud in the following pics. Sorry for the poor quality of the pics. It almost looks like it was threaded/pressed in at an angle. Perhaps it was. However, if you take a close look it appears that the loading lever was too long. Rather than put a shorter loading lever on this revolver some genius at the Pietta factory decided to bend the stud forward so it could accommodate the long lever.

From the first pic it would almost appear that with the heaviest charge that the loading lever could come unattached and drop like it does with a Walker under full load. Upon close inspection in the third pic you may notice some discoloration near where the stub mounts to the barrel. It would appear that our Pietta genius took a torch to heat up the stud then proceeded to bend it forward. Within that discoloration the stud actually has a crack/buckle in it where the force applied tore/bent the stainless steel.




April 29, 2010, 06:46 PM
It is a s***-rig, send it back.
I would.

That's why I prefer buying these pistols in person.

April 29, 2010, 08:26 PM
That sucks.:(

April 29, 2010, 10:23 PM
I think we should all write a letter to Pietta and urge them to give the "Pietta Genius" a nice, big raise ... TO DA MOON!


I BET, the guy who did it was absolutely tickled pink with himself and quite proud of his ingenuity.

I smell C**P on sale getting moved off the shelves.

I'm beginning to see a trend that stuff in the stores is generally better than the mail order. I'm really beginning to think that blemished goods and goods with imperfections are marked for mail order from the get go.

I wonder if one ordered two from Cabela's and had "Ship To Store", if they'd have the brains to send good ones, rather than have them returned on the spot.

I agree at this point that some small problems can only be exchanged for the very real risk of some much bigger issues.

The main thing that had me return to Dixie rather than send it to Jay Strite for tuning, etc... was the BIG pit in the back of the frame, just couldn't deal with that when Dixie Gun Works was advertising the revolver as having a "Satin Finish".

You send that "Brilliant Pietta" back with a letter of commendation for the genius.

THANKS for the report and the pictures, this helps all of us come to terms with many issues we face in these markets.

Now, did it have "CleeeeeeemmmmBeeeeerrrrtttt" stamped on the barrel? I bet not, so send that one back!

April 29, 2010, 11:56 PM
All of the 1858s that I looked at at the Boise Cabela's had that problem - it's not just the short-barreled model. I bought the best one that I could see. There's no obvious damage, other than a crooked stud. The lever is solid as a rock in it, although mine has more contact area than yours.

I figured that they'd located the hole incorrectly or machined the stud incorrectly. Whatever happened, it's definitely wrong. I think that I looked at five or six revolvers before I settled on mine. This was back in December.

April 30, 2010, 01:13 AM
All of the 1858s that I looked at at the Boise Cabela's had that problem
All, except the one in the catalog's picture. :D

April 30, 2010, 04:07 AM
I've gotten several from Cabela's and had no problems with any of them......So far.

April 30, 2010, 10:28 AM
I have purchased several black powder guns from Cabela's. The only one I have had to return for manufacturing flaws was an Uberti.

April 30, 2010, 10:50 AM
I just received a Pietta 1858 (6" barrel) from Cabela's yesterday, and the thing is beautiful. I have not fired it yet. Fit and finish exceptional. Quite a deal for 200 bucks. Perhaps some clunkers get out because many of the guns are never used seriously (just as costume stuff) and relatively few buyers complain.

Doc Hoy
April 30, 2010, 11:18 AM
I think Caje and probably most others here are doing the right thing in demanding high standards in the items we buy. Unfortunately the existing environment reveals that this is probably not happening in the larger black powder shooting population. I think that if a larger number of pistols were returned because of failure to meet at least minimal standards, the manufacturers, distributers and importers would react in such a way as to close up those standards.

I have only bought one new pistol from an online commercial vendor. That was a Griswold and Gunnison (.44?!) from Cabelas when they ran a sale. It was good enough to keep, actually I think, quite good.

My sense is that a lot of pistols are purchased and then shot very little or not at all. The pistols are inexpensive enough that a person can throw a couple hundred bucks on a trial basis with the full understanding that if he decides he does not like the concept he hasn't lost much.

The pistols are so attractive in appearance that I think that alone sells a lot of them, especially brass frame versions.

