Uberti Richards-Mason 1860 Conversion Revolver
Maria Uberti owner of Uberti USA recently sent me one of her company's latest editions, the Richards-Mason conversion revolver. From all appearances this is a very faithful replica of the Colt Richards-Mason, 1860 Army conversion in .44 Colt caliber. The Richard-Mason of course, featured the ejector tube which was fastened to the barrel with a cross-screw, a fixed, hammer mounted firing pin and a conversion "ring" that is held to the frame by the base pin or arbor.
True to form, the Uberti replica uses the long 1860 style grip but with steel grip straps and trigger guard. The frame, conversion ring, hammer and loading gate are subtly color case hardened while the barrel, cylinder and straps are blued in a well polished modern, caustic blue-black finish. The one piece 1860 grip is a very pleasing red-orange walnut and for the most part is quite well fitted to the revolver.
Uberti has incorporated the manual hammer block safety they introduced on their Open-Top revolver, this device is a pivoting steel bar located on the front hammer face below the firing pin and when it is rotated forward it blocks the hammer from falling completely. One very thoughtful feature that Uberti has introduced into this revolver may not be perfectly original but which will help reliability to a great degree is the addition of a gas ring to the front of the cylinder ala; the 1872 Open Top. This gas ring feature helps an open-topped revolver's functionality in two ways: 1) it maintains a consistent headspace measurement so important with cartridge revolvers and, 2) it will help to seal the base pin against becoming fouled with black powder residue should the owner elect to burn charcoal instead of smokeless powder.
Uberti should be very proud of the action in this Richards-Mason, it was as nearly perfect as I have encountered with an out-of-the-box revolver, domestic or European made. When the hammer is placed at half-cock and the loading gate opened the cylinder's chambers are found parked exactly at the center of the loading port; right where they should be. When the hammer is thumbed back to the rear, the cylinder locks into battery at just the point where the hammer drops into the full-cock position. The hammer is retracted with only moderate effort against the tension of the mainspring and the cylinder spins like it is mounted on ball bearings (it isn't.) Overall, this revolver's action is tight, crisp and superbly timed with a 3½ pound trigger pull that had surprisingly little creep. What more could we say about an action this nice on a production single action? I have paid four times as much for single actions that didn't come close to having the smooth action operation of this replica!
The chambers of the new Uberti cylinder are reamed to accept the modern .44 Colt ammunition as produced by Black Hills with chamber throats measuring .430".
Soon we will get this to the range and get you the results of some shooting tests.
updated May 2002: This gun was test fired using new Black Hills .44 Colt and .44 S&W Russian caliber ammo (which it chambers perfectly.) At 50 feet the gun delivered groups that were averaging 3-4 inches on center with the .44 Colt caliber ammo while with the .44 Russian ammunition the groups shrunk dramatically; averaging under one inch. All groups were 5 shots apiece and shot off a sandbag on the bench from the sitting position. Every group printed from 6 to 7 inches high with both calibers of factory ammunition until a higher front sight (below) was fitted.
Note: The factory front sight measured .190" high from the top of the barrel. We manufactured and retrofitted a new front sight to the barrel that was trimmed during shooting to .375" high which brought the point of impact down to point of aim.
© 2001 & 2002 Bullet 'N Press.