Colt Single Action Army SAA 1873 US Artillery-style Revolver, 1874 Antique

SOLD FOR: $10,925

LSB#: 240313LC007

Make: Colt

Model: 1873 Single Action Army, 1st Generation, Early Blackpowder Frame, “Artillery”-style

Serial Number: 5515

Year of Manufacture: 1874 (

Caliber: .45 Colt, Black Powder

Action Type: Single Action Revolver with Side Loading Gate Cylinder

Markings: The left side of the frame is marked “PAT. SEPT. 19. 1871 / PAT. JULY, 2. 1872” and with “U.S.”. The top of the barrel is marked “+COLT’S PT. F. A. MFG. Co. HARTFORD, CT. U.S.A.+”. The underside of the frame at the trigger guard is marked “5515”, found again on the trigger guard, backstrap, cylinder and on the barrel under the ejector housing. The rear of the loading gate is marked with an assembly number “894”. There are “A” inspection marks on the bottom of the barrel, the trigger guard, the top of the backstrap behind the hammer and the outside of the cylinder. The cylinder and barrel each also have a small “P”. The hammer slot is marked “C”.

Barrel Length: The barrel has been cut to approximately 5 1/4″.

Sights / Optics: The front sight is missing. The rear sight is a “V”-notch integral to the topstrap.

Stock Configuration & Condition: The grip is one piece smooth walnut. The grip has nicks, scuffs and scratches. There are a couple of more notable dings in the right side. The wood is shy to the metal and has no visible markings. There are no cracks. Overall, the grip is in Good-plus condition as refinished Antique.

Type of Finish: No finish remains.

Finish Originality: If a genuine arsenal-converted Artillery model, the revolver was most likely refurbished at the time of conversion. There is no overt evidence of refinishing, though the barrel has been altered.

Bore Condition: The bore is gray with well-defined rifling. There is scattered erosion and some pitting in the bore. In this writer’s opinion, this bore rates 6 out of 10.

Overall Condition: This revolver retains about 0% of its metal finish. The surfaces have gone to a fairly uniform patina with some areas worn to white. There is evenly scattered minor surface erosion. There are scattered nicks, scuffs and scratches. There are tool marks on and around the head of the cylinder pin. There are tool marks around some screw heads. The action shows operational wear including turn-wear on the cylinder. As noted above, the front sight is missing. The screw heads range from tool-marked to disfigured with usable slots. Most markings are clear, some markings are worn, but legible. Overall, this revolver is in Good-plus condition as Antique.

Mechanics: The action functions correctly. The cylinder lockup shows a small amount of play on all six chambers. The trigger pull 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 1874, the 2nd year of production, as a Cavalry Model SAA revolver with 7 ½” barrel made for the U.S. Army. It is currently in an “Artillery” configuration, with the barrel shortened to approximately 5 1/4″. It is not clear if this is a genuine arsenal-converted model or if the barrel was cut after the revolver left military service. 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.

Whether arsenal-converted or not, it is nonetheless an interesting piece. In addition to being from quite early in production, it has serial-matching parts. The ejector housing is the proper early-style with an indexing stud behind the mounting screw and the proper Ainsworth inspection marks are present on the metal parts. The revolver shows its age, but has a better bore and mechanics than its appearance might indicate. 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 very early Cavalry Model will not be an exception. Please see our photos and good luck!

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

Colt Single Action Army SAA 1873 US Artillery-style Revolver, 1874 Antique
Colt Single Action Army SAA 1873 US Artillery-style Revolver, 1874 Antique