People who fit into these two categories may be less likely to examine their purchase as carefully as Caje did.

This kind of makes me want to drive over to Bass Proshop and whisper into the ear of the folks standing in front of the display case that has the Colt and Remington clones. "Don't compromise." "Demand high standards." Bring it back if it isn't right." "Make them stand behind their merchandise."


April 30, 2010, 11:54 AM
I think the truly defective ones are the exception and not the rule. However if they tightened up quality control we would see prices skyrocket. I personally have not had anything as remotely bad as any of the ones I've seen posted here and hope the trend continues but I would rather take the chance of getting a bad one here and there than have to pay higher prices.

April 30, 2010, 02:09 PM
i received a 1858 pietta blue this morning and the pin looks like yours. i think it is designed this way so the leaver will close easier and fit better. the angle the pin is inserted and ground off matches the angle of the leaver when closed. it latches solid and i dont see it releasing when fired. the gun looks perfect and if this was unintentional it would have been caught and corrected quickly. my 2 cents

April 30, 2010, 02:20 PM
From the first picture you can see on mine that it clearly (or maybe not due to poor photography) does not latch very well. In fact its barely latched. Between the spring latch and the stud you can see a huge gap. I think if it was intentionally designed that way then.

1. I don't think they would have had the need for a blow torch and need to bend it to the point where the stainless stud is buckled on mine.

2. They posted a picture of a defective one on the Cabelas website. You can tell it is defective because the stud is straight and the lever is latched properly (sarcasm...;)).


p.s. Cajun....it did not, in fact, have CleeeemmmmmBeeeeert written on it. I think there was a different one calling my name as this one apparently has Caaaaaaaajuuuuuuun written all over it. :p

April 30, 2010, 02:29 PM
This is mine on my custom revolver. The latch was made and dovetailed into
the barrel. If it would have worked better he would have made it on a angle.
I think those that are at a angle are made wrong!!


April 30, 2010, 09:29 PM

Welcome to the land of those that got's !

Congrats on getting a nice one.

May 6, 2010, 02:54 PM
Just wanted to do an update and let y'all know how this ended.

I received the replacement Pietta 1858 shorty from Cabelas today. Thankfully, the loading lever stud was put on correctly on the replacement. Initial inspection shows that this one is a keeper. Everything looks to be in good order. Any imperfections are so minor as not worth complaining about and worth knocking on wood that I received a good one. BTW, I noticed on this one that the timing IS PERFECT. That is, the bolt drops in the cylinder stop perfectly as the hammer locks in the firing position. I'll post some pics in another thread (http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=408798) when I get a chance.

Is it me or do most BP revolvers have at least a little cylinder drag as the bolt usually pops up before getting to the cylinder stop?

p.s. Cajun, under the loading lever of this one it is stamped: CleeeeeemBeeeerrrt :D

May 6, 2010, 05:05 PM

From what I understand the bolt should drop onto the cylinder a little early, as much as 3/16" early or as little as 1/8" early. And there should be a small drag mark before each notch.

One way to limit this, (I read on this forum), is to very lightly stone the bolt so that it is smooth across it's surface. Don't take any thousandth's off so to speak, just smooth it so when it does drag before the notch, it will minimize that mark.

I also read in my recent crash course on BP and Remmie revolvers that there should be four clicks when you pull back the hammer.

Click 1: Half cock

Click 2: Bolt dropping on the cylinder, (before the notch)

Click 3: Bolt dropping into the cylinder notch

Click 4: Full cock

The way I understand this is there should be about the same amount of distance timewise between these 4 clicks if one pulls the hammer back at a constant rate of speed.

May 6, 2010, 05:42 PM
BTW, in addition to the crooked loading lever stud I took some pics of a manufacturing defect on the grip frame of the reject 1858. I had erroneously stated above that the Pietta 1860 shorty I bought had this problem. Obviously I got it wrong. Thankfully the problem is on the same firearm going back to Cabelas.

