SOLD FOR: $3,280
Model: Single Action Army, 1st Generation
Serial Number: 56494
Year of Manufacture: 1880 (https://www.colt.com/serial-lookup)
Caliber: .45 Colt, Black Powder
Action Type: Single Action Revolver with Side Loading Gate Cylinder
Barrel Length: The barrel has been cut to 5 1/2”.
Sights / Optics: The front sight is a blade fixed to the barrel. The front sight has been modified or is not original to the barrel. The rear sight is a “V”-notch at the rear of a groove in the topstrap.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The grips are two-piece smooth wood. The grips have some scattered light nicks, scuffs and scratches. There are no chips or cracks. Overall, the grips are in Very Good condition as not original to the gun.
Type of Finish: Blued, the side faces of the hammer have been jeweled.
Finish Originality: Refinished. The serial markings are:
Trigger Guard: 16825
Cylinder: Not legible
Bore Condition: The bore is gray with well defined rifling. There is light-moderate erosion and pitting scattered through 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 80% of its current metal finish. The finish is thinning at most edges. Much of the finish loss is handling wear in the grip areas and some scattered wear on the cylinder. There is some scattered minor surface oxidation, mostly on the cylinder. There are scattered nicks, scuffs and scratches. Some wear on the left of the barrel appears to have been touched-up with cold blue. There are scattered nicks, scuffs and scratches. There are tool marks around most screw heads. The action shows operational wear. The screw heads range from sharp to disfigured with usable slots. Some markings are missing entirely. Remaining markings range from clear to worn and incomplete. Overall, this revolver is in Very Good condition as refinished Antique.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly. The cylinder locks with light play on each chamber. The trigger is crisp. We have not fired this revolver. As with all used firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance standards.
Box, Paperwork & Accessories: None.
Our Assessment: This revolver started out life in 1880 as a Model 1873 Cavalry revolver and likely saw some use in the Indian Wars of the late 19th Century. It has since been assembled as an “Artillery Model”. Between 1900 and 1903, Colt altered and refinished 5,444 revolvers into “Artillery” models (5 ½” barrel). Per Kopec and Fenn, “A single Artillery revolver often will have parts from three or four different Cavalry revolvers”. The “Artillery” moniker is a collector’s term, as the modified revolvers were most notable for their issue to U.S. Artillery units in the Spanish-American war.
While this revolver’s mixed numbered parts may well have gone through this conversion process, it has since been refinished, removing some markings and the sides of the hammer have been jeweled. While not all inspection markings are present, it is still fairly likely that other components used to assemble this “Artillery Model” came from genuine U.S. issued revolvers. This revolver must have a very interesting history, if only it could be told. All of the Colt 1st Generation revolvers are heavily collected, and this example has quite an interesting mix of parts, so it could serve as a source of parts for other SAAs as well as displaying well as an “Artillery”. Please see our photos and good luck!
Please forgive any typos, I was educated in California. -Bud