Handloader|February 2021
Brian Pearce
It has been said that copying is the greatest form of flattery. Italian-based A. Uberti has been producing replica firearms since 1959 and building copies of the world-renowned Colt Single Action Army revolver for around 50 years, which is certainly flattering but also wise, as the demand for quality single-action revolvers remains high.

While early examples lacked in many areas, through the years Uberti has improved the quality and accuracy of its sixguns. The company has steadily expanded its product line with many variants that appeal to traditionalists, cowboy competitors, shooters and hunters. For this review a Cimarron Model P Original Finish with a 7½-inch barrel chambered in .45 Colt was selected. This is a reliable sixgun offered at a comparatively modest price.

The development of the Colt Single Action Army revolver dates back to 1871, with samples chambered in .45 Colt being completed in 1872. These were submitted to the U.S. Army and officially adopted in 1873. This gun and cartridge combination was powerful, proved reliable against man and beast and quickly became the standard big-bore sixgun cartridge that all others were compared to.

The list of famous men and women that used and endorsed the big Colt is extensive and included lawmen, outlaws, soldiers, generals, cowboys, frontiersmen, showmen, exhibition shooters, explorers, miners, hunters, presidents and kings. Its usefulness and value have proven timeless, and its influence in subsequent revolver developments has been huge.

Early .45 Colt ammunition was centerfire but was housed in a copper case and featured Benet internal priming. As a result, Colt revolvers featured a very heavy mainspring to assure reliable ignition, which was present on most guns produced until the start of World War II in 1941. This created a couple of basic problems. First, the spring steel was inferior, when compared to today’s steels, and combined with their stiff design were known to occasionally break, as was the trigger/ bolt spring and hand spring. The power (or strength) associated with the mainspring was hard on other parts of the revolver, especially if the shooter didn’t know how to operate the sixgun with basic finesse. A couple of examples include the trigger sear and hammer notches that were prone to breakage if the hammer slipped from the shooter’s thumb prematurely.

With lighter springs along with modern spring steels used on most of today’s guns (offered by Wolff Gunsprings, Tolland and others), the above problems are more or less completely resolved. For example, I have Colt SAA pattern guns that have nearly 20,000 rounds fired through them that have never broken a spring or anything else and have proven ultra reliable.

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