The Peacemaker you have been waiting for

The Peacemaker you have been waiting for Part 1

The Nimschke 7-1/2 inch Umarex Colt

By Dennis Adler 

It is most remarkable how great a role aesthetics actually played in a cowboy’s choice of dress and armament, from hats to holsters, and knives to guns.

It is remarkable how significant of a role aesthetics actually played in a cowboy’s choice of dress and armament, from scarves, hats and boots, to holsters, knives and guns. 

Was a nickel plated Colt Peacemaker any better than a blued one; or a gunman more accurate with an engraved Single Action? The answer depends upon whom you ask. A lot of famous lawmen and outlaws carried engraved guns fitted with ivory grips. An engraved handgun or rifle was distinctive, and in many instances memorable. It is remarkable how much of a role aesthetics actually played in a cowboy’s choice of dress and armament. Wild Bill Hickok famously wore a brace of hand engraved Colt 1851 Navy revolvers in butt forward reverse draw style. Legendary Oklahoma lawman and U.S. Deputy Marshal William Tilghman carried a nickel plated, hand engraved Colt Peacemaker (presented to him by the grateful folks of Perry, Oklahoma for cleaning up the town). Dodge City lawman Bat Masterson owned several hand engraved Peacemakers. Legendary outlaw Emmett Dalton, and other members of the Dalton gang all carried engraved guns; did they make them better shootists? No, just more memorable ones.

The nickel plated 7-1/2 inch barrel length Umarex Colt Peacemaker, presents a striking canvas for engravers to apply their skills. While a softer metal, the alloy frame pistols can be done ion the exact same patterns and detail. (Holster hand made by John Bianchi from a design worn by legendary U.S. Marshal Heck Thomas.

The nickel plated 7-1/2 inch barrel length Umarex Colt Peacemaker presents a striking canvas for engravers to apply their skills. While a softer metal, the alloy framed pistols can be done in the exact same patterns and fine detail as a steel framed revolver. (Holster hand made by John Bianchi from a design worn by legendary U.S. Marshal Heck Thomas.

Engraving was a fine art and among those who practiced this art outside of the Colt factory, was famed New York City engraver Louis Daniel Nimschke, and his shop of artisans who catered to the leading New York retailers like Schuyler, Hartley, & Graham, and Tiffany & Co. A Nimschke engraved Colt (or other firearm) was a distinctive piece, a singular design based upon Nimschke’s pattern books, and duplicated to the wishes of his clientele. The Nimschke pattern book and the L.D. Nimschke shop designs have become the most duplicated of 19th engraving styles, and are still seen today on contemporary Colt Single Action revolvers.

The Nimschke patterns cover the entire frame, and rear of the barrel, and ejector housing. Also note the correct Colt's patent dates which are stamped on every Umarex Colt Peacemaker.

The Nimschke patterns cover the entire frame, rear of the barrel and ejector housing. Also note the correct Colt’s patent dates which are stamped on every Umarex Colt Peacemaker.

Adams & Adams delivers the 7-1/2 inch model

What we have seen done in the past year with engraving Single Action airguns presents an opportunity for  anyone to own a piece of handcrafted functional fine art, and at a price that is not “inexpensive” but certainly not prohibitive compared to the same work on a Colt, Pietta, or Uberti Singe Action Army revolver.

Last year in a series of Airgun Experience articles on “Airguns of the American West,” I said that this was the new frontier for handgun engraving. Why this is so, is simply that authentic manufacturer branded airguns, like the Umarex Colt Peacemaker, represent the epitome of modern day CO2 designs, BB and pellet guns that are not so much copies of Colts, but rather extensions of the cartridge-firing models.

The depth and detail of Adams & Adams Nimschke-style engraving on the alloy framed Colts has intricate combinations of crosshatch patterns, foliate and banknote scrolls with a punch dot background.

