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Old January 11, 2000, 08:48 PM   #1
Junior Member
Join Date: October 20, 1999
Location: Manchester, TN
Posts: 13
I have a chance to buy a couple of guns to get started in cowboy shooting. One is a Marlin 1889 in 38-40 and the other is a Colt Single Action Army in .45LC, ser# 70xxx. The Colt does need some cylinder work. Who does such work? What would be a fair price to pay for these two guns? They both look 70-80%.
Thanks in advance, John
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Old January 12, 2000, 12:49 AM   #2
Joe West
Join Date: November 29, 1999
Posts: 41
There are a whole lot of details needed for even a ball park price. It's best to buy used working guns you can test fire and have a 3 day refusal on. The following is my opinion only. Beware! I'm wrong sometimes. The 1889 Marlin is a good gun but was only produced for a few years. Collector interest is low. Usually the bores are very bad from BP shells and the rag people used to stuff down the barrels to "keep the dust out". I sold mine[38-40] 70%finish, working perfectly, bore very worn but acceptable cas level groups for $350. The friend I sold it to said he would not sell it for that now.
The Colt is another critter. What "generation" is it? A cylinder for a Colt is very expensive for 1st and 2nd generation guns [and hard to get too!]. It ain't cheap for a third generation gun, but at least you can get it. A good shooter grade 70% or better 3rd gen gun with NOTHING wrong with it should go around $700. A second gen of like grade with nothing wrong with it mechanically will be around $1000 and up. The price is just negotiable when it comes to 1st gen guns. And each improvement in condition and remaining finish just adds to the value of any of these. Each problem detracts from the price.Look for parts that have been replaced. Check for cold blue or refinishing. Check to make sure all the screws are intact. Look for mismatched parts and clear readable lettering and numbers.
I repair Cowboy guns.I have an FFL. I even sell a very few. Got a 2nd gen 45 Colt NRA 71/2" bbl gun for sale right now. 90% or better outside. Not any internal wear, so shot very little. Some nicks and scratches. No box. It was made at the tail end of the 2nd gen guns so it has some distinctive features common to those last guns before the redesign. It's tight, unmessed with. I'd sell it for $1050 as original or $1150 with a top grade custom action job plus shipping, shipped to an FFL only refund on undamaged gun if not satisfied within 7 days. Ask Bill about my work. Our normal top action job fee on Colts is $160.$110 for lever guns. Parts other than the pistol springs are extra.
Hope that helps, sorry about the commercial.
Joe West
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Old January 12, 2000, 07:35 AM   #3
Ned Roundtree
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Join Date: December 8, 1999
Location: Lexington, KY,USA
Posts: 738
I was at a match where one guy was shooting his grandfathers 1877 Colt Lightning in 38 caliber. Boy, I wouldn't run the risk of breaking it. But to each his own.
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Old January 12, 2000, 05:05 PM   #4
Bill Mitchell
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Join Date: October 15, 1998
Location: Roswell,GA
Posts: 433
Howdy Ellis,

Joe pretty much answered your question. He has done top-grade work on all of my CAS guns,and I've seen the Colt he is selling and it's a very nice pistol.

Bellicose Bill
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Old January 12, 2000, 09:29 PM   #5
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Join Date: October 20, 1999
Location: Manchester, TN
Posts: 13
Thanks for the help guys. I might pass on these. He wants $1100 for the pair. The Marlin looks O.K. but the cylinder in the Colt has a lot of side movement and you can rotate it with the hammer cocked. The Marlin has some gold and nickel plating on it but the Colt looks original, probably 1st generation by the ser #.
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