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Old August 6, 2012, 09:59 PM   #1
Wyoredman
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Colt SAA - Pictures _ info needed

Howdy!

My father-in-law has an old SAA that he says was originally owned by his grandfather. His family were homesteaders in Pleasant Valley, Arizona durring the turn of the century. We would like to find out the year this gun was manufactured and any other info.

It is a 6" (?) .45 Colt SAA. It only has about 40% of it's original finish (my estimate) and seems to function very well. The bore is bright and not much rust can be found anywhere on the gun. The grips seam to have been replaced with stag horn. This gun was suposedly carried every day by the old man as he rode fences and herded his cattle.

The serial number is 258587 and is found on the frame, trigger guard, and butt. I hope these pictures are clear enough to show the condition.

Thanks for any info.











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Old August 6, 2012, 10:11 PM   #2
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1904 would be my guess.

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Old August 6, 2012, 10:18 PM   #3
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Thanks Creeper. How is my estimate of the condition? Can you tell from the pictures?
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Old August 6, 2012, 10:31 PM   #4
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Hard to tell, I think maybe a bit better than 40%. Honest wear... nice patina. I'm not a SAA expert by any stretch of the imagination... hopefully, someone with more knowledge will pop in and expand on my meager comments.

You can submit the SN to Colt Archive services for a letter here. They charge $100 to research a SAA... and you get your money back, and then some, when and if you sell it.

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Old August 6, 2012, 11:02 PM   #5
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Thank you, Sir!
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Old August 6, 2012, 11:12 PM   #6
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No problem. Oh yeah, don't assume those grips, which are in nice shape by the way, are aftermarket items.

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Old August 7, 2012, 10:13 AM   #7
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I do believe those are plastic grips.
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Old August 7, 2012, 12:54 PM   #8
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most likely 1904 or 1905. Gun apprears to be in great condition. You might consider lettering it. (getting an official letter from colt) There is a charge for this service but a letter would GREATLY enhance the value of your gun, and tell you if it's in it's original configuration and where it was originally shipped to. The guns barrel seems to be a standard 5 1/2 inch. The grips (Colt calls them stocks) are most likely aftermarket, but could be original. Congratulations on an exceptionally nice first generation Colt.
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Old August 7, 2012, 02:14 PM   #9
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No, Ron-the grips are real stag.
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Old August 7, 2012, 02:57 PM   #10
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Quote:
No, Ron-the grips are real stag.
And if anyone knows real stag when he see's it... that'd be "Old Bill".

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Old August 7, 2012, 03:17 PM   #11
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Colt may have been offering stag grips by then but I don't think so.
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Old August 7, 2012, 03:32 PM   #12
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I can testify to the stocks being real horn, not plastic. I have called Colt and requested a letter. I will post it when it arrives, then we will know if the grips are factory or an embelishiment by my wife's great-granddad!

Thanks a million, everyone!
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Old August 7, 2012, 03:51 PM   #13
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Quote:
I will post it when it arrives, then we will know if the grips are factory or an embelishiment by my wife's great-granddad!
Here's hoping they are original factory fitment. Even if they are "only" period stag aftermarket... still an excellent up-value on the gun.

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Old August 7, 2012, 06:12 PM   #14
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Well, not the first time I've been wrong, but I think they are not factory, No Colt coin in the grips.Be interessting what the Colt letter says.
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Old August 7, 2012, 06:48 PM   #15
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That gun has the look of a "working" gun, but IMHO it was reblued at some time in the past. I, too, think the grips are real stag, but are not factory original.

Jim
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Old August 7, 2012, 08:28 PM   #16
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The earliest known stag grips were on a Colt Kid Curry stole from a Colt salesman sometime between 1900-1904. So it is possible but they weren't popular until Hollyweird made them popular around the 30's and they really took off in the 50's.
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Old August 7, 2012, 11:37 PM   #17
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James K, you are correct in that it is a working gun. Carried by my wife's great grandfather on his ranch. Do not have any idea at all about being re-blued. Guess it is possible, but one will never know. Do you have a way to tell? Please do inform me of what to look for to distinguish a re-blue. Thanks.
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Old August 8, 2012, 12:37 PM   #18
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Just received a call from Colt. The letter will take 120 days, so be patient.
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Old August 8, 2012, 01:39 PM   #19
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My surmise about rebluing was based on the appearance of the frame, whcih would normally have been color case hardened. Blued frames were not unknown and could be ordered from the factory, but were not the norm. Also there are some other areas, like the point where the backstrap and trigger guard meet the frame that look like the parts were polished separately, common with gunsmiths doing a reblue job, but not from the factory, where the three parts were polished down together leaving an almost invisible joint.

If the frame has not been reblued, it seems odd that the barrel, ejector rod housing and cylinder show so much more wear than the frame. The barrel shows what appears to be holster wear, yet the frame, except at the recoil boss, looks like new. I have been trying to figure out how or in what way the gun could have acquired that type of wear pattern.

Jim
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Old August 8, 2012, 02:04 PM   #20
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JamesK,

Thanks for the info. I didn't even think about the original finish being color case hardening. Very interesting.

I will try and get som better close up photos for you to look at. May help?

TFL comes through once again!
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Old August 9, 2012, 10:43 AM   #21
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Quote:
it seems odd that the barrel, ejector rod housing and cylinder show so much more wear than the frame.
I think some of that could be glare.
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Old August 9, 2012, 10:48 AM   #22
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Please let us know when your letter arrives. I, for one would love to hear about it. I love these wonderful antique guns.
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Old August 9, 2012, 06:41 PM   #23
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Were any of your father-in-law's family involved in the Pleasant Valley War? Or did they settle there after?
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Old August 9, 2012, 09:56 PM   #24
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Yes sir. But not directly.

The old fella who owned the gun pictured was Vern Gillette, son of Quimby Gillette. They lived on the Cross Y and the Bar X ranch where Vern was the manager. The Bowman's on the 13 ranch were related to Vern by marriage. Vern's first wife and mr. Bowman's wife were sisters.

The Gillette family had friendships and business dealings with the Haught's, Blevins', Burk's, and Allenbaugh's.

There is a very interesting book writen by my wife's grandpa, Frank Gillette (son of Vern), Titled "Pleasant Valley" published in 1984. Frank Gillette was a Highway Patrolman in Arizon his whole career.

I have learned from my FIL that the gun was purchased used by Vern Gillette from one of the Pleasant Valley locals around 1915. The family does not know who the seller was, but hopefully the letter from Colt will shed some light on that.

Thanks for the intrest and help with this research.
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Old August 10, 2012, 12:51 AM   #25
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Wow! I am familiar with the book, although I haven't as of yet read it.

At this point, it doesn't matter if the gun is reblued, or if the grips are original or anything else. That gun is chock full of Arizona history!

You mentioned the Blevins. I know that one (or more) of the Blevins were sided with the Grahams, and one of the Blevins was killed by the sheriff from Prescott who led a posse after him and one of the Grahams.

One of these days I must take a trip to Young; I have heard that they have a little parade every year commemorating the War and you can see actual graves of people that were killed during it. Young is one place in AZ that has less people in it than where I live. LOL!

Congratulations on a very valuable and pivotal piece of Arizona history.

Edit: Something clicked in the dusty corners of my mind and I remember reading an excerpt from Gillette's book about "The Rescue of Leo the Lion." It was included in a paperback book called Arizona Humoresque. I know a lot of retired DPS guys; I'll have to ask them if they knew Frank Gillette.

Last edited by gyvel; August 10, 2012 at 01:02 AM.
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