SAA COLT Clone- a little loose?

Discussion in 'Technical Questions & Information' started by LDBennett, Sep 5, 2009.

  1. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

    Dec 20, 2003
    Hesperia, CA
    About 17 years ago I bought a Single Action Army clone (45LC) from EMF. I think it is a Uberti but I can't tell because all the modern info, like address-etc, is hidden under the ejector rod housing. The only markings are exactly like the Black Powder versions from Colt in the late 1800's. It is a beautiful gun (not quite up to a Colt but very close). It shoot OK but high and off to the left, but that's not the problem. I recently measured a few things on it and it seems out of spec but I'm no SAA expert but maybe someone here is (???).

    HEAD SPACE (measured 2 ways):

    1. Cylinder pushed all the to the rear with feeler gage 0.062 inches
    2. Cylinder pushed all the to the rear, cartridge in cylinder in firing position, feeler gages between case rim and frame 0.062 inches from 0.054 rim + 0.008 feeler gage


    Cylinder pushed all the to the rear 0.012 inches


    Cylinder pushed all the to the rear and feeler gage between the cylinder bushing and the front of the frame window 0.010 inches


    0.454 INCHES

    This all seems pretty loosey-goosey to me and in no way is close to spec for modern double action Colt or S&W revolvers. It shoots fine and doesn't spit lead or do anything funny, but raises a few questions.

    1). Is this typical of Italian clones from the era?

    2). Are today's Italian clones better than this?

    3). Are there any safety issues in these apparently loose specs?

    4). Does it make sense to use shim stock washers under the cylinder bushing to reduce the end play to 0.001 inches?

    4a). Or should a shim be placed at the rear of the cylinder which would reduce both the end play of the cylinder and the cylinder to barrel gap (say 0.009 inch shim to get to 0.001 inch cylinder end play and a 0.003 inch cylinder to barrel gap? But would a shim there get torn up by the rotation of the cylinder?) Will a shim at the rear of the cylinder interfere with the action of the hand advancing the cylinder to the next hole? This would increase the headspace to 0.071 inches. Is that too much?

    5). Is it necessary to have close to zero end float on the cylinder as the gases most likely will push the cylinder to the rear as the bullet passes out of the cylinder? The cylinder gap would then become the 0.012 inches that I measured.

    6). Isn't the cylinder bore sized different than modern 45 Long colt guns?

    Anyone got any answers?

    Last edited: Sep 5, 2009
  2. Helix_FR

    Helix_FR Active Member

    Apr 14, 2009
    Imperial, MO
    Your headspace specs for a 45LC seem to be right on according to SAAMI specs.

  3. Hammerslagger

    Hammerslagger New Member

    Jul 30, 2009
    Question #1: I do not know about being typical of Italian reproductions of "old west" revolvers; but the EMF SA imports had a reputation of "so so" quality. It is my understanding that many were made under contract by Urberti for EMF of El Monte, CA. Urberti has been of varying quality throughout its history. I have some Urberti marked products that are very good and another unfired one that need gun-smithing. According to an interview that I once tread with Aldo's daughter, they actually made the parts for the the 20th.century Colt percussion revolvers. I do not know who makes the third generation SA's; but many parts do not interchange with the first and second generation revolvers. This causes me to suspect foreign parts manufacture. I think Beretta purchased Urberti within the last ten years.

    Question #2: I do not know.

    Question #3: I do not know; but from all that you write, I do not think so.

    Question #4 & 4a. &5: Again I do not know. It will likely do no harm to tighten it up somewhat. I would not want to increase the headspace. While 0.012 cylinder gap is a bit wide, you mention no problems relative to it, and it is likely of no great importance in a "play thing" range gun.

    Question #6:I believe most of the 45 cal. 2nd. gen. Colts were 0.452 cyl. & bore. This may also be true of some later smokeless 1st. gen. {SA's are not my "strong area".}
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