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Old August 28, 2005, 09:03 PM   #1
paladin41us
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Join Date: August 26, 2005
Location: Ga
Posts: 12
2nd Gen SAA

Hopefully someone has a lil more info, I recently picked up a small gun collection from an elderly lady whose husband had passed and she wanted rid of his guns I actually wrote her a check for them sight unseen, why, not sure. Anyway one of the weapons I ended up with was a Colt 45 buntline special 12" blued, color case hardened, and walnut stocks.

I've done some research on it and called colt since all they would tell me was the date of mfg. not sure I want to pay the 200 for a letter. It is one out of 4000 mfg, date Feb 1957 seems to be in best guess 98 to 99%, looks like it has never been fired, and that is a guess, the bore is very clean and the firing pin on the hammar shows no wear what so ever.

No box, No papers other then a bill of sale when I picked it up from her. Does anyone have a rough est. on what it is worth, and if I wanted to sell/trade it which would be the best course of action to do so. Its pretty and I use my weapons and I just don't see myself using it or letting it sit in a safe and never be used.

Thanks!!
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Old September 6, 2005, 07:54 PM   #2
paladin41us
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Colt Buntline 45 12" barreled (interesting read)

Thought some of y'all might enjoy this.

Colt never did refer to their long barreled sixguns of the period as Buntline Specials. Their Single Actions were never officially dubbed Peacemakers either. It was simply the Model P. In 1957 they did tie into the legend of the long barrels with the introduction of the Second Generation Buntline Specials. Instead of the standard barrel marking of "COLT SINGLE ACTION ARMY .45" on the left side of the barrel, all of these modern long barreled .45's are marked "COLT BUNTLINE SPECIAL .45". They are in the same serial number range as other Single Action Army Models however, the early Buntline Specials are numbered on the barrel in front of the cylinder pin also. According to Don Wilkerson's The Post-War Colt Single-Action Army, 1650 Buntlines were produced in 1958, while a total of 4000 blued and 65 nickeled specimens were manufactured totally from 1957 until the last one left the factory in 1974. All Second Generation Buntlines, save one, a 16" model, are 12" barreled .45's. According to George Garton, author of Colt's SAA Post-War Models, 72 Second Generation New Frontier 12" Buntlines were produced, as well as three additional nickel plated but engraved standard Buntline Specials.

It is interesting to note that Buntline Special #15349SA was presented by Colt to a Las Vegas Police Officer in 1959. The officer's name was Walter R. Earp, Jr., a grand nephew of Wyatt Earp. It is also interesting to note the presence of the Buntline Special in the Third Edition of The Hornady Handbook of Cartridge Reloading. The test gun for the reloading data on the .45 Colt is a Bat Masterson/Bill Tilghman style of Buntline Special. The barrel has been cut to 4 3/4"!

The early sales success of the Buntline Special by Colt apparently influenced Ruger. In 1957, two consecutive serial numbered Ruger .44 Flat Tops, #5000 and #5001, were produced with 15" barrels. In 1959, Ruger began producing 10" "Buntline Special" type Flat Top .44 and .357 Magnums with about 1000 of each being manufactured before the end of the Flat Tops in 1963. The Old Model Ruger Blackhawks, produced from 1963 to 1973 were never cataloged with 10" barrels. However, Ruger New Model .44 Magnums are routinely produced in both blue and stainless versions with 10 1/2" barrels. They have been very popular with silhouetters and hunters.

In 1974, Colt stopped production of the Second Generation of Colt Single Action Army sixguns only to return in 1976 with the Third Generation. The latter are marked by a different hammer profile, the lack of a full length cylinder bushing, and a re-designed cylinder ratchet and hand. For some reason known only to Colt, they changed the threads on the barrels cutting off the supply of barrels for all those Colts manufactured from 1873 to 1974 that might be in need of new barrels.

During the first phase of the Third Generation Colts, both Single Action Army and New Frontier Models were available as Buntlines. Today, both the Buntline Special and the New Frontier seem to be a thing of the past with only standard Colt Single Action Army Models being produced in both blue and nickel versions in 4 3/4" and 5 1/2" barrel lengths and in calibers of .38-40, .44-40, and .45 Colt. We keep hearing rumors of 7 1/2" barrels again but I have not seen any.

Buntline Specials may no longer be produced by Colt but they are available. United States Patent Firearms, which occupies the old Colt Armory, is offering Buntline Special replicas. USPFA sixguns are made of Italian parts assembled in this country and beautifully finished.

The Buntline Special is not a very practical sixgun in its 12" barreled Colt Single Action Army .45 version. It is however a piece of history and a lot of fun to shoot. How much a piece of history remains a mystery. It seems that quite often Old West chroniclers subscribed to the credo "When truth differs from the legend, print the legend."
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