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Old September 13, 2020, 06:07 PM   #1
GaryED50
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Most faithful Colt SAA replica

Hi

There's no way I can afford the cost of an actual Colt SAA Old or new, so can you guys tell me which maker has the most accurate modern reproduction?

Gary

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Old September 13, 2020, 06:34 PM   #2
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Pietta Great Western II.
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Old September 13, 2020, 07:58 PM   #3
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Uberti
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Old September 13, 2020, 08:00 PM   #4
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Uberti/ cimmarron/ Stoeger/ beretta ( all the same factory) make some nice SAA clones.
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Old September 13, 2020, 08:37 PM   #5
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Yes they all do.... But watch out for the ones that have the firing pin in the frame. That is definitely not 'faithful' to the SAA. As far as I know you can't buy a 'perfect' replica anymore. I picked the Cimarron Model P because it seemed 'close' enough. But it lacks the safety notch on the hammer. <Sigh>.. I got the later Model (1896 pre-war) with the side latch for the base pin, but they also (or did) make the 1873 Old Model with the screw to hold the base pin in. Sad that we can't just have a perfect replica of the o' SAA.... So it goes in today's society with the import laws.... Or a Colt to just make them in this country at a reasonable price. At any rate, my Model P seems to be really nice with all the dimensions right and appears to have a tuned action with a 3# pull. None of the screws worked loose after 100 rounds of normal smokeless .45 Colt loads (250g RNFP at around 850fps). I plan on shooting just black powder in this gun in the future now that I know how it shoots. Have several other .45s for smokeless shooting. We'll see!

As for accuracy... That is simply the luck of the draw. Some are, some aren't.
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Old September 13, 2020, 11:06 PM   #6
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Pietta Great Western II.
This. I don’t have one, but I also want a mostly faithful replica and my research tells me the GWII by EMF (made by Pietta) is the most accurate copy of the original SAA currently made. They generally have decent reviews and are inexpensive for what they are as well.
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Old September 13, 2020, 11:10 PM   #7
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Uberti's are great guns. I have a Uberti Cimarron but all of them have some kind of hammer block safety. AFAIK the Pietta Great Western II is the only one that doesn't. Here you can see the safety on my Uberti made in 2000.

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Old September 13, 2020, 11:12 PM   #8
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Uberti
Does Uberti make any that have a "correct" hammer-mounted firing pin, without any gadgetry built into it?
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Old September 13, 2020, 11:50 PM   #9
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Cimarron but all of them have some kind of hammer block safety
My Model P doesn't. It has the 'floating' firing pin. So hammer 'looks' normal. Only 3 clicks.
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Old September 14, 2020, 12:45 AM   #10
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My Model P doesn't. It has the 'floating' firing pin. So hammer 'looks' normal. Only 3 clicks.
And therein lies the rub. No self respecting Colt clone has three clicks.
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Old September 14, 2020, 02:38 PM   #11
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Howdy

First of all, let's get the abbreviation correct.

It is SAA, which stands for Single Action Army. A lot of guys get that wrong.

Up until about two or three years ago Uberti replicas had what is often called a Four Click action, which functioned exactly the same as the action of the original Colt Single Action Army revolver. Hammer back about 1/8" to "safety click' position, second click is the half cock position which frees the cylinder to rotate for loading, third click is when the bolt pops up against the cylinder, and fourth click is when the hammer goes to full cock and the bolt pops into its locking slot in the cylinder.

Seasoned single action revolver shooters know never to completely load this old style of revolver with six rounds, because the so called 'safety cock' notch is very fragile. This photo shows the lockparts from a Colt. The upper arrow is pointing to the 'safety cock' notch on the hammer, the lower arrow is pointing to the tip of the trigger that fits into the various cocking notches on the hammer. Notice how thin the tip of the trigger is. It is so thin, that if the hammer spur receives a strong blow, the tip of the trigger may break off, allowing the hammer to be driven forward and the firing pin can strike and fire the primer of a round under the hammer. Accidentally dropping the gun on its hammer has been known to do this many times. For that reason, it is always recommended to carry a Colt or replica with the original design only loaded with five rounds, with an empty chamber under the hammer.






About two or three years ago Uberti changed the design of their single action revolvers to include a retractable firing pin mounted in the hammer. Not a frame mounted firing pin, this design normally retracts the firing pin into the hammer so that if the hammer receives a blow, the firing pin will not fire a round under the hammer. The firing pin only extends far enough to fire a round when the trigger is pulled. When the trigger is released, the firing pin retracts. The firing pin is still visible in the hammer, it just does not protrude quite far enough to fire a round. This newer hammer design is sometimes called a Three Click design because it lacks the 'safety cock' notch. As I say, Uberti introduced this design two or three years ago. For a while the earlier 'four click' Ubertis were still available, but they are rapidly disappearing from all the importers' inventories.


