Original U.S. 1883 Colt Nickel-Plated Single Action Army Revolver Serial 98872 with Vintage Holster and Belt

Item Description

Original Items: Only One Set Available. This is a very nice original Colt SAA (Single Action Army) Revolver, nickel-plated with custom stag horn grips. It comes complete with a period holster and leather ammo belt that holds 16 cartridges. The revolver serial number is 98872, which indicates it was manufactured in 1883. It has a 5 1/8" barrel marked with COLT'S PT. F. A. MFG Co. HARTFORD. CT. U.S.A. which is easily read. The finish is nickel plated with much of it remaining. The patent dates on the left side of the frame show dates of 1871, 1872 and 1875, though they are a bit faintly stamped. The trigger guard, frame and grip bottom strap strap have matching serial number 98872, so this is an all matching revolver.

The custom stag-horn grips are in excellent condition and fit tightly to the revolver. They do have an ink stamp on the inside, but we have not been able to read the stamp. The rest of the revolver is also in very good condition, with the nickel plate being close to 100% on the barrel and frame of the revolver. The only rear wear has been on the cylinder exterior, which would come into contact with the holster, and also be exposed to the most wear and powder corrosion.

Mechanically, the action is smooth, with a good cylinder lock up, and crisp dry fire. The bore is nice, with clear lands and grooves. The ejector door swings open easily, and the ejector itself works flawlessly. Overall this is a great pistol. 

It is marked .44 CF on the rear left of the triggerguard, indicating that it is 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.

It was manufactured in 1883, therefore it never had an etched panel that read "Colt Frontier Six Shooter" as the serial number range for such marked revolvers was between 45000 and 65000. Revolvers like this were marketed to the civilian frontier market, as the U.S. Cavalry issued the identical model finished in blue.

Also included are an original excellent condition open-top period leather holster, and leather 16 loop pistol belt. These loops are all in one row, which would be over the left hip of the wearer, while the holster would be to the right. It is a right hand holster, intended to be slung somewhat low. The belt is 44 inches in overall length, and when fastened it is adjustable about 40 - 33 inches in length.

Pistols such as this are extremely difficult to find today at any reasonable price, especially with a matching holster and belt set. This example is just ideal for any Wild West Collection.

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.


Year of Manufacture: 1883
Caliber: .44-40 Winchester
Ammunition Type: Centerfire Cartridge
Barrel Length: 5 1/8 inches

Overall Length: 11 inches
Action: Single Action
Feed System: 6 Shot Revolver

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