SOLD FOR: $4575
Model: 1873 Single Action Army, Customized Cavalry Model
Serial Number: 48205
Year of Manufacture: 1878 (https://www.colt.com/serial-lookup)
Caliber: .45 Colt
Action Type: Single Action Revolver with Side Loading Gate Cylinder
Markings: The left of the barrel is marked “COLT SINGLE ACTION ARMY 45”, the right is marked “COLT’S 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 “U.S.”. The bottom of the frame and trigger guard are each marked “48205” and with “H.N.” (Henry Nettleton inspector’s mark). The hammer slot is marked “S”. The left of the hammer is marked “H.N.”. The rear of the loading gate has assembly number “6088”. The outside of the cylinder is marked “8205”, “H.N.” and “P”, the rear face is marked “T” and “P”. The butt is marked “48 / 205” and the top of the backstrap is marked “H.N.” behind the hammer. The bottom of the grip is marked “H.N.” to the right of the butt with a boxed “HN” cartouche on the right and “1878” over boxed “JEG” cartouche on the left, the backstrap inlet has “8205” hand-written.
Barrel Length: The barrel is a later-vintage replacement 5 1/2″ length.
Sights / Optics: This revolver is mounted with a “V” notch in the top strap for a rear sight and a quarter round blade front sight fixed to the barrel.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The grip is one piece smooth walnut. The grip has light handling wear with some scattered light nicks, scuffs and scratches. There are no chips or cracks. Overall, the grip is in Fine condition as Antique.
Type of Finish: Blue & Case Color
Finish Originality: The replacement barrel’s finish appears original, but the barrel is not original to the gun. Other parts have been refinished.
Bore Condition: The bore is bright with sharp rifling. There is no erosion in the bore.
Overall Condition: This revolver retains about 85% of its current metal finish. The finish is thinning at all edges. There are some scattered minor nicks, scuffs and scratches with a few more notable marks. There is some scattered light finish wear, mostly in the cylinder, frame and grip frame. There are infrequent spots of minor erosion and some discoloration from oxidation. The action shows operational wear including turn-wear on the cylinder. The screw heads range from sharp to tool marked with serviceable slots. The markings range from clear to worn and incomplete. Overall, this revolver is in Fair-plus condition as Antique (see Mechanics)
Mechanics: The hammer does not properly catch at half-cock or the safety notch and catches only intermittently at full-cock. The cylinder does not properly lock up at full-cock or when the hammer is down. When the hammer does catch at full-cock, the trigger is crisp. The cylinder has a removable bushing. We have not fired this revolver. As with all used firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance standards.
Box, Paperwork & Accessories: None
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 U.S. Cavalry model is from the 1878 Ordnance Sub-Inspected series with inspection marks from Henry Nettleton. Its serialized parts match with proper inspection marks, however the barrel has been replaced with a more recent vintage 5 1/2″ barrel and the original parts have been refinished. The result strongly resembles an “Artillery” model, though the barrel replacement would have been performed quite some time after the revolver left military service.
Given the date of manufacture, the revolver would likely have been issued during the Indian Wars when in its original configuration. It doesn’t appear to be too much the worse for wear and the refinishing job was fairly well done, preserving the markings to a decent extent and still looking like an artifact of the old west. This revolver must have a very interesting history, if only it could be told. All of the Colt 1st Generation revolvers are heavily collected, and this customized Cavalry Model will not be an exception. Please see our photos and good luck!