View Full Version : Dilemma: Aesthetics or Utility?

May 11, 2010, 11:05 PM
Okay - so I still haven't purchased that shootin' iron my heart is aching for.
And here's why: I just can't decide between the '58 Remmie and the '60 Colt.

On this hand, I want the Colt because she's so darned PURDY!

On the other hand, I want the Remmie because she's so darned USEFUL!

The Colt is just beautiful - that's it's selling point for me. Plus, it just "feels right" in the hand; comfy grips, well balanced, and all that jazz. (haven't handled a Remmie yet)
Plus, I can do a Richards conversion on her one of these days, and that would be suh-WEET! (with a capital "S"!)

Now, the Remmie - it's just plain ugly. And, I've heard, not very comfortable in the hand. "Clumsy" and "awkward", are the words I've heard associated with this pistol.
BUT! - with a Remmie I could switch out cylinders in a mere 10 seconds or less, compared to 10 minutes to reload a Colt. If I have 4 spare cylinders... well, I think you can see where I'm going with this.

I know most of you guys own one of each - and I know most of you guys will say "Buy one of each!"
But I can't afford one of each.
It's one or the other.
In the long run, the Remmie will end up costing more - 'cause you know I'm gonna want 4 spare cylinders, leather pouches for 'em, and a sweet rig to hang it all on.

So, help me out guys.
Opinions wanted.
Opinions NEEDED.

Which would you choose?

May 12, 2010, 01:05 AM
buy that purty Colt you like so much and enjoy, you might be able to buy the remmie later or find a good used one as well , when you get hooked you will end up with both LOL

the rifleer
May 12, 2010, 01:06 AM
I'm a pretty practical guy, so i would want the remington, but at the same time i totally understand getting the colt.

I think you should get the colt. If you bought the remginton you are going to still be drewling over the colt when you see one, whereas I dont think you would regret not buying the rimginton.

It does'nt take 10 minutes to load a cylinder. with practice you can do it in under three. I can load and fire my ROA in less than 3 minutes, but the cool thing about the ROA is its impossible to overload with BP, so measuring isn't that important.

May 12, 2010, 03:41 AM
The colt you will keep closer to you, take better care of it, have more positive feelings about it and most importantly, you will respect it more.

Therefore it will be more useful, and it will be safer to have.

I agree, pick up a used Remmie later. Getting into BP is a way to find that good deal. You will be "in the loop" when it's "in your hand".

Get the colt and you will be "given" the Remmie, sort of. :D

Just think when you finally get the colt, you'll load it, shoot it, load it again, shoot it. Load it, shoot it. Then you'll go home, and you'll be happy.

After a few months and maybe 10 sessions if you are REALLY lucky, you'll be getting pretty good at loading it, and good at shooting it. By that time, you'll probably have the used Remmie.

Then you'll start loading and shooting the Remmie, and you'll start converting the Colt. Then you'll miss the BP function of the colt, and buy another colt. :D

Two years down the road here, you'll trade the used Remmie for another colt, a good deal. Then you'll get a solid trade on the colt ... for a really good Remmie.

Get it in hand, get in the loop.

May 12, 2010, 04:27 AM
The Colt has a little more learning involved but I think you'll be happier with it.
BTW you can't overload any steel frame revolver with bp.

Doc Hoy
May 12, 2010, 05:34 AM
....is, no matter which way you go, you come out happy;)

May 12, 2010, 08:53 AM
Doc's got it right!

If I had to make the choice, I'd go with my heart and buy the Colt. Get and extra cylinder or two and you can still pop the wedge out and swap cylinders fairly quickly...it's just a little more cumbersome. That's what I do with mine!

Then buy a Remington later and you'll be twice as happy :p

May 12, 2010, 09:04 AM
My first revolver was a colt navy, then i buyed a remmie, now in my closet there is the colt navy plus other revolvers, but there isn't the remmie C&B!


May 12, 2010, 09:08 AM
The Colt is just beautiful -Now, the Remmie - it's just plain ugly.
Them's fighting words! I challenge to to a shootout at high noon in front of the saloon! (Just kidding.)
Beauty is in the eye of the bolder, my friend. I have two Remmies that I simply can keep my eyes off of and I have absolutely no desire for a purdy pain in the ass Colt.
You however will not be satisfied with anything but the Colt. You can pick up the Remmie later like the guys said. If you are a beginner the Colt will be more of a challenge to service.
The beauty of the Remmies is the simplicity of the design. The Remmie can be striped and reassembled in the time it takes to reload the Colt. The Remmie is more accurate, has less cap jams, has the swap out cylinders, has a simple design and some of them (especially mine) are just plain beautiful.

