Original Excellent U.S. 1881 Colt Nickel Plated Frontier Six Shooter .44-40 Revolver with 4 3/4" Barrel & Stag Grips - Matching Serial 69002
Original Items: Only One Set Available. If you were waiting for a truly magnificent example of a Colt revolver, this is it! Every young "Old West" fans dream: A real Colt Cowboy Six-shooter! This fantastic Colt Frontier Six Shooter SAA (Single Action Army) Revolver has a "gunfighter friendly" original 4 3/4" barrel, with the a great nickel plated finish, and fantastic stag grips!
The revolver's serial number is 69002, which dates production to 1881. It has the serial number on the frame, trigger guard, grip frame, and even 9002 on the cylinder. In 1883, Colt would stop marking the cylinders until 1912, making this a rare treat as a confirmed "ALL MATCHING" revolver. There is also assembly number 382 marked on the loading gate. It is in full working order and condition, with a great lightly patinated look, sure to delight any "Old West" Americana collector.
The original nickel plating is very well retained, only missing on the contact points. There is wear on the left side of the barrel, most likely from the holster it was stored in. The stag horn grips look to be quite old, and really add to the character of the piece. This is definitely the revolver of someone who wanted the look, as well as the functionality.
The Colt two line address marking on the top of the barrel is still fully legible:
COLT'S PT. F. A. MFG. CO.
HARTFORD. CT. U.S.A.
The left side of the frame has the Colt patent dates all clearly legible:
PAT. SEPT. 19. 1871.
* JULY. 2. --72.
* JAN. 19. --75.
The trigger guard is stamped 44.CF. on the side, indicating the .44-40 WCF caliber. As the revolver has a serial number between 45000 and 70000, it has the correct etched panel marking on the left side of the barrel, though it is somewhat faint:
COLT FRONTIER SIX SHOOTER
Colt considered these revolvers to be the same as the Single Action Army for record keeping, and they were grouped under the same serial number series. Between serial number 45000 and 70000, the "FRONTIER SIX SHOOTER" marking was etched onto the side of the barrel, but for many years it did not appear. This changed in 1889, when it returned, roll stamped onto all .44-40 versions of this revolver until the end of production.
The frame, grip, and trigger guard all bear the serial number clearly, and all markings are still crisp, so this pistol has definitely not been refinished at any time. The "Frontier Six Shooter" model was identical to the .45 "Long Colt" chambered Single Action Army model, except that it was designed for Winchester .44-40 ammunition, also called .44 W.C.F., which was and is a popular "Cowboy" ammunition. While some may question why Colt made guns chambered for a competitor's cartridge, having a repeating rifle and revolver that took the same ammunition was a big selling point.
With the nickel plated finish and aged stag grips, this revolver looks fantastic. The grips have matured to a beautiful color, and are comfortable in the hand. The ejector door swings open easily, and the ejector itself works well, though the spring can get stuck sometimes, easily remedied. Overall this is a great pistol with a stunning appeal!
Mechanically, the action is as close to perfect as we have seen, it "sings"! It cycles smoothly, with a good cylinder lock up, great indexing, and a crisp dry fire. The action has all four clicks, and we did not notice any finicky behavior during cycling. The bore is in excellent condition, showing little signs of use, and is most likely the best bore we have seen on an antique Colt revolver. It has a bright finish, crisp lands and grooves, and no oxidation to speak of.
Pistols such as this are extremely difficult to find today at any reasonable price. This example is just ideal for any Wild West Collection. A fantastic collector's revolver, ready to cherish and display. Examples like this do not come by often at all!
Year of Manufacture: 1881
Caliber: .44-40 Winchester
Ammunition Type: Centerfire Cartridge
Barrel Length: 4 3/4 inches
Overall Length: 10 1/4 inches
Action: Single Action
Feed System: 6 Shot Revolver
History of the Colt Single Single Action Army
Bound by the Rollin White patent (#12,648, April 3, 1855) and not wanting to pay a royalty fee to Smith & Wesson, Colt could not begin development of bored-through revolver cylinders for metallic cartridge use until April 4, 1869. For the design, Colt turned to two of its best engineers: William Mason and Charles Brinckerhoff Richards who had developed a number of revolvers and black powder conversions for the company. Their effort was designed for the United States government service revolver trials of 1872 by Colt's Patent Firearms Manufacturing Company and adopted as the standard military service revolver. Production began in 1873 with the Single Action Army model 1873, also referred to as the "New Model Army Metallic Cartridge Revolving Pistol".
The very first production Single Action Army, serial number 1, thought lost for many years after its production, was found in a barn in Nashua, New Hampshire in the early 1900s. It was chambered in .45 Colt, a centerfire design containing charges of up to 40 grains (2.6 g) of fine-grained black powder and a 255-grain (16.5 g) blunt roundnosed bullet. Relative to period cartridges and most later handgun rounds, it was quite powerful in its full loading.
The Colt Single Action Army revolver, along with the 1870 and 1875 Smith & Wesson Model 3 "Schofield" revolver, replaced the Colt 1860 Army Percussion revolver. The Colt quickly gained favor over the S&W and remained the primary US military sidearm until 1892 when it was replaced by the .38 Long Colt caliber Colt Model 1892, a double-action revolver with swing-out cylinder. By the end of 1874, serial no. 16,000 was reached; 12,500 Colt Single Action Army revolvers chambered for the .45 Colt cartridge had entered service and the remaining revolvers were sold in the civilian market.
The Colt .45 is a famous piece of American history, known as "The Gun That Won the West". The Single Action army is a very popular firearm, even today, and it continues to be produced in various configurations.
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