1. Get Gear'd Up! Enter to WIN $1000 in gear!

    Please Click Here for full details and to enter. You will need to be registered and logged in to view the details and to participate.

    Thanks and good luck to everyone

colt single action army

Discussion in 'The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum' started by yrralguthrie, Jul 13, 2010.

  1. yrralguthrie

    yrralguthrie New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2010
    Messages:
    14
    The local pawn shop here in town (only one) has a Colt single action army serial number 192xxx which indicates it was made in 1900. The first year that Colt specified this gun for smokeless powder.

    The gun is nickle plated which I think is correct.

    I've been told twice that all of these were shipped with 7.5 in. barrels. This one is shorter than that. I've also been told many were shipped back to Colt to have the barrel shortened.

    My question: Is there a way to tell if Colt did the work on this gun? I've seen some letters from Colt that don't list the barrel length. If a letter can't be obtained from Colt showing the barrel shortening how does that affect value?

    ljg
  2. oneshot onekill

    oneshot onekill New Member

    Joined:
    May 27, 2010
    Messages:
    189
    Location:
    DeBary, Florida
    Well, first, who ever told you they only came with 7.5" barrels must be smokin' crack. It could be 5.5" or 4.75", as well as any number of custom lengths from the Factory. On the 4.75" the information stamped on the top of the barrel will be stamped on 2 lines instead of one long line.

    The problem with SAA's is two-fold. First, many have been modified after leaving the Factory. That seriously detracts from the value. Second, there are some pretty good fakes out there that are generally only worth around $200-$300 if they're nicely done. It takes a certain amount of expertise to not get "taken" when buying First Generation SAA's. How much do they want for it?
  3. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2009
    Messages:
    6,397
    Some Colt SAA's were nickel plated and are more valuable, all else being equal, than blue and c/h guns. The result is that quite a few have been plated in more recent years, so one needs some experience and a good eye to spot a fake. One thing to be suspicious of plating that is too good; any nickel plated gun that old that has had any use at all will not have a perfect finish.

    If you can take pictures and post them, we can be of more help.

    Jim
  4. oldcruiser

    oldcruiser New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2010
    Messages:
    28
    Ist generation Colts (civilian models) offered many barrel lengths.

    1st generation Colts (U.S. models) were produced with 7 1/2" barrels. There were several of these that later had the barrel shortened to 5 1/2", and are referred to as "altered models", or commonly called "artillery models". There were no nickel plated U.S. models. I have collected, bought and sold U.S. single action armies for the past 45 years.

    The pawn shop most likely has a civilian model, and pictures and better description would help. Prior to purchasing, it would be very wise for you to have someone very well versed in 1st generations to check it out. I have seen too many pay way too much for what they were actually getting.
  5. yrralguthrie

    yrralguthrie New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2010
    Messages:
    14
    Thanks for your answers. Well thought out.

    I'll see about a picture, but don't know if it will do any good. Pretty hard to get a picture good enough to spot a renickle and that's my main concern now that you've cleared up the barrel length.

    The finish is good for a modern gun. The finish is great if it's 110 years old. If the finish is original the gun wasn't used. An odd item is the cylinder pin. It has marks on it like it had been pulled by pliers.

    He wants $5000.00 for it. It seems to my uneducated mind that if it's real that's low.

    I won't be buying it. It just doesn't feel right. I think the pawn shop owner believes it's real however. I don't know where he got it. But no providence and even if an "expert" said it was real somewhere down the line when I decided it had appreciated enough I would sell it and I'd have to get another expert that might have a different opinion. Poor risk.

    ljg
  6. jondar

    jondar New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2009
    Messages:
    464
    Quote: There were no nickled U. S. revolvers."

    In Keith's book "Sixguns" he states that the Indian scouts who served alongside the troops were issued 1873 Model Colts with nickel finish. The reason given was that the Indians took such abominable care of their weapons that the nickel finish would better prevent rusting. Was he mistaken?
  7. oldcruiser

    oldcruiser New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2010
    Messages:
    28
    Out of 37,000 produced...no nickel.
  8. jondar

    jondar New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2009
    Messages:
    464
    Sorry, I didn't understand your reply. Are you saying only 37,000 U. S. models were produced.
  9. oneshot onekill

    oneshot onekill New Member

    Joined:
    May 27, 2010
    Messages:
    189
    Location:
    DeBary, Florida
    $5000.00??? That's NOT low. From what I've seen lately that's about average retail for a GOOD regular, unmolested SAA with a lot of original finish. I would never spend that much on a Colt SAA in a Pawn Shop unless the Pawn Shop was known for having that kind of gun regularly... and I had a LOT of knowledge about SAA's.

