November 14, 2011

Cabela's Millennium Revolver 45 LC

Getting into Cowboy Action shooting can be an exercise in frustration, considering only the selection of the handguns needed for that lively game. There are hundreds of them to choose from. So Gun Tests magazine chose three likely six-shooters that promise to do everything needed, and do it well. The three are chambered in .45 Long Colt, which they felt offered a lot more than just an historic viewpoint. The big .45 is a versatile caliber in a good revolver, and was their first choice.

Our test guns included Cabela’s Millennium revolver (now $280) with brass frame. Here’s what they found:

They originally tested this revolver in the April 2001 issue of GT. At the time its price was $200, and the gun got the magazine’s highest rating. They found it accurate, well made, and despite its brass grip straps and vapor-blast surface finish, they thought it looked authentic enough to grace the holster of any well-heeled Cowboy Action shooter. There were no options of caliber or barrel length. The Millennium is available only in .45 LC with a 4.8-inch barrel.

Gun Tests March 2005

Need good, reliable, inexpensive handgun power? This'll do it. The Cabela's also works well for Cowboy Action, and looks good doing it. We didn't mind the brass grip straps. They had the right shape and feel.

The hammer was case-colored and held the firing pin. The Cabela’s gun had the nicest hammer checkering of all three guns, much like that found on early Colts. Today’s shooter will have to fork over $280 for the gun, which they thought was a great price for value received.

They put a few hundred rounds through the Millennium revolver since their first test, and found that it still shot well and showed no signs of shooting loose. They said they understood that serious action shooters put thousands of rounds a year through their handguns, but for beginners, they found this six-shooter still ideal. They said it won’t break the bank, won’t fly apart, and looks good enough that you won’t be embarrassed to show or shoot it. If you wear it out (and in the magazine’s experience that won’t be easy), buy another one. Lockup on the sample was very tight, and there were no flip-up hooky-dookers inside it to make it go bang. It’s a basic single-action revolver, and you have to understand its limitations. Never load six rounds unless you’re in a gunfight. Keep the hammer down on the empty chamber, because a blow to the hammer will cause a loaded round to fire. These features are just like you’d expect from a Colt made a century or more ago, and make the Cabela’s Millennium the close to the “real thing.”

Gun Tests March 2005

We found excellent wood fit, metal work, overall fit and finish, and operation exactly like that of a Colt. This would be an excellent revolver for Cowboy Action events, or anywhere you need portable, reliable power.

The magazine rated the gun a “Best Buy.” They summed up by saying the following: “We don’t know how you can beat this one for value received. Touching the high points, the machining and fitting of the Millennium were excellent. All the critical parts were of steel, and the well-fitted, one-piece wood grips were a nice touch. The front of the chambers were beveled like original Colts and look great. The chambers were as highly polished inside as those of the Beretta Stampede. The brass could be chemically blackened through the use of “Brass Black,” available from Brownells. We tried the gun for accuracy and it shot as well as the others, and hit exactly where it looked. The trigger broke cleanly at 3.0 pounds. Empties ejected easily. In short, there were no flies on this revolver, and even at $280 we think it’s one of the best bargains in the shooting world, an ideal first choice for assembling your Cowboy Action equipment.”

Gun Tests March 2005

The one-piece grip wood fit the brass grip straps well. The metalwork was given a matte finish with a glass-bead blast.

Comments (24)

I bought one of these back in '06. When I first bought it it has a severe hitch in it's get-along. So I took it to a gunsmith and fixed that. After that I fixed the trigger pull with one of those neoprene mainspring washers from Brownell's. Then I started to shoot black powder cartridge in Cowboy Action and the thing would not keep working with BP. I kept messing with it until it got to shoot well with smokeless but was unreliable with black. So, it became my woodsbumming and fishing trip gun. I'd load it with a round or two of those CCI shotshells and the rest with soft lead RNFPs in front of a max load of Hodgdon's TiteGroup. Then Christmas '11 I gave the gun to my daughter and her family and now that same niche is filled by my Stainless Cimarron SAA.

That Millenium can be a very nice looking revolver if one takes the brass backstrap off and then polishes the brass with steel wool and Flitz metal polish and polishes the parkerized fihish of the steel with 000 steel wool and oil, followed by a good wipe down to get rid of the steel wool "hairs". Then sand the varnish off the grip and rub it down with several coats of linseed oil.