The Uberti revolver in Hawk's photo has not been available for a long time. It incorporated a safety block built into the hammer, but I have not seen one in many years. I used to have one, but have now owned it for a long time.

This is an Uberti Cattleman I bought used close to 20 years ago. It has the traditional Four Click mechanism just like a Colt. In order to be legal to be imported into the US, this model came with an extra long cylinder pin with two notches cut into the pin. Normally, a Colt has one notch that engages the transverse frame mounted spring loaded latch to keep the pin in position. With the Uberti pin latched at the front notch, the rear of the pin extends back through the frame and serves as an effective hammer block, preventing the hammer from firing all the way. With the pin latched in the rear notch, the rear of the pin no longer blocks the hammer from falling all the way. This device was only there to allow importation into the US, it is useless as an actual 'Safety' because disengaging it requires one to hold the revolver in one hand and pull the pin forward with the other hand. Not a very practical 'Safety'. I did what many owners of this model did, I bought an after marked pin with just one notch and replaced the OEM pin. Another solution is to grind away the rearmost 1/4" or so of the pin.






A note about 'the most accurate reproduction'. Many, if not most, of the Italian replicas have the old V notch rear sight of the 1st Generation Colts. This photo shows a Second Generation Colt rear sight on the left and the rear sight of my Uberti Cattleman on the right. 2nd Gen Colts had a nice, squared off rear sight notch that made seeing a good sight picture very easy. My Cattleman has a V notch, very similar to a 1st gen Colt. Not the easiest to sight with for old eyes.






This is the rear sight of a 1st Gen Colt. A very tiny V, probably smaller than the Uberti V.






I am pretty sure the SAA replicas made by Pietta still have the traditional 4 click action. Not sure what their rear sights look like. I am also pretty sure that some of the replicas, particularly those set up for Cowboy Action Shooting, have the squared off rear sight of a 2nd Gen Colt.

A word about importers, such as Cimarron, or Taylors and a few others. None of them manufacture firearms, they import those made by Uberti, Pietta, and a few others.

Finally, an editorial word about Four Click actions vs Three Click actions. If you watch Western movies there is usually a scene where somebody cocks his pistol very slowly, and the audience can distinctly hear and count the four clicks. Usually it is when somebody is threatening somebody. They always put this scene into the movie for effect. When I cock the hammer on a Colt, Uberti, or even a Ruger on the range, first off I have ear plugs in, so I don't hear the clicks at all. And I never cock the hammer slow enough that I can hear all the clicks distinctly. I have fired one of the new '3 click' Ubertis, when I cocked the hammer the sound was just a blur, no different than one of my Colts. The only time I can actually hear and count all four clicks is late at night when I am pretending to shoot the bad guys on a Western on TV with one of my Colts. Otherwise, the number of clicks is usually just an indistinct ratchet sound.

Last edited by Driftwood Johnson; September 14, 2020 at 02:45 PM.
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Old September 14, 2020, 03:18 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Driftwood Johnson View Post
Howdy

First of all, let's get the abbreviation correct.

It is SAA, which stands for Single Action Army. A lot of guys get that wrong.

Up until about two or three years ago Uberti replicas had what is often called a Four Click action, which functioned exactly the same as the action of the original Colt Single Action Army revolver. Hammer back about 1/8" to "safety click' position, second click is the half cock position which frees the cylinder to rotate for loading, third click is when the bolt pops up against the cylinder, and fourth click is when the hammer goes to full cock and the bolt pops into its locking slot in the cylinder.

Seasoned single action revolver shooters know never to completely load this old style of revolver with six rounds, because the so called 'safety cock' notch is very fragile. This photo shows the lockparts from a Colt. The upper arrow is pointing to the 'safety cock' notch on the hammer, the lower arrow is pointing to the tip of the trigger that fits into the various cocking notches on the hammer. Notice how thin the tip of the trigger is. It is so thin, that if the hammer spur receives a strong blow, the tip of the trigger may break off, allowing the hammer to be driven forward and the firing pin can strike and fire the primer of a round under the hammer. Accidentally dropping the gun on its hammer has been known to do this many times. For that reason, it is always recommended to carry a Colt or replica with the original design only loaded with five rounds, with an empty chamber under the hammer.






About two or three years ago Uberti changed the design of their single action revolvers to include a retractable firing pin mounted in the hammer. Not a frame mounted firing pin, this design normally retracts the firing pin into the hammer so that if the hammer receives a blow, the firing pin will not fire a round under the hammer. The firing pin only extends far enough to fire a round when the trigger is pulled. When the trigger is released, the firing pin retracts. The firing pin is still visible in the hammer, it just does not protrude quite far enough to fire a round. This newer hammer design is sometimes called a Three Click design because it lacks the 'safety cock' notch. As I say, Uberti introduced this design two or three years ago. For a while the earlier 'four click' Ubertis were still available, but they are rapidly disappearing from all the importers' inventories.


