Colt 1st Gen Single Action Army SAA .45 Revolver “Artillery”-Style Antique

SOLD FOR: $3,012.00

WOA#: WY240323WM023

Make: Colt

Model: 1873 Single Action Army, Artillery-style

Serial Number: 120836

Year of Manufacture: 1887 (

Caliber: .45 Colt

Action Type: Single Action Revolver with Side Loading Gate Cylinder

Markings: The left side of the frame is marked “PAT. SEPT 19. 1871.  / ” JULY 2. -72. / ” JAN 19. -75.” and with “U.S”. The top of the barrel is marked “COLT’S PT. F.A. MFG. Co HARTFORD CT. U.S.A.”. The underside of the frame at the trigger guard is marked “120836” and “D.F.C.”, the bottom of the trigger guard is marked “92158”. The bottom of the backstrap is marked with “115 / 061”. The rear of the loading gate is marked with an assembly number “895”. The outside of the cylinder is marked “P”, “D.F.C.” and “5214”. The rear face of the cylinder is marked “B” and “0”. The hammer slot is marked “G” and “T”. The bottom of the barrel is marked “P” and “D.F.C.”, facing different directions. Under the ejector housing, the barrel is marked “2474”.

Barrel Length: The barrel has been cut to 5 1/2”.

Sights / Optics: The front sight is a blade fixed to the front of the barrel. The rear sight is a “V”-notch integral to the topstrap.

Stock Configuration & Condition: The grip is one piece smooth walnut. There is no visible cartouche or inspector’s marking on the grip. The left side has a small loss at the bottom toward the front. There are some nicks and scratches, most concentrated on the bottom face. There are no cracks. Overall, the grip is in Very Good-plus condition as antique.

Type of Finish: Blue & Case Color

Finish Originality: Refinished. If a genuine Artillery, it went through at least one Arsenal refurbishment.

Bore Condition: The bore is semi-bright with sharp rifling. There is some scattered light erosion in the bore. In this writer’s opinion, the bore rates 7 out of 10.

Overall Condition: This revolver retains about 5% of its current metal finish. Most remaining finish is in protected areas of the frame. Other areas of the frame are fairly evenly mixed between areas which have muted, almost looking like old nickel plate, and areas gone to a light-moderate patina. Most of the exposed areas which were blued have gone to a moderate patina. There are some scattered light nicks, scuffs and scratches. There is some minor surface erosion. The cylinder has a turn-line and the action shows operational wear. The screw heads range from sharp to tool marked with usable slots. The markings range from clear to worn and incomplete. Overall, this revolver is in Very Good condition as Antique.

Mechanics: The action functions correctly.  The mainspring is quite strong. We have not fired this revolver. As with all used firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance standards.

Box, Paperwork & Accessories: None.

Our Assessment: This revolver started out life in 1887 as a Cavalry Model SAA revolver with 7 1/2” barrel made for the U.S. Army. In their book “Colt Cavalry and Artillery Revolvers”, Kopec and Fenn indicate that between 1900 and 1903, Colt altered and refinished 5,444 revolvers into “Artillery” models (5 ½” barrel). Per Kopec and Fenn, “A single Artillery revolver often will have parts from three or four different Cavalry revolvers”. The “Artillery” moniker is a collector’s term, as the modified revolvers were most notable for their issue to U.S. Artillery units in the Spanish-American war, however the later 1900-1903 altered revolvers saw mixed serial numbered parts.

While we cannot be certain if this is a genuine Artillery model, it certainly looks the part. It has different numbered components, martial inspection marks, and proper barrel length. The revolver looks like it’s in pretty good shape, given its age and use, with a decent bore and strong mechanics. This revolver’s frame probably saw service during the Indian Wars and later again in the Philippines after being converted to an Artillery model. It will make a wonderful addition to any collection. Please see our photos and good luck!

Please forgive any typos, I was educated in California. -Bud

Colt 1st Gen Single Action Army SAA .45 Revolver "Artillery"-Style Antique
Colt 1st Gen Single Action Army SAA .45 Revolver “Artillery”-Style Antique