I'd still have that revolver if not for the fact that I have two Cimarron SAA and a Rossi '92 Winchester clone. The ones I kept all shoot both smokeless and black. Since I had no desire to worry about what was ahint the boolit the Millenium made a nice XMAS present for it shoots smokeless ammo as well as the other revolvers. Neither I nor two different gunsmiths could ever figure out why it wouldn't shoot BP.

I have seen other folks in my Cowboy Action club shoot these revolvers without all the hoo-raw I had to go through. Then I have seen others that never did shoot well. It's the luck of the draw. If I had it to do over again I would have just taken it back for a new one until I found one that worked without any hassles.

Posted by: Wills Point Pete | October 12, 2012 4:46 PM    Report this comment

Just to get back on topic a little bit. This is a good revolver - for the price. It is not a fine piece, but at less than $300 (if it is still that) it is a good choice for someone that wants to try out a real sixgun in a real caliber. That ugly matte finish will hold up well for a long time and that brass grip frame will age to and look the part too. The 2 guys I know that got one raved about it's accuracy, so for $300 what more could you ask for?

Posted by: Markbo | November 24, 2011 9:11 AM    Report this comment

Yeah, I remember when I drove to Alaska back in 1967 via the Alaska Highway, that when I stopped at the border station just inside the border between Montana and Alberta, things were pretty lax. The border agent didn't give a damn about my rifles and shotguns, but he did pay some attention to the handguns. I had them in locking cases, so he took all of the locked cases and put them into a heavy plastic bag. He then sealed the opening of the bag and placed a very official looking wax seal on the sealed bag. He warned me that when I got to the border between Alaska and the Yukon that the border agent would be looking for that seal. Well, when I finally did get to the border, the Canadian officials waved me on through with nary a comment, and the US officials on the Alaskan side didn't give a flip either. Those were better days.....

Posted by: canovack | November 20, 2011 5:52 PM    Report this comment

@ canovack Thank you. Our fighting men and women are still in Afghanistan for a short while. Sadly we've lost about 180 of them over the years, but nowhere near as tragic as the 4,000+ lives sacrificed in Iraq by your fine American soldiers. I dream of more gun friendly gun laws in Canada. I wish we had legal C.C.W as many of your States do. Up here you hace to get a transport permit from your local police station to take your handgun to the gun club from your home. AND it must be transported in a locked box in the trunk of your vehicle. Bloody ridiculous requirement for LAWFUL gun owners !

Posted by: Muzzlepuncher 7 | November 20, 2011 1:45 PM    Report this comment

We're glad that we can be of service. If I am not mistaken, Muzzelpuncher, you reside in Canada. I think I have discussed my visits in Canada in prior posts, but suffice to say that during my active duty years in the Army, I made some pretty good friends in the Canadian Forces through my assignments to NORAD and as US delegate to the Quadripartite treaty working sessions. I am also grateful for the participation of the Canadian Forces in Vietnam, the Persian Gulf, and Afghanistan.

I continue to watch, with interest, the roll back of the repressive gun laws that Canadians have had to tolerate over the years. Hopefully you will be able to apply the successes we have had in instituting gun-friendly laws in most of our United States.

Posted by: canovack | November 20, 2011 11:50 AM    Report this comment

Yes, few things in life are as enjoyable as Tuesday evenings on the range.

Posted by: Muzzlepuncher 7 | November 19, 2011 8:53 PM    Report this comment

Muzzlepuncher, your more than welcome,I think you will find that this forum can be very informative. I know it is for this old cowboy- Disabled Vietnam vet, and it is because of guys and gals like canovack and some others that I am still learning alot and am very thankful for them. Also it lets me give some of My knowlage to others and share what I have been thought through the years. God Bless You.
God Bless America and Our Troops Past Present and Future.
Keeping to My Oath Locked Loaded and Keeping My Powder Dry.
Get the US Out of the Un and the UN Out of the US

Posted by: bear1 | November 19, 2011 8:47 PM    Report this comment

Thank you all for the good advice. I really appreciate bear, and canovack for taking the time and effort to give me all that information. Americans are the BEST ! Oh, and I love this site and forum, too !

