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Author Topic: Replica 1862 J.H. Dance And Brothers .36 and .44 Revolver (Pietta and Uberti)  (Read 3755 times)

Offline sourdough

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[Prologue: Dr. James L. Davis (Claremore OK) passed away September 2019. Much, or all, of his collection was sold to October Country (Idaho). I, along with others, have been fortunate enough to have purchased a few of the RPRCA (Replica Percussion Revolver Collector Association) collection items. Dr. Davis had collected many replica revolvers and was in the process of organizing his notes and other material to write a book when he passed, which I understand is to possibly be finished by Dennis Norton sometime in the future.]

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This was written by Dr. Jim L. Davis, January 07, 2009 on the FirearmsTalk Forum and April 28, 2010 on the CAS City Forum:

"Many of those who share on the various forums may have seen the postings of my requests for information about various replicas that have been produced.  One of these has been the Confederate replica of the Dance Brothers revolver which was originally made in Texas.  After 15 yrs. of research into the replica revolvers that have been manufactured since the early 1950’s, I have finally been able to put together production numbers for all replica Dance revolvers that have been manufactured.

It turns out that the Pietta .36 cal. revolvers that were marked DANCE FIREARMS CO. - ANGLETON, TEXAS are the fewest in number at only 35 guns.  These start with serial # C00001 and continue through # C00047.  There were an additional 4 guns produced that are marked DANCE FIREARMS CO. - ANGLETON, TEXAS in .44 cal. with rebated cylinders, # C00048-C00051.  The .44cal. revolvers were prototypes of a possible .44 cal. series.  These were produced in 1996.
 
Pietta continued shipments of the .36 cal. Dance revolver that are only marked F.LLI PIETTA MADE IN ITALY on right side of the barrel.  This was at about the same time that they discontinued the marking of any revolvers with anything other than their own name. These terminated with serial # C00127.  All production of the Pietta Dance revolver in .36 cal. were discontinued with serial # C00127.  This is a total production of only 75 revolvers.  The only revolvers left are only available from Tony Gajewsky.  These now sell for over $1000. I acquired one of these Pietta Dance revolvers off the internet recently.  It is like new condition with serial # C00096. This is the only resale I have ever seen.  These were also produced in 1996.
 
Pietta resumed production of the .44 cal. with 7 1/2" barrels and REBATED CYLINDERS with serial # C00128.  This production was modified to the current STRAIGHT CYLINDERS and 8" barrel at around serial # C00233. There were only 105 Dance revolvers in .44 cal. made with rebated cylinders.

The Dance in Adler's book is the current .44 cal. available from Dixie and Traditions, which are made by Pietta. He does not even mention the original Uberti or Pietta .36 cal.
 
Uberti made 50 Dance Commemoratives with only 44 being accepted by Tony.  They all have an AR prefix on the serial number starting with AR001 and have a Certificate of Authenticity with each gun.  After the Commemoratives the "Shooter Model” was introduced starting with serial # 0001.  These revolvers had plain cylinders and are marked SMLS INC ANGLETON TEXAS.  These were all sold the first year they were introduced in 1985.

Both the Uberti and Pietta replica Dance revolvers have square back trigger guards.  This was done intentionally as a deterrent to counterfeiters which seemed to be a fear of collectors of original revolvers.

There was a Uberti Dance revolver recently auctioned on Gun Broker.  It sold for around $325 which was a correct price since it was what I categorize as a Scrap Gun in our book.  A Scrap Gun is a gun that is assembled from parts left over from special edition guns and commemoratives that a manufacturer produced.  Armi San Marco produced many of these.  Uberti also used left over or seconds parts to assemble the Dance recently sold on Gun Broker.  These guns have a very limited interest to the collector.  They are oddities but have little monetary value."


