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Posts Tagged ‘Uberti’

Uberti “El Patron” From The Custom Shop

Posted by Gunner on April 29, 2010

“El Patron” video for your enjoyment:-)

Uberti Cattleman Series “El Patron” 45 Colt

   Those of us who grew up in what society calls the “Baby Boom” generation were entertained in our childhood by the best western movies and tv shows ever made. So, the old cowboy guns and gear have a near and dear place in our hearts not only because of the great old guns but memories of a much simpler time. Duty, honor and clear right and wrong themes were central to these old shows as were the guns the heroes wore. Most of us who grew up in this time have a special fondness for the 1873 Colt Peacemaker and Winchester lever action rifles. With these things in mind in recent years our generation has embraced the “Cowboy Sports” using replicas of these old guns.
   At one time original Colts were not terribly expensive and were widely used on the ranch and in early competition. These days they are collector guns and not many Colts are shot very often. Thank heavens we have great companies like Uberti who make a complete line of these old guns at pretty reasonable prices that will hold up to a lifetime of shooting. Uberti rifles and pistols are exact replicas of the originals and the quality is exceptional.
   Until a few years ago there were very few choices to be had in single actions and quality was mediocre at best. Now we have a good number of companies making single actions, shotguns and of course lever actions. My favorite brand is Uberti. Made in Italy as are many western guns from the 1900’s this company is a real innovator in the field of Cowboy action shooting.

Uberti El Patron with a Buscadero rig my wife purchased for me in San Antonio. I added the conchos later.

   As mentioned Uberti makes many models of handguns with various finishes and features mostly cosmetic in nature. With the release of the “El Patron” last fall that has changed. Most competition shooters spend a good deal of money getting a new single action ready for the range. They have the action honed and many other enhancements by the best gunsmiths specializing in cowboy guns. What makes the “El Patron” or in English “The Boss” unique is all the enhancements have been done by the custom shop at Ubert in Italy.

   Numbered cylinders custom feature

      When Uberti decided to make a full competition single action for SASS matches they sent the best parts to the custom shop where the cylinder and frame were stamped so they would not be mixed up with other parts. One artisan hand fits each revolver until completed. In the picture above you can see that each cylinder is marked 1 through 6. Additionally all the internal parts are hand fitted. All the standard springs are replaced with custom made springs from Wolff. The front sight is 1/8th inch in width with the top of the frame notched deeper and wider to accomodate the wider front sight providing a much improved sight picture while still preserving the traditional look. The trigger is tuned for a crisp break. Mine has a trigger pull of 2 pounds 6 ounces. The trigger just feels wonderful and certainly improves your groups. The grips are walnut that have been checkered by hand. The grip fit is perfect with no unsightly gaps anywhere along the grip frame. The grip frame is forged steel with a case hardened main frame also forged steel. The front of the cylinder is also slightly beveled so there is no possibility of binding between the cylinder and frame. The gap between the cylinder and forcing cone is very small yet is so well fitted the cylinder rotates freely with no contact between the two even when the revolver is loaded. This is not the case with some revolvers that haven’t had the attention to detail this model has. Speaking of details Uberti even includes the original patent numbers on the left side of the frame below the cylinder just like the old Colts.

“El Patron” with 4 3/4 inch barrel

     It’s been awhile since I spent some time with a single action at the range but the time I spent today was the most fun I’ve had in some time. My SAA has the 4 3/4 inch barrel and is chambered in 45 Colt or as some people say 45 Long Colt. The ammunition in 45 Colt isn’t cheap but what ammo is these days. I still chose this caliber because to me if your going to have a single action you have to use a big ol 45:-)

Ten yard target slow fire

    I used Winchester Cowboy loads in 250 grn lead round nose flat point. I started at ten yards loading five rounds per each cylinder. The target pictured above was my first target fired slowly to establish a good reference group. Pictured are all five rounds on a birchwood casey five inch target. One hole measuring 7/8th inches tall by 1 1/16th wide. This is the best group one could ask for from a single action. The sights were right on the money with no adjustments needed.

Fifteen yard target with the next 5 rounds

    The target above was shot from 15 yards with the next cylinder of five rounds. Again this is slow fire. Four of the five rounds went into the same hole as the ten yard rounds. I had the one called flyer slightly below the group. Oh well it happens and it was certainly my fault. Regardless this is one heck of a group for any revolver but all the more impressive from a single action revolver with fixed sights!

