A Gen 2 SAA, and More General Question

Discussion in 'Centerfire Pistols & Revolvers' started by BHogan, May 21, 2020.

  1. BHogan

    BHogan New Member

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    Hello, I'm a first time poster and really hope my questions are appropriate, and not something that's been asked a million times! I'm long time, kind of low-level collector, who's enjoyed buying and shooting for about 30-odd years. In that time, I've always wanted a Colt SAA to replace one that was in my grandfather's collection that my grandmother gave to her gardener in about 1990. (Yep, read that right - ouch! And that was just the beginning - he also wound up with an M1A, a Civil War-era Enfield, and quite a few other pretty cool guns. My grandfather was a deputy chief of the LAPD in the 50s and 60s, and his collection was pretty extensive.)

    Anyway, that family "tragedy" aside, all this quarantine downtime has me researching SAAs more seriously than I have before, and I'm learning it's fairly treacherous waters with altered serial numbers, Italian parts, and so on, so now I'm really wary. So, I guess i have a few questions, and at least one "what's it worth."

    First, is there a definitive source of "what to know before you buy" advice I could reference? I've been searching for just that, and coming up empty handed.

    How common are fakes and tricks in lower-level stuff - is that mostly limited to higher-end, rarer pieces, or is it a risk with any gen 1 or gen 2 piece?

    Finally, looking at this specific gun on *********, more as an example than anything else because I have a particular interest in a 1956 for a few reasons. I believe this one has been on there for a while, with no interest, so I'm guessing it has issues. What sort of things should I be looking at in a listing like this one? To me, I see there are no serial numbers on the trigger guard or backstrap, and the bluing looks a little too good so I'm wondering if it was just a frame, but again I really don't know enough and i'm really at square one in learning.
    Again, apologies if this is a dumb post or something that comes up all the time, just hoping to educate myself before I dive into this, and having a hard time finding more than horror stories online. Thanks in advance for any help

    Sorry guys, looks like i'm too new to post the link or images :/
    1956SAA.jpg 1956SAA4.jpg 1956SAA2.jpg 1956SAA3.jpg
     
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  2. gdmoody

    gdmoody Full Time Moderator Moderator Supporting Member

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  3. BHogan

    BHogan New Member

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    Thank you gdmoody!
     
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  4. jim brady

    jim brady Well-Known Member

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    First off - Welcome to TFF! When you are asking about buying an SAA, there are a few things I'd like to know in order to try to help out. Are you looking for a 'collector piece' or are you looking for a 'shooter'? Is there a specific caliber that you have in mind?

    The reason I'm asking is that if I were looking for an SAA for collecting (you likely would hardly ever IF ever shoot a true collector SAA, if your pockets are deep enough there are places that do list them for sale. Then it would be a matter of authenticating the pistol (and that isn't really all that hard to do).

    If you are looking for a revolver to use/shoot I'd say save your Colts money and buy one of the many very decent quality Italian SAA clones (Uberti, Navy Arms, etc.) These are available in replicas of the 1st or 2nd Generation Colts guns. I wanted a 'Cavalry' style SAA and ended up buying a replica 1st Generation with 'period markings' - but I use all of my firearms and don't personally believe in 'Closet Queens'. If that is what you are after - good on you and good luck!
     
  5. BHogan

    BHogan New Member

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    Thank you! That's a great question, and I should have started there. I 100% want a shooter in .45 and will also load for it and put some rounds through it, so not looking for anything extremely rare or unique. Your point on the Uberti is a very good one, and I've debated going that route several times over the years. In fact, I almost went home with one the other day from my favorite LGS which started this whole search. But I think I've pretty well convinced myself I want an actual Colt, although I couldn't give a rational reason why. I do see my small collection, which is an extension of my grandfather's, getting passed along to my sons and onto their's so I guess there's sort of an heirloom-light appeal to them.

    I've told myself around $2,000 or less is about where i want to be...but I'm not clear what that would get me in an older one. I'd love a 2nd generation and 1956 holds some significance which is why the one above caught my eye, but I'm wondering if it would be safer and smarter to just stick with 3rd gen and shoot the heck out of it? Or, as you've said, get an Uberti AND that S&W model 29 I've always wanted to have. Or just go with a Vaquero in .44 and either have the best or worse of both worlds - so you can see I'm still in the "I don't know what i want to do" phase, lol. Again, it's this quarantine, way too much time on my hands! :)
     
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  6. gdmoody

    gdmoody Full Time Moderator Moderator Supporting Member

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    I can't give you any advice on older Colts, but I do own a Vaquero in .45 Colt that is tremendously fun to shoot.
    Ruger Vaquero.jpg
     
