Revisiting the Peacemakers Part 5

Revisiting the Peacemakers Part 5

An Ace in Accuracy & my top Colt combinations

By Dennis Adler

The Pyramyd Air Colt Peacemaker Airgun Builder has changed the face of CO2 pistols when it comes to customizing a Single Action to an individual customer’s preferences, and we all have different tastes in gun design and finish. The Colt’s Patent Fire-Arms Mfg. Co. knew that back in the 1870s when they began offering so many barrel length choices and factory tuned actions built to a customer’s preferences. When you add in factory engraving and retailers who ordered and sold (or commissioned) hand engraved guns to order, the Peacemaker became one of the most varied handgun designs of its time. And it still is today with factory engraving and custom engraving from firms like Adams & Adams in Vershire, Vermont.

There are a lot of reasons why this version created with the Peacemaker Airgun Builder is better than the Legends “Ace in the Hole” and the most obvious is (aside from the hammer) is that this gun bears Colt markings and has Colt medallion grips.
When the nickel 7-1/2 inch CO2 pellet model was introduced a limited number were sent to Adams & Adams and hand engraved in the Colt Factory C Engraving pattern, which is about 75 percent coverage. With the 7-1/2 inch nickel model back in the line through the Airgun Builder, we might see these elegant engraved guns once again.

Short and oh so sweet

Build a Custom Airgun

The first part of today’s article deals with shooting the new 3-1/2 inch pellet model. With the bright nickel finish, sighting will be ever so slightly different than the original 3-1/2 inch weathered finish Ace in the Hole. The nickel Peacemaker is a far more handsome pistol and the inset plastic front sight offers an advantage as it lowers the front sight closer to point of aim than a traditional Single Action blade front sight. Colt’s tended to shoot low and shootists often shaved the front sight down a little at a time to find the gun’s sweet spot, others who knew Colts well enough would order their guns from the factory with altered sights to their preferences. With the nickel CO2 model, the black front blade against the nickel topstrap sighting channel should stand out a little better, too. It’s still ugly, but it has that one advantage.

The point about guns from the Old West being modified from factory design is evidenced by the shaved down front sight on this Peacemaker carried by controversial military scout, lawman, and reputed, outlaw Tom Horn. He also had his gun chambered in the then popular .38-40 or .38 WCF caliber.

Accuracy and barrel length go hand in hand and the shorter the barrel the less accurate the gun is apt to be at longer ranges. Sheriff’s Models were intended for ease of carry and use at closer ranges. Not to say that some skilled pistoleros couldn’t hit their mark at greater distances with a 3-1/2 inch barrel, but rather that a longer barrel improved the odds. The shortest barrel length for a standard factory Sheriff’s Model was 3-1/2 inches, though the very first one Colt built in 1882 was 2-1/2 inches without an ejector. Obviously, reloading wasn’t a big consideration with shorter barrel guns, making the 3-1/2 inch version with an ejector more practical, and that is what we have here with the nickel CO2 model.

For the shooting test I want to step back a couple of years and look at what the Ace in the Hole delivered. The trigger pull on the “Ace” was a very light 1 pound, 12.5 ounces average, with 0.125 inches of take up and 0.125 inches over travel. Unlike the other Peacemaker models, the “Ace” has some discernible creep in the take up before the trigger delivers a crisp break. It does not affect accuracy or speed but it is something you can definitely feel in this trigger that you will not experience with the other Peacemaker models. Of course, if you are fanning the hammer, this is barely relevant. Average trigger pull on the 5-1/2 inch and 7-1/2 inch Umarex Peacemaker models is 2 pounds, 6.5 ounces, so trigger pull on the “Ace” is 10 ounces lighter. 

From my original test of the Legend’s model, aiming the “Ace” with the drop-in front sight put the shots a little lower on the target so you could really set tight on a six o’clock hold under the bullseye. Of course, for this test using a full-size silhouette target at 21 feet, my aim was dead center on the 10 ring.

Even with its shorter 3-1/2 inch barrel (actually 3-1/4 inch internally) the “Ace” averaged 344 fps with 7.0 grain lead wadcutters, which is right up to spec with the manufacturer’s velocity figures for this model, and around 40 fps slower than the 7-1/2 inch Peacemaker.

In my original test of the Legend’s “Ace in the Hole,” shooting from 21 feet, aimed shots with a two-handed hold put six rounds at 1.0 inches grouped around the 8 ring at 12 o’clock. Using a one-handed hold my group opened up to 1.75 inches around the 9 ring at 11 o’clock. The balance of 12 shots on the target were all fired from a gunfight distance of 10 feet and are a combination of cross draw point shooting with most in the 10 ring, and six fanned shots with a spread of 5-inches across the target’s center mass including the 10 and X rings. Stepping back to 10 meters the Sheriff’s Model barrel length doesn’t quite measure up to the 5-1/2 and 7-1/2 inch pellet firing Peacemakers, but with aimed shots and a two-handed hold still managed to keep six rounds under 2-inches at 33 feet.