    I got bit by a fake about 15 years ago and spent the next 10 years learning as much as I could about the Colt SAA. I paid $1000 for the gun and thought I stole it. Turns out it was just a good fake. I was lucky in that I was able to get my $1000 back by bringing it to a...... wait for it..... PAWN SHOP! The people at the Pawn Shop called in an expert and he authenticated it as genuine and they couldn't give me the $1000 fast enough! Understand that I don't feel I misrepresented the gun. I told them that I had bought it for $1000 and was hoping to get my $1000 back out of it.
  10. oldcruiser

    oldcruiser New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2010
    Messages:
    28
    Yep, the government ordered slightly less than 37,000. The new Colt was a big hit during the Indian wars. Well, with the exception of Custer. He carried a pair of Webleys, and he eventually got what he deserved.

    The term Single Action Army was born, and is applied today to Cavalry and Civilian models alike by many people.
  11. jondar

    jondar New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2009
    Messages:
    464
    Well, I guess the question is whether the revolvers issued to the Indian scouts are military (U. S. on lower frame panel, left side) or civilian. I certainly don't know except they were issued by the Army to the scouts. Here is an excerpt from a poster on another gun forum:

    "Another variation of the Cavalry issue Colt .45 single action army is referred to as the "Colt Indian Scout and Police" issued to the Crow & other tribe Indian scouts & police, needless to say. They are readily identified because they were nickle plated for rough service and they were exclusively issued to Indians, since they were not prone to cleaning & oiling their arms. Remington was also contracted to manufacture a quanity of single action model 1875, plated also, for the Indian police and marked accordingly. Any of these are rare & quite expensive also now. An excellent example of this is a very often reprinted photo of Custer sitting in front of his tent with Bloody Knife, Goose & Little Sioux each holding Nickled plated Colts and Custer's Remington rolling block rifle is resting on the ground next to a Bowie knife."

    I guess we'll never know. A mystery within an enigma.
  12. yrralguthrie

    yrralguthrie New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2010
    Messages:
    14
    I previewed one of these photo's and they looked small enough.
    This is the colt in question.

    The colt on the grips shows some wear.
    The cylinder pin has been grabbed with pliers.
    The finish in person looks better than the photos.
    The inside of the cylinder with the loading gate open looks more worn than in the photos.
    The hammer is not plated.
    The trigger is not plated.

    Attached Files:

  13. yrralguthrie

    yrralguthrie New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2010
    Messages:
    14
    The last two photos

    Attached Files:

  14. oldcruiser

    oldcruiser New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2010
    Messages:
    28
    Pertaining to US Cavalry orders, I am unaware of any nickel having been ordered by the military. Their are two ordered types, the original 7 1/2" barrel, and the altered to 5 1/2" barrel. Finishes were a combination of blue and case hardened. Only one caliber was ordered, it being .45 Long Colt as we now call it.

    The revolvers you reference were after the Department of Interior (think politicians telling the military how to do it)was formed. These were two distinct groups who usually didn't play well together all the time. They (DoI) were most likely to have been the driving force behind outfitting the later scouts during that time. They were instrumental in driving wedges within the military, and for the way Indian scouts were finally treated.

    Without totally hi-jacking the original thread, the revolver in the pawn shop is most likely a civillian model or a refinished US. Pictures and a better description would determine what it actually is, and a ballpark value.
  15. oldcruiser

    oldcruiser New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2010
    Messages:
    28
    The pawn shop model is a civilian model, and in my opinion is overpriced at 5K. The dealer probably has less than half that wrapped up in it.

    You can get a better idea of what 5K can buy: http://www.gunsinternational.com

    Run a search on Colt SAA revolvers.
Similar Threads
Forum Title Date
The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum COLT 1959 Single Action Frontier Scout Tuesday at 6:36 PM
The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum colt .22 single action Jan 19, 2014
The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum Colt Single Action Army Jun 9, 2013
The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum Colt Single action Bunt Line scout .22 Dec 8, 2012
The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum Colt single Action S/N 534XX Sep 1, 2011

Share This Page