Bernard Bernie Wolfe Engraved Colt Single Action Army .45 Revolver, 1998

SOLD FOR: $6027

LSB#: 230727HE013

Make: Colt

Model: Single Action Army, 3rd Generation

Serial Number: S21534A

Year of Manufacture: 1998 (

Caliber: .45 Colt

Action Type: Single Action Revolver with Side Loading Gate Cylinder

Markings: The left side of the barrel is marked “45 COLT”. The top of the barrel is marked “COLT’S PT. F. A. MFG. Co. / HARTFORD CT. U.S.A.”. The left side of the frame is marked “PAT. SEPT. 19, 1871 / JULY 2,72 JAN. 19,75” and with the “Rampant Colt” logo. The underside of the frame at the grip frame is marked “S21534A”. The front and back strap are both marked “S21534A” on the left side. The front of the cylinder is marked “034”, the rear of the loading gate is marked “534”. It is not clear if the cylinder’s marking is a factory error, being off by only one digit, or if a replacement cylinder was used at the time of engraving. The revolver has extensive foliate scroll and western-style engraving on the barrel, cylinder, frame and grip frame. The bottom of the frontstrap is signed “Wolfe” (Bernhard “Bernie” Wolfe)

Barrel Length: 4 3/4?

Sights / Optics: The front sight is a quarter round blade fixed to the barrel. The rear sight is a square groove in the top strap.

Stock Configuration and Condition: The installed grips are two-piece faux-ivory panels with Colt medallions at their top. The right panel is carved with an eagle. The grips have been decorated with faux-schrager lines and show some scattered minor discoloration. The right panel’s interior escutcheon has been held in place by a copper plate screwed and glued in place, the left panel’s escutcheon is loose and will come out with the grip screw. Otherwise, the grips show only light handling marks. There are no chips or cracks. Overall, the grips appear in Fine condition as not original to the gun.

Type of Finish: Nickel

Finish Originality: Refinished, Original to engraving.

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 handgun retains about 98% of its metal finish. The finish is strong throughout. There is minor operational wear including light turn-wear on the cylinder, mostly at the stop notches. There are a few scattered minor scuffs and light handling marks. The screw heads are sharp. The markings are clear. Overall, this revolver is in about Excellent condition as custom engraved.

Mechanics: The action functions properly. The mainspring has been lightened, resulting in a light, smooth hammer pull. The trigger is light and crisp. The cylinder locks up with minor play on each chamber. We did not fire this handgun. As with all used firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance requirements.

Box, Paperwork & Accessories: This revolver comes in a two-piece cardboard Colt “Stagecoach” box (not original to the gun).

Our Assessment: In 1974, Colt quietly discontinued production of the single Action Army; this would be the second time they discontinued production of this glorious revolver. Luckily, the loyal fans of the SAA would not need to wait long as colt would bring back the SAA in 1976 as the “3rd Generation”. Changes were made but the basic SAA was the same, i.e. three standard barrel lengths of 4 ¾”, 5 ½” and 7 ½”, finishes of full nickel or blue, with color case hardened frame, and grips of hard rubber.

Everyone should have a Colt Single Action Army, and this would be a beauty to add to any collection. It has gorgeous engraving from Bernard “Bernie” Wolfe. Wolfe was born a Canadian, but after apprenticing as an engraver there, he came to America where he worked for decades as an engraver. He eventually moved to El Paso, Texas so that he could engrave single action revolvers in the Old West. His skill is quite evidence in this piece, having Western-style engraving with a couple of interesting touches. Perhaps most notable is the lanyard ring which has been installed on the butt or the faux-ivory grips. More subtle is the alteration of the caliber marking on the left of the barrel to be more like the 1st Generation SAA markings.

The pistol’s high condition, beautiful engraving, and nickel finish will make it suitable for addition to any collection, but it is also chambered for a classic cartridge which can still be found and would make for a fun shooter that will draw some eyes at the range. Please see our photos and good luck!

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

Bernard Bernie Wolfe Engraved Colt Single Action Army .45 Revolver, 1998
Bernard Bernie Wolfe Engraved Colt Single Action Army .45 Revolver, 1998