Tuesday, May 12, 2020

What is a "Proper" BBQ gun?

"BBQ guns are without question a long Texas tradition. Understandable that one might miss 
the "rules" if not steeped in the generation lore of the SW gunman. BBQ guns are carried
concealed under the gentlemen's jacket during the more genteel times and public places.
That are a working man's embelished firearm fully capable taking care of business as 
intended and still enable the owner to take into court, a cantina or your church with 
some pride of ownership and a warnign tothose that might offend.    A BBQ gun is 
never be seen without intent, and never shown just to impress or offend the Judge, 
Ms. Daisy or the Church Chior. There is a very specific short list of what a BBQ gun is 
and what it aint.   Best education on what a BBQ gun actually is would be a stroll 
through the Texas Ranger Museum in Waco, TX.  And what a BBQ is not by a visit 
to the national Cowboy Museum's Hollywood and Movie star exibition, in OKC."

You can call any gun a BBQ gun. It is still a free country. But calling a cow a bull, 
don't make it a bull."

I have plenty of photos on my computer of some very nice guns.  A few like guns 
tucked away in my safe.   Few are worthy of the title, BBQ gun.

First and for most a BBQ gun is a full size fighting handgun.   If it can't be carried
on a belt easily in open daily carry, or just as easily concealed carry, it aint gonna
make a decent BBQ gun.

The definative description a BBQ gun was written long ago by working Texas LE.   
BBQ guns weren't  an invention of NYC or the jonny come lately fancy "parade guns"
 hostered by sissified California movie stars shooting 4:1 blanks.    They sure as hell 
were never a working cowboy's gun.    Possible though that it might have been the 
Ranch owner's gun if he also had a politically motivated LE commission.   The 
definition of a BBQ gun was already written in stone and blood prior to 1910.   
Not to be confused with Colt presentation guns or simply a fancy "hog leg" 
Colt prior to 1890.     

Real BBQ guns were first the working guns and then the treasures of a few 
stalwart SW Lawmen.

Women and children don't get to see the BBQ gun unless it is by chance. Might 
make the females nervous and draws too much attention from a young'un.   
But no man with any degree of concern for friends and family would go 
unarmed to any social setting.  BBQ guns are only seen by your pards after 
the socializing is done with women and children.   Even then with discussions 
of serious matters, politics, horses and good guns, the BBQ isn't a  show piece 
to pass around. 

Helps to know that most Texas BBQs are social and often political affairs  of like
minded folk.  Places gentlemen wear a jacket and tie.   A court appearance for
LE as an example.   Weddings or a Sunday church gathering are all acceptable
places for a BBQ gun to be tucked under the jacket.  Places gentlemen wear a
jacket and tie and also a place one might take the prized BBQ.

They aren't guns you wear to Bob's back yard BBQ with Aunt Jane.  Uncle Bob
wearing his shorts  and blinding all those around him with the reflection off his
knees while flipping burgers while the kids push each other into the pool is not
the place for a gun from chrimney sake!

If you need a gun to show off to Uncle Bob and Aunt Jane you don't have the
where with all to actually own one let alone use a proper BBQ gun.

Attributes of a true BBQ gun

Full sized steel firearm that can easily be carried concealed on the hip
with few rare exceptions it a pre Series '80 Colt 1911, Combat Commander or SAA
the exceptions are generally K frame S&W or the occasional HP
If you haven't seen one in the Texas Ranger Museum it aint a proper BBQ
Ivory, pewter, silver or pearl grips (no movie stag) style points for carved or engraved
master C engraved or better
nickel, gold or silver plate (nothing no matter how fancy in blue)

what a BBQ gun is NOT

It is not a j frame revolver
it is not a Sig, Glock or any modern 9mm/40 cal
it is not a 5.5" or 7.5" Colt SAA
it is not generally a blued gun. The obvious exception is a 
heavily gold, inlaid fully engraved blued gun.

Monday, October 28, 2019

Base USFA info?

The info presented on this blog is for my own use and  that of fellow USFA enthusiasts.   The info and the photos are copy righted material.     What it is not, is "free info" to be stolen and used by others for any commercial purpose including on their web sites like has been done brazenly done by Alex Hamilton,  of Tenring Precision in El Paso, TX.  Even after it was pointed out to Hamilton that he was using  our copy righted material, it still remains on his web site month's later.   It is knowingly theft.  Think about that if you ever need his services.

"All photos on my Web site are my own.....  However, once photos are published on the Internet they are public domain and can be used by anyone at any time.
 Alex B. Hamilton

My photos and info published here on the blog years ago.  It is not public domain.

"One sure way of knowing if your USFA receiver is a Uberti or a “made in USA” USFA is to look at the pivoting area of the loading gate when the loading gate is open.  The Uberti frame loading gate has a gap at the three o’clock position and the USFA loading gate pivot area completely fills the area without a gap."