Dr. Davis on another Forum a few years ago:

"The first Dance replicas were produced by Uberti in .36cal. in 1985.  The .36cal Dance will probably never be produced again.  Uberti produced 45 commemorative models in .36cal. that came in a Walnut cased set complete with leather covered flask, mold, wrench, and cap box.  The original cardboard box that they came in was a "Western Arms-Uberti" box.  Each of these revolvers is certificated and is not authentic without the certificate.  These have an "AR" prefix on the serial number starting with AR001.  Uberti then produced 50 "shooter" models in .36cal.  These also came in "Western Arms" boxes.  They have no engraving on the cylinder and are marked SMLS on the barrel.  Tony Gajewsky of South West Muzzleloaders Supply (no longer in business) is the Father of the Dance replicas.  Tony had one Dance .44cal. made on the Dragoon Frame with all the commemorative markings as a prototype.  This, of course, is the rarest of all the replica Dance revolvers and is retained by Tony.

Tony commissioned another production of the .36cal. Dance revolver with Pietta in 1996.  These were to be marketed by Dance Firearms Co. and were to be so marked on the barrel.  After a breach of the contract with Pietta, production of the .36cal. Dance revolver, marked as such, stopped with #00047.  There were actually only 35 of these revolvers delivered making this rarer than the Uberti production of 50 guns.  There were four .44cal. Dance revolver delivered marked "Dance Firearms Co. - Angleton, Texas" as prototypes for a possible future production.  These are on the 1851 Navy frame with rebated cylinders.  These four revolvers are the second rarest Dance revolvers produced.  No need to search for one because all four with consecutive numbers C00048-C00051 are in the RPRCA collection.

There were 75 more .36cal. Dance revolvers delivered by Pietta from serial number C00052-C00127.  These, however, are not marked Dance Firearms Co. but have only the Pietta markings on the right side of the barrel.  As part of the contract settlement Pietta can no longer produce the .36cal. Dance so there will be no more. 

Pietta continued production of the .44cal. Dance exclusively through Dixie Gun Works until recently when Traditions also started marketing the Dance as well as Bass Pro.  Pietta is the only manufacturer of the .44cal. Dance revolver at this time.  There is no difference between those sold by Dixie Gun Works, Traditions, or Bass Pro except for the box.  To my knowledge there is only one serial number range that Pietta uses for the Dance Revolver.

Interestingly for you collector types, Pietta first produced the .44cal. with rebated cylinders and the 7-1/2" barrel.  This was then changed to the current variation of shorter straight cylinder with 8" barrel.  There are only around 105 of those rebated cylinder Dance revolvers out there."


Dr. Davis, from May 01, 2010 CAS City Forum:

"Thanks to this Forum I have just been able to purchase an original, not 'scrap', Uberti Dance Replica on  Gun Broker.  It was not listed in the right place so there were no bids on it.  The Pathfinder put me in touch with this find.  There were 50 of these manufactured by Uberti.  This is only the second one I have ever seen for sale in twenty years.  The first was a set, #3 & 4,  which RPRCA was able to purchase around 14yrs. ago."


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First run with Dance Angleton Texas barrel marking:


Pietta Dance .36 SN C00007 date code BH/1996. It has a round trigger guard which is most likely a replacement for the original squareback trigger guard (Photos: Hoof Hearted).






Pietta Dance .36 SN C00013 date code BH/1996 (Photos: sourdough).







Pietta Dance .36 SN C00030 date code BH/1996 (Photos: Bob Whynot).










Pietta Dance .36 SN C00017 date code BH/1996 (Photos: Coot)











Pietta Dance .36 SN C00034 date code BH/1996 (Photos: Unknown)








Second run without Dance Angleton Texas barrel marking:


Pietta Dance .36 SN C00096 date code BH/1996 (See Davis' text above.) (Photo: Ephraim Kibbey).




Pietta Dance .44 Rebated Cylinder date code BH/1996 SN C00156 (Photo: OC/unknown owner).





Pietta Dance .44 Smooth Cylinder date code BH/1996 SN C00279 (Photo: OC/unknown owner).




Pietta Double Cased Sets .44 and .36 (unknown SN's) (Photo: OC).






Pietta Dance .44: Current production with round trigger guard, Navy frame with lowered water table, and smooth non-rebated cylinder (Photo: Pietta).



