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Old August 8, 2012, 11:48 PM   #1
bigdogdave
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1st Gen SAA 41 colt

I have a Colt I got at a antique auction estate sale about 20 years ago for $450 and I would like to have a clue as to the value, I just know when the gun is old the terms 10% 20% etc. mean a great deal but I don't know what group this would fit into plus as in the pic it must have had a lanyard ? should it be repaired, is it shootable with modern ammo, any info would be great. I might add I ask same questions on a different site and all I really found out was would I sell it and all I wanted is some info.
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Old August 8, 2012, 11:57 PM   #2
Buzzcook
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Can't tell much without picture and the serial number.

The exception is modern ammo. If this is a first model then definitely not! Modern .41 ammo is a whole different thing than .41 ammo from the 1880s.
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Old August 9, 2012, 02:42 AM   #3
Jim March
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Look at the lower front of the frame, underneath the barrel. There's a pin that forms the axle that the cylinder spins on. That pin goes into the frame from the front. Now, how is it held into the frame? Is there a side-to-side pin holding it in, or is there a screwhead at the front of the frame, below that pin?

This feature will date the gun to before or after 1895 or so...side-to-side pin is the later setup and also marks the gun as being rated for smokeless powder. That still doesn't quite mean "modern ammo". If it has the old screw-in-the-front frame, that's what we call a "black powder era" frame, and it seriously adds to the value in most cases.

It also means "don't shoot it unless you REALLY know what you're doing.

Finally, DO NOT REPAIR ANYTHING until you know the full story on this beast.
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Old August 19, 2012, 11:39 AM   #4
bigdogdave
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it is a early smokless, # 172, XXX made in 1897
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Old August 19, 2012, 11:40 AM   #5
bigdogdave
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one more
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Old August 19, 2012, 12:12 PM   #6
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First off, do nothing except wipe it down with a light gun oil. Do not try and shoot it. That gun may be worth alot more than you paid for it. Alot more. I'll let others more knowledgable with SAA jump in.

Don't accept an offer to sell until you learn alot more. Its not a gun for shooting anymore, its value is as a collectible.

It dates from somewhere around 1897-1898. And, looks to be in pretty good shape.

http://proofhouse.com/colt/index.html

Last edited by Sgt127; August 19, 2012 at 12:20 PM.
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Old August 19, 2012, 02:59 PM   #7
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You need to know a bunch more about it. Somewhere near you there will be a Colt Collectors Club of some kind. Go see some of'm and they'll help you out. If you want a shooting SAA, you can likely trade this one and get a brand new Colt and some money.
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Old August 19, 2012, 04:12 PM   #8
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The reason I now wonder, the newest Blue book, which I find the most accurate on gun values has it as $2,500 at 10% and $3,000 at 20 % if this was a modern gun I would say it is at about 65%, could I be that far off as to condition or is it the blue book ?

Also I have this offer from a COLT MASTER ENGRAVER, and wonder what to do if anything. This is the email and reply.

I came to you about 5 years ago wanting you to make me a family heirloom, you showed you album of your work and we talked but I never got back to you, I have 2 unfired Colt SAA 3rd gen. 45's, 4 3/4" and a 7 1/2" and a first gen. 41 cal. 4 3/4" I have very little money but I would ask the cost of you engraving ONE for me or possibly giving you one for the work on the other, I have had these guns 20 some years and would like something to pass down. an engraved gun is I think the only work of art that over whelms me.

This was the reply.

Dave: (me)

I will consider your offer to engrave one or two of your Colts in trade for the third as follows

Cost: The basic cost of engraving a Colt SAA is $2,200. That would be for Level "A" Colt Custom Shop Coverage, including all gunsmithing and re-blueing.

Trade: I would only be interested in trading for the .41 1st Generation Colt. I have four SAA 3rd Generations already waiting for my own engraving and resale.