Posted by: Muzzlepuncher 7 | November 19, 2011 8:27 PM    Report this comment

I have broken my comments into segments, because I don't want to write a bunch of stuff and have the website tell me that I wrote too much to post. Depending on what use you have for your revolver, you can select small frames like the J frame S&W guns with 5 shot cylinders, medium frames like the usual six shot S&W, Colt, Taurus, etc, and you can also go to a large frame like the S&W 327, which has an 8 shot cylinder. I have one, and I love it. Taurus also makes an 8 shooter in the form of the M 608, which I also have. S&W and Taurus also make 7 shot .357 revolvers. I have recently taken particular interest in Colt DA revolvers, because they don't make them anymore.....with the possible exception of the Python. Whenever guns aren't made anymore, they can turn out to be good investments where you can turn a decent profit by hanging on to them for a few years.

I note from one of your comments that you have a Beretta Cheetah, which is a very nice auto-pistol. If you can swing it, try to buy into a more powerful caliber. Now, I know plenty of fights have been settled with .380s, but the general rule in gunfighting is to carry the largest most powerful piece THAT YOU CAN EFFECTIVELY HANDLE. I am partial to .45 ACP and .357 SIG in auto-pistols.

Thanks for your confidence in this forum, and me in particular, as a source of advice. One of the most rewarding aspects of this forum is the wealth of information that is available to those who participate.

Posted by: canovack | November 19, 2011 8:11 PM    Report this comment

Muzzlepuncher, there isn't much that I can add to the advice of bear1, since he provided some very sound guidance. I favor .357 Mag chambers for the very reason that bear1 stated. You just get a whole lot more versatility with the .357 Mag. Now, as to different brands, as long as the gun is in sound condition it should be OK. You aren't likely to see very many Colts in double action revolvers that haven't been around the block a few times, since Colt doesn't make much of them anymore. Some people prefer Colts because the cylinder rotation is clockwise, while S&W, Taurus, Ruger, etc rotate counterclockwise. So, what's the difference? It's probably nothing, but those who like the Colts figure that the cylinder locks up tighter, because it rotates into the frame while a revolver that rotates away from the frame may not be as steady.

When you are checking a revolver for potential purchase, it is wise to make certain that there is little to no cylinder play when the trigger is held to the rear and the hammer is down as in the firing position. Too much lateral play can result in spitting bullet fragments out the sides of the gun through the gap between the cylinder and the forcing cone at the rear of the barrel. The same is true if there is too much longitudinal play from front to rear, plus you may get unreliable ignition if the cylinder moves forward when the hammer strikes the primer of a round in the cylinder.

Posted by: canovack | November 19, 2011 7:55 PM    Report this comment

@ bear 1 Thanks so much. Sounds like excellent advice. I have just been trying to figure out if gun folks prefer Colts over S&Ws generally. Regarding the way a gun feels in my hand, I love my Beretta Cheetah 84 in .380 ACP. Thanks again. Keep fighting for FREEDOM !

Posted by: Muzzlepuncher 7 | November 19, 2011 6:24 PM    Report this comment

Muzzlepuncher 7, I am not canovack, but I have been around the block a time or two and have found out that both S&W and Colt put out darn good guns, but so do some others. Like Taurus and one of my favorites the Ruger as you can tell from my writtings. One thing I might suggest is buying what ever gun you buy be it Smith or colt or what ever to buy it in .357 mag. because you can also shoot .38 specials in them. Also check out the gun for the feel of it, how it fits your hand, how is the balance for you, and how is the trigger pull, both singal and double action for you. I say this because each person is different and like each person every gun has it's own personality, and you just have to match them up.
God Bless America and Our Troops Past Present and Future.
Keeping to My Oath Locked Loaded and Keeping My Powder Dry.
Get the US Out of the UN and the UN Out of the US.
PS I hope I didn't step on you toes to canovack my friend.

