Taylor’s & Co. Tuned “Smoke Wagon” Single Action Revolver

by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn & Boge Quinn

September 11th, 2017


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Taylor’s & Co. of Winchester, Virginia has been importing high-quality firearms for almost three decades now, concentrating mostly on nineteenth century firearms, with an emphasis on quality and customer service. The sixgun featured here is a Single Action Army replica, with features that make it a bit more user-friendly, such as a tuned action and a wider rear sight notch in the top of the frame. The Smoke Wagon can be purchased with either the standard action, or, as featured here, Taylor’s Tuned Action, with includes hand-polishing and custom springs, resulting in one of the slickest-shooting sixguns on the market.

Patterned after the famous Colt Single Action Army revolver of 1873, the Smoke Wagon retains the traditional Colt-style lockwork, but has Uberti’s two-step base pin for safety. It is a safety which can be used to prevent the firing pin from contacting the primer, or ignored if desired. I prefer to carry the Smoke Wagon in the traditional method of leaving an empty chamber under the hammer.

The Smoke Wagon is fitted and finished very well, wearing a blued barrel, cylinder, trigger guard, ejector rod, and backstrap, with a case-hardened frame, loading gate, and hammer. The trigger and other small parts are also blued. The perfectly-fitted one-piece walnut stocks are thinned and checkered, and feel great in my hand. The front of the cylinder is lightly chamfered, and the barrel/cylinder gap is an even twenty-five ten-thousandths (.0025) of an inch. Perfect. The wood-to-metal and metal-to-metal fit is as good or better than any I have seen in a long time on a Single Action Army revolver. The chamber throats measured a consistent .4525 inch, which is ideal for .452 diameter bullets.

Specifications for the Taylor’s Smoke Wagon are listed in the chart below. Weight is listed in ounces. Trigger pull is listed as pounds of resistance. Linear measurements are listed in inches. The cylinder length does not include the ratchet nor the cylinder bushing. For comparison, listed is also the specs for the Colt Single Action Army revolver.



Smoke Wagon

Chambering 45 Colt 45 Colt
Overall Length 10.875 inches 10.875 inches
Overall Height 5.2 inches 5.1 inches
Weight, Unloaded 38 ounces 36.6 ounces
Barrel Length 5.5 inches 5.5 inches
Cylinder Length 1.609 inches 1.614 inches
Cylinder Diameter 1.652 inches 1.665 inches
Chamber Throats 0.4521 inch 0.4525 inch
Barrel / Cylinder Gap 0.004 inch 0.0025 inch
Trigger Pull 2 pounds, 13 ounces 2 pounds
Capacity 6 rounds 6 rounds
MSRP as of September 2017 $1,799.00 US $565.00 Standard Action / $711.00 Tuned Action

The action on the Smoke Wagon is butter-smooth, and the trigger pull light and crisp.  Taylor’s specs the tuned action trigger pull at three pounds, but the revolver I received measured two pounds of resistance on both my Lyman digital gauge and my Brownell’s mechanical gauge. At first, sometimes the hammer would hang up a bit if cocked quickly, but that problem went away after just a few shots, and with all subsequent firing, the revolver performed flawlessly.

I particularly like the feel of the thinned walnut stocks on the Smoke Wagon. They have enough texture for a secure grip, but they are not abrasive to the hand. The excellent trigger pull and highly-visible sights contribute greatly to the practical accuracy of the sixgun. The mechanical accuracy of the revolver was tested with two of my favorite factory ammunition types. Both loads use a 255 grain Keith bullet, which is a cast lead semi-wadcutter. The Double Tap load pushes this bullet to an average of 870 feet-per-second (fps) from the five and one-half inch barrel of the Smoke Wagon, with the velocity clocked twelve feet from the muzzle. The Buffalo Bore load averages 99 fps faster. These are standard-pressure loads from Buffalo Bore and Double Tap, but have plenty of power for whitetail deer and for social work. They are not the sissy “Cowboy Action” type loads. These two loads put out the level of 45 Colt power as the cartridge was originally intended.

Accuracy was outstanding from the review gun. I rested the sixgun atop a Target Shooting, Inc. Handgun Rest, firing five-shot groups on paper at a distance of twenty-five yards. The excellent trigger action and highly-visible sights made it very predictable when the revolver would fire, and where the bullet was going to land, so when everything looked just right, I pressed the trigger. The Double Tap load grouped very well, and the Buffalo Bore load grouped even better. The pictures shown are representative of the revolver’s accuracy. Using a six-o’clock hold, both loads shot to the point-of-aim for elevation, with the Buffalo Bore load shooting slightly to the right for me. The Double Tap 255 grain load would consistently group under two inches for five shots at twenty-five yards, with the Buffalo Bore load shooting under one inch. Both loads exhibited match-grade accuracy, out of a sixgun that was designed just seven years after the American War Between the States. The consistent and tight barrel/cylinder gap, tuned action, and well-fitted parts contribute the overall feel of a quality sixgun. Uberti did an outstanding job building this revolver for Taylor’s & Co., and it is a credit to both companies for holding high quality standards for their firearms.

The well-crafted leather rig shown here was built by Mike “Doc” Barranti of Barranti Leather Company. Mike has been building top-quality rigs for over three decades now, and the lined holster and belt rig shown here is a perfect example of what a quality holster rig for a fine sixgun should be.

The Tuned Smoke Wagon has a hand-tuned action and springs, done in-house by the Taylor’s gunsmiths in Winchester, Virginia. The result is a very smooth, light action, but reliability with the test gun was one-hundred percent. Every cartridge fired positively and ejected smoothly. The beautiful case-colors of the frame contrast nicely with the blued-steel parts, and the checkered walnut stocks are classically beautiful, and feel perfect in my hand. The Smoke Wagon is a well-crafted replica of the famous 1873 Colt, at a fraction of the price.

Check out this and other quality rifles, shotguns, and handguns, as well as accessories and services, online at www.taylorsfirearms.com.

To order high-quality 45 Colt ammunition, go to www.buffalobore.con, www.doubletapammo.net, www.midsouthshooterssupply.com, and www.luckygunner.com.

To order fine-quality holsters, belts, and other leather goods, go to www.barrantileather.com.

Jeff Quinn

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Barranti Leather lined holster & belt.