The Uberti revolver in Hawk's photo has not been available for a long time. It incorporated a safety block built into the hammer, but I have not seen one in many years. I used to have one, but have now owned it for a long time.

This is an Uberti Cattleman I bought used close to 20 years ago. It has the traditional Four Click mechanism just like a Colt. In order to be legal to be imported into the US, this model came with an extra long cylinder pin with two notches cut into the pin. Normally, a Colt has one notch that engages the transverse frame mounted spring loaded latch to keep the pin in position. With the Uberti pin latched at the front notch, the rear of the pin extends back through the frame and serves as an effective hammer block, preventing the hammer from firing all the way. With the pin latched in the rear notch, the rear of the pin no longer blocks the hammer from falling all the way. This device was only there to allow importation into the US, it is useless as an actual 'Safety' because disengaging it requires one to hold the revolver in one hand and pull the pin forward with the other hand. Not a very practical 'Safety'. I did what many owners of this model did, I bought an after marked pin with just one notch and replaced the OEM pin. Another solution is to grind away the rearmost 1/4" or so of the pin.






A note about 'the most accurate reproduction'. Many, if not most, of the Italian replicas have the old V notch rear sight of the 1st Generation Colts. This photo shows a Second Generation Colt rear sight on the left and the rear sight of my Uberti Cattleman on the right. 2nd Gen Colts had a nice, squared off rear sight notch that made seeing a good sight picture very easy. My Cattleman has a V notch, very similar to a 1st gen Colt. Not the easiest to sight with for old eyes.






This is the rear sight of a 1st Gen Colt. A very tiny V, probably smaller than the Uberti V.






I am pretty sure the SAA replicas made by Pietta still have the traditional 4 click action. Not sure what their rear sights look like. I am also pretty sure that some of the replicas, particularly those set up for Cowboy Action Shooting, have the squared off rear sight of a 2nd Gen Colt.

A word about importers, such as Cimarron, or Taylors and a few others. None of them manufacture firearms, they import those made by Uberti, Pietta, and a few others.

Finally, an editorial word about Four Click actions vs Three Click actions. If you watch Western movies there is usually a scene where somebody cocks his pistol very slowly, and the audience can distinctly hear and count the four clicks. Usually it is when somebody is threatening somebody. They always put this scene into the movie for effect. When I cock the hammer on a Colt, Uberti, or even a Ruger on the range, first off I have ear plugs in, so I don't hear the clicks at all. And I never cock the hammer slow enough that I can hear all the clicks distinctly. I have fired one of the new '3 click' Ubertis, when I cocked the hammer the sound was just a blur, no different than one of my Colts. The only time I can actually hear and count all four clicks is late at night when I am pretending to shoot the bad guys on a Western on TV with one of my Colts. Otherwise, the number of clicks is usually just an indistinct ratchet sound.
Sorry bout the SAA mixup. I couldn't type to save my life!

Gary
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Old September 14, 2020, 03:19 PM   #13
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I thought the closest replica to the 1873 colt was the USFA clones. I just looked at some of the prices for used ones, and the prices seem to be as high or higher than actual colts.

Not all ubertis had hammer mounted firing pins. When beretta acquired uberti several years ago, beretta marketed some uberti single actions under their own brand name. I have a re-badged beretta/uberti chambered for .44 WCF, which has a frame mounted firing pin and a transfer bar.
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Old September 14, 2020, 03:20 PM   #14
GaryED50
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Hi

There's no way I can afford the cost of an actual Colt SAA Old or new, so can you guys tell me which maker has the most accurate modern reproduction?

Gary
Thank you everyone I know what to look for now!!

Gary
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Old September 14, 2020, 03:37 PM   #15
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I am pretty sure the SAA replicas made by Pietta still have the traditional 4 click action. Not sure what their rear sights look like. I am also pretty sure that some of the replicas, particularly those set up for Cowboy Action Shooting, have the squared off rear sight of a 2nd Gen Colt.
My new Pietta has the 4 click action and (thank God) the squared off rear sight.

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Old September 15, 2020, 01:38 PM   #16
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Driftwood Johnson--marvelous explanation, clear text and great pictures (as always). Thanks for posting this stuff.
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Old September 15, 2020, 03:00 PM   #17
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Pietta makes different configurations of its 1873 type revolver. Probably whatever the importer or distributor specified.

I agree that the EMF Great Western 2 line is a great choice. The Cimarron Frontier revolvers are also made by Pietta.

The Standard Manufacturing revolver looks nice but it’s substantially more expensive.
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Old September 15, 2020, 11:33 PM   #18
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I am given to understand that the USFA guns were precise recreations of the Colt SAA. I even heard they bought the pony statue from the top of the colt factory...Apparently they were serious about doing it "right"....

