Make: Colt’s PT. F.A. MFG. Co.
Model: 1st Generation Single Action Army (SAA), Blackpowder Frame
Serial Number: 48405
Year of Manufacture: 1878
Caliber: .45 Colt
Action Type: Single Action Revolver with Side Loading-Gate Cylinder
Markings: The top of the barrel is marked with slanting characters “COLT’S PT. F. A. MFG. CO. HARTFORD, CT. U.S.A.”. (The ‘broken T’ in the ‘PT’ is not present). The underside of the barrel is marked “P” and “N.H.” The left side of the frame is marked “Pat. Sept. 19. 1871. / “ July 2 –72. / “ Jan. 19–75.” and “U.S.” The top of the back strap is marked “H.N.” (Henry Nettleton, U.S. Ordnance Department Principal Sub-Inspector In Charge 1876-1880). The underside of the back strap is marked “H. N. / 48 / 405”. The underside of the frame and trigger guard are marked “H. N.” and “48405”. The rear face of the cylinder is marked “P” and “T”. The circumference is marked “H.N.”, “P” and “8405”. The inside rear face of the loading gate is marked with the assembly number “66”.
Barrel Length: 7 ½”
Sights / Optics: The front sight is a narrow quarter round blade fixed to the barrel. The rear sight is a “V” groove in the top strap.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The one piece smooth walnut grips fit slightly shy of the back strap and trigger guard, likely from shrinkage. The fit is slightly proud at the frame. A few minor marks are visible on the grips and marks small chips can be found on the edges at the butt. The grain is pronounced, likely to the wood drying over the years. The grips have been re oiled, refurbished and perhaps lightly sanded. There is no cartouche visible. The grips are in about Very condition.
Type of Finish: Blue
Finish Originality: Refinished
Bore Condition: The bore is bright and the rifling is pronounced. There is no erosion in the bore.
Overall Condition: This revolver retains about 95% of its current metal finish. A circle of finish thinning is present around the muzzle and along the front part of each side of the barrel. A line of pinprick finish loss is present on the underside of the barrel and light handling marks can be found on the barrel. The frame, which was originally case colored is now blue and shallow sanding marks and pitting is evident beneath the finish. Finish thinning , handling marks and a drag line are present on the cylinder. The screw heads are sharp. The markings are clear. Overall, this revolver rates in about Very Good condition as refinished.
Mechanics: The action functions properly with all four ‘clicks’ evident. Mild play can be felt in the cylinder lockup. The trigger pull is crisp and the main spring is strong. The ejector rod has the correct round button characteristic of the early models. Please see the Comments Below the hammer might be a later replacement. We did not fire this revolver. We did not fire this handgun. As with all previously owned firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance standards.
Box, Paperwork & Accessories: None
Our Assessment: This is a Henry Nettleton Inspected Colt 1st Gen. Only about 3000 of these were made in the three month period between June 18, 1878 and Sept. 27, 1878 (“Colt Single Action Revolver” by Graham, Kopec & Moore). The back strap, trigger guard, cylinder and frame all present matching serial numbers. The Hammer might be a later replacement, please see the comments below. Overall, the revolver is in Very Good condition as refinished. The frame was originally case colored and is now blue with sanding marks and some pitting evident beneath the finish. The grip was likely refurbished, as no cartouche is evident. This revolver represents a significant period of American history, when “six guns” were still being used to arm our troops. The Nettleton inspected series is of particular interest to collectors.