Great Western Pistol

Discussion in 'The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum' started by Turk, Jan 20, 2010.

  1. Turk

    Turk New Member

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    Jan 20, 2010
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    1
    I just got a Great Western 44mag. pistol with a 71/2" barrel from a friend this week and was wondering if there is any value to this gun. The bluing is about 75%, not worn wood grips (not original),bought in 1960 as a kit gun. Please fill me in, and serial # GW021034. Thanks,Chris
  2. wonderwhippet

    wonderwhippet Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2003
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    1,713
    Great Western revolvers are well made and are worth more than most single action reproductions. However, the Blue book does not indicate that it was ever made in .44 magnum caliber.

    GREAT WESTERN II CUSTOM 1873 SA
    - .357 Mag., .44-40 WCF, or .45 LC cal., 4 3/4, 5 1/2, or 7 1/2 in. barrel, four metal finishes include all blue, blue w/case colored frame, bright nickel, or satin nickel, ultra ivory grips, mfg. by Pietta. Importation began 2003.
    Grading 100% 98% 95% 90% 80% 70% 60%
    MSR $810 $725 $625 $550 $475 $400 $325 $275

    Add $125 for ultra stag grips or $960-$1,300 for engraving options.
    Add $25 for Express birdshead grips (4 3/4 in. barrel only).



    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Great Western II Custom 1873 SA Californian
    - similar to Great Western II, except has standard charcoal case colored frame and blue finish. Importation began 2003.
    Grading 100% 98% 95% 90% 80% 70% 60%
    MSR $520 $450 $400 $350 $300 $250 $215 $185

    Add $250 for custom bone case coloring or $200 for bright nickel finish.
    Add $175 for ultra ivory or ultra stag fitted grips (disc. 2006).
    Add $30 for Express birdshead grips (4 3/4 in. barrel only).



    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Great Western II Custom 1873 Stainless
    - .357 Mag. or .45 LC cal., similar to Great Western II, except is stainless steel construction, choice of walnut or ultra-ivory grips. Importation began 2006.
    Grading 100% 98% 95% 90% 80% 70% 60%
    MSR $720 $625 $550 $475 $400 $350 $300 $275

    Add $40 for ultra-ivory or checkered walnut grips.
    Add $25 for birdshead Express grips (4 3/4 in. barrel only).



    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    GREAT WESTERN II DELUXE MODEL
    - .357 Mag. or .45 LC cal., 4 3/4 in. barrel, all blue finish with photo engraving, ultra ivory grips. New 2008.
    Grading 100% 98% 95% 90% 80% 70% 60%
    MSR $825 $700 $575 $450 $400 $350 $300 $275
  3. Goody

    Goody Member

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    350
    Actually, I think what he has is an original Great Western, from the 50's. These were built shortly after Ruger came to market with the Black Hawk. The company was formed by several different people, among them Hy Hunter. They built single actions in several diffent calibers, but I don't think that 44 mag was one of them. I have one in 357 Atomic, just a different name for a magnum. They also offered the kit guns. Values are about 350-500 for the factory guns, about 1/3 less for kit guns. When Colt decided to begin producing the SAA again (1956?) it was the end for this somewhat high quality American made product. The investors then found a German Company, Sauer, to produce the product, and thus was born the Hy Hunter, hawes, et al.

    By the way, the hogleg that Matt Dillon stared you down with every week? Yep, a Great Western.
  4. jondar

    jondar New Member

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    According to Keith's book the first GW's hadn't much quality control and they were delivered out of time and not really well finished. He said that he convinced them to hire some good gunsmiths to time them and make them a finished product when delivered. After this they seemed to be a quality firearm. I agree that, at least, up to the time Keith wrote his book, 1955-1956 they weren't available in .44 Magnum. What they sold in early 1960's as the OP stated, I don't know.
  5. sackpeterson

    sackpeterson New Member

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    Jan 30, 2010
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    They did make the Great Western Arms SAA in .44 Magnum after the introduction of the cartridge in 1956. It is a scarce caliber among the Great Westerns though.

    I don't know the blue book values well. My recent experience is you start at about $500 for centerfire GWs in decent condition, with the price rising for scarce calibers and configurations.

    There is some value to it being a kit gun (with the distinct serial number, having the preceedong '0'), but it somewhat depends on how well it was assembled and finished.
  6. RJay

    RJay Well-Known Member

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    The quality of the Great Westerns was hit and miss, so much negative publicity about the bad ones that it caused the company to go under. A little trivia, next time you watch a old episode of Gunsmoke, check out what Matt Dillon is carrying in his holster, not a colt, but a Great Western.
  7. sackpeterson

    sackpeterson New Member

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    Great Westerns were made for such a short time and so long ago that I think the common narrative about these guns doesn't contain much context anymore.

    The build quality of these revolvers is absolutely excellent. I can not imagine the steels are inferior to Colt's or Smith's from the same era. They are not an alloy build like the German revolvers that came after GW.

    Keith noted poor timing and poor fitment of parts like grip straps in his 1956 article. My own experience (I've aquired a couple original GWs in the last 2 years) is somewhat consistent with Keith's.

    On my .38 the bolt and hand timing was excellent, but the revolver was enormously oversprung. This is a common complaint from the reviews of the time. I swapped in an Italian mainspring. Also on this gun, I would not say the grip strap alignment is completely 'true', but I think you would have to be very picky to actually notice it.

    On my Frontier .22, it had an oversize hand that was binding the action. This was easily adjusted.

    On my fast draw .22, the bolt engages way too early (very heavy drag line at this point), but its possible this revolver is working exactly as intended.

    [​IMG]

    Anyway - I like the GWs a lot. There is not much good info about them on the web. One of the predominant collectors has a very good site. Here's mine, where I have tried to post some information.

    http://www.sackpeterson.com/blog/
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2010
  8. leo66

    leo66 New Member

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    Aug 25, 2011
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    Location:
    Kansas
    I have a GW .38spl. Need to find a hammer and front sight. Grandfather modified the gun for fast draw compations. Anybody know where to find parts?
  9. RJay

    RJay Well-Known Member

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    You are not going to find any Great Western parts, however replica Colt parts might be fitted.
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