With the grips on you can see two gaps between the grip frame and the grips. Apparently, someone working the grinder at the Pietta factory was a bit too enthusiastic about his job. The gaps are about 0.025" deep and about 0.5" long. I tried to take some decent pics but my camera skills are about the same as the grinding skills of the dude at Pietta who operates the grinder. I put some blue arrows in the pics to highlight the problem areas. And yes, the gaps are obvious even with the grips on. For whoever ends up with this firearm I hope you got a real good deal on it. The serial number is: R400847. Oddly, under the grip panels, the grip frame is stamped 0823 and the panels have 0823 written on them. How the numbers got out of sequence I'm sure is a great story.



May 6, 2010, 11:13 PM
I also read in my recent crash course on BP and Remmie revolvers that there should be four clicks when you pull back the hammer.

Colt has four clicks a Remington has two, half cock and full cock. I have had a couple that had three if you pulled the hammer back slow enough with the second being the bolt contacting the cylinder just before locking in. My CCH Pietta only has two no matter how slowly you cock it. My 41 year old Rigarmi has three if you cock it slowly enough but the second one on it is the bolt locking into the cylinder just before the hammer locks in on full cock. Actually you really can't say its three separate clicks, just a funny sounding second click. Cock it normally and you can't hear it at all

May 6, 2010, 11:13 PM
This keeper certainly seems to be making up for the some of the other bad Piettas that you've received in the past.
That's the Italian way of doing things, like when some wine spills when tipping to pour some from a new bottle and an Italian will say that means good luck! :D

May 7, 2010, 01:01 AM
Both Remingtons and Colts should have three "clicks".

#1. Sear engaging the half cock notch.
#2. Bolt snapping against cylinder.
#3. Sear engaging full cock notch/bolt engaging cylinder stop.

If there are two clicks at #3, they should be so close together that you only detect it when cocking very slowly, and the sear should be engaging before the bolt drops into the stop, but only be a hair. Ideally, these two events should happen coincidentally.

If #2 happens too close to #3, the bolt will peen the edge of the bolt stop, often to the point the bolt will eventually be unable to properly seat in it.

May 7, 2010, 07:54 AM
Both Remingtons and Colts should have three "clicks".

Yeah you're right about the c&b Colt.

If #2 happens too close to #3, the bolt will peen the edge of the bolt stop, often to the point the bolt will eventually be unable to properly seat in it.

Like I said my Rigarmi is 41 years old and has seen heavy use. No peening there. The CCH Pietta bolt drops in at exactly the same time the sear engages. It's been used a good bit and not a mark on it anywhere.

May 7, 2010, 09:13 AM
My Lyman (Pietta) .36 Remington has four very distinct clicks. The much newer Pietta .44 Remington has the two-tone double click (click-CLICK). Like Hawg's.

May 7, 2010, 11:39 AM
My Lyman (Pietta) .36 Remington has four very distinct clicks.

Your gun is out of time.

O.K. Let me try this a different way:

The audible "clicks" are numbered 1, 2, and 3. Number 3a and 3b should be heard as one click.

#1. Sear engaging the half cock notch.
#2. Bolt snapping against cylinder.
#3a. Bolt engaging cylinder stop.
#3b. Sear engaging full cock notch.


#2 is the bolt snapping to the cylinder
#3b is the bolt snapping into the slot in the cylinder

#2 and #3a should not happen at the same time. If #2 and #3a happen simultaneously when cocked slowly, the cylinder will over turn (turn past) the bolt when cocked in a normal or fast manner. You will scratch the surface of your cylinder at best, or ruin your gun by firing out of battery at worst.

#3a and #3b should be heard as one click when cycled at normal speed. When cycled very slowly, you may hear #3a happen just before #3b, but not the other way around. If the sear is engaging before the bolt snaps into the bolt stop, you could end up firing the gun out of battery. If #3b precedes #3a by just a small amount when cocked slowly, you would likely be alright as long as you cock the gun at normal speed or better. However, if there are four distinct clicks because #3a and #3b are well separated, then chances are that the sear is engaging first, then the bolt (#3b, then #3a). This can be dangerous.

