I obviously think Sig Sauer is a heck of a gunmaker! The Sig P220 TB I recently acquired is a VERY good .45 ACP semi-auto, and the old Herter’s revolvers that were made back in the 1960’s by then J.P. Sauer & Sohn in West Germany are built battleship tough! I was aware that Sauer also made other revolvers for a few other companies in the U. S., but had never gotten my hands on one before a few days ago, when Alfredo Villarreal of Manvel sold me a very nice Hawes Western Marshall in .44 magnum made by J. P. Sauer.
I really expected this gun to be a “carbon-copy” of the Herter’s revolver, but other than the sound construction, there were a few major differences. First was the much smaller grip frame and grip sizes. The front sight is smaller, and there is no rear sight save for a “notch” in the end of a channel in the top strap. Yes, the chambers still have case-head recesses, the hammer is still of the Christy style that falls on a frame mounted firing pin – but the overall size and shape of the gun is more like a Ruger Vaquero.
Another difference – and the one that attracted me to the Western Marshall perhaps the most, was that it has a nice brass grip frame and trigger guard. Really stands out against the excellent bluing of the rest of the gun. It also had a nice set of hardwood grips that are probably rosewood, and probably came on it from the factory.
Like the Herter’s guns, the barrel markings do not say J.P. Sauer, instead listing the manufacturer as Hawes Manufacturing in Los Angeles, California. Also, instead of the “Made in Western Germany” stamped on my Herter’s, this one simply says, “Made in Germany”. My Herter’s were both made in 1966, this Hawes shows to have been made in 1968 – a year with special meaning to me as that was the year I graduated from high school!
When I took the gun to my woods place to take some initial photos, I managed to fire a few “test rounds”. With “light” .44 mag loads, it functioned fine, shot well, and was easy to handle. The trigger pull is 4 pounds – about what I try to “set” my Ruger Blackhawks at for hunting.
“Cowboy Action Shooting” was not a popular sport when the Hawes Western Marshal revolver was produced, but in modern times, it should be just as popular for those games as more recent Colt clones like the Uberti imports from Italy – which also have nice grips and brass grip frames!