Pietta Dance .44 cylinder and Pietta 1851 Navy .36 cylinder (Photo: RCamp6131)     





Uberti Dance .36 Double Cased Set date code AN/1985 consecutive SN 0003 and 0004. According to Davis, these were known as the "Shooter Model" with no prefix on the SN. (Photos: A34).








Uberti Dance .36 Cased Set date code AN/1985 SN 0028. Per Davis, it was sold as the Shooter Model with no SN prefix, and the barrel is marked SMLS-INC.-ANGLETON.-TEXAS . It has the original Western Arms/Uberti box. (Photos: Mark Hubbs/Eras Gone)














Uberti Dance .36 Confederate Army Commemorative SN unknown (Photos: OC/unknown owner). Commemorative Models had an AR SN prefix.









Uberti Dance .36 Confederate Army Commemorative SN AR031 (Photos: Dennis Norton)





That is all I have. If anyone else has more information, it would be much appreciated!

Regards,

Jim

(Updated 06/21/20)
« Last Edit: April 20, 2021, 02:19:28 PM by sourdough »

Offline ShotgunDave

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Jim, this has to be the most comprehensive cataloging of the Dance guns, that I've ever seen! Nice work my friend!

Thanks for taking the time to compile and post this.
"Never trust quotes from the internet"
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Offline Captainkirk

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Outstanding!!!!!!!!
"You gonna pull those pistols, or whistle Dixie?"

Offline Roy L. Oak

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Nice job, Jim!  Thanks for letting me know about this post.  I was able to secure a Commemerative which is the one in the photo you posted I think. 

Offline sourdough

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Thanks for the kind words, guys! I had a lot of help putting it together.

Welcome to the Forum, Roy! I am sure folks here would be interested in any threads you start about any other replica revolver. They are all interesting to me!

I believe you are correct about the Uberti Dance .36 Commemorative, and I see that it is missing from the OC inventory. Good for you!

Regards,

Jim

Offline sourdough

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I just edited my log as I have found a third revolver of the first run of 35 Angleton Texas marked guns. The owner, Bob Whynot from Texas supplied the photos of the gun (SN C00030), sales receipt from Tony Gajewski, and box. He has owned it since 1997 when he attended a book signing at the Brazoria County (TX) Museum in Angleton TX, featuring author Gary Wiggins, Tony Gajewski, and two Dance descendants Sarah Dance Brown and Mary Eloise Dance McNeill. The signed book, "Dance & Brothers, Texas Gunmakers Of The Confederacy" was a special edition in 1997 with a gold colored seal with the 1997 date:




As far as I know, there was only one printing of the book in 1986. Therefore, any extant copies for sale have skyrocketed (as much as $600+ online), and I never figured I could afford one. About a month ago I obtained a copy of the book (thanks to the coronavirus stimulus check) for $238 plus shipping (!). It is a well written book with many good B&W photos and attendant descriptions of each revolver presented but not really worth that kind of money. It is autographed by Wiggins (twice: the second autograph was added for the previous owner of the book)) and Sarah and Mary. It was originally purchased in 1986 (the date of publication) and included the original 1986 bill of sale to a Ted Gewirz of Silver Spring MD for $49.95 plus tax.



All for now!

Regards,

Jim

Offline ShotgunDave

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You got a helluva deal on that book Jim!

I was looking at them on Amazon. The cheapest one was over $700!! Way too rich for my blood!
"Never trust quotes from the internet"
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Offline sourdough

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You got a helluva deal on that book Jim!

I was looking at them on Amazon. The cheapest one was over $700!! Way too rich for my blood!

It's far worse than that. Just looked for available books online today and was floored! The book is worth more than the Pietta Dance .36 valued at $1000. All listings in excess of $900. I have no idea what is going on.

