Colt Etched-Panel Frontier Six Shooter SAA .44-40 Revolver, 1883 Antique

SOLD FOR: $3775

LSB#: 230914LM054

Make: Colt

Model: Frontier Six Shooter

Serial Number: 99374

Year of Manufacture: 1883 (, shipped February, 1884

Caliber: .44-40 Winchester, Black Powder

Action Type: Single Action Revolver with Side Loading Gate Cylinder

Markings: The left side of the barrel is etched “COLT FRONTIER SIX SHOOTER”, the top of the barrel is marked “COLT’S PT. F. A. MFG. Co HARTFORD CT. U.S.A.”, the bottom of the barrel is marked “44” in front of the cylinder pin head. The left side of the frame is marked “PAT. SEPT. 19, 1871 / ” JULY 2,-72. / ” JAN. 19,-75.”, the left-front trigger guard bow is marked “44.C.F.”. The underside of the frame at the grip frame and the bottom of the trigger guard at the front are marked “99374”. The butt is marked “99 / 374”. The hammer slot is marked “H”. The rear face of the loading gate has assembly number “484”.

Barrel Length: 5 1/2”

Sights / Optics: The front sight is a quarter round blade fixed to the barrel. The rear sight is a “V”-notch in the top strap.

Stock Configuration & Condition: The grips are two-piece checkered hard rubber with rampant colt in oval at their tops and American eagle at their bottoms. There are no legible serial marks on the interior, but the panels are well fit to the frame. Originally black, the grips are starting to go to a brownish color. The grips show moderate handling wear with some areas of checkering worn smooth. The colts and eagles also show wear. There are some nicks and scratches. There are no exterior chips or cracks, but the interior of the right panel has a small crack at the screw escutcheon. Overall, the grips are in about Very Good condition as Antique.

Type of Finish: Nickel

Finish Originality: Most finish appears Original. There is dishing at the chamber mouths on the cylinder. This along with the lack of inspector marks on the cylinder may indicate refinishing. Some areas of finish loss show polishing, most notable on the left frame flat.

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, the bore rates 5 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 70% of its metal finish. There is some scattered flaking, mostly at edges and between the cylinder flutes. The left side of the frame has the most notable finish loss and there is polishing at the patent markings. Worn areas show some discoloration from oxidation and minor erosion. There are tool marks on and around the cylinder pin head with some other scattered nicks and scratches. The action shows operational wear including a turn-line on the cylinder. The screw heads range from sharp to disfigured with a useable slot. The markings are generally clear, the etched panel is shallow but legible. Overall, this revolver is in Very Good-Fine condition as Antique.

Mechanics: The action functions correctly. The timing is correct and the cylinder locks up with minor play on all six chambers. The trigger is crisp. We did not fire 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 Historian letter confirming the original configuration. This revolver was shipped February 13, 1884 to T.C. Frazer (address not available) as the only gun of its type in the shipment. Copies of relevant pages from “The Official Record of the Colt Single Action Army Revolver 1873-1895” are included as well.

Our Assessment: Colt’s Single Action Army revolver is the iconic sidearm of the cowboy, lawman, and outlaw. Originally introduced in Colt’s .45 caliber, the demand for a revolver compatible with Winchester’s cartridges for their 1873 led to the introduction of the Frontier Six Shooter, essentially just a SAA chambered for the Winchester cartridge. This example is a 1st generation Frontier Six Shooter produced in 1883 and shipped in early 1884. It has the popular 5 1/2″ barrel, black-powder style frame with the cylinder pin retained by a screw, and etched-panel barrel. The gun shipped with factory nickel finish, a desirable feature for collectors, and it retains about 70% of its nickel finish. With a Colt factory letter, in Very Good-FIne condition with really great mechanics for a 140 year old revolver, this will make a fine addition to any Colt revolver collection.

Of particular note, this revolver appears to be mentioned by Don & Carol Wilkerson and Kathleen Hoyt in “The Official Record of the Colt Single Action Army Revolver 1873-1895”. Specifically, the book notes a series of letters sent to Colt’s by T. C. Frazier [sic], Chief of Police of Beloit, Kansas. Mr. Frazier had some very specific requests for the revolver he ordered, which appear to have been somewhat ignored. The specific serial number of the revolver in question is not noted, but while Frazier requested a 6″ .44 with a nickel finish apart from the cylinder, which he wanted blued, Colt’s records indicate that they shipped him a 5 1/2″ revolver with the finish noted only as “Nickel”. The book indicates that the revolver was shipped February 13, 1884, just as this revolver’s letter indicates. It would appear that this revolver was originally shipped to the Chief of Police of Beloit, Kansas! Please see our photos and good luck!

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

Colt Etched-Panel Frontier Six Shooter SAA .44-40 Revolver, 1883 Antique
Colt Etched-Panel Frontier Six Shooter SAA .44-40 Revolver, 1883 Antique