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

SOLD FOR: $4525.99

LSB#: 230320LC013

Make: Colt

Model: Single Action Army

Serial Number: 120272

Year of Manufacture: 1887 (

Caliber: .45 Colt, Black Powder

Action Type: Single Action Revolver with Side Loading Gate Cylinder

Markings: The left side of the frame is marked “PAT. SEPT 19. 1871  / ” JULY. 2. -72. / ” JAN. 19. -75.” and with “U. S”. The top of the barrel is marked “+COLT’S PT. F. A. MFG. Co. HARTFORD CT. U.S.A.+”. The underside of the frame at the trigger guard is marked “120272” and “D.F.C.”. The bottom of the trigger guard is marked “121052” with no visible inspection mark. The backstrap is marked “133 / 764” and “K”. The rear of the loading gate is marked with an assembly number “294”. The outside of the cylinder is marked “6880”, “P” and “D.F.C.”. The bottom of the barrel is marked “A” and “P” in front of the cylinder pin, under the ejector housing is “0757”. The hammer slot is marked “G”.

Barrel Length: The barrel has been cut to 5 1/2”.

Sights / Optics: The front sight is a blade fixed to the barrel. The rear sight is a “V”-notch at the rear of a groove in the topstrap.

Stock Configuration & Condition: The grip is one piece smooth walnut. The grip has some light nicks and scratches, a couple of dings, and more notable scratches on the bottom to each side of the butt. There is a tiny loss at the bottom-front corner on the right. There are no cracks. Overall, the grip is in about Very Good condition as refinished Antique.

Type of Finish: Blue & Case Color

Finish Originality: Refinished

Bore Condition: The bore is gray with well defined rifling. There is light erosion and pitting scattered through the bore. In this writer’s opinion, this bore rates 6 out of 10.

Most antique firearms have bores that will show erosion. This is not only due to age but to the use of black powder. When fired, black powder reacts corrosively. NRA Antique Firearm Conditions Standards are quite lenient for bores. In some cases the NRA standards disregarded the bore’s condition for collectors firearms.

Overall Condition: This revolver retains about 25% of its current metal finish. Most remaining finish is in protected areas such as corners and the cylinder flutes. There is strong finish on the barrel under the ejector housing. Much of the frame’s case color is muted, but there is some strong color in protected areas. Most other surfaces have worn to white or gone to a light patina. There is some scattered minor surface oxidation. There are some scattered nicks and scratches with tool marks around some screw heads. The tip of the firing pin has had a small amount of brass brazed on as an extension. The action shows operational wear including a turn-line on the cylinder. The screw heads are tool marked with usable slots. The markings are generally clear, some are worn. Overall, this revolver is in Fair-Good condition as refinished Antique.

Mechanics: The cylinder stop does not engage. It is present and it moves a little when the hammer is cocked, but it never protrudes through the frame. Otherwise, the action functions correctly. The trigger is crisp. The cylinder bushing is a separate part, but it is seized in place, we were not able to remove it. 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: This revolver started out life in 1887 as a Model 1873 Cavalry revolver and likely saw some use in the Indian Wars of the late 19th Century. It has since been assembled as an “Artillery Model”. Between 1900 and 1903, Colt altered and refinished 5,444 revolvers into “Artillery” models (5 ½” barrel) and some conversions were performed by Springfield Armory. Per Kopec and Fenn, “A single Artillery revolver often will have parts from three or four different Cavalry revolvers”. The “Artillery” moniker is a collector’s term, as the modified revolvers were most notable for their issue to U.S. Artillery units in the Spanish-American war.

This revolver’s mixed numbered parts strongly indicate it is one such revolver. The barrel is interesting as it has an early-style barrel address and stud for the ejector housing. Other components come from later production much closer to that of the frame. There is an issue with the cylinder stop, but otherwise the mechanics are pretty good and the bore is decent for its age. 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 example has quite an interesting mix of parts, so it could serve as a source of parts for other SAAs as well as displaying well as an “Artillery”. Please see our photos and good luck!

Please forgive any typos, I was educated in California. -Bud

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