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The mighty Seville .375 super mag; United Sporting Arm's giant stainless steel revolver for this hard-hitting long-range wildcat is a real fistful!

* Here's a big, booming behemoth of a single-action sixgun that's built for an extrapowerful wildcat cartridge. Wrought from tough 17-4 PH stainless steel, this elegant brute of a revolver is made by United Sporting Arms and chambers the offbeat but potent .375 Super Mag cartridge--about which more later.

United Sporting Arms' line of "Seville" single-action revolvers has been on the market for some years. These revolvers have enjoyed a good reputation for quality and workmanship, but the manufacturer has in the past been bedevilled by financial and management problems that prevented these fine sixguns from obtaining the recognition and popularity they deserve. Not long ago, the company changed ownership, and under vigorous and knowledeable new management, it is being relocated from Arizona to Pennsylvania. Those familiar with this company under the name of "United Sporting Arms of Arizona" will duly note that "of Arizona" is, appropriately enough, being deleted.

To house the extra-long .375 Super Mag cartridge, United Sporting Arms have built a king-size version of the Seville. There's nothing dainty or petite about this sixgun--it's an Incredible Hulk among revolves. With a 7-1/2-inch barrel, overall length is 14-1/2 inches and weight is 52 ounces. The cylinder is slightly over 2 inches long, over a quarter of an inch more than my Super Blackhawk's--no mini-gun in its own right! This Seville is a truly high quality revolver. Polishing of the stainless steel was very well done. Mating of the grips to the frame and of the grip frame to the cylinder frame was absolutely perfect. The critical gap between the cylinder face and the barrel breech measured only .003 inch, which is just about ideal. There was only a slight amount of cylinder play. The trigger broke at 3 pounds, again ideal for a single-action pull on a revolver, with just a trace of mushiness.

The only area where this revolver could be faulted was a certain amount of looseness and fore-and-aft play in the loading gate. In fact, the gate could be moved far enough forward to interfere with cylinder rotation when the chambers were loaded. Removing the grip frame and tightening the hex-head loading gate retaining screw located underneath the cylinder frame easily corrected this problem. (Don't overdo the tightening, though, or you won't be able to get the gate open.)

The Seville uses a Colt-style two-legged bolt and trigger spring, but the Seville's is made of virtually unbreakable beryllium copper, as is the frame-mounted floating firing pin. (A beryllium copper bolt/trigger spring would be a nice aftermarket accessory for Colt SAAs, by the way.)

Our sample revolver had the older style of United Sporting Arms' transfer bar safety. We have been informed that later production Sevilles will use a newer safety system, which United Sporting Arms call an "ignition plate" safety--basically an improved transfer bar type of mechanism. The ignition plate design prevents the gun from being fired by holding back the trigger and fanning or slipping the hammer, as is possible with the older Sevilles and competitive revolvers with similar transfer bar safeties. (Fanning is a foolish stunt at best, and when attempted on single actions with adjustable rear sight blades like the Seville, fanning ceases to be mere folly and becomes downright masochistic!)

This revolver operates in the traditional single-action manner, which I like, i.e., setting the hammer at half-cock lowers the cylinder bolt to allow the cylinder to rotate freely for loading and unloading.

The rear sight is recessed into the topstrap. It is fully adjustable and offers ample latitude for adjustment. The sloping ramp front sight uses an orange insert. I would have preferred plain black. In common with most red and orange ramp inserts, it appears blurry in certain types of light, and we found it to be a hindrance to precise sight alignment. The rear sight blade is plain black, with no outlines or inserts of any kind.

All in all, this massive, silvery Seville is a very impressive hunk of hardware. It's one of the nicest sixguns of its type we have ever seen.

At this point, a digression is in order on the .375 Super Mag cartridge, which may be unfamiliar to many readers. Wildcat revolver cartridges have been few and far between in the past. Usually these sixgun wildcats invovled reaming out the cylinder chambers to accept a bottlenecked cartridge of greater capacity but the same caliber as the original revolver. The .22 Harvey Kay-Chuck and the .357/.44 Bain & Davis were examples of this breed.

The .375 Super Mag is something quite different. It was developed for metallic silhouette shooting by IHMSA president and famous big-game hunter Elgin Gates. This "factory wildcat" consists of the .375 Winchester Big Bore rifle cartridge case shortened from its original 2.020 inches down to 1.6 inches for more efficient use in a handgun. The theory behind this cartridge was that one could have a cartridge that was ballistically somewhat more powerful than the .44 Magnum (the favorite in IHMSA's revolver class) that would fire a bullet of better aerodynamic characteristics and greater sectional density. Such a bullet would give superior downrange ballistics coupled with a longer "hang time" on the silhouettes than the .44 Magnum. The .375 Super Mag was first developed using a Contender barrel; Gates subsequently persuaded Dan Wesson and United Sporting Arms to chamber revolvers for this cartridge, thus bestowing a degree of legitimacy on the wildcat kitten.

