PDA

View Full Version : Pietta 1860 ARMY good or bad?



DaveGink
07-07-2006, 07:44 PM
http://www.midwayusa.com/mediasvr.dll/highresimage?saleitemid=893048

There is a gun show in my area this weekend and a guy is selling these for $160.00 NIB.

That price sounds nice. Anyone have any experience with this brand?

I'm looking for an all around sidearm I can use with both a Federal (primary) and Confederate (secondary) Cavalry impression - And to live fire.


Here are some specs I found online:

Company: F.LLI Pietta (italy)

http://www.midwayusa.com/rewriteaproduct/893048

The 1860 Army revolver was adopted by the U.S. Ordnance and became very popular with mounted troops because of its easy handling, superior balance and excellent ballistics. This authentic reproduction is 44 Caliber with a round barrel, brass trigger guard, 6-shot cylinder, fixed sights and one-piece walnut grip.

Material:
Blued Steel Cylinder and Barrel
Brass Frame, Triggerguard and Backstrap
One-Piece walnut Grip??Caliber: 44??Length of Barrel: 8"??Notes:
Fixed Sights
Round Triggerguard
Round Barrel
Un-Fluted Cylinder

Dave Gink
Milwaukee, WI

MStuart
07-07-2006, 07:55 PM
Dave:

I'm far from a CW weapons expert. The brass frame is IMHO not authentic. I've viewed 1860 Army's at a couple of museums and firearms antiques dealers and have never seen one with a brass frame.

That being said, I've got a Pietta 1860 Army model with steel frame. Percussion caps need to be crimped to get them to stay secured on the nipples, and the barrell wedge is a bear to try and remove.

My vote - bad

Mark

DaveGink
07-07-2006, 08:15 PM
Dave:

I'm far from a CW weapons expert. The brass frame is IMHO not authentic. I've viewed 1860 Army's at a couple of museums and firearms antiques dealers and have never seen one with a brass frame.

That being said, I've got a Pietta 1860 Army model with steel frame. Percussion caps need to be crimped to get them to stay secured on the nipples, and the barrell wedge is a bear to try and remove.

My vote - bad

Mark

Thanks for the reply Mark. I was concerned about the brass as well, and it was my understanding that while colt only made a steel frame, the Confederate Army and various imitators produced brass copies during the war. I wasn't sure if that was an issue worth worrying about as sidearms were bought, sold, traded, picked up, etc (especially since I'll be using it on both sides) .... But maybe I'm just justifying it because I like the price ;)

The percussion cap issue does concern me though.

tompritchett
07-07-2006, 09:16 PM
my understanding that while colt only made a steel frame, the Confederate Army ... brass copies during the war

I have been told that also by someone who had researched the subject. Basically, the Confederacy was trying to conserve precious steel by using brass for the parts that did not need the strength of the steel.

skamikaze
07-07-2006, 09:23 PM
yes, the brass for steel or even iron for steel substitue did occur in the sounthern states but i have only seen confederate copies of colt navy revolvers and a rip off of the remington. never heard of a brass frame colt army

Frenchie
07-07-2006, 09:26 PM
Ten thousand people will tell you the brass frame will "stretch" if you live-fire the revolver. Personally I think it's the same as if those 10,000 people pointed at a dog and called it a horse - at the end of the day, it's still a dog.

For a long time, every time I heard or read someone say a brass revolver frame will stretch if you live-fire it, I asked them to show me a stretched or damaged brass frame or to get me in touch with someone who had one. They never did, because they couldn't - it's 99.9% myth. The remaining 0.1% is frames that were damaged by something stupid the shooter did to it, such as repeatedly ramming an oversize ball down on too much powder or using nitro ("smokeless") powder, and were lucky the thing didn't grenade in their hand.

Follow the instructions, use the proper size ball, measure the charge, properly maintain the gun, and you will have no problems with the frame. Sam Fadala writes books on shooting and maintaining black powder firearms of all kinds, and if you read and heed, you will have fun and no (or very few) problems: Black Powder Handbook and Shooting and Gunsmithing Guns of the Old West.

Percussion caps: They come in at least two sizes; #10 and #11 are the most common. Try them all. You want the cap to stretch over the cone just a teeny little bit, flaring just enough to make a tight fit without splitting. If they just start to split, you're close. Take the nipples out and chuck them in a drill. Turn them at slow to medium speed and press oiled crocus or emery cloth evenly to the cone, slowly and carefully removing a miniscule amount each time and checking frequently to see if the caps fit just right.

Here's a way to make the brass frame look like blue-black steel:

Investigation on rec.crafts.metalworking, the metalworking FAQ, and Deja News yielded two homebrew formulas and one commercial formula, sold by several different vendors. The commercial product uses selenic acid, copper chloride, and copper carbonate in denatured alcohol. It's sold under names such as Blacken-It and Brass Black. It essentially copper-plates the brass, then precipitates a brownish-black patina that has limited strength.

The other uses clear ammonia (household strength) and copper carbonate. Copper carbonate is used in pottery glazes, and is available from large ceramics suppliers. It's a greenish powder that is insoluble in water, but dissolves readily in ammonia, turning the solution a striking royal blue. A teaspoon in 8 ounces of ammonia gives a saturated solution.

