Sunday, September 6, 2015


Pintos...not the econobox Ford from the 70's 

or a horse with multiple spots of white, brown or black. (if you search for "Colt Pinto" you might find the picture below....)

and not the bean....(note the name S&W on the will get this in a search if you don't spell out Smith & Wesson)

These Pintos are guns that uses both blued and stainless or nickel plated parts. I have also heard of people calling them "Zebra" guns, but Pinto is the name Smith & Wesson used in their catalog, so we'll use it here.

My inspiration to write this post came from a Ruger Single Six stainless steel cylinder I picked up at a yard sale for $10. It is in like new condition and it got me to thinking about building a Single Six Pinto.

It is hard to say where, when or who first came up with the idea of mixing blued steel parts with nickle plated ones. 
According to Wiley Clapp, it started in the black powder era. Some parts were nickel plated to help fight the corrosion caused by the black powder. Perhaps nickel plating the whole gun might have made some of them too expensive for the consumer.

Smith & Wesson did produce a number of factory Pinto revolvers over the years and even some automatics. Others have been built by gunsmiths and creative owners.

I'm not sure what makes a pinto a pinto, some of the guns just have the cylinder swapped out, others have grip frames or barrels swapped.

I decided not to cover the automatics, since the introduction of alternative metals (polymer, aluminum etc.) for the frames, almost all of the manufacturers produce a two tone pistol.

Here are a couple of old S&Ws from Mob Guns

and more

 and some newer ones

This Smith & Wesson Pinto has a letter from the factory proving its authenticity

These Colts have their cylinders swapped, do these qualify as Pintos?

Here are some Rugers

Ruger's original two tone Pinto was the lightweight Single Six. It featured an unfinished aluminum alloy frame, a special coating on the cylinder (known as "Martin Hard Coat"), a blued barrel and anodized aluminum grip frame and ejector rod housing. This is more like a four tone gun....
A Dan Wesson revolver with a swapped out barrel

Some new generation Smith & Wesson Pintos

Some custom single action pintos
This one was built by the craftsmen at Turnbull Manufacturing

and to prove the Pintos are still popular, Cimarron is now offering this beautiful engraved Pinto version of their Single Action Army revolver

The pictures above were found freely on the world wide web and are used under the guidelines of Fair Use, per Title 17 of the U.S. Code. Where possible the owners of the pictures have been credited.
If you own the copyright to any of these images and wish them to be credited or removed, please contact me immediately.

American Rifleman
Gemini Customs
Davidson's Gallery of Guns

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