SOLD FOR: $2000
Model: Single Action Army, 3rd Generation
Serial Number: 80905SA
Year of Manufacture: 1976 (https://www.colt.com/serial-lookup), shipped August 24, 1977 (per included letter)
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 is marked “COLT SINGLE ACTION ARMY .45”. The left of the frame is marked “PAT. SEPT 19. 1871 / JULY 2, 72 JAN. 19, 75” and with a rampant colt logo. The left of the trigger guard is marked “VP” in triangle. The bottom of the frame and the left of each portion of the trigger guard are each marked “80905SA”. The front face of the cylinder is marked “0905”. The inside of each grip panel has “80905” hand-scribed.
Barrel Length: 5 1/2”
Sights / Optics: The front sight is a quarter-round blade fixed to the front of the barrel. The rear sight is a square notch at the rear of a groove in the top strap.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The grips are two-piece checkered black hard rubber with rampant colt in oval at their tops and American eagle at the bottoms. The left panel has odd grooves in the top edge to the left of the backstrap and each panel has a light scratch on the bottom face. There are a few other minor marks. The checkering is sharp with good detail in the colts and eagles. There are no chips or cracks. Overall, the grips are in Fine condition.
Type of Finish: Blue & Case Color
Finish Originality: Original
Bore Condition: The bore is mostly bright and the rifling is sharp. There is no erosion in the bore, but there is a little stubborn fouling in front of the forcing cone.
Overall Condition: This revolver retains about 87% of its metal finish. Most of the balance is in handling wear in the frontstrap and trigger guard with the worn areas discolored from oxidation. There is some other scattered minor oxidation, most visible in the side faces of the hammer. Otherwise, the finish is strong, including the frame’s case color. There are a few scattered minor nicks and scuffs. The cylinder shows faint turn-wear. The screw heads range from sharp to lightly tool marked with strong slots. The markings are clear. Overall, this revolver is in Very Good condition.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly. Lockup produces almost no play on all six chambers. The trigger is crisp. The cylinder’s bushing is fixed to the cylinder. 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 which confirms that this revolver shipped August 24, 1977 to Jays Sales Company in Des Moines, Iowa as the only gun of its type in the shipment. Also included is a Colt branded zipper case with a zipper side-pocket.
Our Assessment: In 1974, Colt quietly discontinued production 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. Grips on nickeled guns were walnut, with Colt’s Rampant Colt medallions.
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’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 .357 Magnum came along by the end of 1976.
Everyone should have a Colt Single Action Army, and this would be a nice one to add to any collection. Manufactured in 1976, this is an early 3rd Generation, one of the first 1,000 to come off the new production line. Interestingly, this 3rd Generation revolver falls into the serial range listed by the ATF for C&R eligible 2nd Gen Single Action Army revolvers, though the year of production and features definitely make this a 3rd Generation. What can you expect from ATF, though? In any case, this early 3rd Gen SAA is a good looking revolver that you can take out and shoot without worrying about putting the first mark on the cylinder.
This going to be popular with collectors and would make a fine revolver to pass down through the generations.
Please see our photos and good luck!