Item:
ONJR23RCW20

Original U.S. Surcharged Colt .45cal Single Action Army Revolver made in 1884 with 4 3/4" Barrel, D.F.C. Stamps & Factory Letter - Serial 111852

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. This is every School boy's dream! A real Cowboy six gun! This great U.S. Army Issued Colt SAA (Single Action Army) Revolver has a "gunfighter friendly" shortened 4 3/4" barrel and lovely walnut replacement grips. Issued with a blued finish, that has now faded to a plum patina overall, with some wear through in areas. The barrel was refinished when it was refinished when it was shortened apparently. We would suspect that it "went home" with the soldier it was issued to, or possibly had the end of the barrel damaged and was sold out of service, after which it was reworked as a frontier gun.

The revolver's serial number is 111852, which dates production to 1884. It has the serial number on the frame and trigger guard, with shortened number 1852 on the side of the cylinder (worn) and on the barrel under the ejector. Only the grip frame has had the serial number wear away, and it looks like a period replacement. This was made during the era when Colt stopped marking the serial number on the cylinder, so this is a rare treat to find that it is matching. There is also assembly number 339 marked on the loading gate. It is in full working order and condition, showing a gorgeous worn patina of age, sure to delight any "Old West" Americana collector.

The revolver came to us with a printed copy of a Colt Factory letter from the office of the Colt Historian Kathleen J. Hoyt. It is dated August 29, 1993, and shows that the gun is a COLT SINGLE ACTION ARMY REVOLVER with the caliber listed as .45/c and finish listed as Blue. The barrel length and type stocks are Not listed, which usually means the standard 7 1/2" barrel and Colt "Army" hard rubber stocks for the Army Contract. It shows it was sold to the United States Government, and delivered to the U.S. Government Inspector at Colt plant. on November 6, 1884. There were 150 guns of the same type in the shipment, as was typical of the large volume of these sold to the U.S. Government.

Due to wear and possible refinishing when the barrel was shortened, the original single line address marking is completely gone. The left side of the frame has the Colt patent dates mostly legible, with some fading due to wear:

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. Next to them is a large US surcharge, indicating U.S. Army acceptance. There also are the initials D.F.C. stamped on the bottom of the barrel, on the frame by the serial number, and on the side of the cylinder. This is the marking of David F. Clark, who inspected a total of 13,000 Single Action Army revolvers from 8 government different contracts during his 8-year tenure at Colt from 1880 to 1887.

The markings are all relatively clear, so this revolver does not look to have had the frame refurbished at any time, which would have worn down the markings during refinishing. The caliber marking 45 CAL is still present 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 worn look that only use in service can give, showing areas where the finish was touched up on the barrel. The rest of the metalwork has a lovely faded gray patina. The replacement walnut grips are lovely. showing an oil finish with just a bit of wear in areas. 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 we often see on revolvers of this age. The bore is in very good condition, with a mostly bright finish showing crisp lands and grooves. The ejector door swings open easily, and the ejector itself works great, though for some reason the end of it has been filed down to almost a point. Overall this is a great pistol!

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 great collector's revolver, ready to research and display!

Specifications:

Year of Manufacture: 1884
Caliber: .45 "Long" Colt
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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