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My Freedom Arms revolver obsession

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/14/2017 at 16:53
RifleDude View Drop Down
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When it comes to firearms, unfortunately I have BOTH a severe addiction AND rather expensive tastes. I may have to enroll in a 12 step program.

I'd been jonesin' for a Freedom Arms M83 in .454 Casull ever since I first handled one in college. This was the handgun that put the mighty .454 on the radar, and I was smitten by its outstanding build quality, top notch materials, tight fit, and its combination of classic styling with modern strength. So, about 4 years ago, I finally bought a Premier Grade with fixed sights. 

If you appreciate nicely designed, well-machined gear, these things are a work of art! Terms like "Swiss watch" come to mind. The cylinder to barrel gap is less than .002", the rear of the chambers are recessed so the rear cylinder to frame gap is minimal as well. The cylinder lockup is bank vault tight. The entire gun is made of 17-4PH stainless for superior strength, with a nice brushed finish. The cylinder chambers are line-bored with the frame/barrel centerline, so each chamber is perfectly concentric to the bore. The trigger breaks cleanly at less than 5lb, with very little creep or overtravel. It shoots like a dream...all except for the significant recoil of the mighty Casull. 

You may recall I posted about this gun a couple years ago, after I finished making some desert ironwood burl grips for it:





I thought maybe this acquisition would quell the Freedom Arms monkey on my back, but those evil sorcerers in Freedom, WY had to go and build the M97 as well, damn them! While the M83 is a fairly substantial beast of a handgun, the M97 is a scaled-down little brother, at maybe 80-85% the size of the 83. It has roughly the same size frame and cylinder as the classic Colt SAA, except built much tighter out of stronger materials. Unlike the M83, the M97 also features a hammer transfer bar safety, so you can safely carry it hammer down with a round in in the chamber under the hammer. Otherwise, it is built to the exact same standards as the M83, also entirely out of 17-4PH stainless.

So, a few months ago, I surrendered to my urges and a M97 in .41 Mag followed me home. It didn't hurt any that this particular 97 also had a few extra options...an octagon barrel, black Micarta grips, 3 lb trigger job with overtravel screw, and polished and jeweled hammer and trigger. Barrel length is 7.5", which is perfect for its intended use: hunting. Since this gun was intended for optics and therefore didn't come equipped with irons, I bought FA's excellent reflex sight mount and mated it with a Trijicon RMR with 1MOA dot. It too is a tackdriver! I bought a FA leather holster with reflex sight cutout for it. Here she is:







OK, so I thought this would finally cure my Freedom Arms addiction. But then I ran across another M97 that needed a loving home. This one also has an octagon barrel, but in 5.5" length, adjustable rear iron sights, with red fiber optic front sight. It too has the 3 lb trigger and polished/jeweled hammer. Instead of black Micarta grips, it has ivory Micarta grips. Unlike my other 97, this one also has a fluted cylinder. It originally came with the same grip profile as the other 97. Freedom Arms also offers a round butt option, and I like the looks of the round butt, so I originally planned to send it to them to get the round butt modification done. Given the price of the modification, and given the fact I like to tinker with stuff anyway, I decided to re-profile the butt and grips myself. While I was at it, I slimmed down the grips a bit as well, then repolished the Micarta and refinished the modified frame to match the brushed finish on the rest of the gun. This 97 is chambered in .45 Colt. Given the strength of the FA revolvers, I can use .45 Colt +P and unlike a Colt SAA, it will easily handle the pressures. .45 +P is very close to .44 Mag performance. Here she is:









I can't help it; I have a sickness!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/14/2017 at 17:57
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WOW you are one sick puppy. A complement toooo be sure! Absolutely gorgeous pistols.........!

I'm not of the size to shoot them but I'd be happy to watch! 👍🥃💥💥💥💥💥💥💥
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/14/2017 at 17:58
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Forgot to say Bisley !
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/14/2017 at 18:14
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Ted, in order to help you get rid of this disease, I am more than willing to let you store these revolvers in my gun safe for an indefinite period of time.  I understand that will expose me to a potential contagion, but as a friend, I am willing to take that risk.

ILya


Edited by koshkin - June/14/2017 at 18:44
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/14/2017 at 18:39
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Very very nice!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/14/2017 at 19:35
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Mighty nice!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/14/2017 at 19:40
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Originally posted by Peddler Peddler wrote:

Forgot to say Bisley !

You are correct, Skip. They do have a "Bisley-esque" grip profile.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/14/2017 at 19:43
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Originally posted by koshkin koshkin wrote:

Ted, in order to help you get rid of this disease, I am more than willing to let you store these revolvers in my gun safe for an indefinite period of time.  I understand that will expose me to a potential contagion, but as a friend, I am willing to take that risk.

