US Colt Model 1873 Single Action Army “Artillery” Revolver Antique

SOLD FOR: $4,220

LSB#: 240127BS001

Make: Colt

Model: Single Action Army, Black Powder, 1st Generation

Serial Number: 17000

Year of Manufacture: 1875, Antique

Caliber: .45 Colt

Action Type: Single Action Revolver with Side Loading Gate Cylinder  

Barrel Length: 5 1/2” 

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

Stock Configuration & Condition: The grips are one piece smooth walnut with the classic “bevel” along the bottom edge. The Kopec letter states that these are replacements and that the grip frame has been drilled for a stabilizing pin. There are some scattered compressions, nicks, and scratches. They are well fitted to the gun. Overall, the grips are in Very Good condition.

Type of Finish: Blue & Case Color

Finish Originality: Original to Springfield Armory Refurbishment

Bore Condition: The bore is semi-bright and the rifling is strong. There are areas of light pitting scattered in the bore. In this writer’s opinion, the bore rates 7 out of 10.

Overall Condition: This revolver retains about 20% of its original blued finish, mostly on the ejector rod housing, cylinder flutes, and trigger guard. The bluing has all but faded away from the barrel, remainder of the cylinder, front strap, butt, and back strap. The colour case hardening on the frame and hammer has too all but faded away. There is some scattered light scratches, pitting, and areas of erosion. There is some light marring to the cylinder base pin. The grip areas show handling wear. The action shows operational wear including some turn-wear on the cylinder. The screw heads range from sharp to lightly tool marked, all with usable slots. The markings mostly remain legible, there is some fading to the lower portion of the “US” marking at the left side of the frame. Overall, this revolver is in about Good-Very Good condition.

Mechanics: The action functions correctly. Lockup produces light play on all six chambers. The trigger is light and crisp. 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: Included is a Colt letter and a Kopec letter.

Our Assessment: In 1895, the US Army decided to alter their remaining stocks of the iconic Colt M-1873 Single Action Army “Peacemaker” revolver from the original 7 1/2″ barrel length to a more manageable 5 1/2″. Many of these modified revolvers were issued to artillery batteries, who carried them in the Spanish-American War; that use led to the revolver being coined the “Artillery Model”. Teddy Roosevelt and his 1st Volunteer Cavalry Regiment, better known as the “Rough Riders”, also carried the Artillery Model Colt SAA during their climactic charge up San Juan Hill on July 1, 1898. After the Spanish-American War, the Colt Artillery model revolvers continued to be issued to units fighting in the Philippine Insurrection, where it was found the .38 LC DA revolvers were woefully underpowered to halt charging Moro tribesmen. All told, there were only about 20,000 Colt Single Action Army “Artillery” Model Revolvers arsenal refurbished and issued during the Spanish-American War and Philippine Insurrection that followed.

This example is a classic US Army issue Colt “Artillery” Model Single Action Army revolver, with mismatched serial numbers on the frame, cylinder, trigger guard, and butt. The included Colt letter states it was reshipped in 1902 as part of a 50 gun shipment sent to Springfield Armory. When Springfield Armory refurbished all of the M-1873 Single Actions, they made no effort to rematch serial numbers, leading to mismatched numbers on all major parts as these pieces were issued. It carries the classic one line “COLT’S PT. F.A. MFG. CO / HARTFORD CT. U.S.A.” address along the top of the barrel, with “P RAC P” marked along the lower left underside, denoting it was inspected by US Army Ordnance sub-inspector Rinaldo A. Carr, and the two line “PAT. SEPT. 19. 1871. / PAT. JULY. 2. 1872” patent information along the left side of the frame, next to the traditional serifed “US” property marking. It bears the serial number “17000” at the underside of the frame, serial number “96099″ and sub-inspector “G” at the underside of the trigger guard (dating to 1882), serial number “8468” on the cylinder, sub-inspector “K” and “P” proof mark on the rear face of the cylinder, and the serial number “132286” and sub-inspector “K” on the butt strap (dating to 1890). It boasts the original checkered thumb spur hammer, and is a wonderful example of a US Army issue Colt Model 1873 Single Action Army “Artillery” Model Revolver. Bid with confidence and please view our other great military, Old West, and sporting firearms.