May 12, 2010, 10:02 AM
BEFORE you buy!

Handle them both. Also try 1851s and 1861s. All have a different feel to them. Some folks love the way the Remington feels, others like the 51/61. I personally like the 1860. I must admit that the 61 is a might purty gun, just doesn't fit my hand.

May 12, 2010, 10:51 AM
The Colt is just beautiful –
Now, the Remmie - it's just plain ugly.

That about sums it up for me as well, Dusty. :D

The Remmie does in fact offer a more practical design, IMO.
But for the sake of avoiding "buyers remorse", I'd buy the gun you're more attracted to ... I'd buy the Colt. ;)

Fingers McGee
May 12, 2010, 10:51 AM
Colt! Buy the Colt. The Cold is what you want. Go for the sex appeal, buy the Colt.

Fingers (Who may be slightly partial) McGee

May 12, 2010, 11:14 AM
Like many of you, I own both styles. For a first BP revolver, I recommend the Remmie (even better, a Ruger Old Army) simply to minimize the aggravation factor. For those of your recommending the Colt, you might repeat what I recently experienced: Introduce some folks to BP by explaining and demonstrating the care and feeding of BP revolvers and then give them some revolvers to load and shoot under direct supervision. It was the first time I watched two people new to BP at the same time, and it was a real eye opener.

Should you duplicate my observations, I think you'll see that the open-top is the early starter with its easier (greater access) loading. But, when it comes time to remove the cylinder, must folks prefer the Pale Rider's approach. Removing a wedge seems archaic when compared to sliding a base pin.

For the purdy factor, let's not forget: Beauty is in the eye of the beholder; but, I recall hearing, in a design class, some people's taste is only in their mouth. For practicality, I find a stainless Remington the better choice and it sure is shinier than a Colt.

May 12, 2010, 11:22 AM

It sounds like you are trying to convince yourself not to buy an open top. You don't need validation from us to buy the Colt style. I say GO FOR IT. You are convinced that it is most pleasing to you so I don't think you can go wrong. Once you get bitten by the BP bug there is no going back. Before you know it will have more and more BP revolvers. Maybe your second purchase can be that 1858. If you really want to open up a can or worms start a debate over an 1851 versus an 1860.

p.s. I don't think the Remingtons are "plain ugly". It could be that that top strap just makes the Remington look like any other post open top revolver. I'm convinced that some folks love the open tops just because they look so different from what they are used to seeing. Besides, Colt slapped on a top strap on their peacemaker in 1873.


May 12, 2010, 11:26 AM
Removing a wedge seems archaic ...

As does any black powder weapon, IMO. :D

Still ... there is an appeal. ;)

May 12, 2010, 01:26 PM
Get a Rogers & Spencer or a Ruger Old Army.:p

Doc Hoy
May 12, 2010, 01:41 PM
I have owned four 1858 Remingtons and one 1863 Remington. I have two 1858s from ASM right now. I love them and would not part with them. I like the way they shoot, the way they look, the way they clean, I like everything about them ……BUT……

I have never owned nor handled a Remington that field stripped as easily as the piece that Eastwood reloaded two times in Pale Rider. I find that the cylinder does not simply fall out of the frame when I pull the pin. It takes a little fiddling. I find that the cylinder won’t go back into the frame without a bit of yutzing. I can’t get the pin to smoothly reengage with the hole in the recoil shield. I have to mess with it every time I go through the operation. I think that, if I were at a bench, I could change the cylinder on any of my 1860s as quickly as the Remingtons.

I have come to one or the other of two conclusions:

1) Both of my Remingtons and both of the others I no longer own and all of the ones I have handled need work. (And I acknowledge that this is entirely possible.)
2) The pistol that Eastwood used for the two reload scenes were carefully stoned to produce the smooth sequence in the movie. (Which I acknowledge is not just possible, it is highly likely.)

Can any of you swap out the cylinder in either an 1858 or an 1863 without looking at it and while holding the second cylinder in your hand?

May 12, 2010, 01:48 PM
@Dustybottoms: If it takes ten minutes to reload a Colt, then you´re definitely not doing it right!;)

As for the "ugly" part regarding Remingtons, I don´t consider them ugly, but then again, I even like the looks of the Starr SA and DA revolvers.

Yes, it is easier to swap cylinders to reload a Remington. On the other hand, I find cleaning a Colt open top percussion revolver SO much easier than cleaning a Remington. And since I shoot antique/original revolvers only, the cleaning part is extremely important.