May 7, 2010, 04:13 PM
Ain't that just great. Sent a poorly made 1860 back to Cabela's and asked them to replace with a 1858 as I'd had three that were excellent. Now I see that they figured out how to screw up the loading lever latch. Think I'm going to be :mad:

May 14, 2010, 07:32 PM
ClemBert... Got my 1858 today and the latch pin is a little crooked. Not as much as your exhibit. I think they are drilling the holes to seat the pin into at an angle. Anyway I have 3 1858's that have pin installed at a right angle to barrel and 1 crooked one. Think I'll write Pietta BUT for now I'm half :mad:

May 14, 2010, 10:08 PM
THats why theres a sale:cool:

May 14, 2010, 10:54 PM

Sorry to hear the Gorilla gotcha' gun. I will be interested to see how things turn out.

As to the lively discussion on audible clicks while pulling the hammer back on both colts and Remmies, I've been thinking about Hawg's Remmie that has a bolt that precisely drops into the notch.

Because the Remmie has a slanted bolt, theoretically, if the bolt starts to drop the tiniest hair before the notch is completely indexed into place, then the "high side" of the slanted bolt will in fact already be inside the notch. This would prevent any over turning of the cylinder because the far side of the cylinder notch would of course slam into the outer side of ... the "high side" of the slanted bolt, and that action would of course serve to lock it up.

So one could have the bolt dropping AND the bolt entering the notch fully AND the hammer clicking into full cock all so close together it sounds like one click.

And to my mind, that would be a very, very nice Remmie and I see that locking up very tightly as the bolt would have to be very, very well fitted to the notches and maybe even the notches themselves might need a touch or two of shaping.

Jay Strite, "hear" I come!

May 14, 2010, 11:21 PM
Because the Remmie has a slanted bolt, theoretically, if the bolt starts to drop the tiniest hair before the notch is completely indexed into place, then the "high side" of the slanted bolt will in fact already be inside the notch. This would prevent any over turning of the cylinder because the far side of the cylinder notch would of course slam into the outer side of ... the "high side" of the slanted bolt, and that action would of course serve to lock it up.

So one could have the bolt dropping AND the bolt entering the notch fully AND the hammer clicking into full cock all so close together it sounds like one click.

Sure. And the face of the bolt will be hammering and peening the leading edge of the slot, making it narrower with time. If the bolt to slot fit is sloppy to begin with, maybe that's a good thing in a roundabout way? But, if the bolt is fit properly, then eventually it won't fit the slot. That is not a good thing. There are good reasons for proper fit and timing.

May 15, 2010, 07:36 AM

I certainly understand the revolver is supposed to work the way it should work and that it should accept and peform with some degree of "standard timing". I agree that there is a standard and acceptable timing for an 1858 New Army model Remington revolver. The way this is described might be different by some.

If the bolt drops onto the cylinder just before the notch's leading edge, that's good in most books as it is NOT peening the edges of the cylinder notches and should drop right into the notch in a safe and consistent manner no matter how hard one yanks the hammer back. And one can go further and carefully stone the surface of the bolt to make it as smooth as possible so that it marks the cylinder as little as possible as it slides over the surface of the cylinder just before dropping over the leading edge of the cylinder notch.

There are many anecdotal stories from the Civil War and the old west that describe some REALLY wild things that were done with these pieces to great effect. More often than not I think most of them are just that though ... stories. :D ClemBert has even told me that small grenades can be launched from the Remington revolver and I learned this after he corrected me. I thought small nuclear devices could be launched from them, but it seems that was just a story. The smaller grenades seem much more plausible ... but back to this timing issue.

I think because of the generally simple, basic design of these revolvers, (and I am still a newbie and still learning), I think these Remmies allow for a very flexible setup. And because of the very real variances in fitting tolerances, (and some quality control inherent in the effort to maintain a historically correct design - and manufacturerer issues), nearly every one of these revolvers could be set up just a hair differently and in the extreme, very differently.

Some of these revolvers that firingline members have gotten, (which would be unacceptable for me), are viewed almost as if they are stray dogs, good dogs ... and hurt ... puppies, thrown out of the back of a truck on a dirt road. Some members take pride in nursing them back to health with many different creative remedies.

So an 83 year old member of thefiringline.com with 70 years of guns under his fingernails might fix a broken puppy and proclaim the action has 5.843 clicks ... :D ... and whose to say it ain't a SHOOTER pardner!

