Traditions Performance Firearms in Old
Saybrook, Connecticut has been importing quality replica
firearms for many years, as well as offering a wide variety of
traditional and modern muzzleloaders. Traditions firearms offer
a lot of value for the money spent, and one of their better
products is the replica 1873 Colt Single Action Army style
sixgun featured here. Traditions has two grades of their Single
Action cartridge revolvers; the lower-priced Rawhide, which
wears a matte-blued finish, and the higher-grade Frontier shown
here. Both revolvers load from the traditional half-cock hammer
position, but have transfer bar internal ignition systems for
safety. The difference between the Rawhide and the Frontier is
in the quality of the fit and finish, with the Frontier offered
in polished nickel, or the beautifully-finished casehardened and
polished blue featured here.
Traditions Frontier revolvers are built by
Pietta in Italy. Traditions offers four chamberings in the
Frontier: 357 Magnum, 44 Magnum, 44 WCF (44-40) or 45 Colt, in
either four and three-quarters, five and one-half, or seven and
one-half inch barrel lengths. The sample that I have here is
chambered for the 45 Colt cartridge, and wears a four and
three-quarters inch barrel. Weighing in at 34.4 ounces unloaded,
the Frontier balances beautifully, as expected. The bluing is a
deep blue-black with a flawless polish, and the casehardening
colors are as good as any I have seen on any brand of sixgun,
regardless of price. The size of the Frontier 45 replicates the
dimensions of the genuine Colt SAA, and it loads in the
traditional manner. I like that Traditions has the hammer
casehardened, as this adds a nice touch, and looks much better
than do revolvers with a blued or polished white hammer on a
casehardened sixgun. The sights are a traditional rounded blade
front, with a square-notch rear, and offer a good sight picture.
The front of the cylinder is radiused, which is also a nice
touch, and makes re-holstering the weapon smoother and easier.
The satin-finished walnut stocks are of the screwless one-piece
design, and are fitted perfectly to the backstrap and trigger
guard. It is obvious that Pietta takes some time in fitting the
grips, as there are sixguns on the market that cost a lot more
than this Frontier that are not fitted nearly as well.
The quality of the fit and finish on the
Frontier is not only on the outside, but internal as well. The
action is extremely smooth, and the effort to cock the hammer is
light, compared to many single action revolvers. The Frontier
uses a lightened hammer spring, reduced in width compared to a
standard SAA hammer spring. The trigger pull on the Frontier
shown here measured just two and one-quarter pounds resistance,
with only a slight amount of creep before the release. The
barrel/cylinder gap measured between four and five
one-thousandths of an inch, depending upon the position of the
cylinder in its revolution. The transfer bar ignition system
allows the sixgun to be carried fully-loaded, using all six
chambers. The Frontier cannot fire if dropped on its hammer, as
can a traditional Single Action Army style revolver that has a
loaded chamber under the hammer. The chamber throats are sized
perfectly, to snugly hold a .452 diameter bullet.
Along with the Frontier revolver, I ordered a
dandy belt/holster rig from Galco. The rig shown is their 1880s
cross draw holster and 1880s cartridge belt. The belt is
rough-side-out, and is flexible, as a good belt should be for
comfort. The holster is beautifully finished tan, and is of
classic design with no frills, but of top quality construction.
The belt is three inches wide, with the cartridge loops
centered, to allow the use of a holster on either side, or both
sides, as desired.
The Traditions Frontier would be a dandy
choice for those who compete in Cowboy
Action Shooting, but it is also a good choice for hunting or
just plain fun. Many shooters, including myself, enjoy the
classic simplicity of a single action revolver, as well as the
historical connection to the revolvers used in the late
nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in the US.
Having the look and feel of the classic Colt Single
Action Army, but at a cost that is less than half the price of
the Colt, the Frontier is a good substitute for the real thing.
The quality of fit and finish rivals guns that cost three times
its price, and it also shoots as well as the higher-priced
sixguns. Firing the Frontier hand-held resting upon a Target
Shooting, Inc. handgun rest, the Frontier grouped very well
using Buffalo Bore standard-pressure cast lead semi-wadcutter
ammunition. This is not the sissy loads that many companies make
for Cowboy Action competition, but this Buffalo Bore ammo is
loaded to serious working velocities, yet is safe to use in any
modern 45 Colt revolver that is in good condition. The 255 grain Keith style bullets clocked an average of 924.5
feet-per-second ten feet from the muzzle of this short-barreled
Frontier, yet the cases fall easily from the chambers. This
would be an excellent load for whitetail deer or hogs, and would
also be a good choice for social work. This Buffalo Bore load
will group into two inches at twenty-five yards, as did a couple
of different cast bullet handloads. Everything tried grouped
between one and three-quarters and three and one-half inches for
five shots at twenty-five yards from this Frontier. Timing and
lockup was precise, and the sixgun functioned perfectly. As of
the date of this review, the manufacturer’s suggested retail
price on this Traditions Frontier sixgun is $515 US.
Check out the complete line of firearms and
accessories online at www.traditionsfirearms.com.
For the location of a Traditions dealer near
you, click on the DEALER FINDER at www.lipseys.com.
To order the Frontier online, go to www.galleryofguns.com.
To order quality 45 Colt ammunition, go to www.buffalobore.com,
a look at the extensive line of quality Galco leather, go to www.usgalco.com.
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