Firearms Company in Hartford, Connecticut has become within
the past few years the favorite source for high quality American
made Colt Single Action Army replicas. While there are
numerous importers of foreign made Colt replicas, U.S. Firearms
turns out nineteenth century firearms assembled with nineteenth
century craftsmanship. Their parts are one hundred percent
American made and assembled by American craftsmen.
a year ago, I reviewed here the U.S.
Firearms Rodeo revolver, which is their entry level SAA
replica aimed at the Cowboy Action Shooting competitor. The
Rodeo is a fine sixgun, lacking only the high-polish finish of
their more expensive revolvers. Just a couple of months ago, Mike
Cumpston reviewed here the U.S.
Firearms Pre-War sixgun, which is the Single Action Army
with the excellent Armory Blue and Bone Case finish. There has
never been a better built production SAA than the Pre-War. It
combines old world craftsmanship with modern metallurgy to
produce a beautifully finished Colt replica that is better than
would be as good a time as any to briefly discuss the modern SAA
as produced by Colt Firearms. There have been several changes to
the SAA in the past thirty years. The truth is that the U.S.
Firearms guns are closer to the original Colts than are the
modern Colt-produced guns. They are also, in my opinion, a
latest sixgun from U.S. Firearms is the subject of this article:
The Flattop Target.
original Colt Flattop Target models were built between the years
of 1888 and 1895, with a total production of around 926 guns. As
you can imagine, these are quite scarce and very expensive
handguns. They were replaced by the Bisley Target models, and
were indeed very fine sixguns.
U.S. Firearms Flattop Target revolver received for testing is
chambered for the .45 Colt cartridge, but is available in
several other chamberings as well. The sample gun has the seven
and one-half inch barrel, and wears the beautiful Old Armory
blued finish, with the exception of the hammer, which is case
hardened. The sample Flattop is one of the best-fitted handguns
that I have ever handled. The line between the grip frame and
cylinder frame is almost imperceptible. The fit of the black
checkered hard rubber grips to the grip frame is perfect. The
timing of the action is also perfect, with the bolt dropping
into the lead of the bolt notch instead of dragging on the
cylinder and ruining the beautiful finish, as happens on many
single action revolvers. The trigger pull measures a crisp two
pounds and nine ounces. The .45 Flattop weighs exactly forty
ounces with the seven and one-half inch barrel. The barrel
measures .763 of an inch at the frame junction, and tapers to
.675 of an inch at the muzzle. The cylinder diameter and length
measure 1.675 and 1.626 inches, respectively. The cylinder
throats measure a perfect .452 of an inch. The barrel / cylinder
gap measures just .002 of an inch.
sets the Flattop Target model apart from the Single Action Army
is the sights, and of course the perfectly flat frame top. The
rear sight is adjustable in its dovetail for windage, and the
front sight is thankfully provided with enough extra height to
allow it to be filed down to perfectly adjust the elevation for
the desired load. The front sight is also easily replaceable. A
shooter could keep a few different front sights to accommodate
different bullet weights and loads, if desired. The procedure
would be to find a good accurate load, and file the blade to
bring the point of impact to the desired range.
of accuracy, The Flattop Target displayed excellent accuracy
with many different loads. The group pictured was shot using Hodgdon’s
Titegroup powder with cheap "gun show special" round
nose flat point bullets. This level of accuracy was also
obtainable with several good bullets, including my favorite
bullet for standard .45 Colt loads; the 250 grain Keith
semi-wadcutter lead bullet. This bullet fits the cylinder length
perfectly, and can be pushed to one thousand feet-per-second
safely in the U.S. Flattop, with excellent accuracy, and fine
terminal performance on medium-sized game, such as whitetail
deer. This makes for a very good general purpose .45 Colt load.
Mr. Keith’s bullet design is still one of the best ever
developed for sixgun use.
from the loads tested at the bench, I have over the past couple
of months fired the Flattop at various targets of opportunity;
mostly rocks and stumps around the farm. The gun handles great,
and points naturally. While I sometimes favor a shorter barrel
for packing, the seven and one-half inch does have a unique
balance and feel to it, which I find beneficial to accurate
case you could not tell up to this point, I am very impressed
with the U.S. Firearms Flattop Target revolver, and I highly
recommend it to anyone searching for an accurate, reliable, and
authentic single action that is a bit different from the
run-of-the-mill Colt replica. This revolver is better fitted and
finished than any Colt that I have ever handled, and is more
accurate than I can hold it. With the design of the sights, it
is easily adapted to your favorite .45 load, and shoots like a
Flattop Target is more than just another cowboy gun. It is a
design that was decades ahead of its time, and is well deserving
of being resurrected by U.S. Firearms.
out their entire line of quality firearms on the internet at:
For more information on the excellent San Pedro
Saddlery leather, check them out online at: www.sanpedrosaddlery.com.
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