Colt 3rd Gen Nickel Buntline 12″ Single Action Army SAA . 44 Spl. Revolver

SOLD FOR: $1,525

WOA#: WY240309GC002

Make: Colt

Model: Single Action Army Buntline, 3rd Generation

Serial Number: SA55002

Year of Manufacture:  1975-1983

Caliber: .44 Special

Action Type: Single Action Revolver with Side Loading Gate Cylinder

Markings: The top of the barrel is marked “Colt’s Pt.F.A.Mfg.Co. / Hartford Ct.U.S.A.”. The Left of the barrel is marked “COLT BUNTLINE .44 SPECIAL”. The left of the frame is marked “PAT. SEPT 19 1971, JULY2,72.JAN 19.75” as well as the rampant colt logo, the bottom-front is marked with the serial number. The left front of the trigger guard is marked with “VP” in the inverted triangle. The rear left of the trigger guard is marked with a “K”.

Barrel Length: 12”

Sights / Optics: The front sight is a quarter round blade fixed to the barrel. The rear sight is a square groove in the top strap.

Stock Configuration and Condition: The grips are two-piece smooth Walnut. There are only light handling marks.There are no chips or cracks. Overall, the grips are in about excellent condition.

Type of Finish: Nickel

Finish Originality: Original

Bore Condition: The bore is bright and the rifling is sharp. There is no erosion in the bore. In this writer’s opinion, the bore rates 10 out of 10.

Overall Condition: In my opinion this item is no more than factory fired. This handgun retains about 99% of its current metal finish. There is no minor wear in the cylinder stops and only one of the lead-in grooves. No wear on the side faces of the hammer. Otherwise, there are only light handling marks. The markings are clear. The screw heads are sharp. Overall, this revolver is in Excellent condition. No kidding only factory fired.

Mechanics: The action functions properly. The cylinder locks up with barely perceptible play on each chamber. We did not fire this handgun. As with all used firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance requirements.

Box, Paperwork & Accessories: none

Our Assessment: In 1974, Colt quietly discontinued production of the single Action Army; this would be the second time they discontinued production of this glorious revolver. Luckily, the loyal fans of the SAA would not need to wait long as colt would bring back the SAA in 1976 as the “3rd Generation”. Changes were made but the basic SAA was the same, i.e. three standard barrel lengths of 4 3/4”, 5 1/2” and 7 1/2”, finishes of full nickel or blue, with color case hardened frame, and grips of hard rubber.

Some changes were incorporated in an effort by Colt to keep prices down. One new change was a pressed-in cylinder pin bushing instead of the removable ones used in 1st and 2nd Generation cylinders. Also, the ratchet at the rear of the cylinders was re-shaped, which also necessitated a different shape on the rotating hand. Additionally, for some unknown reason, the pitch of the barrel’s threads was changed from the 20 threads per inch (TPI) as used on 1st and 2nd Generation SAAs to 24 TPI for these new ones. Toward the end of 2nd Generation production Colt had begun using some investment cast parts, but the frames continued to be forged. The introductory caliber for 3rd Generation SAAs was .45 Colt, just as it had been for the 1st Generation.

Every gun collector should have a Colt Single Action Army, and this would be a beauty to add to any collection. As with earlier generations, a longer barrel length was offered, the Buntline. The Colt Buntline Special is a long-barreled variant of the Colt Single Action Army revolver, which Stuart N. Lake described in his best-selling but largely fictionalized 1931 biography “Wyatt Earp: Frontier Marshal”.

According to Lake, the dime novelist Ned Buntline commissioned the production of six Buntline Specials equipped with 12” barrels and presented them to five lawmen as well as to Buffalo Bill Cody in thanks for their help in contributing local color to his western yarns. Two of the recipients were supposed to be Wyatt Earp and Bat Masterson, but there is no record of them ever owning such handguns. That didn’t stop Hollywood from equipping Hugh O’Brian with a Buntline Special when he played Wyatt Earp in the TV series “The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp”. The Buntline Special was never made by Colt as a standard model, but they did make short runs of 2nd and 3rd Generation “Buntline Specials” as well as a “New Frontier Buntline Special” with adjustable sights.

Manufactured in the late 1970s to early 1980s, (.44 Spl. Cal. was discontinued in 1983) this Buntline Special has a Full Nickel finish and is chambered for the .44 Special cartridge. This is a classic Single Action Army chambered for a more modern cartridge in a very desirable configuration. The revolver looks great with about 99% of its original finish, strong mechanics and a great bore. This will make a great display piece and should be an excellent shooter if as the new owner you chose to fire it. Please see our photos of this victorious and glorious piece of functional art and enjoy the auction.-K.F.

Colt 3rd Gen Nickel Buntline 12" Single Action Army SAA . 44 Spl. Revolver
Colt 3rd Gen Nickel Buntline 12″ Single Action Army SAA . 44 Spl. Revolver