The depth and detail of Adams & Adams Nimschke-style engraving on the alloy framed Colt Peacemakers has intricate combinations of crosshatch patterns, waves, foliate and banknote scrolls, most accented with a punch dot background. All of the engraving is hand inked. 

For the 7-1/2 inch Nimschke engraved Peacemaker, Adams & Adams have chosen the 4.5mm pellet cartridge model for an exclusive edition of 100 guns. The 7-1/2 inch model is the most desirable of the Colt designs (unless you have a penchant for Sheriffs Models and Buntline Specials), and the long awaited nickel model provided the perfect canvas for John J. Adams, Jr. to engrave the Nimschke patterns, which are all hand inked to bring out fine detail in the designs and punch dot background.

One of the surfaces on a Colt that is often the subject of great detail is the loading gate. Also note the scrollwork between the cylinder flutes, along the bottom of the frame and rear of the triggerguard.

The loading gate is one surface on a Colt Peacemaker that is often the subject of great detail. Also note the scrollwork between the cylinder flutes, along the bottom of the frame, and rear of the triggerguard. These are the same patterns found on original Nimschke-engraved Colts.

Unlike the 5-1/2 inch nickel and gold Nimschke model, introduced last year, the new 7-1/2 inch, 4.5mm Peacemaker is an all nickel gun, much like the .45 Colts carried back in the late 19th century. (The gold plated cylinder, trigger and hammer can also be ordered for the 7-1/2 inch model if desired).

Like all of the Umarex Colt SAA models, the new 7-1/2 version bears the Colt’s patent dates (September 18th 1871, July 2nd 1972, and January 19th 1975) on the left side of the frame and the Rampant Colt emblem at the rear of the frame. The 7-1/2 inch model is only offered as a pellet cartridge firing model and has a fully rifled barrel to offer greater accuracy and velocity.

A close look at the front of the gripstrap reveals the AA signature that appears on Adams & Adams hand engraved firearms, thus making this Colt licensed Peacemaker .177 caliber revolver authentic right down to the engraver’s signature.

A close look at the front of the gripstrap reveals the AA signature that appears on Adams & Adams hand engraved firearms, thus making this Colt licensed pellet model Peacemaker authentic right down to the engraver’s signature.

The Colt Peacemaker has been in production in various barrel length, calibers, and grip designs longer than any other revolver manufactured in the world, and to day it remains the indisputable icon of the American West. The new Nimschke engraved 7-1/2 inch nickel plated CO2 model continues a Colt legacy that now spans 145 years.

Out of the holster and ready for action, the 7-1/2 inch Umarex Colt Peacemaker has the feel of a real .45, and now with the Adams & Adams engraving, it looks even more like a real 1880’s hand engraved Colt Peacemaker.

Out of the holster and ready for action, the 7-1/2 inch Umarex Colt Peacemaker has the feel of a real .45, and now with the Adams & Adams engraving, it even looks the part of an authentic 1880’s hand engraved Colt Peacemaker.

Saturday in Part 2, the Nimschke engraved 5-1/2 inch and 7-1/2 inch pellet models tackle the 10 meter range.

27 thoughts on “The Peacemaker you have been waiting for

  1. Well, I would be lying if I didn’t say I was a little disappointed.Was hoping to see a sheriff model . Will get over it . This is one nice revolver. Always felt if you saw a nice engraved , custom stocked single action on a desk , the owner knew how to buy guns , if you saw it in a holster the owner knew how to use
    it. Would like to see some horse and eagle or fleur de lis grips on such a nicely engraved year . 2017 is going to be a expensive year .



