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Author Topic: Brass Frame Revolvers for collectors  (Read 403 times)

Offline Captainkirk

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Brass Frame Revolvers for collectors
« on: July 15, 2020, 12:49:33 PM »
BRASSERS....ya love 'em or ya hate 'em, it seems. One one hand, brass frame revolvers are structurally weaker than their steel brethren. You don't have to be a metallurgist to grasp the obvious. Many will tell you to skip the brasser altogether and spend the extra on a steel-framed revolver. This is sage advice as a whole. But, the brassers have their own qualities that shouldn't be overlooked, including:
1) Brass is easy to machine with simple hand tools and sandpaper
2) Brass polishes up like 14 carat gold with a little brass polish and some elbow grease
3) Brass is easily de-farbed for those so inclined
4) Once you've worked your brass, no re-bluing is required. Just polish it
5) If you don't like what you did, do some more work and polish again. Repeat as necessary
6) While not the same metallurgy (original period brassers contained more bronze and were likely stronger) they are, for the most part, historically correct, and make an interesting platform for a collection of Confederate revolvers.
7) Brassers are considerably cheaper, especially on the auction websites, than their steel counterparts. One can build a rather large collection of brassers for the same dollar amount as a modest collection of steel-framed revolvers, and even less for that of the XX-generation Colts.
Of course, one must load brassers to much lighter limits, and there is always the potential for the Colt repros 'shooting loose'. You might win a few, lose a few in this arena, especially if you are buying used from an unknown history. However, if the recoil shield is un-dented and the arbor is tight, there is no reason to expect it would shoot loose if you treat it right. And one can't deny that a properly shined-up brasser is a beautiful sight to behold!
While the debate will probably rage on forever, let's hear your opinions....good or bad....and brasser stories. Vive le brasser!
« Last Edit: July 16, 2020, 12:10:27 PM by Captainkirk »
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Offline ShotgunDave

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Re: Brass Frame Revolvers for collectors
« Reply #1 on: July 15, 2020, 01:01:10 PM »
All valid points Capt. I currently only own one brass framed pistol. My Pietta G&G that I built up from parts. It shoots very well, loaded with 15 grains of 3FFF. It's just a fun "plinker".

One thing you didn't touch on is, how 'slick" the action feels on a brasser. The always seem to feel much smoother than an all steel gun, even with no modifications to the trigger pull.

Here's mine.

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Offline Fingers McGee

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Re: Brass Frame Revolvers for collectors
« Reply #2 on: July 15, 2020, 01:01:18 PM »
Can't argue that.
Fingers (Show Me MO smoke) McGee; SASS 28654-L-TG, NCOWS 3280; Alter Ego of Diabolical Ken, rangemaster and stage writer extraordinaire.  Founding member of Central Ozarks Western Shooters and member of Southern Missouri Rangers, Double M Cowboys, Owl Creek Raiders and the Ozark Posse

Offline Captainkirk

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Re: Brass Frame Revolvers for collectors
« Reply #3 on: July 15, 2020, 01:09:06 PM »
I own...and have owned...a number of brass framed revolvers. One model in particular is the brass-framed Remington NMA, of which there is no evidence that the Confederates (or anyone else, for that matter) attempted to clone. Having owned a number of these 'counterfeit' Remingtons I can say this much; everything I said in the above post applies, plus there is no threaded arbor to "shoot loose" as on a Colt. The danger in the Remmy 'brasser' lies in excessive recoil from overcharging allowing the cylinder to have a slide hammer effect on the recoil shield, denting and imprinting the shield and allowing the cylinder/forcing cone gap to widen, which exacerbates the slide hammer effect, which...yeah. You get the picture.
The ultimate effect can be massive gaps due to a stretched frame and severely imprinted recoil shield.
So...do we avoid the Remington brasser at all costs, then? By no means. Keeping your charge at 25gr 3F or substitute MAX (less is better in this case) will not only keep your revolver from destroying itself, but also saves on powder, and in most cases just so happens to be more accurate as well. Did I mention it doesn't rust, either? I have purchased a number of brass Remingtons, and several of them I've paid less than $100.00 for. And if you are a collector, not a shooter, you have nothing to fear whatsoever. They will look great, and if left to age, develop a gorgeous mustard-colored patina. These brass Remingtons get a bad rap by a few people that load them with full house loads and then complain when they don't hold together. Of course, you must be wary when purchasing a used one to look for signs of abuse or overcharging, so do your due diligence. I'll be posting up some of my photos and digging through my archives for photos of the ones I've sold to spice up this thread. One last thing; you can amass quite a collection of brassers for a fraction of the cost of a few steel revolvers if you watch the auction sites.
"You gonna pull those pistols, or whistle Dixie?"

