Original U.S. Colt .45cal Single Action Army Revolver made in 1884 with Factory Letter & Leather Holster Rig - Serial 103599

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. This is every School boy's dream! A real Cowboy six gun! This great frontier-worn Colt SAA (Single Action Army) Revolver has a "gunfighter friendly" shortened 5 1/2" barrel and lovely worn Colt hard rubber grips, bearing both the iconic Colt "Pony" and U.S. "Federal Eagle". It looks to originally have had a blued finish, but that is almost entirely faded to a lovely worn gray patina now, and is just a great example.

Even better, it comes with a fantastic period black leather open top holster by The George Lawrence Company, attached to a leather gunbelt by BUCHEIMER of Frederick MD. The belt and holster are show loads of period wear and patina, so this is a set that saw real use on the frontier. Just a magnificent "Cowboy" set, sure to delight any "Old West" Americana collector.

The revolver's serial number is 103599, which dates production to 1884. It has the serial number on the frame, trigger guard, grip frame, and even 3599 on the cylinder, making this a rare treat as a confirmed "ALL MATCHING" revolver. This is however a bit interesting, as research indicates that in 1883 Colt had stopped marking cylinders. We would surmise this was made during the changeover period. The size and style of font are absolutely correct, and the wear and patina on the cylinder matches the rest of the revolver. There is also assembly number 1370 marked on the loading gate. It is in full working order and condition, with a great lightly patinated look.

The revolver came to us with a printed copy of a Colt Factory letter from the office of the Colt Historian Beverly Jean Haynes. It is dated September 8, 2021, and indicates it is a COLT SINGLE ACTION ARMY REVOLVER in .45/c. the gun was made with a blued finish, and was originally made with a long 7 1/2" barrel, which was shortened later. The stocks are listed as "rubber", for the iconic Cold hard rubber "prancing pony" grips. The gun was shipped on January 25, 1886 as part of a shipment of 25 similar guns to the Simmons Hardware Company in St. Louis, Missouri. This was a well-known retailer and hardware manufacturer founded in 1874, which at its peak had 6 locations. They often would buy up their suppliers to ensure the best quality merchandise, and purchased the Walden Knife company based in Walden New York. The company actually merged with Winchester Repeating Arms Co. in the early 20th century for a time.

The original single line address marking on the top of the barrel is a bit faint but still fully legible:


The left side of the frame has the Colt patent dates mostly legible, with some fading to the upper left corner:

[PAT. SEPT.] 19. 1871.
*    JULY. 2. --72.
*   JAN. 19. --75

These are the early pattern markings, and this was made before the "Prancing Pony" logo began appearing on the frame. The markings are all relatively clear, so this revolver does not look to have been refurbished at any time, and it does not look to have been refinished. The caliber marking 45 CAL is partly clear on the trigger guard, and we also have checked the cylinder and barrel with real cartridges to confirm. This revolver is definitely chambered for .45 Colt, also known as .45 "LONG" Colt, one of the most legendary handgun cartridges of the old west. When you hear people talk of a "Colt 45", this model gun is the reason why.

The revolver has the great well-worn look that only years of use on the frontier can give. The original hard rubber grips still have a lot of their checkering present, though the logos are a bit worn. Mechanically, the action is smooth, with a good cylinder lock up, and crisp dry fire. The action has all four clicks, and cycles correctly, without any of the finicky behavior that we often see. The bore is in very good condition, with clear lands and grooves and a mostly bright finish, with just a bit of oxidation on the lands. The shortened barrel has a nice crown to it, and it looks like the original sight was re-used, and moved further down the barrel. The ejector door swings open easily, and the ejector itself works great. Overall this is a great pistol!

Pistols such as this are extremely difficult to find today at any reasonable price, especially with period holsters and belts! This example is just ideal for any Wild West Collection. A great collector's revolver, ready to display!


Year of Manufacture: 1884
Caliber: .45 "Long" Colt
Ammunition Type: Centerfire Cartridge
Barrel Length: 5 1/2 inches
Overall Length: 11 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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