ILya

Thanks for your concern for my well-being, buddy! I'm touched by your willingness to expose yourself to risks on my behalf!

I just couldn't do that to you. I care too much!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/15/2017 at 00:51
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I am sure you do.
If you change your mind, I cleared a part of the safe. Just in case.
To minimize withdrawal symptoms, send them over one at a time.

ILya
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/15/2017 at 06:13
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I have had an 83 in .454 for twenty years. I don't now how but with this gun, Swiss watch and beast does go together.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/15/2017 at 06:27
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Very, very nice Ted. Excellent
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/15/2017 at 07:06
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Surrounded by all that beauty...  If they only had boobs!!!!  Cool

I hear ya Ted!  No sittting in a Porche with that habit!!!

I had to stay again from the technical forums here as I dug myself quite a hole feeding my addiction.
Glad to say the mountain is down to $6K and dwindling as fast as I can make it....

I could always get a second job but I did that for 10 years already and I ain't interested!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/15/2017 at 09:20
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Beautiful is the only word to describe those fine firearms!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/15/2017 at 09:46
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Ted, I feel your pain. You see, I too had an addiction. I was once addicted to N frame Smith&Wessons. It took Smith&Wesson discontinuing the hand fitted revolvers and switching to MIMS guns to make me go cold turkey. Mind you, I still start to drool and get the shakes when I see a 6 inch Mod. 57 in the wood case for sale, but I'm able to bring it under control knowing that it would take away from one of my other addictions that I still shoot.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/15/2017 at 15:25
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You want to do some custom grips for my Freedom Arms? I have both the 454 and 45 cylinders for mine. Love the revolver but not the rubber grips.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/15/2017 at 15:35
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Now that is some serious gun porn.  Beautiful. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/15/2017 at 15:40
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Sounds like me with 1911s but those could easily become a major distraction.

How do the +P 45 Colt loads shoot in the Model 97?  These are diminutive single actions and feel like Single Sixes compared to their bigger Model 83 brothers.  Not a lot of real estate between the rear of the trigger guard and the grip frame.

They are amazing revolvers.  Craftsman ship is exceptional and you could hammer nails with them.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/15/2017 at 17:55
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Originally posted by helo18 helo18 wrote:

You want to do some custom grips for my Freedom Arms? I have both the 454 and 45 cylinders for mine. Love the revolver but not the rubber grips.

I'll think about it. What do you have in mind?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/15/2017 at 18:22
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Originally posted by Marine24 Marine24 wrote:

How do the +P 45 Colt loads shoot in the Model 97?  These are diminutive single actions and feel like Single Sixes compared to their bigger Model 83 brothers.  Not a lot of real estate between the rear of the trigger guard and the grip frame.

I haven't shot the .45 yet. As soon as I got it, I went to work on the grips, and just recently finished them. I have shot the .41 mag quite a bit, however...including some hot 250 gr. loads @ 1300+ fps...which is .44 mag territory. Recoil is fairly stout, but not unmanageable. It is less than hot .454 Casull recoil in the 83 for certain. I didn't have any issues with my knuckles colliding with the trigger guard.

The only negative to these revolvers that I can find is the cylinders are on the short side, so some loads with the heaviest bullets could be too long.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/16/2017 at 08:53
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I've heard the same thing.  I have a preference for 325gr hard cast bullets but they can get a little long.

255gr Keith loads will fit nicely.  There is one at a local Cabelas that has been taunting me for a couple months.  It has a 3 1/2" octagonal barrel that would make for a slick pocket gun.

I'd almost forgotten about it before seeing your post.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/16/2017 at 10:25
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Originally posted by RifleDude RifleDude wrote:

Originally posted by helo18 helo18 wrote:

You want to do some custom grips for my Freedom Arms? I have both the 454 and 45 cylinders for mine. Love the revolver but not the rubber grips.

I'll think about it. What do you have in mind?

Something like a turkish, french, or bastogne walnut.  Maybe I can swipe some from the source when I am over there in September. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/16/2017 at 12:48
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I just now realized that my dumb arse posted this thread in the Rifle Scopes section...just in case you were wondering what I was thinking, which is to say I wasn't.

I moved the topic to Firearms instead, though it still leaves a copy behind in Rifle Scopes.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/16/2017 at 15:23
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Very Nice pistols, Ted !
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/18/2017 at 11:17
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Mr Winkle, you do have impecable if expensive tastes.  No sense going half way if you have an addiction.  Lovely revolvers.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/19/2017 at 15:43
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You know this is contagious right?????  I have very badly wanted a good single action for several years but just have not been able to justify it cause most of my stuff is gunfight oriented.  I do very much like your revolvers.  I may have to take out my only single action and shoot it - its a black powder short barrel .44 stainless engraved probably Italian manufacture.  I wish I had several that I used to have.
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