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Old June 8, 2013, 04:58 PM   #1
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Got some range time today - '58 Remington Navy versus '51 Colt Navy

It's a nice day here in Michigan today - mid 60's so decided to get some shooting in. After some threads on here as to preferences of Remingtons over Colts, I took one of each out and even though I'm biased to the Colt Navy, I did attempt to be objective about the whole thing!

First off, I'm no "Annie Oakley" so I don't expect a whole lot - I'm certainly past my days of shooting any serious competition. But here are the results and my thoughts for what they're worth.

Pistols -

Pietta 1858 Remington Navy .36 (what they call the "Police"). Steel frame. I've shot this a number of times but never worked on loads, etc. - just plinking at cans.

Ubeerti 1851 Navy .36 - square back trigger guard. Steel frame. I bought this a while back as I always wanted to try an Uberti. I have had and sold a number of '51s over the years and after "downsizing" - this is the Navy I currently have. This was technically "used" but it was never shot - the fellow just had it on display.

Target - 8 1/2 X 11 inch - black cross with about 1 1/2" red center dot
Distance - 20 yards
Projectile - .375 round ball
Powder - Goex 3 F
Caps - CCI # 10
Over the powder wad - 1/8" leather soaked in Crisco/Toilet bowl ring wax combination. (I make holsters, etc. so have a ready supply of scrap to punch wads
I also had some of the commercial felt wads
Shooting position - standing with two hand hold

Powder charges - started out with 18 grains 3 F in both pistols and tried both leather and felt over the powder wad - I experienced no difference between using the leather wad and the felt wad regardless of the powder charge.
I then stepped up the powder charge to 20 grains, followed by a step up to 22 grains


Remington Navy - 15 grain load shot low and to the left while aiming at red center dot - shots were even to the bottom of the target paper and about two inches left of left edge of target paper - 5 1/2" low and 6" left of red bull. Raising the load to 20 grains raised the impact point about 2 inches but still left of target edge about 2 inches.
Raising load to 22 grains raised the impact elevation to about 1 inch below red bull but still left of target edge 2 inches

Most C & B revolvers I have owned seemed to shoot high so I am a little curious as to why this is shooting low left? Any suggestions? Or is it just me?

Colt Navy - 15 grain load shot low about two inches but was center of target.
Raising the charge to 20 grains seemed to raise the point of impact but still just below the red bull.
Raising the charge to 22 grains brought the point of impact up to center of target. Any variations left or right seemed to be because of me, not the pistol.
As I said, I had never fired this particular pistol before and was pleasantly surprised to see that it wasn't shooting high as I expected it might. Go figure . . I guess I just got lucky with this particular pistol.

Critique of pistols (hopefully objective! )

Pietta Remington '58 Navy .36 - this pistol is beautiful. Fit and finish great and action locks up great and has a great trigger pull for me. I much prefer the wider trigger over that of the Colt. I had no misfires or problems. CCI #10 caps fit it perfect. I find it a little easier to cap by hand (I don't use a dispenser) than the Colt. The only issue I had was out of 36 shots, when cocking, I had two caps from the just fired cylinder fall down as the cylinder rotated and land between the frame and the base of my trigger finger - they were HOT! I soon learned to do the "twist" to the right when cocking this Remington which took care of that problem.

Everything on this pistol is how it came out of the box. I'm extremely impressed with it - now if I can only figure out how to get it from shooting to the left. I'm thinking that the 22 grain load will take care of the elevation but I may need to adjust the front sight post to the left to compensate. I've even given some thoughts to removing the front sight, having a dovetail cut and putting in a dovetailed sight that can be adjusted to take care of it. Any suggestions from Remmie shooters?

Uberti '51 Colt Navy .36 - this also is a mighty fine pistol. Fit and finish are great and the timing, etc. are right on. Excellent trigger pulls. Overall, it's probably one of the best '51s that I have ever owned. I was nicely surprised that it hit to point of aim. While the 22 grain charge seemed to work the best, I have no doubt that the lighter loads could easily be used and an adjustment in aiming made to raise what drop in impact there is. Windage wise, it was right on. I did have some misfires though. The CCI #10 caps fit the nipples tightly and when seated, just clear the recoil shield. I tried CCI #11 and they were too large - all six cylinders failed to fire with the 11s and I had to change back to the 10s. Even with the 10s, I had two chambers that gave me problems. These are the original Uberti supplied nipples that came on the pistol. On one cylinder full, I gently seated the cap with the hammer (safely of course) and even then, I had the same two chambers misfire.