When they were in production, the USFA guns cost about midway between the Uberti/Italian clones and actual Colt SAA's.

USFA has been out of production for a decade, or so, but I'd say, if you want the most "faithful" replica, find one of them.
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Old September 16, 2020, 12:49 AM   #19
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Howdy Again

The United States Fire Arms Manufacturing Company (USFA) was a privately owned firearms manufacturing company. They began making replicas of the Colt Single Action Army in the old Colt Factory in 1993. At first USFA was assembling their revolvers from Uberti parts, but they soon began making all their own parts. At some point they opened a new facility in East Hartford to house their CNC equipment.

USFA was well known for making high quality copies of the Colt Single Action Army. As I recall, their price point was just a bit below Colt's prices. The owner was an interesting person who was independently wealthy, and he could afford to set the prices at what ever level he wanted. I seem to recall at one point Colt lowered their price a bit to be more competitive with USFA. USFA revolvers were always in high demand, and production could not always keep up with demand.

In 2011 USFA abruptly stopped making single action revolvers and started making a very strange 22 Rimfire semi-auto pistol they called the USFA Zip pistol. There was very little demand for this strange pistol and in 2017 the company was dissolved.

One revolver USFA made was an unusual revolver they called the Omni-Potent. It was based more or less on the design of the Colt 1878 Double Action revolver, except the Ommi-Potent was a single action revolver. I always thought they were cool, and wanted one, but they were never legal for SASS matches.

https://www.rockislandauction.com/de...t-six-shoooter

Prices for existing USFA pistols are very high now, mostly because they are not being made anymore. Were they better than a real Colt? Depends on when the Colt in question was made.

Regarding the pony on top of the Colt Blue Dome, the dome can be seen from the Charter Oak Bridge on the way to NYC from places to the north and east. I used to see it about once a year on my way to NYC. As far as I know, the pony is still on top of the dome.

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Old September 16, 2020, 11:14 AM   #20
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I simply do not understand how those old gunfighters got any accurate shots off out of those gawdawful sights they had to use.

I shot a pistol one with those v notch sights and I'm not sure I could hit a barn at 25 feet, much less shoot a fist size target at 100 feet.
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Old September 16, 2020, 04:55 PM   #21
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At some point they opened a new facility in East Hartford to house their CNC equipment.
When USFA left the Colt building they actually moved just a bit south in Hartford itself. (Checks google maps -- 445 Ledyard St, Hartford, CT 06114, now serving as a warehouse.)

It was an unmarked steel building that happened to be near where I was working at the time. A coworker of mine had a tour of the place once and his major takeaways were that the place was spotless, high-tech, did beautiful metal finishing and in its inventory it held an amazing assortment of very high grade wood for making grips. This would have been in the early 2000's, probably between '04 and '07.
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Old September 16, 2020, 05:00 PM   #22
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I simply do not understand how those old gunfighters got any accurate shots off out of those gawdawful sights they had to use.

I shot a pistol one with those v notch sights and I'm not sure I could hit a barn at 25 feet, much less shoot a fist size target at 100 feet.
"Gunfights" is a misnomer. Most gunfights were won with a shotgun from an alley or long distance with a rifle. All it takes is practice and knowing where it shoots. I can hit Coke cans at 25 yards more often than not and that's shooting one handed with no prop. I can even do it with a cap and ball 1851 navy where the front sight is a small brass cone and the rear sight is a notch cut into the hammer.
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Old September 16, 2020, 06:21 PM   #23
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I can even do it with a cap and ball 1851 navy where the front sight is a small brass cone and the rear sight is a notch cut into the hammer.
Thats the one I shot. I had no clue how to aim that thing. It was sure fun to shoot though!
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Old September 16, 2020, 06:36 PM   #24
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I simply do not understand how those old gunfighters got any accurate shots off out of those gawdawful sights they had to use.
What makes you certain they actually used those awful sights?

There are some notable examples of "accurate" shooting in the old west, even with miserable sights, which also means there were other people who did, or could do the same, and just weren't noted in the stories of the time.

Wild Bill was famous, but there were others. Point shooting is not entirely BS. Some people can do it, and do it well.
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Old September 16, 2020, 09:13 PM   #25
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What makes you certain they actually used those awful sights?

There are some notable examples of "accurate" shooting in the old west, even with miserable sights, which also means there were other people who did, or could do the same, and just weren't noted in the stories of the time.

Wild Bill was famous, but there were others. Point shooting is not entirely BS. Some people can do it, and do it well.
My dad was a point shooter. I've seen him make incredible shots with revolvers and rifles both even tho he didn't care much for rifles. He always told me to just think about where you want the bullet to go and it will go there. I can point shoot to some degree but nothing like he could.
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