If you break it down to pros and cons, I think that a truly objective result would look like this.
Pros for the Remingtons: faster loading if removing the cylinder and using a separate loadingstand. Better sightpicture (especcially with the later pinched post type sight, the german silver cone gives little advantage over the Colt sights if any).
Cons for the Remingtons: Harder/slower to clean, MUCH harder to disassemble (beyond removing the cylinder).
Pros for the Colt: Easier to disassemble for cleaning and much easier to totally disassemble.
Cons for the Colt: pretty lousy sightpicture on both the brass blade (m1860, 1861) and brass post (m1849, 1851, 1862).

There are other differences, but then we´re talking buildquality rather than the design. Many of the Italian made Colt replicas are crudely put together, so are the Remingtons, but the Remington solid frame is less sensitive.
A GOOD quality Colt should have a wedge which you can push out with just your thumb (a strong thumb!) for disassembly and push in again for a solid lock. If it needs anything more than the push of a (strong) thumb, then it is not fitted properly.
I can fieldstrip any of my shooter condition Colt originals in less than 20 seconds without tools (for instance for loadin the cylinder in a separate loadingstand), and it goes together just as quickly. Not much difference to the time it takes to load a Remington then, is there?
I can totally disassemble it (yes, down to the last screw) in the ten minutes you expected to use just to load it! But then, I´ve been doing it for a long time, and have done it a lot!;)

What you should do is get the gun that you want the most right now. If you go for a Remington, you can allways get a Colt later, or vice-versa. But if you buy a Colt replica, buy one from a dealer that lets you disassemble and reassemble it. I understand that you also have good gunsmiths that do work on blackpowder replicas in the US (we don´t here in Sweden, so I´ve had to learn to do my own work). If you buy a cheap one, a smith should be able to fix any problems regarding function, timing or fit.

@Doc Hoy: Sure I can. The trick in getting a Remington cylinder to fall out of the frame when pulling the pin and fall in again is to spin it while taking it out or putting it back. The only thing that can give you trouble is the hand which protrudes from the recoilshield with the hammer in half-cock. If you slowly spin the cylinder clockwise (seen from behind) while pulling it or putting it back in, it will push the hand back into the frame by the rotation.

Anders Olsson

May 12, 2010, 02:15 PM
If you listen to this gang, trust me you WILL end up like this!!!! AIN'T IT GRAND. LOL, flathead


Doc Hoy
May 12, 2010, 02:38 PM
The trick in getting a Remington cylinder to fall out of the frame when pulling the pin and fall in again is to spin it while taking it out or putting it back.

Yep...I know that and do that, in fact I find the cylinder won't come out at all unless it is spun at least a little. The hand binds in the ratchets that are cut into the cylinder, the cylinder gets a little cockeyed, requiring a some manipulation to get it to come out. Far easier to spin the cylinder.

The only thing that can give you trouble is the hand which protrudes from the recoilshield with the hammer in half-cock

I don't agree that this is the only thing.... None of the pistols I ever handled had a pin which would smoothly reengage the hole in the recoil shield. In every case I have to move the cylinder from side to side just a bit to get the pin to engage.

I acknowledge that I never tried smoothing or beveling the very end of the pin to ease the entry. In fact, I have never done any work on a Remington clone that was intended to smooth the cylinder change operation. Maybe that is my problem.

May 12, 2010, 02:57 PM
Y'all aren't doing it right. Just pull the hammer back till it clears with the cylinder pin out and the cylinder will fall out or in from either side.

May 12, 2010, 03:36 PM
Thanks for the replies, gang!
You've definitely helped with my decision.

You're right - I don't think I'll be happy unless I get the gun I'm truly in love with: the 1860 Colt Army .44 :D

My 10 second/10 minute comparison was just a guess - I've never fiddled with a black powder revolver before. I'm sure that once I have one and have loaded/reloaded it a few times I'll become more comfortable with it and get better at it.
As far as maximizing reload speed on the Colt goes, I suppose I could make my own paper cartridges. That ought to speed things up a bit.

About the Remmie being ugly - I don't really think it's that ugly. It's actually a pretty handsome gun.
Just not as sexy as a Colt :)

And Flathead:
That is a beautiful collection of pistols!
(especially that little upside-down '61 with the ivory grips! Ooo, baby!)

