US Colt Model 1873 Single Action Army “Artillery” .45 Revolver 1885 Antique

SOLD FOR: $3,230

LSB#: 240313LC003

Make: Colt

Model: U.S. Model of 1873, Single Action Army, “Artillery” Model

Serial Number: 116795

Year of Manufacture: The frame was made in 1885, the revolver was most likely altered by Springfield Armory in 1898.

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 blade fixed to the front of the barrel. The rear sight is a “V”-notch at the rear of a groove in the top strap.

Stock Configuration & Condition: The grip is one-piece smooth walnut. The grip has fairly even wear on the wides with a patch of discoloration and residue on the left. There are more notable nicks on the bottom to each side of the backstrap. There are no chips or cracks. Overall, the grip is in Very Good condition as refinished Antique.

Type of Finish: Blue & Case Color

Finish Originality: Refinished, likely arsenal refurbished. Parts were mixed during the alteration process and some parts have likely since been replaced. Serial markings are as follows:

Barrel- 2662, D.F.C. inspected

Trigger Guard- 898, A inspected

Backstrap- 42188, no visible inspection mark

Cylinder- 5505, A inspected

Bore Condition: The bore is semi-bright with well defined rifling. There is scattered light erosion and pitting in the bore with a few patches of more notable pitting. In this writer’s opinion, the bore rates 5 out of 10.

Overall Condition: This revolver retains about 10% of its current metal finish. Finish remains in protected areas and around some raised features, including some case-color in the hammer-slot and under the loading gate. Most exposed surfaces have worn to white or gone to a light patina. There is some scattered surface oxidation and infrequent erosion. There are some light nicks and scratches with a cluster of nicks on the butt similar to those found on the bottom of the grip. The action shows operational wear. The screw heads range from sharp to tool marked with strong slots. The markings range from clear to worn and incomplete. Overall, this revolver is in Good-plus condition as refinished Antique (see Mechanics).

Mechanics: The cylinder can be pushed out of lock on one chamber when the hammer is at full cock or when the hammer is down. Otherwise, the action functions correctly. The trigger is 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: None.

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). Many of the original 1873 Model revolvers were arsenal refurbished in 1898, including cutting the barrel down to 5 1/2″ from the original 7 1/2″, in preparation for use in the Spanish-American War.

This appears to be one of those revolvers, referred to by collectors as “Artillery” models as most were issued to artillery units during the conflict. Unlike some refurbishment programs performed earlier, little care was given to preserving and none to re-marking matching serial numbers on the 1898 refurbished guns, resulting in mixed parts. This and service on the American frontier and/or in the Spanish-American War would certainly be consistent with this revolver’s present condition. Since the alteration, this revolver may have had some other parts replaced, but it will display well with its “been there, done that” appearance. This would be a nice addition to a Single Action Army or American military small arms collection. Please see our photos and good luck!

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

US Colt Model 1873 Single Action Army “Artillery” .45 Revolver 1885 Antique
US Colt Model 1873 Single Action Army “Artillery” .45 Revolver 1885 Antique