View Full Version : Armi San Marcos Short-Barrel .44 Variants Questions:

January 7, 2013, 06:56 PM
I came across two NIB ASM 1860 Colts with short barrels. Both are around a 1996-1997 vintage according to the owner, who won both in a shooting match in 1997.

One is a 5-1/2” rounded barrel, Colt 1860 ‘Sheriff’s Model’ with steel frame in .44 caliber, serial #E39393. The other is also a steel framed Colt 1860 .44 but with a shorter, 5” octagonal barrel. It bears serial #E35712

What are the differences between the two????

Both seem to be timed correctly, are finished nicely and have never been fired. I can get them very cheaply and plan on using them for target shooting in general using .451” balls with 20-30 grains of black.

I have heard the quality of the ASM’s are not very good, but I have sent back several Pietta’s and Uberti’s with timing problems.

I understand that VTI still has some parts for these guns and I wanted to get some opinions form the forum in general as to how these hold up to regular target shooting.


January 7, 2013, 07:17 PM
Which importer's name is on the box (Lyman, EMF, CVA, Replica Arms, Navy Arms, etc.)?
The ASMs can be spotty. I had to buy 7 and return 5 Navies (in 44 cal) to get two that weren't rusted (dummies never cleaned them after proof testing, barrels pitted), muzzle chipped, or shooting waaaaay off to the side. The two I kept are my all time favorite match guns for CAS. Two ASM 1860 Armies I have are flawless. So, if they are anything like mine they are keepers. I think CVA (where 4 of the returnees came from) must not have cared about quality. EMF was more particular about QC.

January 7, 2013, 07:24 PM
Thanks for the replies...

No boxes, these were awarded as trophies in a 1997 shooting match...

January 7, 2013, 07:32 PM
The main problem wasn't with rust or fit or finish. The main problem was soft internal parts that wore out quickly. Not all of them had the problem but many did.

January 7, 2013, 07:47 PM
I am also considering one of the Pietta 1862 Colt Police .36 Caliber 6-shot and the Pietta Colt 1851 Navy...

Decent pieces???

I want a reliable shooter...

January 7, 2013, 09:23 PM
If you like the feel of the SAA and '51 Navy don't get a Pietta version. They have reshaped the grip to where it causes the gun to point upwards when you aim it. I hate it and have put 1860 Army grips on all my Pietta "Navy" style grips. The Uberti and ASM Navies are true to the original superior grip. Back in 1997 most of the gun prises (C&Bs) were from EMF owned by Gen US Grant, I believe). When two of my EMF Navies developed hair triggers I called EMF and mentioned this was a safety hazard for ue in CAS/SASS matches they immediately said to send them back and they'd fix them at no charge. I was very impressed with EMF.

Regarding my previous post, I had a good friend trick out my ASM .44 navies. He set the trigger pull to 3 lbs and hardened the triggers and timed them. They are the most reliable guns I have. No cap jams (I filled in the safety notch in the hammers, sometimes called the "Hellgate modification"). They are the ones I go to when I need to out shoot someone who has "called me out".

January 7, 2013, 10:08 PM
a steel framed Colt 1860 .44 but with a shorter, 5” octagonal barrel.
An 1860 with an octagonal barrel?

Willie Sutton
January 7, 2013, 11:43 PM
Have a matched pair of ASM 1860 Army's that are second only to my 2nd Gen Colt for being dead-perfect. But I have gotten some other ASM stuff that was just plain crap. So look them over and see for yourself.



January 8, 2013, 09:42 AM
@ Mykeal,

Yes! The one pistol looks exactly like the 1860 Sheriff except for the 1851 Navy style sqaured receiver and octagonal barrel.

I have never seen one before....

@ Hellgate:

Perhaps your friend would like some extra work????

January 8, 2013, 09:56 AM
I'm noticing that some of the Colt copy variants have a thicker grip portion where it meets the backstrap and these are the guns I prefer. The Pietta Model 1851 London .36 Caliber Revolver is one such pistol with the thicker wood grip. This appears to be due, in part, to a different backstrap profile, but I like it nonetheless.

The Pietta 1862 Police .36 with 5" barrel is nice and is six shot as well, so it really isn't 'correct' in that I do not recall Colt making a police on the larger 1851 frame, but it certainly looks cool.

I'm not sure about buying these ASM's even though they are unfired and in perfect condition, unless, perhaps, I had the internals reworked...


January 8, 2013, 10:08 AM
Well I've heard good and bad stories about ASM. If it were me, I would go with a brand new revolver. Pietta makes an outstanding revolver nowdays and so does Uberti. That and if something is wrong with it you have the option to send it back or get it fixed. With buying those ASM's you don't. That and you have a bunch of models to chose from to suit your liking. And the prices that Cablelas has them for is nothing but reasonable. Just my .02 ;)

January 8, 2013, 11:13 AM
Good points....Just no .44's currently available, so I may have to go with .36

January 8, 2013, 11:31 AM
Yeah I saw that last night. But all is back order, and they say should ship in 2 to 3 weeks. I think the 1860 Army is 239.00 right now. At least you could lock in that price. Or you could go with a Cimmeron they are priced more, but their QC is great and they may have what you want in stock.


January 8, 2013, 11:58 AM
Oddly enough, the 'ugly' ASM, the one with the octagonal barrel, has the most impeccable timing of the trio....

January 8, 2013, 12:25 PM
You said you could get them very cheap. I would probably buy them if it was a good deal. Worse comes to worse ALL C&B pistols look GREAT as wall hangars ;)

January 8, 2013, 12:55 PM
The first two are consecutive numbered 1860 Sheriff Models, 5-1/2" barrels in .44 caliber, but the other one is different with its 'squared' receiver and octagonal, 5" barrel. It also has a steel frame, like the other two, but a brass backstrap and rounded trigger guard.

This isn't a clone of an existing gun, or is it????

January 8, 2013, 02:26 PM
The octagonal barrel version is a 3 screw frame and the '1860' style has a 4-screw frame. Which is thought better???

Both of the 1860's (round barrels) have some light contact between forcing cone and barrel, but the octagonal variant has a clean gap, about .008" or so, between the cone and the cylinder face.

Each of the 1860's have a 'double click' as the hammer comes back, whereas the octagonal barrel version locks cleanly with a single click, so I would have to say the octagonal version, while ugly as sin, seems to be the better pistol as far as set up is concerned.

What should the forcing cone gap be????