Original U.S. Colt Nickel-Plated Single Action Army Revolver made in 1882 with Vintage Holster - Serial 81294

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. This is every School boy's dream! A real Cowboy six gun! This Nickel-plated Colt SAA (Single Action Army) Revolver has a 5" barrel, and what appear to be original ivory Grips. It comes complete with a period embossed leather holster, though the stitching has all pulled out (easily repaired). The revolver serial number is 81294, which dates production to 1882. In full working Order and Condition showing only light wear on the nickel plating on the cylinder which because of the apparent wear and age has dulled somewhat.

The markings on the top of the barrel are very faint, though the COLT can still be read under the right light. 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, frame and grip bottom strap strap have matching serial number 81294, so this is an all matching revolver. It is also marked .45 CAL on the trigger guard, indicating it is for the standard .45 Colt cartridge, also known as .45LC and .45 "Long" Colt.

The Ivory grips are in very nice matured condition, with the usual yellowed color from years of use, and a bit of cracking along the bottom. As far as we can tell, they are original to the gun.

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

It was manufactured in 1882, 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, with embossed designs on the front. It has two slits on the top for a belt, and is the typical type of easy access holster seen in Cowboy movies. The stitching unfortunately has all degraded and pulled out over time, but the leather is still strong and supple, so it could easily be restitched.

Pistols such as this are extremely difficult to find today at any reasonable price, especially with a matching holster. This example is just ideal for any Wild West Collection. A perfect Christmas present for the Cowboy Enthusiast.

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: 1882
Caliber: .45 "Long" Colt
Ammunition Type: Centerfire Cartridge
Barrel Length: 5  inches

Overall Length: 10 3/4 inches
Action: Single Action
Feed System: 6 Shot Revolver

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