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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I have a second generation dragoon, first model, f series. Guy in a gunstore and I were talking about second gen Colts and he sort of put them down, saying they were made with Italian parts. While that's partly true, I got to thinking:

C series were made with Uberti parts, which Colt assembled in its factory, from what I've read. Today, if one buys many a gun, sometimes it was not made by the folks whose name is on it. I've heard Winchesters and Weatherby's are made overseas, or were for a good while. So, at least those Uberti parts were assembled by Colt at Colt, right?

My dragoon is a F series. From what I've read, Uberti supplied some things such as back straps, but good old American Iver Johnson made the frames and cylinders here in the USA. Yeah, though Iver Johnson assembled the guns, the guns at least passed through Colt for inspection.

Lastly, I read that the first generation, first model, Colts, were made for Colt by Eli Whitney.

Tell me if I'm wrong, but I think we who own C and F series second generation Colts have legitimate Colts. I mean, if Eli Whitney did the first!

That's all. I just registered here. Feel free to tell me any stuff you know about second gen Colts. I'm always wanting to learn more.

Iver (No relation to Mr. Johnson)
 

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Eli Whitney built the first 1100 Colt Walkers. You are 100 percent correct. Your gun is a Colt. Welcome aboard.
 

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I have a second generation dragoon, first model, f series. Guy in a gunstore and I were talking about second gen Colts and he sort of put them down, saying they were made with Italian parts. While that's partly true, I got to thinking:

C series were made with Uberti parts, which Colt assembled in its factory, from what I've read. Today, if one buys many a gun, sometimes it was not made by the folks whose name is on it. I've heard Winchesters and Weatherby's are made overseas, or were for a good while. So, at least those Uberti parts were assembled by Colt at Colt, right?

My dragoon is a F series. From what I've read, Uberti supplied some things such as back straps, but good old American Iver Johnson made the frames and cylinders here in the USA. Yeah, though Iver Johnson assembled the guns, the guns at least passed through Colt for inspection.

Lastly, I read that the first generation, first model, Colts, were made for Colt by Eli Whitney.

Tell me if I'm wrong, but I think we who own C and F series second generation Colts have legitimate Colts. I mean, if Eli Whitney did the first!

That's all. I just registered here. Feel free to tell me any stuff you know about second gen Colts. I'm always wanting to learn more.

Iver (No relation to Mr. Johnson)
I strongly suggest that you get a copy of Dennis Russell's book: "Percussion Colt Revolvers. The Second Generation, Collectors Handbook & Price Guide #6" It can be purchased directly from him. His e-mail address is: [email protected] It has complete information about both 2nd and 3rd generation Percussion Colts.
 

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+1 on Dennis Russell's Book. Best reference source on the 2nd and 3rd Generation Colt Percussion Revolvers. The Colt 2nd Generation Percussion Revolvers will letter from Colt. They are Colts in my book. Bet the guy in the gun store didn't have any and he was jealous or else he was trying to sell you one of the Italian replicas.
 

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Subcontracting has a long history in the firearms industry.

The first of the famous Remington Rolling Block rifles were made by Savage Arms Company.

During the Civil War Smith & Wesson was so busy filling orders for their Number 1 and Number 2 revolvers, that when they introduced the Number 1 1/2 shortly after the war they subcontracted out to have the parts made for the first 25,000 1 1/2s.

Also during the Civil War Colt's purchased locks, barrels, etc. in England and Belgium for their .58 caliber rifle-musket, as well as having approximately 20 subcontractors in the U.S. supplying additional parts. Colt also had complete rifle-muskets made in Englad to his specificications.

Winchester Double-Barrel shotguns from the 1870's-1880s were purchased in England and stamped with the Winchester name.

And for something more recent, 3rd Generation Colt SAA frames are subcontracted out to be forged and have one EDM cut done to them (Colt supplies the metal and the dies).

John Gross
 

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Some guy wanted to sell me an Original Walker for $400 but I passed because it was made by this Eli Whitney guy. I didn't want a gun made by some cotton gin dude. I wanted a real Colt!...... Just kidding. You have a Colt Dragoon. And regardless of parts my Dragoon is a Uberti. Welcome aboard here.
 

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As far as I know, all parts of the Colt Second Generation black powder revolvers were made from Uberti parts, including the frames and cylinders.

What makes a gun a Colt is simply that Colt SAYS it is.
Colt has marketed a number of foreign made firearms, most of which Colt did only the finish on, but they are considered to be Colt's and will letter as such from the Colt Archives.

So, if Colt says it's a Colt.....it's a Colt.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks

Yup, and you guys are smart. I learned a lot I didn't know before, also, such as Savage making the first Remington rolling blocks.

Thanks

By the way, when I was a kid, in the 1970's, I bought a Navy Arms 1851 Colt Navy revolver from Dixie Gun WOrks. Is Navy Arms still around? All I hear about in this day and age are Uberti and maybe some other, but not Navy.
 

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Yup, and you guys are smart. I learned a lot I didn't know before, also, such as Savage making the first Remington rolling blocks.

Thanks

By the way, when I was a kid, in the 1970's, I bought a Navy Arms 1851 Colt Navy revolver from Dixie Gun WOrks. Is Navy Arms still around? All I hear about in this day and age are Uberti and maybe some other, but not Navy.
Navy arms are still around. My dad bought a Hawes 1851 style .44 with a brass frame in the early 70s. I think it cost $35 or so brand new through the mail. It's in my living room on a shelf now. Do you still have yours?
 

