U.S. 1873 Artillery Colt .45 SAA Single Action Army Revolver, 1874 Antique

SOLD FOR: $5550

LSB#: 210220EW02

Make: Colt

Model: U.S. Model of 1873, Single Action Army, “Artillery” Model

Serial Number: 6992

Year of Manufacture: The frame was made in 1874, altered by Springfield Armory in 1898, refurbished by Colt in 1903.

Caliber: .45 Colt

Action Type: Single Action Revolver with Side Loading Gate Cylinder

Markings: The top of the barrel is marked “COLT’S PT. F.A. MFG. Co. HARTFORD CT. U.S.A.”. The left of the frame is marked “PAT. JULY. 2. 1872” and with “U.S.”. The bottom of the frame in front of the trigger guard is marked “6992”. The bottom of the trigger guard is marked “10222”. The butt of the backstrap is marked “133 / 753 / K”. The bottom-right of the barrel, under the ejector rod housing, is marked “5566” at the rear, and above the cylinder pin head are two “P” markings, one rotated 90 degrees from the other. The rear of the loading gate has assembly number “793”. The rear face of the cylinder is marked “K”, “S” and with a third small marking which could be “B”, “E” or “H”. The hammer slot is marked “C”. O.W. Ainsworth’s “A” inspection mark is on the trigger guard behind the serial marking. The backstrap inlet of the grip has “06” hand-written, the bottom is marked with Rinaldo A. Carr’s “R.A.C.” to each side of the butt and the right has a faint “RAC” in box cartouche at the bottom.

Barrel Length: 5 1/2″

Sights / Optics: The front sight is a blade fixed to the front of the barrel. The rear sight is a “V”-notch at the rear of a groove in the top strap.

Stock Configuration & Condition: The grip is one-piece smooth walnut. The grip has small losses to each side of the trigger guard at the top-front, a repaired chip-loss to the left of the trigger guard at the top-front, a crack at the bottom edge on the left. There are some other scattered light nick, scuffs and scratches. Overall, the grips is in about Good-plus condition as refinished Antique.

Type of Finish: Blue & Case Color

Finish Originality: Refinished. According to the included Kopec letter, the revolver was refurbished by Springfield Armory in 1898, again by Colt in 1903, and has since received moderate refinishing in the barrel, ejector and grip straps.

Bore Condition: The bore is semi-bright with sharp rifling. There is a patch of erosion in the left of the bore, about 1/2″ from the muzzle and a few other smaller spots of minor erosion.

Overall Condition: This revolver retains about 60% of its current metal finish. The finish is thinning at all edges. The grip straps have a mottled appearance in most areas with strongest color in the top of the backstrap, the butt toward the front, and the rear of the trigger guard. The frame’s case color has mostly muted with figuring visible in some areas, strongest on the right-front below the ejector boss. The cylinder has scattered finish and turn wear. The barrel and ejector housing have scattered finish wear. There are some scattered nicks, scuffs and scratches. Some of the worn areas show discoloration from oxidation. The screw heads range from sharp to tool marked with strong slots. The markings range from clear to worn and incomplete. Overall, this revolver is in about Fine condition as Arsenal refurbished Antique.

Mechanics: The action functions correctly. Lockup produces little play side-to-side and barely perceptible end-shake on all six chambers. The trigger is crisp. The cylinder has a removable bushing. We did not fire this revolver. As with all used firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance standards.

Box, Paperwork & Accessories: This revolver comes with a John A. Kopec Letter of Authentication dated October 20, 2016, paperwork from John Kopec including the invoice for the letter, and a Colt Historian letter. We found no discrepancies between the letters and the revolver. The letters are in Excellent condition.

Our Assessment: Colt’s Single Action Army is, perhaps more than any other, an iconic American pistol. It was the U.S. issue sidearm for the last two decades of the 19th century, used by pioneers, outlaws and lawmen across the expanding nation, and captivated audiences on the silver screen and television (and still does, today). This is an interesting example of the “Artillery” model, the product of re-working by a U.S. Arsenal in 1898 and again by Colt in 1903. The original arsenal refurbishment included cutting the barrel down to 5 1/2″ from the original 7 1/2″ and was performed in preparation for use in the Spanish-American War. According to the included Letter of Authenticity from Single Action Army authority John A. Kopec, this specific altered or “Artillery” model revolver was issued to Companies E and F of the 20th Kansas Volunteer Infantry. This unit was created due to the outbreak of the Spanish-American War, though they only got to the West coast by the time an armistice was declared. They left with the Fifth Philippine Expedition and arrived in Manila four days before the Treaty of Paris was signed, ending the war. Not quite two months later, the Philippine Insurrection started, and the Kansas Volunteer regiment would be involved in the Manila and Malolos campaigns, returning to the United States in October 1899 and then being mustered out of service. After this was when it was sent back to Colt for a second refurbishment, a detail noted in both the Kopec and Colt letters. Since then it appears to have been well cared for, retaining a nice bore and strong mechanics. This is a revolver with a rich and documented history, it will make a great addition to even advanced Single Action Army collections. Please see our photos and good luck!

U.S. 1873 Artillery Colt .45 SAA Single Action Army Revolver, 1874 Antique
U.S. 1873 Artillery Colt .45 SAA Single Action Army Revolver, 1874 Antique