Seven yards fast draw

     This last target is from seven yards fast draw. It’s been way to long to try fanning without more practice so after firing 100 rounds I moved to the seven yard line and fired the group pictured above by drawing, firing one round reholstering and repeating. All shots were fired by drawing, pushing the revolver forward until the top of the revolver was visible low in my peripheral vision. Fifteen rounds were fired with very satisfactory results considering I’m somehwat rusty in this technique.
     I’ve mentioned several times how much fun a particular gun was to shoot. With the single action army replicas as well as the 1873 Winchester, Yellowboy and 1892 Winchester lever actions it just doesn’t get any better or more satisfying to master these old guns. If you have used these guns and find them as thrilling as I do you might want to consider becoming a member of the SASS. There are clubs all over the United States as well as many other countries where handguns are allowed. Visit the SASS website for more information on this exciting and fun sport. Single Action Shooting Society 
Uberti website

    A word on ammunition. Back before the advent of Cowboy action competition all the ammunition companies loaded 45 Colt fairly hot for use in the S&W model 25 revolver which is an N frame revolver that can handle pretty heavy loads. When Cowboy action competition started and really took off the ammunition companies backed way off on the loads they sold for the 45 Colt chambering since the single action clones of the old Colt couldn’t handle the hotter loads without the possibility of damage or a failure of the gun. These days about the only company that makes hot loads in this caliber is Cor-Bon but don’t shoot these +P loads in a replica Colt under any circumstances. These loads are made strictly for modern revolvers only. When shooting your cowboy gun use only the loads made for this gun. They are designated as cowboy loads and are marked as such on the box. PMC as well as Winchester and others make them. The Winchester loads are mild at approx. 700 FPS whereas the PMC load is an 800 FPS load.
     One last item should be noted as regards the safety features of this revolver. The standard practice of chambering only five rounds is still a good idea with an empty chamber under the firing pin. There is an additional safety on this model. The cylinder retaining pin normally has one notch to hold it in place securing the cylinder. The Uberti pin has two notches which allows the pin to be pushed into the second notch which blocks the hammer from striking a chambered round. I’m not really fond of this feature since it would be very easy to disable the gun without meaning to. Leaving the chamber empty under the hammer is still the best safety. The pin on the Uberti is identical with the Colt which has one notch so you can buy a Colt cylinder retaining pin and avoid the accidental blocking of the hammer.

Old Patent numbers

     I hope you enjoyed this review and as always if you have any questions about this gun or any gun related question feel free to comment and I will get back to you via email as soon as possible.

    Happy Shooting!




Posted in Single Action Revolvers | Tagged: , , , | 19 Comments »

Ruger, Uberti & Marlin Rifle Cowboy Fun

Posted by Gunner on December 29, 2008

Ruger Vaquero 357 Magnum Stainless Hi Polish

   Being a child who grew up in the 1950’s I was like every other little boy. I loved Cowboys and Cowboy movies. Roy Rogers and the Lone Ranger on TV then all the old greats at the movies. That love affair with all things Cowboy stayed with me into adulthood in the form of rifles and single action revolvers.
   When I was about 7 years old my dad taught me how to shoot a revolver with a second generation Colt single action army revolver in 45 Colt. That was the first handgun I ever shot. That’s a memory I’ll always keep close. My dad had several single action army revolvers he kept at my uncles house for a couple of years. My uncles home burned down and the old Colts were gone. Only years later I realized what a loss that was.

No it’s not pushed all the way into the holster:-)

   The first revolver to cover is the Ruger Vaquero. This gun is safe to carry six rounds in the cylinder since it uses a transfer bar instead of the old type with the firing pin in the hammer. Mine is the 5 1/2 inch barrel version which is a good barrel length for just having a fun afternoon of shooting or with your local SASS group dressing up and playing the part with all the other old guys from the baby boom generation:-) This Ruger is the hi gloss stainless which is about the most durable finish you can buy and very easy to clean. These old guns point naturally no matter who makes them. They just feel right in your hand. They are also surprisingly accurate considering all they have is the notch in the rear and a thin blade front sight. The Ruger is also a very durable revolver and can handle about any reasonable handload you can come up with and keep going through a lifetime of shooting.
   The trigger as it comes from the factory isn’t bad at all but can be improved with a little judicious buffing. One handed shooting from a holster draw will give you groups of about 4 inches at 10 to 12 yards shooting like you would in competition. If you slow down and use a handload 38 special with just the right amount of Bullseye powder you can squeeze a group of about an inch at 10 yards. One note here I don’t advise anyone get carried away and fan the hammer like in the old movies. One thing is unless someone who knows how teaches you it can be dangerous and the other consideration is it’s hard on the internals even the rugged Ruger.
   The holster rig pictured above my wife bought me on a trip we made to San Antonio Texas back in the early 90’s. An old Mexican gentleman made it by hand and had a bunch of rigs to choose from at crazy low prices like $30 for this rig. I dyed it black and added the conchos to dress it up a bit. The loops fit 38/357 rounds. It was a heck of a deal and has served well for all these years.

