SOLD FOR: $5024
Model: Single Action Army
Serial Number: 100463
Year of Manufacture: Colt’s serial lookup indicates production in 1883 (https://www.colt.com/serial-lookup), the revolver shipped May 6, 1886.
Caliber: .45 Colt, Black Powder
Action Type: 6-Shot Single Action Revolver with Side Gate Loaded Cylinder
Markings: The top of the barrel is marked “COLT’S PT. F. A. MFG Co HARTFORD CT. U.S.A”. The outside of the cylinder is marked “0463”, the rear face has a small “H” and a larger “L”. The bottom of the frame at the front, the bottom of the trigger guard at the front and the butt are each marked “100463”. The hammer slot is marked “H”. The left of the frame is marked “PAT. SEPT. 19. 1871. / ” JULY. 2. -72 / ” JAN. 19. -75.”. The rear face of the loading gate has “8193” assembly number. The backstrap inlet of the grip has “0463” hand-written. The left of the trigger guard is marked “45 CAL”.
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 “V”-notch integral to the topstrap.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The grip is a one-piece smooth walnut. The grip has scattered finish wear, most notable at the bottom edges. There are some nicks, scuffs and scratches. There is a tiny loss at the bottom-front corner on the right. There are no cracks. Overall, the grip is in Very Good-plus condition as Antique.
Type of Finish: Blue & Case Color
Finish Originality: Original
Bore Condition: The bore is gray with well-defined rifling. There is scattered light-moderate erosion and pitting in the bore. In this writer’s opinion, this bore rates about 4 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 20% of its metal finish. There is fairly strong blue finish under the ejector housing on the barrel, with some finish around the ejector housing, on the butt, at the top of the backstrap, and in other less-handled or protected areas. The frame and hammer have some case color remaining in well-protected areas such as the loading and hammer slots. Other areas have mostly worn to white or gone to a light patina. There is some scattered surface erosion, most notable on the outside of the cylinder. There are some light nicks and scratches with a cluster of more notable tool marks on the bottom of the barrel in front of the cylinder pin. There are less notable tool marks around some screw-heads. The action shows operational wear including turn wear on the cylinder. The screw heads range from sharp to tool marked with strong slots. The markings are generally clear, the patent marking shows wear. Overall, this revolver is in about Very Good condition as Antique.
Mechanics: The hammer can be dropped from half-cock by pulling the trigger. Otherwise, the action functions correctly. The trigger is crisp. The cylinder locks with little play on each chamber. The cylinder bushing is removable. We have not fired this handgun. 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 Archives letter which indicates that it shipped in its current configuration on May 6, 1886 to Keith, Benham & Dezendorf in Chicago, Illinois as one of six revolvers of the same type in the shipment.
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 example retains fairly good mechanics (the hammer will drop from half-cock), a decent bore for a revolver that would have seen use with black powder 140 years ago, and has matching serialized parts including the grip.
This revolver is a commercial Single Action Army made in the mid-1880s. It is interesting that the Colt serial lookup indicates production in 1883, however the included Colt Archives letter indicates it didn’t ship until May of 1886. Specifically, the gun shipped to the hardware firm Keith, Benham & Dezendorf of Chicago, just a little more than a year before the firm would sell its stock in June of 1887. The revolver shows honest wear given its age, retaining about 20% of its original finish. Any of the 1st Generation Single Action Army revolvers are collectible, and this example should be no exception. An opportunity like this doesn’t come by every day, so please see our photos and good luck!
Please forgive any typos, I was educated in California. -Bud