My silhouette-shooting friends tell me that this cartridge has met a mixed reception among silhouette competitors. Some have enjoyed outstanding successes with it, but others have found it a disappointment--unable both to deliver the longrange accuracy needed for silhouette work and to live up to the ballistic claims made for it by its boosters.

Be that as it may, it is certainly an interesting, powerful cartridge and one that should be of considerable interest to handgun hunters as well as the ram-busting set.

Extensive loading data was provided with the revolver. Unfortunately, I have to recommend that anyone planning to use this data start very low and employ extreme caution when approaching any load listed as maximum. Some loads that should have been comfortably under maximum gave erratic, extra-high velocities, and cases were lodged so tight that the extractor rod couldn't punch them out; I had to remove the cylinder and use the base pin to pound out the stuck cases. Luckily, the beefy Seville has an ample margin of strength, and the revolver seemed none the worse for wear from these loads, which were quite evidently too hot.

Part of the problem may stem from the fact that much of the loading data was developed in chilly weather, but i find it hard to believe that a mild California spring day could raise pressures to such a drastic degree. Again, start very, very conservatively and work up loads in gradual increments, being sure to back off at the first signs of excessive pressure, like primer extrusions or sticky case extraction. All loads given herein are for use only in Seville revolvers originally chambered for this cartride and in no other guns.

We were furnished with a quantity of Winchester .375 Big Bore brass that had been cut back to .375 Super max length and inside reamed. (I can't really say "neck reamed" about this straight walled case.) Hornady sent me a supply of their 220-grain flat-point bullets, and John Adams, president of Saeco Bullet Moulds, cast up a quantity of his #375 bullets that weighed 242 grains cast from virgin Linotype. This bullet is of the truncated cone style that Adams favors and closely resembles his excellent #392 200-grain .357 bullet that is a special favorite of mine.

Checking out the various loads in a shooting session at Angeles Shooting Ranges with G&A's Western States ad rep, Geoff Steer, we achieved best results with the Hornady bullets. The cast bullets were hindered on two counts: The seating plug in the Redding die set we had been furnished with caused considerable deformation of the noses. Second, as previously mentioned, the cast bullet loads we tried proved too hot. With one load the 242-grainers were stepping out as fast as 1,650 fps, and such velocities and pressures were too much for best accuracy with any plain-base lead bullet.

Because the .375 Super Mag cartridge/revolver combination is meant for long-range work, we elected to shoot for accuracy at 50 yards. As mentioned earlier, the orange front sight insert was something of a hindrance to precise alinment in the early morning light. Recoil and blast were not as fearsome as we had dreaded. You definitely knew you'd touched off a very powerful sixgun, but in the big, heavy Seville, recoil was far from punishing. It certainly didn't seem a bit worse than a .44 Magnum single action with full-power loads.

We tried loads with both the cast and jacketed bullets and charges of Accurate Powder #9, Hercules 2400 and W-296. Federal #155 Magnum Large Pistol primers were used exclusively. In the data furnished by the maker, some very tiny groups (like 1-1/4 inches and less) were recorded at 50 yards. Although we attained respectable accuracy with some loads, we never came close to such results. Two loads, both using the Hornady bullets, gave the best performance. With 23.5 grains of W-296, groups ran about 3-3/4 inches at 50 yards, adequate if not superb accuracy. Velocities averaged 1,485 fps. Quite similar ballistically was the same bullet backed by 19.5 grains of Accurate Powder #9, for 1,479 fps. With this load I printed one 50-yard group with four shots inside 2-1/2 inches with a called flyer. Geoff printed a similar group with four in 3 inches and "one that got away."

I think loads like these--equivalent to top-end .44 Magnums in power--are about the best that can be reasonably attained in this cartridge, since hotter loads gave distinct signs of excessive pressure. Be extra careful about using any such loads in Dan Wesson revolvers in this caliber. Word among silhouetters is that they seem less able to withstand the high pressures of the .375 Super Mag than the sturdy single-action design of United Sporting Arms.

In conclusion, the .375 Super Mag cartridge seems like a fascinating round with considerable potential for development by cautious, experienced handloaders. The Seville revolver itself is a splendid piece of work. These revolvers are also available (with shorter frames and cylinders where appropriate) in: .375 Magnum; .357 Maximum; .41 magnum; .44 Magnum; .45 Colt and .454 Magnum. Prices start at a suggested $435; our sample stainless .375 Super Mag lists at $490. Information on the full Seville line is available from United Sporting Arms, Dept. GA, 2021 East 14th Street, Tucson, AZ 85719.
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Title Annotation:evaluation
Author:Libourel, Jan
Publication:Guns & Ammo
Date:Sep 1, 1985
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