Here Comes the Cavalry

A fantastic slew of historic 1873 Peacemaker replicas on the market.
A fantastic slew of historic 1873 Peacemaker replicas on the market.

Boots and saddle troopers, did you know that several firearms companies are producing replicas of the 1873 cavalry Peacemaker?

Military Colt copies are available from Cimarron Firearms Co., EMF Company, Navy Arms Company and United States Fire-Arms Manufacturing Co. (USFA). Since the U.S. cavalry used the 1873 Colt Single Action Army (SAA) revolver for about 20 years, and several different government inspectors checked out the pieces, each gunmaker has opted to offer a different historical replica, thus the slight variety in detail and pricing.

Cavalry models are all .45 Colt caliber and feature a blued barrel, cylinder, trigger, ejector housing and circular ejector head (often called the doughnut style), back strap, trigger guard and small parts, with a color, casehardened frame and hammer. Each also bears government inspector’s stampings on various metal parts (frame, cylinder, back strap, trigger guard and barrel) along with a “U.S.” stamping on the left side of the frame. The one-piece walnut stock is unvarnished with the government inspector’s cartouche (sometimes accompanied by a date). Incidentally, all cavalry Peacemakers—original and replica—feature the early, blackpowder-type frame, with the cylinder base pin retaining screw located on the forward portion of the frame.

Cimarron offers a replica of the 1873 Colt, like those used at the Battle of the Little Bighorn on June 25, 1876. Called the “Custer 7th Cavalry Model,” it’s copied from the first U.S. Government Colts, as issued to the ill-fated 7th Cavalry. This troopers revolver is stamped with an “A” inspector stamping, the mark of inspector Orville W. Ainsworth (OWA), on the appropriate metal parts, along with the early two-line patent date, the “U.S.” frame stamping and the “OWA” cartouche on the one-piece walnut stock. Stamped into the butt, in military fashion, is the company letter designation and 7th Cavalry markings. Cimarron’s “Custer 7th Cavalry Model” retails for around $520.

USFA’s custom shop also offers an interesting variation of the “Last Stand” martial SAA, called the “Custer Battlefield Gun.” Made as if it were an actual survivor of Custer’s last fight, the USFA replica is recreated in an antiqued finish (sans blue and color casehardening), complete with martial details. The pistol will be limited to the actual serial number range (using the 19th-century-style number stamping) that Ainsworth inspected. Suggested retail on USFA’s vintage-looking Custer Battlefield military revolver is $1,199.

USFA’s “Government Inspector Series” gun comes with authentic, arsenal-type blued and color casehardening, looking like the guns would have looked when new. These American-made replicas are detailed to match arms inspected by  ordnance inspectors such as Orville W. Ainsworth (OWA), Henry Nettleton (HN), David F. Clark (DFC) and Rinaldo A. Carr (RAC). Each will be produced in number-for-number recreations of original Colts within the range of each inspector’s era. USFA’s “Government Inspector Series” troopers revolver sells for around $1,485.

Thanks to these historically-oriented companies, the U.S. Cavalry rides again. Garry Owen!

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