Bozeman Trail Arms - Custom Gunsmithing


by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn

August 11th, 2002




I have in my possession a Second Generation Colt Single Action Army revolver that I recently purchased at a pawn shop about 30 miles from home. I wasnít really looking for one when I ran across this one, but I was able to negotiate a good deal on it, so in my mind the purchase was justified, and I brought it home. The sixgun is about thirty years old, but still wears most of its casehardened finish; still, the nifty sixgun needed a little tuning to make it really slick. The gun shot about three inches to the left, and the action was looser than it should have been, so I started a search for a good gunsmith that specializes in tuning old Colts.

I had never used the services of Tom Sargis; the proprietor of Bozeman Trail Arms, but after speaking with others who had, I decided to give him a call. Tom is a real down-to-Earth kind of a fellow, not at all full of himself, but knowledgeable to the extreme about single action revolvers, so I packed up the gun and shipped it to Montana with the instructions to "make the gun sing", as John Taffin likes phrase it.

Tom specializes in tuning and rebuilding old Single Action Army Colts and their Italian copies, and also  smoothes and tunes lever-action rifles and Ruger single action revolvers.

When the gun was returned to me a few weeks later, I had to check the serial number to assure that it was indeed the same sixgun that I had shipped to him earlier! The Colt looked much the same, but the action is unbelievable! The only cosmetic change to the gun was that Tom had removed the old surface rust from the sides of the hammer, but the action job that he performed on the gunís innards is really slick. He retimed the action, leaving it with an almost liquid feel to cocking the hammer. While the four clicks are felt as the hammer is brought back to full cock, it works as slick as oiled glass, with a trigger pull of about one and three-quarters of a pound, as measured on my digital gauge.

Besides the excellent action job, Tom also re-cut the forcing cone and turned the barrel in the frame just enough to correct the windage to dead center. The group shown was fired by Tom with Black Hills Cowboy loads, and shoots higher with heavier .357 Magnum ammunition, placing the bullets right where the sights look.

Overall, I am well-pleased with the work performed by Tom Sargis on my Colt. He took an average Colt Single Action Army, and converted it into a really slick-working, great-shooting, and accurate sixgun. Again, to quote John Taffin, he "made it sing", and it sings a sweet tune indeed.

I highly recommend the work of Tom Sargis. You can view all of the services offered by Bozeman Trail Arms on the web at:

I think that you will find his prices fair, his work excellent, and with only an eight week turn-around, one of the fastest custom gunsmiths anywhere.

Jeff Quinn

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Tom Sargis, proprietor of Bozeman Trail Arms, in his shop. Tom quietly runs a fine gunsmithing shop, performing quality work at reasonable prices with quick turn-around times.



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Bozeman Trail Arms performed an action job and some accurizing work on Jeff's Second-Generation Colt SAA. After shooting the Colt, it was hard to believe Tom had returned the same gun!



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Tom Sargis did a fine job slicking-up the action on Jeff's old Colt. The action is now perfectly timed and smoothed, and the SAA's only cosmetic flaw was corrected when Tom polished the surface rust from the sides of the hammer.



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Tom's test target shows that the accuracy of the gun is much improved. The test target was fired with Cowboy loads, and the gun now shoots perfectly to point of aim with the heavier ammunition favored by the Author.



Tom Sargis (left) with Mike Venturino. Tom loves the "Old West" style guns, and he enjoys breathing new life into Colt, Colt clone, and Ruger SA revolvers as well as lever-action rifles. Next time one of your beloved guns needs some attention, give Bozeman Trail Arms a try; Jeff thinks you'll be well pleased with the results!