View Full Version : ASM 1851 Navy Conversion - .38 special - anybody have or seen one?

June 28, 2010, 02:22 PM
Today I was at a gun store and ran across an ASM 1851 Navy "conversion" in .38 special. It obviously was produced this way - not a Kirst or similar conversion. The loading lever assembly was gone and it had the typical spring loaded ejector underside of the barrel and a nice loading gate. It was made by ASM (Armi San Marco). It has a 7 1/2 barrel. I know that some don't like ASM and I know that there were quality issues on some of them (as can happen on other braqnds as well) but this one is very, very nice. Good fit, nice finish, great grips and it almost feels like it has been "tuned" the action is so smooth and crisp. I have an ASM '61 Navy and a ASM "62 pocket police - both very nice pistols and high quality/fit and finish. I know that parts can be a problem at times. After all this rambling, my question is this. Does anyone have one or experience with one (this make and model)? I've always shot BP but have a hankering to try the new fangled cartridges. Since I love the '51 Navies, this one seems like a natural to get my feet wet in cartridge shooting. The dealer is asking $299 for it. It doesn't appear to have ever been shot nor any wear from the cylinder cycling. I think I can dicker a little on it and get the price down some plus I have some trading stock I can use to trade in on it. Compared to the price of a Uberti converfsion, etc., it didn't seem to me that the price was unreasonable. I'm sure that they took it in so technically it is "used" but again, it looks like it just came out of the box. Any thoughts on it/advice/remarks etc. would be appreciated. Thanks! Sincerely, bedbug :)

June 28, 2010, 02:27 PM
They are around and, from what I hear, they are OK.
But, I'm not sure that is a .38 special cylinder. It may be a .38 short or some other, now obsolete, cartridge. Do double check before making an investment.

June 28, 2010, 02:30 PM
$299 sounds like an excellent price if it's as nice as you say. :)

June 28, 2010, 04:39 PM
The steel frame was stamped and marked as a .38 special but I appreciate the heads up on checking it. It had a steel grip frame and triggerguard - I'm used to the brass on my Navies but but I guess i could forgo the brass! :D Like any Navy, it just sort of melted into your hand. . . . . .

June 29, 2010, 02:06 AM
I had one of them years ago: pretty blue and case colors, oiled grips in .38 Special cal. The action out of the box was like it was tuned. That is the good news.
As a purist I have to say today this is one of those pistols that never were, i. e. the outline is that of a Richards conversion which was only done in Army configuration.
The dealer recommended very, very light .38 target loads because the proof house had denied her the seal of proof testing...which I did. And my load was too light and got stuck in the 7,5" barrel...and I fired another one without noticing. Eventually I had the barrel cut short to 4" which looked good and I sold her as a blank firing pistol.
A friend of mine had one from the same batch of production, too. He shot her with regular Wadcutters, no problems.

June 29, 2010, 11:25 AM
Bootsie - thanks for the comments - they are greatly appreciated! I also appreciate the "purist" comment. :) I'm somewhat of a "purist" when it comes to some things but since I'm not shooting CAS, etc., I'm more interested in the function. It is a great looking pistol but as I looked at it, I was also wondering how it would hold up under the standard .38 sp rounds over time. I also looked at two Uberti conversions - which were around $500 each. They did look somewhat more sturdy - don't know if it was because they were on the '61 Navy frame or not. I do know that as I was looking at the ASM, I was thinking about shortening the barrel down to about 5 1/2" which would be easy to do. It's worth a trip to take another look at it after doing some more researc on it and hearing the comments of those who replied to my post. I've been looking at a Ruger Vanquero as well in 357/38 sp and I'm going with one of those for sure. Again, not really "pure" but close enough for me and a good rugged revolver that will take a lot of use/abuse (not that it will be abused or misused). When I spotted the ASM conversion, my love of Navies overcame me and it looked interesting. The price doesn't seem bad but I'm waivering on it as I don't want to sink the money into something that possibly won't hold up with standard 38 special loads. Many thanks again for you commetns/experience - it's all appreciated! Sincderely, bedbug :)