SOLD FOR: $3200
Model: Custom Single Action Army, 1st Generation
Serial Number: 21038
Year of Manufacture: The frame was made in 1875, the revolver was most likely altered in the 1950s when conversion to .38 Special became possible and popular.
Caliber: .38 Special (note: this revolver has a black powder frame and may not be safe to fire with standard smokeless cartridges)
Action Type: Single Action Revolver with Side Loading Gate Cylinder
Barrel Length: 5 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 faux-ivory panels with finger-grooves on the left panel. The grips have some scattered light scuffs and scratches. The panels are shy to the frame in some spots, most notable at the top-front. The left panel has a small chip at the bottom-rear. There are no cracks. Overall, the grips are in about Very Good condition as not original to the gun.
Type of Finish: Blue & Case Color
Finish Originality: Refinished. The barrel, cylinder, grip frame and likely other small parts are not original to the frame.
Bore Condition: The bore is bright and the rifling is sharp. There is no erosion in the bore. In this writer’s opinion, the bore rates 10 out of 10.
Overall Condition: This revolver retains about 87% of its current metal finish. The finish is thinning at most edges. There is finish wear at the muzzle on the left. There are scattered spots of surface oxidation on the ejector housing with infrequent spots on the barrel. The cylinder has scattered turn-wear. The grip frame has minor handling wear. The frame has generally strong case color, the installed hammer’s is muted. The hammer has some scattered minor oxidation and its firing pin is missing. The revolver has some scattered minor nicks and scratches. The markings range from clear to worn and incomplete. Overall, this revolver is in Fair-Good condition as refinished and customized Antique (see Mechanics).
Mechanics: The installed hammer is missing its firing pin. The cylinder stop engages when the hammer is at half-cock, preventing proper loading/unloading. Otherwise, the action functions correctly. The trigger is crisp. The cylinder has light play on each chamber. The cylinder has a removable bushing. 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 an additional case color hammer which does have a firing pin.
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 has been custom-built on a “black-powder” frame made in 1875. The frame has this designation by collectors as it was made before the SAA frames were specifically designed and made with materials which would put up with the use of smokeless powder. Nonetheless, someone updated the revolver with a .38 Special barrel and cylinder, likely in the 1950s when such upgrades were popular. The revolver has been refinished, so it looks good for its age and has been equipped with a set of faux-ivory grips which gives it a distinctive appearance. The result is a revolver which is interesting and unique. The installed hammer is missing its firing pin, but an additional hammer with firing pin is included. Once the hammer is installed and the cylinder stop timing is addressed, it should make for a fun shooter with black powder .38 Special loads. Please see our photos and good luck!