Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Open Tops

One of the fascinating periods of handgun design happened during the 1850s when Rollin White obtained a patent for the bored-through cylinder.  This made it possible to load cartridges in a cylinder rather than ball and loose powder.  White worked for Smith and Wesson, but firearms designers everywhere saw the value of the innovation and White spent a lot of money litigating infringement.

After the patents had expired, several manufacturers, including Colt, made conversions to upgrade the old cap-and-ball revolvers to the newfangled cartridges.  Today, we call these Army/Navy conversions, or simply, Open Tops.  They don't have the familiar top strap of steel that covers the top of the cylinder.

Of course, when Colt came out with the Model P, or Peacemaker in 1873, all bets were off.  While these revolvers were surpassed by newer models, they have a fascinating history.  The original conversions and open-tops are collector items, but Uberti makes a copy.

I admit that lately I have been fascinated by these reproductions, and while I haven't done anything about it yet, a copy is definitely on my watch list.  They're accepted for Cowboy Fast Draw, and with our low-pressure primer loads, I certainly wouldn't stress the frame shooting those loads.

So, the question becomes: long gun or short?  While the shorter barrel is faster, the long barrel has more historical accuracy.  Decisions, decisions.


The Displaced Louisiana Guy said...

Go with the long barrel. If you are going for something different than what you already use, you might as well get into a new division of shooting, too. Then you get to have a new gun, compete in a new division, AND be more historically accurate.

A long barrel opens up more doors, in just about every respect. Just sayin'.

Pawpaw said...

i hear ya', son. If I get a short barrel, and it's lighter than Mom's Liberty edition, I'll get to watch it as she uses it.