Offline Captainkirk

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Re: Brass Frame Revolvers for collectors
« Reply #4 on: July 15, 2020, 01:11:59 PM »
Dave, your G&G is one of the historically correct (HC) Confederate copies, although the South used a brass with much higher bronze content which made them much stronger. Shooting 15gr of 3F should keep that one purring for years to come. I've always loved the round-barrel G&Gs.
Yes, forgot to mention the 'slick' feel. It's almost as if they were Teflon coated.
« Last Edit: July 15, 2020, 01:12:59 PM by Captainkirk »
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Offline Captainkirk

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Re: Brass Frame Revolvers for collectors
« Reply #5 on: July 15, 2020, 01:20:17 PM »
Here is a Remington brasser I picked up...unfired...for $50.00. It was missing the cylinder (so the story goes) as it had been in a basement flood and the cylinder got badly rusted. (personally, I think there's more to the story, but...)I was able to purchase a new ASM cylinder (in the white) and nipples for under $30.00 and used Oxpho Blue gel cold bluing. I've never fired it. Brand-new, unfired gun for $75.00.





« Last Edit: July 15, 2020, 01:37:42 PM by Captainkirk »
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Offline Centurion

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Re: Brass Frame Revolvers for collectors
« Reply #6 on: July 15, 2020, 01:20:26 PM »
I've owned various "non historical" copies of Remington and Colt 44 caliber brassers. In any case I used to shoot it with very light loads and found it to be very accurate and funny ones.

Surely I would never use any of it for serious businesses. For such task I would take any steel gun, preferably a Remington instead of any Colt.

Offline Captainkirk

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Re: Brass Frame Revolvers for collectors
« Reply #7 on: July 15, 2020, 01:23:28 PM »
Surely I would never use any of it for serious businesses.
How would you define "serious business"? I would have no qualms shooting paper or steel with light loads on a regular basis.
I wouldn't want to defend my life with one on a regular basis, though.
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Offline Captainkirk

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Re: Brass Frame Revolvers for collectors
« Reply #8 on: July 15, 2020, 01:45:31 PM »
I have seen...once...a Navy version of the Remington brasser. It was an early Navy Arms version, short barrel and .36 caliber, with a Roman Numeral date code. It had been fired, obviously, and the seller would not budge on his opening bid of $300.00. It's the only brass Remington Navy I've ever seen to date...
I also had in my possession a brass framed Colt 1860 Army. I sold it to a member on another forum and don't think I've seen another since.
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Offline Centurion

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Re: Brass Frame Revolvers for collectors
« Reply #9 on: July 15, 2020, 02:09:34 PM »
Surely I would never use any of it for serious businesses.
How would you define "serious business"? I would have no qualms shooting paper or steel with light loads on a regular basis.
I wouldn't want to defend my life with one on a regular basis, though.

When I said serious businesses I was talking about hunting, as a primary or secondary gun. But it could be about self defense as well. Black powder single action revolvers were used extensively for such task in the past, with good results...

Offline Captainkirk

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Re: Brass Frame Revolvers for collectors
« Reply #10 on: July 15, 2020, 07:12:47 PM »
Agreed...I would not hunt with a brasser. Hunting (and home defense) require fairly hot loads. Besides, I have other firearms far better suited to those purposes...
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Offline Centurion

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Re: Brass Frame Revolvers for collectors
« Reply #11 on: July 15, 2020, 07:20:38 PM »
Agreed...I would not hunt with a brasser. Hunting (and home defense) require fairly hot loads. Besides, I have other firearms far better suited to those purposes...

Agree with you. There are much better options nowadays...