Uberti Cattleman

   The next revolver is the Uberti Italian made single action that is pretty faithful to the old Colt in design with the firing pin in the hammer. Again this requires you carry only 5 rounds in the cylinder with an empty under the firing pin. If you drop it and a round is under the firing pin it will fire! This one has a fairly matte blue finish. I ordered a set of the faux Ivory grips from Uberti which they didn’t even charge me for. I did have to fit them but it didn’t take very long and only required a minor bit of material be removed to fit well. This one is chambered in 45 Colt. Not as sturdy as the Ruger I use mainly Magtech “Cowboy” loads which are very mild and run about 700 fps. The trigger on this one is a little better than the Ruger which I would guess is just the difference in the old action and the Ruger transfer bar action. It’s not as accurate as the Ruger but it’s no slouch either. For those that may not be aware of it Beretta purchased Uberti after years of the company making the Stampede for Beretta. I undertsand that eventually the Uberti name will be gone and they will all be Berettas. All of the machinery is being or has been moved to Berettas facility. The action on this revolver is smoother than the Ruger with less effort to cock it and has less trigger pull distance. The trigger is also lighter by just a hair. It also handles well and points just as good as the Ruger. The Uberti is also a bit lighter than the Ruger which makes for a bit faster handling. The price of the Uberti is also about $100 less than the Ruger.

Marlin 1894 “Cowboy” Competition 38 Special Rifle

   I saved the best for last:-) This is the Marlin 1894 “Cowboy” competition model rifle which came in 38 special only and had a 20 inch barrel. It has a deep blue octagon barrel and a color case hardened reciever and an American Walnut high grade stock. It has the traditional Buckhorn sights with a gold bead Marble front sight. You’ll also note the holster rig I mentioned earlier. At least you can see it all in this picture. I do love this rifle and in my opinion it’s in the top two of the best looking rifles ever made!
   Marlin made this rifle for a few years for those who compete in the Single Action Shooting Society matches (SASS). Marlin put a lot of hand fitting into this rifle by hand smoothing and fitting the action. The cost was higher than the other Cowboy rifles in Marlins line. It ran close to $650 to $700 at most shops. Marlin discontinued this rifle much to the consternation of many a Marlin rifle enthusiast. Apparently Marlin listened to the customers since it has been re-released
chambered in 38 special and 45 Colt.

One Of The New Models. Note the bolt is not case hardened as they were on the old ones and mine.

Barrel Markings and the beautiful deep blueing

   The action on this rifle is as smooth as butter. In fact the first time you work the action you have to just pause and wonder at how they got it this smooth all the way through the stroke. Normally when the round is about to go into the chamber there is a little feeling of the round hanging a bit but not with this rifle. The balance and feel with this straight stock is fantastic. It handles like a dream and has such little recoil it’s back on target in an instant. From a distance of about 15 yards you prettty much put all your rounds into one hole of about an inch and a half. There are few if any rifles that are more pleasurable to shoot than a quality lever action like this one and the other Marlin lever actions made in the Cowboy configuration.
   I once owned a Winchester model 1892 that had been converted to 38/357 in the 1950’s when that was a popular thing to do with the old rifle. The size of the “92” and the Marlin are pretty close and light in weight. One of the first things I thought of was the old model “92” when I picked up the Marlin.

The Marlin and Uberti before I added the Ivory grips

   I don’t know why Marlin did away with the case hardened finish on the bolt. I much prefer the entire reciever,lever and bolt color case hardened since Marlin did such a beautiful job of creating this finish. Marlin has always made quality rifles. In fact my next favorite rifle is the Golden 39A in 22LR. One interesting tidbit of information on this 100 plus year old rifle is that back in the late 1950’s when the Rifleman TV series was so popular Marlin added a feature to the 39A that would have lawyers today licking their chops. Just behind the trigger attached to the lever was a flat piece of metal that could be swiveled forward so that when you worked the lever the metal piece engaged the trigger firing a round each time you worked the lever. This type was my first 39A and man was it fun! It’s the first and last one I’ve ever seen and command a big price these days if you can find one.
   If you have any interest in the old west or getting into the Cowboy action shooting scene you would do well to seriously consider the marlin 1894 “Cowboy” for your long gun and the Ruger Vaquero for your sidearm. Check the Ruger website at LINK
  Marlins lever action webpage can be found at LINK


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Posted in Marlin, Ruger Vaquero, Uberti | Tagged: , , , , , | 4 Comments »