      • may be difficult but not possible. Some of my first Colt clones were EMF Armi San Marcos. EMF made exactly replicas of Colt Horse and Eagle grips for these revolvers that had slightly larger than 3rd gen Colt specs. There were no stock pins in the clones , to hold the stocks so they molded in a spacer to accomplish this , in a way similar to the Colt grips on the Umarex Peacemakers but they have the lt grip wrench and stock locking tab. Not easy but these as well as checkered wood , checkered Ivory and staglite grips should be offered in the future. Customizing single actions with custom grips is a big step in adapting their personality to the owner’s. I still have 3 of those revolvers, custom case colors and two of the three have second generation Colt barrels. One now sports set of Sambar stag grips.Excellent shooters and only on a detailed inspection can they be found to be replicas.



        • I know what you are saying about the grips for Colt clones and there are a lot of them made today, which have to be fitted, and that’s fine, too. The difference with the airgun grips is not the exterior finish so much as it is making new molds that also work on the inside. The Umarex Colt airgun grips are hollow and have specific contours to fit around the CO2 cartridge, and incorporate mounting pieces on the left grip panel and the hex head tool. Any new grip design has to start with those specifics, and making Colt Eagle & Shield grip molds, or even faux stag molds, is expensive. I think one or the other will get done, but how soon is hard to say. White grips dominate (actually they aren’t even white anymore, almost an aged ivory shade now), and that is a really good color. Grips designs are definitely a conversation point with Umarex for the future Peacemaker models.


      • Well I see the third horseman is riding in May 2017 . Remington 1875 nickel with poly ivory grips. Now on Pyramid website.Doesn’t list manufacturer, but shells look like ASG type . Listed as pellet and bb, but does not say rifled barrel



  2. The horse and eagle are a little tougher , I could see variations on the existing exterior parts of the grips first Scrimshaw, Texas Ranger and US Marshal badges .Other grip materials like white pearl instead of poly ivory, should be doable . Checkered wood grips might be possible .I was told the poly ivory grips for thePeacemaker would be available but when I tried to order , Pyramid said they had none .Since there are poly ivory Schofield grips for sale separately , would hope to see the Peacemaker ivories , with Colt medallions, in the future.



  3. Beside looking good, nickle plating stood up to black powder better than blueing. I have one of the worn blue 7.5″ guns and one of the silver 5 .5 inch. While i like the worn blue slightly more, I can see a silver 7.5 in my future.


    • Nickel was definitely more corrosion and black powder resistant. A lot more nickel guns that were used , survived with more finish than blue. I have seen a late 1800s nickel colt that was used hard , and still had around 90% of the nickel. Picked up a Baby Russian 38 Nickel that still has most of the finish intact. With smokeless less of an issue, and more personal preference. That being said this is one nice looking Colt.







          • I just tried the DanWesson bb shells in an Umarex Peacemaker. Got decent groups but double the size of the Peacemaker shells, still better than the Schofield/Webley shells out of the Peacemaker. Next may try the Dan Wesson shells in the Schofield.Looks like in pinch thePeacemaker andRemington could share ammo Will be interesting to see if Peacemaker shells will work in the Remington 1875


      • Which isn’t awful .At airgun distances the accuracy of the smoothbores is surprisingly good. The pellet advantage is less bounce back . Kind of surprising they didn’t go to a rifled barrel for the Remington , but if a smoothbore it is so be it.


  4. My only criticism of this excellent revolver is the warning on the barrel. It should be hidden underneath and some engraving around the end of the barrel instead would have been more appropriate.


    • Unfortunately the warnings are required and have to be placed on airguns. As to the placement, yes it could be on the underside of the barrel but that would require a specially ordered gun. All of the hand engraved guns start with production guns, then go to Adams & Adams. Unlike ordering cartridge guns for special projects, which can be delivered “in the white” airguns come from the manufacturers already finished and that is the starting point. On the nickel Peacemakers the warnings are printed in white and are the most unobtrusive of any current handguns. As for a wedding ring around the muzzle, that was not part of the design being used. Good idea though!

      Dennis Adler


      • wasn’t sure if the guns were already plated standard finish revolvers. If they are good sellers maybe Pyramid can specify hidden safety marks under the ejector rod for future special order projects. Just sayin


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