Proposals:

1) I will engrave both your 3rd Gen SAA Colts at "C" Coverage in trade for the .41 cal Ist Generation

or, choice #2

2) I will engrave one of your 3rd Gen Colts a "D" Exhibition level and install Ivory Grips (with Gold inlay as shown in the attached photos) in trade for one of the 3rd Gens and the 1st Gen

This is the only method of trade I will consider. My schedule is full for the remainder of 2012 and work on could not begin until March, 2013

I just don't know what to do, I love my guns, But the idea of having a work of art on a work of art would be something I would never be able to afford. any thoughts from anyone ? also though inflated a "C" (3/4 coverage)from Colt is $5,710.00 From a Colt Master engraver.
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Old August 19, 2012, 04:49 PM   #9
Bill DeShivs
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Who is this engraver?
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Old August 19, 2012, 04:58 PM   #10
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Mike Dubber
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Old August 19, 2012, 05:52 PM   #11
Bill DeShivs
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He's a damned fine engraver!
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Old August 19, 2012, 06:07 PM   #12
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Yes, he has a school and teaches hand etching about 50 miles from me he also makes jewelry for "Fine Jewelry store" at our first and so far only meeting 5 or 6 years ago he had a catalog of his work I got to see. Amazing !

may I ask what you would do with these choices, I tend to think I will have the 2 3rd's with a "C" but I think I would never have the chance for Exhibition level "D" I even ask if I would have input on the design and inlay part to make it unique for me and my family. just got this reply.

Dave

Yes, of course, you will have input in the design of your engraved Colt - as I understand, it is to be a family heritage piece and I will be happy to engrave it to your specifications.

The screw hole in the butt of your .41 will not be a problem - that can be repaired. Do you have any history on the gun? If not I can get that from the Custom Shop. I believe there were a few delivered with lanyard loops, but in any case, I have a precision welder who can fix the hole.
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Old August 19, 2012, 09:47 PM   #13
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I'm not sure what I would do, except get him to engrave one of them!
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Old August 19, 2012, 09:56 PM   #14
bigdogdave
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He will do 1 with "D" Exhibition level and install Ivory Grips with Gold inlay

or both 2 of the 3rd's at "C" Coverage in trade for the .41 cal Ist Generation
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Old August 19, 2012, 10:07 PM   #15
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I would do the "D" grade. Make sure he gives you documentation, and keep it with the gun.
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Old August 19, 2012, 10:27 PM   #16
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Looks like a gun from 1898 or so.

I'd look for other opinions though.

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Old August 19, 2012, 10:32 PM   #17
bigdogdave
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Thanks, for the imput, The fact is I have a son (23) in the Airforce now and a (stepson, but mine since he was 4 now 33) that was a Marine, so it will take a little thought. about the one gun or two.
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Old August 19, 2012, 10:53 PM   #18
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I agree with the "D." I don't believe SAAs were actually officially ok'd for smokeless 'til about 1900--a few years after the cross-pin was instated--but I may be wrong about that. IIRC, condition being equal and barring any special provenance, .41s are/can be of somewhat lesser collector-market value than same era .32-20s, .44-40s and .45s. I don't recall that you got a Colt letter on the gun; if not I'd suggest that to chronicle at least basic provenance. That of course will typically not give you any idea about the end user after original/initial shipping.

Last edited by gak; August 19, 2012 at 11:08 PM.
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Old August 21, 2012, 09:47 PM   #19
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I am puzzled by the warning that "modern" .41 ammo is hotter than the old .41 Colt ammo. The only really "modern" .41 ammo is .41 Magnum, which won't fit into a .41 Colt cylinder. The only other "modern" .41 ammo is .41 Colt cowboy action ammo, and that is actually below the pressure level of the old 19th century BP ammo. I have fired it in SAA's as well as Colt 1887 and 1888 models with no problems.

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Old August 21, 2012, 11:03 PM   #20
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James K, when I wrote that I thought it might be .41 rimfire.
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Old August 22, 2012, 02:46 PM   #21
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FWIW, the SAA was never made in .41 rimfire. It was made in .44 rimfire, but a gun in that caliber would not fire a .44 centerfire cartridge because of the different firing pin.

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Old August 22, 2012, 03:00 PM   #22
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If it were me and I were looking at passing something down I would do both the 3rd gens at grade "C" in trade for the 1st gen.
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