Colt 1st Gen Single Action Army SAA .38 WCF 7 1/2″ Revolver & Letter, C&R
SOLD FOR: $3325
Model: Single Action Army, 1st Generation
Serial Number: 337886
Year of Manufacture: 1917 (https://www.colt.com/serial-lookup)
Caliber: .38 W.C.F. (38-40 Winchester Center Fire)
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 “38 W.C.F.”. The left of the frame is marked “PAT SEPT 19 1871. / JULY 2 72 JAN. 19. 75.” and with a rampant colt logo. The bottom of the frame is marked “337886”. The butt of the grip frame is marked “337 / 886″. The rear of the loading gate and right rear of the frame are marked with an assembly number “284”. The left of the trigger guard is marked “VP” in triangle and “1”. The hammer slot is marked “W”. The left side of the trigger guard portion of the grip frame is marked “337886”. The rear face of the cylinder is marked “88” and the front face is marked “H”. The bottom of the barrel is marked “1”. The interior of the left grip panel is hand inscribed “344870” and the right side is hand inscribed “888”. The interior of the right panel has color markings “COLT’S HTFD. CONN.”.
Barrel Length: 7 1/2”
Sights / Optics: The front sight is a blade fixed to the front of the barrel. The rear sight is a “V”-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 the top of each panel. The grips are replacements. The left grip panel is proud to the bottom of the grip, most noticeable at the rear. There are some scattered light handling marks. There is a mark into the material along the front border of the left panel. There are a few scattered little nicks and marks, most noticeable on the bottom edges. Overall, the grips are in Very Good condition.
Type of Finish: Blue & Case Color
Finish Originality: Original
Bore Condition: The bore is bright and the rifling is strong and well defined. There is a small spot of faint surface erosion but nothing major. In my opinion, this bore rates 9.5 out of 10.
Many military and C&R eligible weapons have bores that will show erosion. This is not only due to age but to the fact that corrosive primers were commonly used in ammunition worldwide. For example, the U.S. used corrosive ammunition throughout WWII. The U.S. military did not begin to phase out corrosive-primed ammunition until the 1950’s.
Overall Condition: This revolver retains about 90% of its metal finish. There are turn lines and turn wear on the cylinder. There are some scattered little spots of oxidation and discoloration from previous oxidation. There is some finish loss on the edges, most noticeable on the edges of the muzzle. There are some scattered little nicks and marks into the metal. There are some scattered handling marks. There is standard operational wear. The screw heads range from sharp to lightly used with strong slots. The markings are clear. Overall, this revolver is in Very Good-Fine condition.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly. Lockup produces barely perceptible play on all six chambers. The trigger is crisp. The cylinder has a removable bushing which is stuck in the cylinder, this is common. 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: Included is a Colt letter.
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). Produced for nearly a century and a half, they are still being made, today! This example is a 1st Generation Single Action Army made in 1917. It is in Very Good-Fine condition, retaining much of its original finish, a good bore, and excellent mechanics. The condition really is quite nice given that the gun is more than 100 years old. The revolver is chambered for the 38-40 WCF cartridge, one of the chamberings intended to be paired with a Winchester rifle. It was originally shipped to Von Lengerke & Antoine of Chicago, Illinois in 1920. The store was a high-end sporting goods store similar to Abercrombie & Fitch. In direct competition, the store was to the Windy City what A&F was to the Big Apple. They sold many types of guns, including Tommy Guns. They made a number of sales, but some of their clientele was less than law-abiding. Many guns used in crimes committed by gangs headed by the notorious Al Capone came back as being sold by Von Lengerke & Antoine. Eventually, with too much bad press, Abercrombie & Fitch bought them out. This gun was an interesting history, we wish we knew the type of use it has seen over the last century!
Any 1st Generation SAA would make a great addition to a Colt collection, and this early 20th Century example should be no exception, especially if you have a Winchester 92 or 73 chambered for the same round. Please see our photos and good luck!
Some are hot, some are not, but thankfully most can be shot!