Posted by: bear1 | November 19, 2011 6:05 PM    Report this comment

@ canovack I'm sorry to go off topic for a second here,but I am a fairly new gun owner. About one year now, and I need your valued opinion bevcause you really seem to know tyour stuff when it comes to handguns. If you were to have to choose between two comparable revolvers that fire a .38 Special round. Say between a S&W Model 10, and the comparable Colt model, which would you choose. I know it's kind of six of one, half a dozen of the other kind of choice. Thanks

Posted by: Muzzlepuncher 7 | November 19, 2011 4:58 PM    Report this comment

Hey bear1, .357 Mag is one of my favorite handgun calibers. I have several revolvers chambered that way. That said, however, I do enjoy .45 Colt. I have one of the old Ruger Vaqueros.....the ones that are built like howitzers.....chambered .45 Colt with an interchangeable cylinder in .45 ACP. It's a real fist full of gun, and I am confident that I can shoot just about any load in it without concern that it might come apart. I have even come across .45 Colt ammo that specifically states on the bos that it should be fired only in Ruger revolvers.....meaining Blackhawks and the old Vaqueros. The newer Vaqueros are nice, but you have to be careful of what you fire in them, since they aren't as robust as the old ones. I also really like my Cimarron replica S&W 3rd Model Schofield, also in .45 Colt. The top break action of the Schofield makes a lot of sense since it it much faster to reload than any of the SAA clones.

Posted by: canovack | November 19, 2011 3:53 PM    Report this comment

I guess I am kinda spoiled and attached to my Ruger, Vaquero's in 357 mag. Or atleast for now, because of the way things are going in this country, I can keep my ammo supply up for what we have here in the homested first. Maybe I can try to go into more of differant cal. in the near future. In that case for a starter .45 long colt this might be a good one, that is if the balance is right and it fits the hand well. I have shot a few .45 long colts and found them very good for what they are intined to be used for.
God Bless America and Our Troops Past Present and Future.
Keeping to My Oath Locked Loaded and Keeping My Powder Dry.
Get the US Out of the UN and the UN Out of the US.

Posted by: bear1 | November 19, 2011 1:30 PM    Report this comment

thanks

Posted by: roy h | November 17, 2011 4:57 PM    Report this comment

Thank you. I hope you havw at least another decade with us. And a healthy one, too !

Posted by: Muzzlepuncher 7 | November 17, 2011 1:17 PM    Report this comment

Take courage my friend, Muzzlepuncher, we all have our days of odd perceptions. I am finding that the further I get in my 8th decade of life, the more odd perceptions I experience.

Posted by: canovack | November 17, 2011 12:58 PM    Report this comment

Thanks canovack. Now I feel really stupid !

Posted by: Muzzlepuncher 7 | November 17, 2011 12:03 PM    Report this comment

I think that there is a brass part at top of the grip that doesn't show well in the photo; the bright brass appearing white in black & white.

I haven't seen one of these in a Cabella's catalog lately. I wonder if they are still for sale.

Posted by: Mister E | November 17, 2011 11:48 AM    Report this comment

Muzzlepuncher, what appears to be a blank space on the photograph is really just the result of a failure of the camera to pickup the light colored brass frame of the gun.

Posted by: canovack | November 17, 2011 11:46 AM    Report this comment

There will always be a certain romance associated with the Single Action Army and its' clones and copies. Just owning and handling them is very satisfying. I have heard that some people have even chosen to carry them as concealed handguns. I haven't yet gotten to that point, mainly because of the slow reloading process of the SAA. I do, however, have a Cimarron replica Smith & Wesson 3rd Model Schofield in .45 Colt. With its' top break action, it reloads as rapidly as any swing-out cylinder revolver, and I can carry two speed loaders with it. The only problem that exists for concealed carry is the seven inch barrel, but in cold weather, an overcoat could rectify that.

Posted by: canovack | November 17, 2011 11:41 AM    Report this comment

It looks like a pretty good budget priced single action revolver. The only thing I don't like about it is the way the grip attaches to the frame. At the top it looks like there is a piece of the frame missing. Anyone else notice that, too ?

Posted by: Muzzlepuncher 7 | November 17, 2011 11:35 AM    Report this comment

I bought one back in 2000. Interesting thing is that the firing pin attached to the hammer on mine is SOFT metal so it bent somehow and then did not ignite primers after that. I had a gunsmith fix it.

Posted by: Cava3r4 | November 17, 2011 11:22 AM    Report this comment

Add your comments ...

New to Gun Tests? Register for Free!

Already Registered? Log In