Now on to theory ... Visualize with me the, (pointed or longer), or "high side" of the bolt beginning to drop or fall onto the cylinder. Let's suppose that the cylinder is very near the index point for the chamber so that the bolt is never going to make contact with the exterior surface of the cylinder. Perhaps the hand is a bit short and the notch is arriving relatively late. So the bolt may have the opportunity to just drop into the "open space" presented by the notch because the cylinder notch is just coming into its index position when the bolt drops.

So that high side - the point of it - is dropping into about the middle of the cylinder notch. In a perfect instance of what I'm describing, the outer side or lead edge of the bolt, (the "high edge" of the bolt), is striking the following inner edge of the cylinder notch at the SAME TIME that the top of the bolt is striking the bottom of the notch. If that were happening, the leading edge of the cylinder notch would not be touched because the short side of the bolt would be falling behind the inner edge of the leading notch.

The last point of contact would be the inside edge of the leading edge of the notch. And is this a fantasy, some perfect timing fantasy?

If the bolt is cut properly, (and I'm trying to figure this out myself), then it seems the point of the top of the high side of the bolt will be inside the open space of the notch and would therefore prevent any overturn of the cylinder as the following edge, (interior edge), of the notch strikes the surface of the bolt's high side.

Here's an animation I've prepared to try and demonstrate what might be absolutely perfect timing. However, I don't think that the tolerances exhibited in most of the revolvers I have seen, (and that have been discussed here), would allow for this type of perfect gun smithing. But I hope I'm wrong.

So this might be a "two-click" piece.


May 15, 2010, 01:46 PM
That's a great animation! I wish I was handy with the computer like that! Kudos to you for that.

IF the hammer was cycled at the exact same rate each time, and IF the bolt spring were never to be changed (or changed to one having the exact same tension), and IF the tine on the bolt and/or cam on the hammer were to NEVER wear, then, yes, perfection would be wonderful.

But, vary anything in the order of events, and there will be problems.

Given "two-click perfection" using one set of parameters, let's see what would happen if any variable is changed:

Cock hammer more slowly- bolt will peen leading edge of slot.
Cock hammer more rapidly- high side of bolt will be peened, or will peen the following edge of the slot, or, if the spring is not "fast enough" could even overshoot the slot.
Spring changed to a lighter tension- bolt will not move as quickly, and may peen on the following edge of the slot or overshoot the slot altogether.
Spring changed to a higher tension- bolt will drop more rapidly, and harder, peening the leading edge of the slot.
Wear of tine on bolt and/or cam on hammer- bolt will drop sooner, peening the leading edge of the slot. Perhaps one could compensate by gradually adjusting his cocking speed to compensate for the wear;)

All-in-all, perfection would be nice, but not practical. Proper fit and timing take the variables into consideration. Really, the only thing gained by "perfection" is the lack of a mark on the cylinder, and that is partly why locking slot leades came into being.

May 15, 2010, 10:33 PM
Hmmm. Lots of discussion about bolts dropping on cylinders causing clicks. How many clicks are there with the cylinder removed?:rolleyes:

May 15, 2010, 10:57 PM
I'm sure you have heard this before but, Did you know when you cock back
a Colt it will make 4 clicks to spell out C-O-L-T When you cock back a
3 screw Ruger single action, it will say poo-poo-pee-do Don't believe me,
Try It!!

May 15, 2010, 11:07 PM
a remmy sounds like my knees when i get up....

May 16, 2010, 12:17 AM
Hmmm. Lots of discussion about bolts dropping on cylinders causing clicks. How many clicks are there with the cylinder removed?:rolleyes:

Are you asking if a bolt drops against the frame, and no one is around to hear it, does it really make a sound?

Too philosophical for me. What's your point?

May 16, 2010, 12:40 AM

Please clarify, is that one knee ... or two?

4V50 Gary
May 16, 2010, 12:44 AM
suzukibruce - I feel your pain. :(

May 16, 2010, 01:03 AM
2 but sounds like 4...lol...

May 16, 2010, 01:25 PM
I feel Suzukibruce's pain, too. And then when I turn my head, it sounds like fireworks. It's a regular Fourth of July when I get up every morning!

Kinda festive, though!

May 16, 2010, 01:55 PM
+1 (for humor)
:D :rolleyes: :) :D :) :p