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

SOLD FOR: $3,432

LSB#: 240313LC004

Make: Colt

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

Serial Number: 

Year of Manufacture: 
The frame was made in 1873, the revolver was most likely altered by Springfield Armory in 1898.

Caliber: .45 Colt

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 “650”. The trigger guard is marked “5994 / A”. The backstrap is marked “115 / 773”. The bottom of the barrel has a small stamping and “R.A.C.”, there is no serial marking on the replacement barrel. The rear of the loading gate is marked with an assembly number “101”. The side of the cylinder is marked 1849″ while the rear face is marked “K”, “J”, and “0”. The hammer slot is marked “C”. The right side of the grip is marked “1903” over a faded cartouche. The bottom of the grip is stamped “R.A.C.” to both sides of the butt of the grip frame.

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 is slightly shy to the backstrap. There are some scattered light compressions, little marks, light scratches, and light marks in the wood. There is discoloration and most of the marks have colored with age. There are deeper marks in the wood on the bottom of the grip. There is some wear on the edges, with more prominent wear on the front corners. There are no cracks. Overall, the grip is in Very Good condition as refinished Antique.

Type of Finish: 
Blue & Case Color

Finish Originality: There is no overt evidence of refinishing. The parts are not original to the frame, mixing of parts was also common for the “Artillery” conversion.

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

Overall Condition: 
This revolver retains about 5% of its current metal finish. The majority of the remaining finish is case color in the cylinder window. The majority of the metal has worn to white and is now either white or patina. There are scattered areas of pitting, scabbing, and discoloration from previous oxidation. There are some marks in the metal. There are clusters of marks in the metal on the butt of the grip frame. The action shows operational wear. The screw heads are tool marked with strong slots. The markings range from clear to worn and incomplete. Overall, this revolver is in Very Good condition as Antique.

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: 

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!

Some are hot, some are not, but thankfully most can be shot!

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