Got a Uberti 1851 "London" Navy today, along with a rough Spiller & Burr kit revolver.
I pictured the Uberti alongide the Pietta 1861 Navy. I have read pages of debated on various other forums and CAS forums about the "Pietta vs. Uberti" debate. The Pietta was produced in about 2003. At that time, Pietta quality control was "spotty" but they did a great job with this '61. Other Piettas I received around that time were not so nice, one I had to return due to horribly bad indexing( a brass frame .44 "Navy"), the other, an 1858 .44, snapped the mainspring before it was even fired. The Uberti Walker I bought in that same timeframe was flawless.
Many BP shooters say Pietta has greatly improved this year, the latest new Pietta I have is this current production Spiller and Burr kit.
Compared to the '04 "vintage" Pietta, my brand new, fresh off the line Uberti is actually of only slightly better quality! Uberti is often touted as the "best" BP revolver available, and it is VERY nice, and fit and finish is only a little better than the Pietta. The action on the Uberti is a bit slicker, lockup is tight as a vault, and the overall finish is just a touch better. The Pietta '61 is hard to improve on though, with the Uberti having only a slight edge. Tomorrow I will fire the Uberti and see how they both stack up performance wise.
Pietta 1851's sell for about $175-200, and the Uberti's go for $295, with my "London" carrying a little higher price tag of $315. The Pietta "London" with brass squareback trigger guard, as well as the "civilian" with silver plated guard go for $225. Whether the Uberti can justify the nearly $100 premium, only time will tell I guess. It would be up to the individual shooter if a little finer finishing, a bit slicker out of the box action and the lack of blatently "farb" markings on the barrel are worth an extra hundred bucks.
For the price of a used Glock, I expect my Uberti to last for a long time, and it seems like it will, but the Pietta doesn't seem to be lacking in quality either, if the current batch is up to par with my 1861.
The Spiller and Burr is way rough,brass is fresh from the mold, but the steel is finished and blued to new standards, and mechanically it is tight. I'm kind of on the fence whether I should have spent the extra 30 and got the finished piece, but I plan to take the bluing off to an "in the white" finish and just smooth up the brass with a dremel to go for a "rough antique" finish....... I don't need perfection, if it stays kinda rough it's fine, it could be a "late war expedient" CSA revolver if I can't get the roughness out!Also, the hand and stop bolt on my Uberti look brand new and unblemished, while the Spiller & Burr's hand and bolt stop appear to have been "shaped" while in the gun, the hand looks as if one of the corners was lightly filed round and the stop also looks like it was filed to take some of the meat off of it.....I guess they install the parts "raw" and then touch them up with a file until everything works. My 1861 Navy also looks to have had the hand and stop filed, but to a lesser extent.
Good thing I plan to make the Spiller "gunmetal gray" on the barrel and cylinder, because the cylinder is a BEAR to get back in and I already put two drag marks on it from the stop. It also seems Pietta "recycled" the cylinder from the .36 Remington repros, it looks the same as those from the 1858.......good or bad? I don't know......it's a repro but it seems to me that the Spiller is more or less just made to be a cheap brass framed .36 that resembles the S&B revolver, using the same cylinder rather than designing a new one.