May 12, 2010, 04:22 PM
thanks Dusty, most have been sold to finance my new obsession, old model Ruger Blackhawks, flathead

May 12, 2010, 05:34 PM
This forum really needs a delete function.:D

May 14, 2010, 01:09 AM

This is a great thread. Flatheadsal could have opened a museum with that collection or maybe just charged $100 for the chance to fire all of those at a range. I'm just wondering where the man's wife sleeps? :rolleyes:

Get that colt and post some pictures of your grin if you can fit it on the screen!

May 14, 2010, 07:13 AM
Did someone mention Colt?

May 14, 2010, 09:11 AM
Flathead and MadCrateBuilder, WOW!!! I had made the comment:I have absolutely no desire for a purdy pain in the ass Colt.But I must say you have made me consider changing my religion. Of course I will have to change my name also.

Fingers McGee
May 14, 2010, 10:08 AM
Here, try these on for size:





May 14, 2010, 10:13 AM
Flathead, Is the Remmie in the bottom right hand corner stainless or natural steel. I have an Uberti natural steel that looks just like it. Yours looks like an Uberti or Euroarms/ASP. Who made it??

May 14, 2010, 10:14 AM
Thumbs up for Fingers.
Who made the Walker in the middle of the top pic? That thing is awesome!

May 14, 2010, 10:53 AM
Judging by the apparent pairs, we may have to change Fingers' moniker to "Two Guns McGee"

May 14, 2010, 10:57 AM

This is getting pornographic!...

Fingers McGee
May 14, 2010, 11:09 AM
Who made the Walker in the middle of the top pic? That thing is awesome!

It's an F series 2nd Generation Colt Percussion made somewherre between 1980 and 1982. 1st, 3rd and 4th pictures are all 2nd Generation Colts. 2nd picture is mix of 2nd Gen, Uberti and Piettas.

May 14, 2010, 04:22 PM
Great pictures, thanks for sharing them!

May 14, 2010, 05:08 PM
I can't stand it. I have to go lay down and suck my thumb now.

May 14, 2010, 05:43 PM
Fingers, I am absolutely in love with those bottom 2 in your second picture - Ivory grips, half-fluted cylinders...

That's how I want to do mine, except I'm gonna nickel-plate the frame, strap, and guard - or silver-plate, I'm still undecided. Weighing pros and cons...

Where did you find the half-fluted cylinders?
I've googled for hours and hours and haven't found one.

Finally turned up this, though:


Plain cylinder, no etching. :D

Fingers McGee
May 14, 2010, 06:48 PM
Dusty, They came just the way you see them. They're Colt 1860 Lawman revolvers by Pietta. One of the pair is almost 20 years old and came from Cabelas as a cased set, the other is only about 10. Pietta still makes the Lawman with faux ivory grips; but it doesn't have the half fluted cylinder any longer. Dixie has the Pietta with the half fluted cylinder; but without the faux ivory grips. Dixie has some faux ivory 1 piece grips that look like they fit the 1860; but I'm not sure. A quick call to them might get you what you want.

VTI has the half fluted cylinder; but their prices are a little spendy now days.

Pietta also makes a nickel plated 1860 with half fluted gold plated cylinder that has white 2 piece grips that are prifliled like the trumpet bell Navy grips - I personally don't care for the extreme flare on most Pietta grips.


May 14, 2010, 08:06 PM
Found the half-fluted '60 at Dixie.
Definitely an option.

It would cost less than buying a '60 and the smooth cylinder,
but I'm kind of diggin' that smoothie. :cool:

VTI is out of the question. I'm not shelling out 95 clams for a cylinder. :(

I've seen that nickel-and-gold, but that's just a little too flashy for me.
And costly. As it is, I'm gonna end up spending over $400 on a $200 gun (yah, I'm going full custom - don't try to talk me out of it!)
I've got a real good idea of what I want, and have done probably a dozen or more mock-ups in Photoshop to help me figure it out.

I'll post pics of what I'm leaning towards - give me a minute...


The one on top represents silver-plate, the bottom nickel.
Can't show different cylinder styles - just gotta use your imagination.
This custom job basically entails a set of faux ivory grips, electroplating the frame, strap, guard, and possibly the trigger and hammer (still not sure about that) and bluing the charger (or rammer, or whatever).
Not sure about electroplating the cylinder - it looks pretty, but I think the blued might look more agressive. Plus, I've no idea the implications/ramifications of a 'plated cylinder. Although they come from the factory that way, so why not?

May 14, 2010, 08:44 PM
hey RemTim thats a stainless 58 imported by a company in Florida, don't remember the co, don't have it anymore so I can't check, but I do remember it was stainless