March 07, 2019
When outlaw Frank James surrendered to Missouri Gov. Thomas Crittenden in 1882, he was carrying a Remington Model 1875 revolver, reportedly chambered in .44-40 Winchester. It was appropriate, then, that when Uberti developed the “Frank” sixgun as part of its Outlaws & Lawmen series, the company built it in the distinctive style of that Remington. Known officially as the 1875 Single Action Outlaw, the Frank is a nickel-plated .45 Colt with a 7.5-inch barrel.
The Frank is an Italian-made replica revolver built by Uberti and imported by Stoeger. Remington’s 1875 was based on the earlier Model 1858 New Model Army cap-and-ball revolver which, unlike the Colts of the percussion era, featured a solid frame. Though the Remingtons don’t have the Hollywood cachet of the Colts, they were their equal in terms of performance.
The most distinctive feature of both the 1858 and 1875 Remingtons was the triangular bottom blade, or “sail,” that bridged the junction between the barrel and frame. At first glance, it is this feature that sets the Frank apart from its peers.
The corrosive properties of blackpowder made nickel plating a popular option during the 19th century. All of the metal work on the Frank is nickel-plated, except for the visible pins and screws, which are attractively nitre blued. The grips are two-piece glossy faux ivory synthetic with brass escutcheons. A functional steel lanyard loop rotates freely from the bottom of the grip frame on a stud that matches the contours of the original.
The Frank’s fluted cylinder holds six rounds and rotates clockwise. The barrel uses a six-groove, 1:16 rifling. Fit and finish on my test example was very good, with some slight wear marks on the sides of the hammer that showed up during testing. The nickel finish, bright blue pins and ivory-style grips make this gun a head-turner without being overly gaudy.
In nearly every meaningful area, this sixgun functions identically to the original 1875. To load it, the hammer is placed at half-cock and the loading gate is hinged outward. At half-cock, the cylinder spins freely clockwise, and each chamber can be loaded in succession.
Like the original, the solid firing pin is fixed on the hammer, but Uberti has added a small articulating transfer bar that is barely noticeable below the pin. The transfer bar engages at the quarter-cock position and prevents the firing pin from engaging with the cartridge.
This feature notwithstanding, it is generally recommended that if the revolver is going to be carried the hammer should rest on an empty chamber.
Unloading the Frank is accomplished by placing the hammer at half-cock, opening the loading gate and pushing the ejector rod to the rear as each chamber is aligned with the gate to kick out empties or unfired rounds.
To remove the cylinder, the frame-mounted cylinder base pin retaining screw is depressed and the nitre blued base pin is pulled forward and the loading gate opened. This Colt-style feature is the one design area where the Uberti departs from the original; the retaining screw on an 1875 Remington was located forward of the ejector.
Both the barrel and cylinder wear proof marks establishing that the revolver complies with the pressure standards of CIP, which is the international version of our SAAMI. Oversize or, worse, undersize cylinder throats can have a seriously detrimental effect on revolver accuracy, but the throats on our sample all measured the correct .452 inch.
I test-fired the Frank using three loads: two from Black Hills and Hornady featuring cowboy-style lead bullets and a modern jacketed hollowpoint load from CCI. The sights on the Frank are fixed, with a standing blade front and an integral rear notch on the frame’s topstrap. Thankfully, each load shot to the sights at 25 yards.
Accuracy was impressive, especially given the rudimentary period sights. Results are shown in the accompanying table. Recoil was extremely mild, thanks to the revolver’s 2.8-pound heft and slightly muzzle-heavy balance. The single-action trigger broke consistently at 3.4 pounds with zero discernible creep.
Although this revolver shot well from the bench, that is not what it was designed for. The comfortable grip angle and 7.5-inch barrel made shooting the Frank offhand, particularly one-handed, an easy and pleasurable task. Hits on 10-inch steel plates came fast and easy, even at the 50-yard line. This is a user-friendly and fun-to-shoot sixgun ideally suited for Cowboy Action-style use.
Replica 19th century revolvers mainly consist of Colt clones and often vary in quality. This 1875 Remington-style sixgun not only offers a departure from the Peacemaker mainstream but also is a well-executed example built with an eye on detail. Except for a few noted features, the Frank is nearly identical to the original from a cosmetic and functional standpoint.
UBERTI ‘FRANK’ 1875 SINGLE ACTION OUTLAW
TYPE: single-action centerfire revolver
CALIBER: .45 Colt
BARREL: 7.5 in.
WEIGHT: 44.8 oz.
CONSTRUCTION: nickel-plated steel frame, cylinder and barrel
GRIPS: synthetic two-piece
TRIGGER: 3.4 lb. pull (measured)
SAFETY: transfer bar
IMPORTER: Uberti USA, uberti-usa.com