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For some time I have been pondering the Italian clones of the Colt 1873, S&W Schofield and others, the Smith and Wesson Classic line, and the Colt Second and Third Gen Single Action Armies. Something in my reaction to the factory re-isues didn't quite settle. Now I have Colts, Smiths, Ubertis, Piettas, Cimmarrons and love them all. Shoot them all. I think the Italian guns are quite well made mostly, and fantastic value. I find a certain in-quantifiable magic to the genuine old guns that can't be denied, and yet I just can't warm to the factory produced "copies" or reissues. There's no way I am paying major bucks for a S&W classic line or a third generation Colt SAA. Somehow it just seems like a scam. Paying for the name. So, why don't I feel like that about the Ubertis?

Maybe because they are stated, admitted replicas of the gun in question, and they aren't pretending to be the real deal. To me a 3rd Gen Colt SAA is just a factory produced copy of an old gun, but pretending to have some genuine pedigree which I am not willing to give it, or pay for. As if Ford decided in 2020 to make a 1964 Mustang down to the last detail and call it the real thing, just continued on as Gen II or III. They even tried it. People with a real 64 Stang will know that's not true, but it will give you the driving experience perhaps, that you wouldn't want to put on a genuine 1964 model, piling on miles. Or like a genuine Les Paul Custom, versus the factory issued copies, down to chipped paint and work finish. Let's admit these are ALL copies, and I for one will happily have the Uberti thanks, or save up for the real old timer. ( or yes - shoot the Uberti will I save up) I just can't see a Gen III SAA or a S&W Classic reissue as anything more than a factory grab at the old gun market, them trying to revive their glory days and rest on their past.

So there it is. Why I happily buy copies, but not from the factory that originally made them. Perhaps I'm just an odd duck.

I will happily pay for their newly developed products, and happily pay for a clean old gun too. I just won't fork over major bucks for something that is neither but it pretending to be.

(PS - yes I know that the new Colt SAAs and the S&W Classics are built to a higher standard, better metal, better fit and finish etc., but boy oh boy the law of diminishing returns kicks in pretty hard. $700 versus $2700. Hhmmm. )

(PPS - or TWO very pretty brand new Ruger Bisley Vaqueros for the price of one used Colt New Frontier)
 

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I am a fan of the Uberti copies and the ASM copies. Both made cap and ball replicas during the early years of the replica market. I was shooting original Colts then because there was no other choice. It took the replicas a decade or so to become established and for the originals to climb in price beyond the imports.

I also like S&W revolvers. I have many of the older models and a few of the newer ones. Some of the newer ones I see as continuations of the old line much like the Model 25 replaced the Model 1955, replaced the Model 1950, replaced the 1917 Commercial etc. I see the 22-4 with a 5 1/2” barrel as a continuation of the 1917. Does the 22-4 have changes? Sure, but each one of the models I mentioned had changes over the previous model. Time goes on, so does design. I find neither fault or praise with the changes, merely change.

Kevin
 

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I do agree with you as I have some older guns, but no 1st gen SA Colts. I do have a 2nd gen Colt SA just because could trade for it. The 3rd Gen Colts seem to have same quality issues as all the other manufacturers.I also have several Uberits (without the newer safety bar) and they are exact to the Colts but then Uberti did make some parts for colts so tooling and design were there. As far as new guns and technology, I do wonder. Mim parts and new materials have been used to cut costs and improve manufacturing. Lost are the quality of the actual hand craftsman and the newer metals in my mind have not been proven, such as a 112 year old Colt or Smith still still shoot excellently and quality is still evident even with some character in the finish. I do not see the cost of new guns and the quality they are lacking in many cases. I just want to hold and inspect them in person. The Ruger Blackhawks and Vaqueros I have are just plane fun and emulate the old Colts very nicely but can shoot hotter loads, and are very affordable.
I did get a Chiappa 1887 shot gun. This gun was 1500.00 less than the Winchester 1887 LGS had and was extremely smooth out of the box and except for difference in age could not tell a difference in them. That was one case I got to look at internals and function and could tell no difference. So I will gladly take a quality Clone and enjoy shooting it and experiencing a little of the history.
Good article that does make you think about how you obtain your collection. I do have a few duplicates that were affordable but should make good trade fodder.
 

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I bought two new Uberti 44-40 Cattlemen in 2017, both broke (1 broke twice), both on consignment at dealers. Still have a Uberti 44 Russian top break (still working so far) but have fired only a few rounds through it. I will buy no more Italian clones.
 

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The last new to me Single Action Army I bought, cost me $1299. It is a custom shop revolver. I won’t pay what people are asking for Colts anymore. Thankfully, I bought all I wanted to own when they were still reasonably priced. I own a Uberti open top conversion in .44 Colt, and a Cimarron 1875 Remington in .44-40. Both are nice enough, for what little I paid, but they pale in comparison to a Colt.

A wrench from Harbor Freight will turn a bolt as efficiently as a wrench from Snap on. But if you handle the Snap on wrench long enough and often enough, you can feel the difference. I still won’t pay the price, but there is a difference.
 

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The 3rd gen colt saa is a continuation of the model starting from 1873. I like them but I don't own any now mainly because of the price $1800 and up. I do own two 2nd gen Colt SAA's both in 45 colt and both with 5 1/2" barrels. The classic line of S&W's leave me wanting to buy a P&R S&W.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I bought two new Uberti 44-40 Cattlemen in 2017, both broke (1 broke twice), both on consignment at dealers. Still have a Uberti 44 Russian top break (still working so far) but have fired only a few rounds through it. I will buy no more Italian clones.
Sorry to hear that. So far i have had much better luck.
 
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