U.S. 1873 Artillery Colt .45 SAA Single Action Army Revolver, 1887 Antique

SOLD FOR: $6125

LSB#: 210607DW09

Make: Colt

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

Serial Number: 121123

Year of Manufacture: The frame was made in 1887, 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. SEPT. 19. 1871. / ” JULY. 2. -72. / ” JAN. 19. -75.” and with “U.S”. The bottom of the frame in front of the trigger guard is marked “121123”. The bottom of the trigger guard is marked “139436 / K”. The butt of the backstrap is marked “139 / 436 / K”. The bottom-right of the barrel, under the ejector rod housing, is marked “6335” at the rear, and above the cylinder pin head are two “P” markings, one rotated 90 degrees from the other. The rear face of the cylinder is marked “K”, “S” and “T”, the outside of the cylinder is marked “NH” and “0455”. The hammer slot is marked “G”. The left of the trigger guard is marked “M”. The backstrap inlet of the grip has “9436” hand-written, the bottom is marked with Rinaldo A. Carr’s “R.A.C.” to each side of the butt and the right has “1903” over an “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 minor handling wear with a few scattered light nicks and scuffs. There is a tiny loss at the bottom-front corner on the right. There are no cracks. Overall, the grip is in Fine condition as refinished Antique.

Type of Finish: Blue & Case Color

Finish Originality: Factory Refurbished. According to the included Colt letter, the revolver was returned to Colt and refurbished, then returned to Springfield Armory by Colt in 1903.

Bore Condition: The bore is mostly-bright with sharp rifling. There is infrequent minor erosion in the bore.

Overall Condition: This revolver retains about 87% of its current metal finish. Most of the balance is in handling wear in the grip areas, trigger and hammer. The finish is thinning at most edges. The frame has some scattered muting, but generally retains good case color. There are some scattered light nicks, scuffs and scratches. The action shows operational wear including a turn-line on the cylinder. There is infrequent minor oxidation, most on the unfinished side faces of the hammer. There is a small patch of erosion under the finish to the right of the trigger guard bow at the front. The screw heads range from sharp to tool marked with strong slots. The markings range from clear to worn, but legible. Overall, this revolver is in about Fine condition as factory refurbished Antique.

Mechanics: The action functions correctly. Lockup produces barely perceptible play 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 Colt Historian letter showing this revolver frame’s serial number shipped March 21, 1887 to the United States Government. The letter also notes that the revolver was returned to the factory for refurbishing and subsequently returned to the Springfield Armory on May 18, 1903.

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. After the war, revolvers were sent back to Colt for a second refurbishment. Since then it appears to have been well cared for, retaining the great majority of its metal finish, a nice bore and strong mechanics. This is a revolver with a rich 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, 1887 Antique
U.S. 1873 Artillery Colt .45 SAA Single Action Army Revolver, 1887 Antique