Colt Frontier Six Shooter SAA .44-40 Single Action Revolver, 1881 Antique

SOLD FOR: $3112.99

LSB#: 230916RB002

Make: Colt

Model: Frontier Six Shooter

Serial Number: The serial number is heavily worn, five digits starting with 71 and ending with 2. The middle digits could be 3s, 6s, or 8s. The included letter is for serial 71632. Please see photos of the serial markings.

Year of Manufacture: 1881 (

Caliber: .44-40 Winchester

Action Type: Single Action Revolver with Side Loading Gate Cylinder

Barrel Length: The barrel has been cut to approximately 5 1/8″.

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

Stock Configuration & Condition: The grip is a one-piece smooth walnut. The left side has a Colt medallion inlaid at the top. The right side has an inlaid Mexican coin at the top and inlaid metal “K F” at the bottom. The grip shows moderate wear with some scattered nicks, scuffs and scratches. There are no chips or cracks. Overall, the grip is in Very Good condition as custom Antique.

Type of Finish: Nickel

Finish Originality: Refinished

Bore Condition: The bore is gray with well defined rifling. There is scattered erosion and pitting in the bore. In this writer’s opinion, the bore rates 5 or 6 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 90% of its current metal finish. There is infrequent flaking, most notable at the muzzle and on the left of the recoil shield. There is some erosion on the face of the hammer around the firing pin and there is some scattered minor erosion under the finish. There are scattered spots of minor frosting, most notable in the cylinder flutes. The cylinder has a turn-line. There are some scattered light nicks and scratches. The timing was correct during our function check, but there are some firing-pin marks between chambers on the rear of the cylinder. There are tool marks on the cylinder pin head. The action shows operational wear. There is dishing around the screw holes. Most screw heads range from sharp to tool-marked with strong slots. The cylinder pin retaining screw is disfigured with a usable slot. The markings are worn and incomplete. Overall, this revolver is in Very Good condition as refinished and customized Antique.

Mechanics: The action functions correctly. The timing is correct and the cylinder locks up with light 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 for serial 71632 which shipped September 21, 1881 as a blued .44-40 revolver to Hibbard, Spencer & Company in Chicago, Illinois as one of 40 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). Produced for nearly a century and a half, they are still being made, today! 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 1881. Chambered for .44-40, it has a black-powder style frame with the cylinder pin retained by a screw. The barrel has been cut back to about 5 1/8″ and the revolver has been given a new nickel finish. It retains a decent bore for a 140 year old revolver which likely saw exclusive use with black powder, and still has good mechanics. The serial markings are incomplete, but the revolver comes with a Colt Archives letter for serial 71632, which could very well be the gun’s serial number. As-is, this is a genuine artifact of Americana and would display well. It would also be a great candidate for restoration. Please see our photos and good luck!

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

Colt Frontier Six Shooter SAA .44-40 Single Action Revolver, 1881 Antique
Colt Frontier Six Shooter SAA .44-40 Single Action Revolver, 1881 Antique