I was thinking about getting a cattle man or a No. 3 top break and was wondering if you could shoot normal hunting loads through these guns without voiding the warranty. Thanks for your help.
For my 2 cents, I'd certainly advise against it. True, steels are much better today than they used to be, but these are still 19th century designs and modern hunting loads can be way too stout for the engineering of the Old West. For powerful modern hunting loads I'd go the beefed-up Ruger or Freedom Arms route. They won't have the history or the 'feel" of the originals like the Ubertis will, but they were designed and built for the excessive pressures.
I got bought a new 1873 Cattleman Uberti. I have been shoting 158gr/.357 and 158gr/.38s thru it. What is concerned a hunting load? This is my first single action pistol. I bought to replace my SW .357 as a side arm hunting in the mountains and a friend got me into western shooting.
Anyway, what is a hunting load?
NOt sure what to do here? What button?
These pistols should handle standard factory loads, but there are higher-than-standard pressure loadings available from some manufacturers that are designed primarily for hunting. Also many "hunting" loads are handloaded to near maximum listed pressures.
If you check most reloading manuals that show calibers common in the Old West (ie .45 Colt, .44-40, etc) you will generally see two categories: one for guns like the Rugers and one for originals and everything else. It's just an acknowledgement that the Rugers will take the max pressures where many others will not.
What Caliber? For those design, about as hot as you can safely load is full house black powder. I know it sounds funny, but you can get higher velocity out of bp in the lower pressures than smokless. Something to do with smokless being sharper recoil impulse, kinda like the differance between getting hit with a hammer or a sharp axe. The standard factory loads are pretty week to keep you from blowing up great grand dad's peacemaker and avarage around 800 fps.
Also the top break is weaker than the full frame 73. The original max load for the top break Smith was a 45 schofield if I'm not mistaken, and that was a 200-250 grain bullet with about 28-30 grains of black powder.
A full case of black powder in the 44 mag or 45 colt is just about more than I can handle with the small grip frame anyway. The bigger and beefier old model vaquero and black hawks grips make handling heavy charges eaiser.
That said there ain't a whole lot going to shrug off a soft 250 grain slug moving at around 1000 fps. Works well for me on deer out of my henry up to about 75 yards.
If you don't reload and want classic styling and built to handle heavy loads see if you can find an old model rugger vaquero. I don't particulary like the way there set up, but they are tough guns, ultra reliable, and do kinda look like the old peacemaker.