SOLD FOR: $1750
Model: Single Action Army (3rd Gen)
Serial Number: 96856SA
Year of Manufacture: 1978 (COLT Serial Number Lookup)
Caliber: .45 Colt
Action Type: Single Action Revolver with Side Loading Gate Cylinder
Markings: The left side of the barrel is marked “COLT SINGLE ACTION ARMY .45”. The top of the barrel is marked “COLT’S PT. F. A. MFG. CO. HARTFORD CT. U.S.A.”. The left side of the frame is marked “PAT. SEPT. 19, 1871 / JULY 2,72 JAN. 19,75” and with the “Rampant Colt” logo. The underside of the frame at the grip frame is marked with the serial number, “96856SA”. The left side of the grip frame is marked twice with the serial number, “96856SA”. The left front of the trigger guard is marked with a “VP” in a triangle and at the rear with an “V”. The base of the hammer is marked “P”. The front of the cylinder is serial-matching, marked “6 8 5 6”. The interior of each grip panel is marked with “COLT’S HTFD. CONN.”, and with the serial number, hand-scribed “96856”.
Barrel Length: 7 1/2”
Sights/Optics: The front sight is a quarter round blade fixed to the barrel. The rear sight is a square groove in the top strap.
Stock Configuration and Condition: The grips are two-piece checkered hard rubber panels, each with the Rampant Colt at the top and an ‘E Pluribus Unum’ eagle at the bottom. Each panel has a few minor compressions in the smooth edges. There are no chips or cracks. Overall, the grips rate in Fine condition.
Type of Finish: Blue and Case Color
Finish Originality: Original
Bore Condition: The bore is bright and the rifling is sharp. There is no erosion in the bore, but there are a few spots of minor stubborn fouling.
Overall Condition: This handgun retains about 97% of its metal finish. There is a bit of light holster wear at the tip of the barrel along with a few scattered minor nicks on the right side. There is light thinning on the edge of the guard. Case color is rather strong. The cylinder has faint indications of a turn line, not through the finish. The screw heads are sharp. The markings are crisp. Overall, this handgun rates in Fine-plus condition.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly. We did not fire this revolver. As with all used firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance requirements.
Box, Paperwork, and Accessories: None.
Our Assessment: In 1974, Colt quietly discontinued production of the single Action Army, the second time they had done so. Luckily, the loyal fans of the SAA would not need to wait long as Colt would bring back the SAA in 1976, a “3rd Generation”. Changes were made but the basic SAA was the same (e.g., standard barrel lengths of 4 3/4”, 5 1/2” and 7 1/2”, finishes of full nickel or blue, with case color frames, grips of hard rubber, etc.). Grips on nickel guns were walnut, with Colt’s Rampant Colt medallions inset at the top. The changes were incorporated in an effort by Colt to keep prices down. One new change was a pressed-in cylinder pin bushing instead of the removable ones used in 1st and 2nd Generation cylinders. Also, the ratchet at the rear of the cylinders was re-shaped, which also necessitated a different shape on the rotating hand. And for some unknown reason, the pitch of the barrel threads was changed from the 20 threads per inch (TPI) as used on 1st and 2nd Generation SAAs to 24 TPI for the new ones. Toward the end of 2nd Generation production Colt had begun using some investment cast parts, but the frames continued to be forged. The introductory caliber for 3rd Generation SAAs was .45 Colt, but .357 Magnum came along by the end of 1976. Everyone should have a Colt Single Action Army, and this would be a beauty to add to any collection. This is going to be popular with collectors and would make a fine revolver to pass down through the generations. Good luck and happy bidding!