Through experimentation, we found that we obtained the best finish by first dipping the pieces in (or brushing on) Blacken-It, then buffing the rinsed surface back to a coppery brownish sheen. Then we immersed it in the ammonia/copper carbonate solution, which we warmed to 140 F, with occasional agitation. We then buffed that surface back to a mottled blue-brown, and re-immersed it. Three immersions of one to two hours in the warm solution, with buffing in between to remove the loose precipitate, yielded a rich blue-black surface that has a nice sheen and is scratch-resistant. We buffed and sealed the surface with black shoe polish, then clear carnauba stick wax.

Frenchie
07-07-2006, 09:40 PM
I forgot to answer the first question. Nothing wrong with Piettas, in fact their quality has improved a lot in the last decade. I have two Remingtons and a Colt in .36 caliber, have handled maybe 4 or 5 others and I've only had trouble with one, an 1849 Colt "Wells Fargo" .31 caliber pocket pistol I got from Dixie Gun Works; a real nightmare, but I've heard from others that they have improved them a lot, so don't let me discourage you if you want one - just send it back for exchange if there's anything unforgivable wrong with it.

RebelCapt
07-07-2006, 10:08 PM
I have a pietta colt navy and a remi. Both have been fine sidearms for nearly 12 years.
Granted neither are brass frame so I can't speak to that end.
I did know a man that had a Brass frame Remi that was a warped piece of junk. That could have been related to the brass or simple a hand hazard that happened to be brass.
Any gun will treat you as well as you treat it. Care for and maintain it and will give you years of reliable service.
Mark -- show me your Colt at Romney -- perhaps I can help with your cap/hipple issue.

DaveGink
07-07-2006, 10:45 PM
Great information here!! Thanks all!

I guess I'm feeling pretty confident about the Pietta brand after reading these replies and also some of the posts on a couple of black powder forums I researched.

So, now my biggest concern is authenticity. I love the look of the brass frame/blued barrel, and the fact that this guy is selling it for about $100.00 less than the steel frame versions makes it VERY tempting. Yet I don't want to get called out for having a brass frame ARMY model if there weren't actually any. Hmmmmm. tough.

Going through that process of making the brass look like steel sounds interesting, but is more than I probably want to tackle at the moment.

Do a lot of Union Cav reenactors have brass-framed 1860 Army's? Do they get taken to task for it? Am I concerned about nothing or rightly concerned?
Sorry if these are dumb questions...

Thanks again!!!

MStuart
07-07-2006, 10:45 PM
perhaps I can help with your cap/hipple issue.

Chris:

I'd prefer to keep issues concerning my nipples to myself :-)

Mark

DaveGink
07-07-2006, 11:54 PM
Well, In doing some more research it does indeed appear that there were no brass frame versions of the 1860 ARMY (at least not that I can find). Navy yes, Army no (It seems that modern reproduction company's sales copy is just pushing that lie).

So I think I'll pass on the brass frame, spend the extra on the steel, and know that it's accurate (for both North and South). As much as I like the brass personally, I'd rather be comfortable knowing it's accurate.

John1862
07-08-2006, 12:18 AM
Well, In doing some more research it does indeed appear that there were no brass frame versions of the 1860 ARMY (at least not that I can find). Navy yes, Army no (It seems that modern reproduction company's sales copy is just pushing that lie).

So I think I'll pass on the brass frame, spend the extra on the steel, and know that it's accurate (for both North and South). As much as I like the brass personally, I'd rather be comfortable knowing it's accurate.

Dave, may I suggest purchasing your army from the Blockade Runner? Nice people, pretty nice prices. They sell EMF company revolvers (which are actually produced by Pietta, but that is a long and complicated story). I own one of their 1860 steel army revolvers, I use it for live and blank firing and has held up beautifully, and dont get me started on the quality and looks, the case hardening and fit is flawless. Also the correct Cartouche is on the grips, a unique bonus.

http://blockaderunner.com/Catalog/catpg4.htm

http://emf-company.com/1860-model-army-revolver.htm

VaTrooper
07-08-2006, 12:04 PM
I bought a Mississippi rifle a couple weeks ago and Jarnigan had the best price.

DaveGink
07-08-2006, 01:16 PM
Dave, may I suggest purchasing your army from the Blockade Runner? Nice people, pretty nice prices. They sell EMF company revolvers (which are actually produced by Pietta, but that is a long and complicated story). I own one of their 1860 steel army revolvers, I use it for live and blank firing and has held up beautifully, and dont get me started on the quality and looks, the case hardening and fit is flawless. Also the correct Cartouche is on the grips, a unique bonus.

http://blockaderunner.com/Catalog/catpg4.htm

http://emf-company.com/1860-model-army-revolver.htm

Thanks John!! I just bought one from Blockade Runner.

This one to be exact: http://www.blockaderunner.com/images/1860-army-steel.jpg

Thanks again everyone!!!

RebelCapt
07-08-2006, 08:46 PM
Chris:

I'd prefer to keep issues concerning my nipples to myself :-)

Mark


Mark -- somehow I knew that you would say something like that. Knew it when I typed it. Hope you enjoyed the opportunity :)

RebelCapt
07-08-2006, 08:50 PM
My Piettas came from Cabella's. They have the steel framed army for $184

www.cabelas.com

flattop32355
07-08-2006, 09:38 PM
I'd prefer to keep issues concerning my nipples to myself
:-) Mark

No, really, I'd like to hear about it.
I'll even lend you my pick.

tompritchett
07-08-2006, 11:06 PM
I'll even lend you my pick.

Hummmm. This is very very interesting.