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Navy Arms is still around, but seem to be nothing more today then the "Gibbs Rifle Co. and The Old Western Scrounger.

Apparently they no longer import or sell black powder firearms or the Single Action and lever action guns.
 

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If it is a Colt, what does that mean? To me it's still a Uberti assembled domestically. Which means they have better case colors and bluing but are they on par with a purely domestic produced gun? Most gunsmiths say no. An early USPFA is still a USPFA but everybody considers the later domestic guns to be much better, for various reasons. Because you can only build a gun as good as its parts. Would you not look at a Colt SAA differently if it were made from parts sourced from Uberti? I'm sure you would. Would it be as good as a new production domestic Colt? Nope. It would be different if Uberti's were widely regarded as equal or superior quality but they are not. Good guns and a good value but not 'as' good.

IMHO, a Colt SAA costs a lot more than a Uberti replica but it's a lot better gun. A Colt 2nd or 3rd generation percussion gun costs a little more than a replica and it's a little better gun.

The Winchester leverguns are a little different because Miroku builds a better levergun than Winchester has in 100yrs. They're also clearly stamped "Made in Japan".
 

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Point well taken Craig, except for one thing, the 2nd and 3rd gen Colts I have at one time owned, handled or fired ( dozens) compared to the ubertis I have handled/shot (dozens) show me IMHO that the Colt 2nd and 3rd are not just a little better...they are a LOT better. We pay some for the name, yes, but we also get quality.
 

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One thing you often see on Italian case hardened guns is substandard color casing.

Look at a Colt or a top Uberti replica and the color casing is brilliant. The "base" color is a shiny brown with brilliant blue and greenish mottling.

Look at many Uberti guns and the base color is a dull grayish color with darker gray-black mottling blotches with no real coloring.
The contrast is startling if you compare them side by side.

I used to own a 1980's Uberti branded 1873 Winchester rifle with color casing on the receiver easily the equal of anything Colt or Turnbull could do.
A friend had a Uberti made for another importer with the gray base color and blackish blotches, and it was like night and day to compare them.
You see this lesser color casing on a lot of Italian Single Action revolvers.

The Italians can do magnificent color casing, but most of the cheaper models have the lesser color casing.
Uberti as example will "flex" the fit and finish of their guns for an importer according to what price point the importer wants to sell at.
Usually, you have to compare the guns side by side to see the difference, but one area that's usually a give away is the color case hardening.
 

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All the Uberti's have fake case colors. Some are better than others, some almost look like the real thing. There's no mistaking the difference and that was what I was referring to about better finishes. I don't see a difference between any of the importers and I have guns from all of them.

I've also spoken to custom gunsmiths who think that the 2nd and 3rd Colt's are no better for overall quality than a new Uberti. That for a custom gun that gets refinished anyway, there is no advantage to building them off Colt's, versus new Uberti guns. It's worthy of note that Turnbull can apply authentic finishes to a Uberti just as easily as a Colt. They're working on my newly engraved Cimarron Open Top as we speak.
 

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If Colt puts their name on it and hands out factory letters, any opinion that it's not a Colt is pretty much irrelevant.
Thumbs up!!!! As I have stated on other sites, the purists that insist that a true Colt has to be made in Hartford, must not know anything about Colt history. By their standards, the whole Paterson production and the Walker would not qualify as genuine Colts, and neither would any of the modern guns produced in Colt's new West Hartford plant. As for the UBERTI parts, once they have been machined to factory tolerances, I defy anyone - including members of Colt's quality control team to tell the difference between them and a Colt factory made part! The only way would possibly be by analyzing the metal the parts were made from.
 

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The Winchester leverguns are a little different because Miroku builds a better levergun than Winchester has in 100yrs. They're also clearly stamped "Made in Japan".
I don't know about that. I've 3 levers made in japan: A Winchester '86 takedown, a Browning '86 and a BLR22. They are beautiful, well made guns. I've also many, many pre-war Winchesters. To say that old Winchesters aren't as good as Mirokus is just false. If you're talking about post 1964's Wins than I would agree, but not to the blanket statement you made. In terms of quality, I'd put Winchesters made prior to 1964 and pre-war in particular up against anything made by anyone. The exceptions would be the gumwood stocks which I don't care for and the era of the flaking receiver blue as seen on some lever actions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
The "C" series were perhaps composed solely of Uberti parts, but the F series were not. Iver Johnson manufactured the frames, springs, screws, nipples, and other parts here. The barrels, cylinders and straps were Uberti. But even those must have been built to tighter specifications, stipulated by Colt. I got this from an old "Guns and Ammo" article:

"Unlike their first arrangement, Imperato was now responsible for the entire production of Colt black-powder models. "They were all hand-fitted. There was no way to do mass production," explains Imperato. "We had the barrels, cylinders and backstraps cast in Italy (as Forgett had done), but we finished them off in-house. We made the frames, the center pins, nipples, all of the screws, springs, and built every F Series gun at Iver Johnson Arms. We even used the old style color-case hardening method with the charcoal and bone meal, and Colt's exclusive Colt Blue Finish. They turned out pretty good. In fact, I think our finishes were actually better than Colt's single actions being done in Hartford."


Well, in this day and age, can we really imagine Colt investing in new machinery so it can build percussion revolvers from scratch, all by its lonesome?

Which leads us to another aspect: will Colt ever do it again? Will there ever be another generation of percussion revolvers from Colt? Heck, maybe in 2075 they will use 3D printers to manufacture them in-house. That'd be something. Maybe in 2100 they will use nanotechnology to have globs of metal assemble themselves into Dragoons.
 
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