F.lli Pietta

Weapon test New 12-inch Single Action Revolvers – 2 of 2

Gun skin

Whether Earp said it or Lake made it up, Wyatt allegedly carried the Buntline on his right hip (as demonstrated by the author in accompanying photos), although Lake never described Earp’s holster or his gun belt.

Since, in this, reality and fiction coincide, we chose Alan and Donna Soellner of Chisholm’s Trail to produce a 12-inch version of their Tombstone holster based on the one carried by Kurt Russell in his portrayal of Wyatt Earp.

This is a very distinctive holster with a heavy drop loop attached, no exposed skirt, and two Chicago bolts on the back to secure the belt loop in the holster. The standard model is a 10-inch Buntline like the one Russell wore in the film, but Chisholm’s Trail now offers both 10- and 12-inch versions.

Despite Wyatt’s supposed comment about the Special that “it could have clicked like it did with the old one,” we believe that a firm lateral draw is slow and cautious. Brought into a cross-extraction rig, the Buntline is extracted faster and settles exactly in the firing position with one sharp movement.

If Lake made up his story about Earp’s method of carrying his weapon, it is likely that in truth he never carried a Buntline to see if a powerful side draw was fast or not.

And it wasn’t. But it certainly looks impressive.

Autonomy test

Nothing beats heaps of black powder smoke for Wild West realism, so we performed part of our range test with .45 Long Colt 235 RNFP Goex Black Dawg Pinnacle Black Powder cartridges. The smoky, hard-to-impact 235-grain bullets performed better from 50 feet than 1-1/2 inches center-to-center.

The Black Dawg traveling along a foot of rifled steel cleared the traps of our ProChrono chronograph at an average of 805 fps (feet per second). Accuracy with Black Dawg was especially good considering the recoil force that Pinnacle black powder produces. Our second test, also at 50 feet, was done with Ten-X 165 gr. HBFP (hollow base and flat tip) recording an average speed of 500 fps. In that condition the Buntline shoots a little less well, but we decided to see how well it would hit at the aiming point.

The best 5-round has a dispersion of just 1-1/8 inches all located at 5 o’clock in the lower corner of the target. A second group fired hitting the target and placing three more in the black but spreading to 3-1/2 inches due to a shot placed at 7 o’clock in the 6 ring. All shots were fired using a Weaver stance and a two-handed grip.

With a 12-inch barrel, the Buntline is slightly heavy, as would be expected, but smooth, with a prepared action that makes the weapon fire almost effortlessly. The easy draw of the hammer (we used a two-handed grip and the thumb of either to cock the hammer as in SASS competitions), and the trigger make it a perfect weapon for competitions and target practice.

For a SASS match, the Buntline packs them tight and fast, as long as you don’t lose too much time arming the weapon!

Final considerations

While historical authenticity is put on the back burner with Pietta’s in-house Buntline, this remains a truly reasonably priced, high-quality firearm that displays the form and finish that have become typical of the latest Pietta single-action rifles.

This problem, although minor, is in the design of the yoke, which is a reproduction of the yoke of the Colt SAA Smokeless Powder circa 1896, with a drum-locking pin. Colt’s original 1876 house Buntlines were made with the first black powder castle that used a bolt to secure the drum shaft.

Pietta chose the later Colt house castle for the Buntlines simply because all their other Single Action models were based on the 1896 castle. In addition, the Piettas have a safety mechanism that is mounted using the infume powder castle. After checking that the weapon is empty, cock the hammer, press the side button, and push the drum pin back into its second recess.

With the shaft locked in this position, the end protrudes through the back of the castle and prevents the dog from falling completely. The best idea is to rest the dog on an empty chamber, which is what wiser cowboys did when they had to carry a loaded weapon on horseback.

As the reproductions go on, the Pietta house Buntline, both in standard blue with a polished nickel castle finish and the attractive antique blue version, are both outstanding weapons in appearance, accuracy and handling. If Wyatt Earp ever put his mallets on one of these, then he probably carried it as well.

Recent Posts