I shot a total of 24 rounds on this target from 10 feet to 21 feet, two sets aimed with the drop-in front sight, one set cross draw single action, and one set fanning. The smaller circle at the 8 is 1.0 inches for six rounds fired aimed and using a two-handed hold at 21 feet. The larger circle is six rounds from 21 feet shot using a one-handed hold as in the photo. The spread is 1.75 inches. The widest spread of remaining shots was fanned from 10 feet and measures about 5-inches across the center mass of the target. The tighter set, just above the gun, were cross draw single action point shooting for each shot. This group measures about 3-inches.

Considering that most of the same parts are used in the new 3-1/2 inch model configuration, except for the hammer, you might expect much the same result. First, trigger pull on the nickel 3-1/2 inch averaged 1 pound, 14.7 ounces, so very close to the “Ace in the Hole” only this gun has the Colt patent dates and Colt markings, which the “Ace” lacked. Better finish, proper markings, now, is it a better shooter?

Shooting from the hip is not consistently accurate (at least for me) but my spreads at 10 feet are usually inside center mass on a B-27 silhouette though not tightly grouped.

I ran the same shooting tests with the nickel gun and the results were shot at three distances, from the hip at 10 feet, from 21 feet one-handed and again from 21 feet and from 10 meters, the last two fired using a two-handed hold.

Aimed shots from 21 feet shooting single handed are pretty good with the 3-1/2 inch barrel. No match for a 7-1/2 or even a 5-1/2 inch Single Action model but still good enough to print a tight group.

The average velocity from the new model clocked 352 fps which is within 8 fps of the original “Ace in the Hole” review from 2017. My 10 foot shots from the hip put six rounds at 3 inches with four of five at 2 inches. Using a one-handed hold at 21 feet I landed six at 1.75 inches. Things were getting a little crowded in the 9, 10 and X so I shot a separate 10 meter target using a two-handed hold. The 3-1/2 inch barrel was good enough to keep six rounds just a fraction under 2-inches. Looks like a Colt (almost) and shoots like the “Ace in the Hole.” Deal me in.

My 10 foot shots from the hip put six rounds at 3 inches with four of five at 2 inches, low and left Using a single-handed hold at 21 feet I punched six into 1.75 inches. My aimed shots were tighter in the 10 and X.
I used a 10 meter pistol target for the last test and with a two-handed hold put five out of six pretty closely grouped with one flyer to the right.

Remember to enter the contest at the end of Part 4 to win this 3-1/2 inch gun!

First look at my combinations            

I’ll wrap this up Friday, but here are the first few examples, and some are pretty obvious choices, I have put together with the Peacemaker Airgun Builder. Number one is being able to bring back the all nickel 7-1/2 inch pellet model (with ivory medallion grips this time), which was the best shooter (7-1/2 inch barrel) in my opinion of all the first models. It is also once again an ideal candidate for hand engraving. This gun is configured using the nickel pellet model option.

If there is one shining star to the Peacemaker Airgun Builder it is being able to order a nickel 7-1/2 inch pellet model again!

My second option is to take it to the next level and add the gold treatments to cylinder, hammer and trigger, which were the first guns shown in this series of articles, and again perfect options for having hand engraving done. In fact, my pair is on their way to Adams & Adams and will be back in the Airgun Experience later this month in an article examining engraving options based on the Colt factory designs.

Click a few buttons on the Airgun Builder and you can switch the hammer, cylinder and trigger to make a model I have named The Gunfighter. Imagine this with hand engraving!

My third combination is not one you can order yet and only existed in the planning stages using the “Ace in the Hole” Airgun Builder with a 5-1/2 inch barrel, which will be added shortly, along with the nickel trigger pictured in my design sample. The “Ace” offers some of the best combinations allowing for a three-tone gun, and Friday we’ll look at some other eye catching ideas that are possible.

This is one version using the “Ace in the Hole” Airgun Builder that you will be able to order in a little while once more 5-1/2 inch weathered barrels are in the pipeline. I named this one the Dualist (or Duelist to be gunfighter correct, Dualist is a play on words because it is duo-tone). Colt actually made this combination as a custom order in .45 Colt and other calibers including .22.
Another variation of the Dualist you will be able to build will have a matching nickel trigger.
At present you can order this combination with a nickel hammer, cylinder, and weathered 7-1/2 inch barrel. This also looks good with the wood finish medallion grips.

2 thoughts on “Revisiting the Peacemakers Part 5”

  1. Nice to see the long barrel nickel pellet version back. My favorite. Have a pr of them as well as one engraved and one weathered Fort Smith. Of note is you can also custom build 6 inch nickel and weathered bb versions for 177 bb fans, a not previously seen version in the US

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