View Full Version : Cost of 1st Gen Colt SAA

4V50 Gary
December 4, 2000, 11:44 PM
Just examined and cleaned what I believe to be a 1st Gen Colt SAA in 44 WCF. It had only three serial, #2xx, and its nickel is badly worn off. The barrel has some pitting as does the cylinder. Despite this, the lands seem sharp.

What leads me to believe that this is a 1st Gen is the Base Pin & the Cylinder Pivot Pin. The Base Pin does not use a spring (unlike the 2nd or 3rd Gen) and the Cylinder (Pivot) Pin was not turned all the way such that it could be inserted in any manner. Rather, it has only one portion scalloped out which the Base Pin secures against to keep it from working loose.

The gun needs some work. The barrel cylinder gap is huge (I'd say about .025-.030). The Ejector Rod Housing needs to be fitted better (original) because it binds the Cylinder Pin from easy withdrawl. New stocks are needed as the old ones are shot (and don't appear original anyhow).

Everything else on the gun seems fine and there is no external rust or pitting.

Never mind about the value. I've been thinking about the gun this morning and it dawned on me the rough framework (and another feature) which cannot be that of Colt. The gun is probably a Spanish copy.

[Edited by 4V50 Gary on 12-05-2000 at 09:19 AM]

4V50 Gary
January 2, 2001, 02:08 PM
the grateful fellow gave me some expensive tea and coffee. Acting upon my advice, he declined purchasing the revolver and informed the owner of its dubious origins.

January 2, 2001, 04:11 PM
Nice catch, Gary. There are an astonishing number of fakes and "genuine replicas" out there.

I enjoy the TV program "Antiques Roadshow" and occasionally someone will bring in an old revolver or rifle for appraisal. It's really something to see an expert from the Smithsonian or Butterworth's go over an old gun, pointing out the things they look for in determining value or fakery. And it's sad to see the number of people who have been sold Italian or Spanish replicas that have been represented as original Colt or S&W products.

Ken Strayhorn
Hillsborough NC

James K
January 2, 2001, 04:47 PM
Hi, Gary,

There are a couple of tip offs in the posting. For one thing, a three-digit serial number would have been an Army contract gun in .45, not .44-40, and would not have been nickeled. (All SAA's below 24,000 are .45 caliber, and were originally made with 7 1/2 inch barrels.)

The markings should also indicate who actually made the gun. The base pin described is like that of the pre-1896 Colts. The pin is cut out at only one point, and the screw must enter that point. Some recent repros of the early guns have the screw but the base pin is cut all the way around.

If you have a chance, can you let us know a bit more, especially any markings on the gun. Colt SA copies are no recent phenomena; the Belgians were making them as early as the 1890's.


4V50 Gary
January 2, 2001, 08:10 PM
There were worn parts on the gun and the cylinder pin screw was not a very good fit. I initially attributed this to age and abuse.

Some of the markings were missing including the patent dates & rampant Colt on the left side of the frame. These however could have been removed during careless refinishing. The markings on the barrel were correct and it is quite possible that the barrel itself was a genuine Colt product. The location of the serial #s were all appropriate inasmuch as I could tell (checked with my 1st Gen. Colt SAA) and books at hand. However, what really got me thinking was the grip.

The grip was integral with the frame (big clue - duh) and the more I thought about it, the more it bothered me. Consultations with several books confirmed my suspicions and I immediately called my friend to warn him.

Jim, could the gun have been a Spanish copy? Opinions welcomed.