Jim

https://www.bookfinder.com/search/?ac=sl&st=sl&ref=bf_s2_a1_t1_1&qi=JKnhW86TR1V6HZ9ByMAIllCcOog_1497963026_1:1:1&bq=author%3Dg%2520wiggins%26title%3Ddance%2520and%2520brothers%2520texas%2520gunmakers%2520of%2520the%2520confederacy

Offline sourdough

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I just found another addition for my OP and edited it as such: an Uberti Dance .36 SN 0028 Shooter Model.  I have yet to discern how many were made by Uberti in the one-year run in 1985. Davis states they were all sold that year. Since the barrel is marked SMLS [Southwest Muzzle Loader Shooter (Supply)] Angleton, Tony Gajewsky had a hand in the Uberti production in 1985, as well as the Pietta production in 1996, some of which (35) were barrel marked Angleton. I would also like to find an owner of what Davis considers an Uberti "scrap" gun, made up of leftover parts from the 1985 production which seems to have involved ASM also.

I want to thank all who have either wandered into this thread or sought it out to supply me with photos and info so I can compile it in one place. It has been a great learning experience for me, and I am awaiting anything from Mr. Dennis Norton insofar as his access to Davis' files concerning RPRCA and these revolvers.

That's all for now.

Regards,

Jim
« Last Edit: June 21, 2020, 03:48:44 PM by sourdough »

Offline ShotgunDave

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You're compiling a really nice Dance database Jim.

Thanks for the effort.
"Never trust quotes from the internet"
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Offline sourdough

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I consider myself lucky to have found, via contacts with other folks who own these revolvers, others that I previously knew nothing about. I would absolutely like to hear from an owner of one of the four marked DANCE FIREARMS CO. - ANGLETON, TEXAS in .44 cal. with rebated cylinders, # C00048-C00051. Davis in 2010 stated that Tony Gajewski owns them, but I don't know if he still has them or not. If anyone has any contact info for Tony (last known to me to be located in or near Angleton TX) I would very much like to contact him.

Regards to all in so many ways,

Jim

Offline sourdough

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Update:

In July 2020 I did an Internet White Pages search for Tony Gajewski in Texas and came up with two addresses. I composed a short letter to Mr. Gajewsky explaining my interest in his involvement with both the Pietta and Uberti Dance revolvers, as well as a mention that I was in possession of the Pietta Dance Firearms Co. Angleton Texas C00013 revolver. I mailed both letters and really never expected a response.

To my complete surprise, I received an email on August 24, 2020 from Tony Gajewsky's daughter:

"I apologize for the delay in response concerning your request of information about Tony Gajewsky and his Dance Firearms Co. out of Angleton, Tx. I am his daughter. My dad very recently passed away. I am honored to be the executrix of his will and estate and I do have access to his business information including his collection of the guns he had replicated with Uberti and Pietta.

Please feel free to contact me at anytime regarding any questions you may have. The Dance Firearms were his lifelong passion and I will be very happy to pass along any information and help out in anyway I can to others who shared in his love for this historical gun."


I immediately responded, but did not hear back from her until yesterday, October 21, 2020:

"Going through my dad’s home has proved to be quite an undertaking. Everything of value has to be appraised and documented which has taken quite a while. I want to be respectful of my dad’s things and honor his wishes as well so I am going about this very carefully. I know you understand, but I just wanted to reach out and let you know that I haven’t forgotten about you at all. I will be sending you photos of the Dance guns I have come across so far.

I am learning so much about all the passion and effort he put into having the Dance Revolver remade. I really never knew much about it. Learning about his work makes me so proud of all that he accomplished throughout his life. Did you know he also built three cannons that have been used in re-enactments all over Texas and were fired at his funeral? He never stopped collecting, refurbishing, and making historical weapons even in the depths of his illness. I am so glad to connect with you and to be able to learn more as well as to share his knowledge and works concerning his passion of The Dance Revolver."


To be continued...

Jim








Offline Captainkirk

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 {;:
"You gonna pull those pistols, or whistle Dixie?"

Offline ShotgunDave

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Wow!

First of all, how terrible that he has passed. Godspeed to Mr. Gajewski.

Second, good for you Jim, that you are helping get his story out. What a great way to honor him and his accomplishments.
"Never trust quotes from the internet"
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Offline sourdough

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I just found another one.

This is SN C00017. Added to database.

Still awaiting photos from Fingers about SN C00034.

5 found, only 30 more to go.  ;)

Regards,

Jim
« Last Edit: April 13, 2021, 02:43:06 PM by sourdough »