(USFA/USA on left)  (Uberti Frame on right)

Our original Shootist's blog photos that you'll see in an earlier post here.



The info you see here on the blog, could be organized better.  But the basic info of what USPFA or USAF gun will be all Italian parts , a combination of USA and Italian parts or just all USA parts should  be here and easy enough to find if you take a few minutes to look around.   I have looked at and examined in person and  well over 1000 USFA guns by now.   And been lucky enough to have recorded the serial numbers and seen detailed photos of many, many more.

A pair of my early USFA guns, with carved ivory,  that were mostly part Italian parts guns.  (although I didn't know it at the time)   Beautiful guns but nothing like USFA would produce later in their history.

My first USFA guns were purchased in 1999.  My first USFA, USA made guns in 2008.  I started gathering this info in 2009.   Turned out as USFA was closing its doors in  2011 I suddenly had a lot of free time on y hands and started seriously collecting what I could on USFA info and guns.  Later with the help of the CAS forum's membership and my own  gun purchases I was able to put a  extensive serial number catalog together.  Much of what I found useful for my own USFA collecting during those years is documented here. 

I didn't publish the info I had collected until 2013,  which was after I had bought the majority of my own  USFA collection, for obvious reasons.  Prices were already going out of sight for my meager pocket book.  And they continue to climb skyward to date.   I finally made some of the info public by 2013 here on the blog and have  updated that first info a number of times to what you see now in the 2015 post.    I've also added other info as I found a sub topic interesting within the USFA and previous USPFA gun when I thought it might be useful to others shooters and collectors.   Early on, after the end of production @ USFA I saw a lot of guns being sold for high prices that really couldn't be justified by the best of the USFA production quality.  I had hoped that a little knowledge would save others some of the heart break I experienced buying guns that I shouldn't have.  

As prices continue to climb on the secondary market here are a few things I have not found Italian guns to be  at the level of a all USFA made gun.   Please!  Buyer beware there.    The serial numbers pretty much tell that story if you bother to look and have the info.   available.   But there are other subtle details as noted within the text.  If you have a question I am happy to attempt an informed answer.

USFA likely did almost as many "one off" guns as they seemingly did production guns.  Not really but there are so many variations  it  might really pay to look closer and again..when you think you have something with the USFA logo.   I have learned to never, say never.  And  that if anyone actually knows all the details or was at USFA and USPFA prior for the duration they aren't talking, let alone writing it down for public consumption.    


(10/28/19)   Much to their chagrin it seems Standard has taken on the mantel, CNC machines, skilled personal and CNC progams.    I have one of the Standard guns in 45.  It is a nice gun no doubt.   But without question in my mind it is not, in my opinion, on the level of the best that USFA produced.  Details are missing.

I think the easy comparison would be 1st, 2nd and 3rd gen Colts.   Reverse the  idea and you have some thing similar  in current Uberti, Standard and USFA guns.   Not a perfect comparison but you can get  the idea if you are a collector or just a shooter of any of these guns.    Make sure you are getting what  you think you are paying for.

Current Ubertis (from Cimarron) in 44 Special and 32-20. (Spring 2019 production)   Guns that are hard not to like.  And frankly after rebuilding many Colts of all generations and a good many USFA guns I can say the Ubertis are  typically better timed (and easier to fix if they aren't) and  shoot to point of aim where a Colt seldom does either very well.   You want a gun to shoot?  Buy a Uberti or the Pietta.  The Pietta is  more keeping with a traditional Colt for parts and size.  Colt comparison?   Uberti, USFA and Standard are not a traditional Colt for parts or size of the guns.   Parts are for the most part interchangeable (might not be perfect but you can get a working firearm again)  between the last three mentioned.

I know this..…. having done just that on the guns.

32-20 Uberti

Three Uberti 44 Specials.

One of my favorite USFA guns  which started life as a USFA made Rodeo.  Matte blue Rodeos are the perfect basis for a engraving project.  I've only owned own USFA USA made gun that didn't shoot POA/POI.   They are generally exceptional shooters.  I have one I call the "Cutter" for its ability to cut playing cards at any distance I can see the edge of a playing card.

The "Cutter".

A classic pair of special order, USA made Rodeo II guns, NIB,  with Nutmeg ivory

And a pair of classic Colts being used as intended :)

I hope the info offered here helps the next guy!    Keep it on target and your powder dry :)

Sunday, October 21, 2018

The earliest USPFA guns...

A quick look at the early USFA guns built from Uberti parts.

Back of the hammer with a small screw on the top of the hammer.

this is what a later gun will look like under the hammer

and the extra milling done on the earlier guns under the hammer for the hammer safety.

And the hammer that fits the early additional milling on the Ubert/USPFA frames.

These USPFA gun will typically have a P stamped above their Serial number on the frame.