My experience with this pistol leads me to believe that I need to change out the nipples with something of a higher quality. Since this is the first Uberti I have owned, I don't know if original nipples are sometimes a problem or not.

As far a a shooter, this Colt seemed to be pretty much right on target - but - I'm not going to favor this over the Remington as there may be something with the Remington that I'm not getting and it's causing my shots to be low and to the left.

This particular pistol has the "cap groove" in the frame on the right side (where a loading gate would normally be on a SAA). The purpose of that groove is so you can lay a cap in it and push forward to seat it on the nipple. I've read several short writings where on the originals, it was nothing to lay three caps in it and quickly cap while rotating the cylinder. Unfortunately on this Uberti, while the cap groove is there, when you push the cap forward it is angled down too far towards the arbor so that the cap does not go on the nipple.


I found both revolvers to be very nice. The colt, in my hands, seems to have a better balance - the Remington is a little heavier but still very comfortable. I found the Remington to be a little easier to load than the Colt. The .36 Remington is the same frame as the Pietta '58 NMA .44. I found the cylinder a little easier to cap with my fingers. On the Remington, I had no issues with cap fragments other than falling down to burn my finger - there were no cylinder jamming issues. On the Colt, I had no cap fragment issues but I am used to shooting a Colt Navy and doing the cocking by raising and tilting. I fired a total of 36 rounds through each revolver and had no problems with fouling or arbor fouling.

As far a cleaning, I find both the Remngton and Colt easy to clean. I perhaps like the concept of the Colt barrel coming off so that I can put the assembly under water and use a patched jag to pull and push the water in and out but I also had no problems in taking the cylinder out of the Remington and using a sprayer to put water through the barrel from the frame end. They are just two different designs and once you get used to cleaning either of them, it's no big deal.

So . . . . .in the debate of which is better - a Colt or a Remington? As much as I love the '51 Colt Navy . . . I have to say that I like 'em both. If I was told that I could only have one, it would be a dilemma for me . . . it's that close. The nice thing is, I have one of each and I can take both of them shooting at the same time. While one is cooling down from being shot, I can shoot the other.

Some folks seem to prefer Uberti over Pietta or Pietta over Uberti. As far as the two pistols that I have, both are very nice and I would rate them equal. I've seen good ones and I've seen bad ones in both brands. In the end, if I was buying a new pistol of either brand, I would much prefer to see it in person to see what I'm buying. As far as a Remington over a Colt - I think if I could only have one, I'd be very happy with either.

Just my thoughts and 2 cents worth.
If a pair of '51 Navies were good enough for Billy Hickok, then a single Navy on my right hip is good enough for me . . . besides . . . I'm probably only half as good as he was anyways. Hiram's Rangers Badge #63
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Old June 8, 2013, 07:36 PM   #2
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Thanks for the great review! Next time post some pics
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Old June 9, 2013, 05:05 AM   #3
Doc Hoy
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Good report BBB

I am partial to Colts, but I think only for the looks.

My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government. Thomas Jefferson
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Old June 9, 2013, 06:53 PM   #4
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I went shooting last monday with the old man. I brought my steel framed ASM '58, he had his '51 brasser. Both are .44. In total we put 36 rounds through the '58 and 30 through the '51. I'm a better shot with a handgun than he is. That said, my shooting with '58 was going well while he was not doing so well with '51. We switch guns and he put his first one in the red. Four others were a little low but tight. Not sure where #6 hit. I believe it was right and even with the bull. Anyway, great shooting. So I shot a cylinder from his '51. One bull and five right under it.
He never shot my '58 before. Both are great guns. I prefer shooting a colt but like the frame of Remington better. I guess my point is, both are great and quite easy to shoot.
We shot from 50ft. Triple 7. Ox wads over the powder. '51 was loaded at about 20 gr. The '58 was loaded about 23 gr. I used .454 balls and he had .451.
We are casual shooters and go out to have fun. Both guns are great fun. And both shoot just fine.
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Old June 10, 2013, 09:11 AM   #5
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Excellent info! Thanks for posting!

Black Powder: Not because it is easy, but because it is hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win...
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Old June 10, 2013, 07:15 PM   #6
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So . . . . .in the debate of which is better - a Colt or a Remington? As much as I love the '51 Colt Navy . . . I have to say that I like 'em both.
Congratulations. That's the right answer.
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