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The gun is fun to shoot and for any one who has ever seen a cowboy movie, has to bring a smile to your face, particularly if you have watched a large number of old, Italian westerns. The American West has long held a fascination for Europeans, particularly the Germans, and the Italians. During the sixties, and seventies, companies in Germany, Italy, and Spain churned out millions of clones of the old Colt Single Action Army pistol.
These guns were produced under a variety of names, and with a varying amount of trueness to the original. Most of these models had some manufacturing inaccuracies. The most blatant one, on this particular model, is the brass back strap and trigger guard, and the rosewood grips. Actually I like the look of the brass and rosewood, but in the originals, the frame was all case hardened, and, the grips were of a hard rubber composite. The brass backstrap of this particular example, harkens back to the old muzzle loading revolvers of the civil war period; but was incorporated into the design of the cartridge revolver because it had a certain look, and probably also because it permitted cheaper production, using components already being produced for a series of black powder revolvers then being manufactured. The large numbers of spaghetti westerns being made in Italy at the time, generally feature guns similarly manufactured with brass backstraps.
These guns are reasonably accurate, and dependable. The grip was designed to roll the gun back in the hand after every shot, so that the hammer would fall under the thumb for cocking. This gun can be fanned, but gunfighters and cowboys almost never actually did this. The trigger is narrow, and squared off; but is reasonably crisp and light. The big blade front sight, and milled rear notch are reasonably true to the originals, and are quite easy to use. The gun is reasonably handy, and fits perfectly into any holster designed for the original Colt SAA. Though few of these European imports were of really high quality, they were inexpensive, fun, and plenty good enough. people who wanted a top quality Single action cowboy gun bought a Colt, at four times the price, or a Ruger, at double the cost.
After the turn of the century the old Colts aged rather quickly in the face of the new automatics, and double action revolvers. Long before production ceased at the beginning of WWII, sales had dropped to practically nothing. There was a resurrection of the guns during the cowboy craze of the fifties, and the big old Colt went back into production. These guns were, and are, so expensive that they are beyond the reach of most shooters including myself. Guns like the Hawes, and the excellent Ruger Single actions have filled the void. There are now leagues dedicated specifically to cowboy shooting, and they hold regular matches for Single action pistols, lever action rifles, and double barreled shot guns. The competitors even dress up in cowboy clothes. The matches have gone national and there are championships held out west.
The .45L.C. is still a potent cartridge, and the new 454 Casull loads which have been developed for it are the most powerful hand gun cartridges ever loaded. The round itself is larger and can hold more powder than the .44 Magnum, although firing a round so loaded in my gun would send me to the hospital. Presently the .45 L.C. has been divided up into three (or possibly four) categories. The first one is for the original black powder guns and their exact replicas. These loads will launch a 240 grain bullet at about 800-900 fps. The second category is for modern firearms, like the Rugers. These loads are rated at 1200-1300 fps with the same 240 grain bullet. The most potent loads are for the Thompson Contender and reach velocities of around 1400 fps. The possible fourth category is for the new .454 Casull guns. These impressive loads can generate velocities in excess of 1500 fps and energies of 2000 foot pounds.
This is one of several "cowboy" guns that I own, including another single action in 45, one in 44 Magnum, and a number of lever action guns. Though their time is generally thought of as having passed, these guns are still plenty deadly, and offer a considerable amount of nostalgic fun.