  7. TRAP55

    TRAP55 Well-Known Member

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    Another option to avoid the cost of a Colt, and made in the late 1950's, is a Great Western, they used some Colt parts too. Unlike the Italian copies, all the Colt parts interchange with the GW.
    Cowboy movies in the 1950's rekindled the interest in the SAA that Colt wasn't producing anymore, so Great Western did. When sales boomed, Colt woke up and got back on the bandwagon, eventually leading to the demise of GW.
    From the 50's on, a vintage SAA was too expensive to bang around in the movies, so most of the SAA you see, were Great Westerns. Marshall Dillon carried one, and John Wayne had one worked to be an exact copy of his ivory handled Colt for his last movie, "The Shootist". He wasn't going to have Opie toss his Colt across the bar room at the end.
     
  8. BHogan

    BHogan New Member

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    Interesting stuff about the Great Westerns, I did more reading tonight. I like the whole story behind them and will definitely keep an eye out for them now.

    What do you guys think about the future value of USFA or Standard Manufacturing clones? Think they'll hold their value as well as a Colt, or is "as much (or more) as a Colt without the name" a questionable investment? And any thoughts on that 2nd gen I posted? Thanks again!
     
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  9. nmckenzie

    nmckenzie Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    Same here, in fact have two of 'em - 4 5/8" and 7 1/2". The 4 5/8" is my carry gun. Middle revolver is a Virginia Dragoon .41 Magnum. rugers.jpg
     
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  10. sharps4590

    sharps4590 Well-Known Member

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    Unless you're going to be running a bunch of ammo through one, shooting a 2nd or 3rd Gen Colt shouldn't detract from any value. I had a 1955 in 38 Spl. I shot occasionally and it's value never went down. I still have a 3rd Gen in 45 Colt that I shoot occasionally. However, I do agree that shooting up a nice clone is probably the wiser of the two. Well, I obviously do. I literally wore out an EMF Dakota in 45 Colt. The frame and the barrel were still good but everything else, cylinder and internals, was beyond redemption.

    All I really know about the USFA is that they seem to be highly desirable right now. There must be a reason.

    I'm sorry I can't tell you anything about the revolver in your first post
     
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  11. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

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    I had one of those Italian clones (Uberti) bought some 20 years ago. The magazines touted this particular model as so good visually that it might be mistaken for a real Colt, even up close. The one I got was indeed beautiful. But.....

    The sights were so screwed up that I found it miserable to use for target shooting, even at closer ranges. I attempted to get the front sight right but the result was (screwing in the barrel to rotate the front sight to the left) a front sight obviously leaned over to the left. I never pursued what the real problem was and just passed the gun on.

    I currently have a Ruger Bisley Vaquero (bought new in 2011) which is highly polished stainless steel with imitation white Ivory grips. It is breath takingly beautiful to my eyes. It shoots well too and to the point of aim.

    Any Colt SAA in pristine condition is going to be expensive and because of its value should not be shot. Just the dragging of the bolt on the cylinder (makes a mark) will reduce the value. Shooter versions are less expensive but not quite so beautiful. I am very much against guns left unfired...they are tools meant to be used. But if you want to keep a pristene Colt SAA's value then you better not shoot it or even cock it (bolt drags and marks the cylinder).

    But hey, we all get to choose!

    LDBennett
     
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  12. jim brady

    jim brady Well-Known Member

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    My clone SAA is marked "Navy Arms", has the 7 1/2" barrel and shoots to the sights with .45 Colt ammo. It is very smooth in action and looks quite authentic. I paid somewhere around $300 as far as I can recall brand-new at Sportsman's Warehouse. I've put around 1000 rounds thru it and it still looks new. It will never be a collector piece, but it is a pure joy to shoot. The only thing it lacks is the 'rampant Colt' stamp.
     
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  13. BHogan

    BHogan New Member

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    Some beautiful firearms for sure. Am I correct that the original Vaqueros can handle "Ruger only" 45 loads? What about the New Vaquero? Guess that would scratch the same itches as the 44 mag and the 45 in one. I do love those Rugers.

    Any ideas on where I could get more input on the value and any concerns with that Colt I posted? I keep coming back to it, not sure why TBH but it has my interest.
     
  14. gdmoody

    gdmoody Full Time Moderator Moderator Supporting Member

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    I never heard of a "Ruger only" 45 load but mine can sure as heck stand up to a gdmoody load! I am satisfied with that.
     
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  15. sharps4590

    sharps4590 Well-Known Member

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    George, I suspect BH is simply referring to what in some loading manuals are listed as "for Ruger and Contender only".

    BH, I'm not a very good source on the subject but I believe you are correct. The early Vaquero's will handle heavier loads than the later models and I have no idea where the break from early to late models is. I would encourage you to get a second opinion over mine.
     
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