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Old December 15, 2012, 03:15 AM   #1
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1st Gen. SSA modified to .38 special/.357 , curious to know....

1st Gen. SSA modified to .38 special/.357 , curious to know....
I am hoping someone can help me learn if it has any value since it has been altered. I understand it is a big mistake to do this, but I inherited this weapon from my father who was a pretty good gunsmith in the late 50's and 60's. His specialty was custom blueing. I believe he likely did the barrel and cylinder replacement from an original .45, can't imagine why though.
He has been gone for a long time, so I have no one to ask about this

The serial number is 1102xx, my father did a blue job on it that is still very beautiful, and I recall it was around 1964 when he presented this gun to my mother. For a time, it had pearl handle grips, and I am not sure why he took them off unless it was to put on another gun to sell. I am not certain if the grips are original, but one side has a chip on the corner of the grip.

I am being told that this gun is worth about 500 to 600 hundred dollars since it has been compromised so much. I have been offered 600.00 by a local gunsmith which brings me to believe that it could be worth more than that if a dealer is willing to pay that much. But I also suspect that the older serial number on the frame might bring the value up a bit. I am an illiterate in the gun world and a female, and not looking to sell the gun as much as to know of it' value in case I should ever need to. I would appreciate any feed back I can get. I am limited in following in the forum, as I am working from a server that blocks weapons and live at my workplace, but will try to login as often as possible.

Have a happy holiday, and I appreciate any feedback.
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File Type: jpg WholeGun.JPG (8.9 KB, 78 views)
File Type: jpg Black.PowderFrame.View.JPG (88.7 KB, 66 views)
File Type: jpg July.2.1871.JPG (7.4 KB, 59 views)

Last edited by sschrader; December 15, 2012 at 03:28 AM.
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Old December 15, 2012, 03:52 AM   #2
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It's SAA, to start with.

I'd personally question the wisdom of converting a First Gen BP frame to take the .357 caliber.
Better photos would be helpful, I can't tell how well the buffing was done.
Is that the original barrel?

It may be worth $600, but I wouldn't fire Magnum loads in it.
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Old December 15, 2012, 07:22 PM   #3
James K
Join Date: March 17, 1999
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In the post-WWII period, a lot of SAA's were converted to .38 Special, not so many to .357, either because they had bad barrels or because they were in odd calibers and ammo was hard to get. After all, they were just old guns that Colt wasn't going to make any more, and Numrich was selling new .38and .357 barrels and cylinders at dirt cheap prices.

I will second concerns about firing .357 or even hot .38 Special in that gun with its old black powder frame.

There is probably no way except a factory letter to find out what the original caliber was.

I have no real feel for the price of such a gun. I had one that had been .32-20 converted to .38 Special that I traded even up for an M1 rifle, but today I am reasonably sure the SAA would be worth a lot more than an M1.

Jim K
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Old December 16, 2012, 04:30 AM   #4
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The frame was made in 1884.
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Old December 17, 2012, 03:04 AM   #5
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Thanks for your replies!

Thanks for your replies. My name is Rebekah in Seattle and like my mother said she lives and works in a place where the gun forums are not allowed. I am here to speak for her. I sent the replies to her and wait for an answer. As of now I will send a few more pics that I have. I hope they help. I don't have the weapon in my possession so i am unable to take more photos.
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File Type: jpg Butt.Frame.serial.number.JPG (8.8 KB, 34 views)
File Type: jpg Colts.PTFA.MFG.Co.Hartford.CT.U.S.A.357.JPG (8.0 KB, 36 views)
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Old December 17, 2012, 12:23 PM   #6
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So, mix of First Gen frame & probably internals with Second Gen barrel & cylinder, and reblued, looks like.
No collector value & unwise to shoot with .357s.
Maybe the $600. Could go $800.
Hard to say who a potential buyer might be or what they'd be willing to pay for a non-collectible non-shooter (at least in that caliber).
Could be a plinker, with light .38s, somebody might buy on that basis.

Or, an unethical dealer could promote it into something higher to an ignorant customer.

If you're looking to sell, you could take that offer & run with the money, you could find a dealer willing to display it on consignment, or you could list it (with GOOD clear closeup photos) on an Internet auction site like Gunbroker or Guns America & let the gun determine its value among bidders.
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Old December 17, 2012, 02:36 PM   #7
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If it were mine, I'd have it checked to see if it's a shooter. I'd swap, might need a bit of cash to make a deal, the current cylinder and barrel for what ever the original caliber the gun was made in. Put the replacement stuff on the gun. Market the gun to a Shooter who wants a 1st gen gun to shoot with black powder. Yep, there are people out there who would want one. You might get $900 for it, maybe a bit more. Under no circumstances shoot this gun with smokeless powder.
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Old December 17, 2012, 02:44 PM   #8
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"IF" she HAS to sell it, I would strongly advise taking more clear pics like you have, but a bit closer - then putting the gun up for auction online (like gunbroker), where the widest range of possibly interested buyers will see/bid it.

Type up a complete & honest description of it's features & present condition (compared to new), including the conversion using (possibly) 2nd Gen parts.

I would further advise starting a one week auction at $500, and have her consider placing a hidden reserve price on it, at whatever level make her comfortable - say $700 - then sit back to enjoy the ride.

The market will determine it's true value, regardless of what any of us here may think.

Have any successful buyer send her an FFL with the payment MO/funds, that she can send the gun to (Include a $50 S&H shipping fee in the auction), so she can stay within the guidelines of Federal Law for the interstate transfer of firearms.

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Old December 18, 2012, 04:35 PM   #9
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Thank you!

Rebekah here!
Yes we need to sell the gun to preserve family land. My Uncle fell off the wagon and pawned all of our family guns and now we are trying to save the land.
The gun killed my grandfather so it is cursed and has no personal value. It really is a sad situation. Thanks for the advice and thanks for letting me vent.
I have some really good photos that I recently obtained. If anyone is interested PM me and I will send them via email.

Thanks, Rebekah
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Old January 1, 2013, 12:03 AM   #10
El Bango
Join Date: December 23, 2012
Location: SW Colorado
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In those days a lot of folks converted their SAA's using parts from Christy's in California.You could maybe convert it back using original parts but the cost would be high as the 1st thing would be obtaining a letter from Colt stating the original caliber and barrel length and going from there.
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