Reviewed By: Robert T on 06/24/2015
Rating: [4 of 5 Stars!]
I really like this firearm, but know what you are getting.
Positives (for me):
It's different. Not like the 200 other various 1873 replicas.
I think the lines of this revolver are beautiful. It, and the 1860 army cap and ball it shares many commonalities with, is from a time when form was considered as much as function.
The barrel position makes it an ideal "pointer" for me. It just feels right - I shoot this a lot better than my EMF 1873 replica.
The Army style grip frame is somewhat larger than an 1873 grip or, for that matter, the 1851 Navy grip. For my larger hands, it makes a lot of difference.
Cylinder lock up is very accurate and tight.
The quality seems reasonable for the price. Finish is good and the firearm seems (mostly, as practical) faithful to the original.
Negatives (in general)
The design, while prettier than the 1873, is inferior to the 1873 - which is a truly classic design.
The sights are, well, there. They're even somewhat usable in decent light. But they aren't great. Better than a notch in the hammer. For me, the "pointability" makes up for them.
Don't shoot anything hotter than cowboy loads - it's surprisingly strong the way it's put together but it still lacks the frame rigidity for anything remotely hot. The instructions reiterate this.
Cleaning it can be a bit of an experience. The barrel assembly attaches and separates from the frame using a metal wedge - and it's a very tight fit. Once it's apart, cleaning and lubricating it is a breeze. Getting it apart can require some "persuasion" from a mallet and wooden or gunsmiths wedge - once the metal wedge is successfully removed (mallet and dowel). I made a wedge from wood covered in electrical tape. Check youtube for cap and ball revolver disassembly to get a feel for the procedure. Be sure to leave a proper barrel to cylinder gap when reassembling. don't over-do it on the metal fixing wedge.
The loading gate is very stiff and is held in place with an external leaf spring almost guaranteed to wear some of the loading gate's finish.
The unloading mechanism is clunky compared to an 1873. The rod requires a two axis movement to eject cartridges.
As delivered, the action in general was very stiff. Clean it well and fully lubricate using a good LP (I use Mpro-7) and it improves dramatically.
Personally, I love the revolver and wouldn't part with it. But it's no Vaquero - it's quirky. If that's what you want it's great.