SOLD FOR: $2425
Model: Single Action Army, 3rd Generation
Serial Number: SA49097
Year of Manufacture: 1981
Caliber: .44 Special
Action Type: Single Action Revolver with Side Loading Gate Cylinder
Markings: The left side of the barrel is marked “COLT SINGLE ACTION ARMY .44 SPECIAL”. 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 “SA49097”. The front and back strap are both marked “SA49097” on the left side. The left front of the trigger guard is marked with a “VP” in a triangle and at the rear with a “U”, there is a “Z” marked on the right of the trigger guard. The front of the cylinder is marked “9097”, the rear is marked “44S”. The inside of each grip panel has “49097” hand-scribed.
Barrel Length: 4 3/4”
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 American eagle at the bottom. The left panel has minor tool marks around the grip screw escutcheon. Otherwise, the grips have only light handling marks. The checkering is sharp. There are no chips or cracks. Overall, the grips rate in Excellent condition.
Type of Finish: Blue & Case Color
Finish Originality: Original
Bore Condition: The bore is bright and the rifling is sharp. There is no erosion in the bore. About 3/4″ in front of the forcing cone, the two bottom lands and the left land (from the shooter’s perspective) each have thin tool marks perpendicular to the bore axis.
Overall Condition: This handgun retains about 98% of its metal finish. The cylinder has very faint turn-wear and a few scattered minor marks. Otherwise, there are only light handling marks. The screw heads range from sharp to lightly tool marked with strong slots. The markings are clear. Overall, this handgun rates in Fine-Excellent condition.
Mechanics: The action functions properly. The cylinder locks up with barely perceptible play on each chamber. We did not fire this handgun. As with all used firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance requirements.
Box, Paperwork & Accessories: This revolver comes in a faux-wood cardboard Colt box with two-piece styrofoam insert and a manual. The box has scattered wear and tearing at the ends with the label-end large ear missing.
Our Assessment: In 1974, Colt quietly discontinued production of the single Action Army; this would be the second time they discontinued production of this glorious revolver. Luckily, the loyal fans of the SAA would not need to wait long as colt would bring back the SAA in 1976 as the “3rd Generation”. Changes were made but the basic SAA was the same, i.e. three standard barrel lengths of 4 ¾”, 5 ½” and 7 ½”, finishes of full nickel or blue, with color case hardened frame, and grips of hard rubber.
Some 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’s threads was changed from the 20 threads per inch (TPI) as used on 1st and 2nd Generation SAAs to 24 TPI for these 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 other chamberings would soon follow, including .44 Special.
Everyone should have a Colt Single Action Army, and this would be a beauty to add to any collection. Manufactured in 1981, this revolver is in Fine-Excellent condition, appearing to have seen little, if any use. With a 4 3/4″ barrel and chambered for .44 Special, this is a classic Single Action Army chambered for a classic cartridge. The pistol’s high condition and included box make it suitable for addition to a collection, but is also something that could be carried as a hunting sidearm or used in Cowboy Action Shooting competitions. Please see our photos and good luck!